To Carry and Sustain Us

Even to your old age and gray hairs I am He, I am He who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you. – (Isaiah 46:4, NIV)

And I will still be carrying you when you are old. Your hair will turn gray, and I will still carry you. I made you, and I will carry you to safety. – (Isaiah 46:4, ERV)

Even as you grow old and your hair turns gray, I’ll keep carrying you! I am your Maker and your Caregiver. I will carry you and be your Savior. – (Isaiah 46:4, TPT)

I don’t think of myself as old, yet white hairs keep peeking through. In this current season, I know my own need to be sustained, and at times, carried. Understanding that God will sustain me, even so, provides hope and endurance when weariness sets in. We have not yet had a full five-day week of school, and already it feels as if we have been back for months. Perhaps it is the masks and extra safety measures, or just the extra energy and excitement of the kids to be back around their friends, but either way, it is exhausting. God is good, and I know that He holds me in His hands. Today, I will continue to trust and rely on Him, and give thanks that we have reached Friday. May we ever hold fast to the promises of God, and trust that He will continue to carry and sustain us through every season as it comes.

God’s promises true,

With each passing year;

His strength and His help,

Remain ever near.

When moving forward,

Is too hard to do;

His love lifts us up,

And carries us through.

Lord, help us recall,

And trust in Your word;

You help forever,

As love’s seen and heard.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You promise to be present to help, strengthen and sustain us throughout our whole life. Thank You that You are good, even when we are weary. Forgive us for our frustrations with what is beyond our control. Teach us to lean into You to be our strength and supply, and to carry us when we feel like we cannot continue. Show us how to love, encourage and support those around us, so that they are strengthened to keep moving forward. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, as You are our strength in all things and at all times. Be glorified O God, as we cling to Your promises of care in our weariness, and praise You for carrying us in our exhaustion. Amen.

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

We wait in hope for the Lord; He is our help and our shield. – Psalm 33:20

Familial Friends

Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. – (Romans 12:10, NIV)

Love each other in a way that makes you feel close like brothers and sisters. And give each other more honor than you give to yourself. – (Romans 12:10, ERV)

Live in true devotion to one another, loving each other as sisters and brothers. Be first to honor others by putting them first. – (Romans 12:10, VOICE)

It is a gift to find friends that become family. This transpires when those with whom one keeps company love and honor each other with intention. To put others first, requires a determination to listen, love and care for them like family. We are beyond blessed to have friends that have become family to us. After four days of a wonderful getaway together, I am all the more grateful for our framily. (Friends who have become family) There is a mutual love and appreciation for one another that creates safe space and freedom to be oneself. May we ever seek the Lord to lead us to be devoted to one another in love, and show us how to put others first in the way that He intended.

Choose be devoted,

In love and in grace;

Honor each other,

In every way.

With love, choose listen,

Let each heart be heard;

Notice the actions,

Love with more than words.

Each heart is a gift,

Sisters and brothers;

To learn, love and grow,

Purpose together.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the gift of friends who become family. Thank You for real life examples of what it is to love and honor each other as You intended. Forgive us for the times that we have neglected to do so. Teach us to view others through Your lens of love so that we may love and honor others like You. Show us how to love in such a way that those around us see Your heart and know their worth. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love those You have brought into our lives as family. Amen.

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

Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. – 1 John 4:11

Two Ears and Only One Mouth

My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry. – (James 1:19, NIV)

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

Post this at all the intersections, dear friends: Lead with your ears, follow up with your tongue, and let anger straggle along in the rear. – (James 1:19, MSG)

My dearest brothers and sisters, take this to heart: Be quick to listen, but slow to speak. And be slow to become angry. – (James 1:19, TPT)

As always, this is a timely reminder. Yesterday, my husband received the video footage that was submitted to animal control by kind citizens who had caught horrendous footage of the abuse of our dog by the trainers in whom we had entrusted him. My initial reaction to the entire situation was both anger and sorrow. I was enraged at the betrayal of our trust by the trainers, and absolutely gutted knowing what my poor puppy had endured. God was very specific with me in how I ought to respond to the whole situation, and by placing all of my focus on the care of Thor, I was able to release the anger and love on my pup. The news that my husband had the video in his possession brought my initial reaction back to the surface. Knowing that I was not called to allow my anger to get the best of me, I had to work through it all over again. Sometimes, what we listen to is not beneficial. However, remembering to be slow to speak will always serve us well. Once words have left our lips, we cannot take them back. I know that there is righteous anger, yet it is still not something that I am meant to hold. Feeling and acting are two very different things. What we feel cannot dictate what we do. There are times that we simply must trust that justice will be served and place our attention on caring well for the wounded. Even now, as Thor sits beside me as I try to write, his continuous reaching out with his paws reminds me to focus on loving and caring well for him. May we ever seek the Lord to help us to listen first, be slow to speak, and to keep our anger in check. He is faithful to help us walk in His way and do His will as we earnestly seek Him.

Lord, help us to lead,

With listening ears;

A heart set to love,

As we choose to hear.

Then help us to tame,

Our tongues in replies;

Grant wisdom with words,

As grace You supply.

And as for anger,

Let’s give it to You;

As we choose to seek,

We’re shown what to do.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You see and You know all things. Thank You for giving us two ears and only one mouth. Help us to use them accordingly. Forgive us for the times that we neglect to listen, speak without weighing our words, and allow anger to flow instead of placing all in Your hands. Teach us to be quick to listen and slow to speak, and to slow our roll when anger rises. Show us how to love those around us in a way that makes all feel valued and heard. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we are intentional to truly listen, slow to speak, and slow to allow anger find a foothold. Amen.

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

Look to the Lord and His strength; seek His face always. – Psalm 105:4

Good Silences Foolishness

For it is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish people. – (1 Peter 2:15, NIV)

When you do good, you stop ignorant people from saying foolish things about you. This is what God wants. – (1 Peter 2:15, ERV)

For it is God’s will for you to silence the ignorance of foolish people by doing what is right. – (1 Peter 2:15, TPT)

Our charge is not to argue and dispute matters on social media, but rather it is to be an example by doing good. The reality is that actions speak louder than words. It is only when upright actions are repeated over time, that one’s reputation speaks for itself. God calls us to do good. If we are loving Him and loving those around us, what weight would foolish words hold? For me, when I know a person’s heart and character and they are continually doing good, no one has a valid voice if they speak ill of them. Character speaks volumes. The more that we seek after God’s own heart and ever work to do good wherever we go, the less anyone has to say against us. May we ever seek the Lord and His perfect will, so that we may do good and silence things spoken in spite.

Actions speak louder,

Than mere spoken words;

Steeped in God’s goodness,

The truth may be heard.

For foolish speaking,

Lacks a valid voice;

When good’s being done,

Acts in love, our choice.

So, let us choose good,

In all that we do;

Let love light the way,

As goodness shines through.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to do good. Thank You that as we follow You and navigate life through love, foolish talk and ignorant speech is silenced. Forgive us for our foolishness and lack of love. Teach us to seek to do good in all things at all times. Show us how to love in such a way that Your good silences all that is not laden in love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we are intentional to do the good that You call us to do. Amen.

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

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. – Galatians 5:22-23

The Message is Love

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

This is the teaching you have heard from the beginning: We must love each other. – (1 John 3:11, ERV)

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)

The message that is repeated over and over again throughout the Bible and through the life, death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus, is to love one another. It was the love of God that compelled Him to create. The love of God is what sent His Son to repair what had been broken and restore a right relationship with Him. Daily, we are loved by God and we have been called and created to love each other in the same way. Our love, care and concern for one another ought to be pure and not self-seeking. As we love as God intended, others are lifted up and led to the light of God’s goodness and grace. May we ever seek the Lord to lead and guide us in the fullness of His loving kindness in all that we say and do.

The message we’ve heard,

Is ever the same;

Love one another,

In Jesus’ Name.

For it’s by our love,

In word thought and deed;

That God’s love is shown,

As we trust His lead.

For all that is good,

All that offers light;

Comes from the Father,

The Maker of right.

Let us choose rise up,

Seek the God of grace;

To teach us to love,

Throughout all our days.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that the message You have given since the beginning of time has been to love. Thank You that You first loved us and demonstrated what it is to love one another. Forgive us for the times that we have neglected to love as we ought to love. Teach us to turn to You to lead us. Show us how to love one another best so that all may come to know and understand the fullness of Your love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love You and receive Your love so that we may love one another well. Amen.

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

Be completely humble and gentle; bearing with one another in love. – Ephesians 4:2

It’s All About Love

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, NIV)

Jesus answered, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and most important command. And the second command is like the first: ‘Love your neighbor the same as you love yourself.” – (Matthew 22:37-39, ERV)

Jesus said, “Love the Lord your God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence.’ This is the most important, the first on any list. But there is a second to set alongside it: ‘Love others as well as you love yourself.” – (Matthew 22:37-39, MSG)

If we love God and love people in a way that truly honors and obeys His commands, ALL people will feel valued, seen, heard and known. Sadly, everywhere I look, I see evidence that we are far from this. It is devastating to hear reports of people’s brilliance being overlooked, or of individuals being treated harshly or in a way that is in no way warranted. If I read too much, or look too hard, the heaviness is overwhelming. That being said, what can one human do? The answer is Jesus. If I seek Him to lead me in love, I can be part of the change I long to see. My role is to recognize, listen to, celebrate, encourage, educate, empower, value and honor the next generation. At times, this whole remote teaching gig makes it feel like an impossible task. The kiddos whom I never “see,” I struggle to get to know. Each opportunity I have, I attempt to encourage and care well for each faceless black box, and recognize that I have no idea what their environment is truly like. My hope is that kindness and encouragement will help them feel valued, and that at the end of the day, each is aware that someone cares. Lord, help us to love You and love one another as You intended.

Lord, will You lead us,

To love as You do;

Care for each other,

Let Your light shine through.

Help us be vessels,

Afloat in Your love;

May kindness give hope,

Care that You’re proud of.

Show us the spaces,

For encouragement;

Teach us to listen,

Hear discouragement.

Lead us all in love,

So kindness may reign;

May all voices be heard,

And Your love made plain.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to love You and love each other. Thank You that You have shown us what it is to truly love one another. Forgive us for the times that we have not acted or spoken in ways that demonstrate Your love to those around us. Teach us to do and be better. Help us to recognize, value, encourage and love well, all those around us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose to love You and those around us as You first 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

Imagine the Hope

However, as it is written: “What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived” – the things God has prepared for those who love Him. – (1 Corinthians 2:9, NIV)

But as the Scriptures say, “No one has ever seen, no one has ever heard, no one has ever imagined what God has prepared for those who love Him.” – (1 Corinthians 2:9, ERV)

But as the Scriptures say, No eye has ever seen and no ear has ever heard and it has never occurred to the human heart all the things God prepared for those who love Him. – (1 Corinthians 2:9, VOICE)

In my lifetime thus far, I have beheld the incredible beauty of God’s creation in numerous places around the globe. I have heard singing that moved my heart and mind to the incredible majesty of our Maker, and I have imagined a place where peace, love and joy abound and pain and sorrow are no longer found; yet, my experience and imagination do not even begin to compare to that which lies ahead. God has prepared a place for all who love and call on His Name, to join with Him for forever. This is what brings peace and comfort in seasons of loss or seeming hopelessness. Though we may not see it now, there is a place that has been prepared for us that is beyond our wildest dreams. Beloved friends and family members who have gone before me, are already there. Despite the grief from loss in the here and now, there is such hope, peace, comfort and joy in what is promised for eternity. May we ever seek to learn and grow in our love for the Lord, as He reveals more and more of who He is and how His love shall not end. His promised future for us is hope that we can cling to, no matter how the here and now appear.

Lord, show us the hope,

That is found in You;

Forever granted,

To all who love true.

The seeking shall find,

True joy that is found;

Blessed assurance,

Great faith that abounds.

Imagine a place,

A future so bright;

No sorrow or grief,

Just joy and delight.

The lasting presence,

Of God up above;

Preparing a place,

Abounding in love.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have prepared a place for all those who love You that exceeds our wildest imaginations. Thank You that the beauty and majesty that we have seen, heard and imagined, pales in comparison to all that lies ahead. Forgive us for losing sight of the hope we have in You. Teach us to trust the journey we are on, ever holding fast to all that lies ahead. Show us how to love those around us in ways that give glimpses of the hope that is found in forever with You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we set our entire being on loving You and those You have placed around us with hope securely set in our hearts. Amen.

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

Guide me in Your truth and teach me, for You are God my Savior, and my hope is in You all day long. – Psalm 25:5

Seeking Solitude for Strength

When Jesus heard what had happened, He withdrew by boat privately to a solitary place. – (Matthew 14:13a, NIV)

When Jesus heard what happened to John, He left in a boat. He went alone to a place where no one lived. – (Matthew 14:13a, ERV)

When Jesus got the news, He slipped away by boat to an out-of-the-way place by Himself. – (Matthew 14:13a, MSG)

This passage in Matthew 14 is an account of when John the Baptist (the cousin of Jesus) was beheaded by Herod and Jesus had just received news of it. Jesus, in His grief, sought some solitary space to grieve. However, soon after His retreat, crowds of people caught wind of His whereabouts and followed Him. Though Jesus was likely attempting to process and pray, when He saw the large crowd of people in need, “…He had compassion on them and healed their sick.” (vs. 14)

Jesus was the Son of God, yet on earth, He was also fully man. The grief, suffering, sorrow, and struggles that we all experience, He experienced too. Much like us, He desired room to grieve and pray. That being said, in His perfect love, Jesus recognized the needs in front of Him and set aside His own desires, in order to help. How do we navigate spaces of suffering, sorrow, and struggle like Jesus? He sought the Father, and then He saw the need before Him. Only Jesus is able to provide what we need to do both – to navigate our own trials and simultaneously reach out to those around us who are in need. We cannot allow the challenges of life to keep us from loving people the way we were created to love. Incredibly, when we do choose to look and reach out, the weight of our own burdens become lighter. May we ever seek the Lord to lead us in love and compassion, so that we may walk out our purpose, even when the road is rough.

Lord, teach us to pray,

To ever seek You;

Please lead us in love,

Grant us hope anew.

When challenges come,

For they always do;

Give us compassion,

To keep loving true.

It is by Your strength,

That we are made new;

Equipped to answer,

How we’re called by You.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the example that Jesus set before us to remind us that even in our darkness, we are called and equipped to be Your light. Forgive us for staying in our space of withdrawal when struggles come, rather than turning to You, then continuing to look forward. Teach us to trust You completely, for You bring comfort and compassion to the weariest of souls, and empower us to love all the more. Lead us to love those around us in ways that soothe the struggles and calm the chaos. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to pick us up, dust us off, and keep moving forward into all that You have created us for. Amen.

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

Look to the Lord and His strength; seek His face always. – 1 Chronicles 16:11

Open My Eyes

Open my eyes to see the wonderful truths in Your instruction. – (Psalm 119:18, NLT)

Open my eyes so that I can see all the wonderful things in Your teachings. – (Psalm 119:18, ERV)

Open my eyes to see the miracle wonders hidden in Your word. – (Psalm 119:18, TPT)

In order for our eyes to be opened, we must be intentional to spend time in His word. As we seek the Lord with purpose and in prayer, He reveals more and more of who He is and how He loves. The Lord gives wisdom that leads and guides us to walk in His way.

Lord, lead us to seek,

The truth in Your word;

Reveal unto us,

Beyond what we’ve heard.

Plant Your loving truth,

Deep within our hearts;

Help us see and know,

How to do our part.

Each is created,

With purposeful plan;

We must keep seeking,

So we understand.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are faithful to meet us and reveal more of Yourself, each time  we choose to earnestly seek You. Forgive us for the times that we neglect investing time with You. Teach us to be intentional with our time, as You are loving and kind, ever longing for us to draw near. Show us Your truth and instruct us as to how we might live and love well, so that our lives are an ongoing beacon of light and love to all those we encounter. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You and spend time in Your word. May our every word and deed demonstrate the goodness of Your love to the world. Amen.

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

Show me Your ways, Lord, teach me Your paths. – Psalm 25:4

Be Kind to All

“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes the sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even the pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” – (Matthew 5:43-48, NIV) 

‘’You’re familiar with the old written law, ‘Love your friend,’ and its unwritten companion, ‘Hate your enemy.’ I’m challenging that. I’m telling you to love your enemies. Let them bring out the best in you, not the worst. When someone gives you a hard time, respond with the energies of prayer, for then you are working out of your true selves. This is what God does. He gives His best – the sun to warm and the rain to nourish – to everyone, regardless: the good and the bad, the nice and the nasty. If all you do is love the lovable, do you expect a bonus? Anybody can do that. If you simply say hello to those who greet you, do you expect a medal? Any run-of-the-mill sinner does that. In a word, what I’m saying is, Grow up. You’re kingdom subjects. Now live like it. Live out your God-created identity. Live generously and graciously toward others, the way God lives toward you.” – (Matthew 5:43-48, MSG) 

Yesterday, the message delivered by one of the pastors at our church, resonated so clearly with me. (Link here, if you wish to listen.) His message mirrored the cry of my heart and what I have felt compelled to and ascertain to accomplish, for as long as I can recall. The bottom line is to love as God loves us. That means EVERYONE! Does this mean that I am successful every minute of every day? No. However, I am ever seeking to learn and grow and be established and rooted more deeply in Christ, so that I may do and be better each day. This is the reason that I refuse to engage in political banter on social media. When it is words being spewed into the oblivion, it seems to get really ugly, really rapidly. There is no capacity to see and hear the heart of the “speaker”, therefore it becomes a matter of attempting to prove why one’s own position is right, and the other is wrong. Kindness and love fall away, and what we are called to do, is far from done. We are not called to attempt to prove why our thinking is right and the other person’s is wrong. We are called to LOVE. Period. End statement. Love acts justly, loves mercy, and walks humbly. (Micah 6:8) Love is patient, kind, protective, honest, full of hope, and always perseveres. Love does not envy, boast, dishonor others, have a “me-first” attitude, is not easily angered, and does not keep record of wrongs. (1 Corinthians 13:4-7) Jesus loved the sinners and the saints; shared meals with both the despised and the embraced, and He shared much with the masses. He helped, He healed, He accepted, and He loved. What Jesus did, is what we are called to do. Our charge, as children of the Almighty God, is to LOVE. No matter who it is or what circumstances surround us, we must be kind and figure out how to love. Incredibly, when we ask and actually listen for answers, He will teach and equip us to love as He is calling us to love. Every act of kindness is an investment in others. As we sow love and kindness and generosity, God works in the hearts of those who receive. We are not called to preach at people, but rather we are called to love as Jesus loved. If we do so, according to His call, hearts can be changed and minds renewed. May we seek the Lord to strengthen and equip us each day, so that we may go forth and love one another according to His good and perfect will. 

We are not just called, 

To love those who love; 

But also, those who, 

Challenge us above. 

Jesus has shown us, 

To love enemies; 

For as we choose to, 

Both sides are set free. 

Set free from anger, 

From ugly dissent; 

For kindness disarms, 

Leads us to repent. 

Lord teach us to see, 

Others with Your love; 

To live as You lived, 

Give kindness above. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You equip and empower every willing heart to love as You loved, as we earnestly seek You. Forgive us for the times that our words or deeds did not reflect a love like Yours. Teach us to love both friend and foe in the same way that You love each of us. Show us what it means to love like You, and how to be kind and loving, even to those who make it difficult. May hearts be changed and relationships mended, as we seek to love ALL, as You love us; and may many come into a lasting relationship with You, the One who loves forever. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to grow us in Your love for others. 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