The Way to Love Well

Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. – (Ephesians 4:32, NIV)

Be kind and loving to each other. Forgive each other the same as God forgave you through Christ. – (Ephesians 4:32, ERV)

But instead be kind and affectionate toward one another. Has God graciously forgiven you? Then graciously forgive one another in the depths of Christ’s love. – (Ephesians 4:32, TPT)

 

Kindness and compassion, love and forgiveness, must be how we allow God to lead us in His grace, if we are to love as He loves us. Mother’s Day, or any other day that is intended to celebrate an individual – be it a birthday, anniversary, accomplishment or the like – is a perfect opportunity for these attributes to be extended, especially when what is hoped for is not realized. For example, my incredible husband is a total acts of service guy, his love language is to go above and beyond to do the little things that keep our home running smoothly, and does so without any sort of “honey do” list. In fact, he does things long before I even consider the need for them to be done, and if an issue arises, he fixes it barely after the concern has left my mouth. I, on the other hand, am all about quality time. My heart’s desire is to spend time with the people I love, doing fun things together. Being outdoors, playing games, hiking, walking, biking, going to the beach – you name it – anything together where all those present are engaged, and my heart is filled. As you can imagine, the two methods of expressing love do not always align. Saturday, I did have quality time with the family, and quality time with my love. Sunday, however, turned into a list of things that needed to be accomplished, and it felt as if Mother’s Day was all but forgotten. Now, encouraging words are a close second, and my boys did make a point to speak sweet and encouraging words of their appreciation to me as their mom. They were apologetic about not having a gift, and my genuine reply was about them being my greatest gift, and the two of them continuing to work hard and finish the school year strong would be the best gift they could give.  After a weird lull in the late afternoon, Mark and I spoke about hopes versus reality, and there was kindness, compassion, love and forgiveness extended on both sides by His grace. The evening was concluded with quality time, playing our favorite board game, as love and laughter filled the room, and my heart. We are still learning how to love one another best, and I am certain that it is a lifelong process. Thankfully, we are committed to learning and growing together, and depend on God to guide us in the process. Grace after grace after grace… May we all be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other in the same way that Christ forgives each of us, as we learn to love as we are loved by God.

 

Kindness, compassion, wp-15892063810227564207240281852178.jpg

Forgiveness and grace;

The way to love well,

As we run our race.

In the same way God,

Loves and He forgives;

We’re called do likewise,

To bless as we live.

Extend forgiveness,

Lavishly give grace;

Love as we are loved,

Wherever we’re placed.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have shown us what it is to be kind, compassionate, and forgiving through the example of Your Son. Thank You that as we seek You, You equip us to be kind, compassionate and forgiving to one another. Forgive us for the times that we have not chosen to extend to others what you so freely give to us. Teach us to trust and rely on You more. Show us how to love others with kindness, compassion and forgiveness as You would have us love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we depend on You to love those around us well. Amen.

 

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

 

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

Good Hope

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future. Then you will call on Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. You will seek Me and find Me when you seek Me with all your heart.” – (Jeremiah 29:11-13, NIV)

“I say this because I know the plans that I have for you.” This message is from the Lord. “I have good plans for you. I don’t plan to hurt you. I plan to give you hope and a good future. Then you will call My Name. You will come to Me and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. You will search for Me, and when you search for Me with all your heart, you will find Me.” – (Jeremiah 29:11-13, ERV)

“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. In those days when you pray, I will listen. If you look for Me wholeheartedly, you will find Me.” – (Jeremiah 29:11-13, NLT)

 

Though I have these verses committed to memory, there is something powerful about the timing of when this particular passage has come back around. Today, this happens to be the verse of the day on my Bible app. This morning, as I woke seeking God, there was an underlying dread at the fact that it is already Monday, after a weekend that seriously lacked rest. In fact, yesterday afternoon, one of my sweet sons and I, spent some quality time at my school, organizing and doing inventory of the varsity gymnastics uniforms, so that I would be prepared to issue them to girls after school today. Sadly, while there, I read the notes that my guest teacher left from my absence on Friday. Though not surprising, it is still quite disappointing to read about kids who chose to behave poorly while I was away. This passage reminds me that my present circumstances are not my forever. God has good plans for me. I call on Him, pray to Him, and pursue Him with my whole heart. No matter what today holds, I have hope that better is coming. Incredibly, I have seen and known God’s faithfulness in this way in a variety of areas of my life, and in the lives of others. God is good, and I trust in the hope that my future holds. May we ever cling to Christ, who is our hope, as He has plans to give us a hope and a future that are good as we seek and pray to Him.

Mom is settling in and reentering life back in Wenatchee. Yesterday, she returned to her church to attend service, for the very first time since her stroke. She is glad she went, and is looking forward to joining her Bible Study group early this week. Last evening at dinner, Mom sat with a couple in the dining room whom she had not met yet, only to discover a common connection between them. The husband had worked with a family member of Mom’s, so it was a fun conversation and connection to establish. It is such a blessing to see the hope and good unfolding for Mom as she settles back into routines and finds herself again.

 

For the plans of God, Anchor

Are help and not harm;

Hope and a future,

Faithful, loving arms.

He’ll meet us each day,

With fresh hope to hold;

Grace to keep going,

And faith to be bold.

His plans are for good,

As each day begins;

Lord help us to trust,

For You lead us in.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have good plans for us that grant us a hope and a future. Thank You that You are faithful forever. Forgive us for the times that we doubt the good that You have for us, based on what we see in the temporary present circumstances. Teach us to trust You more, so that we may embrace each new day with hope and grace, trusting You to lead us through. Show us how to love those around us well, so that they may recognize the good and the hope that the future holds. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You with all that we are, trusting You to continue to provide a future and a hope that is good. Amen.

 

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

 

Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the Lord. – Psalm 31:24

Challenged in the Waiting

Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord. – (Psalm 27:14, NIV)

Wait for the Lord’s help. Be strong and brave, and wait for the Lord’s help. – (Psalm 27:14, ERV)

Stay with God! Take heart. Don’t quit. I’ll say it again: Stay with God. – (Psalm 27:14, MSG)

 

The last three months of my life have been a season of seeking the Lord for strength, and waiting. Even now, as I am away and enjoying a long-awaited escape with my husband for our anniversary, there is a sense of waiting for the Lord for what lies ahead. Because my life is not my own and I have committed to caring for my mom in this season, there is more waiting on God as we trust and seek and pursue His help, moving forward into the next step and season for mom. There are countless details that must fall into place in order to move mom from Washington to Oregon with my sister and her family, and His help is essential to orchestrate far more than we can do on our own. Though I did not actually have the opportunity to speak with my mom and sister yesterday, my heart and mind are never far from Wenatchee, and what is going on there. I am challenged to be intentional to be present here, right now, as I have not had this much time together with my spouse in three months. It is good, and exactly what we both need right now.

Yesterday was a light day for mom as far as therapies go, as I know her Friday calendar only held physical therapy in the morning. I know Nick’s plan was to continue to do some more work with the hemi-walker, but I imagine he did some training on exercises and the regular walker with Megan too. In fact, if memory serves me correctly, I anticipate that my sister was blown away by the progress she was able to witness yesterday with her own eyes, as the gains mom has made in walking in a few short weeks have been phenomenal. Mom is demonstrating in a very visible way, how to stay with God and not quit. Though challenged in the waiting, mom takes heart and trusts big.

May we all remember to wait on the Lord in strength, for He is strong and will provide all that we need as we wait and trust in Him.

 

Choose wait on the Lord, 0719191310a2729192268296363342.jpg

Stay strong in His might;

For we need not fear,

In His loving light.

No matter how far,

Nor impossible;

The Lord’s big enough,

To make possible.

Trust in His goodness,

And wait in His grace;

Seek the Lord always,

As He’ll make a way.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we wait on You, You give us strength and provide all that we need. Thank You that You supply rest and reprieve when we need it most. Thank You that You see and hear our hearts and love us in spite of our shortfalls. Forgive us for our fears and frustrations with the obstacles we see, rather than faith in what we cannot see. Show us how to place all in Your hands. Teach us to know what is our part to do and what we are meant to allow You room. Lead us to love those around us in a way that strengthens resolve and refreshes the weary. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we wait on You with the strength that You supply. Amen.

 

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

 

Lord, I wait for You; You will answer, Lord my God. – Psalm 38:15

Devoted and Delighted

Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourself. – (Romans 12:10, NIV)

Love each other in a way that makes you feel close like brothers and sisters. And give each other more honor than you give yourself. (Romans 12:10, ERV)

Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other. – (Romans 12:10, NLT)

 

Devoted love is a love that willingly chooses the other, regardless of how the recipient appears before them. To love with devotion is to be committed to caring and seeing the other person through, no matter what comes their way. Throughout my life, I have had such devotion in love modeled for me well, through both my grandmother, and my mom. My gram was a natural encourager and lifter of souls, as she loved with her whole heart and was committed to make sure that we all knew her heart for us, individually. Not only was I the recipient of her devoted love, but I was witness to the power it provided in the lives of those around me. Mom, her only daughter, has followed closely in her footsteps, as my sister and I still marvel at how she, as a single mom, managed to attend every game, concert, banquet, ceremony, etc., work full-time, manage a household, keep our home and yard beautiful, and always welcome our friends into our home with open heart and arms. Even as we have grown, married and had children of our own, mom has managed to be present at nearly all of the significant events in the lives of our children. She has driven hundreds of miles to be sure that each of her grandsons knows how proud she is of them, and she honors each of them and loves them lavishly.  With that as our model, how could my sister and I possibly choose do anything differently? With mom in a time of need, our only choice is to love with all that we are, and to delight in doing all that we can to honor whatever her heart desires. My favorite response to mom these days is, “As you wish.” She giggles every time I answer that way, but I know it delights her heart to know that she is loved as deeply as she loves others.

As for the practical application and fruit of devotion, yesterday was an incredible day for mom before my guys left to drive home! She determined that she would show them how she was doing with her walking in the hallway with her walker, and I had Mark stand and video so that we could send documentation to my sister. One of my guys followed behind us with the wheelchair in case she grew weary, and the other stood back to watch what would transpire. Incredibly, mom shocked us all, herself included, as she walked the ENTIRE length of the hallway! Prior to yesterday, she had only gone halfway unassisted. Happy tears were shared by all as we celebrated this incredible and hope-filled milestone. If she could double her distance in a matter of two days, imagine what will transpire in a matter of a few weeks?! We were beaming ear-to-ear as we sent off my guys to drive home. It had been a wonderful weekend together, and had ended perfectly. The remainder of the day was rather relaxing, as it was spent resting, doing a variety of mom’s PT and OT exercises, and movie watching. Sleep again went well last night, as there were only two wake-ups. We slept in longer than usual this morning, as our early breakfast time was nearly an hour later than we are accustomed. Today, mom has both physical therapy and occupational therapy, so I anticipate a great day ahead.

May we ever seek the Lord to equip us to be devoted to one another in love, and to delight in honoring each other above ourselves.

 

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Is love’s true design;

To prefer others,

And choose to be kind.

Honor each other,

Choose lift and build up;

Love through the trials,

And never give up.

Set down our own wants,

And see other’s need;

Love with our whole lives,

By God’s grace, proceed.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have shown us what it is to be devoted to one another in love and to honor others above oneself through the life of Your Son, Jesus. Thank You that You equip us to do the same. Forgive us for the times that we have set aside devotion or honor for our own agenda. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would be devoted in love and honor others, as You love and honor us. Show us how to love those around us in a way that makes Your love tangible. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose to be devoted in love and help us delight in honoring others above ourselves. Amen.

 

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

 

Protect me, for I am devoted to You. Save me, for I serve You and trust You. You are my God. – Psalm 86:2

Even in the Small Things

This I declare about the Lord: He alone is my refuge, my place of safety; He is my God, and I trust Him. – (Psalm 91:2, NLT)

I say to the Lord, “You are my place of safety, my fortress. My God, I trust in You.” – (Psalm 91:2, ERV)

 

Though I am a person who typically requires less sleep than most, I do struggle to function well if I get fewer than four hours in a given night. Saturday night, the already late event we went to was delayed by an hour in beginning, and because it was over an hour away from home, I did not even get home to get to bed until nearly 2:00 am. Sunday, I had already committed to running media at both services at church, so that meant I needed to be there by seven-thirty. In order for me to do my usual morning routine, it requires at least ninety minutes. Graciously, God (and strong coffee) kept me alert and able to do that which I had agreed to do. After, I had already determined that the boys and I should drive to see my Mom, as it was her first Mother’s Day without her mom. This is where I felt that the need to trust Him to be our safety and refuge was needed, as going to see her was a non-negotiable. There was only one point on the way where I began to feel drowsy. I made a pit stop for snacks and caffeinated beverages, and we were good the remainder of the drive. Though far shorter a visit than any of us would have liked, I knew after our time together, that it was exactly what we were meant to do. The drive home was relatively easy and uneventful, and my copilot did a great job of making sure I was alert. God is faithful to answer as we ask, even in such seemingly small things. May we ever remember that He alone is our refuge and place of safety; our God in whom we can trust.

 

The Lord’s my refuge,Even in the Small Things

In Him we can trust;

Our place of safety,

He is true and just.

No matter what comes,

Big things or small;

To Him we can run,

He can handle all.

So speak out in faith,

Declare what is true;

“God, You’re my fortress,

And I trust in You.”

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our refuge and place of safety. Thank You that You are our help and worthy of our trust. Thank You that You equip and empower us to do that which You call us to, regardless of how things appear. Forgive us for our lack of faith, and teach us to trust You more. Show us how to run to You as our refuge in all things and at all times. Lead us to love those around us in a way that offers safety and trust where it has not been known before. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You to be our place of safety; always. Amen.

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

You have made known to me the paths of life; You will fill me with joy in Your presence. – Acts 2:28

The Way to Love

For this is how God loved the world: He gave His one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life. – (John 3:16, NLT)

For God expressed His love for the world in this way: He gave His only Son so that whoever believes in Him will not face everlasting destruction, but will have everlasting life. – (John 3:16, VOICE)

 

God loves us so much, that He willingly gave of Himself. Through His Son, Jesus, all who believe in Him will have life forever with Him. He, who is love, showed us that love gives what matters most. For us today, there is no longer need for sacrifice like His, as that which Jesus gave, covered it all. However, we do have resources that are valuable to us and to God’s economy. The manner by which we are able to love in a way that is sacrificial, is to give of our time, talents and resources. God designed and gifted each of us in a unique way, so that we might love well. We all have a choice as to how we use what we have been given. Are we utilizing the gifts from God that we have been granted to love others well, or are we keeping them to ourselves and just living out our days in isolation? Though there is no longer an extensive list of that which we shall and shall not do, we have been called to love God and love people. If we are committed to love, then our expression of His love will reflect the very nature of that which He has given unto us. May we believe and receive what we have been freely given, and go forth in His love, to love as we are loved by Him.

 

For God loved the world,Purposeful Prayer

Far more than we see;

Mighty sacrifice,

For all who believe.

To trust in the One,

Who in love, gave all;

So we’d know the way,

To rise from our fall.

The thing that He asks,

Is that we choose love;

Lift up each other,

Fix our eyes above.

By the Lord’s great grace,

All who choose believe;

Will live forever,

By His love, receive.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your love that is so much greater than we can grasp. Thank You that what You require of us is trust in You. Thank You that as we believe, we are called to love as we are loved. Forgive us for not loving others as You so lavishly love each of us. Teach us to trust You more, so that loving You and loving people becomes our passionate pursuit, all of our days. Show us how to love others as You have loved us. Lead us to lovingly give of our time, talents and resources in a way that points people to You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we receive the remarkable give of Your love, and go forth to love others as we are loved by You. Amen.

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

May God Almighty grant you mercy. – Genesis 43:14

What He Requires

And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God require of you? He requires only that you fear the Lord your God, and live in a way that pleases Him, and love Him and serve Him with all your heart and soul. – (Deuteronomy 10:12, NLT)

Now, Israelites, listen! What does the Lord your God really want from you? The Lord your God wants you to respect Him and do what He says. He wants you to love Him and to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul. – (Deuteronomy 10:12, ERV)

And now, Israel, what is the Eternal your God asking of you? Only that you fear Him, live as He wants you to, and love Him; serve Him with every part of you, heart and soul. – (Deuteronomy 10:12, VOICE)

 

What God asked of Israel, is still what He asks of us today. He desires our hearts and souls to be committed to Him in all of our ways. When we come to know God, and who He is, we cannot help but stand in awe of His power and majesty – for He is God and we are not. If we live in a way that places the Lord on His rightful throne in our lives, then we will be living in a way that is pleasing to Him. God gives us a free will. We must choose to either follow Him, or walk away. Unless we are purposefully pursuing the Lord, we are moving further away from Him and His will in our lives. May we seek the Lord in awe and reverence, giving Him all of our heart and all of our soul as we love and serve Him for all of our days.

 

More than anything,What is in a Name

God longs for our hearts;

to seek and to trust,

in ALL, not just part.

For the Lord is good,

in all of His ways;

worthy of our awe,

throughout all our days.

May we live our lives,

pleasing to the Lord;

loving and serving,

through grace He affords.

With all of our heart,

and all of our soul;

may we stand in awe,

and yield our control.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that there is a remarkable exchange when we choose to follow You. Thank You that when we choose to submit to Your will and way, we gain Your presence and promises forever. Thank You that You do not ask anything of us that You are not also willing to empower us to do. Thank You that You give us Your Spirit to love and serve as You ask of us. Forgive us for not having a healthy fear and reverence of You, as You are God and we are not. Teach us to have a proper perspective, so that we will seek to love and honor You in all things and at all times. Show us how to love others in the same way that we are loved by You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek to live, love and serve in a way that is pleasing unto You. Amen.

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

Listen… be wise, and keep your heart on the right path. – Proverbs 23:19

Life Lessons Realized on the Road

For more than a year now, I have been committed to running consistently. Since early spring, I have had a running buddy who has become a dear friend. What used to be a labor-intensive chore to talk myself into walking out the door, is now something that I eagerly anticipate. There is a dramatic difference between having to tackle the miles alone, verses having a friend to run beside, encouraging each other and striving together to accomplish whatever goal we have set for ourselves.

 

Our walk with Christ is no different. If we try and go it alone, we can be committed, yet it is far easier to stay on track if we are invested in a body of believers. We need others who are pursuing the same path to walk beside us and encourage us, just as we need to be useful in building up others in the body of Christ.

 

An additional parallel between running and our walk with Christ has to do with pain. When running, there are different types of pain. Some pain is good, as it is simply the body working harder than it is used to, and strength is on the rise. There is other pain that is the body’s warning of injury, that deems rest and recovery a necessity. With Christ, we do not have any guarantees to be free of pain, in fact, we are certain to face trials at times. However, in Him, we are provided what we need to either press through the pain, or to pause, rest and recover, so that we may continue in the direction He has called us to go.

 

Mile after mile,Life Lessons Realized on the Road

He calls us to run;

His path to take,

and work to be done.

Though we’re each called,

to run our own race;

He grants people,

to help set the pace.

Each step we take,

He remains with us;

our strength and help,

precious Lord, Jesus.

Even through pain,

His presence remains;

power when weak,

hope that shall sustain.

 

Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up. – (Ecclesiastes 4:9-10)

 

Finally, brothers and sisters, rejoice! Strive for full restoration, encourage one another, be of one mind, live in peace. And the God of love and peace will be with you. – (2 Corinthians 13:11)

 

And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another – and all the more as you see the Day approaching. – (Hebrews 10:24-25)

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to not only commit ourselves to You, but to be invested in Your body. Thank You that You meet us as we move, and You grant us what we need to continue in the direction You are calling us to go. Thank You that even in the places of pressure or pain, You provide Your strength, help and rest, so that we may continue as You are asking. Forgive us for our fearfulness and our lack of perseverance in the press of pain, and teach us to cling to You so that we will rely on Your strength rather than our own. Lead us to love others as You so generously love each of us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, as they recognize the magnitude of Your majesty. Be exalted O God, as we spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up in our meeting together. Amen.

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

The joy of the Lord is your strength. – Nehemiah 8:10

You are Chosen

But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of Him who called you out of the darkness into His wonderful light. – (1 Peter 2:9, NIV)

 

But you are His chosen people, the King’s priests. You are a holy nation, people belonging to God. He chose you to tell about the wonderful things He has done. He brought you out of the darkness of sin into His wonderful light. – (1 Peter 2:9, ERV)

 

All of us who have committed our lives to Christ, are counted among His chosen people, His royal priesthood. We have the privilege of not only belonging to God, but being granted the charge of sharing all that He has done to set us free from the darkness of our own sin as He has led us into His loving light. May we go forth and declare His praises, as He alone is worthy of all of our worship and praise.

 

To each who has come,Lose the Law Grab the Grace

and bowed at His throne;

a holy nation,

the Lord’s very own.

Called chosen people,

created to praise;

sent forth with the task,

to speak of His ways.

Let His love light shine,

wherever we go;

declaring His praise,

so all come to know.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the privilege of being called Your chosen people. Thank You that when we come to You and trust, You receive us, and we belong to You. Thank You that You allow us to share our stories of how You brought us out of the darkness and into Your light, to encourage others to seek You. Forgive us for staying silent when we are meant to speak, or for discounting Your ability to utilize us for Your good. Teach us to trust You more, and to recognize that it has nothing to do with us, and everything to do with You and who You are. Lead us to love and share Your light wherever we go, and may many come into a lasting relationship with You in the process. Be exalted O God, as we let Your love light shine. Amen.

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

You have made known to me the paths of life; You will fill me with joy in Your presence. – Acts 2:28