Grace in the Grief

Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. – (Matthew 5:4, NIV) 

Great blessings belong to those who are sad now. God will comfort them. – (Matthew 5:4, ERV) 

God blesses those who mourn, for they will be comforted. – (Matthew 5:4, NLT) 

 

This morning, as I checked my messages, there was a notice from a friend at church informing me that an incredible lady – a wife and mother about my age, has passed. It has been both inspiring and heartbreaking to watch, for she battled cancer with courage and strength over the last several years, as her family fought alongside her. There was a sense of maintaining as much normalcy as possible, despite the devastation that all must have been feeling. The comfort in this heart-breaking loss, is that she is free of the pain and walking in glory. That being said, her husband has lost his best friend, and the children have lost their mother. Grief is a heavy space. As I pray for the family and those closest to her, I lay hold of the promise held in this verse in Matthew. Though it is not an easy road, God will bring comfort. God will bring His perfect peace. May we hold fast to the promise that He holds the grieving in His hands, and God is our Source of comfort in every season. 

 

God of all comfort, Being Made New

We lean into Thee; 

For the ones mourning, 

Bring Your grace and peace. 

No words that we speak, 

Nor acts done in love; 

Can comfort the grief, 

Like You Lord, above. 

For You know each heart, 

How to help the ache; 

To soothe the sorrow, 

And mend the heartbreak. 

O Lord, be near them, 

As they walk through pain; 

Be their close comfort, 

‘til just love remains. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our comfort when we grieve. Thank You that You know this family and all that they need. Thank You that You will bring exactly what they need to navigate their new normal. Forgive us for forgetting our own mortality, and not receiving each day we wake as an incredible gift of time that not all are afforded. Teach us to appreciate each new day, and to seek You in all things. Show us how to love well, those who are mourning. May we be used in the practical as well as the prayerful. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for being our comfort and our peace, even in the most heartbreaking of times. Amen.

 

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

(There is) A time to cry and a time to laugh. A time to grieve and a time to dance. – Ecclesiastes 3:4

Restoration

Dear friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health and all that may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well. – (3 John 1:2, NIV) 

Dear friend, I am praying that all is well with you and that your body is as healthy as I know your soul is. – (3 John 1:2, TLB) 

Beloved friend, I pray that you are prospering in every way and that you continually enjoy good health, just as your soul is prospering. – (3 John 1:2, TPT) 

 

Just as John’s words were an encouragement to Gaius, may they also be an encouragement to each of us. Often, the condition of our soul carries with it a seeming sort of boost for our physical health as well. However, I know this is not always the case, as I am acquainted with a handful of faithful believers who are fighting horribly difficult and serious battles with their health. It is my prayer that healing would come and health would be fully restored this side of heaven. May it be well with our souls as we seek our Savior for all things – body, heart, soul and mind. 

 

O Lord, as I pray,

Twin Falls, on the way to Hana.

May I keep in mind; 

Your faithful in need, 

Bring health, as designed. 

May things all be well, 

Mind, body and heart; 

As we seek Your face, 

Make illness depart. 

You are the Healer, 

Of all misaligned; 

Please heal and restore, 

Each heart, soul and mind. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we are encouraged in our faith and that You are the Healer of each part of us, Your created. Thank You that You hear every prayer. Forgive us for not seeking You to contend for those who need healing as often as we should. Bring to our minds all those to lift up before You and teach us to pray as You would have us pray. Show us how to love those around us in tangible and practical ways. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we thank You for all of the goodness that You have granted in our lives. Amen.

 

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

 

Finally, brothers and sisters, rejoice! Strive for full restoration, encourage one another, be of one mind, live in peace. And the God of love and peace be with you. – 2 Corinthians 13:11

 

 

Help in the Heaviness

He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we are able to give them the same comfort God has given us. – (2 Corinthians 1:4, NLT) 

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 1:4, ERV) 

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 1:4, VOICE) 

 

There are times that the weight of loss or struggle or hardships around us, find a way of seeping into our soul, causing sorrow to set heavy on our heart. Yesterday, as we heard the devastating news that a former student from our school, a boy who was in my own boys’ grade and classes, died Tuesday night, from gunshot wounds. Though I did not ever have him as a student, I did teach his younger sister and currently teach his younger brother. As I hesitantly pulled out an old yearbook to place a face with the name, the weight of the grief rested heavily through the recognition of the familiar smiling face of the young man. My own experience with loss has taught me that time eases the pain, however, that is likely little comfort for those closest to him who are only beginning to process the permanence of this tragic loss. I pray that God would surround each hurting heart with the comfort needed most, and that every need would be provided as they navigate this devastating reality. May we all be extra kind and compassionate in this season, as heavy hearts are hidden among us. 

 

God of all comfort, Being Made New

We call on Your Name; 

To hold heavy hearts, 

Love well through the pain. 

Lord, will You show us, 

What we’re meant to do; 

To extend Your grace, 

Help see others through. 

Show us how to love, 

Others through their pain; 

Let us be Your light, 

That through all remains. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are good, even when the circumstances that surround us are not. Thank You that You see every heartache, and You hear every prayer. Thank You that You comfort us the way our hearts need it most. Forgive us for avoiding painful places that we see in others, rather than being present to offer comfort, just as You have comforted us. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would know how to be present in heaviness, and how to comfort those who are hurting. Show us how to love those dealing with loss in practical and tangible ways. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, the ultimate Comforter. Be glorified O God, as we seek Your comfort to share with others, and thank You for the comfort that You continue to provide for us all. Amen.

 

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

 

He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away. – Revelation 21:4

Refreshment and Restoration for the Tired

I will refresh the weary and satisfy the faint. – (Jeremiah 31:25, NIV) 

I will give rest and strength to those who are weak and tired. – (Jeremiah 31:25, ERV) 

I’ll refresh tired bodies; I’ll restore tired souls. – (Jeremiah 31:25, MSG) 

 

This extended weekend away has done exactly what God promised Jeremiah, it has refreshed my weariness and restored the spaces within me that were just plain tired. Though my body still wakes at the usual early hour, I have not jumped right out of bed to get to task. I have moved at a leisurely pace, meandering to the coffee pot beside my bed, prior to taking my time to spend time in His word and reflect. Much of our time has been spent walking and exploring all over the city, and for me, there is much refreshment in movement. Being able to explore in the cool, late fall air, as we take in the sights and sounds of a city I have seldom seen, is the very sort of adventure to rejuvenate my heart and mind. Though I miss my husband and boys, it is a joy to escape and spend intentional time with my best friend. Though refreshment and restoration rarely come in the form of a weekend getaway, God is faithful to give rest and strength when we need it most. May we ever turn to Him to restore our hearts and minds when we need refreshment, and give Him praise for the faithful ways that He provides. 

 

The Lord is faithful, img_2018-12-03_06-57-562597762703058698717.jpg

No matter our need; 

He hears what we ask, 

Grants blessings indeed. 

When weary and tired, 

In great need of rest; 

The way God answers, 

Is always the best. 

He refreshes strength, 

Fortifies resolve; 

Renews and restores, 

Makes fatigue dissolve. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are faithful to refresh tired bodies and restore weary souls. Forgive us for attempting to press on through our own exhaustion, rather than seeking You for solutions to strengthen and restore us in our spaces of depletion. Teach us to trust You more, as You are the Grantor of strength who lifts us up when we cannot lift ourselves. Show us how to love those around us a way that strengthens and restores the weary and worn out in practical ways. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we rest in You. 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

The One Who is Willing

In one of the villages, Jesus met a man with an advanced case of leprosy. When the man saw Jesus, he bowed with his face to the ground, begging to be healed. “Lord,” he said, “if You are willing, You can heal me and make me clean.”  Jesus reached out and touched him. “I am willing,” He said. “Be healed!” And instantly the leprosy disappeared. – (Luke 5:12-13, NLT)

 

I love this exchange between Jesus and the man with leprosy for several reasons. First, the man who was suffering had more faith in the One who stood before him, than fear of the repercussions for being out among people as a leper. Second, he recognized the authority of Christ as he bowed before Him, and asked if He might be willing to heal him. Jesus met the man’s faith and humility with mercy and grace, as He did the unthinkable. Jesus touched the untouchable as He healed him. No one was allowed near lepers, let alone to touch them, so it had likely been a very long time since the man who was suffering had experienced direct human contact. Not only was he extended kindness and listened to as he made his request before Jesus, but he was answered in a way that was meant to help his heart as well as his body. Jesus knows our needs far better than we do. When we come before Him with our requests, He often answers in ways we would not have ever imagined. His goodness and grace are far greater than every need we bring before Him. May we ever seek the Lord, and let Him know our places of need, for He is faithful to answer as we ask.

 

The God of all grace,Healed Hands Reach Out

Says, “Come unto me,”

“Seek Me with your needs,

And I’ll set you free.”

Faithful to answer,

The Lord always hears;

He grants us His strength,

And chases off fears.

For He is willing,

To draw near, to touch;

Let us seek in faith,

And watch Him move much.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are willing to hear our requests and bring Your answers. Thank You that Your answers go beyond what we could hope or imagine. Thank You that You attend to our hearts as well as our physical needs. Forgive us for making You too small, as the very God who created the Universe, has the ability to see and answer our needs where we are. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would seek You first; always. Show us how to love those around us in practical and tangible ways. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You for solutions in our spaces of need, as You are the One who hears and helps. Amen.

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

Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God. – 2 Corinthians 3:5

We Are Commanded to Love

If we say we love God but hate any of our brothers or sisters in His family, we are liars. If we don’t love someone we have seen, how can we love God? We have never even seen Him. God gave us this command: If we love God, we must also love each other as brothers and sisters. – (1 John 4:20-21, ERV)

Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. And He has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister. – (1 John 4:20-21, NIV)

 

We cannot both love and hate and still live as children of God. The command that we have been given is to love God and love people. It does not mean that we will adore everyone we meet, but rather our hearts can have His intentions for all – kindness, compassion, and light, just as He loves us. Often, it takes time and prayer to view others through Christ’s lens. Everyone has a story and each of us have been created with a purpose. No one is more or less valuable to God. When we come to a place where we allow our eyes to focus through His filter, we become better equipped to see the good, or at least the need, to love those around us. Though we cannot see God, clear evidence of His existence is everywhere. Likewise, though we may not know why a person is the way they are, if they have life and breath, they are here for a reason and need and deserve love – the same as each of us. May we seek the Lord and His loving grace, so that we may go forth and love well, all whom He places in our path.

 

God calls us to love,Faith and Hope in Action

Love cannot be earned;

Brothers and sisters,

True love can be learned.

For as we love God,

He changes our heart;

Gives us eyes to see,

And grace He imparts.

For we aren’t of God,

If love’s not our choice;

To extend to all,

With heart, hand and voice.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You not only command us to love You and love those around us as sisters and brothers, but You show us how to love and grant us what we need so that we may love as we are loved. Forgive us for our lack of love toward our sisters and brothers, and teach us to love others in tangible and practical ways. Show us how to love those whom we see, so that they might seek You, whom they do not. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love You and depend on You and Your direction and grace, to love those around us as You call us to love. Amen.

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

The joy of the Lord is your strength. – Nehemiah 8:10

Learn to Do Good

Learn to do good. Seek justice. Help the oppressed. Defend the cause of orphans. Fight for the rights of widows. – (Isaiah 1:17, NLT)

Learn to do good. Work for justice. Help the down-and-out. Stand up for the homeless. Go to bat for the defenseless. – (Isaiah 1:17, MSG)

 

There are many practical and tangible ways that we can love people. A true testament of learning to love as Christ loves us, is when we choose to do for those who can do nothing for us in return. The choice to do good and help those who are unable to help themselves is an act of love that expects nothing in return. Orphans and widows are among those mentioned multiple times throughout the Bible, indicating that they are a priority to the very heart of God. Sadly, we need not look far to discover people who would benefit from tangible and practical acts of love done on their behalf. It does not require great quantities of cash, or public platforms to make a difference in the lives of those around us. When we open our eyes to needs nearby, we are able to see small things that matter and can then step up and do to offer comfort and care to those who are hurting. May we go forth this day with eyes and hearts open, so that we are able to see and know what we can do practically and tangibly to extend good into the lives of those who need it most.

 

With heart wide open,May Compassion Compel Us to Action

I suddenly see;

Not only the needs,

But answers through me.

Small acts of kindness,

Extended in love;

God uses for good,

His grace shines above.

Choose to seek justice,

Give help to oppressed;

Defend defenseless,

For God’s way is best.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You do good on our behalf. Thank You that You provide help to the oppressed, You defend the orphans and the widows. Thank You that You call us to do the same. Thank You that You do not ask us to do anything that You are not also willing to equip and empower us to do. Forgive us for thinking that we are unable to do anything to help those in need. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would see the circumstances of those around us through Your eyes, and the possible solutions and care that we can offer. Show us how to love in practical and tangible ways so that those in need would know Your love is real. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek justice, help those in need, defend those who are unable to defend themselves, and learn to do the good that You call us to do. Amen.

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

Listen… be wise, and keep your heart on the right path. – Proverbs 23:19

Praise as Majesty Moves

Who can list the glorious miracles of the Lord? Who can ever praise Him enough? – (Psalm 106:2, NLT)

No one can describe how great the Lord really is. No one can praise Him enough. – (Psalm 106:2, ERV)

 

Keeping proper perspective in the constant chaos that so often accompanies this time of year is critical. Though all of the activities and festivities are fabulous, that which matters most is our intentional pause to remember the reason for the season. There were a myriad of miracles that took place surrounding the arrival of Christ. A virgin birth, a bright star to show the way, numerous angelic visitations, shepherds serenaded and informed by heavenly hosts, wise men traveling from distant lands to bring gifts, and the list continues… God is so much more than a baby in a manger. That baby grew and healed the downtrodden, the outcast, the sinner and the sick, so that all might come to know Him. More than that, He bore the weight of all of our sin so that we could be in relationship with Him forever. There are not enough words, and not enough time to offer Him the praise He is due. The best that we can do is honor Him with our words and deeds, and extend love and life in tangible and practical ways to those around us. May we seek to honor the Lord in all that we do, so that our very lives are an expression of praise unto Him.

 

Who could ever list,The story of Christmas metaphor represented by a manger and crown of thorns.

The glories of God?

For His miracles,

Too vast and too broad.

Who could offer praise,

That would be enough?

The greatness of God,

Whose love covers us.

So let us go forth,

May our lives bring praise;

As we recognize,

The Ancient of Days.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your miracles are far too numerous for us to list, and the praise You deserve extends far beyond what we could ever offer. Thank You that You love us where we are, and lead us where we are meant to go. Forgive us for not slowing down in the chaos of the season to really fix our eyes and hearts on You. Teach us to intentionally focus our gaze on You in all things and at all times, so that we may recognize Your miraculous in the everyday, and offer You praise through how we walk out our days. Show us how to love those around us in a way that glorifies You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we recognize Your majesty on the move, and give You praise for all of our days. Amen.

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

When times are good, be happy. – Ecclesiastes 7:14

Finding Favor

Never let loyalty and kindness leave you! Tie them around your neck as a reminder. Write them deep within your heart. Then you will find favor with both God and people, and you will earn a good reputation. – (Proverbs 3:3-4, NLT)

Stay focused; do not lose sight of mercy and truth; engrave them on a pendant, and hang it around your neck; meditate on them so they are written upon your heart. In this way, you will win the favor of God and others, and they will think well of you. – (Proverbs 3:3-4, VOICE)

 

When we operate our lives according to God’s will, we find the favor of both God and man is upon us. Loyalty, kindness, mercy and truth go far in a world where these attributes are not always easy to find. As we exhibit these things, we are being salt and light; granting glimpses of God to those who do not know Him, in a practical and tangible way. Let us remember with reverence the importance of representing our Redeemer well, as we operate as His ambassadors. May we never let loyalty and kindness leave us, as we allow the Lord to write His truth deep within our heart.

 

The Lord’s loyalty,Enter With Thanksgiving

And kindness to us;

Are ours to pass on,

How we show Jesus.

Let us tie around,

Something near our hearts;

So we don’t forget,

Where grace and love starts.

A reputation,

That is full of good;

To God and people,

Favor understood.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we enter into relationship with You, You show us loyalty and kindness, and You write them upon our hearts. Thank You that as we choose to operate in the very things that we have been shown, Your favor and the favor of those around us is upon us. Thank You that by choosing to faithfully follow You, we will earn a good reputation. Forgive us for our lack of faithfulness, or for our lack of kindness or mercy when we feel we have been wronged. Teach us to trust You more, so that we can extend loyalty, kindness, mercy and truth in all things and at all times. Grant us wisdom as to how we are to do so in a healthy and safe way, and draw people unto Yourself by the kindness we extend by loving in practical ways. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we never let loyalty and kindness leave us. May we be ambassadors of Your mercy and truth all of our days. Amen.

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

Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God. – 2 Corinthians 3:5

Do the Good

Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn’t do it, sins. – (James 4:17, NIV)

If you fail to do what you know is right, you are sinning. – (James 4:17, ERV)

 

Each one of us has an inner voice that directs us in the way in which we are meant to go. Some call this a conscience, others liken it to an internal compass; while those who place their trust in Christ, come to know that this is actually the very voice of God. His Spirit who dwells in us, whispers to our hearts – that which we are meant to do, and that which we are not. So often we think of sin as a long list of “Thou shall nots“, instead of the reality of truly listening and obeying the still small voice within. I imagine few of us have ever gone out and murdered anyone, (though we each have likely harbored unkind thoughts about another) yet how many of us have neglected a need of another that is near us?

 

Yesterday evening, my boys and I were at the gas station and I had just finished filling my car. An elderly gentleman caught my attention and politely asked if I had a few dollars I could spare, as he seemed to be in a bit of a panic, claiming that he must have dropped his card and needed to get a bit of gas to travel home. For some reason, I reached in my wallet, grabbed out the few dollars that I had folded in there, and handed it to him. He graciously and gratefully accepted my small offering. As we drove away, it sparked a great conversation with my boys. Usually, when approached for money in a parking lot, I am able to honestly answer that I do not carry cash. Yesterday, however, felt different. For some reason, I had just a few dollars, and I felt like I should give it to him. After explaining to the boys that sometimes, you just have to trust that you are doing the right thing. Out loud, in front of the boys, I simply prayed for the man to be able to purchase enough gas to take him safely home. May we choose well to do the right which we are called to do, as we listen carefully to the still small voice within.

 

Sin is not only,Compassion in Confrontations

when we choose do wrong;

but when we neglect,

live out our life’s song.

If we’re called to love,

and we opt love not;

then we’re choosing sin,

in selfish snares caught.

If we will listen,

for His still small voice;

and act on His call,

we’ll make the right choice.

When we act in love,

allow the Lord lead;

broken can be healed,

through Him, we meet needs.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You continually show us what we are meant to do; through Your word, through those who have gone before us, and through the still small voice of Your Holy Spirit who dwells within us. Thank You that if we are willing to listen, we will hear You. Forgive us for the times that we did not do the good that we should have done, and teach us to trust You more, so that we will be ready and willing to act in obedience the next time You present the opportunity for us to do good on Your behalf. Lead us to love others in practical and tangible ways. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we do the good that You are calling us to do. Amen.

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

Is anyone happy? Let him sing songs of praise. – James 5:13