Peace to Anxious Spaces

Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. – (Psalm 139:23, NIV)

God, examine me and know my mind. Test me and know all my worries. – (Psalm 139:23, ERV)

God, I invite Your searching gaze into my heart. Examine me through and through; find out everything that may be hidden within me. Put me to the test and sift through all my anxious cares. – (Psalm 139:23, TPT)

This is a good reminder, especially during seasons that seem to spark anxiety. Normally, I would have written something about the eagerness for the first day of school. However, yesterday, all I could do was read and pray, as I was anxious to walk into the unknown after nearly eighteen months. Yes, I had returned to hybrid school in the spring, but there were only a handful of kids in class at any given time, so the idea of full classrooms and the chaos of the “normal” start of the school year was weighty. God knows our needs and meets us where we are. Despite a bit of a bumpy morning, the day went well. Kids were excited to be back at school, and the vast majority were fantastic about masks and social distancing. I know for many, there was much anxiety about the unknown. Two-thirds of the student body had never before set foot on campus. My classes are primarily eighth graders, so most had been away since their sixth grade year that was cut short and flipped upside down. God knows each heart and what it needs. When we slow down and quiet our hearts, He whispers the words that bring peace. I can’t pretend to understand why we are in the midst of a pandemic that is still our reality, but I can trust that He has placed us all together for this season. May we ever give God the reins and ask Him to search our hearts, for He is the One who uncovers and soothes our anxiousness and brings peace to places of uneasiness.

O God, bring us peace,

In space of unrest;

You know well each heart,

And how to love best.

Lead us in Your love,

With goodness and grace;

Teach us to love well,

So peace finds a place.

A place in our schools,

Each classroom and hall;

Let kindness give room,

To one and to all.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are with us and that You know our every anxious thought. Thank You that You hear and answer us every time we call on You. Forgive us for holding on to anxious thoughts and not giving You room to bring Your peace. Teach us to trust You in all things and at all times, even when things don’t make sense. Show us how to love well and bring peace to all those whom we encounter. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You our cares and trust Your love to lead us in Your goodness and peace. 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

Blessings in Mourning

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)

You’re blessed when you feel you’ve lost what is most dear to you. Only then can you be embraced by the One most dear to you. – (Matthew 5:4, MSG)

One of the hardest things we face in life is loss. Though we all know that not one of us will live forever, there is always sorrow in the passing of those whom we love, especially when the loss comes far sooner than anticipated. Mourning is a challenging space for me, as I am not an external emoter. I feel deeply, yet seldom allow myself to give room for tears to escape. It is not intentional, but rather is a well-developed defense mechanism. As only God does, He has placed me in communities with loving, tender hearts, that create safe space to process however my heart needs to do so. For me, there is comfort in simply writing things down. In fact, that is often how I discover how I am actually feeling. Words in writing seem to bypass the filter in my mind and simply land on the page as they are. That being said, I guess my point is that despite my grieving in this space of loss, I am grateful for the comfort and kindness that I am blessed to have surrounding me. Additionally, the one whom my heart aches for the most, is clearly surrounded in community too. Even when life is hard, God is so good. May we ever seek the Lord in our spaces of loss and of blessing, for He loves us and provides safe space to process whatever our heart is holding.

In spaces of loss,

Where our hearts need mourn;

The Lord’s ever near,

To mend what is torn.

He blesses our hearts,

Surrounds us with peace;

Makes love tangible,

As our hearts release.

Release the heartache,

Place all in His hands;

His grace holds us up,

As we trust His plans.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that in our spaces of loss and mourning, You come near and bless us with Your comfort. Forgive us for the times we delay in turning to You in our grief. Teach us to trust and lean on You, for You bless us with Your comfort and love in all things. Show us how to love, support and comfort those around us in the same way that You support and comfort us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we thank You for Your blessings in our spaces of mourning, and for the communities that You place us in. Amen.

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

Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever. – 1 Chronicles 16:34

Loving God Includes Loving People

And He has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister. – (1 John 4:21, NIV)

God gave us this command: If we love God, we must also love each other as brothers and sisters. – (1 John 4:21, ERV)

The command we have from Christ is blunt: Loving God includes loving people. You’ve got to love both. – (1 John 4:21, MSG)

God does not mince words. There is no lack of clarity in His command. If we love God, we must love people too. Loving people requires that we have what is best for them in mind; that we pray for love and peace for all. Of course there are those whom we must love from afar, as attempts to navigate a healthful relationship have been exhausted and we are not meant to be a doormat or subject to abuse. However, even with those who have ill intent toward us, we can pray for their well-being and for God’s love to penetrate their hearts and minds. In order to love people as God intended, we must grow in our love and knowledge of who God is and understand how He loves. God’s love is extravagant and merciful; it is sacrificial and forgiving. We are only able to love because He first loved us. The Lord loved us when we were broken and far from Him, and He loves us as we seek and listen to Him. 

When I think about loving in the same way that we love our brothers and sisters, it reminds me of the power that is placed in such love. I know that I would do anything and everything humanly possible to help and bless my own sister, for both her joys and sorrows are shared by me because of love. Our charge is to love all those around us in the same way. 

Considering the current state of the nation, with so much division and strife, how can we choose to love well? I don’t have all the answers, but I do know that love is a choice. It is an ongoing, ever-growing, intentional decision to be kind and desire the very best for those around us. Barriers break down when we choose to love. We must learn to listen to understand and choose to love, even when it is seemingly impossible. Sometimes, love is not saying what we desire to say, as our words are to “prove” a point, rather than to edify those around us. May we seek our Savior to show us how to love Him and love all people in the way He intended.

We are commanded,

Sister love from the start. ❤

To walk well in love;

Love God and people,

Trust grace from above.

As we choose love God,

Sisters and brothers;

We give the Lord room,

Work with each other.

Lord, help us to choose,

Your heart and Your way;

Let Your love lead us,

Throughout all our days.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call and command us to love. Thank You that as we seek You and place our heart in Your hands, You transform us to more clearly reflect the love You have for all. Forgive us for the times that our words, thoughts and actions have grieved Your heart. Teach us to love You and love all people well. Show us how we are meant to love those around us as You do. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love You and pursue a life that demonstrates love to all those around us. Amen.

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

Jesus replied, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.” – Matthew 22:37-39

Let Our Hearts Listen

Let the message about Christ, in all its richness, fill your lives. Teach and counsel each other with all wisdom He gives. Sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs to God with thankful hearts. – (Colossians 3:16, NLT)

 

We are called to pursue the Lord and all that He has to offer. The truth of His word fills our hearts and lives if we give room to allow it in. Even more, Christ calls us to share what we learn with those around us. As we choose to allow the richness of life rooted in our Redeemer to take hold, we learn and grow, plant and sow, with wisdom that comes from the Lord. In growth, comes gratitude. May we pursue the Lord and all He brings to our lives, and respond to His goodness and grace with songs of gratitude that flow from a thankful heart.

 

May God’s holy word,grasping-the-greatness-of-love

Fill our hearts and lives;

So we can offer,

The hope that He gives.

As we are filled up,

May we do the same;

Share of God’s goodness,

With truth we proclaim.

Let us sing out songs,

To God, give our praise;

May gratitude flow,

To Christ all our days.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your word fills our lives and gives us the capacity to share of Your goodness and wisdom with those around us. Forgive us for not allowing the truth of Your word to sink in and take root. Teach us to slow down and listen to all that You have to say, so that we might be filled with all that You have to offer. Show us how to love those around us in such a way, that they may recognize Your redemption through our actions. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we are intentional to seek You and allow Your word to fill us to overflowing. Amen.

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

The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. – Galatians 5:22-23