Answer Gently

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

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

A gentle answer turns away wrath, but harsh words cause quarrels. – (Proverbs 15:1, TLB)

 

Both my mother, and her mother before her, modeled this verse in action for us growing up. On countless occasions, I witnessed each of them diffuse situations, simply by meeting someone kindly, who was engaging with them in a way that did not begin on the kindest of terms. Their smile and genuine love for people would soften the hardest of hearts, and win over the grumpiest of characters. For me, more times than not, a gentle response to a child escalated in the classroom, has provided them room to calm down or breathe long enough to avoid further incident. Walking this road to recovery with mom is no different. Losing mobility, freedom and independence, for a strong, self-sufficient, care-giver like mom, has got to be beyond frustrating. She is handling it gracefully 99% of the time, and it is my charge to be extraordinarily gentle through the 1%, when her frustration gets the better of her. Gentle words affirming her frustration, yet recognizing her strength and progress, have been pivotal in working through moments of challenge. Humor has been a lifeline as well. Thankfully, we know each other better than anyone else, so a mere look speaks volumes, and can inspire giggles in an instant, even in moments of madness.

Much of the reason she is not feeling ready for visitors, (other than the very short list of family and lifelong friends whom have already been in contact), is her own desire to uphold a spirit of gentleness and kindness, as she cannot wrap her head around not being able to be the gracious host that she normally would be. Please continue to be patient with her willingness to see visitors, as I imagine she will become more willing as she is more confident and settled back in her own space.

Today will be the first official day of in-home therapies, as physical therapy kicks off this afternoon at 1pm. We are eagerly awaiting phone calls from the occupational therapist, speech therapist and nursing care facilitator, to figure out what the schedule will be for them as well. Yesterday was a very relaxing day, as mom and I enjoyed watching a few movies between meals, stretching and rests, after the fellas went home. This week will be busy, as we work to discover a new normal with appointments coming into the home to aid in mom’s recovery. May we ever rely on the Lord to be gentle with those around us, for kindness keeps anger at bay.

 

No matter what comes, photo

Be gentle and kind;

For we do not know,

Battles deep inside.

So often anger,

Is hurt or a fear;

Set free by kindness,

If love braves draw near.

Seek to have courage,

To always be kind;

Give love to others,

And true peace, you’ll find.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that a gentle answer turns away anger. Thank You that this is not simply a theory, but proven, time and time again. Thank You that Jesus modeled this for us throughout His life, death, resurrection and ascension. Forgive us for the times that our responses are not gentle or kind. Teach us to trust and rely on You to give us the wisdom and strength to be Your heart and voice to others, so that they may see Your love in the way that we respond. Show us how to love others well, as we choose to be gentle and kind to all, no matter how others speak or act toward us. Give us grace O God. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose kindness and love, just as You do with us. Amen.

 

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

 

But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things! – Galatians 5:22-23

Coming to a Crossroad

Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and He will establish your plans. – (Proverbs 16:3, NIV)

Turn to the Lord for help in everything you do, and you will be successful. – (Proverbs 16:3, ERV)

Whatever you do, do it as service to Him, and He will guarantee your success. – (Proverbs 16:3, VOICE)

 

Yesterday, we came to a crossroad. Mom’s insurance company was adamantly denying her move to Good Sam’s Acute Rehab Facility in Puyallup. After have spent the previous two days attempting two appeals, we reached a point of recognizing that time was far more important than location. Additionally, we had been praying that God would open the doors we were meant to walk through, and close the ones we were not. Though Good Sam welcomed her, insurance slammed that door shut. At first, it did not make sense. Anger gave way to acceptance. Mom has lived in Wenatchee for nearly twenty years. She has an incredible community here. She is loved deeply, and her home will accommodate those I am comfortable sharing space with from home, who have known her since I was very young. As it turns out, between FMLA and twenty-two years of teaching in the same school, I have plenty of leave to be in Wenatchee as long as I am needed. Megan too, has FMLA benefits, flexibility of working remotely, and a dear friend who can aid in ease of travel on occasion. We are surrounded and loved in the Wenatchee Valley. No, this is not what we thought things would look like, but then again, this whole nightmare is nothing we ever envisioned for our mom; EVER. Just as we are grieving, so too is she. Mom is fully aware of her current circumstances, and she recognizes the road ahead. It is discouraging when people place expectations on her to “get to her old self in no time”, as no one knows what the future holds. By faith, her body will be fully restored and she will regain EVERYTHING. However, we do not know when. She may not be independent for quite a while, and consequently, may not be ready for visitors for just as long. Yesterday was the first day that she expressed any interest in seeing her phone. I will take it to her and all of her cards. The outpouring of cards, texts and calls has been incredible, as we know her family, friends and church community love her very well.

The what next is that she will be moved on Monday to an acute care facility in Wenatchee. Right now, we are not wanting people to take the liberty to just “drop by” to say “hi” and see her, even though that was normal for her before. Acute care will be extremely intense, and she will likely be exhausted and needing far more rest than she has ever needed before. An important part of healing from a stroke is sleep, so we do not want anything to hinder the process. We do not yet know what it all will look like, nor how she will feel, until we arrive and go through the paces. As she settles in, I will continue to update and let people know. I imagine there will come a point where some sort of visiting schedule could be established. However, that is a stay tuned situation. In the meantime, please, please, continue to pray. Your prayers are felt and we do have light-hearted moments in the midst of the difficult. We smile and laugh, talk and remember, share and listen, and pray. God is good, even when life is hard. May we turn to Him to lead us in all things.

 

When a door opens, 0503192119a6743790846154114741.jpg

Then slams in your face;

Do not stop running,

Rather adjust pace.

Keep moving forward,

Ever seeking Him;

He’ll show the right way,

And usher us in.

Give all to the Lord,

Allow Him to lead;

For He knows the way,

And will meet each need.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we commit our plans to You, You lead us in the way that we are meant to go, even if it is not the way that we thought it was supposed to be. Thank You that You already know the outcome and what is the very best place for our mom to thrive and heal. Forgive us for our fears and frustrations as we navigate all of this uncharted territory. Teach us to trust You more, as trust is all that we have. Show us Your ongoing miracles through the healing of our mom, as we are already seeing small steps of Your faithful forward momentum. Show us how to love and encourage mom and all who help care for and work with her. May those who do not know You yet, see Jesus through us and come into a lasting relationship with You. Be our light and strength and love that leads us every minute of every day, Lord God, so that You may be glorified. Amen.

 

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

 

I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” – Psalm 91:2

A Priestly Blessing

May the Lord bless you and protect you. May the Lord smile on you and be gracious to you. May the Lord show you His favor and give you His peace. – (Numbers 6:24-26, NLT)

May the Lord bless you and keep you. May the Lord smile down on you and show you His kindness. May the Lord answer your prayers and give you peace. – (Numbers 6:24-26, ERV)

God bless you and keep you, God smile on you and gift you, God look you full in the face and make you prosper. – (Numbers 6:24-26, MSG)

 

This is the priestly blessing that God told Moses to use to bless the people of Israel. I love the word choice, as it paints such a beautiful picture of God’s love for us. To be blessed and protected are two things that I pray for my family, daily. To feel the Lord’s pleasure and experience His kindness are incredible additions to the blessing. The very idea of God smiling down on us is so encouraging. Additionally, it is a reminder that He hears our prayers and provides us His peace. May we seek the Lord and pray this blessing for all those around us.

 

May the Lord’s blessings, 02091908168948984113211604272.jpg

Be poured upon you;

May His protection,

Refresh and renew.

May His love be clear,

For You’re His treasure;

Know He smiles at you,

As you bring pleasure.

May you know He hears,

Each prayer that you pray;

He’s offering peace,

As we choose His way.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the incredible gift of the blessings that You pour upon us – Your presence, protection, pleasure, and peace. Thank You that You hear our every prayer. Forgive us for forgetting how blessed we are to know You. Teach us to trust You more, so, that we would recognize Your blessings and beautiful peace that are so lavishly given. Show us how to love those around us in a way that demonstrates Your blessings being provided in tangible ways. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we receive Your blessings and extend them to others. Amen.

 

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

 

The Lord gives strength to His people; the Lord blesses His people with peace. – Psalm 29:11

A Fountain of Life and Light

For with You is the fountain of life; in Your light we see light. – (Psalm 36:9, NIV) 

The fountain of life flows from You. Your light lets us see light. – (Psalm 36:9, ERV) 

You have the fountain of life that quenches our thirst. Your light has opened our eyes and awakened our souls. – (Psalm 36:9, VOICE) 

 

Spending time in a major city seems to open my eyes to where there is light and where it is lacking. Though that may be an alarmingly obvious statement, given the sizable homeless population that tends to reside in the downtown area of all major cities, I am actually speaking of the individuals with whom I had direct interaction – be it a cashier or a server or concierge, not just a smile, nod or “hello” on the street. Incidentally, I had several different conversations with a variety of folks, many of which were students from the nearby university. One seemed to be a bit distraught, as I asked her how her day was going. Between a late arrival to work, upcoming finals, and concern about making it home for the holidays, she was stressed and short on hope. I extended encouragement and wished her well throughout our brief conversation, and I now pray for the peace of God to be present as she navigates the next few weeks. When the light of the Lord is lacking, we are called to be His light, as His light within us, is made to illuminate the darkness. May we ever seek and depend on the Lord, who is the fountain of life that quenches our thirst and the light that opens our eyes and awakens our souls. 

 

God is a fountain, A Fountain of Life and Light

For each thirsty soul; 

He’ll fill and refresh, 

Restore and make whole. 

The light of the Lord, 

Opens eyes to see; 

Awakens the soul, 

To grace that sets free. 

Where there is no hope, 

God’s light makes hope known; 

Run to the Fountain, 

Where true love is shown. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our Source of light and life and hope. Thank You that we can come to You and be filled, so that we can truly see. Forgive us for our tunnel vision that keeps us from seeing what surrounds us. Teach us to see the world through Your eyes, so that we would be ever aware of where Your light is lacking and shine Your love in such spaces. Show us how to love those around us who are hopeless or hurting or stuck in dark spots. Help us to extend light and life and hope in tangible ways. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we rely on You to be our fountain of life and light, and seek You to show us life through the light of Your loving lens. Amen.

 

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

 

In Him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. – John 1:5

Blooms from Burdens

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that testing of your faith produces perseverance. – (James 1:2-3, NIV)

My brothers and sisters, you will have many kinds of trouble. But this gives you reason to be very happy. You know that when your faith is tested, you learn to be patient in suffering. – (James 1:2-3, ERV)

Don’t run from tests and hardships, brothers and sisters. As difficult as they are, you will ultimately find joy in them; if you embrace them, your faith will blossom under pressure and teach you true patience as you endure. – (James 1:2-3, VOICE)

 

As the school day had come to a close yesterday, and I was preparing to head home, I had a quick conversation with a colleague whom I greatly respect and admire, as she does some of the most difficult work on campus. It had been a particularly rough week with students, and yesterday, many of the manifestations of the worst of it, came to a head. She said something that at first, I found to be sad, but as I thought about it a bit more, I found how closely tied to the above verse it actually held true. The gist of what she had said, was that the trials that she had endured last year, had prepared her for what she faced yesterday. What might have formerly frazzled and unnerved her, did not, as she had been prepared with the trials from the previous year, and discovered that she was calm and felt equipped to tackle each challenge that was presented with patience and perseverance. The smile I am accustomed to seeing on her face was still prominent, and despite the weariness of the week, there was joy. May we all face the trials that test our faith in trust, for God uses every difficulty to grow us and for ultimate good.

 

 

Each trial we face, Chosen With Purpose

A chance to try trust;

For as we press on,

God remains with us.

The things that we learn,

Through challenges faced;

Grow patience in us,

To run well our race.

Though trials aren’t fun,

In Christ, they’ll bring good;

Our faith will blossom,

His love understood.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that though we go through trials and difficulties, You use them to grow our faith and produce perseverance within us. Forgive us for our disdain for the difficult as it comes our way, and help us to turn in trust to You for strength and stamina to rise up and persevere, knowing that You will use our every trial for ultimate good. Show us how to love others well, so that we may share Your joy, even in the midst of trials. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we thank You for the faith and patience that You grow in us through the challenges that come our way. Amen.

 

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

 

And the Lord said, “I will cause all my goodness to pass in front of you.” – Exodus 33:19

Love Each Other

This is my command: Love each other. – (John 15:17, NIV)

But remember the root command: Love one another. – (John 15:17, MSG)

This is My command to you: Love one another. – (John 15:17, VOICE)

So this is My parting command: Love one another deeply! – (John 15:17, TPT)

 

In each translation, the message remains nearly identical, as there is no substitution nor synonym for loving one another. This is a command and a calling. Jesus gave this charge to His disciples (and to us) shortly prior to His sacrifice on the cross. He modeled how to love through His life, death, resurrection and ascension, and empowers us to go and love like Him. It takes little effort to discover the deep need for love all around us. So many are broken and hurting and in need. Though we cannot solve all of the world’s ills, we can choose to love wherever we are. Often, a smile, a friendly greeting or a simple, kind exchange of conversation extends love in ways that reach far beyond what we might imagine, and remind the recipient that they are valued and worth our while. Jesus will use our willingness far more than we could hope or imagine, if only we choose to love. May we rise up in obedience to what God requires of us, as He calls us to love in word and deed, just as we are so lavishly loved by the Lord.

 

The Lord, He commands, Love Made Known

We love each other;

He values us all,

Sisters and brothers.

The light of His grace,

Is meant shine through us;

As we choose to love,

Show the world Jesus.

So much of our love,

Is not simply words;

But through what we do,

That God’s love is heard.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your goodness and grace, as You demonstrate Your love to us so often through the words and deeds of others. Forgive us for the times that our words or actions did not show Your love, and teach us to do better each time we have the opportunity to love. Show us how to love those around in a way that demonstrates Your loving kindness and faithfulness through all that we say and do. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose to obey what You are asking, and go forth and love one another as we are loved by You. Amen.

 

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

 

They will celebrate Your abundant goodness and joyfully sing of Your righteousness. – Psalm 145:7

Hope in Discouragement

Why am I discouraged? Why is my heart so sad? I will put my hope in God! I will praise Him again – my Savior and my God! – (Psalm 42:5, NLT)

Why am I so sad? Why am I so upset? I tell myself, “Wait for God’s help! You will again praise Him, your God, the One who will save you.” – (Psalm 42:5, ERV)

Why are you so down in the dumps, dear soul? Why are you crying the blues? Fix my eyes on God – soon I’ll be praising again. He puts a smile on my face. He’s my God. – (Psalm 42:5, MSG)

 

It is difficult to take in the recent events in our nation, and not feel sad and discouraged. Yet, even in the darkness of such ugliness, good has been burning bright in incredible ways. When the need for blood donations was presented to the people of Las Vegas and the surrounding areas, generous hearts lined up in droves. Help is being provided in a place where it is typically lacking, as it is needed most. Additionally, there have been numerous stories of individuals placing themselves in harm’s way to help those in need in the midst of this tragic event. When I see the good that rose up in people who helped because they knew that they could not just standby and do nothing – I am encouraged and remember that God is our hope and our reason to praise. He moves hearts to act with love and compassion, and despite the darkness that is in the world, God is always good. May we ever place our hope in the Lord, as He is the One who saves and is worthy of all of our praise.

 

When I’m discouraged, Hope in Discouragement

And my heart is sad;

Help me hope again,

Lord, make my heart glad.

Glad for Your goodness,

For Your light and grace;

Praise for salvation,

Our hope in this place.

Lord, help us to see,

Where to fix our eyes;

As we look to You,

All hope’s realized.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that despite the darkness that befalls us and our nation, You are always good. Thank You that You demonstrate Your goodness and faithfulness through the grace and love of people. Father, please be with the first responders, the officers, the medical teams and all those impacted by what took place in Las Vegas. Your healing hands are needed more than ever. Forgive us for turning a blind eye to that which overwhelms us. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would ask of You what we are meant to do – be it to give, pray, or go do more. Show us how to love those around us in a way that provides comfort and care. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, especially in the places where Your light seems to be lacking. Amen.

 

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

 

For it is commendable if a man bears up under the pain of unjust suffering because he is conscious of God. – 1 Peter 2:19

Always…

Always be full of joy. Never stop praying. Whatever happens, always be thankful. This is how God wants you to live in Christ Jesus. – (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, ERV)

Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus. – (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, NLT)

 

My heart is full, and there is joy despite the sorrow of loss. After hearing more stories of the incredible life that my Gram led, I am even more convinced than I was before that she did exactly what we are called to do in the verses above. Her heart was lined with joy that poured out to all who had the blessing to be near. Gram prayed unwaveringly for each of us, and the words that left her lips were laced with gratitude. Even in the final few months of her life, when she was ill and in agony, she found joy in the nearness of family and friends, and would still love and live and laugh in spite of the pain. Though I will miss her terribly, the lilt of her laughter, the warmth of her smile, the kindness of her encouraging words – the essence of who she was in Christ, will forever live in my heart and mind until we again embrace in eternity. Her example is one that continues to challenge me to seek the Lord in all things. In all circumstances, I can find His joy and express gratitude for who He is, simply because I am loved well. May we never stop praying, as it is in our space of communing with Christ that we find joy and gratitude rises up within us.

 

Such fullness of joy,Always

Shall rise and find way;

When we seek the Lord,

In all things, choose pray.

No matter what comes,

Let thanks leave our lips;

For God who is love,

He strengthens, equips.

To pray and be full,

Of thanks and His joy;

God’s own will for us,

Through grace He’ll employ.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we seek You and pray to You, we always have reason to be thankful and full of joy. Thank You that this is Your will for us, as You have designed us to have Your joy dwelling within us all of our days. Forgive us for allowing our circumstances to steal our joy or to keep us from giving thanks for the good that exists in spite of the difficult. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would never stop praying and praising You. Thank You for the incredible example of my Grandmother, who prayed without ceasing and was overflowing with thankfulness and joy. Show us how to love others in a way that demonstrates our gratitude and allows the joy that You give to overflow and bless every life we are near. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we are filled with Your joy, pray always, and give thanks in all things. Amen.

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

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

Our Hope and Confidence

But blessed are those who trust in the Lord and have made the Lord their hope and confidence. – (Jeremiah 17:7, NLT)

 

Yesterday, was bittersweet. I was blessed with the opportunity to take a day away from work to go and visit my ninety-seven-year-old grandmother, who has been a constant source of encouragement my entire life. Despite her deteriorating condition caused by colon cancer, and the evident pain that she was fighting against, she remained pleasant and in good cheer, as she shared wisdom, history and humor laced in love, as only she does. Her ability to smile through the pain is a direct result of her trust and hope in the Lord. She knows where she is going, so fear is far from her. The treasures I will hold from our time are her confidence and countenance that come from Christ. Her example to me continues, even in these late days of life. Though there is joy in knowing that she will be set free from pain and disease, there is also some sorrow in the idea that this amazing matriarch will no longer be present to love and laugh with here on earth. May we each place our trust in the Lord, so that our hope and confidence can come from Him alone. For it is in this space of trust, that freedom is truly found.

 

Most blessed are those,our-hope-and-confidence

Who trust in the Lord;

Whose hope is in Him,

Let each heart adore.

For confidence comes,

From the Lord alone;

Future is certain,

As His love’s made known.

May we choose to place,

Our entire lives;

In Christ’s loving hands,

’til our end arrives.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the precious examples of people whom You place in our lives to show us what it is to truly trust in You. Thank You for the beautiful blessing of my Grandmother. Thank You that her hope and confidence is in You. Please keep suffering far from her, and Your peace and presence tangible. Forgive us for not trusting You with everything, as You alone are the One whom determines the outcome of all of our days. Teach us to trust You more, so that our hope and confidence will be held in You. Show us how to love others in a way that makes hope tangible and attainable to all. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You, and make You our hope and confidence for all of our days. Amen.

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

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

Good Wherever You Go

Do good wherever you go. After a while, the good you do will come back to you. – (Ecclesiastes 11:1, ERV)

 

We don’t give to get, for doing so would result in bitter disappointment. However, what I have discovered is that when I go forth in kindness, most often, kindness is returned. This is not because I expect to be treated kindly, but I think that people cannot help but to respond gently when they are treated in the manner in which they hope to be treated. So often a kind word or a smile disarms even the hardest of hearts. In light of recent events that have gone on in our nation, it is evident that we need to do more good wherever we go. No matter how we are viewed, we must offer kindness and do whatever good we have the capacity to offer. For communities that are typically neglected, outcast, or disregarded, good needs to be extended all the more. May we rise up at the ready, and go forth doing good wherever we go.

 

In a world where hate,The Power of the Tongue

Too often abounds;

May we offer good,

Let kindness resound.

For hate begets hate,

But love, it disarms;

Kind and gentle words,

Bring an end to harm.

Let us each choose love,

It’s where hope resides;

Each act of kindness,

A positive stride.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are good, and that Your Son set the example of doing good wherever He went. He loved the “unlovable“, approached the “unapproachable“, and did good everywhere He went. Forgive us for our apathy when we have the capacity to do good. Teach us to trust You more, so that we rise up and do good wherever we go. Show us where we can act on Your behalf as agents of Your goodness and grace to someone in need. Help us to love as we are loved by You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we do good wherever we go, just as You have done so much good for us and in us. Amen.

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

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