Answer Gently

A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. – (Proverbs 15:1, NIV)

A gentle answer makes anger disappear, but a rough answer makes it grow. – (Proverbs 15:1, ERV)

A gentle answer turns away wrath, but harsh words cause quarrels. – (Proverbs 15:1, TLB)

 

Both my mother, and her mother before her, modeled this verse in action for us growing up. On countless occasions, I witnessed each of them diffuse situations, simply by meeting someone kindly, who was engaging with them in a way that did not begin on the kindest of terms. Their smile and genuine love for people would soften the hardest of hearts, and win over the grumpiest of characters. For me, more times than not, a gentle response to a child escalated in the classroom, has provided them room to calm down or breathe long enough to avoid further incident. Walking this road to recovery with mom is no different. Losing mobility, freedom and independence, for a strong, self-sufficient, care-giver like mom, has got to be beyond frustrating. She is handling it gracefully 99% of the time, and it is my charge to be extraordinarily gentle through the 1%, when her frustration gets the better of her. Gentle words affirming her frustration, yet recognizing her strength and progress, have been pivotal in working through moments of challenge. Humor has been a lifeline as well. Thankfully, we know each other better than anyone else, so a mere look speaks volumes, and can inspire giggles in an instant, even in moments of madness.

Much of the reason she is not feeling ready for visitors, (other than the very short list of family and lifelong friends whom have already been in contact), is her own desire to uphold a spirit of gentleness and kindness, as she cannot wrap her head around not being able to be the gracious host that she normally would be. Please continue to be patient with her willingness to see visitors, as I imagine she will become more willing as she is more confident and settled back in her own space.

Today will be the first official day of in-home therapies, as physical therapy kicks off this afternoon at 1pm. We are eagerly awaiting phone calls from the occupational therapist, speech therapist and nursing care facilitator, to figure out what the schedule will be for them as well. Yesterday was a very relaxing day, as mom and I enjoyed watching a few movies between meals, stretching and rests, after the fellas went home. This week will be busy, as we work to discover a new normal with appointments coming into the home to aid in mom’s recovery. May we ever rely on the Lord to be gentle with those around us, for kindness keeps anger at bay.

 

No matter what comes, photo

Be gentle and kind;

For we do not know,

Battles deep inside.

So often anger,

Is hurt or a fear;

Set free by kindness,

If love braves draw near.

Seek to have courage,

To always be kind;

Give love to others,

And true peace, you’ll find.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that a gentle answer turns away anger. Thank You that this is not simply a theory, but proven, time and time again. Thank You that Jesus modeled this for us throughout His life, death, resurrection and ascension. Forgive us for the times that our responses are not gentle or kind. Teach us to trust and rely on You to give us the wisdom and strength to be Your heart and voice to others, so that they may see Your love in the way that we respond. Show us how to love others well, as we choose to be gentle and kind to all, no matter how others speak or act toward us. Give us grace O God. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose kindness and love, just as You do with us. Amen.

 

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

 

But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things! – Galatians 5:22-23

Modeled Love

You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. – (Galatians 5:13, NIV)

My brothers and sisters, God chose you to be free. But don’t use your freedom as an excuse to do what pleases your sinful selves. Instead, serve each other with love. – (Galatians 5:13, ERV)

Brothers and sisters, God has called you to freedom! Hear the call, and do not spoil this gift by using your liberty to engage in what your flesh desires; instead, use it to serve each other as Jesus taught through love. – (Galatians 5:13, VOICE)

 

Yesterday, we reached an impasse, and recognized that we had to make the final decision as to where mom would land next, as her stay at the acute rehabilitation facility comes to a close near the end of this month. After asking mom what she most wanted, watching how the familiarity of home made such a dramatic difference in her ability to recall information through an activity during speech therapy, and hearing from various therapists how often patients’ recovery accelerates by leaps and bounds in their own familiar settings, it became evident that her home was where she needed to be next. This is where the choosing to serve one another humbly in love comes in; for it is neither an easy nor convenient choice for either my sister or me. Megan has the obstacle of a seven-hour journey if she drives, a crazy, busy schedule at home with work and family, and the heartache of being away from mom whenever she needs to be home. For myself, I am still in my first year of a new marriage, raising two teenage sons, finishing their junior year, attempting to coordinate sub plans and grading from three hours from home, and seeking to maintain balance and normalcy in both spaces. Both Meg and I would not have it any other way. The words penned by Paul the Apostle, were modeled by mom throughout our entire lives. It is a simple decision to make, despite the logistical challenges. Additionally, we are overwhelmingly blessed and supported by our spouses, children, families, friends, and our extended communities – both near and far. The outpouring of love and support, both prayerfully and through notes and messages, has been an incredible blessing, and often just what was needed at the moment it was needed most.

As for mom specifically, she is continuing to make great gains. Her speech and language retrieval is phenomenally fast, but is more difficult by day’s end when she is tired. Physically, she is building more strength every day, and more and more movement is coming along. It is a painfully slow process, but it is happening. She would love to just jump up and take off running, but even as babies, we must first learn to crawl, then stand, then wobble and scoot, before we ever take steps. For a growing infant, the process takes the entire first year. Mom is making tremendous strides toward walking again, and it has not quite been a month yet. So often it is a matter of keeping it all in perspective.

For those who are walking alongside us in prayer, these are our present petitions before our Savior: for a smooth transition home, for protection from fear, protection physically, emotionally, and spiritually, against discouragement, for total and complete healing, for strength, for patience, for calendars and schedules to align easily, for grace, balance and wisdom, for her incredible community to continue to be patient about visiting until she is ready, as it needs to be in her time.

 

Jesus set us free, dsc090724766454540718468749.jpg

And gave us a choice;

To choose for ourselves,

Use heart, mind and voice.

Our purpose is more,

Than our own desire;

But rather to love,

Sacrifice, inspire.

Just as we are loved,

By He who gave all;

So we ought to give,

As we heed His call.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for sending Your Son and showing us what it means to choose to love and serve freely. Thank You for the treasured gift of our mom, who has modeled the same for us throughout our entire lives. Forgive us for the times that we have chosen to indulge our own selfish desires, rather than love like You. Teach us to trust You more, so that we choose to love and serve in the same way that You have always done for us. Show us how to love those around us as You would. Especially direct our steps as we prepare to bring mom back to her own home. May those around us who do not know You yet, come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose to serve in love, just as You have modeled for us through Your Son and those that You have strategically placed in our lives. Amen.

 

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

 

“Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet My unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor My covenant of peace be removed,” says the Lord, who has compassion on you. – Isaiah 54:10

 

Prioritize Peace

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

So let’s try as hard as we can to do what will bring peace. Let’s do whatever will help each other grow stronger in faith. – (Romans 14:19, ERV)

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)

 

In as much as we can, we ought to be in pursuit of peace with those around us. We are called to strengthen and encourage one another, prioritizing a life of harmony with those whom have been placed in our lives to love. This is not a “peace at any price” sort of scenario, but rather harmony through mutual encouragement and strengthening. Choosing to love in ways that make those around us stronger, rather than participating in that which can lead to dissension, is the sort of peaceful pursuit for which we are aiming. May we make every effort to do the things that lead to peace and mutual edification through His strength within us.

 

Wherever we can, Embracing Grace

May we pursue peace;

Seek strengthen, build up,

Grace provides release.

Release from burdens,

Of judgment and scorn;

Instead, choose to love,

As Christ, the Adored.

Encourage others,

Do not choose tear down;

May peace direct us,

Let His love be found.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that through Your loving example, we are called to pursue peace. Thank You that You modeled how to strengthen and build up those around You. Forgive us for the times that we have brought others down. Teach us to trust You more, so that we may rely on You to lead us and show us how to build others up in love all around us in a way that brings peace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek to honor You through a life of pursued peace. Amen.

 

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

 

Turn from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it. – Psalm 34:14

Purposeful Grace

May God be gracious to us and bless us and make His face shine on us – so that Your ways may be known on earth, Your salvation among all nations. – (Psalm 67:1-2, NIV)

God, show mercy to us and bless us. Please accept us! Let everyone on earth learn about You. Let every nation see how You save people. – (Psalm 67:1-2, ERV)

May God pour His grace and blessings into us and turn His face to shine His light on us. So all those on earth will learn to follow Your way and see Your saving power come to redeem all nations. – (Psalm 67:1-2, VOICE)

 

David, the author of this Psalm, was specific to ask for God’s grace, blessing, and favor. However, his requests did not end there. There was purpose in his petition – David’s prayer was that God’s ways would be known throughout the earth, His salvation spread to all people. His heart was that of a missionary, as David had hope that all might come to see and know the saving power of God. He recognized that as people could see God’s grace, blessing, and favor upon those who already knew and followed God, that they too, would desire the difference. His prayer had purpose. David did not pray for the goodness of God to be evident in him for his pleasure, but rather so that God’s ways might be made known throughout the earth; that people everywhere would come to know His salvation. The heart of David is a model for all who believe. May we seek the Lord and His mercy, grace and blessings, so that His favor upon us may make His heart known to all those around us and beyond.

 

O Lord, may Your grace,numbered-days-and-wise-ways.jpg

Be poured upon us;

So people may see,

The light of Jesus.

Each blessing received,

Make Your glory known;

Through favor to us,

Your love light be shown.

Let all come to know,

Power of Your grace;

So all would seek You,

For all of our days.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that David modeled both what to pray and why. Thank You that Your grace, blessings, and favor have a far greater purpose that extends well beyond the recipient. Forgive us for not recognizing the reason for Your favor. Teach us to see every act of mercy, grace and blessing as an opportunity to show others what it is to know and embrace Your goodness and grace. Lead us to love those around us in a way that extends Your heart and hands. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we ask for and embrace all the good Your pour out upon us, recognizing the opportunity to be Your light and love to the world. Amen.

 

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

 

Yes, the Word was full of grace and truth, and from Him we all received one blessing after another. – John 1:16

Provision of Peace

Peace I leave with you; My peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. – (John 14:27, NIV) 

I leave you peace. It is my own peace I give you. I give you peace in a different way that the world does. So don’t be troubled. Don’t be afraid. – (John 14:27, ERV) 

I leave the gift of peace with you – My peace. Not the kind of fragile peace given by the world, but My perfect peace. Don’t yield to fear or be troubled in your hearts – instead, be courageous! – (John 14:27, TPT) 

 

Jesus came to us, lived, loved, taught, modeled and performed miracles to show us His love and peace that last forever. When He returned to the Father, He sent His Spirit to be our peace, present in all things and at all times. God’s peace conquers fear and concern, and grants courage and strength where there seemingly should be none. The peace He left is present always, we need only seek Him to be made aware of what is already there. May we ever seek the Lord to be our peace, no matter what stands before us, for He is greater than all. 

 

Provision of peace, Provision of Peace

The Lord God, He gives; 

To all who choose seek, 

Among us, He lives. 

Peace comes in knowing, 

The strength of our Source; 

The power of love, 

Infallible force. 

All trust we can give, 

To our God, Most High; 

He answers in love, 

Every heart cry. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You make peace possible, no matter what surrounds us. Thank You for Your presence that provides perfect peace. Forgive us for allowing our circumstances or surroundings to steal our peace, when You are ever-present to provide. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would depend on You when chaos seems to surround us, and praise You when we are aware of Your nearness that is providing our peace. Show us how to love those around us in a way that extends Your peace to places of unrest, as You alone help us to love best. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You in all things and at all times to be our Provider of Your perfect peace. Amen.

 

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

 

The Lord gives strength to His people; the Lord blesses His people with peace. – Psalm 29:11

In Strength, She Smiles

She is clothed with strength and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future. – (Proverbs 31:25, NLT)

She is a strong person, and people respect her. She looks to the future with confidence. – (Proverbs 31:25, ERV)

Clothed in strength and dignity, with nothing to fear, she smiles when she thinks about the future. – (Proverbs 31:25, VOICE)

 

Strong people strengthen people. I have been overwhelmingly blessed throughout my life to be surrounded by strong and loving women who have modeled strength, dignity and courage through active faith in their daily lives, no matter what their circumstances. From my phenomenal mom and her mom, to aunts, dear friends, pastors and colleagues, I have seen such lives lived out, and have been encouraged when my own strength, courage or confidence was lacking. Though there is no “arriving”, I am in a space where I look forward to the future with confidence, trusting that God has good things in store for me and my loved ones. I know that trials will come and go, yet He is faithful through all things, so I need not fear what lies ahead. May we ever seek the Lord to be our strength and confidence, so that we can look to the future and smile.

 

He’ll clothe us in strength,

dsc045071369451189.jpg

Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

And His dignity;

As we trust in Him,

In faith, choose believe.

We’ll laugh without fear,

At what lies ahead;

Knowing God’s with us,

By grace, we’ll be led.

Others will respect,

The strength that they see;

As we walk beside,

And help those in need.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You clothe us with strength and dignity and give us reason to look confidently to the future. Thank You for the women that You have placed in our lives that have supported and modeled these attributes for us and in us. Forgive us for the times that we have remained in our fearfulness or attempted to navigate things on our own. Teach us to trust You more, and to embrace those whom You have intentionally placed in our lives for mutual encouragement. Show us how to love those around us in a way that grows strength and dignity and removes fear of the future. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we embrace the strength and dignity that You are growing in us and look forward to the future without fear. Amen.

 

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

 

Because of the tender mercy of our God, …the rising sun will come to us from heaven. – Luke 1:78

No Room for Them

So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped Him in cloths and placed Him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them. – (Luke 2:4-7, NIV)

 

This portion of the Christmas story seemed to strike a new chord within my heart this past week, as my pastor pointed out the scandal and outrage that would have been associated with an unwed woman expecting a child who was engaged to a man with whom she had no intimate relations. Joseph came from the house of David. His heritage was quite significant, and his family name was likely known. Everyone was expected to return to the place of their familial ties for the census, so it is quite conceivable that Joseph had numerous relatives who were also traveling to Bethlehem at the same time. Under normal circumstances, a family would have traveled and stayed together, yet Mary and Joseph made the journey alone. Their isolation leads me to believe that they were being shunned by the family, and left to their own devices to survive. Upon their arrival in Bethlehem, they were unable to find a proper place to stay. What I found intriguing is that each version of scripture that I read, says that “there was no room for them. This leads me to believe that perhaps there was room, but they were turned away because of societal standards, and left stranded and a bit desperate. Who was the inn keeper who did at last show some compassion, and at least allow the pair shelter as the time drew near for Mary to give birth? It is both incredible and admirable to think of Mary and Joseph and all that they must have gone though, just to get to the stable birth. Additionally, the thought of the two of them having to deliver the Son of God in their surroundings is overwhelming. She was quite young and he was a carpenter; nothing in their life experience had likely prepared them for what they endured, other than the very presence of God with them. May we continue to ponder with awe and wonder, the miracle of God with us, this most holy season.

 

Hard was the journey, No Room for Them

To travel alone;

This chosen couple,

So far from their home.

Upon arrival,

No room granted them;

Just a small stable,

In old Bethlehem.

The time had arrived,

For the babe be born;

Courage delivered,

Wrapped Him in cloths torn.

No isolation,

Could stand in God’s way;

Strength to them granted,

Right there in the hay.

Though they’d been alone,

It did not last long;

For angelic hosts,

Announced this with song.

The shepherds they came,

They followed the light;

In awe and wonder,

On that holy night.

The baby swaddled,

God’s very own Son;

The faith of this pair,

God’s will had been done.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the miracle and wonder that surrounds the story of You sending Your Son to us as a baby, in humble beginnings, to make Him approachable to all. Thank You for showing us Your faithfulness through the hearts of the people that were part of Your story, and modeled what it is to trust in You. Forgive us for forgetting the depth of Your love that sent Your Only Son to us so that we could have life in You. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would pause and ponder in wonder, the miracle and the majesty of all that You have done. Show us how to love those around us in a way that gives insight and understanding to Your goodness and grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we allow Your story to fill our hearts and minds this Christmas. Amen.

 

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

 

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort. – 2 Corinthians 1:3

Love Each Other

This is my command: Love each other. – (John 15:17, NIV)

But remember the root command: Love one another. – (John 15:17, MSG)

This is My command to you: Love one another. – (John 15:17, VOICE)

So this is My parting command: Love one another deeply! – (John 15:17, TPT)

 

In each translation, the message remains nearly identical, as there is no substitution nor synonym for loving one another. This is a command and a calling. Jesus gave this charge to His disciples (and to us) shortly prior to His sacrifice on the cross. He modeled how to love through His life, death, resurrection and ascension, and empowers us to go and love like Him. It takes little effort to discover the deep need for love all around us. So many are broken and hurting and in need. Though we cannot solve all of the world’s ills, we can choose to love wherever we are. Often, a smile, a friendly greeting or a simple, kind exchange of conversation extends love in ways that reach far beyond what we might imagine, and remind the recipient that they are valued and worth our while. Jesus will use our willingness far more than we could hope or imagine, if only we choose to love. May we rise up in obedience to what God requires of us, as He calls us to love in word and deed, just as we are so lavishly loved by the Lord.

 

The Lord, He commands, Love Made Known

We love each other;

He values us all,

Sisters and brothers.

The light of His grace,

Is meant shine through us;

As we choose to love,

Show the world Jesus.

So much of our love,

Is not simply words;

But through what we do,

That God’s love is heard.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your goodness and grace, as You demonstrate Your love to us so often through the words and deeds of others. Forgive us for the times that our words or actions did not show Your love, and teach us to do better each time we have the opportunity to love. Show us how to love those around in a way that demonstrates Your loving kindness and faithfulness through all that we say and do. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose to obey what You are asking, and go forth and love one another as we are loved by You. Amen.

 

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

 

They will celebrate Your abundant goodness and joyfully sing of Your righteousness. – Psalm 145:7

Provided to Share

And God will generously provide all you need. Then you will always have everything you need and plenty left over to share with others. – (2 Corinthians 9:8, NLT)

And God can give you more blessings than you need, and you will always have plenty of everything. You will have enough to give to every good work. – (2 Corinthians 9:8, ERV)

 

God’s economy is not logical by the world’s standards. When we give, we end up gaining more. Sometimes, we feel compelled to give of our time, talents or resources when it appears that we have nothing to offer. However, I find that each time I extend myself from this very space where I have to trust, God comes in and multiplies my little to more. If it is time, I somehow find I have more than I thought I had; if it is offering something of myself – He meets me in the moment and does more than I ever could. When the gift is monetary, my budget always works out – even when it logically should not. A reimbursement check here, a random refund there, a gift, an error in billing… The overwhelming ways in which He works to provide are so inspiring, that I find I am quicker to obey when He asks that I give. May we remember Who is ultimately our Provider, and trust that He is true to His word. Let generosity be our mode of operation, as Jesus modeled a life of generously giving of Himself wherever He went.

 

And God shall provide,Tether Our Hearts

For each of our needs;

At times we’ll be called,

To generous deeds.

For we all have gifts,

That we’re meant to share;

Time, talent, resource,

To show that God cares.

As we choose to give,

Obediently;

The Lord blesses us,

Most abundantly.

To see a need met,

Know God’s faithfulness;

Brings confident joy,

His love is expressed.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You generously and abundantly provide all that we need, so that we may share with those around us. Thank You that You ask us to give of ourselves, not because You need us to, but because You desire to bless us with the benefit of seeing Your faithfulness for both the recipient and ourselves when we watch how mightily You move. Forgive us for the times that we have hesitated or avoided giving where You asked us to give because in our own minds we could not figure out how to make it work. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would say yes to You, whenever You ask us to give of ourselves. Help us to hear You clearly. Show us how to love those around us well, with our time, talent and resources. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we share with others, that which You have so lovingly provided unto us. Amen.

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

Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy. – Hebrews 4:16

Show the Love

Dear children, let’s not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions. – (1 John 3:18, NLT)

My children, our love should not be only words and talk. No, our love must be real. We must show our love by the things we do. – (1 John 3:18, ERV)

My little children, don’t just talk about love as an idea or theory. Make it your true way of life and live in the pattern of gracious love. – (1 John 3:18, VOICE)

 

God calls us to love with more than words. Though our words ought to be loving, our actions are what speak the loudest. If what we do is not motivated by love, it is evident to all, and our words will fall on deaf ears. However, when our actions are constantly seeking to serve others, and to put the needs of others before our own desires, people notice that there is something different driving us, and want to know what fuels our faithfulness. It is only through consistent action over time, that words begin to bear weight. In a relationship, the words “I love you” mean nothing, unless actions have shown the words to be true, over and over again. The same holds true in every other place in our lives where we interact with people. We are called to love. May we choose to love with our whole lives, rather than with words alone.

 

Oh Lord let our love,Generous Giving

Be made evident;

Not through words alone,

But acts of intent.

For things that we do,

Speak louder than words;

It is our actions,

The most clearly heard.

May our way of life,

All that we choose do;

Be done with great love,

So people see You.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to love with our actions, rather than merely our words. Thank You, Jesus, that You do not just ask us to do this, but You modeled it for us. You touched the untouchable, loved the unlovable and over and over again, helped in tangible ways. Thank You that You also equip us to do the same. Forgive us for the times that our words and deeds are not aligned in love. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would walk out all of our days in the abundance of love that You shower upon us. Show us how to love those around us in ways that reach their hearts. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, as they see evidence of who You are and how You love through Your people placed in their lives who love them well. Be glorified O God, as we live out our days in the pattern of Your gracious love. Amen.

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

Answer me, O Lord, out of the goodness of Your love; in Your great mercy turn to me. – Psalm 69:16