Love Because…

Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. – (1 John 4:11, NIV) 

That is how much God loved us, dear friends! So we also must love each other. – (1 John 4:11, ERV)

My dear, dear friends, if God loved us like this, we certainly ought to love each other. – (1 John 4:11, MSG)

 

So far, this weekend has been exactly what Mark and I both needed. It is the first weekend in months that we have not had plans nor an agenda. Yesterday turned into a wonderful day of quality time catching up with friends. After my love and I took care of some errand and returned home, I was able to escape and get mani/pedis with my best friend. Between us, our work schedules have kept us from spending the time together that we would most enjoy, so an afternoon together was a great way to catch up. In the evening, Mark and I met up with one of my dearest friends from childhood (our bonus sister), along with her husband and son, and spent a wonderful evening together, sharing life and enjoying each other’s company. The love that God gives us to love one another was made evident throughout the day in each interaction. His love runs deep, and it is not limited by how often we see one another. His goodness and grace are abundant, and relationships long ago established, remain full of love by His grace. May we ever recognize the depth of love that God has for us, and extend the same to those with whom we interact.

 

May the love of God, Love Because

Move our hearts and minds;

To love as we’re loved,

With grace, choose be kind.

For each time we choose,

To love like the Lord;

His heart is made known,

As good is outpoured.

So, let us choose love,

Just as God loves us;

Grace to each other,

Through hope we express.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the depth and breadth of Your love that envelops us and empowers us to love. Thank You for the gift of friendships that exemplify the greatness of Your grace and goodness of Your love. Thank You that You place Your love for people within us. Forgive us for the times that we have chosen not to extend all that You have given us to others. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would love those around us in the same way that we are loved by You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we receive the incredible love that You give so that we can turn and extend the same to those around us. Amen.

 

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

 

And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. – Matthew 22:39

Our Hearts Are Heard

This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. – (1 John 5:14, NIV)

We can come to God with no doubts. This means that when we ask God for things (and those things agree with what God wants for us), God cares about what we say. – (1 John 5:14, ERV)

Since we have this confidence, we can also have great boldness before Him, for if we present any request agreeable to His will, He will hear us. – (1 John 5:14, TPT)

 

God amazes me with how He hears us, both audibly, and the very cries of our hearts. For me, since I have been home, there have been prayers met that were actually lifted, and then there have been those that were merely hidden hopes in my heart, that have been heard and honored by my Heavenly Father. One of the ways that my heart is filled best is through quality time with the people I love. After such an extended time away from home, it has been especially important to me to find time to spend with my family and friends before the school year begins again. Last week, I was able to take each of my boys back-to-school shopping, individually, and enjoy their company, one-on-one. I have been able to get some running in with my running bestie, and visits, walks and yes, even a run in, with my best friend too, as well as wonderful, ordinary, everyday life with my husband. Time together is such a blessing, and last evening, he took me back to the place where we had our very first date, three years ago. We sat at the same table, at nearly the same time of day. What a difference three years makes! Back then, I was so nervous, that I could not even lift my water glass without my hand shaking. That being said, Mark was able to set my heart and mind at ease, and made our first encounter light and enjoyable, as we began to learn more about one another. After he walked me out to my car and asked permission to call me to see me again, the nervousness had completely subsided, and I knew that there was something worth getting to know about this gentle giant. Nearly two years later we were married, and now, three years later, we have our first year of marriage under our belt with a lifetime to look forward to with joy. He too, was an answer to a prayer that I didn’t quite know how to pray. I knew that when the time came, I would need someone who could love me well, and that would appreciate being loved by me as well. God knew what we both needed, and fit us together perfectly. God hears and He answers when we ask Him according to His good and perfect will.

Yesterday, mom had a wonderful day of being celebrated well. The day began with my sister and her family taking mom to brunch, followed by a walk down by the river at a park nearby. The plan was to attend church after, but I did not catch whether or not that transpired or not, in our conversation last evening. Mom enjoyed the afternoon with the family, and was set up with some new technology to aid in the use of her tablet and cell phone. (Meg and family found holders for each that attach to mom’s chair so that she can use them while seated, one-handed) Their evening continued with my brother-in-love’s fantastic barbecue work for dinner, and a relaxing time enjoying one another. Our ask of the Lord this week is that God continues to settle mom’s heart and help all of them to find a routine so that each feels at ease and able to do what needs to be done. Change is challenging for all, but the grace of God is greater. We are trusting Him to be their peace and their Provider, as He leads them through each of the new that need be navigated this week.

 

Approach the Lord God, img_2019-08-19_05-40-231040012414498634990.jpg

In confidence, come;

All asked in His will,

Are heard and welcome.

For God knows our needs,

What blesses our hearts;

Place all in His hands,

As grace He imparts.

His goodness abounds,

As His love shall lead;

We will discover,

He’ll meet all our needs.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that because of Jesus, we can approach You with confidence, trusting that You hear our every prayer. Thank You that Your ways are higher than ours, and Your will is the only way we should go. Forgive us for the times that we find ourselves frustrated for the seemingly unanswered prayers, as You patiently wait for us to listen for Your will and way, or to recognize what the right answer really is. Thank You for loving us through our wandering. Teach us to seek and trust You more. Show us how to love those around us in ways that make Your goodness and grace tangible. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love You and approach You with confidence, knowing that You will hear our every prayer that aligns with Your will. Amen.

 

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

 

I call on You, my God, for You will answer me; turn Your ear to me and hear my prayer. – Psalm 17:6

Persevere in Doing Good

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. – (Galatians 6:9, NIV)

We must not get tired of doing good. We will receive our harvest of eternal life at the right time. We must not give up. – (Galatians 6:9, ERV)

So let’s not allow ourselves to get fatigued doing good. At the right time we will harvest a good crop if we don’t give up, or quit. – (Galatians 6:9, MSG)

 

The first person that came to mind as I read this verse this morning, is my vice principal at school. She is the person who did some of the most difficult work on campus, yet did not grow weary in doing good, with a positive attitude and a heart for people. Her kindness and heart for people draws others in, and I consider her a friend as well as a colleague. Part of not growing weary in doing good, is knowing when to take a rest. For her, the opportunity to take a year’s sabbatical has presented itself in the coming school year, and I imagine God has an incredible harvest of blessings for her as she enjoys a new season of rest and is able to spend far more quality time with her wonderful family.

This same principle applies with mom and all who are in her corner. Each person who is investing or has invested time to help with her healing and recovery, is aiding in her ultimate good. The willingness of others to walk alongside mom has encouraged her to rise up and press on with a determination and resilience that few would find in such a situation. Yesterday was a changing of the guard day for my sister and me. I returned after time at home to close out the school year, and she now needs to get back to her home to her family and work. There is good to be done in each space, and our call is to do what we can, wherever we are – no more, no less. God is faithful to grant us the strength; it is our charge to keep moving forward. May we ever continue to press on in the good that lies before us, for every act of kindness goes out and can be utilized by God.

 

Let’s not grow weary, fb_img_15611258346534200705895356085413.jpg

In choosing do good;

For God grants us strength,

To do as we should.

He helps us to rise,

Encourage, be kind;

To help each other,

With their best in mind.

When the day is done,

And it’s time to rest;

May we truly say,

We gave God our best.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to do good; not because we have to do or be anything to earn Your favor, but rather because You want others to see You through us. Thank You that we can be Your ambassadors of love to those who need to know what love and kindness and grace truly means. Forgive us for the times that we have neglected to demonstrate the good that You have for those around us. Teach us to trust You more, so that we may be a living reflection of who You are to those around us. Show us how to love others in the same way that You so perfectly love each of us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose to do good and love well. Amen.

 

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

 

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law. – Galatians 5:22-23

Growing Love

And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight. – (Philippians 1:9, NIV)

This is my prayer for you: that your love will grow more and more; that you will have knowledge and understanding with your love. – (Philippians 1:9, ERV)

I continue to pray for your love to grow and increase beyond measure, bringing you into the rich revelation of spiritual insight in all things. – (Philippians 1:9, TPT)

 

Isn’t this honestly what we all need? As I return home later this morning and my sister takes the reigns here at mom’s, knowledge, understanding, revelation and insight are needed to best love those we are called to love, where we are called to love them. Though it is a bit easier to love our family members well, after long periods of separation there are likely to be challenges, hurts and misunderstandings. We need insight and a heart like Jesus, to love well, regardless of how our “re-entry” goes. Yes, I am eagerly anticipating time with my husband, boys, dear friends, and students, however, I do not expect it all to be a “bed of roses”. I anticipate hiccups and frustrations, especially after such a long-awaited return. My sister will likely endure similar struggles, as she has been eager to get back to mom, yet had to leave her husband and boys at home. There is new territory to navigate and a rhythm to discover, and it will not look nor feel the same as the one that mom and I have established. The time together will grant them each opportunity to grow even closer; as just yesterday, mom and I were discussing the blessing in this whole crazy catastrophe is that we have had more intentional quality time together over the last six weeks, than we have had in ages. We can communicate with looks and gestures, just as easily as with words. Laughter abounds in the house, and there is much joy, despite the challenges and frustrations in the long and arduous task of rehabilitation and recovery from a stroke.

Yesterday was a wonderful, busy day. The first order of business was occupational therapy. Elizabeth, her therapist, is working tirelessly to come up with ways to help mom regain movement and mobility in her right arm. Though the gains are slow and seemingly insignificant, Elizabeth’s enthusiasm and encouragement keep mom uplifted and ready to do the work for the long haul. Soon after her appointment, one of mom’s dearest friends from childhood and his wife came for a visit. The two of them are treasured friends, and mom was engaged and uplifted from time together. We had a mellow afternoon, full of movie watching and down time, as I think mom was too excited for Megan’s return to actually sleep, yet knew she needed to rest a bit. After dinner, we caught up with some sweet neighbors of mom’s, and again, mom was lifted up at the blessing of being together with dear ones. Shortly after they had gone, Megan at last, arrived. We had decided to go outside to see if we could catch her upon arrival, and just reached the garage door as the car had pulled up the driveway to welcome her in. Mom was over-the-moon to have both of her girls home at once, and we thoroughly enjoyed catching up with one another, visiting and laughing together, until we all were ready to call it a day. I know the bond between each of us has grown stronger through all of this as well: my sister and me, mom and my sister, mom and me. God is good, and He brings beautiful things from the ugliest of circumstances. May we ever seek Him to grow our love more and more, in knowledge and depth of insight.

 

God, grow our love more, img_20190613_213857_7235691910451312632394.jpg

In knowledge of You;

Grant us Your insight,

Show us what to do.

Help us understand,

How deep and how wide;

How vastly You love,

As we choose abide.

Show us Your mercy,

Wrap us in Your grace;

Teach us to give love,

That honors Your Name.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we ask, Your love abounds in us more and more, and that You grow us in knowledge and understanding of who You are and how You love. Thank You that we can spend a lifetime pursuing You, and still never fully grasp the depth and breadth of Your incredible love. Forgive us for the times that we somehow think that it is not enough. Teach us to trust You more. Show us how to receive all that You have to offer, so that we may in turn, give out of the abundance that You give to us. Lead us to love those around us with wisdom and insight, so that they too, may see Your heart through our love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we pursue You, and seek to grow in the knowledge and understanding of Your overwhelming love for us all. Amen.

 

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

 

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

Grateful for the Faithful

Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! His faithful love endures forever. – (Psalm 136:1, NLT)

Praise the Lord because He is good. His faithful love will last forever. – (Psalm 136:1, ERV)

Thank God! He deserves your thanks. His love never quits. – (Psalm 136:1, MSG)

 

God’s faithful love far exceeds the trials that we face. He is good all of the time, even when that which we endure is not. Yesterday, I had a health scare that led to a chain of events that had me spending some quality time in our local emergency room for an array of tests. Though I was alone, a sweet friend who is an administrator on staff spotted me in the waiting room and came over, sat down beside me, and just chatted with me for a few minutes. Her kindness was a sort of tangible reassurance that all would be okay. His peace was present as each assessment was run, and when I was done, a dear friend came and picked me up and took me to get lunch and my car, as I had been dropped off by a kind friend from work. His goodness and faithfulness continued to be made known to me as both my best friend and my fiancé had been in communication with me all throughout the day and continued into the evening. I am so grateful for His goodness and His love that lasts forever. May we ever remember that no matter what we face, God is always good and His faithful love will last forever.

 

Through good times and bad, When the Sun Shines In

Give thanks to the Lord;

He remains present,

And grace He affords.

By His faithful love,

Our hope is secure;

He gives us the strength,

To rise, persevere.

Let all that I am,

Make the choice to praise;

Not for what is seen,

But for all His ways.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are good and that Your faithful love endures forever. Thank You that You meet us in our circumstances and continue to show us Your goodness, even when our situations are a struggle. Forgive us for not giving You thanks for Your nearness and goodness, or for forgetting that no matter how things seem now, they are only temporary compared to the eternity that lies ahead. Show us how to love those around us in a way that demonstrates Your goodness and faithfulness to all. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You thanks and trust in Your unfailing love. Amen.

 

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

 

Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad. – 1 Chronicles 16:31

In Quiet Wait, There is Rest

I wait quietly before God, for my victory comes from Him. – (Psalm 62:1, NLT)

I must calm down and turn to God; only He can rescue me. – (Psalm 62:1, ERV)

Only in God do I find rest; my salvation comes from Him. – (Psalm 62:1, CEB)

 

When life gets hectic and the weight of the world seems to fall upon our shoulders, it is necessary to slow down and find rest in whatever form fuels our souls best. I love the creativity of God and how He provides places and ways for us to recharge as we seek spaces of rest and refreshment in Him. Once a week, during our collaboration period at school, staff members meet to discuss topics that will help improve the culture and climate of our school. Yesterday’s topic, was in part, self-care. Turning to God in trust is the first way that my weary soul finds rest, and that I can carry out “self-care“. Additionally, I am recharged when I spend quality time with the people whom I love. Though I have been fighting a sore throat and dragging this week, there was no hesitation in my decision to keep my plans to join my love, his son, and some great friends of ours at a hockey game last evening. The escape from my normal routine was filled with laughter, cheering and rest. There are few ways in which I would voluntarily sit for three hours, yet with a hockey game on the ice in front of me, no problem. Despite my reduction in sleep last night, (due to the late end of the game) I still bolted out of bed at the first sound of my alarm, and am fully coherent as I begin this new day. As a bonus, this is a short school week, with Friday being an in-service day for which I do not need to complete hours. He is good and rescues us from our weariness in ways that He knows we need most. May we ever wait quietly on God and turn to Him in trust, as He is our rescuer and our salvation.

 

I wait on the Lord, In Quiet Wait There is Rest

So steady and calm;

For I trust in Him,

To keep keeping on.

The Lord is my rest,

My strength when I’m weak;

My hope, salvation,

The answer I seek.

In quiet I’ll wait,

For my God alone;

As He’s where I find,

That my heart is known.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we wait quietly before You, we find You and know Your help, Your hope and Your rescue. Forgive us for attempting to gut things out in our weariness, rather than turning to You for rest. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would calm down and rest in Your presence, as You are our Provider of all that we need. Show us how to love those around us in a way that provides peace and hope and rest that points their hearts to You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we wait quietly before You, and give You praise for Your faithfulness throughout all our days. 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