The Weight of Grief in the Garden

When He rose from prayer and went back to the disciples, He found them asleep, exhausted from sorrow. – (Luke 22:45, NIV)
When He finished praying, He went to His followers. He found them asleep, worn out from their grieving.  – (Luke 22:45, ERV)
When Jesus finished praying, He got up and went to His disciples and found them all asleep, for they were exhausted and overwhelmed with sorrow. – (Luke 22:45, TPT)
I am not sure why I have not ever noticed the phrasing of Luke’s account of what took place in the Garden of Gethsemane before, but why the disciples fell asleep, becomes far more relate-able somehow. The disciples had every reason to be grieving, for they had shared their final meal with Jesus, heard His last words of wisdom, sung their last hymn together, and then heard that one among them would betray Him and another would deny Him… That is some serious heaviness to hold. How often do we find ourselves in the same sort of space? There  are times that the grief is too great, and even as we try to pray, exhaustion takes over, and sleep finds a welcomed win. The disciples, though Jesus had told them what would take place, could likely not wrap their hearts and minds around it all. They were in the throes of the suffering and sorrow-filled part, and could not yet see the glorious hope that would come after the horror Jesus was about to endure. Incredibly, Jesus continued to pray. When Judas and his entourage of Sanhedrin and soldiers arrived to have Jesus arrested, Jesus continued to love as He healed the ear that an over-zealous disciple cut off in His defense. He went willingly, without argument nor needed force, for love led Him to the cross at Calgary.
I paused writing to go run, and ended up having a great discussion about the potential disparity between the four accounts of the disciples’ time in the garden. My running bestie is a nurse, so she reminded me that Luke was a doctor. Between us, we recognized that the other accounts were recorded by fishermen, who likely felt bad for falling asleep, and simply recorded that alone. Luke, however, from a physician’s standpoint, was the most likely to recognize the toll that grief and sorrow take on the body, and reported the occurrence accordingly. Like me, she had not ever noticed the difference in the accounts of what took place, but together, we discussed how it indeed made sense. Many of us find ourselves in a similar space of grief or sorrow. There is loss that we are uncertain how to process, and that weighs heavily, no matter how much we pray. Perhaps this forced slow down season is meant for more than just protecting ourselves from the further spread of a pandemic; maybe, just maybe, this is a season where we are to allow our bodies to sleep when we can fight it no longer, rest up, reflect on what truly matters, and rise up renewed and refreshed, as Jesus carried it all for us and rose again. May we give ourselves grace in our moments of sorrow, grief and exhaustion, and look to the Lord who is the One who strengthens, renews and grants us what we need to rise up restored, once again.
In grief’s heaviness,

The Weight of Grief

Sculpture by Celeste Roberge

We’re burdened and worn;
Exhausted and spent,
In sorrow, forlorn.
Our bodies in need,
Of overdue rest;
Sometimes a shut down,
When sleep is the best.
God knows all our needs,
He loves us with grace;
Refreshes, renews,
And brings brighter days.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son to show us Your goodness and grace, even in humanity’s most exhausted spaces. Thank You that You love us back to life again, even when our weariness from loss steals our resolve to rise and fight. Forgive us for thinking that we can somehow power through things without giving room for grief. Teach us to lean into You to show us how to properly process, rest and rise again in all that You are calling us to do. Lead us to love others well, so that their burdens may be lessened and their sorrow’s shortened. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we come to You in our heaviness and seek You for rest and refreshment as You restore and renew us in You. Amen.
My soul is weary with sorrow; strengthen me according to Your word. – Psalm 119:28

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In Worrisome Space

Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you. – (1 Peter 5:7, NIV)

Give all your worries to Him, because He cares for you. – (1 Peter 5:7, ERV)

Let Him have all your worries and cares, for He is always thinking about you and watching everything that concerns you. – (1 Peter 5:7, TLB)

 

We are in a time that is full of uncertainty and unknowns. It is seemingly impossible to avoid “what if” scenarios, as a state of emergency has been declared by our governor, and the World Health Organization has deemed Covid-19 a pandemic. The weight and worry that I bear looks different than those who are living with compromised immune systems or are in households with young children or elderly, as their concerns are much more immediate and life-threatening. For others, it is more a matter of day-to-day living and the wonder as to how it will all work out. As an educator, there is much uncertainty as to when our schools will be closed, and for how long. In this space, my only real choice is to give all of my worries and uncertainties to God. He sees and knows, and He cares about all that concerns us. I know not why such a crazy crisis is taking place, yet I know it is an opportunity for people to rise up and love others well. Our charge is to love as we are loved. May we give all of our worries to God, because He cares for us, and depend on Him to lead and guide us as we navigate this rocky road of uncertainty.

 

In worrisome space, In Worrisome Space

Give all unto God;

The Lord cares for us,

Despite all our flaws.

He sees and He knows,

Our each anxious thought;

He’s present to help,

Each time He is sought.

Even when all things,

Impossible seem;

The Lord has a way,

To give grace, redeem.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can come to You and cast all of our worries and cares upon You. Thank You that Your hands can hold them, and Your shoulders have already bore every burden we ever will bear. Thank You that You provide grace, goodness and love as we come to You. Forgive us for carrying weight and holding anxiety and concerns that we are not meant to hold in fear. Teach us to trust You and listen to wisdom, so that we would navigate in grace and love. Show us how to love well, all those around us, in tangible and meaningful ways. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You all of our cares and concerns and trust You to lead us in wisdom and strength in the face of all of the unknown. Above all, help us to choose love in all that we say and do, every step of the way. Amen.

 

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

 

Cast your cares on the Lord, and He will sustain you; He will never let the righteous be shaken. – Psalm 55:22

Peace With All People

If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. – (Romans 12:18, NIV)

Do the best you can to live in peace with everyone. – (Romans 12:18, ERV)

Don’t quarrel with anyone. Be at peace with everyone, just as much as possible. – (Romans 12:18, TLB)

 

Peace is a most pleasant space to dwell. As we release the right to retaliate in our own moments of hurt or frustration and give it to God, peace enters in. God calls us to react in the opposite spirit of those who come against us, as so often a simple extension of kindness in a person’s moment of ugly, can diffuse the heat that is driving the acting out, and bring change. The evidence of transformation is the peace that becomes present in the process. If we love as we are called to love, peace is one of the clear indicators that His Spirit is producing fruit in and through our lives. Peace, patience, gentleness, faithfulness, kindness, goodness, and self-control, all are grown and shown as we seek to love according to God’s call. May we do our best to live at peace with everyone, depending on Christ to equip us to love as He loves.

Mom is doing well. When we spoke last evening, much of our conversation was reminiscing about my boys, as they are now six days away from their eighteenth birthday. It was sweet to remember the series of events leading up to their arrival, and the weeks that followed. What amazed me, was that Mom wasn’t really word searching at all. She just spoke with joy and pride, as she remembered her grandsons. Mom is one of the people in my life who has modeled how to be at peace with everyone, in as much as it is possible. Wherever she goes, she is kind and people want to be near her. God’s goodness and grace shine from the inside out, and His light in her draws people in.

 

Let the peace of Christ,

Peace Through Understanding

Come and fill our hearts;

So we may go forth,

And know where to start.

As we come know peace,

We too can learn share;

A love that gives grace,

For He hears our prayers.

Wherever we can,

May we offer peace;

God’s love extended,

Gives unrest release.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to live at peace with everyone. Thank You that You do not stop there, but rather You give us specific directives to bless and rejoice, give and to love, and to not repay evil nor take revenge. Forgive us for the times that we have worried more about being right that doing right. Teach us to listen to Your leading in all things and at all times. Show us how to live at peace with everyone around us through living out a life of loving like You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, Lord. Be glorified O God, as we trust You to show us how to live at peace with those around us. 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

Clear Acts of Mercy

He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. – (Micah 6:8, NIV)

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

But He’s already made it plain how to live, what to do, what God is looking for in men and women. It’s quite simple: Do what is fair and just to your neighbor, be compassionate and loyal in your love, and don’t take yourself too seriously – take God seriously. – (Micah 6:8, MSG)

 

Last evening, I had the pleasure of going to see the new Star Wars movie. What I love about the Star Wars series is that there is an ongoing theme of “good triumphs over evil” as the saga between the Imperial Empire and the Rebellion continues throughout with new generations of Jedi. Without being a spoiler, it was clear acts of mercy and choosing good that brought about Jedi success – both at pivotal moments in the movie, and as the story concluded. In real life, the same holds true when we choose to extend mercy and goodness, denying our initial thought of revenge or retaliation. God’s grace enters in, and something happens in the hearts of both the merciful and the one receiving grace, to change the circumstance for the better. It may not be immediate and dramatic, but such acts of love and mercy make their way into hearts, and one cannot help but be changed as the recipient of undeserved mercy. That is how Christ came to us. While we were yet sinners, He loved. In our darkness and ugliness, He brought light and life and love. May we choose to go forth in the goodness of God, acting justly, loving mercy, and walking humbly with God, all of the days of our lives.

 

The Lord has shown us,Clear Acts of Mercy

What it is to love;

Act justly, give grace,

Like God up above.

As we humbly walk,

And follow the Lord;

We love as He loves,

Mercy is outpoured.

For each act of grace,

And mercy we choose;

Is a way to show,

God’s blessed good news.

For He came to us,

Full of love and grace;

Teaches us mercy,

As we run our race.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have shown us what it is to act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with You. Thank You that You modeled a life lived accordingly through Your Son, and equip us to do the same by Your Holy Spirit. Forgive us for the times that we neglect Your still small voice within that tells us how to act justly and live mercifully in You. Teach us to listen and follow Your leading, so that we may humbly walk beside You, extending mercy, grace and goodness to all. Show us how to love those around us in this way, even when it is difficult. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for the kindness and mercy that You continually show unto us. Let our lives be an offering of the overflow of Your goodness and grace. 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

Love Forgoes Faults

Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sin. – (1 Peter 4:8, NIV)

Most important of all, love each other deeply, because love makes you willing to forgive many sins. – (1 Peter 4:8, ERV)

Most of all, love each other steadily and unselfishly, because love makes up for many faults. – (1 Peter 4:8, VOICE)

 

There is a strange tension that can accompany the holidays, as families travel and gather together after extended time apart. I know in our own household, there was a tangible funk, as we are in a season of navigating how to cope with serious health issues in loved ones, and the end of life in another. Thankfully, there was a conscious choice to love, unselfishly, as we each have faults, and need the forgiveness of one another. As we prepare for and anticipate the coming days of travel and time with loved ones we hold dear, we must choose to love deeply and steadily, rather than allowing faults to fog our fondness for one another. May we each, above all, choose to love one another; be it on long road trips, in close quarters, or in one another’s space, let steady and unselfish love lead the way.

As for mom, we are eagerly anticipating being reunited tomorrow! It has been more than a month since Mark and I have seen her, and since summer, for the boys. There is something so wonderful about tradition and routine and familiarity, as all of us gathering at my sister and Scott’s has been our family custom for the last many years. I know for each of us, there is deep love, that looks forward to competitive board games, meals seated together, relaxing conversations on comfortable couches, and time adventuring out in the community to get some fresh air and sunshine. Twenty-four hours from now, we will begin our whirlwind weekend of wonderful!

 

May we above all, fb_img_15748583727618213196253172713274.jpg

Choose to deeply love;

For love that runs deep,

In Christ, is enough.

For God’s love is kind,

He’s faithful and true;

Oversees our faults,

Forgives and renews.

May we choose to love,

In much the same way;

Forgive and give grace,

God’s goodness displayed.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You love us more deeply than we can comprehend, and You forgive our faults and failures when we falter and sin. Thank You that You pick us up, dust us off, and love us back to life. Forgive us for the times that we do not extend the same goodness and grace to those around us. Teach us to depend on You to supply all that is needed to love in the way in which we are called to love. Show us how to love those around us best, so that they may see and know Your heart through how we love in tangible and practical ways. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for Your lavish love, and depend on You as we go forth and gather in love, with those whom You have gifted us with as family. Amen.

 

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

 

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” – John 13:34

Plan to Do Good

If you plan to do evil, you will be lost; if you plan to do good, you will receive unfailing love and faithfulness. – (Proverbs 14:22, NLT)

Whoever works to do good will find love and loyalty. It is a mistake to work at doing evil. – (Proverbs 14:22, ERV)

Haven’t you noticed how evil schemers always wander astray? But kindness and truth come to those who make plans to be pure in all their ways. – (Proverbs 14:22, TPT)

 

“You reap what you sow” becomes evident based on what we choose to do, day in and day out. When our focus and intent are rooted in God’s goodness, love and loyalty seem to find us. Contrarily, those who choose to do otherwise, end up lost and in the company of those with unsavory notions. May we ever set our hearts and minds on things of God, so that kindness and truth come our way.

 

You reap what you sow,Sowing Seeds of Peace

Forever holds true;

We get what we give,

Our choice a preview.

For when we choose good,

Give love and God’s grace;

The same is returned,

His love is in place.

Let us seek the Lord,

To love as He does;

Far from all evil,

Let good rise above.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to do good, so that we may know the love and loyalty that is returned. Forgive us for the things we are drawn to that are not of You. Teach us to look to You to lead us in the good You have established for us to follow. Show us how to love those around us with loyalty, faithfulness and grace, so that they may recognize the good in all of Your ways. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love You and those around us according to Your good and perfect plan. Amen.

 

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

 

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things. – Philippians 4:8

Love Made Evident

For this is the message you heard from the beginning: We should love one another. – (1 John 3:11, NIV)

The central truth – the one you have heard from the beginning of your faith – is that we must love one another. – (1 John 3:11, VOICE)

The beautiful message you’ve heard right from the start is that we should walk in self-sacrificing love toward one another. – (1 John 3:11, TPT)

 

Our charge, always, is to love one another. Love makes itself known in a myriad of ways, yet a common thread in all is that love is “otherly”. It sees the needs of others first, and gives without worrying about what is received in return. I am beyond blessed to receive such love from family, friends and colleagues. Currently, my husband and I are on a Valentine’s Escape weekend in San Francisco. It was my joy to plan our escape with him knowing nothing of where we were headed. He worked eleven days straight, prior to our departure, as his job requires him to keep all city vehicles running and in good repair. The demands of his skill set grew exponentially as our entire state attempted to keep roads drivable with the triple hit of heavy snowfall. Yesterday, the first day of our getaway, was at long last an opportunity for rest. We were able to balance exploring with relaxing, and last night, both of us slept more than eight full hours. All this to say, he woke up and began making breakfast for both of us. Despite his exhaustion and this vacation being meant as a break for him, he continues to choose to love and serve, rather than sit back. Love works hard and chooses to act on behalf of others, even when rest is desired. May we ever seek to love and serve as Christ has done for us, so that our words and deeds make His love evident to all.

 

To love is a choice,

img_2019-02-16_08-06-044571236925016341477.jpg

My love and dear cousins who drove into the city to visit while we are in town. ❤

We all have to make;

To freely choose give,

Instead of just take.

Love chooses to see,

The needs of others;

Reach out and give grace,

One to another.

May we persevere,

And give love away;

For that is how peace,

Comes in hearts to stay.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to love. Thank You for the incredible examples of people who love well that You have placed in my life. Forgive us for the times that we have not chosen love as our first response. Teach us to turn to You in trust, to lead and guide us in how we are meant to love like You. Show us how to love those around us in practical ways that clearly communicate a love like Yours. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose to love others as You have loved us. Amen.

 

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

 

The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love. – Psalm 103:8

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

Generate Good Growth

Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification. – (Romans 14:19, NIV)

So, let’s try as hard as we can to do what will bring peace. Let’s do whatever will help each other grow stronger in faith. – (Romans 14:19, ERV)

So, let’s agree to use all our energy in getting along with each other. Help others with encouraging words. – (Romans 14:19, MSG)

 

Peace is a place within ourselves where we feel at ease, despite what surrounds us. Another sort of peace is that which is discovered as people choose to prefer one another and give grace to each other, making peace possible in spaces where we gather and dwell together – be it at home, school, work, church, or out and about in the community. Encouragement and kindness do not require like-mindedness. It is entirely possible (and necessary) to bring peace into places where individuals of great diversity dwell. There need not be common faith, political views, nor upbringing to listen and care for the community around us. Each person has purpose and something to offer, and when we recognize and value one another, peace and mutual edification soon follow. May we do whatever we can to help each other grow, as we pursue peace in the places where we are planted.

 

O Lord help us be, Trusted Thoughts and Worthwhile Words

Instruments of peace;

Who encourage well,

Set people at ease.

For we are not called,

To argue and fight;

But to be at peace,

And walk in Your light.

Teach us, dear Jesus,

To bring about peace;

To love as You love,

And Your grace increase.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to be at peace with one another and to encourage each other. Forgive us for the times that we have been at odds with others, or have chosen to use words that tore down, rather than built up. Teach us to turn to You to lead us and guide us in what we say and do to promote peace in all the places we have been planted. Show us how to love those around us with encouragement that generates good growth. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek Your strength and wisdom to walk in peace and wield words of encouragement wherever we go. 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

Consistent Kindness

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

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

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

 

This verse is a go-to for teachers everywhere, especially the week of Halloween. Between the extra sugar infused in the growing bodies of middle schoolers, to the anticipation of what they will do with their time on the day itself (which happens to be early dismissal for them), kids are amped up and struggling to focus in the classroom. Patience, gentleness and kindness, especially toward those who are the most trying, is how we are called to navigate. The beauty in this is that with consistency over time, patience and gentleness prove themselves powerful, and often the most trying of tweens begin to soften. May we ever seek the One who is forever gentle and patient with us, allowing for our faults because of His unending love, so that we may go forth and do likewise.

 

Lord, let Your patience, Consistent Kindness

Lead us as we go;

So love and kindness,

Are the things we show.

For the most trying,

Oh God, give us grace;

Let each act of love,

Bring peace in our space.

Thank You that You have,

Endless love for us;

Help us do the same,

So others are blessed.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your goodness, kindness and love toward us. Thank You that You only call us to the things that You have shown us already. Forgive us for not walking in humility or patience with those who are most trying. Teach us to trust and rely on You for the patience and love required to walk in Your grace. Show us how to extend gentleness and kindness as we love those whom You have called us to love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose to be gentle and kind, extending grace to all whom we encounter. Amen.

 

 

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

 

Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart. – Proverbs 3:3