Joy and Laughter

He will yet fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with shouts of joy. – (Job 8:21, NIV)

So perhaps you might laugh again. Maybe shouts of joy will come from your lips. – (Job 8:21, ERV)

He will fill your mouth with laughter; your lips will spill over into cries of delight. – (Job 8:21, VOICE)

Though Job’s friends were not the greatest at responding to the devastation and loss that he had experienced, this verse was spot on, as in the end, all that Job had lost was restored and then some. Joy and laughter were restored after such heartache, trials, and loss. Last evening, as my love and I attended his sister’s annual Christmas party, we were both in a space where laughter was needed. Gathering with family and friends, we were able to enjoy the company, love and laughter that burst forth when dear ones get together. There was much laughter, and the joy that dwells deep within, was reminded to surface. Today, I anticipate more laughter and reasons to shout for joy, as we will gather with our church family, and after, I will have the pleasure of time together with dear ones from college group that I met a few decades ago. I am so thankful for the opportunities God brings to grant us laughter and to remind us of the joy we have in and through Him. The people He places in our lives grant us reason to delight.

The gift of laughter,

Reminds us that joy;

An ongoing gift,

That love does employ.

For time together,

With laughter and love;

Show us God’s goodness,

His grace understood.

Trial or triumph,

God’s joy is the same;

Found in the blessings,

As we call His Name.

Joy’s not dependent,

On our circumstance;

It’s found in Jesus,

Not by happenstance.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that no matter what is going on around us or what lies before us, we can trust that there will be laughter and joy again. Thank You that joy in You exists even on our darkest days. Forgive us for the times that we have allowed the weight of our circumstances to steal our joy. Teach us to hold fast to the hope we have in You, for it is in that space of hope that we know and understand the joy in the promise of forever in Your presence. Teach us to choose to embrace the joy we have in You, and to allow love and laughter to overflow from our gratitude to You. Show us how to love those around us in ways that remind them that love and laughter, joy and peace are present when we know Your nearness. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You all praise for the joy we know in You, and for the love and laughter that You provide through those You place in our lives. Amen.

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

But let all who take refuge in You be glad; let them ever sing for joy. Spread Your protection over them, that those who love Your name may rejoice in You. – Psalm 5:11

All Comfort

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves received from God. – (2 Corinthians 1:3-4, NIV)

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. He is the Father who is full of mercy, the God of all comfort. He comforts us every time we have trouble so that when others have trouble, we can comfort them with the same comfort God gives us. – (2 Corinthians 1:3-4, ERV)

All praise goes to God, Father of our Lord Jesus, the Anointed One. He is the Father of compassion, the God of all comfort. He consoles us as we endure the pain and hardship of life so that we may draw from His comfort and share it with others in their own struggles. – (2 Corinthians 1:3-4, VOICE)

God is compassionate and kind, and He supplies comfort in tangible ways. The past week has been kind of crazy. Last night, my love and I went to a late dinner with our dearest friends. Love and laughter made the struggles of the week seemingly melt away. This morning, though they woke me up long before I would have preferred to have risen, the sweet snuggles of our pups are a comfort as well. Each time God grants comfort in my weariness, I am reminded anew that even the simplest acts of kindness, and often merely being present, provide comfort to those around us. God is so good and He comforts us in our chaos and provides us opportunities to extend the same to those around us. May we ever seek the Lord in our struggles, and trust Him to show us how to extend the same comfort and love to those around us.

God’s great compassion,

And comfort are near;

Each time we seek Him,

He always does hear.

Love’s His provision,

Most abundantly;

His kindness is clear,

As grace flows deeply.

So, trust in the Lord,

Keep on seeking Him;

His good overflows,

Outward and within.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are the God of compassion and comfort. Thank You that as You provide us comfort, we are filled and equipped to go and do likewise. Forgive us for the times that we have not extended the compassion that we have been given to those around us in need. Teach us to see the ways that we may comfort those around us. Show us how to love each other as You do. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for Your comfort and compassion, and seek You to show us how to give the same to others. Amen.

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

May Your unfailing love be my comfort, according to Your promise to Your servant. – Psalm 119:76

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.

 

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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

Giving God Room

“Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” – (Matthew 11:28, NIV)

“Come to Me all of you who are tired from the heavy burden you have been forced to carry. I will give you rest.” – (Matthew 11:28, ERV)

“Are you weary, carrying a heavy burden? Then come to Me. I will refresh your life, for I am your oasis.” – (Matthew 11:28, TPT)

 

This is the season where it seems that everyone begins to feel a bit weary and burdened with life. Perhaps it is due to shorter days with less light, colder weather, more demands as the year draws to a close; whatever the case may be, the blessing of time off that covers Christmas and into the New Year, is both welcome and needed. Currently, I am in Oregon, spending time with Mom, as my sister and her family were able to get away for a much-needed family vacation. Rest comes in various forms, and despite being wide awake before five this morning, I slept well and feel rested. My sister and her family had a bit of a debacle with their plane departing and a missed connecting flight, so they arrived to their destination less than an hour ago, when they were scheduled to arrive late last evening. Today, at noon, they will attend my brother-in-love’s alma mater’s bowl game. Perhaps the rest and refreshment for them will come in the form of love, laughter and shared stories, after having successfully navigated the crazy frustration of last evening. Sometimes the rest we need for our lives is more for our heart and soul, than for our body. Often, I am most refreshed after a long run or a vigorous hike, despite that seeming counter-intuitive to rest. Rest is really a matter of being aware of God’s presence, wherever we are, and allowing His peace to permeate our entire being. It is a laying down of the weight we are carrying and giving God room to take over and be the One in charge, as He is far better at it than we are. We are all wired differently, and He grants rest to each of us, individually, as we seek Him. May we each go to God in our weariness, and allow Him room to grant us His rest.

As for Mom, it is wonderful to be with her! She is amazing me with her resilience and willingness to do the hard work. Yesterday afternoon we needed to look for a cane for her next step in physical therapy, and Mom was ready to go. I anticipated taking her in her wheelchair, as that is what I have known for outings that required potential long walks with many people around, but Mom said, “no, the walker is fine.” By golly, she totally did it too! We made our way into the store, found what we needed, paid in the pharmacy (no lines!) and returned to the car without incident. We were not fast, but she did it well. After dinner we worked on her speech homework together, and giggled quite a bit. Before long, we were wiped out and ready to call it a day. Both of us slept well, and I actually woke up before Mom.

 

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And in need of rest;

Pursue the Lord God,

For He provides best.

He knows what we need,

Far better than us;

Our heart, soul and mind,

His grace helps adjust.

Where things are heavy,

He’ll carry the load;

Take us by the hand,

On challenging roads.

For things of the heart,

He blesses with peace;

Grants love and laughter,

Ease burden’s release.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can come to You, no matter what shape we are in. Thank You that when we are weary, You grant us Your rest. When we are burdened, You lighten our load or grant us the strength needed to sustain us. Forgive us for attempting to shoulder heaviness on our own, or power through when we need rest. Teach us to trust You more, as You are our great Provider. Show us how to love those around us in practical and tangible ways, so that they may experience rest and a lightening of their burdens when we draw near. Help them to see that it is You in us that loves well. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for Your provision of rest and relief when we are weary and burdened. Amen.

 

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

 

Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from Him. – Psalm 62:5

We Belong to Each Other

For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. – (Romans 12:4-5, NIV)

Each one of us has one body, and that body has many parts. These parts don’t all do the same thing. In the same way, we are many people, but in Christ we are all one body. We are the parts of that body, and each part belongs to all the others. – (Romans 12:4-5, ERV)

For in the same way that one body has so many different parts, each with different functions; we, too – the many – are different parts that form one body in the Anointed One. Each one of us is joined with one another, and we become together what we could not be alone. – (Romans 12:4-5, VOICE)

 

Both my Viking and I sat in awe and wonder as we reflected on the variety of friends and family that had joined us to gather to celebrate our new life together yesterday. There were educators and police officers, medical professionals, business people, football friends and childhood treasures, church family and those that have been family since birth – it was wonderful to see the evidence of how each has touched our lives and helped us become together, what we could not be on our own. God is good, and He blesses us with a body of people who have a variety of gifts and talents, so that together, we are able to become what He intends for us. May we ever embrace those whom God places in our lives and give Him praise for the gift that they are to us.

 

Just as we’ve a body, wp-15352968608005978420073665084020.jpg

That has many parts;

So too, we have people,

With strengths and great hearts.

Each with different gifts,

Talents meant to share;

Love and laughter to give,

Not things to compare.

All thanks unto the Lord,

Who grants by His grace;

Treasured variety,

By His loving ways.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your goodness and grace that grants us community that is varied in people who have different gifts, talents and life experience to speak into our lives. Forgive us for not treasuring the gifts in others as much as You do. Teach us to see others through Your eyes, so that we would recognize and appreciate the strengths, talents and gifts that You have given to those around us. Show us how to love those around us well, so that we too, may utilize the strengths and talents You have placed in us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek to see and appreciate others through Your eyes, and to utilize what You have given to us for Your purposes. Amen.

 

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

 

One who loves a pure heart and speaks with grace will have the king for a friend. – Proverbs 22:11