The Parts Make the Whole

Each one of us has one body, and that body has many parts. These parts don’t all do the same thing. In the same way, we are many people, but in Christ we are all one body. We are the parts of that body, and each part belongs to all the others. We all have different gifts. Each gift came because of the grace God gave us. – (Romans 12:4-6a, ERV)

For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. – (Romans 12:4-6a, NIV)

In this way we are like the various parts of a human body. Each part gets its meaning from the body as a whole, not the other way around. The body we’re talking about is Christ’s body of chosen people. Each of us finds our meaning and function as part of His body. But as a chopped-off finger or cut-off toe we wouldn’t amount to much, would we? So since we find ourselves fashioned into all these excellently formed and functioning parts in Christ’s body, let’s just go ahead and be what we were made to be, without enviously or pridefully comparing ourselves with each other, or trying to be something we aren’t. – (Romans 12:4-6a, MSG)

 

This is such a critical message to remember in community – be it in family, friend groups, work or other circles in which we gather. Each of us are created with unique strengths and giftings, intended to utilize them for the encouragement and betterment of those around us. I know this to be true in my family, marriage, and among close friends, and I am extremely grateful for the way that different gifts work together to create a stronger whole. As my colleagues and I spend the week in trainings and meetings to prepare for the upcoming school year, I intend to look for and celebrate the different giftings that each part of our staff brings to the whole of our school community. It is the people that have kept me in the same school for the entire twenty-three years of my teaching career thus far. Superintendents and higher ups have come and gone, yet, there have been core people who have helped keep a familial culture in existence over the years. Those who have come in and embraced the sense of community, have remained and strengthened what was started long ago. When kids begin joining us in a little over a week, it will be our charge to identify the strengths and gifts that each of them brings to our classroom. It is my hope and prayer that we not compare ourselves nor them to each other, but rather see and celebrate each one as is, recognizing the potential in all that is yet to be.

After speaking with mom last evening, I received a bit more clarification about her appointment last week and the hold-up with in-home therapies. Apparently, it is not a need for seeing another specialist, but rather a bit of a fight/search to find in-home therapies that her new insurance will cover. This is extraordinarily frustrating, as a different insurance would have been selected, had we known it would have been so difficult. God is good, and He is faithful to meet mom’s needs, so we are trusting that He will make a way quickly, as a long delay is not beneficial to mom’s ongoing rehabilitation and recovery. On the positive side, she is working hard, making sure to work on her walking multiple times each day. Please join us in praying that all will be worked out and settled this week, so that perhaps as my nephews return to school, mom will be able to begin her therapies back up at home.

 

We each have a role, aristotle_quote_the_whole_is_greater_than_the_sum_of_its_parts_1439598_1807304324820819141384587.png

A part we’re to play;

Gifted and equipped,

God has made the way.

When we choose to live,

To walk out our days;

As He intended,

Our lives bring Him praise.

Part of the body,

Embracing our role;

Encourage others,

To work as a whole.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have created each of us with different strengths and gifts, and intended us for community so that we could work together to be strong and whole. Forgive us for comparison, for that is the thief of joy that leads to us thinking either too little or too much of ourselves. Teach us to instead, appreciate all that You create and grow in each of us, and to encourage those around us well. Show us how to love those You place in our lives in a way that celebrates the unique way that You have created each of them. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for each person that You have placed in our community to contribute to the whole. Amen.

 

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

 

My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. – John 15:12

As He Loves

My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. – (John 15:12, NIV)

This is what I command you: Love each other as I have loved you. – (John 15:12, ERV)

So this is my command: Love each other deeply, as much as I have loved you. – (John 15:12, TPT)

 

I am beyond blessed to have so many people in my life who model this very sort of love toward me on a regular basis. This weekend, I have been reminded especially well, of just how much God loves me, as He has made His love tangible through the people whom He has intentionally placed in my life. Though this past year has not unfolded exactly as one might have hoped nor expected in the first year of marriage and as I roll into the start of my forty-eighth year of life, I can clearly see God’s hand in it, and have been held, strengthened, encouraged and carried, every step of the way. Many spouses would not be so fortunate to have the blessing of their husband of nine months, and their seventeen-year-old twins, to go and care for their mother after a stroke. Mine, however, said, “Go!” Each weekend, my husband has faithfully driven the three hours to come see me, and have made sure to speak with me and encourage me daily on the phone, (the boys join him as often as their schedules allow). This weekend was kicked off with my running bestie on Friday evening through Saturday morning, followed by my husband and boys on Saturday at midday, and as the fellas prepare to leave this afternoon, my best friend will arrive to stay a quick overnight as well. Not only am I blessed and encouraged by their visit and presence, but mom is too. It is only fitting, as she is the reason that I am here. As this week continues, Megan will return and I will head home to go on an escape for our first anniversary trip. God is good, and I have learned to love more deeply in the last three months than I ever knew possible prior.

As for mom and her progress yesterday, she accomplished another new milestone with her grandsons cheering her on! Mom walked the entire length of her hallway, twice! That is one-hundred and twenty feet, unassisted. I love watching the recognition of new progress on mom’s face each time she conquers new milestones. There is a visible flood of hope that fills not only her face, but her entire being. It is almost as if she could jump out of her chair and dance down the hallway with excitement. So much joy. Another accomplishment was tackled as we went out to dinner as a family. Being out in public is not her favorite, and I imagine the idea of sitting in a restaurant makes her feel especially vulnerable. Thankfully, the place we selected was fairly quiet, and we were at a table in a room where there were nearly no other patrons. We enjoyed our meal together and did not have any issues navigating the space. After dinner, we returned home and played several rounds of our family favorite game, Dirty Marbles. It is a sort of combination of Chinese Checkers and Sorry, and gets quite competitive. Each of us ended the day full, happy, and knowing how truly loved we are. I could not think of a better way to close out my 47th year. 😊

May we ever recognize how God loves us so well, and go forth and love as we are loved.

 

We are commanded, img_2019-07-14_07-32-527808805951401243208.jpg

To love as we’re loved;

Give as we’re given,

From the Lord above.

For all that God gives,

Within, multiplies;

So we might go forth,

And love with delight.

For each time we choose,

To love like the Lord;

We help others know,

How much they’re adored.

The Lord loves us all,

His most treasured ones;

May we trust in Him,

And love like His Son.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You only ask of us that which You already have shown us in countless ways. Thank You that Your love is tangible. Thank You for the treasured gift of family and friends whom You place in our lives to show us what Your love really means. Forgive us for the times that we have not loved according to Your plan. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would love without limits and allow Your light to burn brightly through us to the world. Show us how to love those around us, especially those who are difficult to love or do not know how to receive the love You have to offer. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love others in the same way that You selflessly and generously love each of us. 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

Let Love Lead the Way

This is my command: Love each other. – (John 15:17, NIV)

But remember the root command: Love one another. – (John 15:17, MSG)

So this is My parting command: Love one another deeply! – (John 15:17, TPT)

 

These were the words of Jesus to all who chose to follow Him. Christ’s command for us has remained the same throughout the ages. Most of the time, this is a reasonable rule to follow. However, what I am discovering in my current existence, is that I am far more sensitive to “waves”, and have little tolerance for that “one more thing”. My fuse is short, and I go from “fine” to wanting to throat punch people in a matter of mere moments. No, I would not actually follow through, but my frustration level ignites far too quickly, and anger seems to rise, where normally patience and problem-solving reside. I imagine much of it is this space of feeling so unsettled, as I am being pulled back and forth between mom in Wenatchee, and home with my husband and children. (Even more so, as my husband is away this week while I am home.) Yesterday, I had two separate incidents that ignited the fire within, that really should not have ruffled my feathers as much as they did. Thankfully, those around me were gracious, and my recovery was quick, yet it is unnerving to find myself so easily frustrated by things that normally would be easily navigated.

Mom continues to persevere and put in the work to pursue a full recovery. Yesterday she had occupational therapy and a visit from the nurse, as well as a wonderful visit from one of her dearest friends and her husband. Much laughter is shared between Meg and mom, and it is a joy to hear them giggle as we check in with one another on the phone. We are blessed that mom has always modeled how to love one another deeply, and it has been taken to heart. May we ever seek the Lord to be our strength and peace, so that we may go forth in love, no matter what comes our way.

 

Called and commanded,

img_2019-06-19_06-05-218182746914808230960.jpg

Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

To go forth in love;

To love each other,

Like the Lord above.

Do so with a grace,

That wants nothing back;

Seeking to fill up,

Where there is a lack.

Love with a patience,

That passes on peace;

Fill one another,

Let kindness increase.

In all that we do,

And all that we say;

Fill our hearts O God,

So love leads the way.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You not only call us, but You command us to love. Thank You that You equip us for everything that You ask us to do. Thank You that You empower us to love, because You first loved us. Forgive us for our lack of love when things don’t go our way, or when our circumstances close in on us and begin to overwhelm us. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would continuously place all things in Your loving and capable hands. Show us how to love those around us in a way that best communicates to their hearts, the depth and breadth of Your love for each of them. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we receive Your love so that we may generously and abundantly give Your love away. Amen.

 

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

 

And now these three remain: faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love. – 1 Corinthians 13:13

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

Love is Truth in Action

Dear children, let’s not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions. – (1 John 3:18, NLT) 

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) 

My little children, don’t just talk about love as an idea or a theory. Make it your true way of life, and live in the pattern of gracious love. – (1 John 3:18, VOICE) 

 

Love is so much more than words. Though words can build up and encourage, the tangible evidence of love in action tends to last far longer than something that is simply spoken. Despite the tremendous value I hold in both spoken and written words, I find myself overwhelmingly assured of the truth of love spoken when everyday actions align. It is in the small and simple faithful gestures done in love, that truth is demonstrated over time. We can say whatever we wish, but if our actions do not align, the words are meaningless. However, when we choose love, again and again, through the things that we say and do, the recipients of our words and deeds cannot help but begin to believe the truth that they are loved. May we reach out and love others with the things that we do, just as God so graciously and generously loves each of us, so that all may know that love is not just an idea, but rather a reality intended for us all. 

 

May the Lord’s great love,

img_2018-12-04_04-50-223530978993609554246.jpg

Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

Lead all that we do; 

So that our actions, 

Display loving truth. 

Though our words matter, 

Our deeds speak much more; 

For our follow through, 

Shows love’s open door. 

Let us choose to act, 

In word and in deed; 

Do all things with love, 

So God’s love’s received. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to a life of love – not just with our words, but with everything that we do. Thank You that You have shown us what it is to live a life of love through Your Son. Forgive us for the times that we have chosen to do anything that was less than loving. Teach us to trust You more, so that our words and deeds would be an extension of Your heart and hands to those around us. Show us how to love those around us with our very lives, making Your love tangible to all. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we rely on Your love and grace to love others with our every word and deed. Amen.

 

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

 

My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. – John 15:12

Love Extends

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

Be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love. – (Ephesians 4:2, TLB)

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

 

Love extends patience and acceptance in humility and gentleness, always. We are called to love in the same way that Christ loves each of us. The Lord does not limit His love according to who we are or how we measure up, rather He loves generously, patiently, and accepts us each as we come before Him. So often we fall short of truly walking out our days according to His ways, yet He remains gentle and patient with us, as He lovingly redirects our steps. Our charge, is to do the same. I appreciate the phrasing of The Passions Translation so much, as it is phrased in a way that feels veritably relevant in my world of working with middle school students, who at times, tax my patience. We are called to love as Christ loves us. No limits. No exceptions. To do so requires humility, patience, gentleness and generous love. May we seek the Lord, who in His gentle kindness, loves us so well that we are equipped to go and love likewise.

 

Tender and gentle, Pursue Righteousness and Love

Humble and choose kind;

It’s how we’re to love,

All of human kind.

God’s love is lavish,

Full of patience too;

As we seek His heart,

His love is made new.

So, let us go forth,

And love like the Lord;

May all come to know,

How much they’re adored.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You first loved us. Thank You that as we seek You and depend on You, You equip us to love with patience, gentleness and humility. Thank You that Your love can flow through us, if only we are willing. Forgive us for the times that our own agendas or egos have been barriers to bestowing love upon those who needed it most. Teach us to trust and rely on You in all things and at all times. Show us how to love gently and humbly, with patience, even toward those who try our patience the most. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we rely on You to lead us to love in the same way that You so wonderfully love each of us. Amen.

 

© Shannon Elizabeth (Moreno) 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

How to Love

This is my commandment: Love each other in the same way I have loved you. – (John 15:12, NLT)

My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. – (John 15:12, NIV)

So this is my command: Love each other deeply, as much as I have loved you. – (John 15:12, TPT)

 

Out of curiosity, I searched the word “love” in my Bible app to find out how frequently the word appears in scripture. Six-hundred and eighty-six results were found for a quick, one-word search in the book that God has given us as a guide to follow for living according to His will. Though I am not completely certain, I imagine that it is one of the more often occurring words found in scripture, as it was deemed the greatest command by Jesus, Himself – to love God and love our neighbors as ourselves. If we love each other the same way that we are loved by God, that is an even clearer picture of how we are meant to extend grace and choose love, even when it is difficult to do. Loving deeply is a choice, rather than a feeling, and it is about the person, not the words or deeds that they do or do not display. Personally, I am eternally grateful for this, as I have been blessed with family and friends who have shown me love like this. Even at my worst, they choose to love, which in turn, challenges my heart to rise up and choose likewise, bringing forth the same for others. We are ever a work in progress and will fall short and fail to love as we are loved by God. However, He is good, and His grace covers our short-comings as we choose to walk in humility with one another. May we set our sights on loving one another deeply, just as we are loved by God, according to His command.

 

Commanded to love, Enter With Thanksgiving

As loved by the Lord;

Deeply with all grace,

His goodness outpoured.

We are called to choose,

To love others well;

For as we extend,

Lacking space dispels.

Let us offer love,

As we’ve been given;

For goodness does spread,

When love’s our mission.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your goodness and grace. Thank You that You love us so completely and without prerequisites. Forgive us for the times that we have placed limits or conditions on love. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would love each other in the same way that You have loved us. Show us how to love those around us according to Your good and perfect will. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to help us love each other as You love each of us. Amen.

 

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

 

He who refreshes others will himself be refreshed. – Proverbs 11:25

Quiet Faithful Work

Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business and to work with your hands, just as we told you, so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody. – (1 Thessalonians 4:11-12, NIV)

Do all you can to live a peaceful life. Mind your own business, and earn your own living, as we told you before. If you do these things, then those who are not believers will respect the way you live. And you will not have to depend on others for what you need. – (1 Thessalonians 4:11-12, ERV)

Stay calm; mind your own business; do your own job. You’ve heard all this from us before, but a reminder never hurts. We want you living in a way that will command the respect of outsiders, not lying around sponging off your friends. – (1 Thessalonians 4:11-12, MSG)

 

When we are peaceful and faithful to do what we are called and designed to do each day, people notice a difference and respect the way we live. We are not called to judge or determine the path another person is meant to take, but rather we are to love them where they are, as they are, and allow God to be God. May we ever pursue a quiet life of loving God and loving people as we go about our days doing the job to which we have been called and equipped to do.

 

Lord, help me to live,

A life led in peace;

Where love is the aim,

And control’s released.

Faith to Listen

Show me how to work,

Each day unto You;

Doing all I can,

To honor the truth.

Let how I choose live,

Gain other’s respect;

So that they desire,

With You to connect.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your goodness and love for each of us. Thank You that You call us to live a life of peace, working as if unto You. Thank You that as we do, people notice You in us. Forgive us for the times that we do not stay calm or choose to do things without considering those around us. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would seek You to be our peace in all that we do, and that You would equip us to work daily, as unto You. Show us how to love and encourage those around us, so that they recognize Your light within us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we work as unto You in peace. Amen.

 

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

 

They will celebrate Your abundant goodness and joyfully sing of Your righteousness. – Psalm 145:7

Chosen to Love

Love means doing what God has commanded us, and He has commanded us to love one another, just as you heard from the beginning. – (2 John 1:6, NLT)

And loving means living the way He commanded us to live. And God’s command is this: that you live a life of love. You heard this command from the beginning. – (2 John 1:6, ERV)

This is love: that we live according to His commands. This is the command that you heard from the beginning: live in love. – (2 John 1:6, CEB)

 

We are commanded to love one another. It is not a suggestion. When days seem dark and the rubber meets the road, this is the time that we must dig deep and choose to love one another, just as we are loved by God. As we opt to offer kindness, encouragement and the benefit of the doubt to others, remarkably, the same is returned our way. Even in the moments when it is not, we can rest easy in knowing that we walked our road according to His will. May we choose love as we are commanded, and extend patience, kindness, protection, trust, hope and choose to persevere.

 

Commanded to love,

wp-15215461273991340431367.jpg

Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

It’s what we have heard;

To choose live in love,

It is the Lord’s word.

Though we were unkind,

Unworthy of grace;

God chose to love us,

As we sought His face.

Thanks to His mercy,

We can do the same;

Live a life of love,

That honors His Name.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that while we were yet sinners, You loved us with Your life. Thank You that because You love us, we can go and love one another according to Your command. Forgive us for the times that we do not extend love to those around us as You call us to do. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would live a life of love that fulfills what You expect of Your children. Show us how to love those around us in a way that extends patience and kindness, that chooses to protect and trust, that offers hope and always perseveres. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we live a life of love according to Your command. Amen.

 

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

 

He will yet fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with shouts of joy. – Job 8:21

Love Comes Near

So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. – (John 13:34, NLT) 

I give you a new command: Love each other. You must love each other just as I love you. – (John 13:34, ERV) 

So I give you a new command: Love each other deeply and fully. Remember the ways that I have loved you, and demonstrate your love for others in those same ways. – (John 13:34, VOICE) 

 

On the same night that Jesus was betrayed, He shared a last meal together with His disciples. After they had eaten, He spoke the words above to them. Each of the disciples had walked with, learned from, listened to, and had seen with their own eyes and experienced for themselves how deeply and completely Jesus loved. When He spoke the words, they understood what Jesus was calling them to do. In the same way, we are commanded and called to love. We are not called to set limits and qualifications as to whom and how we love, but rather we are called to love one another deeply and fully, just as Jesus loves each of us. It is not always an easy calling, but it is always worthwhile when we follow through. His love makes way where there seems to be no way and softens even the hardest of hearts. May we rise up and be ready to forge forward in faith and love one another in the same way that He loves each of us. 

 

We have been given, Ambassadors of Love

A command to love; 

To love like Jesus, 

As He so loves us. 

Love that is faithful, 

Trustworthy, sincere; 

That’s freely given, 

And chooses come near. 

Love without limits, 

Nor rules to receive; 

By grace, it’s given, 

Because we believe. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your faithful and generous love for each of us. Thank You that You both call and command us to love one another as we are loved by You. Thank You that You equip and empower us to give the very same love that we have received to all whom we encounter. Forgive us for withholding love in spaces where it is needed most. Teach us to trust You more, as You loved us when we were most unlovable so that we could do the same for others. Show us how to love like You, so that many may come to know the depth and fullness of Your lavish love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to fill us to overflowing so that we may go forth and love others as we are loved by You. Amen. 

 

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

 

Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God. – 2 Corinthians 3:5