Joyful Confidence

Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. – (Romans 5:3-4, NIV) 

And we are also happy with the troubles we have. Why are we happy with troubles? Because we know that these troubles make us more patient. And this patience is proof that we are strong. And this proof gives us hope. – (Romans 5:3-4, ERV) 

But that’s not all! Even in times of trouble we have a joyful confidence, knowing that our pressures will develop in us patient endurance. And patient endurance will refine our character, proven character leads us back to hope. – (Romans 5:3-4, TPT) 

This morning, as I made my way in the wee hours of darkness, to go dog walking with a dear friend, I heard these very same verses being spoken on the radio. Both this morning and when I did my devotional reading this evening, I took pause and determined that I have so far to go. The Passions Translation is the one that I can most closely relate to, as it points to the joyful confidence in the midst of struggle, and that something good can come from pressure or pain. When we place our confidence in Christ, even in the mist of struggle, we discover that there is joy in Him. Patient endurance, character and hope, are all part of the beauty that come from our ashes. Right now, what I have spent the last twenty-four years of my life doing, has been flipped upside down and makes me feel like a brand-new teacher all over again. The learning curve required is cumbersome and challenging, yet I know that the more that I patiently persevere, the greater the chance that I will learn and grow. It is in that space of growing, that I find hope again. Hope that I can reach and teach kids, regardless of whether it is online or in person, and hope that one day, I will get to teach in a regular classroom again, face-to-face with my students. God uses our trials and difficulties to grow and refine us. It is always far easier to look back and see what He has done, than it is to recognize that He can work all things together for good in the middle of the messy. May we seek the Lord in our suffering and in our blessings, knowing that He can move mightily in all things, and produce the hope that shows our heart how to endure and overcome. 

No matter what comes, 

May our hearts find joy; 

Not in the heartache, 

But God’s grace employed. 

Beauty from ashes, 

Is what we all need; 

Character building, 

In hope, He will lead. 

May we each rise up, 

In Christ, persevere; 

For He overcomes, 

Always, He is near. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You can utilize our every experience and circumstance to produce good in us and through us. Forgive us for our desire to get out of difficult situations the moment they strike. Teach us to trust You more so that we might joyfully embrace You and all that You provide in the midst of our messes. Show us how to love those around us in ways that encourage patience and perseverance, every pointing to hope. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to show us how to take joy in You in the midst of difficult, as You grow patience, perseverance, character and hope within us Amen. 

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

…to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of despair… – Isaiah 61:3

Faithful Reign

Be glad people of Zion, rejoice in the Lord your God, for He has given you the autumn rains because He is faithful. He sends you abundant showers, both autumn and spring rains as before. – (Joel 2:23, NIV) 

So be happy people of Zion. Be joyful in the Lord your God. He is good and will give you rain. He will send the early rains and the late rains as before. – (Joel 2:23, ERV) 

People of Zion, shout with joy and happiness in the Eternal, your God; The drought is over; He has sent the early autumn rain as a sign of His faithfulness. He has poured down heavy rain, autumn and spring, as before. – (Joel 2:23, VOICE) 

Friday afternoon, I imagine many of us could relate to this verse in Joel, as the skies opened up and poured down a deluge of refreshing, cleansing rain. Though it was not to save our crops as it was back then, it was a tremendous aid in cleansing the smoke-filled air, all over our area. By yesterday afternoon, we were celebrating His goodness as we could again see blue sky and defined clouds, rather than a smokey haze all around us. The air quality went from unsafe to normal overnight. There is joy in Him, as He is the One who sends the rain and shows us His faithfulness, again and again. May we ever seek Him and praise Him to provide all that we need; for He is faithful forever. 

O Lord, send Your rain, 

For You know our need; 

You cover and bless, 

As You’re sought, You meet. 

Please reign in our lives, 

So love and light show; 

Cleanse us and lead us, 

Let Your heart be known. 

For goodness and grace, 

We ever give praise; 

Trusting in You Lord, 

Throughout all our days. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You give us tangible reminders of how You cleanse and bless and provide. Thank You that You reign, regardless of what we see around us. Forgive us for our lack of faith or trust in spaces that seem beyond our understanding. Teach us to trust and rely on You more. Show us how to love those around us in ways that make Your goodness and provision known. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we thank You and praise You for Your faithful reign in our lives. Amen. 

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

The Lord reigns, let the earth be glad; let the distant shores rejoice. – Psalm 97:1

Humbly Love

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of others. – (Philippians 2:3-4, NIV) 

In whatever you do, don’t let selfishness or pride be your guide. Be humble, and honor others more than yourselves. Don’t be interested only in your own life, but care about the lives of others too. – (Philippians 2:3-4, ERV) 

Be free from pride-filled opinions, for they will only harm your cherished unity. Don’t allow self-promotion to hide in your hearts, but in authentic humility put others first and view others as more important than yourselves. Abandon every display of selfishness. Possess a greater concern for what matters to others instead of your own interests. – (Philippians 2:3-4, TPT) 

There is so much packed in these two very timely verses. We are in a season in this nation where so often, pride dictates what is said and done. Humility and the interests of others are often neglected, and care and concern for one another seems all but gone. Witnessing the whole cycle leaves me feeling depleted and wanting to withdraw. Sadly, that is not demonstrating care for others either. I find myself having to seek God and dig deep to reach beyond these four walls. Time invested in Him and spending time out in His creation, are two of the best ways that I seem to find the strength and desire to see and reach out beyond my own little world. Even at home this holds true. It is a space of seeking His balance in all things. For example, it is a huge challenge to have to sit and stare at a computer screen for more than eight hours a day for work, and then devote another stretch of time for the writing and publishing portion of this. Grace is abundant, and I have had to let my own expectations go. God is just as happy with me and for me on the days that I take my dog for a walk outdoors while recognizing Him in all things, as He is when I begin my day as I am accustomed. This sort of balance in the taxing existence that is remote education, is absolutely necessary if I am to give my best to my students and their families as we navigate each new day. I have in no way arrived at some perfect balance, nor do I have all the answers. However, I notice that whichever I choose to do to begin my day, has the capacity to set my heart on what is best for others and how I can truly love. May we ever seek the Lord to show us how to humbly honor one another and to care about each other’s lives. 

O Lord, please help us, 

To turn unto You; 

Aligning our hearts, 

To choose to love true. 

May we seek Your strength, 

In humility; 

To honor others, 

Let Your love be seen. 

Show us the balance, 

In how best to be; 

To love each other, 

May goodness increase. 

Dear Heavenly Father, we are a selfish and broken people, desperately in need of a Savior. Thank You that You not only tell us in Your word, but You have shown us how to live and love through the life of Jesus. Forgive us for the times that we allow our pride or selfish ambition to keep us from living and loving like You. Teach us how to be humble and kind, ever placing care on those around us, rather than just ourselves. Show us how to love others as You do. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to grant us Your heart and Your eyes for everyone we meet. Amen. 

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

Human, the Lord has told you what goodness is. This is what He wants from you: Be fair to other people. Love kindness and loyalty, and humbly obey your God. – Micah 6:8

Live a Life of Love

Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love… – (Ephesians 5:1-2a, NIV) 

You are God’s dear children, so try to be like Him. Live a life of love. – (Ephesians 5:1-2a, ERV) 

Watch what God does, and then you do it, like children who learn proper behavior from their parents. Mostly what God does is love you. – (Ephesians 5:1-2a, MSG) 

Everything we do must be guided by love. We are dearly loved by God, therefore, we must follow His example and love others well. This is not a simple a pick and choose who to love, or when to love, but rather it is meant to be a life of love. All that we think, say and do must be steeped in love. What does that look like? Thankfully, He tells us exactly what it means to love.  

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” -(1 Corinthians 13:4-7) 

May we seek the Lord to lead us and equip us so that we may be patient, kind, rejoicing in the truth, protective, trusting, hopeful, and always persevere. 

Because God is love, 

And we’re loved by Him; 

We likewise should love, 

Welcome people in. 

Into our circles, 

Where love’s always found; 

Grace freely offered, 

And goodness abounds. 

Treat one another, 

With value and grace; 

Choose love each other, 

And follow God’s ways. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You loved us first, and continue to show us again and again, what it is to love. Forgive us for every word, thought, and deed that does not clearly reflect Your love. Teach us to lean into You so that we may reflect Your love to all those whom we encounter. Show us how to love each individual as You do, in practical and tangible ways. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek to follow Your example and live a life of love. Amen. 

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

Let the morning bring me word of Your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in You. Show me the way I should go, for to You I entrust my life. – Psalm 143:8

Wisdom in Seeking

Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. – (James 3:13, NIV) 

Are there any among you who are really wise and understanding? Then you should show your wisdom by living right. You should do what is good with humility. A wise person does not boast. – (James 3:13, ERV) 

Who in your community is understanding and wise? Let his/her example, which is marked by wisdom and gentleness, blaze a trail for others. – (James 3:13, VOICE) 

Thankfully, I am blessed to be surrounded by some very wise folks. Their example of wisdom, understanding, gentleness and humility, encourage and challenge me to do and be better. Though I know wonderful examples, the ultimate example is Jesus. He walked in wisdom, humility and gentleness, ever reaching out to do good for those He encountered. He helped, He healed, He encouraged, He taught, He loved, He touched, He cared, and He provided – to name a few. If all of us were to seek Him to equip us to follow His example, our lives would be reflections of His. May we ever seek the Lord to be our strength and teacher, so that we may grow in wisdom and understanding, and humbly and gently walk out our days in His love. 

The gift of wisdom, 

Grows greater with time; 

As we seek to love, 

Keep others in mind. 

A sweet gentleness, 

With humility; 

Extends His goodness, 

Lord, let love lead me. 

Show us Your goodness, 

Lead us in Your grace; 

Grant us Your wisdom, 

As we run our race. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we seek You, You grant us Your wisdom and grace. Forgive us for the times that we have not sought You. Teach us to seek You to grow in wisdom and gentleness, so that we may humbly love as You love. Show us how to love those around us in ways that make Your goodness clear. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to grant us wisdom so that we might do good in humility and gentleness. Amen. 

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

Teach us to number our days so that we may truly live and achieve wisdom. – Psalm 90:12

Choose Joy

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! – (Philippians 4:4, NIV) 

Always be filled with joy in the Lord. I will say it again. Be filled with joy. – (Philippians 4:4, ERV) 

Be cheerful with joyous celebration in every season of life. Let joy overflow, for you are united with the Anointed One! – (Philippians 4:4, TPT) 

After navigating the first week of school, despite all of the challenges and adjustments to an entirely new way of teaching, I find myself with a heart full of joy. God is good, all the time. Even when things are tough, He is still good. When we seek Him and look to Him to be our joy, we discover the countless ways that He is good. For me, the best thing about remote learning is my new group of kids. These sixth graders are sweet, polite, engaged, and have wonderful senses of humor. There is something to be said about keeping these great kids from too much exposure to the older kids, as they too quickly attempt to change who they are to fit in, during a “normal” school year. As I began to read the surveys that I had my students submit, my joy multiplied. From favorite family traditions to things that inspire them to do their best, these young people blessed my heart to overflowing, and joy abounds. I am reminded again and again, that God grants me joy, and fills my heart to overflowing. May we rejoice in the Lord, always, for He plants His joy deep within us, and fills our days with reason to praise. 

Be cheerful. Find joy, 

In each circumstance; 

For the Lord grants us, 

Hope and second chance. 

Even in trials, 

The Lord’s always good; 

Grants silver lining, 

His hope understood. 

Each day we’re given, 

Help us to rejoice; 

Joy on the journey, 

Is truly a choice. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You love us and bless us with Your deep-rooted joy as we seek You. Thank You that there is always a reason to rejoice in You. Forgive us for our frustration and grumbling when things become difficult. Teach us to rejoice in the hope we have in You. Show us how to love those around us in ways that spread joy in all things and all seasons. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You and rejoice in You, always. Amen. 

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

…for the joy of the Lord is your strength. – Nehemiah 8:10

Promised Presence

Even to your old age and gray hairs I am He, I am He who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you. – (Isaiah 46:4, NIV) 

And I will still be carrying you when you are old. Your hair will turn gray, and I will still carry you. I made you, and I will carry you to safety. – (Isaiah 46:4, ERV) 

And when you are old, I will still be there, carrying you. When your limbs grow tired, your eyes are weak, and your hair a silvery gray, I will carry you as I always have. I will carry you and save you. – (Isaiah 46:4, VOICE) 

God’s promises are not just for today, but they remain forever. His promise to sustain and carry us is true throughout our entire life. I have known God’s faithfulness to carry and sustain me – from childhood to adulthood, and now as I move ever closer to the white hairs of years flying by. It is good to be reminded of His ongoing faithfulness, especially when in the midst of so much new and uncertain. God’s faithfulness and ability to sustain and carry us is not dependent on our circumstances, nor the status of the world around us. Even on days where what lies before us seems insurmountable, He is faithful to see us through. Today, I am placing all in His hands, and trusting Him to lead, strengthen and carry me through all that awaits. The Lord is good, and He is worthy of our trust. May we choose to seek Him and place all in His hands. 

The Lord is faithful, 

For all of our days; 

From when we are young, 

Today, and always. 

He calms all our fears, 

When we are afraid; 

And grants us His strength, 

When ours goes away. 

He is our safety, 

In uncertainty; 

Our help and our hope, 

To eternity. 

So, trust in the Lord, 

Choose rely on Him; 

He’ll help us press on, 

Even when hope’s dim. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our help and our hope, as You sustain, strengthen, and carry us throughout our whole life. Thank You that Your promises are true in both our youth and into our older years. Forgive us for our frustrations and fears with the things that seem too much. Teach us to trust You in all things and at all times. Show us how to love those around us in ways that make Your faithfulness tangible. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek and depend on You, all the days of our lives. Amen. 

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

The Lord Himself goes before you and will be with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. – Deuteronomy 31:8

All Through Him

I can do all things through Him who gives me strength. – (Philippians 4:13, NIV) 

Christ is the one who gives me the strength I need to do whatever I must do. – (Philippians 4:13, ERV) 

I can be content in any and every situation through the Anointed One who is my power and strength. – (Philippians 4:13, VOICE) 

Well, today was clear evidence of exactly what this verse conveys. Despite feeling as if I were drowning in a sea of screen switching and multitasking, my first day of remote teaching was completed, albeit, rough and raw with countless flaws. Seeing and interacting with my new groups of sixth graders, made the struggle worthwhile. They answered questions, followed along, and even asked for my help to navigate to their next class or activity. His strength was present throughout, as I persevered in spite of the snags, and I have fresh resolve to try again tomorrow, trusting that I can only improve from here. So, for today, I can be content in our current circumstance and trust that He will continue to give me the strength I need for each new day. May we ever seek the Lord in all things, for He supplies all that we need to do what we are called to do. 

PowerPoints, attendance, 

And “chatting” with all; 

The margin for flaws, 

Is truly not small. 

Yet, in the crazy, 

His strength is enough; 

To keep pressing on, 

Even when it’s tough. 

So, dig deep, listen, 

Trust we can do all; 

Not in our own strength, 

In His, who holds all. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can do all things in Your strength, as You call us to do. Thank You that our capacity to do difficult things is not dependent on our ability, but rather on Yours. Forgive us for the times that our faith falters in the face of adversity. Teach us to trust You and draw strength from You. Show us how to love, encourage and support those around us, so that they too, may discover how much can be accomplished in You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to be our strength, knowing that we can accomplish more than we could hope or imagine, when we place our lives in Your hands. Amen. 

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

Commit your way to the Lord; trust in Him and He will do this. – Psalm 37:5

He Leads Those Who Seek

Teach me to do Your will, for You are my God; may Your good Spirit lead me on level ground. – (Psalm 143:10, NIV) 

Show me what You want me to do. You are my God. Let Your good Spirit lead me on level ground. – (Psalm 143:10, ERV) 

I just want to obey all You ask of me. So teach me, Lord, for You are my God. Your gracious Spirit is all I need, so lead me on good paths that are pleasing to You, my one and only God! – (Psalm 143:10, TPT) 

Today has been the most unusual first day of school ever. We were startled awake both at 2:00 and 4:00 am, as the power flickered off and on. As early risers, both my husband and I were up, had breakfast and coffee, and were preparing for the day before the power completely went out. Through social media posts and texting with colleagues, I discovered much of our city was without power, yet it appeared that the school still did. After having spent much of the weekend preparing and setting up my virtual classroom at home, I was a bit concerned about having to go on campus to teach in a space that I had not prepared. This is where the trust kicked in, and I packed up all that I thought I might need, and began driving to school. Two minutes prior to my arrival, the school district “robocall” came through and announced that school was cancelled for the day because the power outages were so widespread. I was able to return home to my boys with breakfast for them, and simply was granted the luxury of a day in one another’s company. The added bonus is that power was just restored in our home about a half an hour ago, and I still have a bit of time to organize and sort things out for tomorrow. God is good and His grace is enough when we choose trust Him. May we ever seek the Lord and pursue His path, for He is a good and faithful God, ready to show us His ways. 

Lord, teach me to do, 

My home office this morning…

What You would call good; 

Please show me Your ways, 

So they’re understood. 

In each circumstance, 

My eyes fixed on You; 

Lead me and guide me, 

So Your love shines through. 

No matter what comes, 

Your grace is enough; 

You’re faithful always, 

O Father, above. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are willing to teach us Your will and show us how to walk in Your way, as we choose to seek and follow You. Forgive us for the times that we have made You less than You are. Show us how to trust You completely, especially in the new and unknown. Lead us to love those around us well, so that they too may discover Your faithfulness to those who seek You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to teach us and lead us in the ways that are pleasing to You. Amen. 

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

Let the morning bring me word of Your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in You. Show me the way I should go, for to You I entrust my life. – Psalm 143:8

To Forge Forward Without Fear

For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline. – (2 Timothy 1:7, NIV) 

The Spirit God gave us does not make us afraid. His Spirit is a source of power and love and self-control. – (2 Timothy 1:7, ERV) 

You see, God did not give us a cowardly spirit but a powerful, loving, and disciplined spirit. – (2 Timothy 1:7, VOICE) 

Fear is a funny thing – it sneaks in when we take our eyes off of God, and fixate on the unknown that lies before us. Thankfully, we never need remain stuck, as God is for us and strengthens, encourages, and loves us as we look to Him. The more we choose invest our hearts in Him, the more we recognize His power, love and self-control that is planted within us. God cares about all things, great and small. For me, the big and potentially fearful unknown, is the pending school year online. We are entering uncharted territory, yet as I look to the Lord to be my strength, I discover that love and being disciplined are present for all that lies ahead. Additionally, I am surrounded by incredible colleagues, with whom I get to discover, plan and process along side, so rather than fear, I feel peace. Yes, there is some nervousness, but it is more of a curious excitement, than a space of fear. May we look to the Lord to be Source and Supply, as He grants us all that we need to forge forward, fearlessly. 

Let’s be not afraid, 

Instead, turn to God; 

Who supplies our needs, 

Despite how we’re flawed. 

No expectations, 

To always be right; 

But rather seek Him, 

To know His delight. 

For where we have lack, 

In Him there is gain; 

Strength, love, discipline, 

As He makes paths plain. 

Let’s turn to the Lord, 

Give Him all our fears; 

He’s always faithful, 

Throughout all our years. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that in You, we need not fear, for You are faithful to supply the strength, love and self-discipline that we need to navigate every situation and circumstance. Forgive us for taking our eyes off of You in the midst of the unknown. Show us how to firmly fix our focus on You, as You provide what we need to move forward into the unknown. Teach us to love those around us in ways that strengthen, encourage and lighten loads. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we turn to You in every circumstance to provide all that we need to live and love as You call us to. Amen. 

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

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