Love Reaches Out

This is love: not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. – (1 John 4:10, NIV)

True love is God’s love for us, not our love for God. He sent His Son as the way to take away our sins. – (1 John 4:10, ERV)

This is love: He loved us long before we loved Him. It was His love, not ours. He proved it by sending His Son to be a pleasing sacrificial offering to take away our sins. – (1 John 4:10, TPT)

 

Love is sacrificial and does not love because it receives. Love chooses to give because it is the right thing to do. God has shown us what it is to love, as He loved us while we were far from loving Him. His love covers us and changes our hearts, leading us to Him who is love, so that we too, might love one another. To love is a daily decision to choose, not an emotion based on how we feel. Extending God’s heart to the world is our opportunity and call to love as we are commanded to do. This is a far easier charge with those who love us back. However, we are still called to love those who do not. It does not mean we are to be unwise and take abuse or allow boundaries to be violated, but it does mean that we must continue to extend kindness and grace, even to those who do not seem to understand either in return. We never know the impact that our choice to love will have, yet we do know that each decision to love plants a seed that another can water, and still another can sow. God knows, and this is why He calls us to keep loving as He loves us. May we go forth and choose to love, just as God first loved us.

 

After eluding to the pending change, today is the official day that Mom will be moving into her new place, back in Wenatchee. She still has her home, but for now, will be in a smaller, more manageable space where help is available as needed, while she continues to rebuild and gain strength. Already, there have been joyful celebrations, as Megan and Scott made the journey with her back to Wenatchee from Albany, Oregon, and have spent time since Thursday afternoon in Mom’s home. What a difference for Mom to be back in her home and able to walk around freely with her cane, rather than using a walker with someone following closely behind to be sure she was steady on her feet. Mom’s joy has returned, as it was apparent that she desperately needed to be back home, in her own community. Mark and I are very much looking forward to driving over tomorrow to spend the day with her and check out her new place, and take her wherever her heart desires to go. I cannot begin to express my gratitude to the sacrificial love that my sister and her family have made over the last six months, as they opened their home and hearts to walk with mom through the most recent leg of her healing journey. We all are excited to see the progress she will make now, as she reenters life back in her own community. Mom loved the support of family that she has had since her stroke, but we all knew that she was at a point where she needed to be reengaged with the community she loves and has invested so deeply in. May love be what leads every person who interacts with Mom as she continues to move forward on this healing journey.

 

To love is a choice, 0530190535_hdr7684487105677418242.jpg

It reaches out first;

Gives kindness always,

In best and in worst.

For just as God loves,

And shows love to us;

We must also love,

Choose extend kindness.

True love gives the best,

Prefers each other;

No matter what comes,

Love one another.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You first loved us and made the way for us to love You and love one another. Thank You that You are love. Forgive us for the times that we do not extend the love that we are called to give. Teach us to trust and rely on You more, so that we would love big, even when what comes back to us is less than loving. Show us how to love those around us in the ways that it is needed most. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love each other as You love us. Amen.

 

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

 

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

Strength When Things Seem Senseless

Finally, be strong in the Lord and His mighty power. – (Ephesians 6:10, NIV)

Last of all I want to remind you that your strength must come from the Lord’s mighty power within you. – (Ephesians 6:10, TLB)

Now my beloved ones, I have saved these most important truths for last: Be supernaturally infused with strength through your life-union with the Lord Jesus. Stand victorious with the force of His explosive power flowing in and through you. – (Ephesians 6:10, TPT)

 

Life is full of obstacles, challenges, peaks and valleys that appear before us without notification. We need the Lord’s strength to navigate trials and heartache, and His power to persevere on this journey set before us. In Christ, we have what we need to press on and discover the beauty on the other side. Though it does not always feel that way in the middle of the loss, trial or difficulty, His presence and His peace are always available if we choose depend on Him.

The impact of loss struck me yesterday, as the tragic news of Kobe Bryant, his daughter, Gianna, and the other seven people on the helicopter that crashed, had lost their lives. It is not so much that it was a celebrity who was lost, but rather one who represented a dream for so many young people, who was passing his dream on to his daughter, and an entire generation that followed after him. A common expression heard in my classroom when students toss trash into the can in basketball fashion, is “Kobe!” if the shot makes it in the can well on the first try. His impact has been tremendous throughout his well-decorated NBA career and beyond.

Where am I going with all of this? Honestly, I am not sure. What I do know, is that we need Jesus, and we need to love the people around us well. It requires strength from within to keep moving forward when we are blind-sided by tragedies. My heart aches for the wife and three daughters left behind, as well as for every young person who looked to the example set before them by the man who successfully navigated a phenomenal NBA career and beyond, as well as a family life, beautifully. May we seek our Savior to be supernaturally infused with His strength all of our days, so that we may go forth and love well.

 

Be strong in the Lord, wp-15801297840646155505631906763539.jpg

For in Him, we’ll stand;

No matter what comes,

We’re held in His hands.

Choose seek after Him,

In good times and bad;

His grace and His strength,

Our safe space to land.

Lord, hold in Your hands,

Each heart that’s in pain;

Let Your love be known,

As Your goodness reigns.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our strength and power when we need it the most. Thank You that though we cannot begin to understand why tragedies occur, You remain present to help, hold and love us through them all. Forgive us for our lack of seeking in spaces of loss. Teach us to trust and depend on You more deeply, for no one understands like You. Show us how to love those around us well, so that Your kindness and comfort may be made tangible. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You to be our strength in all things and at all times. Amen.

 

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

 

It is God who arms me with strength and keeps my way secure. – 2 Samuel 22:33

Faithful in Stillness

The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still. – (Exodus 14:14, NIV)

You will not have to do anything but stay calm. The Lord will do the fighting for you. – (Exodus 14:14, ERV)

The Eternal will fight on your behalf while you watch in silence. – (Exodus 14:14, VOICE)

 

The fourteenth chapter of Exodus takes us back to the account of when Pharaoh had at long last released the Israelites from captivity, and they had begun their trek in the desert. God led them on a path that made Pharaoh believe that the Israelites were wandering around in confusion, and his heart grew hard as he determined to send out his army and retrieve the people who had served him for so long. As the Israelites began to catch sight of the Egyptian army moving their direction, they became fearful and started to question everything. Moses responded with verse fourteen, and the events that followed were: the safe passage of the Israelites on dry land between the walls of water of the Red Sea, the Egyptian army marching into the middle of the parted sea, chariot wheels breaking, chaos and confusion, followed by the walls of water crashing over the entire Egyptian army, leading to their ultimate demise. God had fought for the Israelites, just as He said He would do. Their part was to walk forward where He was leading, and to choose to trust. Often, God calls us to the same today. Our portion is to be still, be silent, and trust Him to fight on our behalf. As we listen and trust, He shows us what our “next steps” are to be, and is faithful to go before and behind us, as we move boldly in faith. May faith rise up within us to trust the Lord, as He fights for us faithfully.

 

It has been way too long since I have updated about Mom, but much of life has continued as the status quo. She is participating in physical therapy, occupational therapy and speech therapy, all as outpatient during the week. Mom continues to work tirelessly, yet we all wish she could partake in each therapy daily. Yesterday, my nephew had a big lacrosse tryout in Portland, and mom was going to go along to watch and cheer him on. Any time that mom returns to the stands to watch and cheer on grand-kids, is a very positive step forward in recovery. We know she is very much missing her community at home in Wenatchee, and are praying hard as to how to best love and support her as she continues to heal. If you are the praying sort, please pray with us that we would be still and listen as He fights for her and shows us all how to navigate each step of this journey.

 

The Lord is faithful, Faithful in Stillness

Let us choose be still;

Trust in the silence,

What He says, He will.

God meets us with grace,

His goodness and love;

As we wait on Him,

Our hope from above.

Whatever the fight,

God’s presence will be;

Before and behind,

Moving faithfully.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are for us and not against us. Thank You that so often when we have obstacles or battles before us, You simply call us to be still and trust in You; for You fight and move on our behalf. Forgive us for our fearfulness that struggles to trust. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would listen to Your still small voice within, as You lead us in the direction that we need to go. Show us how to love those around us best, so that all may know Your goodness and faithfulness that is for all. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You and choose be still when You call us to wait on You; for Your way is always best. Amen.

 

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

 

He says, “Be still and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” – Psalm 46:10

Treasure the Blessings

Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. – (Luke 2:19, NIV)

Mary continued to think about these things, trying to understand them. – (Luke 2:19, ERV)

But Mary treasured all these things in her heart and often pondered what they meant. – (Luke 2:19, TPT)

 

Can you begin to fathom all that Mary had to hold in her heart and ponder? A young girl, most likely in her mid-teens, had been visited by an angel, conceived by the Holy Spirit, traveled some ninety miles to the city of David, discovered there were no rooms available, given birth in a barn, visited by shepherds who had been told of the Savior’s birth by an army of heavenly hosts singing praise, and there she was, left gazing at the face of God in her newborn infant son. What a crazy, wonderful, whirlwind of a journey to arrive at that space. I imagine there was great reassurance as the shepherds came near, after the young couple had been ostracized and rejected for Mary being with child out of wedlock. To treasure things is to hold them in great value, and it reveals to us even more, the heart of the young girl who was well-chosen to carry Christ and bring Him into the world. I love that God chooses ordinary people to do extraordinary things. By human standards, why one so young? However, God saw her heart. Mary was willing to walk the difficult road, despite not knowing where it would lead. She chose to say yes, understanding the risks involved in being with child as a virgin, and treasured the faithfulness of God each step of their journey. May we pause and ponder the power and presence of God in our own lives, and take time to treasure all of the times that we can testify of His goodness and faithfulness unto us.

 

Angelic visit, Treasure the Blessings

Hard to fathom news;

Called to carry Christ,

What would this girl do?

“Let your word be so,”

Her faithful reply;

With no thought for self,

Except perhaps, why.

For just a young girl,

With little to give;

A heart, so willing,

For Christ, she chose live.

It all came to pass,

As it was foretold;

Mary was with child,

A treasure to hold.

In meager stable,

Christ entered the earth;

Among the cattle,

The humble Lord’s birth.

Swaddled and set down,

Where animals fed;

It’s what Mary had,

For Jesus’ bed.

Army of angels,

Announced the Lord’s birth;

To nearby shepherds,

Who would see Him first.

So much to take in,

In awe and wonder;

Mary chose treasure,

Each step, to ponder.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the incredible gift of Your Son, Jesus. Thank You that He lived and loved and grew in ordinary ways so that He would know and understand what we go through, personally. Thank You that He did all without sin in order to take all of ours upon Himself. Forgive us for not pausing to ponder all of the treasures we have in You. Teach us to slow down and reflect upon Your goodness, grace, love and light that floods our hearts and lives with evidence of You. Show us how to love those around us in ways that extend Your love, goodness and grace to all, so that they too may pause and ponder the treasures that You place in their lives. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we treasure the blessings and ponder the powerful ways You move in our lives. Amen.

 

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

 

Today the town of David a Savior has been born to you; He is the Messiah, the Lord. – Luke 2:11

Choose Praise

And Mary said: “My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, … for the Mighty One has done great things for me – Holy is His Name.” – (Luke 1:46,47 & 49, NIV)

Then Mary said, “I praise the Lord with all my heart. I am very happy because God is my Savior. Yes, the Powerful One has done great things for me. His Name is very holy. – (Luke 1:46, 47 & 49, ERV)

Mary: My soul lifts up the Lord! My spirit celebrates God, my Liberator! For the Mighty One has done great things for me; holy is God’s Name! – (Luke 1:46, 47 & 49, VOICE)

 

I observe in awe and wonder, the heart of Mary, as she focused on the gift and the honor for which she had been chosen, rather than the stigma and challenges that would come with what was being asked of her. She trusted God, and praised Him. In this season, and always, I desire to have a heart like hers. God has done incredibly great things for me, and I know with all that I am, that He indeed, is holy. When challenges come, I desire for my focus to be on glorifying God for who He is, so that I may rejoice in Him, rather than my circumstances. As we walk into the wearying last week before break, may we look to the Lord and celebrate all that He has done. May praise be present within me, as I know the true joy in who He is and how He loves so well.

 

I choose praise the Lord,

With all of my heart;

Celebrate His grace,

And strength He imparts.

So many great things,

The Lord does in love;

Worthy of our praise,

All gifts from above.

He’s mighty to save,

And faithful to show;

The mercy we need,

As His blessings flow.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we have unending reasons to glorify You and rejoice in Your Mighty Name. Thank You that Your mercies are new every morning and that Your faithfulness knows no end. Thank You that You love us with an unfailing love. Forgive us for doubting the depths of Your love and care when life takes difficult turns. Teach us to trust You more, as You know the outcome and walk beside us each step of life’s journey. Show us how to love those around us well, so that we extend grace and strength and hope to those who are lacking. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You praise, our Savior, who does great things for us all. 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

Measured By Our Maker

There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. – (1 John 4:18, NIV)

Where God’s love is, there is no fear, because God’s perfect love takes away fear. It is His punishment that makes a person fear. So His love is not made perfect in the one who has fear. – (1 John 4:18, ERV)

There is no room in love for fear. Well-formed love banishes fear. Since fear is crippling, a fearful life – fear of death, fear of judgment – is one not yet fully formed in love. – (1 John 4:18, MSG)

 

I’m not sure why my heart held onto this particular verse this morning as I read through today’s passages, but for whatever reason, it did. Perhaps it is to remind my own heart that above all, I am loved perfectly by God. I am not particularly fearful, yet when I feel overloaded by life, there are things that make me feel anxious, which is really a form of fear. In my case, it is one of “not enough”.  As an educator, mom, wife, daughter, sister, coach, friend, and more, it is easy to place pressure on myself to “measure up” to a certain standard, as there are goals I desire to accomplish, hopes I hold, and dreams that I am pursuing. That being said, I have to remember that we are all on a journey and life is a process. God, in His perfect love, walks beside us, strengthens us, encourages us, and equips us for each next step. The only standard we need worry about “measuring up” to, is His. Just like a loving parent, the Lord asks for obedience, and our best; not perfection. There is no fear in a child who knows that they have done their best to do as their parent has asked of them; it is no different with God. We are loved perfectly because we are His. We are enough because He created us in His image. We need not fear, because His love is for us, and He is far greater than anything that could ever come against us. May we ever rest in God’s perfect love as we press on in all that He has called us to be and do, for in all things, His strength and grace will see us through.

 

No need be afraid, Measured By Our Maker

When doubt dares come near;

For God’s perfect love,

Casts away all fear.

There’s no punishment,

In faithful pursuit;

Instead there is grace,

That none can dispute.

In all things, always,

Seek God and His love;

He’s love perfected,

Strength to rise above.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that there is no fear in love. Thank You that Your love drives fear away, and grants us the strength and resolve to press on and rise up into all that You are calling us to become. Forgive us for our fear, worry and anxiousness about measuring up to the world’s standards, rather than giving our best unto You. Teach us to give all to You in everything we do, so that our trust is in You alone. Show us how to love those around us in a way that extends grace, strength, resolve and encouragement where they are needed most. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we receive Your perfect love and fix our eyes on how You view us, rather than any other standard set in our sight line. Amen.

 

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

 

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. – Colossians 3:12

Faithful Love That Lasts

Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good. His love endures forever. – (Psalm 136:1, NIV)

Praise the Lord because He is good. His faithful love will last forever. – (Psalm 136:1, ERV)

Thank God! He deserves your thanks. His love never quits. – (Psalm 136:1, MSG)

 

I am so thankful that there is time set aside to gather and give thanks together. The opportunity to spend quality time with loved ones is a tremendous blessing, and not one of us takes the privilege for granted. We are especially grateful this year, as we recognize that this season could have gone horribly different. God’s grace has been tangibly evident, as He spared mom’s life and walks us all along this journey of healing together. Though it is a long road, there is much joy in the journey. We laugh often, and appreciate every moment we have together, even more than we ever did before. There is a tender closeness now that runs far deeper than it did even last year at this time, and that is just one of the examples of beauty that God has brought from a difficult and devastating circumstance. Today, and always, we give thanks to God because He is good and His love never quits. May we ever look to the Lord with thanksgiving in our heart, recognizing that He is near, abounding in love.

As for mom specifically, she is very much looking forward to beginning more of her outpatient therapies on Monday. She is hopeful and determined, and it is good to see her gaining confidence in moving independently around the house with her walker. When we arrived late yesterday morning, it was mom who greeted us at the door! It was so good to see that she had been waiting nearby, at the ready to get up and walk to open the door upon our arrival! The family all enjoyed a wonderful meal together, time to visit and lounge, and then at last, our long-awaited tradition of family game night. After several rounds of a family favorite, we decided to mix it up, and Mark taught us all how to play Texas Hold ‘Em. It was an evening of much laughter and friendly competitions, as we have clearly raised a generation of intelligent young men, who seek to strategize and win. 😊 All thanks to God for His goodness that He has granted in the incredible gift of family, and the way that He makes His love tangible through each heart as we spend time together.

 

Give thanks to the Lord,

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Last night’s line up for our family favorite game.

For He’s always good;

Love that shall endure,

Through time has withstood.

His love will not quit,

It ever remains;

Filling and blessing,

As this love sustains.

With hearts overwhelmed,

Such goodness and love;

All thanks be to God,

Our Lord up above.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the blessing of family and the time to gather together. Thank You for those who are with us, and those who gathered in other places. Be near us all. Forgive us for the times that we forget how very good You are, and how You love us through all things, no matter how they appear. Teach us to embrace every blessing and enjoy each precious gift that we are given in love. Show us how to love those around us in such a way that Your goodness and grace is made tangible. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You all of our thanks and praise for Your faithful love that lasts forever. 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

Patient Endurance

Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. – (James 1:4, NIV)

If you let that patience work in you, the end result will be good. You will be mature and complete. You will be all that God wants you to be. – (James 1:4, ERV)

And true patience brought on by endurance will equip you to complete the long journey and cross the finish line – mature, complete, and wanting nothing. – (James 1:4, VOICE)

 

Both running a long road race and being an educator during a year when Thanksgiving falls a week later than usual, are ways to remind us how true patience brought on by endurance equips us to complete the long journey to cross the finish line. For one, it is an actual finish line, for the other, it is arriving at the first much anticipated break of the school year, and the opportunity to at long last, catch up with family. When we seek and depend on God in the process, He supplies all that we need to complete each leg of our race. Sometimes, it is the fortitude to get from one water station to the next, or one week to the next; either way, He is present when we seek Him. May we allow true patience to work in us, as we persevere, allowing God to grow and stretch us into all that He wants us to be; mature, complete and lacking nothing.

As for mom, this is the week that out-patient therapies begin! Though there is anticipation about the details, mom is eager to get going, and as always, is ready to work tirelessly toward the goal of regaining what was lost. She continues to be upbeat and positive, ever-patient as she perseveres onward toward the prize. My sister and her family are doing a fabulous job of getting mom out and challenging her to try new things. It is a joy to hear about each new step she is taking, and I am beyond grateful for my sister, brother-in-love and nephews, as they continue to love mom well.

 

Choose perseverance, img_2019-11-19_04-16-203117290028297450777.jpg

For as we endure;

Christ will empower,

Set our feet secure.

Keep moving forward,

The direction called;

Along the journey,

His grace is installed.

As we choose press on,

Maturity grows;

We lack for nothing,

And His goodness shows.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us and equip us to persevere for all of our days. Thank You that through the difficulties, You refine and define our character to more clearly reflect Yours. Thank You that You grant us Your strength and grace as we run our race, and that we each have our own pace to take. Forgive us for allowing our hearts to compare our journey to another, or our pace to someone else’s. Thank You that You created each of us uniquely with a plan and a purpose. Teach us to keep our eyes on You and what You are calling us to do. Show us how to love those around us well, so that they may grow and be encouraged as they run their own race. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we allow patience to work in us, as we persevere with endurance, each leg of this journey that we are called to run. Amen.

 

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

 

May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had. – Romans 15:5

Desires Fulfilled Through Delight in Him

Take delight in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart. – (Psalm 37:4, NIV)

Take great joy in the Eternal! His gifts are coming, and they are all your heart desires! – (Psalm 37:4, VOICE)

Make God the utmost delight and pleasure of your life, and He will provide for you what you desire most. – (Psalm 37:4, TPT)

 

The caveat to this verse is to be mindful of the first half, prior to fixating on the second. It is only when we delight in the Lord and take pleasure in that which pleases Him, that our heart’s desires transpire, as they are aligned with His good and perfect will for us. This is a great reminder on days that life doesn’t seem to go our way, as one day does not define our eternity. Yesterday, I had one of those days that required me to dig deep and choose to delight in God, as various circumstances sprinkled throughout my day, challenged my heart. God is faithful, and He provided good in the midst of the trying. Sweet reminders of His goodness and faithfulness were made evident through the people He has placed around me. Lovely colleagues and sweet students were mingled in between a migraine and a handful of students who were struggling behaviorally. At last, once the school day was done, my love and I were able to load the car and begin our journey to mom in Oregon. Traffic was terrible, yet I was able to take joy in the beauty along the way, and behold the blessing of the company I was keeping. What I desired most was to see Mom, and by 9:00 pm, we arrived and were greeted with such joy, my heart could hardly contain it. God is so good, and He blesses our hearts as we earnestly seek Him.

 

Delight in the Lord, img_2019-10-19_09-09-587156151120664397351.jpg

In Him, seek true joy;

Ever He’s faithful,

Blessings He employs.

As we seek the Lord,

Our hearts shall align;

With His pleasing will,

His goodness we find.

For all things give thanks,

Each day we draw breath;

The Lord is so good,

By grace we are blessed.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we delight in You and seek to find joy in You, we discover the desires of our heart are met in You. Forgive us for fixing our eyes on the obstacles that attempt to steal our joy. Teach us to recognize the blessings, even in the trials; for You are always good. Show us how to love those around us with Your goodness and grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we take delight in You and give Your praise for the blessings You pour upon us. Amen.

 

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

 

The Lord makes firm the steps of the one who delights in Him. – Psalm 37:23