Speak With Care

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. – (Ephesians 4:29, NIV)

When you talk, don’t say anything bad. But say the good things that people need – whatever will help them grow stronger. Then what you say will be a blessing to those who hear you. – (Ephesians 4:29, ERV)

And never let ugly or hateful words come from your mouth, but instead let your words become beautiful gifts that encourage others; do this by speaking words of grace to help them. – (Ephesians 4:29, TPT)

 

Words matter. Words can build up or they can tear down. What we do with our words may have a lasting impact on the hearer, far beyond what we will ever know. This works with both encouragement and that which is destructive. One unkind, ugly or hateful word spoken carelessly, can haunt the hearer for years. If a child is already feeling discouraged and struggling, and someone comes along and tells them that they are stupid, that thoughtless word can become a barrier to them becoming their best self for an extended stretch of time. On the contrary, when a child is built up, encouraged, nurtured, loved and valued with words (and actions that prove them true), they soar as they are equipped to become the best version of themselves. Adults are no different. Marriages, friendships, work environments, etcetera – all grow stronger and become better when encouragement and grace are prevalent. I have experienced both, and the difference between the two is surviving and thriving. People surrounded by ugly and hateful words either join in and engage, attempt to bring change, or stay silent. Either way, it creates a survival sort of mentality. However, in an environment of encouragement and grace, people grow and become equipped to do likewise. May we watch our words with wisdom, knowing that what we say has the capacity to either build up or tear down.

 

May all of our words,

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Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

Be spoken with care;

For words have power,

Bring life or despair.

Our words can build up,

Bring out other’s best;

As we encourage,

Receivers are blessed.

Yet in the same way,

Words that are unkind;

Can wound and destroy,

The ears that they find.

So, let all we say,

Be seasoned with grace;

Spoken with kindness,

Throughout all our days.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that the words that You have for us are love and life and light and full of goodness and grace. Thank You that You call and equip us to do the same with the words that we extend to others. Forgive us for the words that we have spoken that have wounded others. Teach us to stop and think before we speak, seeking Your heart and help to extend words that encourage and build up, rather than destroy. Show us how to love those around us with encouraging words and use each word spoken to help others become a better version of themselves. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek Your wisdom for every word that leaves our lips. Amen.

 

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

 

May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to You, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer. – Psalm 19:14

Peace Through Understanding

Finally, all of you, have unity of spirit, sympathy, love for one another, a tender heart, and a humble mind. – (1 Peter 3:8, NRSV)

So, all of you should live together in peace. Try to understand each other. Love each other like brothers and sisters. Be kind and humble. – (1 Peter 3:8, ERV)

And now this word to all of you: You should be like one big happy family, full of sympathy toward each other, loving one another with tender hearts and humble minds. – (1 Peter 3:8, TLB)

 

We are called to live together in peace. To do so, we must try to understand one another. Understanding does not mean that we agree with every viewpoint and perspective that another holds, but rather that we hear and respect them, and choose to love as family with humility and kindness. Love is not meant to have limits. Our call is not to just love those who view the world as we do, nor show kindness to only those who are kind to us. Rather, we are invited and equipped to love others with kindness and humility, without conditions. The remarkable result of truly seeking to understand one another, is so often a new perspective and respect for that which would have not otherwise been known is discovered. God is good, and He calls us to good things. May we ever seek the Lord for wisdom and strength to love one another with tender hearts and humble minds, in such manner we may come to understand one another and live together in peace.

 

We are all called forth,

Peace Through Understanding

To love and be kind;

Seek understanding,

Heart, spirit and mind.

For love in this way,

Promotes lasting peace;

Sense of belonging,

Family increased.

Trust in His goodness,

Go forth in His grace;

Love with compassion,

Build lasting safe space.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to live at peace with one another. Thank You that as we seek You and rely on Your grace and strength, You equip us with kindness and humility to love those around us well. Forgive us for not investing nor seeking to understand others in a way that leads to peace. Teach us to listen so others feel heard and known. Show us how to love in the same way that we are loved by You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek to form family wherever we are planted, through kindness, humility and grace. Let Your lavish love show us the way. Amen.

 

 

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

 

Consider the blameless, observe the upright; a future awaits those who seek peace. – Psalm 37:37

Choosing Circles

The godly give good advice to their friends; the wicked lead them astray. – (Proverbs 12:26, NLT)

Good people are careful about choosing their friends, but evil people always choose the wrong ones. – (Proverbs 12:26, ERV)

Lovers of God give good advice to their friends, but the counsel of the wicked will lead them astray. – (Proverbs 12:26, TPT)

 

Yesterday morning, our pastor spoke about the significance and power of our circles. Our relationships have the power to shape our lives emotionally, physically and spiritually. We have the freedom to choose who holds space in our circle, as each person’s circle begins and ends with themselves. Those whom we surround ourselves with ought to encourage us and hold us accountable. Who we walk with determines the person we will become. “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” – (Proverbs 27:17, NIV) “Do not be misled: ‘Bad company corrupts good character.” – (1 Corinthians 15:33, NIV) We have been created for relationship. The intention is for us to sharpen one another, not to corrupt. The circle we choose can make all the difference in who we become. May we seek the Lord and His wisdom as we learn to grow our circle with grace, so that we may encourage and sharpen one another for His glory.

 

We’ve the grace to choose,

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Photos by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

Our circles ourselves;

We need the Lord’s help,

To choose people well.

Those who will build up,

When we’ve fallen down;

Will challenge with grace,

And straighten our crown.

We’re apt to attract,

Whatever we give;

Let wisdom and grace,

Define how we live.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You bless us with the freedom to choose our own circles. Thank You that You give wisdom and grace as we ask, leading and providing the people that will encourage and challenge us the way You intended. Forgive us for the times that we have neglected investing in our circles, or for forgetting that we have the freedom to choose. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would listen to Your leading as to which friends sharpen us and which distract. Show us how to be the friend to those around us that encourage and challenge in love in a way that builds up and points hearts to You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek to surround ourselves with circles that are pleasing unto You. Amen.

 

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

Walk with the wise and become wise, for a companion of fools suffers harm. – Proverbs 13:20

Stand Firm and Love Well

Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong. Do everything in love. – (1 Corinthians 16:13-14, NIV)

Listen, stay alert, stand tall in the faith, be courageous, and be strong. Let love prevail in your life, words, and actions. – (1 Corinthians 16:13-14, VOICE)

Remember to stay alert and hold firmly to all that you believe. Be mighty and full of courage. Let love and kindness be the motivation behind all that you do. – (1 Corinthians 16:13-14, TPT)

 

With so many ideas and influences bombarding us day in and day out, it is critical that we guard our hearts and minds, and know with certainty, what we believe. It takes courage and strength to remain strong in our convictions, yet when we remember, above all, to allow love to lead in every part of our being – our life, our words and our actions, there are less often challenges to the faith on which we stand. Because I know what I believe and try to allow love to be my motivation behind all that I say and do, I have had amazing, peaceful and kind conversations with friends that hold opposing viewpoints to my own. We do not need to view the world the same way to choose to love, and love and kindness do not soften the strength of one’s faith. May we listen and be aware of what influences are surrounding us so that we can have courage to stand strong in our faith. Above all, let love and kindness be the motivation behind all that we do.

 

We need to listen,

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Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

Choose to be aware;

Know well our beliefs,

And cover with prayer.

In strength, choose to stand,

By faith, for what’s true;

Take courage in Christ,

He’s always with you.

Let love and kindness,

Above all, prevail;

In word, deed and life,

Love shall never fail.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your word and Your Holy Spirit to lead us and guide us in what is good and true. Thank You that You not only call us to be strong and courageous in our faith, but You equip and empower us to do so. Thank You that the greatest call we are given is to love You and love people. Forgive us for the things that have not demonstrated love to You or to Your created. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would rely on You to be our Source and Supply. Show us how to love those around us with our words, deeds and the very life we lead. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we stand firm in our faith and lead lives of love. Amen.

 

 

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

Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart. – Proverbs 3:3

Empowered to Love

For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline. – (2 Timothy 1:7, NIV)

The Spirit of God does not make us afraid. His Spirit is a source of power and love and self-control. – (2 Timothy 1:7, ERV)

For the Holy Spirit, God’s gift, does not want you to be afraid of people, but to be wise and strong, and to love them and enjoy being with them. – (2 Timothy 1:7, TLB)

 

This morning, though earlier than my summer schedule, I woke feeling rested and refreshed. Normally, the night before the first day of school is a bit restless, and I struggle to sleep through the night. Perhaps sweet sleep came as a result of long hours invested in preparing my classroom over the last several weeks, with the final push to finish yesterday. Though I do not yet have chairs (hopefully stools) in my classroom, I walked away from school yesterday afternoon, feeling ready to pour into the lives of the kids who come into my class, just as I had poured into preparing the room. Additionally, I feel supported more than I ever have before. Not only do I still have an incredible community – through colleagues, friends, family and church, but I have a husband who is willing to jump in and do the difficult work and provide whatever support I may need. God loves me well, and makes His love tangible through my community. As I am loved, so I am empowered to do the same. May this be a year where each of us are empowered to love and enjoy those whom we are given to teach, fearlessly.

 

We’ve not been given,

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My classroom and favorite painting partner. ❤

A spirit of fear;

For God, in His strength,

Loves as He stays near.

He provides power,

Strength, wisdom and love;

Discipline, passion,

All grace from above.

Lead us in power,

Fearless to love well;

May joy be present,

As doubts He’ll dispel.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You equip us for all that You call us to do. Thank You that You empower us with strength, love and self-discipline to walk in Your way. Forgive us for our fearfulness and doubts, as You are our Source and our Supply. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would love fearlessly and listen carefully as You lead. Show us how to love those who seem less loveable, as we know You are especially fond of the hard and the hurting. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love and enjoy each one whom You bring into our care. Amen.

 

 

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

Never tire of loyalty and kindness. Hold these virtues tightly. Write them deep within your heart. – Proverbs 3:3

Trust to be Led

This is what the Lord says – your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: “I am the Lord your God, who teaches you what is good for you and leads you along the paths you should follow.” – (Isaiah 48:17, NLT)

The Lord, the Savior, the Holy One of Israel, says, “I am the Lord your God. I teach you for your own good. I lead you in the way you should go.” – (Isaiah 48:17, ERV)

“I am God, your God, who teaches you how to live right and well. I show you what to do, where to go.” – (Isaiah 48:17, MSG)

 

God is and was and will always be the One who is ready to teach us and lead us the direction that we are meant to go. At times, we cannot see how the direction we are being led could possibly lead to good, and then, at just the right time, we begin to discover the purpose. Often the journey leads to discoveries about who God is and how He loves, that we would not have otherwise known. There are times that we do not understand the good until we reach the other side of the mountain that He led us to climb. Despite the struggle on the way up, the view when we reach the other side is even more glorious than we could have dreamed or imagined. He is good, and He will lead us the way we are meant to go, if only we are willing to seek Him for direction. May we ever listen to the Lord’s leading, for He is good and takes us to places we would never attempt to traverse on our own.

 

The Lord, He is good,

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Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

He’ll show us the way;

The paths we’re to take,

And when we’re to stay.

He grants us the strength,

To go where He leads;

And shows us the way,

In Him, to succeed.

So, seek to live right,

Follow the Lord’s will;

He’ll take us places,

Where hopes are fulfilled.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are a good and loving God. Thank You that You lead us and teach us the ways in which we are meant to go. Thank You that You have good in store for us, no matter how things appear along the way. Forgive us for our doubts when the road becomes rough. Teach us to trust You more, no matter the condition of the path we are called to travel, as You are faithful to go before us, beside us, and behind us, and equip us to get where we’re meant to go. Show us how to love, encourage and strengthen those around us, so that they would stay the course to which they are called. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You and trust You to lead and teach us the ways we are meant to go forth. Amen.

 

 

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

 

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight. – Proverbs 3:5-6

Heard in Silence

You who answer prayer, to You all people will come. – (Psalm 65:2, NIV)

Anyone can come to You, and You will listen to their prayers. – (Psalm 65:2, ERV)

You hear us pray in words and silence; all humanity comes into Your presence. – (Psalm 65:2, VOICE)

 

For me, The Voice translation is such a comforting reminder of the character of our Creator. He hears the words that we can give a voice, and those that are trapped in the chambers of our heart, pleading for His hand to hold them. God sees and He knows, and He listens to the prayers of all who set their mind and heart on Him. May we ever remember that the Lord is near, ready to listen to our prayers – whether our words unto Him have volume or are uttered in the silent spaces of our hearts and minds – He hears.

 

The Lord is faithful,

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Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

He sees and He hears;

Each time that we pray,

He listens, comes near.

God hears more than words,

He knows each heart cry;

Prayed in the stillness,

Where His hope stands by.

God always listens,

When people choose pray;

He loves and forgives,

And shows us the way.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You hear our every prayer, no matter if we give them an audible voice or hold them in our hearts for You. Thank You that You love all of creation so much that You are always ready to listen to anyone who desires to speak to You. Forgive us for making prayer more complicated than it ought to be, as You desire our heart, not a stream of eloquent words. Teach us to be real with You in relationship, rather than “pray” out of obligation. Show us how to love those around us in a way that demonstrates Your faithfulness and willingness to listen and love, without prerequisites. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we come to You and pray to You, sharing the things of our heart with You; always. Amen.

 

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

The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them; He delivers them from all their troubles. – Psalm 34:17

A Praying Parent

Then you will call on Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. – (Jeremiah 29:12, NIV)

When you call on Me and come and pray to Me, I will listen to you. – (Jeremiah 29:12, CEB)

When you call on Me, when you come and pray to Me, I’ll listen. – (Jeremiah 29:12, MSG)

 

There is power when a parent prays. Both my Viking and I are evidence of faithful mothers who have prayed without ceasing. Though they had to watch and pray as we each navigated our own heartaches along the way, there has been much joy found in the faithful answers to prayers long heard, and at last with answer, in His perfect timing. Their example to us has set and established a pattern for us to follow in our own lives, both as parents and human beings. May we ever call on the Lord and pray to Him, for He hears and listens to all who call on His Name.

 

As we call on Christ,

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Photos by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography<3

He’s faithful to hear;

Always He listens,

Ever He is near.

There is such power,

When parents choose pray;

Dreams for their children,

Come to pass one day.

His peace and His grace,

Protection and more;

Through praying parents,

Who love and adore.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the gift of parents who pray. Thank You that You heard the prayers of our wonderful moms, and blessed us all in the process. Forgive us for our inconsistency in praying about all that lies before us. Teach us to come to You for all things at all times, as You are our Provider and our peace. Show us how to love those around us in the same way that our moms have loved us so well – with grace, mercy, and unconditional love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You and pray to You, trusting that You hear our every word. Amen.

 

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

 

For great is Your love, reaching to the heavens; Your faithfulness reaches to the skies. – Psalm 57:10

Wedding Photo Preview

Yesterday, we were blessed to receive a plethora of photos from our early morning photo shoot on our wedding day. We are over-the-moon with how they turned out, as each shot captures our heart for one another and the way in which we love and enjoy each other. Rather than my usual writing, I thought I would share this joy with you before I head to my oral surgery appointment this morning.

Can you tell how much love

Lifted kiss

Laughter by the rock

Smiling fields

*Photos are by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography

By day the Lord directs His love, at night His song is with me – a prayer to the God of my life. – Psalm 42:8

Dear Heavenly Father, we thank You and praise You that You direct Your love and that Your song is with us wherever we go. I am so grateful for the blessings You have granted in my life, and am trusting You to go before me and remain with me in the unknown. Teach us to trust You in all things and forgive us for our fearfulness in the unknown. Show us how to love relentlessly, especially those who are most difficult to love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we receive Your love and listen to Your song in our hearts. Amen.

Built Up in Peace

Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification. – (Romans 14:19, NIV)

So, let’s strive for the things that bring peace and the things that build each other up. – (Romans 14:19, CEB)

So then, make it your top priority to live a life of peace with harmony in your relationships, eagerly seeking to strengthen and encourage one another. – (Romans 14:19, TPT)

 

As myself and many of my colleagues have returned to school to begin to prepare for the upcoming school year, I love that the climate among my coworkers is such as this. Each time I have run into a colleague, we have taken the time to catch up and listen to one another, as well as delight in each other’s summer adventures. Always, I walk away feeling encouraged and built up, knowing that I am in a place where we support one another both as professionals and as people. While I was painting walls and allowing the lyrics to which I was listening to sink in, it was my prayer that my classroom would be a place of peace where students would build each other up. Perhaps if they witness the continual positive and peaceful exchanges between colleagues, they too, will be encouraged to do likewise. It certainly is my goal to create a place of peace and encouragement within my classroom, and my hope that it goes far beyond my four walls. May we seek the Lord daily, who is the Prince of Peace, to fill us up and equip us to bring encouragement and peace to all of the places that He has planned.

 

Let us choose seek peace, OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

One to another;

May kindness take lead,

Sisters and brothers.

May we choose build up,

With encouragement;

Pick words that bring life,

Sweet hope’s fulfillment.

For as we bring peace,

It reaches beyond;

Those our choices touch,

From there they respond.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to bring peace and encouragement to the places we gather. Thank You that these are not things that we must somehow muster the feelings to pass on, but rather they are a way birthed within us as we seek You for help. Forgive us for trying to do this on our own, or for ignoring the very notion of peace in places that seem so unsettled. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would seek You and depend on You to bring peace to the places we land, and provide encouraging words to share with those around us. Show us how to love others with Your perfect peace and encouragement. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to be our peace and encouragement so that we may share Your peace and offer encouragement wherever we go. Amen.

 

 

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

 

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