Respond Gently

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

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

A gentle response defuses anger, but a sharp tongue kindles a temper-fire. – (Proverbs 15:1, MSG)

This is a game-changer in every area of our lives if we abide by it. When someone who is enraged is responded to gently, it seems to flip a switch and bring them back to reality. We tend to match the way that others are speaking to us, so if we are yelling or speaking out in anger and then have someone answer us gently, it is as if the steam that had been built up, is suddenly released, and the press of the fury has fled. I know this to be true in both my home and in my classroom. The challenge is to remember to keep calm and speak with kindness, even when chaos seems inevitable. This is not something we can just do, but rather as we seek God to equip us, He floods us with His peace, and grants us gentle words, even when we desire to do otherwise. We are all a work in progress, and not one of us has this entirely mastered, yet the more we practice, the more natural it becomes. May we ever seek the Lord to grow us in grace so that we may always have a gentle response to bring calm to the chaos around us.

A gentle response,

Makes wrath disappear;

It calms the chaos,

And soothes away fear.

For God is our peace,

Ever He is near;

He grants us the words,

To make His love clear.

Help us keep seeking,

To respond like You;

Make grace abundant,

So Your love shines through.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to love as You love. Thank You that Jesus showed us over and over again how to respond gently and to love deeply. Forgive us for the times that we have answered anger with anger instead of responding with gentleness and kindness. Teach us to trust You to provide the sort of peaceful response that brings calm and promotes peace for all. Show us how to love others with how we respond in all situations and circumstances. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to lead us to respond gently when someone around us is riled up. Amen.

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

With all humility and gentleness, with patience, accepting one another in love, diligently keeping the unity of the Spirit with the peace that binds us. – Ephesians 4:2-3

Where Hope is Held

Let us hold on to the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful. – (Hebrews 10:23, HCSB)

We must hold on to the hope we have, never hesitating to tell people about it. We can trust God to do what He promised. – (Hebrews 10:23, ERV)

Let us hold strong to the confession of our hope, never wavering, since the One who promised it to us is faithful. – (Hebrews 10:23, VOICE)

Hope is a funny thing, for we use the word to talk about what we want to happen or about something we desire; however, true hope is a confident space of waiting for that which has been promised by the One who is faithful forever. This is important for me to remember as our vacation is coming to a close. The day after tomorrow, I will return to work. I know not how spring break has gone for my students and colleagues, but I know Who holds us all in His hands. As much as I “hope” that all goes well, I need to remember that the One who is our hope will be with me, leading, guiding, protecting and providing. I don’t need to know what tomorrow holds to have hope in Him. He is our hope and the One who provides all of our tomorrows. May we hold fast to our hope in Him, for He is forever faithful and worthy of all of our trust.

O Lord of all hope,

To You I will cling;

No matter what comes,

You’re faithful to bring.

Bring goodness and grace,

Your presence and peace;

Trust for each new day,

As love is released.

O God, we rise up,

And trust in Your love;

For we’re in Your hands,

Our Father above.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that our hope resides in You. Thank You that You hold us and all of our tomorrows in Your loving hands. Thank You that we need not worry about what lies ahead, for You are with us, always. Forgive us for our concerns about things that are yet to come. Teach us to trust in You in all things and at all times. Show us how to live and love like You, knowing that You are our hope and help, and that You love lavishly and call us to the same. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we place all of our hope in You, for You are faithful forever. Amen.

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

We have this hope as an anchor for our lives, safe and secure… – Hebrews 6:19a

Teach Us to Love

With all humility and gentleness, with patience, accept one another in love. – (Ephesians 4:2, HCSB)

Always be humble and gentle. Be patient and accept each other with love. – (Ephesians 4:2, ERV)

With tender humility and quiet patience, always demonstrate gentleness and generous love toward one another, especially toward those who may try your patience. – (Ephesians 4:2, TPT)

This is how we are called to love one another. Love is a choice that has to be made again and again. Humility and gentleness take the time to truly listen and seek to understand. Patience propels us to persevere, to accept each other with love, especially those who are more difficult to love. As a middle school teacher, I am provided plenty of opportunities each day to practice doing just this. The kids who act out the worst are typically the ones who need patient and loving acceptance the most. Some days are easier than others, and most days are exhausting. That being said, God does not call us to an easy life, but to one of purpose that is rooted and established in love. May we ever seek the Lord to equip and empower us with His love, so that we may go forth each new day in humility, quiet patience, gentleness and generous love.

Lord, teach us to love,

As You love us all;

Lavished with Your grace,

You hear all who call.

Call on Your goodness,

Seek patience and peace;

Accept each other,

Frustrations released.

Equip us to love,

The challenging ones;

May goodness and grace,

Point hearts to the Son.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us and equip us to love as You intended. Forgive us for every time that we lose sight of what You are calling us to, and we allow our emotions or frustrations to dictate how we respond to one another. Lead us to seek and depend on You for strength, help and hope as we navigate each new day. Show us how to love as You are calling us to love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love you and depend on You to show us how to love best. Amen.

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

But when we obey God’s teachings, His love is truly working in us. This is how we know that we are living in Him. – 1 John 2:5

Peace Makes a Way

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. – (Colossians 3:15, NIV)

Let the peace that Christ gives control your thinking. It is for peace that you were chosen to be together in one body. And always be thankful. – (Colossians 3:15, ERV)

Let your heart be always guided by the peace of the Anointed One, who called you to peace as part of His one body. And always be thankful. – (Colossians 3:15, TPT)

When we allow the peace of Christ to come and dwell within us, we are equipped and empowered to be promoters of peace to those around us. It is by God’s grace that we are placed exactly where we are for this very season, and it is out of a heart of gratitude that we discover His peace and purpose for us. I had mixed feelings as I left campus yesterday. It was the last day of a long and challenging year, and my class load for next year was shared with me. Though I was thrilled to know that I will have three sections of art, the two sections of 8th grade English grieved my heart a bit. The grieving is over the loss of working on a fabulous team with dear friends with a curriculum that I finally feel like I know, yet the two ladies that I will be teaming with next year are incredible, so I do look forward to getting to know them better. Peace was disrupted by the thought of yet again, having to learn an all new curriculum, causing me to feel like a brand new teacher. This is a space that I have to trust in God’s grace, and allow His peace to cover me. May we ever give thanks to God for His goodness and grace and allow the peace of God to fill us to overflowing, so that we may go forth and be promoters of peace.

O Lord, flood our hearts,

With Your perfect peace;

May all our concerns,

To You, be released.

As we choose let go,

You fill us with peace;

‘Til it overflows,

Anxieties cease.

All thanks unto You,

Throughout all our days;

Lead us in Your love,

As peace makes a way.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You fill us with Your perfect peace so that we can go and bring peace to those around us. Thank You that Your grace covers us and Your love fills us. Forgive us for the times that we have allowed circumstances to steal the perfect peace You provide. Teach us to trust You with everything, for You are always faithful. Show us how to love those around us in a way that extends Your peace to all. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You with our cares and concerns and rely on You to provide our perfect peace. Amen.

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

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. – Romans 15:13

Loving Healer

Praise the Lord, my soul, and forget not all His benefits – who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases. – (Psalm 103:2-3, NIV)

My soul, praise the Lord and never forget how kind He is! He forgives all our sins and heals all our sickness. – (Psalm 103:2-3, ERV)

O my soul, come, praise the Eternal; sing a song from a grateful heart; sing and never forget all the good He has done. Despite all your many offenses, He forgives and releases you. More than any doctor, He heals your diseases. – (Psalm 103:2-3, VOICE)

This morning, my heart is overflowing with gratitude. My son, who was battling double pneumonia and on 2.5 liters of oxygen on Monday, is now breathing without oxygen and is likely going to be released to come home this evening or tomorrow morning, after his final treatment is administered today. God is so kind. Despite our flaws and failures, He loves us and holds us in His hands. The Lord forgives and loves and heals. David, the person who penned most of the Psalms, was a man who understood his own faults and failures, and the great goodness of God. Any time that life brings storms that seem insurmountable, I find comfort in the Psalms, as they are real and raw and poetic. God is faithful to show me over and over again in His word, how deeply He loves and how freely He forgives. The more firmly these truths are rooted in my heart, the greater my desire is to serve and honor Him in all that I say and do. I fail and fall short, yet He picks me up, dusts me off, and shows me again how He loves. May we ever seek the Lord and His heart made plain through His word to lead us, guide us and comfort us in all things.

How great is the Lord,

To Him I give praise;

Who loves and forgives,

Brings healing our way.

When life brings the storms,

That rattle our core;

He shows us His love,

As peace is restored.

Give praise, O my soul,

Praise His Holy Name;

Our loving Healer,

May our hearts proclaim.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You forgive and heal us. Thank You that You alone are worthy of all of our praise. Thank You that You are healing and restoring my son. Forgive us for our faults and failures, and for the times that we struggle to trust what we know is true. Teach us to turn to You in all things. Show us again and again, Your goodness, kindness and grace. Lead us to love those around us with an unflappable faith. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, our Healer and the One who deserves all of our praise. Amen.

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

I will sing the Lord’s praise, for He has been good to me. – Psalm 13:6

Simply Be Still

The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still. – (Exodus 14:14, NIV)

You will not have to do anything but stay calm. The Lord will do the fighting for you. – (Exodus 14:14, ERV)

The Eternal will fight on your behalf while you watch in silence. – (Exodus 14:14, VOICE)

The context of this passage is such a powerful reminder of who God is and how He loves. As the Israelites had escaped Egypt and traveled into the desert, Pharaoh and the Egyptian army decided that they had made a mistake in allowing the people to go, and were pursuing them with chariots and horses. In fear and frustration, the Israelites began second-guessing their departure to the desert, and Moses called on the Lord. The response Moses was given was the above verse that he was to share with his people. God demonstrated His power and provision to His people, as He parted the Red Sea and threw the Egyptian army into confusion. The Israelites safely crossed through, and once the Egyptians were all in the middle of the sea, God released the Red Sea and covered the entire military movement, leaving no Egyptian survivors. Often, when we are in the midst of our biggest battles, God tells us the same, “Be still and I will fight for you.” What I have discovered over and over again, is that when I am meant to be still, and actually listen, God moves in miraculous ways. There are times that He calls us to fight or to move as He leads us and strengthens us, yet there are times when we are simply meant to be still and seek Him. May we ever seek the Lord and listen to His voice, as He instructs us to be still before Him and observe all that He will do.

Let us seek the Lord,

When we’re overwhelmed;

For God has a plan,

In Him, we’re upheld.

Sometimes in trials, 

He tells us, “Be still,”

The Lord is greater,

With grace He will fill.

Our battles belong,

To the Holy One;

Who loves us so much,

That He sent His Son.

All trials we face,

In Him, they are won;

He overcame death,

So we’d overcome.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are loving and kind, yet powerful and ready to fight on our behalf. Thank You that often You call us to be still and give You room to move. Forgive us for the times that we try to keep fighting in spaces that were meant to be Yours. Teach us to seek You and truly listen, so that we may know when to fight and when to be still. Show us how to love all those around us, for everyone has battles that are meant to be Yours. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we lift our laments before You and listen for Your leading, every step of the way. Amen.

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

He says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” – Psalm 46:10

The Blessing of Benevolent Love

Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. – (1 Peter 4:8, NIV)

Most important of all, love each other deeply, because love makes you willing to forgive many sins. – (1 Peter 4:8, ERV)

Most of all, love each other steadily and unselfishly, because love makes up for many faults. – (1 Peter 4:8, VOICE)

If we are loving deeply, steadily and unselfishly, we have no room to keep bringing up past mistakes or a laundry list of wrongs. Though there are spaces to use wisdom as far as what we are willing to subject ourselves to, typically, we simply need to get to a space of forgiving and choosing love again. When we forgive in love, our own hearts are released from the weight of whatever went wrong. Even if there are no possible reparations for a relationship, forgiveness is a way to choose love that will release one’s own heart from the heaviness. May we seek the Lord to fill our hearts to overflowing, so that we may love one another steadily and unselfishly, ever seeking to bring out the best in one another.

Lord, lead us in love,

Without selfishness;

May we love deeply,

Like You, relentless.

Grant us eyes to see,

In love, each other;

Forgive and choose love,

Sisters and brothers.

Help us forgive wrongs,

Release all to You;

Make love evident,

In all that we do.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to love one another deeply; with steadiness and selflessness. Thank You that as we do, Your love covers over faults and failings. Forgive us for our selfishness that holds onto hurts. Teach us to give all to You, so that we may know Your freedom found in love. Show us how to love those around us completely, so that may know Your love without conditions. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to love steadily and unselfishly. Amen.

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

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” – John 13:34

Do Good and Seek Peace

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

Stop doing anything evil, and do good. Look for peace, and do all you can to help people live peacefully. – (Psalm 34:14, ERV) 

Turn your back on sin; do something good. Embrace peace – don’t let it get away. – (Psalm 34:14, MSG) 

If ever there was a time to do good and seek peace, the time is now. My heart breaks more every passing day, as the cities of our nation are being set on fire, and people can find no peace. How do we collectively turn from evil and do good?  

I am seeing examples of communities coming together in the aftermath of the destruction caused the night prior, and working together to clean up and restore the areas heavily damaged. There is good being done. It is a start, but not at all where it should end. Relationships are fragile, and choosing to look for ways to do good is one thing that we all can do. 

In this space, where peace is seemingly impossible, we must seek the Prince of Peace. We need wisdom and grace, mercy and understanding, to move forward to bring forth peace. May we fix our eyes, hearts and minds on He, who is our peace, and choose to do good so that peace may be found and embraced. 

Choose turn from evil, 

And seek to do good; 

It is how to love, 

Makes grace understood. 

In space of unrest, 

With Christ, pursue peace; 

Move forward in grace, 

Goodness be released. 

In all things, choose love, 

For it is the place; 

Where peace may be found, 

Purposeful embrace. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are the Prince of Peace. Thank You that in times of turmoil, we can turn to You and find peace and choose to do good. Forgive us, individually, and collectively, as we need Your healing to come into our hearts, homes, cities and our nation. Show us how to do good, and bring Your peace in places where peace is lacking. Teach us to love practically and tangibly, so that healing may happen and peace may be found. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we prayerfully pursue You, and listen to Your leading to love well and do the good that must be done. Amen. 

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

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

Rise Up in Courage

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” – (Joshua 1:9, NIV)

“Remember, I commanded you to be strong and brave. Don’t be afraid, because the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” – (Joshua 1:9, ERV)

“Haven’t I commanded you? Strength! Courage! Don’t be timid; don’t get discouraged. God, your God, is with you every step you take.” – (Joshua 1:9, MSG)

 

This is a timely reminder, as there is an uneasiness, driven by fear, that is greatly impacting society right now. Though the spread of sickness is a reality, it is not something that we need to fear to the point of panic; rather, we ought to walk in wisdom and take preventative measures to stay safe and well. We are commanded to be strong and brave. Strength and courage come when we choose to trust in God, rather than panic at every story released by the press. Hand washing and maintaining healthy habits are ways that we can be wise. May we set our hearts and minds on He who is our strength, and choose to walk in courage knowing that God is with us every step we take.

 

As for mom, she is doing well. There have been several cases of norovirus (puking flu) where she is living, and they placed residents on quarantine to help prevent further spread around the complex. The dining facility is closed for corporate meals, and instead, they are delivering meals to each apartment, individually. All activities are cancelled as well, so if it weren’t for mom’s fabulous friends who come and rescue her to get out and about, she would be quite restless. Thankfully, she is remaining well and aptly entertained by loving friends.  Mom is strong and courageous, and she knows well, that God is with her, everywhere she goes.

 

We are commanded, Rise Up in Courage

Be strong and be brave;

Not by our own will,

But through Him who saves.

For God doesn’t give,

A spirit of fear;

He grants us wisdom,

And draws ever near.

Rise up in courage,

Be strong in His love;

His grace is present,

All help from above.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You command us to the strength and courage that You supply. Thank You that You are always with us and You never leave us. Forgive us for our fears and doubts when we cannot see solutions to what lies before us. We ask that You would bring healing to all those impacted by illness, protect all from further spread, especially those with compromised immune systems, and that You would grant us Your wisdom and peace. Show us how to love those around us well, so that fear would flee and peace would be present. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose courage and strength in You, knowing that You are with us every step that we take. Amen.

 

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

 

It is God who arms me with strength and keeps my way secure. – Psalm 18:32

 

Faithful in Stillness

The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still. – (Exodus 14:14, NIV)

You will not have to do anything but stay calm. The Lord will do the fighting for you. – (Exodus 14:14, ERV)

The Eternal will fight on your behalf while you watch in silence. – (Exodus 14:14, VOICE)

 

The fourteenth chapter of Exodus takes us back to the account of when Pharaoh had at long last released the Israelites from captivity, and they had begun their trek in the desert. God led them on a path that made Pharaoh believe that the Israelites were wandering around in confusion, and his heart grew hard as he determined to send out his army and retrieve the people who had served him for so long. As the Israelites began to catch sight of the Egyptian army moving their direction, they became fearful and started to question everything. Moses responded with verse fourteen, and the events that followed were: the safe passage of the Israelites on dry land between the walls of water of the Red Sea, the Egyptian army marching into the middle of the parted sea, chariot wheels breaking, chaos and confusion, followed by the walls of water crashing over the entire Egyptian army, leading to their ultimate demise. God had fought for the Israelites, just as He said He would do. Their part was to walk forward where He was leading, and to choose to trust. Often, God calls us to the same today. Our portion is to be still, be silent, and trust Him to fight on our behalf. As we listen and trust, He shows us what our “next steps” are to be, and is faithful to go before and behind us, as we move boldly in faith. May faith rise up within us to trust the Lord, as He fights for us faithfully.

 

It has been way too long since I have updated about Mom, but much of life has continued as the status quo. She is participating in physical therapy, occupational therapy and speech therapy, all as outpatient during the week. Mom continues to work tirelessly, yet we all wish she could partake in each therapy daily. Yesterday, my nephew had a big lacrosse tryout in Portland, and mom was going to go along to watch and cheer him on. Any time that mom returns to the stands to watch and cheer on grand-kids, is a very positive step forward in recovery. We know she is very much missing her community at home in Wenatchee, and are praying hard as to how to best love and support her as she continues to heal. If you are the praying sort, please pray with us that we would be still and listen as He fights for her and shows us all how to navigate each step of this journey.

 

The Lord is faithful, Faithful in Stillness

Let us choose be still;

Trust in the silence,

What He says, He will.

God meets us with grace,

His goodness and love;

As we wait on Him,

Our hope from above.

Whatever the fight,

God’s presence will be;

Before and behind,

Moving faithfully.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are for us and not against us. Thank You that so often when we have obstacles or battles before us, You simply call us to be still and trust in You; for You fight and move on our behalf. Forgive us for our fearfulness that struggles to trust. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would listen to Your still small voice within, as You lead us in the direction that we need to go. Show us how to love those around us best, so that all may know Your goodness and faithfulness that is for all. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You and choose be still when You call us to wait on You; for Your way is always best. Amen.

 

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

 

He says, “Be still and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” – Psalm 46:10