The Giver of Good Gifts

Every generous act and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights; with Him there is no variation or shadow cast by turning. – (James 1:17, HCSB)

Everything good comes from God. Every perfect gift is from Him. These good gifts come down from the Father who made all the lights in the sky. But God never changes like the shadows from those lights. He is always the same. – (James 1:17, ERV)

Every good gift bestowed, every perfect gift received comes to us from above, courtesy of the Father of lights. He is consistent. He won’t change His mind or play tricks in the shadows. – (James 1:17, VOICE)

God is ALWAYS good. Everything good comes from Him. Though life and circumstances are not always what we might hope for, God is who and what remains good. He does not change and we can trust in His unending faithfulness. I love that James is referring to God as the Father of lights. He is our light in the darkness, and He illuminates good in spaces where it is seemingly absent. May we turn to God, the Father of lights, to see all of the good and perfect gifts that He has for all who trust in Him. 

The Lord is so good,

Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography

The Father of lights;

Our Light in darkness,

In whom we delight.

Each good gift given,

That we have received;

From God, our Father,

Who knows all our needs.

Help us Lord Jesus,

Ever be aware;

Of Your sweet presence,

And how much You care.

In our dark spaces,

You bring us Your light;

Love, grace and laughter,

Our hope and delight.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are the Father of lights, and that in You, there are no shadows. Thank You that every good gift comes from You. Forgive us for the times that we are blind to Your light or unable to recognize the good gifts that You are providing. Teach us to trust in You and be ever aware of Your nearness and love. Show us how to love one another and share the good gifts that You provide to us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You, the Father of lights, and the giver of every good gift. Amen.

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

So if you, who are sinful, know how to give your children good gifts, how much more so does your Father in heaven, who is perfect, know how to give great gifts to His children! – Matthew 7:11

Our Present Strength

Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be afraid, for I am your God. I will strengthen you; I will help you; I will hold on to you with My righteous right hand. – (Isaiah 41:10, HCSB)

Don’t worry – I am with you. Don’t be afraid – I am your God. I will make you strong and help you. I will support you with my right hand that brings victory. – (Isaiah 41:10, ERV)

So don’t be afraid. I am here with you; don’t be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, help you. I am here with My right hand to make right and to hold you up. – (Isaiah 41:10, VOICE)

No matter what comes against us, God is for us and with us. He is our help and our hope; He provides the strength that we need and people to walk beside us to encourage and uphold us. Regardless of how things seem, God is faithful to carry us through, and lead us to something new. May we ever seek the Lord to bring His perfect peace as we recognize His nearness and strength to uphold us and carry us through every challenge we face, and how to be present for those who are in the midst of trials.

In You, Lord, there’s light,

Full of good and grace;

You strengthen, uphold,

As we seek Your face.

Victory in You,

Will surely be found;

Where hope is restored,

For Your love is sound.

Lead us, Lord Jesus,

To trust well in You;

For You are our peace,

And all that is true.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we need not fear, for You are with us to uphold and strengthen us. Thank You that You see well beyond today, and make a way where there seems to be no way. Forgive us for our fears when we cannot see an end in sight. Teach us to trust You in all things and at all times. Show us how to walk beside those who are in the midst of struggle, and use us to be Your hands, heart and voice to bring peace, strength and encouragement. Lead us to love like You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust in You to strengthen and uphold us, and help us to ever look to You to lead us to walk alongside those in the midst of challenge. Amen.

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

But those who trust in the Lord will renew their strength; they will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary; they will walk and not faint. – Isaiah 40:31

Trust Brings Health and Healing

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own understanding… This will be healing for your body and strengthening for your bones. – (Proverbs 3:5 and 8, HCSB)

Trust in the Lord completely, and don’t depend on your own knowledge… If you do this, it will be like a refreshing drink and medicine for your body. – (Proverbs 3:5 and 8, ERV)

Place your trust in the Eternal; rely on Him completely; never depend upon your own ideas and inventions… If you depend on Him, your body and mind will be free from the strain of a sinful life, will experience healing and health, and will be strengthened at their core. – (Proverbs 3:5 and 8, VOICE)

After extensive surgery to repair his leg and a few days in the hospital, our eldest kiddo is home to rest and heal. For him, this will be a long season, as he is accustomed to hopping in the car and heading out whenever he so desires, plus, he was quite used to working long hours. Now, he simply has to rest and recover. There is to be no weight bearing activity for a few months. His only outings will be medical appointments. Honestly, I think the only way to get through this is to depend on God to be present to help. Not only is the Lord’s help needed as he heals, but his mind will need comfort and strength to persevere and not grow agitated or angry. Depending on God and those whom He has placed in our lives, provides what we need to navigate every season we find ourselves in. It is my prayer that this kiddo will experience the healing, help and strengthening of God in tangible ways. May we ever trust in the Lord and rely on Him, for He is our help and the One who carries us through the times that we lack the strength to travel the road ahead. 

Choose trust in the Lord,

With all that we are;

He’s our help and hope,

Whether near or far.

God is the Healer,

Lifter of our soul;

Provider in need,

Hope that makes us whole.

So, trust in the Lord,

Our Healer and hope;

Who grants us the strength,

We all need to cope.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can trust in You. Thank You that navigating this life is not dependent on our own understanding, but rather You come alongside us and provide what we need to keep moving forward. Forgive us for our fears and lack of faith when we cannot see hope ahead. Thank You that You are hope and help and strength. Teach us to trust in You in all things and at all times. Show us how to love those around us well, so that Your heart is made evident through our actions. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust in You to help, heal and strengthen us to keep moving forward in the direction to which we are called. Amen.

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

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight. – Proverbs 3:5-6

Trust in His Love

The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in Him, and I am helped. Therefore my heart rejoices, and I praise Him with my song. – (Psalm 28:7, HCSB)

The Lord is my strength and shield. I trusted Him with all my heart. He helped me, so I am happy. I sing songs of praise to Him. – (Psalm 28:7, ERV)

The Eternal is the source of my strength and the shield that guards me. When I learn to rest and truly trust Him, He sends His help. This is why my heart is singing! I open my mouth to praise Him, and thankfulness rises as a song. – (Psalm 28:7, VOICE)

Yesterday, upon our return home, we discovered our eldest broke his tibia and fibula, and was in Seattle, about to go into surgery. This was not on our radar as we arrived home, but the details quickly unfolded when the vehicle was home and he was not. What does this verse have to do with all that? After the initial fear, frustration and beyond, God came close and reminded us of the good, even in this awful situation. For example, the circumstances surrounding his injuries could have been much worse or potentially even taken his life. Additionally, he has a place to stay to recover and rehabilitate his injured leg, and will have time to take care of his schooling that has long been set aside. We are grateful that God spared his life and that his brother was with him to get him to the hospital quickly. The Lord’s help was and continues to be present, even in the midst of unexpected challenges. May we ever seek Him to lead us and strengthen us to do what we need to do. All praise and thanks to God, for His love and mercy do not end.

The Lord is my strength,

And I trust in Him;

My shield and my help,

As love enters in.

My help and my hope,

God is ever near;

Our reason to sing,

He silences fear.

As we know His help,

Reminders to sing;

Grace overflowing,

All good His love brings.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are ever-present to help, and that You care about all things. Thank You that You strengthen and provide for us where we need it most. Forgive us for the times that we allow our vision to be clouded by the struggles before us rather than focus on Your help and strength that are present and available to us. Teach us to trust You in every circumstance and to seek You to lead and guide us. Flood our hearts with praise unto You. Show us how to love those around us in ways that point to You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for Your ongoing provision of help, strength and love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Amen.

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

The Lord will send His faithful love by day; His song will be with me in the night – a prayer to the God of my life. – Psalm 42:8

Protection as We Come and Go

The Lord will protect your coming and going both now and forever. – (Psalm 121:8, HCSB)

The Lord will protect you as you come and go, both now and forever! – (Psalm 121:8, ERV)

He guards you when you leave and when you return, He guards you now, He guards you always. – (Psalm 121:8, MSG)

It is good to be reminded that God will be with us with all of our comings and goings. I love to travel, as in enjoying different destinations, but I am not a fan of flying. This timely reminder is good, as this time tomorrow, we will be on a plane, in the air, traveling to spend time with family and friends in much warmer weather. God goes before us, beside us, and brings up the rear. He is present to keep us safe and remind us that He holds us in His hands. I need not be nervous, but rather I simply need to seek and trust in Him. Time away is a gift, as is a safe return. May we ever remember the Lord’s faithfulness to protect our coming and going, and trust Him to be with us, always.

Wherever we go,

Whatever we do;

The Lord will be near,

Take us safely through.

For He knows the time,

The days of our lives;

From start to finish,

Each one is designed.

Prepared with purpose,

Goodness and His grace;

So we may choose love,

Throughout all our days.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You go before us, remain with us, and watch behind us. Thank You that You are near wherever we go. Thank You that we can trust You to keep and protect us. Forgive us for our fearfulness and nerves when we are not in control of how we get where we are going. Teach us to trust in You to lead us in wisdom and grace. Show us how to love those around us well, wherever we are. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to lead us and remain with us wherever we go, each and every day we draw breath. Amen.

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

He will cover you with His feathers; you will take refuge under His wings. His faithfulness will be a protective shield. – Psalm 91:4

The Port of Peace

He stilled the storm to a murmur, and the waves of the sea were hushed. They rejoiced when the waves grew quiet. Then He guided them to the harbor they longed for. – (Psalm 107:29-30, HCSB)

He stopped the storm and calmed the waves. The sailors were happy that the sea became calm, and He led them safely to where they wanted to go. – (Psalm 107:29-30, ERV)

He commanded the storm to calm down, and it became still. A hush came over the waves of the sea, the sailors were delighted at the quiet, and He guided them to their port. – (Psalm 107:29-30, VOICE)

I feel like this is a perfect parallel to the end of the school year. The chaos and craziness of teaching through a pandemic, as the waves roared around us, are being silenced. At 10:30 today, teachers will be rejoicing as calm comes and we make our way into the peaceful harbor of summer. In the same way that educators have been carried through this crazy school year, God carries us through our most tumultuous storms. Challenge, heartache, illness, loss, and places we are lacking, God meets us where we are and walks beside us to the other side. There were days early on in the school year that I questioned my profession and purpose. Somehow, a way was made and things did improve. I have much hope that next year will be far better than this one. Kids will have become acclimated to being back at school, and two grade levels of students will have had a full school year on campus as they return. May we ever seek our Savior who is the calmer of the storms, and the One who is our safe harbor in whom we can delight.

With merely a word,

The storms had to cease;

Into safe harbor,

As calm is released.

Both throughout the storm,

And when the calm comes;

God will be with us,

The most Holy One.

Our anchor that holds,

No matter the waves;

Our Guide to safety,

Throughout all our days.

Now the safe harbor,

Is plainly in sight;

May we give Him praise,

Our strength and delight.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You can calm our chaos with merely a word, and lead us to safe harbor when the storms rage around us. Thank You that You strengthen and support us, and lead us through to places of peace. Forgive us for our fears and doubts when the storms last longer than we think they should. Teach us to ever trust in You. Show us how to love those around us in ways that provide safe harbor and extend Your perfect peace, even when storms rage around us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You to be our anchor and our Guide throughout all of our days. Amen.

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

I will both lie down and sleep in peace, for You alone, Lord, make me live in safety. – Psalm 4:8

Room to Roam and Rest

Trust in the Lord and do what is good; dwell in the land and live securely. – (Psalm 37:3, HCSB)

So trust in the Lord and do good. Live on your land and be dependable. – (Psalm 37:3, ERV)

Believe in the Eternal, and do what is good – live in the land He provides; roam, and rest in God’s faithfulness. – (Psalm 37:3, VOICE)

Wherever we are, and whatever we are called to do, we ought to do our best as unto the Lord. Sometimes, doing so is staying right where we are, even when things are challenging. God is faithful to provide what we need, and we can trust Him as we choose to keep doing good. Today is the final full day of the school year. It has been one of challenges and change, yet here we are on the second-to-last day, still standing. As a teacher, it is difficult not to look ahead to next year and anticipate what the year will hold, but right now, we simply need to choose to continue to do what is good and be present. His faithfulness will see us through whatever the year will hold, but for now, we are approaching our time to roam and to rest as we recharge for all that lies ahead. May we ever trust in the Lord and continue to be dependable in what we are called to do, for He is faithful, always.

Choose rise up in faith,

Photo by Harrison Haines on Pexels.com

Keep doing the good;

Where we have been called,

God’s love has withstood.

Near in the struggles,

His strength was given;

And now there’ll be rest,

His peace to live in.

Thank You, Lord Jesus,

For all You provide;

Your rest and the room,

To roam as You guide.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are faithful to meet us where we are and lead us to where we need to be. Thank You that You bring us out of seasons of struggle and into times of rest and refreshment. Forgive us for our fears and doubts when uncertainty lies ahead. Teach us to trust You and Your faithfulness. Show us how to build up, encourage, and love those around us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we depend on You in all things and at all times, and give You praise for time to roam and rest. Amen.

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

Rest in God alone, my soul, for my hope comes from Him. – Psalm 62:5

Your Faithful Love

God, within Your temple, we contemplate Your faithful love. – (Psalm 48:9, HCSB)

God, in Your temple we remember Your loving kindness. – (Psalm 48:9, ERV)

We ponder Your love-in-action, God, waiting in Your temple. – (Psalm 48:9, MSG)

The incredible thing about this is that we no longer have to be in a physical structure to be in God’s presence; our body is the temple for His Spirit. God’s nearness is as close as our next heartbeat, and His love is tangible and ongoing. Yesterday was a strange day, as I was told my teaching assignment for next year. Sixth-grade math is not what I would have anticipated nor asked for, yet I can look back and see God’s faithfulness to carry me through each and every time that I have had to pivot in my career. As a teacher that has a K-8 generalist degree and only a specialized degree in Art, I have become the “jack-of-all subjects” (and grade levels), yet feel like a master of none. That being said, throughout each and every shift that I have had to make, I have been blessed with incredible teammates that aided in making the transitions doable. Looking ahead, the partner that I have been paired with for next year is fantastic, and I can trust that God’s loving kindness will again provide. Additionally, yesterday evening, we ran into an old friend that walked beside me in my most difficult season. Seeing her now was again a reminder of God’s love in action that is faithful and present always. To remember where I was and reflect on the here and now, I am overwhelmed with gratitude that God dwells within us. May we ever pause and ponder the goodness of God, and His faithfulness to be present always.

Lord God, as we go,

Help us be aware;

Of Your faithfulness,

And great loving care.

Teach us to trust You,

In everything;

Give thanks for the good,

And love that You bring.

Help us see clearly,

That You are within;

Wherever we go,

You also have been.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your goodness and kindness. Thank You that to be in Your temple, Your very presence, can take place wherever we are and whenever we look to You. Thank You that we can look back and see Your faithfulness and love, and look forward, anticipating Your hand moving on our behalf. Forgive us for our fears and doubts when we are facing things that seem like giants before us. Teach us to slow down and be intentional to reflect upon Your ongoing, unending faithfulness. Lead us to love those around us with the same passion and commitment You have for us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we ponder Your goodness and faithfulness in all things and at all times, as we have Your promised presence, always. Amen.

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

Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His faithful love endures forever. – 1 Chronicles 16:34

Quiet Waiting

Rest in God alone, my soul, for my hope comes from Him. – (Psalm 62:5, HCSB)

I must calm down and turn to God; He is my only hope. – (Psalm 62:5, ERV)

My soul quietly waits for the True God alone because I hope in only Him. – (Psalm 62:5, VOICE)

This week has been another long week, and I know many of us are weary and ready for rest. Thankfully, tomorrow is an extra day off, as it is a scheduled snow make-up day that we did not need, so the long weekend is four days instead of three. Though we can be intentional about finding quiet spaces to rest in God each day, there is something extra that helps our hearts when we have a few unscheduled days in a row. For me, a change of scenery, especially near water, is the sort of space that I am best able to rest and wait on the Lord. When we find space to be still before Him, we discover that hope rises, despite what has been going on around us. It is my prayer that all who are weary would find rest during the long weekend, and that hope would rise in the spaces of our hearts where it is lacking.

In sweet surrender,

I quietly wait;

The Lord’s ever near,

On time, never late.

He meets us with peace,

Shows us hope again;

Despite brokenness,

Heartache’s not the end.

For where we seek Him,

Ever we shall find;

Faithful love waiting,

For God’s always kind.

Loving forever,

In Him, hope’s restored;

Beauty from ashes,

Grace we can’t ignore.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can find rest and hope in You. Thank You that You provide room to rest and be refreshed when we are weary and worn. Forgive us for losing sight of hope when horrible things happen. Show us what we can do in every situation and circumstance to bring change for the better. Lead us in Your love to extend hope, help and Your heart to all those around us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You and wait on You, for You are our peace, rest and hope forever. Amen.

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

Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from Him. – Psalm 62:5

Quick to Listen and Slow to Speak

My dearly loved brothers, understand this: Everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak, and slow to anger. – (James 1:19, HCSB)

My dear brothers and sisters, always be more willing to listen than to speak. Keep control of your anger. – (James 1:19, ERV)

Listen, open your ears, harness your desire to speak, and don’t get worked up into a rage so easily, my brothers and sisters. – (James 1:19, VOICE)

Again, we stand at a crossroads. A friend posted something that truly made me cringe at the brutal honesty of it: the only significant change that we have made since Sandy Hook is that we now have active shooter drills. This hit hard. I cannot begin to pretend to know the answer, but I do know that we must be more willing to listen to potential solutions that do not include: run, hide, fight, kid, and good luck. As an educator, I have seen a significant increase in the depth of kids’ struggles. Health, safety and belonging are at an all-time low. There are many talking heads that get angered at the mere suggestion of changes that might actually help. We must start listening far more than we speak, and set anger aside so that we can come together, hear each other, and seek to bring change that makes a difference. O God help us, for we all need to listen with intention.

Dear Jesus, please come,

Show us what to do;

Protect our children,

May purpose be true.

Lead us and guide us,

To bring needed change;

Make schools a safe place,

Of peaceful exchange.

Help fears dissipate,

Let answers be found;

To protect each child,

Keep hearts and minds sound.

Lead us in Your love,

To listen and learn;

Please safeguard our schools,

As to You, we turn.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You instruct us to be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to anger. Jesus, we need Your help to do these things to bring true change that lasts. Forgive us for allowing politics and sides of the aisle to distract us from how to find solutions that keep our kids safe. Show us how to hear one another, and to be slow to speak with purpose, keeping anger in check so that hearts can be heard. Lead us to love well, as students and staff alike will be shaken at the news. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, for in You we come to know peace, safety, comfort and care. Be glorified O God, as we seek Your wisdom to listen and pursue true change to keep our babies safe. Amen.

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

But the wisdom that comes from God is like this: First, it is pure. It is also peaceful, gentle, and easy to please. This wisdom is always ready to help people who have trouble and do good for others. This wisdom is always fair and honest. – James 3:17