Listen and Learn

Apply your heart to instruction and your ears to words of knowledge. – (Proverbs 23:12, NIV) 

Pay close attention to the teaching that corrects you, and open your heart to every word of instruction. – (Proverbs 23:12, TPT) 

Develop a disciplined life. Be attentive so you can be well informed. – (Proverbs 23:12, VOICE) 

The beautiful thing about learning is that it never ends. We are all a work in progress, with much learning and growing to be done. As we choose to be attentive and invest in trustworthy instruction, our minds are challenged and our hearts are transformed. With formal education, there may be a point where we have gone as far as we want or need to go, yet the wisdom and understanding that will propel us forward and transform our hearts and minds, knows no end. When we listen more and speak less, our grasp on the world around us grows stronger, and we are better equipped to love well. This is the space where being invested in Christ and listening to His Spirit within us, is critical. That still small voice within, guides our hearts and minds in how we ought to hear, receive, and act on words of instruction. Learning how to live a disciplined life, empowers us to be attentive to the lessons that our peers, mentors, family, friends and experiences are showing us along the way. Often, our greatest growth comes out of the most difficult of seasons. For many of us, this time of solitude has served to lead us to a greater awareness of the people and world around us. The more we know and understand, the better equipped we are to be agents of change for injustice and inequity, as we learn to love better. May we seek the Lord to guide us, so that we may continue to listen and learn all that He has for us.   

To listen and learn, 

With an open heart; 

Is how to grow wise, 

Treat love as an art. 

For wisdom, it grows, 

As we choose invest; 

Seek understanding, 

And bless as we’re blessed. 

Choose be disciplined, 

Ever seeking truth; 

Throughout our whole lives, 

Not merely in youth. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to pay attention, listen and learn. Thank You that You are the ultimate teacher and example for us. Forgive us for the times that we have not listened to Your leading, or have not slowed down to listen and learn. Teach us to be lifelong learners, so that we may grow more and more like You. Show us how to love and listen well. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we listen and trust as You lead. Amen. 

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

Surely God is my help; the Lord is the one who sustains me. – Psalm 54:4

The Way to Love Well

Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. – (Ephesians 4:32, NIV)

Be kind and loving to each other. Forgive each other the same as God forgave you through Christ. – (Ephesians 4:32, ERV)

But instead be kind and affectionate toward one another. Has God graciously forgiven you? Then graciously forgive one another in the depths of Christ’s love. – (Ephesians 4:32, TPT)

 

Kindness and compassion, love and forgiveness, must be how we allow God to lead us in His grace, if we are to love as He loves us. Mother’s Day, or any other day that is intended to celebrate an individual – be it a birthday, anniversary, accomplishment or the like – is a perfect opportunity for these attributes to be extended, especially when what is hoped for is not realized. For example, my incredible husband is a total acts of service guy, his love language is to go above and beyond to do the little things that keep our home running smoothly, and does so without any sort of “honey do” list. In fact, he does things long before I even consider the need for them to be done, and if an issue arises, he fixes it barely after the concern has left my mouth. I, on the other hand, am all about quality time. My heart’s desire is to spend time with the people I love, doing fun things together. Being outdoors, playing games, hiking, walking, biking, going to the beach – you name it – anything together where all those present are engaged, and my heart is filled. As you can imagine, the two methods of expressing love do not always align. Saturday, I did have quality time with the family, and quality time with my love. Sunday, however, turned into a list of things that needed to be accomplished, and it felt as if Mother’s Day was all but forgotten. Now, encouraging words are a close second, and my boys did make a point to speak sweet and encouraging words of their appreciation to me as their mom. They were apologetic about not having a gift, and my genuine reply was about them being my greatest gift, and the two of them continuing to work hard and finish the school year strong would be the best gift they could give.  After a weird lull in the late afternoon, Mark and I spoke about hopes versus reality, and there was kindness, compassion, love and forgiveness extended on both sides by His grace. The evening was concluded with quality time, playing our favorite board game, as love and laughter filled the room, and my heart. We are still learning how to love one another best, and I am certain that it is a lifelong process. Thankfully, we are committed to learning and growing together, and depend on God to guide us in the process. Grace after grace after grace… May we all be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other in the same way that Christ forgives each of us, as we learn to love as we are loved by God.

 

Kindness, compassion, wp-15892063810227564207240281852178.jpg

Forgiveness and grace;

The way to love well,

As we run our race.

In the same way God,

Loves and He forgives;

We’re called do likewise,

To bless as we live.

Extend forgiveness,

Lavishly give grace;

Love as we are loved,

Wherever we’re placed.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have shown us what it is to be kind, compassionate, and forgiving through the example of Your Son. Thank You that as we seek You, You equip us to be kind, compassionate and forgiving to one another. Forgive us for the times that we have not chosen to extend to others what you so freely give to us. Teach us to trust and rely on You more. Show us how to love others with kindness, compassion and forgiveness as You would have us love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we depend on You to love those around us well. Amen.

 

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

 

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

Wait in Hope

But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently. – (Romans 8:25, NIV) 

So because our hope is set on what is yet to be seen, we patiently keep on waiting for its fulfillment. – (Romans 8:25, TPT) 

But if we must keep trusting God for something that hasn’t happened yet, it teaches us to wait patiently and confidently. – (Romans 8:25, TLB) 

As always, this is a good and timely reminder. Many of us are hoping for the day when the restrictions are lifted, and we can go and do, travel and see, live and be, in a way we are more accustomed to existing. Though it is difficult, we wait for it patiently, as lives depend on our doing so. Despite all that has been missed, we know there is much more yet to come. That is hope, and with it, we must be patient. The saying, “good things come to those who wait,” holds true. When we wait on the Lord and trust in Him, He provides peace and strength and blessings beyond what we could have imagined on our own. In the same way expectant parents hope and patiently wait for the arrival of their newborn baby, we can hold hope for what is yet to come. We know there is more, and that the day when things are no longer locked down will arrive, so for now, we must wait patiently and persevere. 

In the meantime, I am extraordinarily grateful that we are in a part of the world where homes are spread out and space is abundant, so we are encouraged to get outside to exercise and take in fresh air, as long as we are mindful of distancing ourselves from others we encounter while outdoors. What I love is that I already was one to get outside to run and walk for fitness and sanity, and now, all around the neighborhood, others are discovering the benefit of doing the same. I hope the cheerful “hellos” and friendly waves that take place each day while I am out, always continue. Perhaps slowing down is providing a place for hope to rise where it had been missing before. Whatever the case may be, I will continue to hold hope in He who brings peace and strength and joy, even in the waiting.

Choose wait on the Lord, wp-15875605174021756941601808964153.jpg

And know He is good; 

Hope is worth the wait, 

His grace understood. 

For in the season, 

The space that seems paused; 

God’s goodness remains, 

His patience installed. 

There is so much joy, 

In what is to come; 

Peace in the present, 

Glorious outcome. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are with us; always. Thank You that You never leave us nor forsake us, and that we can wait on You and trust in You, for the future is in Your loving hands. Forgive us for our impatience that comes when we struggle to hold onto the hope we know. Teach us to trust You more, as You are our hope and Your love never fails. Show us how to love those around us in a way that strengthens and encourages hope in seasons of waiting. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for the hope we know, that is secure in You forever. 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

Inventive in Hospitality

Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality. – (Romans 12:13, NIV)

Help needy Christians; be inventive in hospitality. – (Romans 12:13, MSG)

When God’s people are in need, be ready to help them. Always be eager to practice hospitality. – (Romans 12:13, NLT)

 

If ever there was a time to do as we are called to do, now is the time. Sharing and extending help to those in need is a necessity as businesses are having to close their doors if they cannot be sustained through online ordering or curbside pickup. I love how the Message translation says, “be inventive in hospitality.” This is indeed required, as social distancing transforms the traditional perception of hospitality. However, for fun, I checked the dictionary definition, and discovered that it pairs well with being inventive in hospitality. According to dictionary.com, hospitality is: the quality or disposition of receiving and treating guests and strangers in a warm, friendly, generous way. As far as I can fathom, it is not required to have someone into a home or a space that violates the social distancing expectations, to extend warmth, kindness and generosity. If we watch and listen, we are able to discover needs and do what we can, where we can. Yesterday, I had the privilege of participating at one of my school district’s breakfast and lunch distribution sites, as our union has partnered with nutrition services to lend a hand and be familiar faces for families as they drive through to pick up meals. A fellow teacher from my school and I, worked together with three incredible ladies from nutrition services. One, I discovered, was the mom of a terrific young man whom I had known throughout my schooling days, the second, was a sweet mom of two young kids who were waiting at home, and the third, was the incredible woman who runs the kitchen right there at the high school. We all worked together to keep the supply on the table for distribution, as families trickled through the bus loop to pick up meals. It was a treasure to exchange smiles and friendly greetings, even from our safe distances, as the sun was out and it was clear that all were in appreciation of the hospitality our district is extending.

As for Mom, she is doing fairly well, considering she is stuck in quarantine with NO VISITORS allowed. The only people permitted to see her are her therapists and those who work onsite. No family, friends or the like. We know it is good and necessary for prevention, but a bummer for someone as social as Mom. Phone calls, messages, and mail are always good, and I imagine the same is true for anyone living in a senior living community. In fact, if you are looking for an activity for kids to do at home that is an art/writing combination, making cards and or drawing pictures to send to loved ones in quarantine, or to local senior living facilities would be amazing. It is a simple way that even the youngest among us can learn to practice being inventive in hospitality. May we all look for ways to reach out, safely, to help bless and meet needs where we are able.

 

We have been chosen, wp-15847113510635646106566926534739.jpg

To love and reach out;

Do what we’re able,

To help those without.

As God’s created,

We are made to love;

To extend and give,

Place people above.

Let not the lonely,

Stay trapped in alone;

A call, card or text,

Can make them feel known.

For physical lack,

Let’s rise up and give;

Where we are able,

To help others live.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to take care of one another. Thank You that in trying times, we are meant to share one another’s burdens. Show us how to be inventive in hospitality, so that we may treat those around us in warm, friendly and generous ways. Forgive us for thinking that we have nothing to offer, or that there is no safe way to be hospitable in times like these. Teach us to trust You to lead and guide us in ways that You have for us to extend hospitality to others. Show us how to love those around us in generous, tangible and practical ways. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to show us where we are meant to extend our time, talent or resources to bless those around us. Amen.

 

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

 

A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed. – Proverbs 11:25

Generous and Active Love

You, Lord, are forgiving and good, abounding in love to all who call to You. – (Psalm 86:5, NIV)

My Lord, You are good and merciful. You love all those who call to You for help. – (Psalm 86:5, ERV)

O Lord, You are good and ready to forgive; Your loyal love flows generously over all who cry out to You. – (Psalm 86:5, VOICE)

 

On mornings like this, it is so good to open up my reading for the day and be reminded of who God is and how generously and actively He loves. Love, as God intended, is not a feeling, but it is alive and active. Love forgives, extends goodness, is loyal and generous to all. I am amazed at how quickly He reminds me of His love when I find myself in a space in need of grace. This week has been extraordinarily long, as it is the final week of the semester. Add to that the last meet of the regular season for high school gymnastics and preparations required for the start of middle school season, as well as the ongoing post-season for high school, and I have felt a bit flooded. Kids in classes have been extra stirred up, and the pressure to make certain final submissions of projects are completed, only added to the angst. After practice yesterday afternoon, followed by a run in the pouring rain, I was so grateful to be showered in goodness and grace with a brief dinner escape with my love. The opportunity to connect and catch up after the crazy that the week contained, reminded me of God’s goodness and mercy for me. He provides what we need, when we need it most, and He holds our hearts in His hands, if we are willing to grant Him permission. Each time we call on Him for help, it is an affirmation of our trust in Christ. He hears and knows, and is ready to meet us with His love that is alive and active, ever moving on our behalf. May we call on Christ in faith, trusting in His goodness and grace; for He is good and His love endures forever.

 

The Lord is so good, Generous and Active Love

Abounding in love;

A heart set to give,

All who seek above.

He’s mercy and grace,

Ready to forgive;

Those who call on Him,

Know love as they live.

Faithful forever,

God’s goodness abounds;

Seek Him to find Him,

Where new life is found.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You show us what love means through Your example. Thank You that as we call on You, we come to know Your goodness, forgiveness, help and love that floods our hearts and lives as we seek You. Forgive us for not turning to You in trust when we grow weary or are at our wits end. Teach us to call out to You, for You are faithful forever. Show us how to love those around us with the same generosity and grace that You have for us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we call on You and recognize the abounding love that surrounds us as we seek You. Amen.

 

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

 

How priceless is Your unfailing love, O God! People take refuge in the shadow of Your wings. – Psalm 36:7

Choose Reach Out

“Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke? Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter – when you see the naked, to clothe them, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood? Then your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear; then your righteousness will go before you, and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard.” – (Isaiah 58:6-8, NIV)

“I will tell you the kind of day I want – a day to set people free. I want a day that you take the burdens off others. I want a day when you set troubled people free and you take the burdens from their shoulders. I want you to share your food with the hungry. I want you to find the poor who don’t have homes and bring them into your own homes. When you see people who have no clothes, give them your clothes! Don’t hide from your relatives when they need help. If you do these things, your light will begin to shine like the light of dawn. Then your wounds will heal. Your “Goodness” will walk in front of you, and the Glory of the Lord will come following behind you.” – (Isaiah 58:6-8, ERV)

 

The foundation of what God asks of us has always been the same – Love God and love people. If we are fasting, let it be for the purpose of actively pursuing God and loving people. If we are praying, may it be out of faith in our Father and our desire to do good for others. As we live, may our lives clearly demonstrate our love for God and for ALL whom He has created. There are no qualifiers on loving people; He calls us to love all people tangibly and practically. If they are burdened; help carry the weight and set them free. If people are hungry; feed them. If people are in need of the basic requirements for existence; start with clothing and shelter. Furthermore, we are meant to be aware of and care for the needs of our family as well. Incredibly, as we do these things, we begin to reflect the heart of God to those around us. Our obedience leads to blessings in our own lives too. He heals and surrounds each soul that chooses to surrender and serve others as He asks. May we look to the Lord for wisdom and strength, so that we go forth and tangibly love people as an extension of our love for Him.

 

May our focus be,

H182

Typography poster lettering love and ethnic patterns. Vector illustration hand drawn.

Intent on the Lord;

On what He’s asking,

As strength He affords.

The priority,

In all that we do;

Love God and people,

It’s what we’re called to.

Some practical ways,

His love can be shown;

Help meet other’s needs,

Leads to God’s heart known.

As we choose reach out,

God’s present within;

Healing and helping,

Makes hope rise again.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that a reason for fasting and praying is ultimately to love God and love people better. Thank You that You are faithful to meet us as we come and seek You. Thank You that Your word tells us practically how to love people well, and in turn, honor and love You. Forgive us for the times that we have neglected to love people well. Teach us to have eyes to see, ears to hear and hearts to understand what You would have us do practically in every circumstance. Thank You that You are far greater than our time, talent or resources, and that You take what we offer and multiply what we bring. Show us how to love the people around us tangibly, for You know every need in existence. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose to be intentional as we love You and love the people around us, every seeking You for ways to love practically and tangibly to meet needs. Amen.

 

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

 

Human, the Lord has told you what goodness is. This is what He wants from you: Be fair to other people. Love kindness and loyalty, and humbly obey your God. – Micah 6:8

Recognize and Become Wise

Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom. – (Psalm 90:12, NIV)

Teach us how short our lives are so that we can become wise. – (Psalm 90:12, ERV)

Teach us to number our days and recognize how few they are; help us to spend them as we should. – (Psalm 90:12, TLB)

 

Love and loss are phenomenal teachers, as they show us tangibly, the importance of each new day that we are given. Though I have walked through the end of life with one too young before, we were reminded again this past year, just how important each new day is, as we lost Mark’s dad too soon, and nearly lost my mom when she had a stroke. When we navigate seasons of struggle and loss, we can either dwell on the devastation, or embrace the gift of each new day that we are given. In the case of Mark’s father, grace, goodness, forgiveness and healing happened, as there was a recognition of numbered days, and wisdom gained in how to utilize the time. Mark and his dad were able to mend what had been broken, and though there was loss at the death, there is peace. As for mom, we have embraced with gratitude, each new day we have been given. Recovery is slow, by human standards, yet each new step and gain of strength, is reason to celebrate and give God glory. It is interesting that we typically associate older individuals with wisdom, yet now that I think about it, the older we get, the more aware we are that our days are numbered. When we know that we have a finite amount of time remaining, we desire to do the best we can with what we have. Wisdom is gained when we recognize that we are not immortal and are in need of the Savior. May we ever recognize that though our days are limited, they are each intended to count. Show us Lord, how to spend each day in a way that honors You.

 

Lord, help me number, The Wisdom We Seek

Each one of my days;

To make each one count,

May my life bring praise.

And help me to seek,

Ever choose pursue;

The wisdom that comes,

From time spent with You.

Help me to honor,

You Lord, as I live;

Let Your love and grace,

Be what I choose give.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the precious gift of life. Thank You that we are given a limited amount of time to live and love and extend goodness and grace as You call us to do. Thank You that as we ask, You grant wisdom to know how to navigate. Forgive us for the times that we just drift along, rather than actively pursue Your best for each new day. Teach us to recognize the gift that each new morning holds. Grant us wisdom to know how to live and love best. Show us how to extend Your goodness and grace to those around us, so that they too, may understand the depth of Your love and the importance of embracing the time that we have. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we recognize how finite our time here, and pursue Your wisdom as to what to do with each new day. Amen.

 

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

 

For the Lord gives wisdom; from His mouth come knowledge and understanding. – Proverbs 2:6

Grow As We Go With Thanks

So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in Him, rooted and built up in Him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness. – (Colossians 2:6-7, NIV)

You accepted Christ Jesus as Lord, so continue to live following Him. You must depend on Christ only, drawing life and strength from Him. Just as you were taught the truth, continue to grow stronger in your understanding of it. And never stop giving thanks to God. – (Colossians 2:6-7, ERV)

My counsel for you is simple and straightforward: Just go ahead with what you’ve been given. You received Christ Jesus, the Master; now live in Him. You’re deeply rooted in Him. You’re well-constructed upon Him. You know your way around the faith. Now do what you’ve been taught. School’s out; quit studying the subject and start living it! And let your living spill over into thanksgiving. – (Colossians 2:6-7, MSG)

 

We are charged to continue to grow in our faith, however, as we do, we are meant to live in Christ in such a way that our lives are a reflection of our faith, overflowing with thankfulness. As we lean into Christ, we grow as we go. In other words, we are not called to stay stagnant and remain in the same space where we began, but rather as we establish roots in Him, we are meant to move forward in obedience, living and loving as we were designed to do, giving God thanks every step of the way. The more we know God and move forward into the life that He has called us to lead, the deeper our sense of gratitude for who God is and how He loves.

 

We each have been called, Love that Grows

In faith, to move on;

Use what we’ve received,

Rise up and respond.

To live out our faith,

And love well with grace;

Continue to grow,

As we run our race.

Each step that we take,

May we choose to praise;

God for His goodness,

Throughout all our days.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You love us and call us to move forward in our faith. Thank You that we grow as we go. Thank You that You strengthen and equip us to be and do all that You lead us to, as we seek You. Forgive us for the times that we have neglected to move forward or step out in the direction to which You were drawing us. Teach us to trust You to provide all that we need to keep moving forward. Show us how to love those around us well, so that goodness, grace and gratitude will be evident to all. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we press on in all that You ask of us, ever giving You thanks for who You are and how You love. Amen.

 

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

 

We remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ. – 1 Thessalonians 1:3

Loyal Love that Lasts

For the Lord is good and His love endures forever; His faithfulness continues through all generations. – (Psalm 100:5, NIV)

The Lord is good! There is no end to His faithful love. We can trust Him forever and ever! – (Psalm 100:5, ERV)

For God is sheer beauty, all-generous in love, loyal always and forever. – (Psalm 100:5, MSG)

 

This morning as I woke, I was a bit startled to realize that light was streaming in through our bedroom window, as I checked the time, amazed that I had slept in until nearly 7:30 am. When the body is conditioned for a 3:15 am wake-up, anything past 6:00 am is a rarity. Even more shocking, was a look at my sleep record in my Fitbit app, only to discover that I had slept a bit over eight hours for the first time since August 16th! Clearly my body needed the rest, and God in His goodness, provided. Even during the busiest weeks, God is faithful and worthy of our trust. Each day He supplied all that was needed to navigate each day, and last evening, after work, practice, and a run, I was blessed with a family dinner out with all five of us. As we take care of things on the home front this weekend, each of us will prepare for a short week, followed by the blessing of much anticipated time together with family. Such tangible goodness points me back to His word, and I am particularly drawn to the powerful imagery of the Message translation of this verse, as I think it is easy to forget that loyal, all-generous love, is where true beauty lies. God is the author and perfecter of faithful, everlasting love, and in Him, we grow to understand how good He truly is from one generation to the next. May we remember that the Lord is where true goodness lies, and that His faithful love endures throughout all generations as we gather together to give thanks.

Mom is doing well, but in a bit of a holding pattern again until after Thanksgiving. She had her speech assessment with the out-patient therapist, yet will not meet with her new occupational and physical therapists until December. Thankfully, mom remains upbeat and optimistic, recognizing the positive work that lies ahead. More than anything, I think that all of us are eager and grateful to be together for Thanksgiving. It has been our family tradition for many years, so I anticipate the familiarity of our festivities will be a beautiful blessing for all.

 

In goodness and grace, To Drive Out Darkness

The Lord ever gives;

His love, peace and hope,

As in Him, we live.

Faithful to meet us,

With love that will last;

He holds our future,

Forgives for our past.

All generations,

Who seek Him will find;

Faithful, sheer beauty,

From God to mankind.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are good and that Your love endures forever. Thank You that there is no end to Your faithful love. Thank You that we can trust You, knowing that You see and hear and hold us in Your strong hands. Forgive us for the times that we doubt, and teach us to trust You in all things and at all times. Show us how to love those around us through every bump in the road. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we thank You for Your goodness and grace, and praise You for Your loyal love that lasts forever. Amen.

 

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

 

For I have always been mindful of Your unfailing love and have lived in reliance on Your faithfulness. – Psalm 26:3