Lead with Listening

My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry. – (James 1:19, NIV)

My dear brothers and sisters, always be more willing to listen than to speak. Keep control of your anger. – (James 1:19, ERV)

Post this at all the intersections, dear friends: Lead with your ears, follow up with your tongue, and let anger straggle along in the rear. – (James 1:19, MSG)

 

Listening is an art form that can prevent misunderstanding and bring people closer together. Too often we speak to respond, rather than listen to understand and reply only if necessary. Anger flares and brash words are spoken when we communicate to make our own point, opinion or agenda heard, without taking pause to listen to others around us. I find that the majority of the time, my anger ignites when I jump to conclusions or explain a scenario in my own mind, rather than seeking to listen to whomever did, whatever it was, that incited my frustration to the point of anger. Each time I slow down, take a deep breath, and remind myself to listen with the intent to understand, I discover that there is a reason for the words or actions that transpired. By hearing the heart behind the person, anger or frustration fade, and compassion and kindness begin to rise. May we ever seek the Lord for strength and willingness to listen first, so that our response is a reflection of His heart, rather than a rash reaction that is not necessary to bring resolution.

 

Let us each choose first,

dsc062124653222902877319183.jpg

Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

To listen in love;

Seek to understand,

With grace from above.

If we’re slow to speak,

There’s less to regret;

Peace has a true chance,

God’s love, our asset.

Allow not anger,

To rise and release;

Instead, choose listen,

Discernment brings peace.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to be people who seek listen to understand, speak with intention and grace, and to keep anger in check to prevent words or deeds that cannot be taken back. Forgive us for the times that we have allowed our ego or agenda to cause us to assume ill intent in anger, rather than listening with intention to understand all that is involved in what has transpired before us. Teach us to listen first, seeking to understand, so that if and when we respond, it may be done with love and grace. Show us how to love well through listening to those who need to be heard. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, as You are the God who always hears our heart, regardless of what our words or deeds seem to indicate. Be glorified O God, through our decision to listen first and speak with godly intent, only when we understand, keeping anger in check and love abundant. Amen.

 

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

 

Let the wise listen and add to their learning, and let the discerning get guidance. – Proverbs 1:5

Look For in Faith

Look to the Lord and His strength; seek His face always. – (1 Chronicles 16:11, NIV

Depend on the Lord for strength. Always go to Him for help. – (1 Chronicles 16:11, ERV)

Search for the Lord and for His strength; continually seek Him. – (1 Chronicles 16:11, NLT)

 

The stretch between Christmas break and Spring break always seem extraordinarily long. Despite the disruption to our schedule with a handful of snow days, this portion of the school year still feels like a marathon. Between the ridiculously full moon and the unseasonably warm weather, the energy and struggle to focus feel like an epidemic in the classroom. Student frustration is increasing, as the rigor and demand of the work is becoming more challenging than before. This is the space where I am ever aware of the limitations of my own strength, and recognize the need for the Lord’s. I appreciate the various translations of this verse, as they remind me that I need to look for and depend on the Lord for His strength, and ever seek His face. He provides what I am lacking, as I place my trust in Him. May we ever look to the Lord and depend on Him, as He is our source of strength as we seek Him.

 

Let’s look to the Lord, Bold Grace

And choose seek His face;

Depend on His strength,

Granted by His grace.

Ever keep searching,

In spaces of need;

Go to God for help,

Allow Him take lead.

God in His leading,

All strength He supplies;

To keep pressing on,

Our Source realized.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your faithfulness to meet us as we seek You. Thank You that You supply the strength we lack to press forward in all that we are called to do. Forgive us for not searching for You in the struggle. Teach us to turn to You in all things and at all times. Show us how to love those around us in a way that extends Your help, compassion and strength where it is lacking. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You and depend on You to be our strength; always. 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

Give as You Long to be Given

So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets. – (Matthew 7:12, NIV) 

Do for others what you would want them to do for you. This is the meaning of the Law of Moses and the teaching of the prophets. – (Matthew 7:12, ERV) 

Here is a simple, rule-of-thumb guide for behavior: Ask yourself what you want people to do for you, then grab the initiative and do it for them. Add up God’s Law and Prophets and this is what you get. – (Matthew 7:12, MSG) 

 

I love that the thing that the world considers “The Golden Rule”, is completely founded on Biblical principles. The challenging part is remembering to follow it in all things and at all times. The Word goes on to tell us further the specific attributes that support a life that does for others what we would have them do for us. To love as God loves us, leads us to extend love, patience, kindness, gentleness, faithfulness and self-control to those around us. Most of the time, we get what we give. Of course, there are exceptions. However, I have found that the best way to diffuse anger or frustration is to extend kindness and gentleness. Often it stops the one struggling in their tracks, and causes them to pause and take a breath. When we know someone is for us and not against us, it makes all the difference in how we respond to them. May we ever seek the Lord to lead us in extending the same kindness, gentleness, faithfulness and love that He has given us, to all whom we encounter.  

 

May we choose to live,

dsc088311208558395776698408.jpg

Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

By “The Golden Rule”; 

Doing for others, 

What shows God’s love true. 

Kindness and patience, 

Gentleness and love; 

Granted to others, 

Brings peace from above. 

Love diffuses fear, 

Frustration and gall; 

It shows faithfulness, 

As we hear God’s call. 

So, let us give love, 

To all whom we meet; 

What we’d like returned, 

For such love is sweet. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your Word instructs us in the way to live our best life. Thank You that You have shown us what such love looks like through the gift of Your Son. Forgive us for the times that we have not treated those around us in a way that we would want returned to us. Teach us to turn to You for the patience, kindness, gentleness and self-control that we need to love as You love us. Show us how to love all those around us according to Your definition of love, not our own. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose to love others as we are loved by You. Amen.

 

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

 

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. – Galatians 5:22-23

Clothed with His Character

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. – (Colossians 3:12, NIV) 

God has chosen you and made you His holy people. He loves you. So, your new life should be like this: Show mercy to others. Be kind, humble, gentle and patient. – (Colossians 3:12, ERV) 

You are always and dearly loved by God! So, robe yourself with virtues of God, since you have been divinely chosen to be holy. Be merciful as you endeavor to understand others, and be compassionate, showing kindness toward all. Be gentle and humble, unoffendable in your patience with others. – (Colossians 3:12, TPT) 

 

When we know God, we are called and chosen to walk in His ways. This past week, I have been intentional to pray for specific students before the school day has even begun. What I have observed this week, has been a shift in a few individuals who were my most difficult. Two eighth grade boys have caused much struggle and strife this semester. For the first time in a long while, they were calm and attempting to actually work on the projects that have been assigned. Each one was given room to enter and settle, allowing them to get set in their space. Once students are set and working, I have sought to be compassionate and gentle in my approach. With one, I gather the materials needed for the day’s project and set them before him, extending my availability to answer questions or provide help if needed. For him, it seemed to make a way to focus and complete work. With the other, I have likewise chosen compassion, and simply asked what project he would like to work to complete each day. He too has been calm and attempting to work, rather than sitting idly by on his phone. Though I was gentle and kind previously, a slight shift in my approach seems to have been met with a shift in them as well. There are still others in that class that are “acting a fool”, but the simple transformation in the two is an example of my prayers heard and answered. May we ever seek the Lord to be our Source and Supply, allowing Him to clothe us in compassion, kindness, gentleness, patience and humility, keeping us from becoming offended by the actions of others. 

 

Because we are loved, Sowing Seeds of Peace

We also are called; 

To be the Lord’s light, 

For one and for all. 

Called to compassion, 

Equipped to give grace; 

Kindness and patience, 

Granted in our space. 

With a humble heart, 

Let no one’s offense; 

Deter us from love, 

His grace is immense. 

So, be clothed in love, 

That chooses extend; 

The heart of our God, 

On Whom we depend. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You hear our prayers and equip us to carry out all to which we are called. Forgive us for our frustration when we cannot see the change You are making. Teach us to trust and rely on You more, as Your love covers all. Show us how to love those around us, especially those who are most challenging to love. Grant us Your eyes to see them, and Your heart to extend kindness and grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we rely on You to supply us with kindness, patience, humility and love for all whom we encounter. Amen.

 

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

 

You gave me life and showed me kindness, and in Your providence watched over my spirit. – Job 10:12

A Longing Fulfilled

After this his wife Elizabeth became pregnant and for five months remained in seclusion. “The Lord has done this for me,” she said. “In these days He has shown His favor and taken away my disgrace among the people.” – (Luke 1:24-25, NIV) 

Later, Zechariah’s wife Elizabeth became pregnant. So, she did not go out of her house for five months. She said, “Look what the Lord has done for me! He decided to help me. Now people will stop thinking there is something wrong with me.” – (Luke 1:24-25, ERV) 

Soon afterward his wife, Elizabeth, became pregnant and went into seclusion for the next five months. She said with joy, “See how kind it is of God to gaze upon me and take away the disgrace of my barrenness!” – (Luke 1:24-25, VOICE)

 

God’s miracle for Elizabeth and Zechariah, through granting them a son after many years of being barren, was a magnificent prelude to the miracle arrival of the soon-to-follow birth of Jesus. Elizabeth had gone from years of longing and hoping and waiting, to a space of hope fulfilled, when she likely no longer thought it possible. Though I have not experienced the heartache of infertility personally, I have had several friends walk through a similar season of waiting and hoping and longing. Like Elizabeth, some received their own miraculous blessing through conception, others discovered their miracle through adoption, whereas others, still remain in a space of waiting. My heart cannot help but celebrate at the thought of Elizabeth’s joy, at such a longing fulfilled. May we give thanks for the gifts all around us, and for those that are yet to come.  

 

A longing fulfilled, The Mirror of the Heart

Such wonder indeed; 

A hope that’s answered, 

God’s grace meeting needs. 

Needs birthed within us, 

Desires of the heart; 

Treasured reflections, 

Of where His grace starts. 

Seek Him in longing, 

Place hope in His Name; 

Wait and choose trust Him, 

He does what He claims. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the examples of real-life heartache and hope that You give us in Your word. Thank You that You are the same yesterday, today and forever. Thank You that You are the same God who has done countless miracles throughout the ages, and are present to make the impossible possible still. Forgive us for our frustration and lack of faith based on what we see. Teach us to trust You more, knowing that You are moving, even when we are unaware. Show us how to love those around us in a way that encourages hope, despite the way that things may appear. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for Your faithfulness, grace and presence that remains the same forever. Amen.

 

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

 

Not one of all the Lord’s good promises to Israel failed; every one was fulfilled. – Joshua 21:45

Sowing Seeds of Peace

Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness. – (James 3:18, NIV)

Those who make peace sow the seeds of justice by their peaceful acts. – (James 3:18, CEB)

You can develop a healthy, robust community that lives right with God and enjoys its results only if you do the hard work of getting along with each other, treating each other with dignity and honor. – (James 3:18, MSG)

 

Typically, the role of a peacemaker has served me well in the classroom. When kids are escalated, remaining calm most often leads to peace restored. However, despite the difficult work that has already been invested, there is clearly much more to be done, as there are a few students throughout my day that continue to struggle to get along with others and treat others with dignity. In the wait, I will continue to promote peace with each group of young people that enters my classroom, by modeling the very things that I ask of each of them. May we depend on the Lord to sow in peace, so that we may reap a harvest of righteousness.

 

May we ever choose, Sowing Seeds of Peace

To sow seeds of peace;

Kindness and honor,

To others increase.

The more we feel known,

The more we’re at ease;

Able to settle,

Calm down and sow peace.

Keep on investing,

Choose love others well;

With honor and grace,

May peace in us dwell.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we sow seeds of peace, we reap a harvest of righteousness. Thank You that what we invest in extending peace does not go out void, but You use every intentional word and deed to plant seeds of peace. Forgive us for our frustration in the wait, as at times it appears our efforts are for naught. Teach us to trust You more, as You are the One who brings lasting peace and righteousness to those who seek and follow after You. Show us how to love those around us in a way that promotes peace for all. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we sow seeds of peace and rely on You to return a harvest of righteousness. Amen.

 

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

 

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

Trust and Pray

In You, Lord my God, I put my trust. – (Psalm 25:1, NIV)

To You, O Lord, I pray. – (Psalm 25:1, TLB)

Always I will lift up my soul to You, Eternal One. – (Psalm 25:1, VOICE)

 

Yesterday evening, after we had finished dinner, I began chatting with my son about the details for his homecoming dance that I thought was nearly two weeks away. As we began speaking about specifics, it came to light that the dance is actually taking place this Saturday evening. Normally, that would be no problem, but this weekend I have long since planned to be at the women’s retreat with my church. What is a mom to do when her child is going to his first dance with a date, and is scheduled to be away for the weekend?! The first prayer that flooded my heart was, “Please let him have the date wrong!” Once it was confirmed that the dance was indeed this weekend, I simply and silently called out for help. My sweet husband was nearby and was witness to this new information. As soon as the actual date was discovered, he cancelled his plans for Saturday to help facilitate preparation and transportation for my boy and his date. Though I am not yet certain how every detail will be orchestrated, I am confident that God will make a way. My retreat is in a town that is only 45 minutes away, and we have a sizeable break on Saturday afternoon. It is possible for me to drive home to help him prepare and take photos at the beginning of the evening, prior to returning to my retreat. God is good, and I trust Him to provide a way for this to work for all of us. Perhaps seemingly small, but to my son who adores this sweet young lady, and to this momma who loves her son with her whole heart, the care and provision granted matter more than mere words can express. It is a reminder that He cares about us; about what matters to our heart. God hears each prayer, even those whispered in frustration. May we ever present our prayers and petitions to our Provider, and give Him all glory for His goodness.

 

Let us choose lift up,

dsc088606775452818433249266.jpg

Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

All things as we pray;

For God always hears,

In love, makes a way.

He grants us His grace,

When we need find rest;

Provides solutions,

For His heart knows best.

The things still unseen,

He already knows;

As we pray, we’ll find,

A way He will show.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are good and that You hear our every prayer. Thank You that we can come to You for all things, no matter how great or small. Forgive us for thinking that the small things are ones that we can “handle” on our own, rather than relying on Your wisdom and grace to lead us and guide us through. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would bring all things before You in prayer, knowing that You can make a way where there seems to be no way. Show us how to love those around us in ways that provide help and hope that make Your love and faithfulness tangible. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we pray to You and place our trust in You. Amen.

 

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

But God has surely listened and has heard my prayer. – Psalm 66:19

 

 

 

 

 

Consider Greater Love

And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. – (Hebrews 10:24, NIV)

We should think about each other to see how we can encourage each other to show love and do good works. – (Hebrews 10:24, ERV)

Let us consider how to inspire each other to greater love and to righteous deeds. – (Hebrews 10:24, VOICE)

 

Yesterday was an “off” day at school. A few of my students who have the propensity to struggle with everyday expectations, each had a difficult day. I am not sure whether it can be attributed to the full moon, the numerous guest teachers on campus, the changing seasons, or perhaps an off day due to a wrench in their normal routine, but whatever the cause, the challenge remained and I was extraordinarily grateful for colleagues who are kind and encouraging. Thankfully, I learned long ago to not take a student’s display of distress, personally. Rather, it sets me on a path of seeking to discover more of what motivates and helps calm the child best, so that I might better anticipate and diffuse potential outbursts on a day that they are struggling. Both the presence of para-educators and an interpreter, and later that of administrators who were looking for students, became a source of help that inspired me to greater love, despite my temporary frustration. Sometimes, just knowing that someone else sees the reality of what has taken place, is enough to feel validated in the moment and motivation to let go and move on. There is no “perfect” in humanity. We will always irritate and frustrate, as we as become irritated and frustrated by others. What we do with it matters most. When we choose to love and extend grace, even when it is seemingly undeserved, we are offering the very thing that we have been given through life in Christ. May we ever seek the Lord to be our strength, so that we may choose to love and do good works, always.

 

Help us consider, Show the Love

How to choose to love;

To do the good works,

We’re called to get done.

Love is not about,

How much it’s deserved;

But rather a choice,

We choose as we serve.

At our very worst,

God still loves with grace;

So too, we should love,

The whole human race.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You love us no matter how we come or what we have done. Thank You that Your grace covers our shortcomings. Forgive us for the times that we do not choose love or good works, despite the clear call that You have given. Teach us to trust and rely on You for the strength and endurance to love even when it is challenging. Show us how to love those who are struggling in practical ways that help them understand goodness and grace, and to encourage others to do the same. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose to love and do good, encouraging one another as we are encouraged by You, according to Your perfect plan to which we are called. Amen.

 

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

The second is equally important: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” No other commandment is greater than these. – Mark 12:31

Help in His Name

Our help is in the name of the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. – (Psalm 124:8, NIV)

God’s strong name is our help, the same God who made heaven and earth. – (Psalm 124:8, MSG)

For the same God who made everything, our Creator and our Mighty Maker, He himself is our helper and defender! – (Psalm 124:8, TPT)

 

Today is the day that we will travel to Wenatchee, the place where my Viking and I will wed. Our intent was to leave this morning, so that we would have three full days there to prepare prior to the main event. As it turns out, the process of moving my boys and me out of our old home and into the new, takes far longer than anticipated, and our drive will not begin until late this afternoon. The past two days have been spent tirelessly working to pack and move and move some more. To look at what is yet to be done seems daunting, yet I know that all will be done as we seek Him for strength to press on. The very same God who made everything, is able to equip and empower us to finish all that must be done – both here and in Wenatchee. Though our departure time is going to be later than planned, I am certain that His timing is perfect, and all that needs to be done, will be. May we ever seek our Mighty Maker to be our help and our strength, for He is faithful forever to all who trust in Him.

 

The Name of the Lord,

wp-15319211674184297655690519108809.jpg

Post work party dinner above and an example of things waiting to find a place to be stored… ❤

Our strength and our song;

He helps in our need,

All to carry on.

For great is His Name,

Our God, He is near;

Our help and our hope,

Our lifter of fear.

All strength for today,

And in all to come;

Blessed is the Lord,

The Most Holy One.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our strength, help and hope in all things and at all times. Thank You that nothing is impossible for You. Thank You that You meet us each time we call on Your Name. Thank You that Your timing is perfect and You see every need before it arises. Forgive us for our frustration and concerns when things do not go according to our plans. Teach us to trust You more, as You are faithful forever. Show us how to come alongside those around us in love, so that we may strengthen and support those in need. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You, our Strength and our Help, for You are near. Amen.

 

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

 

The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in Him, and He helps me. My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise Him. – Psalm 28:7

The Solution for Stress

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

May the Lord make His people strong. May the Lord bless His people with peace. – (Psalm 29:11, ERV)

God makes His people strong. God gives His people peace. – (Psalm 29:11, MSG)

 

Every Friday afternoon, I make a point to ask my boys what homework they need to accomplish before returning to school on Monday, and then give them a run-down of what is on the agenda for the weekend so that they can pace themselves accordingly. At times, there is an unrealistic assessment of what must be done, and the workload come Sunday afternoon, is far greater than it ought to be. Sadly, for one of my sweet sons, that was the case last evening. He had underestimated the number of tasks to be completed by school’s start this morning and began to get himself so worked up and stressed, that he had wasted an hour of precious work time pacing and wandering, rather than actually working. At first, I had a moment of serious frustration, followed by the recognition that my irritation would only worsen the situation rather than help bring resolution. We talked about what needed to be done and then came up with a strategy and manageable plan. Next, I simply placed my hand on his shoulder and prayed for peace, strength and clear thinking. From there, it was up to him to complete the task at hand, and I needed to go to bed and get some sleep. This morning, I woke to a note by my computer where I write each morning, expressing his gratitude with a request for an early wake up. God provided the strength and peace that he needed to get things done, and the resolve to rise early and continue to work to complete what remains to be finished. With only two and a half school days remaining, I trust that His strength and peace with continue to be provided so that we may finish strong. May we seek the Lord to be our strength and peace in all things and at all times, as He is faithful to meet us each time we ask.

 

When life overwhelms, wp-15293227850142624927069206169917.jpg

And things seem all wrong;

Seek the Lord for peace,

As He makes us strong.

He calms our wild hearts,

And grants us His peace;

Deposits His hope,

As grace is released.

No matter what comes,

Trust God who is near;

Our Grantor of peace,

And Calmer of fears.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your strength and peace, as You provide what we need as we need it most. Forgive us for allowing our circumstances to send us in a stress spiral rather than running to You in trust. Teach us to seek You in all things and at all times, as You are our Provider of peace and strength. Show us how to love those around us in a way that offers strength and peace in their spaces that feel unsettled. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we thank You for the strength and peace that You alone provide and go forth seeking to share the same with those around us. Amen.

 

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

 

Shout aloud and sing for joy. – Isaiah 12:6