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

Such a Humble Start

And while they were there, the time came for her baby to be born. She gave birth to her firstborn son. She wrapped him snugly in strips of cloth and laid him in a manger, because there was no lodging available for them. – (Luke 2:6-7, NLT) 

While Joseph and Mary were in Bethlehem, the time came for her to have the baby. She gave birth to her first son. She wrapped him up well and laid him in a box where cattle fed. She put him there because the guest room was full. – (Luke 2:6-7, ERV) 

 

There are so many details about the birth of Jesus that are beyond my ability to grasp. First, as a woman about to give birth, I cannot fathom the exhaustion Mary must have been feeling after their four-day journey. Then, after travelling eighty-some miles on foot, to be told that there were no rooms available, anywhere, would have been enough to send most over the edge. No mention is made about anyone aiding Mary with the delivery of Jesus. As far as I understand, it was Mary, Joseph, and perhaps the nearby animals in the stable that night. Modern medicine and midwives were not a reasonable option. I think that this was a space where the grace of God was made known in a tangible way, as the young couple brought the Son of God into the world. This brave, strong, young mother, made use of what she had, and wrapped Jesus in strips of cloth and laid him in a bed that was probably far from where she had imagined the precious Prince of Peace would be set to sleep as a newborn. Such a humble beginning made God-with-us all the more relatable and approachable. Though He is King of Creation, He came to us as a newborn baby, in need and dependent on His parents for ordinary things. However, He did not remain an infant in a stable, but grew and became the Overcoming One who saves, and ultimately returned to His rightful throne in heaven. May we remember the humble beginnings of our Savior, recognizing that He understands and can relate to our earthly struggles, yet He is God with us, ready to help and equip us to overcome anything that stands before us. 

 

Weary, in wonder,when-love-came-close.jpg

At their journey’s end; 

Where were they to stay, 

What did God intend? 

No room in the inns, 

But a stable found; 

To bring forth Jesus, 

The image, profound. 

Such a humble start, 

For the Prince of Peace; 

Try fathom the grace, 

To them, God released. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for loving us so much, that You sent Your Son to make the way for us to be restored to right relationship with You. Thank Your that because He came as a baby, in such a humble space, we find comfort as we seek Your grace. Forgive us for either forgetting that baby Jesus grew, became, overcame and is now seated at Your right hand, or for not recognizing that Jesus experienced the same joys and pains as we do and understands. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would bring all before You in faith. Show us how to love those around us in a way that makes Your heart tangible. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for Your purposes that are accomplished through that which does not seem to make sense. Amen.

 

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

 

The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us. We have seen His glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came to us from the Father, full of grace and truth. – John 1:14

 

 

Will to Walk in Love

And this is love: that we walk in obedience to His commands. As you have heard from the beginning, His command is that you walk in love. – (2 John 1:6, NIV) 

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) 

Love is defined by our obedience to His commands. This is the same command you have known about from the very beginning: you must live by it. – (2 John 1:6, VOICE) 

 

There are days that choosing love is extraordinarily difficult, particularly when what is received feels miles away from loving. When this occurs, it takes a decision of the will to walk in obedience to His command. Love is not about a feeling, but rather it is a choice to love others as we are loved by God. Love is patient and kind, and does not have qualifications as to whether or not patience and kindness are extended. In fact, it is often the seemingly least deserving that need to observe love in action the most. The negative behaviors that come our way, seldom have anything to do with us, and have everything to do with individual circumstances or what took place prior to our interaction. Walking in obedience is not an easy road, but choosing to live a life of love is never for naught. Even when we do not see the impact of choosing love, we may be at peace in knowing that we have chosen well, and have operated in accordance to His will. May we ever seek the Lord and His strength, as He fills us with His love to extend to others as we navigate each new day. 

 

To love is a choice, Tether Our Hearts

An act of our will; 

Commanded by God, 

Our role to fulfill. 

For we are all called, 

To love as a choice; 

With actions and words, 

His grace to employ. 

So, let us choose love, 

In each circumstance; 

For as we do so, 

Love gets to advance. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You love us when we are so unlovable, and give us grace when we are completely undeserving. Thank You that You call us to give the very things that we have received to those around us, even when it is difficult. Thank You that You do not ask anything of us that You are not willing to empower us to do. Forgive us for the times that we have not chosen to extend love, as we allowed our own egos, agendas or hurts to get in the way. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would get out of the way and give You room to move in and through us in love. Show us how to love those around us best, especially those who are the most challenging to love in the moment. Grant us Your patience and kindness and the ability to see others through Your lens of love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You and trust You to lead us in love in all things and at all times. Amen.

 

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

 

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast. It is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. – 1 Corinthians 13:4-5

Speak With Care

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. – (Ephesians 4:29, NIV)

When you talk, don’t say anything bad. But say the good things that people need – whatever will help them grow stronger. Then what you say will be a blessing to those who hear you. – (Ephesians 4:29, ERV)

And never let ugly or hateful words come from your mouth, but instead let your words become beautiful gifts that encourage others; do this by speaking words of grace to help them. – (Ephesians 4:29, TPT)

 

Words matter. Words can build up or they can tear down. What we do with our words may have a lasting impact on the hearer, far beyond what we will ever know. This works with both encouragement and that which is destructive. One unkind, ugly or hateful word spoken carelessly, can haunt the hearer for years. If a child is already feeling discouraged and struggling, and someone comes along and tells them that they are stupid, that thoughtless word can become a barrier to them becoming their best self for an extended stretch of time. On the contrary, when a child is built up, encouraged, nurtured, loved and valued with words (and actions that prove them true), they soar as they are equipped to become the best version of themselves. Adults are no different. Marriages, friendships, work environments, etcetera – all grow stronger and become better when encouragement and grace are prevalent. I have experienced both, and the difference between the two is surviving and thriving. People surrounded by ugly and hateful words either join in and engage, attempt to bring change, or stay silent. Either way, it creates a survival sort of mentality. However, in an environment of encouragement and grace, people grow and become equipped to do likewise. May we watch our words with wisdom, knowing that what we say has the capacity to either build up or tear down.

 

May all of our words,

413999ed-2061-46e4-9b6c-565cd74dcf5d5593075506363422581.jpg

Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

Be spoken with care;

For words have power,

Bring life or despair.

Our words can build up,

Bring out other’s best;

As we encourage,

Receivers are blessed.

Yet in the same way,

Words that are unkind;

Can wound and destroy,

The ears that they find.

So, let all we say,

Be seasoned with grace;

Spoken with kindness,

Throughout all our days.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that the words that You have for us are love and life and light and full of goodness and grace. Thank You that You call and equip us to do the same with the words that we extend to others. Forgive us for the words that we have spoken that have wounded others. Teach us to stop and think before we speak, seeking Your heart and help to extend words that encourage and build up, rather than destroy. Show us how to love those around us with encouraging words and use each word spoken to help others become a better version of themselves. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek Your wisdom for every word that leaves our lips. Amen.

 

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

 

May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to You, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer. – Psalm 19:14

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

Infuse My Soul With Strength

When I called to You for help, You answered me and gave me strength. – (Psalm 138:3, ERV) 

On the day I cried out, You answered me. You encouraged me with inner strength. – (Psalm 138:3, CEB) 

As soon as I pray, You answer me; You encourage me by giving me strength. – (Psalm 138:3, NLT) 

On the day I needed You, I called, and You responded and infused my soul with strength. – (Psalm 138:3, VOICE) 

 

This verse has been the theme of my week thus far. Since Sunday night, I have been fighting some bug with a very sore throat, yet have had little time for rest as it is the final week of the semester, the preparation week before I begin coaching gymnastics (which includes equipment set up and several meetings), the second full week of official football practices, and all the while, I am trying to prepare for our trip to Minnesota tomorrow. Each day, I have been supplied the strength that was needed to navigate the day, and yesterday, was even afforded a substitute to cover my morning classes so that I could get a few extra hours of sleep and go to the doctor to make sure that I do not have strep throat before I travel. His strength has encouraged me to keep moving, despite the way that I have felt. Incredibly, the more I actually move, the less aware I find I am of how I am feeling physically. The sort of strength that He supplies seems to radiate from the inside out. An inner resolve rises up and pours out into the tangible territories it is needed most. May we all call on the Lord for help, as He answers us and supplies the strength we need. 

 

As I call on God, Living a Legacy Life

He’s faithful to hear; 

When I ask for help, 

His strength is made clear. 

His answer given, 

As my soul’s infused; 

With strength that’s needed, 

For faithful pursuit. 

Enough for today, 

How He answers me; 

Power in weakness, 

So His grace I see. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we call on You for help, You answer us and give us strength. Thank You for Your amazing grace, as You have provided all that I have needed to navigate a very hectic week, despite feeling rotten. I ask again this morning for Your help, as today is another extraordinarily long and busy day that will require Your resolve to navigate well. Forgive us for the times that we try to power through in our own strength, rather than seeking You. Teach us to trust You for help and wisdom as to how to best navigate the crazy busy as it comes. Show us how to love and encourage those around us, as such a season can become overwhelming when one feels as if they are walking the path alone. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we call on You for help and strength, and give You all the glory for Your faithfulness. 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

You Make Me Strong

I love You, Lord; You are my strength. – (Psalm 18:1, NLT)

I love You, God – You make me strong. – (Psalm 18:1, MSG)

I love You, Eternal One, Source of my power. – (Psalm 18:1, VOICE)

 

This morning, waking up was a bit painful. I did not get nearly enough sleep, and my mind and body were challenged in new ways last evening that left me exhausted beyond what a normal workout would. Though I am weary, I am grateful, for I know where my strength will come from, despite the lack I am currently feeling. Just as we are able to dig deep and ask far more of our bodies than we realize as we take on new physical challenges, we can do the same in life as we press into Jesus, and seek His strength to do all that He calls us to do. May we turn in trust to our loving Lord, and seek the One who is our Source of strength each time we call on Him.

 

The Lord is our strength, You Make Me Strong

Power when we’re weak;

In love, He listens,

To all those who seek.

Let’s trust in the One,

Who always will hear;

Us calling for help,

By grace, He draws near.

Seek the Lord’s comfort,

Trust strength by His grace;

Love without limits,

In faith, run your race.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are approachable and present as we seek You. Thank You that we can love and be loved by You. Thank You that You are our strength in weakness, and that You equip us with power for the purposes to which we are called. Forgive us for not turning in trust to You when we feel weak. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would seek You as our Source of power and strength to persevere on the path to which we have been called. Show us how to love and encourage those around us, so that they too, may find their strength in You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love You and praise You for making us strong, so that we are able run the race to which we have been called to run. Amen.

 

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

 

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

We Must Love Those We See

Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. – (1 John 4:20, NIV)

If we say we love God but hate any of our brothers or sisters in His family, we are liars. If we don’t love someone we have seen, how can we love God? We have never even seen Him. – (1 John 4:20, ERV)

If anyone boasts, “I love God,” and goes right on hating his brother or sister, thinking nothing of it, he is a liar. If he won’t love the person he can see, how can he love the God he can’t see? – (1 John 4:20, MSG)

 

This is a place where we have to remember that love is not a feeling, but rather it is a decision that we make. For some, the choice to love is easy, as the love that we give is returned. However, for others, the hurt they carry, or the burdens they are bearing, can at times, make some people very difficult to decide to love. An attitude of kindness and grace, extended in the same love that we have been given by God, is a choice that we make in His strength, not our own. Though not one of us gets it perfect all of the time, I find that the more I choose to love, even those whom are the most difficult to love, the more I see the hand of God move in both my heart and that of the one whom I choose to love anyway. Sometimes, we see healing and restoration in remarkable ways, just because of our decision to do the very thing to which we are called. Yet, there are times, that we see little change, and have to hold hope that God is moving, even when we cannot see. May we go forth this day and choose to love others because we love the One who is love.

 

It’s impossible, Love Made Known

To truly love God;

If we’re holding hate,

For our own home squad.

We can’t love unseen,

If our hearts won’t choose;

To love each other,

The ones in plain view.

Love’s not what we feel,

But rather a choice;

God grants us the strength,

As we hear His voice.

So let us choose love,

Give kindness and grace;

The Lord will supply,

What we need each day.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to love others, just as we are called to love You. Thank You that You grant us the strength that we need to choose to love those around us if we look to You to be our Source. Forgive us for the times that we have not chosen to love those whom we can see, and yet claimed to love You, whom we cannot. Teach us to love everyone according to Your good and perfect will. Show us how to extend kindness and grace to those who need it most, even when it is difficult to choose to do so. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love those we see, just as we love You, whom we cannot. Amen.

 

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

 

For the Lord your God will bless you, …and your joy will be complete. – Deuteronomy 16:15

The Hope of the World

And His Name will be the hope of all the world. – (Matthew 12:21, NLT)

The mere sound of His Name will signal hope, even among far-off unbelievers. – (Matthew 12:21, MSG)

All the world will find its hope in His Name. – (Matthew 12:21, VOICE)

 

So often we use the word hope with little thought of where our true hope lies. We use the word as: the feeling that what is wanted can be had or that events will turn out for the best. (dictionary.com) However, our true hope lies not in things nor upcoming events, but rather in the One in whom and through whom all things were made. This is our true hope: The One in which expectations, longing and trust belong. May we enjoy the present for the gift that has been given, and keep our hope held in The One who is our Hope.

 

The Light of the world, The Hope of the World

Our hope for all times;

The One we can trust,

Most Holy, Divine.

For He is the gift,

That showed us the way;

To have peace right now,

And faith for always.

Let all our longing,

Be placed in His hands;

And trust in His Name,

As He understands.

For all near and far,

Will one day come know;

The light of His love,

And how His grace grows.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are the hope of all the world. Thank You that You are our hope, the very One in whom we can place all our trust. Forgive us for placing our hope in people or things, as all else will fall short of You. Teach us to trust You more, as You are greater than all. Show us how to love those around us in a way that extends Your hope where it is needed most. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we find all of our hope in Your Name. Amen.

 

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

 

Show me Your ways, O Lord, teach me Your paths; …my hope is in You all day long. – Psalm 25:4-5

Wait in Hope

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)

Hope in the Lord! Be strong! Let your heart take courage! Hope in the Lord! – (Psalm 27:14, CEB)

 

When we find ourselves lacking strength or courage or hope, there is One in whom we can place our trust to supply all that we need. The God of all grace comes along side us, and He hears our every cry. If we call on Him from our space of need, He meets us in His love. Though His timing and answers may not align with our expectations, the Lord always has our best in mind. We must take courage and be strong as we wait on the Lord, for His help is worth the wait. He is faithful to answer, so let us ever place our hope in Him.

 

Let us wait for God, Anxious for Answers

Choose be strong and brave;

For He grants courage,

The hope that we crave.

He’s our Source of strength,

When we’re feeling weak;

He’s our solution,

To answers we seek.

Choose hope in the Lord,

Don’t quit, rise, take heart;

Ever He’s faithful,

All grace He imparts.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that in You we can place our hope. Thank You that You are our Source of strength and courage, and that as we wait on You, You meet us in our need and provide Your help. Forgive us for our lack of patience in the wait, as so often the answers we are asking take time, patience and perseverance. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would wait in hope, knowing that You are faithful to answer no matter how long the wait. Show us how to love those around us in a way that strengthens and grants courage to those who are losing heart. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we wait in hope for Your help with strength and courage that You supply. Amen.

 

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

 

Show me Your ways, O Lord, teach me Your paths; …my hope is in You all day long. – Psalm 25:4-5