The Example of Love

Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love… – (Ephesians 5:1-2a, NIV)

You are God’s dear children, so try to be like Him. Live a life of love. – (Ephesians 5:1-2a, ERV)

So imitate God. Follow Him like adored children, and live in love as the Anointed One has loved you. – (Ephesians 5:1-2a, VOICE)

Because God is love, we have been created to love. As His children, He leads and guides us in His ways, if only we choose to seek Him and follow the example set before us. Though walking in the way of love is not the easiest route, it is the way that is best. At the end of the day, when I know that I have sought to love, I am at peace, knowing that I have pursued the path that God intended. May we ever seek the heart of God to show us His love, so that we may love one another well.

The Lord has shown us,

How we’re meant to love;

Reckless abandon,

Like the Lord above.

Though undeserving,

He loves anyway;

Compelling our hearts,

To walk in His way.

Teach us to love well,

So throughout each day;

Your heart is made known,

Through kindness and grace.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You loved us first and made a way for us to love like You. Thank You that You have shown and continue to show us how to love like You. Forgive us for each time that we have neglected to love as we should. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would choose to love like You, no matter what we see. Show us how to love those around us like You do. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to follow the example that You have set before us. 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

Reason to Rejoice

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! – (Philippians 4:4, NIV)

Always be filled with joy in the Lord. I will say it again. Be filled with joy. – (Philippians 4:4, ERV)

Be cheerful with joyous celebration in every season of life. Let your joy overflow! – (Philippians 4:4, TPT)

The key to this is Whom we rejoice in, not our circumstances. To rejoice is to be glad and take delight in, which is how our hearts feel when we understand who God is, and how He loves. Joy and rejoicing are not dependent on our circumstances, but rather are present despite our circumstances as we look to and lean on the Lord. True joy is found in Him, and is not swayed by what goes on around us. Though rejoicing is not dependent nor determined by our circumstances, I think He often uses the people in our lives to remind us of His goodness, grace and loving ways. Yesterday, I was in need of a reminder of the joy found in every season. It was a long week, and the opportunity to spend one-on-one time with my youngest, blessed my heart and reminded me of my reasons to rejoice in He who has provided me with my family. Though each day and season presents its own set of challenges, there is always reason to rejoice in the Lord. May we ever seek to know Him more, for the more we know Him, the better our heart holds onto the joy provided through His love.

Rejoice in the Lord,

Be glad for His grace;

Give thanks unto Him,

Throughout all our days.

For blessings we know,

All come from the Lord;

Our reasons to praise,

Him who we adore.

His gift of children,

A love that delights;

Each season given,

Wonder in plain sight.

Let all that’s in me,

Rejoice and give praise;

For love unending,

That lasts for all days.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our reason to rejoice in every season. Thank You for the tangible blessings that point our hearts back to You with gratitude. Forgive us for allowing our circumstances to overshadow our hope that is held in You. Teach us to continue to trust and pursue You, as You are our Source of strength and hope, love and light. Show us how to love those around us well, so that they may understand the delight that is held in Your nearness. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we delight in the goodness of Your love, and praise You for the hope we have in You forever. Amen.

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

Glory in His holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice. – Psalm 105:3

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

All for Us

He who did not spare His own Son, but gave Him up for us all – how will He not also, along with Him, graciously give us all things? – (Romans 8:32, NIV)

He even let His own Son suffer for us. God gave His Son for all of us. So now with Jesus, God will surely give us all things. – (Romans 8:32, ERV)

For God has proved His love by giving us His greatest treasure, the gift of His Son. And since God freely offered Him up as the sacrifice for us all, He certainly won’t withhold from us anything else He has to give. – (Romans 8:32, TPT)

Whenever things seem too much, or I just do not know what to do, I have to slow down, breathe, and turn in trust to God. He sacrificed all in my place so that I would have to suffer what I deserved. Instead, Jesus came near so that I could have life, and life abundantly. He grants me strength, endurance, wisdom and resolve when I seek Him. It is imperative that I turn to Him in my spaces of confusion, frustration, sorrow and celebration. God is so good that He will show us what we are to do, and will provide all that we need to do so. May we ever seek the Lord who gave all unto us, so that we may give our all back to Him by His grace.

The love only God,

Can give unto us;

Through sending His Son,

Our Savior, Jesus.

The God who gave all,

Will hold nothing back;

He’ll lead us forward,

Meet us where we’re at.

In good times and bad,

The Lord will be near;

To lead us in love,

Press on without fear.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You hold nothing back, as You have given all unto us. Thank You that Your love, goodness and grace will meet us and lead us, each time that we seek Your face. Thank You that we can trust and depend on You. Forgive us for the times that we fail to remember the magnitude of Your sacrifice of love for us all. Teach us to turn to You in trust, that we may receive all that You freely and lovingly offer. Show us how to love those around us well, so that they too, may understand the goodness of Your loving kindness. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You in all things and rely on Your remarkable love and grace. Amen.

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

For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. – John 3:16

Undeserved Kindness

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

The Lord is kind and merciful. He is patient and full of love. – (Psalm 103:8, ERV)

Lord, You’re so kind and tenderhearted and so patient with people who fail You! Your love is like a flooding river overflowing its banks with kindness. – (Psalm 103:8, TPT)

The more we are aware of the goodness of God, the more readily we are able to extend the same to those around us. Though we don’t deserve it, the Lord extends kindness, patience and love to us. He forgives our faults and failures, picks us up, dusts us off, and equips us to keep moving forward in the direction to which we have been called. The kindness and compassion that we have experienced becomes the very thing that flows out of us when we recognize all that we have been given. May we take time to count our blessings and observe the goodness of God in our lives, and seek Him to extend the same to all those around us.

With kindness and grace,

The Lord’s full of love;

Freely He gives us,

Through goodness above.

Though we can’t earn it,

With mercy, He gives;

Love overflowing,

Each day that we live.

It is by His grace,

That we do the same;

Equipped well to love,

Let’s honor His Name.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You pour out Your kindness, goodness and grace, and that You are patient with our shortcomings. Thank You that You call us to do the same with those around us. Forgive us for the times that we have not chosen to love well. Teach us to trust and depend on You, so that we give the goodness and grace to which we are called. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we recognize Your overwhelming goodness and give from the overflow of all that You have given. Amen.

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

But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of His mercy. – Titus 3:4-5a

Finding Perfect Peace

You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in You. – (Isaiah 26:3, NIV)

God, You give true peace to people who depend on You, to those who trust in You. – (Isaiah 26:3, ERV)

You will keep the peace, a perfect peace, for all who trust in You, for those who dedicate their hearts and minds to You. – (Isaiah 26:3, VOICE)

I try not to watch nor read too much of the news, but rather just enough to have an idea of what is going on in the world. Over the last several days, it has been a challenge to get my heart to settle with so much unrest and disaster in the world around us. God’s peace does not mean that all chaos ceases, but rather it is His presence despite the chaos that grants us His perfect peace. Each time my heart becomes unsettled, I must give it to Him and choose to trust. Ultimately, He is in control and will remain with me no matter what comes. Today, as I start my day, my prayer is for all those who are in the spaces of disaster and in the midst of wars. May help and peace, safety and security come to all who are in the middle of such turmoil.

O God, You are good,

Despite what we see;

Our beacon of hope,

The peace that we need.

Lord may Your presence,

Love, help, hope and grace;

Be made tangible,

In unsettled space.

Grant safety to all,

In spaces of fear;

Give strength and escape,

Lord, be ever near.

May each new concern,

Compel us to pray;

Please grant miracles,

Throughout each new day.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You give true peace to those who depend on You. Lord, I place every concern in Your mighty hands and ask You to work as only You can. Forgive us for our fears, doubts, and unbelief in the face of disasters. Teach us to trust and depend on You, for You alone are greater than anything we face. Show us how to love those around us, so that Your peace may be made known through kindness and grace. Be glorified O God, as we rely on You to be our peace, and seek Your wisdom to show us how to extend Your peace to those around us. Amen.

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

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. – John 14:27

Grateful for the Gift

My beloved is mine and I am his. – (Song of Songs 2:16a, NIV)

My love is mine, and I am his. – (Song of Songs 2:16a, VOICE)

My darling, I am yours, and you are mine. – (Song of Songs 2:16a, CEV)

Today I am feeling extra grateful for the gift that God gave me in the form of my spouse. He came into my life when it was least expected, yet fully needed, and we have been building a beautiful life together ever since. Together, we have navigated some serious trials and incredible blessings, and continue to work together as a team to move forward in the direction to which we are called. Our children are learning how to navigate adulthood, and we are learning how to love, support and encourage them through the process. Happy Birthday to my Viking, who loves me well and is the one my heart adores. May we embrace the ones whom God has given us, and move forward in love and purpose, each new step we take.

The Lord is so good,

For He knows our need;

And blesses our hearts,

As in love, He leads.

Through just the right ones,

That love us so well;

His heart is made known,

Through grace true love tells.

Embraced in kindness,

Encouraged, held up;

One gifted to me,

As he fills my cup.

The one my heart loves,

Who calls me his own;

To walk through this life,

As true love is shown.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the blessing and the gift that You have given me in the one my heart adores. Thank You that You knew exactly what I needed and merged our paths together at just the right time. Forgive us for taking even a moment for granted that You have blessed us with. Teach us to appreciate each new day, challenge and victory that we face together. Show us how to love one another and those around us with a love like Yours. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as I praise You and thank You for the incredible gift that You have given me in my Viking. Amen.

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

Taste and see that the Lord is good. – Psalm 34:8a

Working All For Good

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose. – (Romans 8:28, NIV)

We know that in everything God works for the good of those who love Him. These are the people God chose, because that was His plan. – (Romans 8:28, ERV)

We are confident that God is able to orchestrate everything to work toward something good and beautiful when we love Him and accept His invitation to live according to His plan. – (Romans 8:28, VOICE)

It is critical to both know and trust this is true in our lives, especially in times of uncertainty or when anxiety begins to rise. I do not know what I will be walking into in the coming school year, as I will again be teaching a new grade and new curriculum. With ever-changing conditions and circumstances, on top of new material, I am again in a space of feeling like a brand new teacher, despite my previous twenty-four years in my career thus far. New can be exciting, but it also makes me anxious, as I want to know what I am doing so that I can do the best possible job of helping kids learn and grow. On my end, I am doing all that I can to prepare, and have to trust that God has me in this space for this time for a purpose. He uses things for good, so I have to trust that I have something to offer and He has something good in store for me. May we ever lean into the Lord and place our trust and confidence in Him, for He is able to bring good and beauty out of spaces of uncertainty.

In everything,

God can create good;

Sunshine after storms,

Grace not understood.

His love never ends,

And His mercy, new;

Each day as we rise,

He’ll show us what’s true.

In love, He will lead,

Show us steps to take;

Heal and build us up,

Despite our mistakes.

So, trust in the Lord,

He’ll use all for good;

As He shows us new,

Where only He could.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You work all things out for the good of those who love You. Thank You that You can take circumstances and situations that seem dismal or difficult, and turn them into something amazing and beautiful. Forgive us for our fears and doubts as we enter the new and unknown. Remind us of Your presence anew each day, and show us clearly how to walk in Your way. Teach us how to love those around us well, so that they may come to understand the hope, help and peace that is found in You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love You and trust You to work all things out for good. Amen.

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

But let all who take refuge in You be glad; let them ever sing for joy. Spread Your protection over them, that those who love Your Name may rejoice in You. – Psalm 5:11

Unwavering Love

The Lord is gracious and righteous; our God is full of compassion. – (Psalm 116:5, NIV)

The Lord is good and merciful; our God is so kind. – (Psalm 116:5, ERV)

He was so kind, so gracious to me. Because of His passion toward me, He made everything right and He restored me. – (Psalm 116:5, TPT)

Kids and dogs have a way of reminding me of God’s graciousness and compassion for us. In the same way that we love those in our care, despite how much they might frustrate us sometimes, our love for them does not waiver; I imagine how much more God loves us. If we, in our broken humanity can love and give grace, mercy and compassion to others, how much more does God do those things for us? God’s mercy is unending and His kindness is ever ready to be extended to us. He knows our hearts and what blesses us, and He takes joy in providing that which encourages and helps us know the abundance of His love for us. I am reminded of this each morning as I walk my dogs, watching the pure delight on their faces to get out and explore. Though their craziness and early morning wake-ups prior to the alarm frustrate me at times, their joy in getting outside, and the adoring snuggles they give, end up blessing me and reminding me of how much I love them. God’s kindness, grace and passion for us is even more. May we ever remember the Lord’s goodness and kindness in every blessing, for He restores us and loves us perfectly.

Abundant in grace,

The Lord is so kind;

His love is outpoured,

And goodness combined.

He blesses with peace,

Overwhelms with love;

Heals up hurting hearts,

Our Father above.

Remember His love,

And look for His grace;

In all things, always,

He’s present each place.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your overwhelming goodness and grace that we do not deserve. Thank You that You bless us and have compassion on us, even when we are a mess. Forgive us for forgetting just how good You are. Teach us to trust You and ever seek after You. Show us how to love those around us as You do, with compassion, kindness and mercy. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we look to You to lead us in Your amazing love. 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

Everything Good

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. – (James 1:17, NIV)

Everything good comes from God. Every perfect gift is from Him. These good gifts come down from the Father who made all the lights in the sky. But God never changes like the shadows from those lights. He is always the same. – (James 1:17, ERV)

Every gift God freely gives us is good and perfect, streaming down from the Father of lights, Who shines from the heavens with no hidden shadow or darkness and is never subject to change. – (James 1:17, TPT)

Yesterday was a wonderful reminder of this very truth. God gives us good gifts. I was blessed with time to run in the morning with my long-time running bestie to start my day after walking the pups, then was able to spend much of the day with one of my dearest friends, who is for all practical purposes, family. Though we seldom find time to get together, each time we do, we pick up where we left off. Like the goodness of God, the goodness of friendship does not change. Additionally, time with my family during a family dinner out, was yet another gift from above. Our typically quiet evening meal was disrupted, and laughter and stories exchanged. For me, that in and of itself was a gift, as dining with four big guys is usually focused on consuming what is in front of them, not on conversation with those around them. Friends and family from near and far took time out of their day to send greetings and kind wishes as I celebrated a milestone birthday. I am so grateful for the good and perfect gifts that God has granted. He knows our heart and how to bless us best. May we ever seek the Lord and trust in Him, for He is good and His love never fails.

The Lord is so good,

His love never fails;

No matter what comes,

His love will prevail.

Goodness and mercy,

Throughout all our days;

His faithful blessings,

Show goodness and grace.

Each day is a gift,

Treasure to embrace;

Surrounded by love,

And washed by His grace.

All thanks be to God,

His love never ends;

Each time that we seek,

Sweet answers He sends.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are the giver of every good and perfect gift. Thank You for placing people in our lives that show us Your goodness and grace. Forgive us for taking anything for granted, for everything good comes from You and is deserving of our gratitude. Teach us to trust in Your goodness, always. Show us how to love those around us in ways that make Your heart known in tangible ways. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for who You are and how You love us perfectly. Amen.

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

I will sing the Lord’s praise, for He has been good to me. – Psalm 13:6