How Love Abounds

My beloved is mine and I am his… – (Song of Songs 2:16a, NIV) 

My love is mine, and I am his. – (Song of Songs 2:16a, VOICE) 

Song of Songs captures the blessings beheld in love as God intended. Over the last four years, I have come to understand such love in a very tangible way, especially over the last two years, as today my Viking and I celebrate our second wedding anniversary. Genuine love establishes a bond that requires the dedication and devotion of both partners, so that no matter what comes, it can be faced together. For me, God provided the man that I never knew I needed. He loves fiercely, gently and with a devotion that I have never questioned. We have had to navigate some serious challenges over the last two years, between the loss of his father, my mom’s stroke, and various other familial health concerns. Additionally, we have shared great joys. Our three children have all now graduated from high school and are on their way to navigating adulthood well. One is working full-time, and the other two are preparing for their first year of college in the fall. There have been births, deaths, weddings and milestones that we have celebrated and grieved together. Even in this crazy season of COVID-19, we have found comfort, security and safety in Christ and one another. There is no one that I would rather navigate this life with, and I am so grateful that God blessed me with such love. May we all seek the Lord as our provider of love the way He intended, and give Him praise all of our days, as we discover together, how great His love truly is. 

To fully embrace, 

All that God’s love is; 

We must choose to trust, 

And know we are His. 

As we come to know, 

His kindness and grace; 

Our hearts are opened, 

To God’s loving ways. 

Such blessings are found, 

The more that we know; 

His heart is for us, 

To bless and to grow. 

O what a treasure, 

To have and to hold; 

The one He’s given, 

Such love does unfold. 

Today I give thanks, 

For the love I’ve found; 

As I’m fiercely loved, 

And goodness abounds. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for first loving us and for designing us to love and be loved. Thank You for the incredible blessing of a husband that loves me completely, despite all of my flaws and shortcomings. Forgive me for the times that I have failed to love as You intended. Show me how to love completely, each and every day that I draw breath. May many come into a lasting relationship with You as Your love is made known through willing hearts. Be glorified O God, as we seek to love as You created us to love. Amen. 

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

From Him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work. – Ephesians 4:16

Not Done Yet

Being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. – (Philippians 1:6, NIV) 

I am sure that the good work God began in you will continue until He completes it on the day when Jesus Christ comes again. – (Philippians 1:6, ERV) 

I pray with great faith for you, because I’m fully convinced that the He who began this glorious work in you will faithfully continue the process of maturing you and will put His finishing touches to it until the unveiling of our Lord Jesus Christ! – (Philippians 1:6, TPT) 

Today, as I begin my 49th trip around the sun, I am extraordinarily grateful that God is not finished with me yet. He is faithful to continue to refine and grow us until the day that we meet Him face-to-face. Being well aware of my flaws and shortcomings, I am reassured that He is not finished with me yet. Though I can see the good that He has done in me, I know that God has not completed all that needs to be done. This is true for all of us who seek and trust in Him. God will refine us so that we may live out our days how He designed us to live. There is much comfort in His promises, for He is faithful to do what He says He will do. The Lord’s care for us is physical, emotional, spiritual and tangible. He refines us body, heart, soul and mind. Additionally, this brings great comfort, as my mom is still in process of healing from a stroke, a bit more than a year ago. He has brought her far, but I know He is not finished with her yet. She is light and life, joy and peace to all whom she meets, and I trust that He will continue to strengthen and empower her to do all that He has created her to do. May we ever be confident in the promises of God, for we are a work-in-progress that He is refining to more clearly reflect His light to the world. 

For I am convinced, 

That God is not done; 

Working, refining, 

All that He’s begun. 

As His created, 

God’s own work of art; 

He’s always faithful, 

To complete each start. 

His love is perfect, 

Always it endures; 

Challenges, changes, 

All who choose come near. 

Let our hearts respond, 

With love and with praise; 

Trusting He’s faithful, 

For all of our days. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are not finished with us yet. Thank You that You love us as we are, yet love us so much that You do not leave us that way. Thank You that we are a work in progress until we meet You face-to-face. Forgive us for getting in the way of all that You want to do in and through us. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would embrace every bit of grace showered upon us to make us more like You. Show us how to love those around us in the way that You have designed us to love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for the work You have done, are doing, and will continue, all the days of our lives. Amen. 

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

For the word of the Lord is right and true; He is faithful in all He does – Psalm 33:4

Searched, Known, and Lovingly Shown

You have searched me, Lord, and You know me. – (Psalm 139:1, NIV) 

Lord, You have tested me, so You know all about me. – (Psalm 139:1, ERV) 

O Eternal One, You have explored my heart and know exactly who I am. – (Psalm 139:1, VOICE) 

This is simultaneously comforting and terrifying. Terrifying, because we each are aware of our own faults, failures and flaws, and dread the thought of that part of us being known. However, to have the very One who made us and loves us, know us better than we know ourselves, brings comfort. In spite of our shortcomings, He loves. Additionally, being intimately known, reminds us that He knows our greatest need, and is ready and willing to refine and grow our hearts and minds to more clearly reflect His. My hope in this is that God is not finished with me yet. He knows me and loves me as I am, yet loves me enough to not have me stay stagnant. God wants for us all to grow and be refined, allowing His heart to be shown to the world. May we embrace the grace that God freely offers, and seek Him earnestly to grow and change us to be better reflections of His goodness and grace. 

O great God of love, 

You see all our parts; 

The thoughts in our minds, 

Things hidden in hearts. 

Despite what You see, 

You love anyway; 

Eager to help us, 

Live and love Your way. 

Let goodness and grace, 

Be what comes from me; 

Refine mind and heart, 

So Your love is seen. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You know every part of us – body, heart, mind and soul, yet You love us relentlessly. Forgive us for our misguided thinking or lack of understanding that get in the way of You working in and through our lives. Teach us to pursue Your heart for the world, so that we may more clearly reflect Your love to all. Show us how to love all those around us best, and rid our hearts of anything that gets in the way of loving like You love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as You search us and know us, and lead us to love like You. Amen. 

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

I obey Your precepts and Your statutes, for all my ways are known to You. – Psalm 119:168

The Gift of Grace

For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. – (Romans 3:23-24, NIV)

All have sinned and are not good enough to share God’s divine greatness. They are made right with God by His grace. This is a free gift. They are made right with God by being made free from sin through Jesus Christ. – (Romans 3:23-24, ERV)

Yes, all have sinned; all fall short of God’s glorious ideal; yet now God declares us “not guilty” of offending Him if we trust in Jesus Christ, who in His kindness freely takes away our sins. – (Romans 3:23-24, TLB)

 

God is so kind. He shows us in countless ways, just how deeply He loves us and has grace for us, despite all of our flaws. I am in awe of how God brings people together to make His heart for us tangible and visible. Right now, in this season, I am particularly attuned to my shortcomings. Though I am a bit of an introvert, I am a doer. I am a wanderlust who needs to explore and adventure; an artist who needs to create; a teacher who needs to teach, but is uncertain and nervous about the new platform, and an athlete who needs to move. Though most of these can sort of be satisfied at home, the draw of the first not being satisfied in what feels like months, is a bit wearing. Part of it is my desire to drive over the mountains to check on my mom. Normally, I would hop in the car and just go. Never mind that it is three hours each way, it matters not, as I have a vehicle that runs and a music to keep me singing all the way there and back again. However, under current circumstances, it is not really an option. Yes, I suppose I could drive to Wenatchee; but mom’s entire living community is on lockdown, so I would be unable to see her anyway. It would be worse to be that close and not see her…

All that to say that I gain glimpses of God’s grace and forgiveness through the love and kindness extended to me by my husband. He loves me through my frustrations and foolishness, as he encourages and comes alongside me in things we can do. If a spouse can love and encourage well, how much more can Jesus? So much more. Jesus took it all – our sin, frustrations, shortcomings, impatience, and the like – so that we could be redeemed and made right before God, if we choose to trust in Him. I don’t know about you, but I desperately need His grace. I try, I fail; I rise, I fall short; yet, each time He picks me up, dusts me off, and encourages me to keep moving forward as He supplies all that I need to press on. May we all receive the gift of grace that God freely offers, and be covered and declared forgiven in Him.

 

We all end up short, wp-15867846099767633447882872426065.jpg

Somehow, not enough;

Too little patience,

When going gets tough.

We try and we fall,

To rise up and be;

All that we ought to,

Wrecked humanity.

Yet, there is a way,

To rise and be more;

Give room for God’s grace,

To show what’s in store.

In His forgiveness,

Mercy and His grace;

We walk out His will,

As we seek His face.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son to make the way to restore relationship with You. Thank You that Your grace covers all of our sin and shame and restores us to good standing with You. Forgive us for the times that we have not freely received what You are offering. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would seek You first, to lead us and guide us, all the days of our lives. Show us how to love those around us with the same goodness and grace that You extend to us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for the redemption that we have been given through Jesus. Amen.

 

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

 

Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. – 1 Corinthians 1:3

The Delight of Our Father

The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in His love He will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing. – (Zephaniah 3:17, NIV)

The Lord your God is with you. He is like a powerful soldier. He will save you. He will show you how much He loves you and how happy He is with you. He will laugh and be happy about you. – (Zephaniah 3:17, ERV)

Your God is present among you, a strong Warrior there to save you. Happy to have you back, He’ll calm you with His love and delight you with His songs. – (Zephaniah 3:17, MSG)

 

There are days that I am overwhelmed by the weight of the world, and am acutely aware of my own shortcomings. The truth of God’s word reminds me of Who is actually in the fight. God is with us, for us, and He delights in us. When we choose to love and follow Him, He sings over us with His songs of love. What a beautiful picture this reminder provides, as our God is both Mighty Warrior and Loving Father who delights in His children. A regular reminder that I am provided is how much my husband delights in little kids. He cannot go anywhere without making little ones smile, giggle, or at least wave at him. His heart is so tender toward little children, that his heart grants me a glimpse of the truth of who God is and how He loves each one of us.

 

The Lord, He is near,

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My Viking & his great-niece ❤

He’s mighty to save;

Strength in the battle,

His love makes us brave.

God delights in us,

Over us, He sings;

Comfort and great peace,

His presence does bring.

So, ever seek Him,

In everything;

The Lord in His love,

Our Eternal King.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our Mighty Warrior who saves, and our Loving Father who delights over us with singing. Forgive us for not recognizing Your ability to be both all-powerful and all-loving when we are in the midst of struggles. Teach us to trust You more, for You are greater than all that weighs us down. Show us how to love those around us in Your strength and grace, so that many may come to forever seek Your face. Be glorified O God, as we trust in Your strength and rest in Your love. Amen.

 

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

 

The Lord delights in those who fear Him, who put their hope in His unfailing love. – Psalm 147:11

Blessed are the Merciful

Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. – (Matthew 5:7, NIV)

Great blessings belong to those who show mercy to others. Mercy will be given to them. – (Matthew 5:7, ERV)

You’re blessed when you care. At the moment of being “care-full”, you find yourselves cared for. – (Matthew 5:7, MSG)

 

As a teacher, extending mercy is a necessary part of my job. Often, the extension of a listening ear after an offense, provides opportunity to redirect with kindness and compassion, rather than a knee-jerk reaction that may feel warranted. Last semester, I had a few challenging classes. One class in particular, was especially trying most days. Each day, I chose to start fresh, and hoped for better than the day prior. I wish I could say it all ended up “roses”, but until the final day, it was a struggle that required His strength. This week has marked the beginning of a new semester and new groups of students. My new classes have a very different feel than the last, and I am encouraged as I enjoy the new. That being said, two of my most difficult students last semester, have made a point to come say hello on the way to their final class of the day each day this week. They come to my door, where I greet students as they arrive, look longingly into my classroom, and tell me that they miss my class. I am fairly certain that the blessing in hearing from these cherubs, comes as a result of them knowing that I cared, despite their struggle to behave. God is merciful to us. We have been given grace and forgiveness that we do not deserve. As we are called to do likewise, may we fix our eyes and hearts on Him. Blessings come in curious ways when we choose to extend mercy.

 

Great blessings belong, Shackles No More

To the merciful;

For we’ve been given,

God’s grace, plentiful.

Favor unfounded,

No punishment due;

May we too extend,

Mercy that makes new.

New to discover,

The right way to go;

Blessings uncovered,

As forgiveness grows.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the incredible gift of mercy that Your pour out to us, as You forgive and teach us the ways we are meant to go. Forgive us for the times that we have not extended mercy where we should. Give us Your eyes to see and Your heart to understand, so that we will be merciful as You are to us. Show us how to love those around us through mishaps and shortcomings, and teach us what mercy ought to look like in the circumstances we encounter each day. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose to extend mercy in the same way that You so generously grant mercy to us. Amen.

 

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

Do not withhold Your mercy from me, Lord; may Your love and faithfulness always protect me. – Psalm 40:11

Grace to Intake

I rise before dawn and cry for help; I have put my hope in Your word. – (Psalm 119:147, NIV)

I get up early in the morning to pray to You. I trust what You say. – (Psalm 119:147, ERV)

I wake before the dawn and call for help; I hope in Your words. – (Psalm 119:147, VOICE)

 

I am not certain if it is the ever-changing nature of my job, an ongoing growth in my recognition of my own shortcomings, or simply an acute awareness of my need for God to navigate each day, but whichever takes the lead on a given day, the intentional act of rising early to seek the Lord and hope in His word, grants renewed strength. When my hope is in the Lord and the truth of His word, joy is sustained, no matter what surrounds me. There are days that even so, it is difficult to keep my eyes fixed on Him and the hope He holds, rather than the weight of what lies before me. God is good, and His love endures forever. He is faithful and true, and we can trust in His word. May we wake each morning and present our requests, trusting that what the Lord says, He will do.

 

Early each morning, The Endowment of Early Mornings

With purpose I wake;

Time spent with the Lord,

His grace I intake.

Grace for the new day,

No matter what comes;

Hope, strength and His love,

As my day’s begun.

Always He’s faithful,

To speak to my heart;

Reminders of love,

His goodness imparts.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are faithful to meet us whenever we come to You. Thank You that when we rise early, You begin our day with Your faithfulness and grace to carry us through. Forgive us for not seeking or for taking our eyes off of the truth that we hold in our eternal hope. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would know the faithfulness that is found in You in all things and at all times. Show us how to love those around us in a way that blesses each with grace and peace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we rise early in the morning to seek You, and hope in You forever. Amen.

 

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

 

Look to the Lord and His strength; seek His face always. – Psalm 105:4

 

 

Consider Greater Love

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)

Let us consider how to inspire each other to greater love and to righteous deeds. – (Hebrews 10:24, VOICE)

 

Yesterday was an “off” day at school. A few of my students who have the propensity to struggle with everyday expectations, each had a difficult day. I am not sure whether it can be attributed to the full moon, the numerous guest teachers on campus, the changing seasons, or perhaps an off day due to a wrench in their normal routine, but whatever the cause, the challenge remained and I was extraordinarily grateful for colleagues who are kind and encouraging. Thankfully, I learned long ago to not take a student’s display of distress, personally. Rather, it sets me on a path of seeking to discover more of what motivates and helps calm the child best, so that I might better anticipate and diffuse potential outbursts on a day that they are struggling. Both the presence of para-educators and an interpreter, and later that of administrators who were looking for students, became a source of help that inspired me to greater love, despite my temporary frustration. Sometimes, just knowing that someone else sees the reality of what has taken place, is enough to feel validated in the moment and motivation to let go and move on. There is no “perfect” in humanity. We will always irritate and frustrate, as we as become irritated and frustrated by others. What we do with it matters most. When we choose to love and extend grace, even when it is seemingly undeserved, we are offering the very thing that we have been given through life in Christ. May we ever seek the Lord to be our strength, so that we may choose to love and do good works, always.

 

Help us consider, Show the Love

How to choose to love;

To do the good works,

We’re called to get done.

Love is not about,

How much it’s deserved;

But rather a choice,

We choose as we serve.

At our very worst,

God still loves with grace;

So too, we should love,

The whole human race.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You love us no matter how we come or what we have done. Thank You that Your grace covers our shortcomings. Forgive us for the times that we do not choose love or good works, despite the clear call that You have given. Teach us to trust and rely on You for the strength and endurance to love even when it is challenging. Show us how to love those who are struggling in practical ways that help them understand goodness and grace, and to encourage others to do the same. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose to love and do good, encouraging one another as we are encouraged by You, according to Your perfect plan to which we are called. Amen.

 

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

The second is equally important: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” No other commandment is greater than these. – Mark 12:31

How to Love

This is my commandment: Love each other in the same way I have loved you. – (John 15:12, NLT)

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

So this is my command: Love each other deeply, as much as I have loved you. – (John 15:12, TPT)

 

Out of curiosity, I searched the word “love” in my Bible app to find out how frequently the word appears in scripture. Six-hundred and eighty-six results were found for a quick, one-word search in the book that God has given us as a guide to follow for living according to His will. Though I am not completely certain, I imagine that it is one of the more often occurring words found in scripture, as it was deemed the greatest command by Jesus, Himself – to love God and love our neighbors as ourselves. If we love each other the same way that we are loved by God, that is an even clearer picture of how we are meant to extend grace and choose love, even when it is difficult to do. Loving deeply is a choice, rather than a feeling, and it is about the person, not the words or deeds that they do or do not display. Personally, I am eternally grateful for this, as I have been blessed with family and friends who have shown me love like this. Even at my worst, they choose to love, which in turn, challenges my heart to rise up and choose likewise, bringing forth the same for others. We are ever a work in progress and will fall short and fail to love as we are loved by God. However, He is good, and His grace covers our short-comings as we choose to walk in humility with one another. May we set our sights on loving one another deeply, just as we are loved by God, according to His command.

 

Commanded to love, Enter With Thanksgiving

As loved by the Lord;

Deeply with all grace,

His goodness outpoured.

We are called to choose,

To love others well;

For as we extend,

Lacking space dispels.

Let us offer love,

As we’ve been given;

For goodness does spread,

When love’s our mission.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your goodness and grace. Thank You that You love us so completely and without prerequisites. Forgive us for the times that we have placed limits or conditions on love. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would love each other in the same way that You have loved us. Show us how to love those around us according to Your good and perfect will. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to help us love each other as You love each of us. Amen.

 

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

 

He who refreshes others will himself be refreshed. – Proverbs 11:25

His Kindness

The Lord is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love. – (Psalm 145:8, NIV)

The Lord is kind and merciful, patient and full of love. – (Psalm 145:8, ERV)

You are kind and tenderhearted to those who don’t deserve it and very patient with people who fail You. Your love is like a flooding river overflowing its banks with kindness. – (Psalm 145:8, TPT)

 

I am so grateful that these attributes of God are true, as He does not place conditions on His love for us. It is a very good thing, as I know that I have not been the best version of myself lately, for pain and exhaustion do not breed patience in me. In spaces where I have gone in expecting the worst simply because of my own shortcomings, God has provided His loving kindness in unexpected ways. He has granted patience that I have not deserved and flooded me with His kindness in moments that I needed it most. May we ever turn in trust to He who is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love.

 

Even at our worst, Possibilities

His kindness prevails;

For the love of God,

Will not ever fail.

He’s patient and kind,

Full of mercy too;

Slow to get angry,

His grace gets us through.

With great compassion,

He gives love away;

Though undeserving,

He floods us with grace.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You love us whether we deserve it or not. Thank You that You are patient and full of love. Thank You that You flood us with Your kindness and love, even when we fail You miserably. Forgive us for our lack of faith that gets us in a frenzy over our circumstances, rather than keeping our eyes and hearts securely set on You. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would continue to hope and trust in You no matter what we see or are experiencing in the moment. Show us how to love those around us in a way that gives grace, compassion and kindness where it is needed most. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for Your kindness, faithfulness and love for us at all times. Amen.

 

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

 

Your righteousness reaches to the skies, O God, You who have done great things. Who, O God, is like You? – Psalm 71:19