Gentle Answers

A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. – (Proverbs 15:1, NIV) 

A gentle answer makes anger disappear, but a rough answer makes it grow. – (Proverbs 15:1, ERV) 

A gentle answer defuses anger, but a sharp tongue kindles a temper-fire. – (Proverbs 15:1, MSG) 

How can we answer gently defuse the anger that is ravaging our cities? I wish I had the perfect answer that would restore order and peace. However, I recognize that there is no simple answer nor quick fix. This morning, I came across a powerful message from a woman of color , Nicole Walters, who gave me far deeper insight into what is going on. What if the protesting that has turned violent by some comes from a long-standing space of grief? Grief for the way that the world perceives individuals, based solely on the color of their skin. What if, after a lifetime of both observing and living this reality, the one more thing brought an end to the quiet peaceful ways of seeking right where so much is wrong, and what we are witnessing is screaming for our attention? No longer can we stay silent. We must listen and learn. In the same way the colonists attempted to peacefully right the wrongs imposed by authorities subjecting the citizens to unfair taxes, by letter writing, petitioning, and the like, they hit a point of being ignored, unheard, for far too long, and The Boston Tea Party took place. Rather than continue to be taxed on tea, they snuck aboard the ship and threw that tea into the harbor. Fires were ablaze, and civil unrest rose up. Enough was enough. What is going on now, is not so different. Preventable tragedies and gross atrocities continue to take place against people of color, and enough is enough. No, looting is not the answer, yet it has certainly demanded our attention. Each one of us needs to look at our own lens, and recognize where cleaning needs to occur. Sometimes, the lack of clarity of our view, comes from an unintentional ignorance. The more we know, the better we can become at loving our neighbors, our brothers and sisters, the way that God intended. Love always protects. If we begin to listen and learn and answer gently, with the wisdom and grace that God provides, then perhaps the anger will be defused and peace may begin to be restored. This begins with me. I love deeply, and value everyone. That being said, I must be intentional to become more aware, and learn how to love better. This is not meant to be some sort of soap box post, but rather one of recognition and repentance for not knowing what I have not clearly known. As a woman who loves Jesus, a mother, a teacher, and a friend, change begins with me. There is always more to learn to do better and be better. My job demands that I listen and learn, evolve and grow – in each of my roles; for each position give me a unique voice and the ability to impact those around me. May we seek the Lord for wisdom as we are intentional to listen and learn, so that we may act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with God as we are called. 

O Lord, here am I, 

On true bended knees; 

Asking for wisdom, 

So I clearly see. 

Please open my eyes, 

To where I’ve been blind; 

Lead me to better, 

Show me Your design. 

Help me to act justly, 

To love with mercy; 

May I humbly walk, 

Promote equity. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You continue to grow us as we are willing to listen and learn. Thank You that You have created each of us with gifts and talents to share with and positively impact the world. Forgive us for our ignorance or places where we have not viewed the world through Your lens. Teach us to continue to intentionally learn and grow, so that we may more clearly reflect Your love and light unto the world. Show us how to love those around us best, so that all people feel valued, heard, and known. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek to listen and learn, so that we may always answer gently and help defuse anger with love. Amen. 

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

Human, the Lord has told you what goodness is. This is what He wants from you: Be fair to other people. Love kindness and loyalty, and humbly obey your God. – Micah 6:8

Known with Purpose

He determines the number of the stars and calls them each by name. – (Psalm 147:4, NIV)

He counts the stars and knows each of them by name. – (Psalm 147:4, ERV)

He sets His stars in place, calling them all by their names. – (Psalm 147:4, TPT)

 

If God, the Creator of the heavens and earth and all that is, knows each star and calls it by name, how much more does He know us, His created? God is aware of even the seemingly most insignificant details; “And even the very hairs on your head are all numbered.” (Matthew 10:30) Love alone, drives such care and concern for who we are, and everything about us. He knows how we were knit together, and He has already called it “good”. Each one of us were born with a plan and a purpose – with gifts and talents to share with the world. Our charge is to seek Him to discover what we have been created for, and then to go forth, and do whatever it is, in love. As a teacher, especially as I wear my art teacher hat, I have the opportunity to help each student who enters my classroom discover that they are an artist. Some come in with a preconceived idea that they have zero artistic abilities, and I spend the entire semester working to help them discover that there are more mediums in art that drawing. Additionally, art is in the eye of the beholder. To one, Picasso is the most profound, whereas to another, Monet or Degas have been deemed the best. God set us all in place too, and He knows us each by name. His care goes far beyond the knowing; He loves so that we can become the very best version of ourselves. May we ever seek the Lord and His loving kindness, so that we can live life in our strengths and purpose with love.

On the way back from a grocery trip with one of my boys, I was able to reach mom on the phone. It was great to talk to her and hear her voice, and I know that it was a bonus for both she and Lucas to speak with one another. Eager to hear about the start of school, much of the conversation was spent answering questions posed by mom. She caught us up on her day, and was pleased to let us know that she had been working hard on walking and other therapy exercises. Her determination and strength are inspiring, and part of the gift of how she was intentionally designed. We continue to pray for the details to fall into place, as mom is still in limbo, waiting for in-home therapies with actual therapists.

 

The very same God, known-with-purpose.jpg

Who hung all the stars;

Made us with a plan,

Purpose that is ours.

Designed with intent,

Wonderfully made;

Fully we are known,

As His love’s displayed.

May we each go forth,

And pursue His plan;

Love with intention,

Each day as we can.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You know and love us so well. Thank You that all of creation has been designed intentionally, and is fully known by You. Forgive us for somehow forgetting just how vast the expanse of Your love and wisdom reaches. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would faithfully pursue You and all that You have for us. Show us how to love well, so that we may walk out our days with purpose in a way that lifts up and encourages those around us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to lead us to love and grow into all that You have for us. Amen.

 

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

 

For it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill His good purpose. – Philippians 2:13

 

* A song that comes to mind as a reminder of this truth, is Stars, by Skillet. ❤

 

 

Gifts Given to Glorify

image from Ruth Ocabel Martinez

image from Ruth Ocabel Martinez

The tale of the talents,

goes much farther than gold.

For within the story,

much more is being told.

We are all given gifts,

He expects us to use,

not allow to lie waste;

they’re to share the good news.

For within our gifting,

there is clear evidence,

of loving Creator,

that draws hearts to repent.

But if gift is buried,

and not allowed to show;

how will others see Him?

How will they come to know?

mobovatar.com

mobovatar.com

Each gift with a purpose,

each talent with a plan;

to love one another,

show God to every man.

Embrace what He’s given,

and go forth for the Lord.

Let no gift lie hidden,

nor talent be ignored.

For He has created,

each of us with a plan.

Uniquely intended,

to help all understand.

As we choose to obey,

and listen to the Son;

one day we will hear Him,

say, “My children, well done.”

(Responding to Matthew 25:14-23)

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have created each of us with gifts and talents that You have intentionally designed within us, to touch lives and transform communities.  Forgive us for questioning, comparing or complaining about the way in which we have been uniquely designed, and help us to embrace with gratitude, the gifts that You have granted each of us to use for Your glory.  Teach us to grow and develop what we have been given, so that we might use our gifts to be a blessing to many.  May many come to know You as we step out in faith to be who You have called and created us to be.  Amen.

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

Glory to the Giver, Not the Gift

“Each one should test his own actions.  Then he can take pride in himself, without comparing himself to somebody else, for each one should carry his own load.” – Galatians 6:4-5

artwork by Miriam Sarzotti

“Make a careful exploration of who you are and the work you have been given, and then sink yourself into that.  Don’t be impressed with yourself.  Don’t compare yourself with others.  Each of you must take responsibility for doing the creative best you can with your own life.” – (The Message)

What are we doing and why are we doing it?  Has God called us to it, or are we trying to keep up with so-and-so?  God places in each of us, gifts and talents to be used for His glory.  No two gifts and talents are exactly the same, nor two people meant to serve God in the exact same way.  His call on each of our lives is unique to how He has made us.  What we do in Him, is only because that is who and how He designed us to be.  We are not meant to compare ourselves with one another, but rather to recognize and celebrate the remarkable that our Redeemer does in us and through us.  All glory is His alone.  Each of us need to be responsible for doing our best to use the gifts that He has given, in the way He wants it to be utilized.  If it is to serve, then we must serve with our whole life.  If it is to teach, then we must teach what He has taught us.  If it is to plant, we must faithfully plant where we are placed.  If to harvest, then we only be present and obedient to supply what we are meant to share, as people have been previously prepared for a time such as this, to enter into relationship with Him.  The list goes on, as there are far too numerous the gifting that He gives by His grace, to be used for good.  May we honor Him with our very lives, as He calls us to do.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that each of us are uniquely and wonderfully made.  Each of us, designed with a purpose and a plan to display Your deity to the downcast and dying, so that they too might come to know Your goodness and grace.  Forgive us Father, for comparing ourselves to one another, and for becoming impressed with ourselves for things that are ordained and ordered by You in us, and for not giving all glory to You.  Teach us to take responsibility for what You are asking each of us, so that we may honor You and give proper glory to You, who grants us the grace to do anything that might be considered good.  Lead us Lord, to love You and love others, so that many may come to hear Your call.  All glory and honor to You, Father.  Amen.

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