Navigating Unknowns

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)

We are commanded to be strong and courageous. This is not a command that says, “Good luck, kid, go take care of things on your own”, but rather is reminding us that because God will be with us wherever we go, we can be strong and courageous in Him. Strength and courage are not things that we can somehow muster on our own, but rather we are filled by the Lord’s overwhelming love, and are granted the strength and courage that we need to navigate life’s unknowns. Today will be a day that I need God’s strength and courage as I go to a pre-operative appointment this afternoon. Though a consultation is not necessarily a fearful thing on its own, the process that lies ahead is scary and unknown. My hope is that strength and courage will increase, and the surgeon will be one who sets my mind at ease. No matter what, I know God will go before me, will remain with me, and will supply what I need as it is needed. He is faithful and I am grateful. May we ever seek the Lord to be our strength and courage as we face the unknowns that come our way.

With God as my strength,

What have I to fear?

Always He’s with me,

I know He is near.

He grants me courage,

When alone, there’s none;

He floods me with love,

The most Holy One.

God supplies comfort,

When I am afraid;

I’m held in His hands,

Throughout each new day.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that courage and strength come from You. Thank You that You provide all that we need and more as we seek You. Thank You that You go before us and stay beside us as we walk into the unknowns that life brings. Forgive us for our fears that rise up and try to take root. Teach us to lean on You to lead us and trust in You to guide us through every step that we take. Show us how to be present in the strength and courage You supply. Lead us to love those around us as You do. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for the strength and courage that You supply and for Your nearness as we navigate unknowns. Amen.

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

Wait for the Lord; be strong and courageous. Wait for the Lord. – Psalm 27:14

Breathe New Life

This is what the Sovereign Lord says to these bones: ”I will make breath enter you, and you will come to life. I will attach tendons to you and make flesh come upon you and cover you with skin; I will put breath in you, and you will come to life. Then you will know that I am the Lord.” – (Ezekiel 37:5–6, NIV)

This is what the Lord God says to you: “I will cause breath to come into you, and you will come to life! I will put sinew and muscles on you, and I will cover you with skin. Then I will put breath in you, and you will come back to life! Then you will know that I am the Lord.” – (Ezekiel 37:5-6, ERV)

God, the Master, told the dry bones, “Watch this: I’m bringing the breath of life to you and you’ll come to life. I’ll attach sinews to you, put meat on your bones, cover you with skin, and breathe life into you. You’ll come alive and you’ll realize that I am God!” – (Ezekiel 37:5-6, MSG)

If God can call an army of dead bones to life, He can bring life to the places in our lives that seem lifeless, hopeless, or simply beyond what we can handle on our own. As I await a surgery date and dread the process that looms ahead, I can trust that God will carry me through. The same God that breathed life into a valley of dry bones, knit me together in my mother’s womb. He knows the number of hairs on my head and can restore anything that is out of alignment. Sometimes, He moves miraculously, and other times, He utilizes modern medicine and people to perform that which was seemingly impossible a few decades ago. Despite my anxiousness for what lies before me, I know I can trust in Him to be with me, hold me up, and restore what is not as it should be. May we ever seek the Lord when we find ourselves in a seeming valley of dry bones, and trust in Him to do far more than we ever thought possible.

When in the valley,

That’s lifeless and dry;

God can breathe new life,

Hope we can’t deny.

He is light and life,

When things may seem dim;

He brings help and peace,

As we let Him in.

Keep seeking the Lord,

His love is for all;

Our great Provider,

Hears us when we call.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are faithful to listen to our every prayer, and that You can do exceedingly more than we could hope or imagine. Thank You that You are life and breath, hope and help, throughout all of our days. Forgive us for seeing only the dry and lifelessness in the valleys, rather than the opportunities for You to do something new and miraculous. Teach us how to trust and depend on You in all things and at all times. Show us how to love those around us well, so that we can be extensions of Your life and love, peace and hope. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we watch for You to move in the places that seem overwhelmingly desolate. Amen.

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

Then the Lord God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being. – Genesis 2:7

A Work In Progress

For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. – (2 Peter 1:5-7, NIV)

Because you have these blessings, do all you can to add to your life these things: to your faith add goodness; to your goodness add knowledge; to your knowledge add self-control; to your self-control add patience; to your patience add devotion to God; to your devotion add kindness toward your brothers and sisters in Christ, and to this kindness add love. – (2 Peter 1:5-7, ERV)

To achieve this, you will need to add virtue to your faith, and then knowledge to your virtue; to knowledge, add discipline; to discipline, add endurance; to endurance, add godliness; to godliness, add affection for others as sisters and brothers; and to affection, at last, add love. – (2 Peter 1:5-7, VOICE)

We are all a work in progress. Each of these strengths to which we are called to grow, are not things that we can just decide we want to possess, and then all of a sudden, they are present, but rather it is an ongoing pursuit to grow in each. It requires intentional seeking of the Lord, and navigating the path we are on in His way. Goodness, knowledge, self-control, patience, devotion, kindness and love are all things that grow in us as we follow after God and choose to do His will. These things grow over time. Often, the most growth transpires in the most tumultuous or frustrating times. For example, patience tends to grow most when we find ourselves in a season of waiting. We have to practice patience to become patient. I don’t know about you, but I know that my patience is circumstantial in strength. Though I am quite patient with students in my classroom, I often discover my patience is lacking when I am stuck behind a slow driver or a slow shopper. I have to take deep breaths and remind myself that people go at the pace that they are comfortable and feel safe. It is, however, trying when it is well under the speed limit or it bottlenecks the isle. Thankfully, we have new opportunities to grow in each of these things every single day. It is up to us to lean on the Lord to lead us, or to simply react to life around us. May we ever seek the Lord to grow us to be more like Him, and may His goodness, kindness, knowledge, self-control, patience and devotion be made evident through our love.

Lord, in Your kindness,

Grow us in Your love;

May our lives reflect,

Your heart from above.

With wisdom and grace,

Teach us self-control;

Add to our knowledge,

As love is our goal.

Grace us with patience,

Throughout each new day;

So love is poured out,

As we walk Your way.

Grow our devotion,

To You and others;

So care is made clear,

To sisters, brothers.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to never stop growing and becoming the person who You have created us to be. Thank You that as we seek You and spend time with You, You transform us to more clearly reflect Your heart to the world. Forgive us for the times that we have been impatient, unkind, or lacked self-control. Teach us to do and be better each time that we fall short. Lead us in Your overwhelming love, so that each of these attributes become evident in us. Show us how to love those around us in ways that make Your heart known. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to grow us more and more like You. Amen.

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

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – His good, pleasing and perfect will. – Romans 12:2

Love Deeply

Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sin. – (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)

The more we love one another, the more willing we are to give grace when others are not at their best. Incredibly, when we choose to love, the recipient wants to do and be better too. Many times I have been on the receiving end of love that I did not deserve, and each time, it compelled me to love more deeply and forgive more freely, for this is how Jesus loves us all. As we march forward into the holiday season, may we be intentional to love each other deeply. We know not the burden that others are carrying, so as we interact with those around us, may we give grace and extend love to all. 

To love steadily,

Is to look past faults;

Ever giving good,

Through word, deed and thoughts.

For grace upon grace,

Is what we’ve received;

God’s loving kindness,

Brought us to believe.

Let’s rise with purpose,

Give grace and forgive;

Love without limits,

And choose freely give.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that while we were yet sinners, You loved. Thank You that Your love is not dependent on our behavior, performance, or goodness. Thank You that You love us because we are Yours. Thank You that You call us to do the same for those around us. Forgive us for the times that we have not given grace and not chosen to love. Show us how to love in every circumstance. Make a way for Your heart to be made evident to all. Lead us in Your unending love and overwhelming grace to treat those around us as You would. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to show us how to love others so deeply that we are ever willing to forgive their faults, just as You have forgiven us. Amen.

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

Together with these things, the most important part of your new life is to love each other. Love is what holds everything together in perfect unity. – Colossians 3:14

Cannot Be Shaken

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, NIV)

So we should be thankful because we have a kingdom that cannot be shaken. And because we are thankful, we should worship God in a way that will please Him. We should do this with respect and fear. – (Hebrews 12:28, ERV)

Therefore, let us all be thankful that we are part of an unshakable Kingdom and offer to God worship that pleases Him and reflects the awe and reverence we have toward Him. – (Hebrews 12:28, VOICE)

This is the hope that we can hold forever, no matter what happens here, we have a home we are headed to that cannot be shaken. The very One who created the heavens and the earth, created us and made the way for us to have Him with us now, and spend eternity in His presence. Our gratitude to God ought to pour out through worship as we are intentional to reflect on who He is and how He loves. The way we live, the way we speak, and the way we treat people all can be ways that we worship God with our lives. Such worship reflects our awe and reverence for the King of kings. May we ever seek the Lord to show us how to allow our lives to reflect His goodness and live out a lifestyle of worshiping Him. 

The Kingdom of God,

Goes beyond what’s seen;

Glory imagined,

Much more than a dream.

For He has prepared,

A place for us all;

Amidst His glory,

Where we are each called.

Come let us worship,

In awe we bow down;

Before our Maker,

In Whom hope is found.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that in You, we receive Your kingdom now and for all eternity. Your kingdom dwells in our hearts and grants us strength and hope in all things. Thank You that You are as near as our next breath. Forgive us for our fears and doubts as circumstances shake us. Teach us to put all of our trust in You, the only One who cannot be shaken. Show us how to love like You so that those around us come to know Your loving kindness and limitless power. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we worship You with all that we are in reverence and awe. Amen.

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

Those who trust in the Lord are like Mount Zion, which cannot be shaken but endures forever. – Psalm 125:1

In All Things Praise

And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him. – (Colossians 3:17, NIV)

Everything you say and everything you do should be done for Jesus your Lord. And in all you do, give thanks to God the Father through Jesus. – (Colossians 3:17, ERV)

Surely, no matter what you are doing (speaking, writing or working), do it all in the name of Jesus our Master, sending thanks through Him to God our Father. – (Colossians 3:17, VOICE)

This verse, paired with what I know and love about the Psalms, remind me that it is okay to struggle with and lament what is going on, yet we must ultimately fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith. David was a man after God’s own heart, and he questioned, lamented and cried out to God, yet ever kept perspective on who God is and gave Him the thanks that belongs to God alone. Right now, I am still reeling a bit from the prognosis I received from the specialist on Wednesday. I am still grateful that the carcinoma was discovered sooner than later, yet I am very much dreading the process of the prescribed procedure. It is not the pain I fear, but rather my body’s reaction to the process. God is good, and He will supply all that I need, however, my humanity is not looking forward to any of it, and the specialist’s insistence that I be fast-tracked to have the surgery sooner than later, adds a bit of angst as well. This is the space that I can pause and remember God’s incredible faithfulness in my life thus far, and His kindness to provide a long weekend to process and prepare my heart before heading back into the work week. Additionally, there is just enough activity sprinkled in, that I will not have too much time to dwell on what lies ahead. There is time to rest, to spend time with my loved ones, to cuddle my dogs extra often, to coach my gymnasts as they are working on building routines, and to celebrate the retirement of one of our dearest friends. I am missing my mom and sister terribly this holiday weekend, but know that I can joyfully anticipate time together at Christmas. May we ever fix our eyes on Jesus, our Help and our Hope in all things, and give Him all of our praise for His faithfulness throughout all of our days.

O Lord, in all things,

Will You help me praise;

Your great faithfulness,

Throughout all my days.

Each day You are good,

Even when life’s not;

You share our burdens,

Each time that You’re sought.

Thank You for kindness,

For goodness and grace;

For hope and Your help,

On difficult days.

Thank You, Lord Jesus,

That You’re good always;

And Your faithfulness,

Is reason to praise.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are good, faithful, loving and kind, and the Provider of all that we need each day. Thank You that no matter what lies ahead, we have You to walk beside us and to carry us when we can walk no further. Forgive us for our fears of the unknown, for You are known in all, even when what lies ahead is not. Teach us to trust You more each day, and lead us to live out each day trusting in Your unfailing love that never leaves us. Show us how to love, encourage and support those around us in ways that make Your love tangible and Your goodness evident. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose to praise You throughout all of our days. 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

Overflowing Gratitude

So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in Him, rooted and built up in Him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness. – (Colossians 2:6-7, NIV)

You accepted Jesus Christ as Lord, so continue to live in Him. You must depend on Christ only, drawing life and strength from Him. Just as you were taught the truth, continue to grow stronger in your understanding of it. And never stop giving thanks to God. – (Colossians 2:6-7, ERV)

Now that you have welcomed the Anointed One, Jesus the Lord, into your lives, continue to journey with Him and allow Him to shape your lives. Let your roots grow down deeply in Him, and let Him build you up on a firm foundation. Be strong in the faith, just as you were taught, and always spill over with thankfulness. – (Colossians 2:6-7, VOICE)

This is an ongoing, lifelong process that makes all of the difference in how our lives are lived. When we remain rooted in Christ, He strengthens our faith and reminds us of all that we have to be thankful for. Yesterday, as I was pulling into the parking lot where I coach high school gymnastics, I received a call from the specialist who had performed the biopsy on my lip. From the start, I could tell her tone was somber, so I took a deep breath and listened to the news she was sharing with me. The results were worse than she had anticipated, as aggressive carcinoma cells were found in the muscle, nerves and tissue from the punch sample. She said that normally the surgical process she had previously anticipated for me would be scheduled out in January, but due to the nature of the findings, it will be made a high priority and the schedulers will orchestrate a time as soon as possible. This is not exactly the news I had hoped or prayed for, but I needed to get into the gym and coach my girls. It was only after practice, when I called my husband, walked the dogs (prayerfully), and then spoke with my sisters and best friend, that I was able to breathe more easily and feel the familiar foundation of faith rise up. Being reminded of the beautiful community I am in floods my heart with gratitude. I am thankful that the spot was discovered before it spread further, that I have family and friends that support and encourage me, and that the success rate of treating this sort of cancer at this stage is outstanding. Additionally, I am grateful for sweet, smart dogs that seem to sense the need for snuggles. Currently, I have a gentle giant curled up and snoring softly on my lap. May we ever journey with Jesus through every twist and turn that life brings, for He is faithful to strengthen us and supply all that we need.

Give thanks to the Lord,

For He is the good;

That strengthens, supports,

Makes love understood.

He pours out His grace,

Holds us up gently;

Embraces our heart,

And makes our fears flee.

He brings alongside,

Kind community;

Equips, empowers,

Grants His eyes to see.

Things aren’t forever,

Pain’s temporary;

But our hope in Him,

Lasts eternally.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our strength, our hope and our help. Thank You that You are our reason to give thanks. Forgive us for the times that we allow our circumstances to temporarily blind us to the truth of Your love and grace that gets us through all things. Teach us to trust You more each day, and flood us to overflowing with Your goodness and love. Show us how to love those around us in ways that strengthen and encourage, making Your heart abundantly clear to all. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You thanks for who You are and how You love us so well. Amen.

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

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

Good Through All Generations

For the Lord is good and His love endures forever; His faithfulness continues through all generations. – (Psalm 100:5, NIV)

The Lord is good! There is no end to His faithful love. We can trust Him forever and ever! – (Psalm 100:5, ERV)

Because the Eternal is good, His loyal love and mercy will never end, and His truth will last throughout all generations. – (Psalm 100:5, VOICE)

Though I know very few stories from my family’s history prior to my grandparents, I do know that despite trials and heartaches, God’s faithful love was abundantly clear throughout their lives, is still in their children’s lives, their grandchildren’s lives, and now too, in the lives of their great-grandchildren. God’s goodness and love does not mean we will be free of challenges and trials, but it does mean that God will be near and that we can trust in the goodness of His love forever. When life is hard, the Lord is faithful to meet us with His strength to carry us and His love to lead us through. As we experience God’s goodness and faithful love, we recognize the bountiful blessings that we have in Him. May we ever give God thanks for His faithful love that we can trust forever, and praise Him because He remains the same throughout all generations.

The love of the Lord,

Is faithful and true;

Forever remains,

As He sees us through.

Every heartache,

And joyful event;

He’s present with us,

His peace, heaven sent.

So, keep trusting God,

Throughout each new day;

Forever faithful,

He’ll show us the way.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are good, kind, loyal and loving throughout all generations. Thank You that we can trust in You forever, no matter what comes our way. Forgive us for the times that we lose sight of You, as our eyes become diverted by our circumstances. Teach us to look to You with total trust, and show us how to continue to make Your goodness known to those who follow after us. Lead us to love those around us as You do. May many come into a lasting relationship with You as they recognize that Your faithfulness knows no end, and that You are trustworthy in all things at all times. Be glorified O God, as we recognize and praise You for Your faithful love that has been present always and will continue throughout all eternity. Amen.

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

Your love, Lord, reaches to the heavens, Your faithfulness to the skies. – Psalm 36:5

Peace and Gratitude

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 hearts fall under the rule of the Anointed’s peace (the peace you were called to as one body”, and be thankful. – (Colossians 3:15, VOICE)

We are called to be the body of Christ together in peace. When we allow gratitude to rule our thinking, Christ’s peace reigns in our hearts and we are empowered to peacefully be together as one. Peace among the body does not mean that we are all exactly alike, but it instead means that we appreciate and honor one another’s strengths and perspectives. May we ever seek the Lord with grateful hearts, and allow Him to lead us to be one body, united in purpose.

With grateful hearts,

We are called to peace;

To be the body,

Where love is released.

As we give God room,

To reign in our hearts;

Gratitude rises,

We’re shown how to start.

Honor each other,

Seek to understand;

Let thanks overflow,

Side by side, we stand.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the abundant blessings that You pour out upon us as You have placed us in communities on purpose, with a purpose. Thank You that in You, there is peace, and that You show us how to function together in Your peace. Forgive us for allowing our egos to get in the way. Show us how to allow gratitude to rise and Your peace to permeate all that we say and do. Teach us how to love those around us in ways that unite us in purpose and bind us in Your perfect love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You with grateful hearts and trust You to lead us to be the body in Your perfect peace. Amen.

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

Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever. – Psalm 107:1

Trust to Hope Overflowing

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, NIV)

I pray that the God who gives hope will fill you with much joy and peace as you trust in Him. Then you will have more and more hope, and it will flow out of you by the power of the Holy Spirit. – (Romans 15:13, ERV)

I pray that God, the source of all hope, will infuse your lives with an abundance of joy and peace in the midst of your faith so that hope will overflow through the power of the Holy Spirit. – (Romans 15:13, VOICE)

As we trust in Christ, His joy and peace fill us with hope. When hope grows it overflows and reaches those around us through the power of the Holy Spirit. I have several friends who are walking difficult roads that have been clinging closely to Christ. The trust they have has filled them with His joy and peace, and their hope has been an encouragement to me and many that know them. It always amazes me that God can take our challenges and turn them into encouragement to others. How we walk in the midst of life’s trials speaks clearly of the hope we know in Christ to those around us. May we ever trust in Him who is our hope, and may we be filled to overflowing with joy and His perfect peace. 

May hope overflow,

Through all that we do;

As we place our trust,

In that which is true.

The Lord is our peace,

When peace seems beyond;

And joy is present,

For His love responds.

When the road is rough,

God’s faithful to be;

Right alongside us,

Granting us His peace.

May hope overflow,

From us to others;

True joy and sweet peace,

To sisters, brothers.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we trust in You, You meet us, walk beside us, strengthen, encourage, and fill us with joy and peace so that hope in You overflows to those around us. Forgive us for our fears and doubts that creep in when we take our eyes off of You. Show us how to trust You more and more so that hope ever flows out of our every word and deed. Lead us to love and encourage those around us as You intended. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we learn to trust You in all things and at all times. Amen.

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

The precepts of the Lord are right, giving joy to the heart. The commands of the Lord are radiant, giving light to the eyes. – Psalm 19:8