Bloom Where You Are Planted

Therefore, since we are surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. – (Hebrews 12:1, NIV)

We have all these great people around us as examples. Their lives tell us what faith means. So we, too, should run the race that is before us and never quit. We should remove from our lives anything that would slow us down and the sin that so often makes us fall. – (Hebrews 12:1, ERV)

As for us, we have all of these great witnesses who encircle us like clouds. So we must let go of every would that has pierced us and the sin we so easily fall into. Then we will be able to run life’s marathon race with passion and determination, for the path has been already marked out before us. – (Hebrews 12:1, TPT)

 

This, this is why we are called to be in community. Though we can accomplish much through Christ on our own, we can do and be more when we are surrounded by others who walk alongside us as we navigate the journey to which we are called. Incredibly, everyone has a story to tell, and we each have encouragement to offer, based on our experiences and the person whom we have been created to be. Though the struggles and seasons of suffering stink, they often become the space where we find God has grown us the strongest. It is in such seasons that we learn perseverance and dependence on Christ, and have to let go of everything else that weighs us down if we wish to keep moving forward. One of the things that I have missed terribly throughout this trying season, is the consistent community and gathering together to worship and fellowship with friends who have become family at home. However, I know that their prayerful support has been a tremendous contribution to what has sustained us as we have navigated this new and unknown road. God has been faithful each step of the way, and we trust Him to continue as each of us prepare for the next season in mom’s journey to a full recovery.

For mom, yesterday began with some strong ongoing progress that took incredible strength and courage. What terrified mom a little over a week ago, still frightened her a bit, yet she did not hesitate to participate and do her best. Doing upper body work from a kneeling position on the floor is a scary space for mom. However, it is a position that forces her to utilize the right side of her upper body, that she desperately wants to regain. She knows that the reward is worth the risk, and willingly fended off fear to do the work required of her. Ever so slowly, mom is activating her shoulder and scapula. Each time she does the exercises to strengthen the muscles, she also is increasing the message pathways to movement. Later in the afternoon, following an errand outing for a few necessities, lunch and Dutch Bros, we returned home and mom was ready to do some walking. Normally, mom changes into her tennis shoes with an AFO (something foot orthotic that lifts her toes so they don’t drag or catch when she steps) in them, but she already had her crocs on and I suggested she give it a try. Much to her surprise, she was able to walk well in her crocs without the AFO. This is extraordinarily exciting news, as it means that she is actually lifting her right leg as she steps, and no longer just dragging it through. The more she lifts her right foot as she steps, the greater variety of terrain she will be able to take on. (She really wants to walk around her yard!) Mom’s great cloud of witnesses have been coming to see her, more and more. She recognizes the benefit of visitors, and is enjoying reconnecting with dear friends from church, Bible studies and the like. Her perseverance is an encouragement to us all. May we ever seek to surround ourselves in community, so that we may encourage one another to persevere on the path to which we have been called.

 

Seek be invested, img_2019-07-16_06-35-183702170351870846491.jpg

In community;

To learn and to grow,

Exponentially.

For each one planted,

Has something to give;

Wisdom to offer,

Strength from lessons lived.

Hearing from others,

Those far and those near;

Lifts up and strengthens,

Helps us persevere.

Reach out and grow roots,

Invest and make room;

Choose let others in,

Where you’re planted, bloom.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to be in community. Thank You that we can both gain and offer strength to those around us as we do life together in You. Forgive us for allowing ourselves to be isolated when the road is difficult. Thank You for those whom You place in our lives to keep community strong, even when we are not nearby. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would reach out to those around us, regardless of our circumstances, as You bring beauty from ashes and often use our own weakness as Your greatest strength through us. Show us how to love those around us well, so that they will be encouraged and built up; strengthened to persevere through all seasons. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we invest in the communities that You call us to, and praise You for the power to persevere that comes from You. Amen.

 

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

 

Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe. – Hebrews 12:28

 

Never Hidden From Grace

“Who can hide in secret places so that I cannot see them?” declares the Lord. “Do I not fill the heaven and earth?” declares the Lord. – (Jeremiah 23:24, NIV)

“Someone might try to hide from me in some hiding place. But it is easy for me to see that person,” says the Lord, “because I am everywhere in heaven and earth.” – (Jeremiah 23:24, ERV)

“Can anyone hide from Me in a secret place? Am I not everywhere in all the heavens and earth?” says the Lord. – (Jeremiah 23:24, NLT)

 

There are times, even if we are not trying to hide, our circumstances may make us feel hidden from plain sight. For me, being in a situation where I am confined to my mom’s home, not being able to come and go as I please, is a strange sort of hidden space. Thankfully, God is faithful to remind me each new morning of His faithfulness and mercy, as He paints the sky anew, in plain view, as I rise. We are not hidden from His sight nor His reach, and the same way His glory fills the skies, is how He fills this house with His grace and mercy and love.

God made His reach and His vision for mom and her recovery evident yesterday as we met her new physical therapist. Nick is a wonderful man, with vast experience, who really took the time to get to know mom, what she is able to currently do, what she hopes to accomplish; and then began actively working with her to reach her goals. In one visit, he showed her new things that she is capable of doing that she did not realize she could already do. Additionally, for the first time, a few of her steps down her long hallway with the walker, did not require his assistance to bring her “stubborn” right leg through! This is huge progress, and truly tangible evidence that mom can see and feel and hold. There is little quite so encouraging as that which you can actually see and feel for yourself, in the direction you are working tirelessly toward. Last night, despite three wake-ups, was better for sleep for both of us as well. Today holds the meetings with her new speech therapist and occupational therapist, so I anticipate a busy, yet encouraging day. Please pray with us that today’s therapists are as wonderful as both Nick and Kari, whom we met on Saturday for an initial evaluation. If the first two are any indication, I would venture to say that yet again, God has orchestrated this change for such a time as this. May we ever trust in the One who hand-crafted the heavens and the earth, for we are never hidden from His sight.

 

Though there may be times, img_2019-06-25_07-02-53343082748570767751.jpg

Where we feel unseen;

The Lord keeps us close,

His love intervenes.

There’s nowhere we go,

That God cannot see;

He’ll never let go,

Presence, guaranteed.

We need only look,

Upon the vast sky;

Recognize His grace,

Grants us wings to fly.

Fly in His freedom,

Soar in His great grace;

Know how we are loved,

No matter our space.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that there is no place that we are hidden from You and Your great love for us. Thank You that the hands that created the heavens and the earth also created each of us, and know us individually. Thank You that no concern, care, celebration, nor fear escapes You. You see and know all. Forgive us for feeling isolated or unseen when our circumstances keep us from the communities we love. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would lean on You in the seasons that feel isolated, knowing that we are never alone. Show us how to reach out and love the lonely, helping to remind them how loved they truly are. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we rely on Your grace and celebrate Your nearness. Amen.

 

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

 

But as for me, how good it is to be near God! I have made the Sovereign Lord my shelter, and I will tell everyone about the wonderful things You do. – Psalm 73:28

To Build Up and Encourage

Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing. – (1 Thessalonians 5:11, NIV)

So encourage each other and help each other grow stronger in faith, just as you are already doing. – (1 Thessalonians 5:11, ERV)

So support one another. Keep building each other up as you have been doing. – (1 Thessalonians 5:11, VOICE)

 

Though I know not their heart after God, it is as if each one of my mom’s in-home care team has chosen to live this verse out as their life’s ambition. It takes a special sort of person to do in-home care, as I imagine one is never sure what they will encounter when they approach a home for the very first time. Each and every one of the care providers who has entered mom’s home has been an incredible source of encouragement for mom. Their positivity about mom’s progress thus far, and their excitement and motivation to walk this road of healing beside her, is faith-building as she continues to do the difficult work each day. Yesterday, as I asked mom if there was anything she would like to do or anyone she wished to see, she actually took me up on the offer for the first time and named the names of three of her dearest friends. I immediately sent out messages to them, and they responded promptly with enthusiasm. My heart lightened too, as I sat with the four of them and enjoyed the familiar banter among dear sister-friends. The sharing of life together was a needed boost for all of them, and each seemed to walk away encouraged and built up. After the ladies had been visiting for a while, mom’s in-home nurses arrived to do their check-in. They encouraged the girls to keep visiting while they checked in with me about particulars, and made sure to let all of them know how wonderful such visits were for mom and her rehabilitation and recovery. Pathways and progress multiply in the familiar, and in the last 24-48 hours, I have noticed a significant increase in the strength of her voice.

Beyond just yesterday, there has been an outpouring of encouragement and support for not only mom, but for my sister and me as we walk this road to recovery together. Mom’s living room and kitchen are lined with cards that have been sent over the last month by family and friends, far and near. Dear ones have been taking my boys to school in the mornings, and I know the same has been true for my sister when she is here as well. Our communities have rallied around us and covered us in prayer. We have been built up and encouraged, and are encouraged to do likewise. May we ever reach out and support one another; for we were indeed created to be in a community.

 

Build up each other,

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A sweet photo of mom and some of her besties from last year. ❤

Encourage, reach out;

Help one another,

It’s what love’s about.

For God created,

People to all need;

Sense of belonging,

A community.

Family and friends,

The gifts whom God gives;

To walk alongside,

To thrive as we live.

Let’s choose encourage,

Love well and build up;

Bless one another,

Fill up empty cups.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to encourage and build each other up. Thank You that You place people in our lives that do so when we need it the most. Forgive us for the missed opportunities to offer a word of encouragement or to come alongside another who needed a boost. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would listen to Your leading and encourage and build others up in the same way that You encourage and build us up. Show us how to love those around us in a way that strengthens and builds up where they are depleted. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for the encouragement that we have received and seek Your heart to extend the same to others around us. Amen.

 

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

 

You, Lord, hear the desire of the afflicted; You encourage them, and You listen to their cry. – Psalm 10:17

An Empowered Life Through Love

For the kingdom of God is not a matter of talk but of power. – (1 Corinthians 4:20, NIV)

God’s kingdom is not seen in talk but in power. – (1 Corinthians 4:20, ERV)

God’s Way is not a matter of mere talk; it’s an empowered life. – (1 Corinthians 4:20, MSG)

 

Our actions have a far greater and longer lasting impact than anything that we say. The charge that we have been given is to love God and love people, according to His good and perfect will. When we choose to live out our faith through all that we do, we are able to make the Lord’s love evident. However, if all that we do is say what we believe, but do not put it into action, the impact is non-existent. In the same way, if we tell those we love that we love them, but do not demonstrate our love through the things that we do, the words have no meaning nor lasting impact. On the other hand, those who serve and honor, uphold and provide, show again and again the power of God in their lives, even if the words are seldom spoken. A favorite quote of mine that aligns well with this verse, is: “Preach the gospel always. When necessary, use words.” – (St. Francis AssissiMay our actions provide the powerful proof of God’s love in our lives as we reach out to love, honor and serve those around us.

 

May the love of God,

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Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

Be made evident;

Through all that we do,

Kindness, heaven sent.

His love’s best made known,

Through things that we do;

Each act done in love,

Grants God’s light shine through.

So, let us choose show,

God’s love in our lives;

As we act in love,

Helping others thrive.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your love that is not merely spoken to us, but rather it is made evident through actions. Thank You that You call us to do the same. Forgive us for the times that our actions have not aligned with Your will, or our words were empty and without action. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would be people empowered by Your love to go forth and do the same. Show us how to love those around us in practical and tangible ways. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, as they recognize Your heart in the things that we do. Be glorified O God, as we go forth and give feet to our faith through loving actions. Amen.

 

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

 

Let the morning bring me word of Your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in You. Show me the way I should go, for to You I entrust my life. – Psalm 143:8

Strength to the Weary

He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. – (Isaiah 40:29, NIV)

He helps tired people be strong. He gives power to those without it. – (Isaiah 40:29, ERV)

He gives power to the weak, and to those who have not might He increases strength. – (Isaiah 40:29, NKJV)

 

So far, this week has felt extraordinarily long, and we are only two days in, out of four. I am not sure whether it is all of the snow and missed days that we have had the last few weeks, or the full moon, or perhaps the onset of gymnastics season that extends my work day by a couple of hours; but whatever it is, these past two days have felt longer than most, leaving me worn out by early into the evening. Incredibly, each morning is new, and fresh resolve and readiness greet me as I wake. Though feeling tired, I have managed to complete the things required of me with the energy needed. His help and strength have been tangibly present, as if left to my own devices, I might have otherwise tapped out. With fresh eyes, I recognize there is only one more wake-up after today, and that is not beyond what He has granted me strength to do. May we seek the Lord for the strength we need, as He is our Source and Supply, ever near to meet us with His power and presence.

 

When tired and weary,

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Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

Strength is all but gone;

Reach out to Jesus,

Who will lead us on.

He equips with strength,

His grace, grants power;

To keep moving forth,

His love empowers.

No matter the task,

Whatever the call;

He’s strength when we’re weak,

He’ll lead us through all.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our strength when we feel weak, and You empower us when we feel depleted. Thank You for Your grace and love that get us through our longest days. Forgive us for attempting to power through on our own, or for tapping out when we are called to keep moving. Teach us to find balance between the strength and rest to which we are called. Show us how to encourage and support those around us in Your loving kindness as they feel depleted. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to supply the strength we are lacking, so that we may accomplish each day, what You are calling us to do. Amen.

 

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

 

The Lord is my strength and my defense; He has become my salvation. He is my God, and I will praise Him, my father’s God, and I will exalt Him. – Exodus 15:2

Love Made Evident

For this is the message you heard from the beginning: We should love one another. – (1 John 3:11, NIV)

The central truth – the one you have heard from the beginning of your faith – is that we must love one another. – (1 John 3:11, VOICE)

The beautiful message you’ve heard right from the start is that we should walk in self-sacrificing love toward one another. – (1 John 3:11, TPT)

 

Our charge, always, is to love one another. Love makes itself known in a myriad of ways, yet a common thread in all is that love is “otherly”. It sees the needs of others first, and gives without worrying about what is received in return. I am beyond blessed to receive such love from family, friends and colleagues. Currently, my husband and I are on a Valentine’s Escape weekend in San Francisco. It was my joy to plan our escape with him knowing nothing of where we were headed. He worked eleven days straight, prior to our departure, as his job requires him to keep all city vehicles running and in good repair. The demands of his skill set grew exponentially as our entire state attempted to keep roads drivable with the triple hit of heavy snowfall. Yesterday, the first day of our getaway, was at long last an opportunity for rest. We were able to balance exploring with relaxing, and last night, both of us slept more than eight full hours. All this to say, he woke up and began making breakfast for both of us. Despite his exhaustion and this vacation being meant as a break for him, he continues to choose to love and serve, rather than sit back. Love works hard and chooses to act on behalf of others, even when rest is desired. May we ever seek to love and serve as Christ has done for us, so that our words and deeds make His love evident to all.

 

To love is a choice,

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My love and dear cousins who drove into the city to visit while we are in town. ❤

We all have to make;

To freely choose give,

Instead of just take.

Love chooses to see,

The needs of others;

Reach out and give grace,

One to another.

May we persevere,

And give love away;

For that is how peace,

Comes in hearts to stay.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to love. Thank You for the incredible examples of people who love well that You have placed in my life. Forgive us for the times that we have not chosen love as our first response. Teach us to turn to You in trust, to lead and guide us in how we are meant to love like You. Show us how to love those around us in practical ways that clearly communicate a love like Yours. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose to love others as You have loved us. Amen.

 

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

 

The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love. – Psalm 103:8

Love is Truth in Action

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 a theory. Make it your true way of life, and live in the pattern of gracious love. – (1 John 3:18, VOICE) 

 

Love is so much more than words. Though words can build up and encourage, the tangible evidence of love in action tends to last far longer than something that is simply spoken. Despite the tremendous value I hold in both spoken and written words, I find myself overwhelmingly assured of the truth of love spoken when everyday actions align. It is in the small and simple faithful gestures done in love, that truth is demonstrated over time. We can say whatever we wish, but if our actions do not align, the words are meaningless. However, when we choose love, again and again, through the things that we say and do, the recipients of our words and deeds cannot help but begin to believe the truth that they are loved. May we reach out and love others with the things that we do, just as God so graciously and generously loves each of us, so that all may know that love is not just an idea, but rather a reality intended for us all. 

 

May the Lord’s great love,

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Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

Lead all that we do; 

So that our actions, 

Display loving truth. 

Though our words matter, 

Our deeds speak much more; 

For our follow through, 

Shows love’s open door. 

Let us choose to act, 

In word and in deed; 

Do all things with love, 

So God’s love’s received. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to a life of love – not just with our words, but with everything that we do. Thank You that You have shown us what it is to live a life of love through Your Son. Forgive us for the times that we have chosen to do anything that was less than loving. Teach us to trust You more, so that our words and deeds would be an extension of Your heart and hands to those around us. Show us how to love those around us with our very lives, making Your love tangible to all. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we rely on Your love and grace to love others with our every word and deed. Amen.

 

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

 

My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. – John 15:12

Love As We Should

And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased. – (Hebrews 13:16, NIV)

And don’t forget to do good and to share what you have with others, because sacrifices like these are very pleasing to God. – (Hebrews 13:16, ERV)

Let’s not neglect what is good and share what we have, for these sacrifices also please God. – (Hebrews 13:16, VOICE)

 

We are called to do good and share with others. God is pleased when we choose to answer accordingly. To do good requires that we consider others and have their best interest in mind. Sharing can be done through our time, talent, wisdom, or resources. Each depends upon a determination to “do” on behalf of another. Incredibly, as we opt to share with others and do good, we end up gaining a warmth of heart, knowing we have done what we were meant to do. May we each aspire to do good and share with others, as this is pleasing unto God.

 

We’re not to neglect,

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Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤ *My Viking & his Mom

Our call to do good;

To share with others,

Love, as we all should.

For God is well-pleased,

When we sacrifice;

A bit of ourselves,

To reach out, be nice.

So, let us do good,

Share well, with others;

Do as we are called,

Sisters and brothers.

 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to do good and share with others. Thank You that as we do, You are pleased with us. Forgive us for neglecting to reach out and do the simple things that we can do to bless, encourage or help those around us. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would act on each prompting You place within us to reach out to those around us. Show us how to love those around us in ways that give good and help meet needs. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose to sacrifice self to reach out and love others as You love each of us. Amen.

 

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

 

Love always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. – 1 Corinthians 13:7

 

 

Seek to Discover

And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. – (Hebrews 10:24, NIV)

We should think about each other to see how we can encourage each other to show love and do good works. – (Hebrews 10:24, ERV)

Discover creative ways to encourage others and to motivate them toward acts of compassion, doing beautiful works as expressions of love. – (Hebrews 10:24, TPT)

 

When we pursue a life of loving God and loving people, encouragement and good deeds become the things we desire to do well. Incredibly, as we encourage others through compassion, kindness and various expressions of love, we too, are built up. Additionally, as I have been encouraged and shown various expressions of love, I have been spurred on to go and do likewise. May we ever seek to discover creative ways to encourage others and motivate them toward acts of compassion as we choose to do beautiful works that express the very same love that has been granted to us.

 

Let us pursue God,

Peace Through Understanding

Ever seek His love;

Go forth with a heart,

For people above.

May we encourage,

Be kind and show true;

Acts of compassion,

Where God’s love shines through.

Each time that we show,

God’s heart for others;

Love is paid forward,

To one another.

Let us encourage,

With kindness and grace;

Love one another,

Throughout all our days.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to encourage, bless and love those around us, just as You do for us. Forgive us for the times that we have neglected to reach out to those around us as we feel led, as You tug on our hearts strings in ways that lead to loving others well. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would listen to Your leading, and bless those around us as we have been blessed by You. Show us how to encourage and love those around us well. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek to discover ways to encourage and bless those around us. Amen.

 

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

Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing. – 1 Thessalonians 5:11

A Fitting Reply

Everyone enjoys a fitting reply; it is wonderful to say the right thing at the right time! – (Proverbs 15:23, NLT)

People are happy when they give a good answer. And there is nothing better than the right word at the right time. – (Proverbs 15:23, ERV)

Everyone enjoys giving great advice. But how delightful it is to say the right thing at the right time! – (Proverbs 15:23, TPT)

 

Our capacity to give good advice is directly connected to both our wisdom and life experience. If we look for the lesson in the difficulties we walk through, we gain insight and understanding that might be helpful to another. Additionally, if we seek wisdom from the word of God and His heart to understand, our heart becomes better equipped to reach out and speak life to another. The incredible peace found in this is that God will use a willing heart to give the right words at the right time. In as much as the words are intended to bless, encourage or build up another, when they are well-timed for the recipient, the speaker is blessed and encouraged as well. May we ever seek the Lord for wisdom as we walk through our days, and glean from the insight that trials display, so that we may give fitting replies to those needing to hear from Him.

 

A fitting reply,

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Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

Brings joy to the heart;

Provision of peace,

Through us, God imparts.

Such delight is found,

At just the right time;

When the Lord is sought,

His wisdom we find.

And all the more joy,

To know that our words;

A fitting response,

That’s meant to be heard.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You utilize every experience that we walk through to grow us in Your wisdom and grace. Thank You that as we seek You to deepen our understanding, You are faithful to impart Your wisdom upon us. Forgive us for not seeking You or for neglecting to depend on You in how we respond to those around us. Teach us to trust You more, so that our words and actions would be a clear reflection of Your heart. Show us how to love those around us in a way that reflects Your wisdom in our words of response. May many come into a lasting relationship with You as they recognize the glory of Your goodness and grace. Be glorified O God, as we depend on You to grant us wisdom to reply to those around us in the same way that You would. Amen.

 

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

 

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