Quick to Listen and Slow to Speak

My dearly loved brothers, understand this: Everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak, and slow to anger. – (James 1:19, HCSB)

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

Listen, open your ears, harness your desire to speak, and don’t get worked up into a rage so easily, my brothers and sisters. – (James 1:19, VOICE)

Again, we stand at a crossroads. A friend posted something that truly made me cringe at the brutal honesty of it: the only significant change that we have made since Sandy Hook is that we now have active shooter drills. This hit hard. I cannot begin to pretend to know the answer, but I do know that we must be more willing to listen to potential solutions that do not include: run, hide, fight, kid, and good luck. As an educator, I have seen a significant increase in the depth of kids’ struggles. Health, safety and belonging are at an all-time low. There are many talking heads that get angered at the mere suggestion of changes that might actually help. We must start listening far more than we speak, and set anger aside so that we can come together, hear each other, and seek to bring change that makes a difference. O God help us, for we all need to listen with intention.

Dear Jesus, please come,

Show us what to do;

Protect our children,

May purpose be true.

Lead us and guide us,

To bring needed change;

Make schools a safe place,

Of peaceful exchange.

Help fears dissipate,

Let answers be found;

To protect each child,

Keep hearts and minds sound.

Lead us in Your love,

To listen and learn;

Please safeguard our schools,

As to You, we turn.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You instruct us to be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to anger. Jesus, we need Your help to do these things to bring true change that lasts. Forgive us for allowing politics and sides of the aisle to distract us from how to find solutions that keep our kids safe. Show us how to hear one another, and to be slow to speak with purpose, keeping anger in check so that hearts can be heard. Lead us to love well, as students and staff alike will be shaken at the news. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, for in You we come to know peace, safety, comfort and care. Be glorified O God, as we seek Your wisdom to listen and pursue true change to keep our babies safe. Amen.

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

But the wisdom that comes from God is like this: First, it is pure. It is also peaceful, gentle, and easy to please. This wisdom is always ready to help people who have trouble and do good for others. This wisdom is always fair and honest. – James 3:17

In All Things, Pray

Don’t worry about anything, but in everything, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, let your request be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses every thought, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. – (Philippians 4:6-7, HCSB)

Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life. – (Philippians 4:6-7, MSG)

Don’t be anxious about things; instead, pray. Pray about everything. He longs to hear your requests, so talk to God about your needs and be thankful for what has come. And know that the peace of God (a peace that is beyond any and all of our human understanding) will stand watch over your hearts and minds in Jesus, the Anointed One. – (Philippians 4:6-7, VOICE)

This is a timely reminder, as it seems to be a season of tough news about people I love and care about. Yesterday afternoon, I found out that my nephew is in the hospital and dying of renal failure. I haven’t seen him in years, but when he was a little boy, he spent quite a bit of time with our family. Learning this heartbreaking news, I had to pause and pray; for I do not know what else to do. He is my boys’ cousin, their dad’s nephew, and their aunt’s first born. Sometimes, praying is really all we can do. Though I know not every need, I am able to pray for healing, health, hope and wholeness. I can pray for peace and strength and provision for the family. Prayer does not require eloquent words or religious utterances, it is simply talking to God with your heart, mind, and if it helps, your voice. He hears every word, thought and request. Incredibly, He provides what we need to get through each next moment, hour, day and beyond. His peace brings calm in the chaos and the ability to breathe when it feels as if we cannot. May we ever reach out to the Lord who hears our prayers, and seek Him for strength and peace in spaces where we have none.

O Lord, I draw near,

Seeking You for peace;

When I can’t fathom,

How You’ll bring release.

Somehow Your peace comes,

And fills up my heart;

Your love settles in,

Hope for a fresh start.

Be it a minute,

Or for a new day;

Your love and Your peace,

Always make a way.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are bigger than all of the trials and sorrows we face. Thank You that You flood us with Your love, surround us with Your care, and fill us with Your peace, even when peace does not make sense. Forgive us for worrying about having the words to pray, for You hear each cry of our heart as we reach out to You. Teach us to turn to You in trust in all things and at all times. Show us how to love those whom You have placed in our lives, and to pray without ceasing for Your love to be made evident to all. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give all of our worries to You as we call on Your Name and pray to You about all things, trusting that You hold us in the hollow of Your mighty hands. Amen.

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

The Lord will send His faithful love by day; His song will be with me in the night – a prayer to the God of my life. – Psalm 42:8

To Intercede

And (if) My people who are called by My name humble themselves, pray and seek My face, and turn from their evil ways, then I will hear from heaven, forgive their sin, and heal their land. – (2 Chronicles 7:14, HCSB)

And if My people who are called by My name become humble and pray, and look for Me, and turn away from their evil ways, then I will hear them from heaven. I will forgive their sin and heal their land. – (2 Chronicles 7:14, ERV)

And (if) My people (who are known by My name) humbly pray, follow My commandments, and abandon any actions or thoughts that might lead to further sinning, then I shall hear their prayers from My house in heaven, I shall forgive their sins, and I shall save their land from the disasters. – (2 Chronicles 7:14, VOICE)

Not only are we called to be in community, but we are asked to pray for one another as well. When we are intentional to pray for those around us, we are interceding on their behalf. This can be individually, for a group, a city, state, nation or the world. Incredibly, because of Jesus, there is no specific way nor are there fancy words we need to say to intercede. God hears every utterance, petition and thought lifted to Him by those who earnestly seek Him. Right now, there is much need for intercession. The needs that surround us are many, and there is much longing for God to bring healing, health, hope and wholeness to all. May we ever seek the Lord and humbly pray, turning away from our sinful ways, and trust that God will be faithful to forgive and bring help as only He can do.

Called and commanded,

To seek God and pray;

To lift up others,

Ask Him show the way.

The way for healing,

For help and true hope;

Provision and peace,

Through Him we can cope.

Lead us Lord Jesus,

Humbly, to choose seek;

To pray for others,

When all seems quite bleak.

By faith, help us trust,

All that You will bring;

Hope, help and healing,

Our reasons to sing.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to intercede for those around us, both locally and globally. Thank You that when we slow down and look at what is going on, we notice places where Your presence is desperately needed. Forgive us for neglecting to turn to You to pray when we see needs that we don’t know how to meet. Teach us to turn to You in trust and ask for Your help and healing for our families, communities, nations and beyond. Show us how to help practically as well, so that we may be vessels that demonstrate the depth and breadth of Your love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to intercede for those around us. Amen.

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

All humanity will come to You, the One who hears prayer. – Psalm 65:2

Trust in Trials and Triumphs

I know that my Redeemer lives, and that in the end He will stand on the earth. – (Job 19:25, NIV)

I know that there is someone to defend me and that He lives! And in the end, He will stand here on earth and defend me. – (Job 19:25, ERV)

Still, I know that God lives – the One who gives me back my life – and eventually He’ll take His stand on earth. – (Job 19:25, MSG)

Job, after he had lost everything, still stood on the truth that he knew. In his heartache and anguish, he cried out to God and proclaimed the truth before his friends who had stopped supporting him and begun blaming him for his own misery. God, in His goodness and mercy, restored Job’s health and wealth to more than it was before, and honored his faithfulness, despite all that Job had suffered. God has good things in store for us, despite the trials and heartaches we have to endure. His goodness stands forever, and His promises are eternal. It is our eternity that provides hope, even on the darkest days. No matter what comes, God is still good and is still on the throne. May we ever remember that our Redeemer lives and in the end, He is our hope forever as Lord and King of all.

The Lord is alive,

Our hope and our peace;

No matter what comes,

His love will not cease.

Though days might seem dark,

The true light will come;

He brings grace and peace,

For all is not done.

Look to the heavens,

The Lord ever reigns;

Our hope forever,

And goodness He brings.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your word and for the examples who have gone before us. Thank You that despite the difficulties that happen, You still reign and have power to restore. Forgive us for our wavering faith when challenges overwhelm us. Teach us to turn in trust to You, ever holding fast to the truth that we know. Thank You that You are our hope and promise forever. Show us how to walk alongside those in the midst of struggle, so that we might love, encourage and bless as You do. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You in every season – both trying and triumphant, for You love and lead us through all. Amen.

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

But as for me, it is good to be near God. I have made the Sovereign Lord my refuge; I will tell of all Your deeds. – Psalm 73:28

Faith Like Job

I know that my Redeemer lives, and that in the end He will stand on the earth. – (Job 19:25, NIV)

I know that there is someone to defend me and that there is someone to defend me and that He lives! And in the end, He will stand here on earth and defend me. – (Job 19:25, ERV)

 

The unwavering faith of Job amazes me every time I am brought back to any portion of his story. Job lost his family, his friends, his wealth and his health, yet his faith remained unflappable. In the midst of all of his loss, his friends tell him all of the possible reasons why such devastation had befallen him, yet Job knew he had been faithful to God and clung to his faith in the truth that was securely planted within him. Incredibly, Job’s story does not end in his space of desolation, but rather in one of restoration, redemption and abundant blessing. God still works in the same powerful ways. When my marriage ended several years ago, I grieved the loss and did not think it would be possible to allow my heart to love again. I trusted God with me and my sons, and it was good. Little did I know, but God had so much more for me; for us. God brought me a partner and help mate, someone to be strong when I am not, yet one whom I can challenge to grow too. His timing could not have been better, as we have weathered some intense storms together. Separately, they may have sunk us, but together, with Christ as our anchor, we have remained steady and secure. There will always be trials in this broken world, but when we know and trust God, we have assurance that the difficult will not last forever. We know that our forever will be far better than anything we could begin to hope or imagine in the here and now, and with all this time at home, I’ll bet many of us can imagine some fairly fantastic settings and spaces. May we pursue the Lord and trust in Him, so that He may grow more deeply in us, an unwavering faith.

 

My Redeemer lives,

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Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

I have certainty;

For in my own life,

He’s loved faithfully.

Not just in theory,

Or stories of old;

Through my own trials,

My hand He did hold.

Granted provision,

For every need;

At the darkest times,

His love took the lead.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are for us, even when it feels as if the world is against us. Thank You that our ultimate hope is eternity with You. Forgive us for forgetting the strength, hope and power that is present in You. Teach us to trust and rely on “God with us”, for You are always near. Show us how to love those around us best, so that we might encourage and strengthen them in hope. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust in Your faithful presence and hold fast to the hope we know is found in You forever. Amen.

 

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

 

Who is like You, Lord God Almighty? You, Lord, are mighty, and Your faithfulness surrounds You. – Psalm 89:8

He Hears

In the morning, Lord, You hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before You and wait expectantly. – (Psalm 5:3, NIV)

Every morning, Lord, I lay my gifts before You and look to You for help. And every morning You hear my prayers. – (Psalm 5:3, ERV)

In the morning, O Eternal One, listen for my voice; in the day’s first light, I will offer my prayer to You and watch expectantly for Your answer. – (Psalm 5:3, VOICE)

 

This is yet another reason why I rise so early each day. In the morning, before the world wakes, I read and reflect on God’s promises and present my requests before Him. He listens to us whenever we pray, but for me, it sets my heart right for the day. Yesterday, His grace was abundant, as my humanity and frustration flared up a bit as I first walked into my classroom after being away for a few weeks. It was in a state of disarray, and at first, I felt quite disrespected. The still small voice reminded me that the kids can’t really see past the revolving door of strangers, and they act out accordingly, rather than think about where they are and the possible reason for my absence. After I had the tables scrubbed and garbage off of the floors and bookshelves, I was better able to regain perspective and hold hope and positive anticipation for the day. I found a few sweet notes left by students on my desk, and my demeanor softened further. My colleagues were extraordinarily kind and welcoming, and by the time the bell rang for kids to head to class, I felt prepared and eager to see my students. After greeting them at the door, listening to announcements and taking care of attendance, I filled them in as to why I had been away for the past few weeks. The somber quiet in the room showed me that they understood the weight of my circumstances, and many of them were imagining themselves in my shoes. They were wonderful the remainder of the morning; even my students who often struggle to focus. I know they love their moms deeply, and I think it hit home for them too. Unfortunately, halfway through my second class with my kiddos, I received a strange text from one of my sons. He was quite concerned about an odd symptom, that he feared was asthma related. We did a bit of problem-solving and back-and-forth, but by the time my lunch was nearly over, I knew I was going to need to take him in to Urgent Care. Thankfully, a guest teacher was available for the second half of the day, and I was able to leave for the afternoon. As I arrived on my sons’ campus, there were three ambulances in the bus loop. All I could do was pray, “Dear Jesus, please don’t let that be for my son!”

Thankfully, the ambulances were not for my boy, and I was able to pick him up and get him checked at Urgent Care without incident. The symptoms were wise to get checked, as he continues to near adulthood and must learn to listen to when things seem “off” with his health. Everything came back as clear, and they chalked it up to something muscular/skeletal. For me, it had become a blessing of some bonus time with my boy that I would not have otherwise had, so I teased him about the lengths he went to, to get solo time with me. 🙂

As for mom, she is continuing to do the difficult work. After a stroke, it is common for the large muscle groups to “wake up” first, and then the signals to continue to make their way down to the smaller. For mom, her glutes and hip flexor have been cooperating for several days, and it seems that her quad is not joining the party! In her right arm, her shoulder has begun to awaken, and her right tricep is also starting to receive signals. Each new movement is a huge celebration, as the ability to regain movement that was lost is a miracle in the making. Speaking to she and my sister on the phone last evening, I was able to hear more strength in her voice than I have heard before.

May we ever begin our days with the Lord, presenting our requests to He who is abundantly able to do all things.

 

Early each morning,

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Mom in OT, working on standing, balance, and utilizing her left hand for day-to-day tasks.

This is why I rise;

In silent stillness,

Hope is realized.

Placed on the altar,

Each hope and my needs;

The Lord is faithful,

His love far exceeds.

All grace for today,

Hope for tomorrow;

His peace in chaos,

Comfort in sorrow.

Ever seek the Lord,

He’s faithful to hear;

All that we ask Him,

As He remains near.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your overwhelming, never ending loving kindness and grace. Thank You that You hear our every prayer. Thank You that You never leave us nor forsake us, even in the moments when we question “why”. Forgive us for our fears and frustrations with the frailty of our humanity. Teach us to trust You more, and to see the blessings that You provide, even in the seemingly awful or inconvenient situations and circumstances that we find ourselves in. Show us how to love and bless those around us in ways that help them to see the good, even when circumstances are not. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love You and trust You, and place our prayers before You anew every morning. Amen.

 

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

 

Because He bends down to listen, I will pray as long as I have breath! – Psalm 116:2 

Restoration

Dear friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health and all that may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well. – (3 John 1:2, NIV) 

Dear friend, I am praying that all is well with you and that your body is as healthy as I know your soul is. – (3 John 1:2, TLB) 

Beloved friend, I pray that you are prospering in every way and that you continually enjoy good health, just as your soul is prospering. – (3 John 1:2, TPT) 

 

Just as John’s words were an encouragement to Gaius, may they also be an encouragement to each of us. Often, the condition of our soul carries with it a seeming sort of boost for our physical health as well. However, I know this is not always the case, as I am acquainted with a handful of faithful believers who are fighting horribly difficult and serious battles with their health. It is my prayer that healing would come and health would be fully restored this side of heaven. May it be well with our souls as we seek our Savior for all things – body, heart, soul and mind. 

 

O Lord, as I pray,

Twin Falls, on the way to Hana.

May I keep in mind; 

Your faithful in need, 

Bring health, as designed. 

May things all be well, 

Mind, body and heart; 

As we seek Your face, 

Make illness depart. 

You are the Healer, 

Of all misaligned; 

Please heal and restore, 

Each heart, soul and mind. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we are encouraged in our faith and that You are the Healer of each part of us, Your created. Thank You that You hear every prayer. Forgive us for not seeking You to contend for those who need healing as often as we should. Bring to our minds all those to lift up before You and teach us to pray as You would have us pray. Show us how to love those around us in tangible and practical ways. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we thank You for all of the goodness that You have granted in our lives. Amen.

 

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

 

Finally, brothers and sisters, rejoice! Strive for full restoration, encourage one another, be of one mind, live in peace. And the God of love and peace be with you. – 2 Corinthians 13:11

 

 

Rendering Reconciliation

Kind words are like honey – sweet to the soul and healthy for the body. – (Proverbs 16:24, NLT)

Kind words are like honey; they are easy to accept and good for your health. – (Proverbs 16:24, ERV)

Pleasant words are flowing honey, sweet to the taste and healing to the bones. – (Proverbs 16:24, CEB)

 

Yesterday, as I met with a student who often struggles to make good choices behaviorally and academically in the classroom for our one-on-one reading conference, I was reminded of how much truth lies in the words of this verse. As we began, he did an excellent job of explaining what he had learned in the book he had read, and then easily defined words from the vocabulary list. Throughout our meeting together, I praised and encouraged him, as I let him know how impressed I was with his hard work and reminded him how much I believed in his ability to do well each time he invested himself in whatever task the class was being asked to take on. Seemingly out of nowhere, his gaze dropped to the floor, and tears silently began to slide down his cheeks. In disbelief, I sat there for a moment, unsure of what I was meant to do. After taking a moment, I encouraged him a bit more and then asked him if there was anything that I could do to help. He shook his head “no”, so I followed with the question, “I can see that things are pretty tough right now. Do you have hope that they will get better?” He nodded his head up and down and accepted the tissue I offered. Our brief exchange reminded me yet again, just how much kind words matter. May we ever seek the Lord for His guidance to fill us with the words that others need to hear most that are sweet to hear and bring healing to places that are hurting.

 

Kind words do matter, Patient Acceptance

Far more than we know;

They heal the hurting,

And help goodness grow.

Sweet, just like honey,

Such help to the soul;

A salve for our wounds,

As His mercy flows.

Let us choose kindness,

With words that we say;

Healing can happen,

When Love leads the way.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the truth of Your word that You continue to show us again and again in tangible ways. Thank You that kind words are sweet to the soul and healing to the body. Forgive me for the times that kind words were not the first thought to come to mind or that which escaped my lips. Teach me to trust You more, so that I would listen to Your leading and speak the words that You would have me say. Show me how to love others well with my words, just as You love each of us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we extend kind words to others in such a way, that healing comes to the recipient. Amen.

 

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

The joy of the Lord is your strength. – Nehemiah 8:10

An Act of Praise

Let all that I am praise the Lord; with my whole heart, I will praise His Holy Name. Let all that I am praise the Lord; may I never forget the good things He does for me. – (Psalm 103:1-2, NLT)

My soul, praise the Lord! Every part of me, praise His Holy Name! My soul, praise the Lord and never forget how kind He is! – (Psalm 103:1-2, ERV)

O my soul, bless God. From head to toe, I’ll bless His Holy Name! O my soul, bless God, don’t forget a single blessing! – (Psalm 103:1-2, MSG)

 

After digging deeper into the Christmas story, and the stories of those involved, my heart is flooded with gratitude – both for all that God has done for us to make Himself accessible to us, and also the numerous ways in which I see and know His tangible blessings in my life. God is good, no matter what goes on around us, and when we seek Him, we become acutely aware of His hand in the help and blessings that He bestows upon us every day. May our lives be lived as an act of praise to He who gives us life and breath and our very being.

 

With all that I am, Be Full of Joy

My heart gives God praise;

For love, life and health,

Provision each day.

So many blessings,

Fill my heart and soul;

His goodness and grace,

End each day so full.

Let me not forget,

The good that You bring;

All praise unto You,

Each song that I sing.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the countless reasons You have given me to give You praise. Thank You for the help and hope and blessings that You have bestowed upon me. Forgive me for not giving enough gratitude for Your goodness and grace. Teach me to praise You throughout all of my days. Show me how to love others with my life, just as You have done for all of us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You with our whole heart with thanks for all that You are and all that You have done. Amen.

 

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

 

Answer me, O Lord, out of the goodness of Your love; in Your great mercy turn to me. – Psalm 69:16

He Hears the Seeking

O Lord my God, I cried to You for help, and You restored my health. – (Psalm 30:2, NLT)

Lord my God, I prayed to You, and You healed me. – (Psalm 30:2, ERV)

 

David, in his lifetime, experienced some of the highest highs and the lowest lows as he walked with God. He understood God’s faithfulness, as he had drawn very near, and had run just as far. Through it all, God loved him and drew David back unto Himself. So many of the Psalms demonstrate the depth of David’s understanding of God’s goodness and grace. As David was in trouble or was sick, he cried out to the Lord and trusted Him for help or for healing. Answers did not always come quickly by our standards, just as His answers come in His time still today. I have been watching a dear friend walk through an unusual medical dilemma, and in my own limited understanding, wonder why God didn’t just heal her. However, as I watch her walk out the steps towards resolution and recovery, I see His faithful hand at every turn, and the community that He has placed her in to love and care for her well. Perhaps He is completing a healing that goes far beyond what we can see, and as the doctors work out the physical piece, He is orchestrating the work of His hands for her heart and mind by His abundant and unending love. May we ever call on the Lord to be our Help and our Healer, and trust Him to bring us to a place of restoration.

 

O God we cry out,Shackles No More

To You in our need;

For You are our help,

The place where fear’s freed.

In You, we’re restored,

When broken or weak;

For You hear the cries,

Of all those who seek.

So Father, we come,

And humbly pray;

Bring healing and health,

Where needed today.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can call on You and pray to You for help and for healing, and that You hear our prayers and restore us. Thank You that though Your answers come in Your time and Your way, Your ways are higher than our ways, and Your timing is perfect. Forgive us for our lack of patience and our frustration, when we want immediate answers, despite the work that You may be doing in the process as we wait. Teach us to trust You more. Show us how to love well, each person we know who is in the midst of the wait, without speaking foolishly, but rather meeting needs and being present in love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we call on You for help and thank You for the restoration that You provide. Amen.

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

But because of His great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ. – Ephesians 2:4-5