Held Up in Heaviness

I will turn their mourning into gladness; I will give them comfort and joy instead of sorrow. – (Jeremiah 31:13b, NIV)

I will change their sadness into happiness. I will comfort my people, making them happy instead of sad. – (Jeremiah 31:13b, ERV)

I’ll convert their weeping into laughter, lavishing comfort, invading their grief with joy. – (Jeremiah 31:13b, MSG)

This is a promise to hold when grief is great. Today, many will gather to celebrate a life well lived that ended way too soon. My heart is heavy for each life that she touched, for to know her, was to love her. I am hopeful that as we gather, the beauty of her life will bring joy and laughter that soothes the tears. The greatest comfort that I cling to in our loss, is knowing that she is home with Jesus. May God continue to bring gladness from the spaces of mourning, and comfort and joy in the throes of sorrow.

In sorrowful space,

May God’s love shine in;

Filling heavy hearts,

With joy, once again.

He is our comfort,

In spaces of grief;

His love surrounds us,

And grants us relief.

Lord, take the heavy,

Replace it with joy;

Blessings in knowing,

Hope that You employ.

God, lift up our eyes,

To truly see You;

Our help and our hope,

Your love leads us through.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You hold us up in our heaviness and bring us comfort in our grief. Thank You that You can bring joy in the midst of mourning, and hope in the heart of great loss. Forgive us for trying to carry the weight on our own rather than placing our hearts and our heaviness into Your loving hands. Teach us to lean into You in our losses, and to see the joy that You are placing before us. Show us how to love well, so that Your hope and heart are made known. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek and depend on You to bring gladness from our mourning and comfort and joy where sorrow is weighty. Amen.

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

Now comfort me with Your faithful love, as You promised. – Psalm 119:76 (ERV)

Blessings in Mourning

Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. – (Matthew 5:4, NIV)

Great blessings belong to those who are sad now. God will comfort them. – (Matthew 5:4, ERV)

You’re blessed when you feel you’ve lost what is most dear to you. Only then can you be embraced by the One most dear to you. – (Matthew 5:4, MSG)

One of the hardest things we face in life is loss. Though we all know that not one of us will live forever, there is always sorrow in the passing of those whom we love, especially when the loss comes far sooner than anticipated. Mourning is a challenging space for me, as I am not an external emoter. I feel deeply, yet seldom allow myself to give room for tears to escape. It is not intentional, but rather is a well-developed defense mechanism. As only God does, He has placed me in communities with loving, tender hearts, that create safe space to process however my heart needs to do so. For me, there is comfort in simply writing things down. In fact, that is often how I discover how I am actually feeling. Words in writing seem to bypass the filter in my mind and simply land on the page as they are. That being said, I guess my point is that despite my grieving in this space of loss, I am grateful for the comfort and kindness that I am blessed to have surrounding me. Additionally, the one whom my heart aches for the most, is clearly surrounded in community too. Even when life is hard, God is so good. May we ever seek the Lord in our spaces of loss and of blessing, for He loves us and provides safe space to process whatever our heart is holding.

In spaces of loss,

Where our hearts need mourn;

The Lord’s ever near,

To mend what is torn.

He blesses our hearts,

Surrounds us with peace;

Makes love tangible,

As our hearts release.

Release the heartache,

Place all in His hands;

His grace holds us up,

As we trust His plans.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that in our spaces of loss and mourning, You come near and bless us with Your comfort. Forgive us for the times we delay in turning to You in our grief. Teach us to trust and lean on You, for You bless us with Your comfort and love in all things. Show us how to love, support and comfort those around us in the same way that You support and comfort us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we thank You for Your blessings in our spaces of mourning, and for the communities that You place us in. Amen.

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

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

The Weight of Loss

My soul is weary with sorrow; strengthen me according to Your word. – (Psalm 119:28, NIV)

I am sad and tired. Say the word, and make me strong again. – (Psalm 119:28, ERV)

I weep with grief; my heart is heavy with sorrow; encourage and cheer me with Your words. – (Psalm 119:28, TLB)

Loss is heavy, and when it is seemingly out of the blue, it is even heavier. Yesterday, as our professional development day was about to begin, I received news that a dear friend and fellow coach in our league had died. The thing is, she, her twin sister, and several others of us, all grew up doing gymnastics together. A few evenings each week, we would learn, grow, laugh, and be challenged together. As adults, our paths began to intersect again through the world of coaching. Just last spring, we had several of our meets together, so we had enjoyed some quality catch up time. Hearing the news of her death hit hard. She was life and love, joy and kindness to all whom she encountered, and had a way of drawing everyone in with her infectious laughter. As a twin mom, my heart is extra heavy for her twin, as I know the incredible bond that twins have. I can’t help but feel weary from the weight of the loss, yet must cling to the hope that we will see one another again. Her love for the Lord was clear, and she never minced words when speaking the truth in love. To know her was to love her, and I cannot fully wrap my head around her passing. My prayer is that God will be our comfort, especially for her amazing twin sister. May we love a little harder, and be a bit kinder in honor of one who lived love out loud.

You were light and life,

Truth speaker with joy;

Contagious laughter,

Wisdom, loving voice.

Each life that you touched,

Made better by you;

Loved and encouraged,

Your faith proven true.

Lord, be our comfort,

As in loss, we grieve;

Renew our resolve,

To trust and believe.

The comfort I know,

Is found in the space;

Picturing entry,

As Your arms embrace.

Dear Heavenly Father, I cannot even begin to pretend I understand why such an incredible life was cut short, yet I know that she lived out each day with purpose and love. Thank You for the gift of knowing Kimmie, and for the imprint that she forever left on my heart. Hold us up in the weight of the heaviness of loss. Forgive us for allowing opportunities to love pass us by. Show us how to live and love each day, so that no matter how many days we are given, each and every one of them counts. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, for You are where true hope and comfort are found. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to live out each day with the purpose You intended, and give You thanks for the incredible gift that You gave us in our friend. Amen.

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

You who are my Comforter in sorrow, my heart is faint within me. – Jeremiah 8:18

Hope is Reborn

Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. – (Matthew 5:4, NIV)

Great blessings belong to those who are sad now. God will comfort them. – (Matthew 5:4, ERV)

You’re blessed when you feel you’ve lost what is most dear to you. Only then can you be embraced by the One most dear to you. – (Matthew 5:4, MSG)

Grief is in the forefront of my mind this morning, as I received news of a friend’s great loss. I never know what to say in the space of such suffering, as I know the despair and devastation created by loss, and we each respond differently in the depths of our own pain. For me, reminders of God’s goodness and ability to comfort, along with the recognition and recall that Jesus grieved in loss as well, seem to help my heart in such spaces. The shortest, yet most powerfully significant verse that I know in such a space is, “Jesus wept.” (John 11:35) Jesus weeping in the face of loss with His dear friends is a reminder to us that we are not meant to “keep it all together” or “be strong” when we face grief. It is good and necessary to grieve so that our hearts can heal. God takes the broken pieces of our hearts and puts them back together in such a wondrous way that beauty springs forth from our ashes. Incredibly, what I have found after a period of mourning, is that God brings along opportunities for me to offer comfort to others walking through something similar, and great hope as I can see so clearly how I was held through the pain. My hope and prayer this morning is that those in the midst of loss can find comfort and peace in the arms of the One who is able to heal us, and feel the freedom to grieve however it is needed so that release and relief may come.

When tragedy strikes,

Or great loss is known;

God be our comfort,

As Your love is shown.

Teach our hearts to grieve,

In spaces of loss;

So healing can come,

Let’s look to the cross.

For in such anguish,

You bore all our pain;

So that we might know,

That joy comes again.

For after the grave,

You breathed life anew;

Our forever hope,

That proves Your love’s true.

A time for weeping,

To grieve and to mourn;

So joy may return,

And hope is reborn.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have known and experienced loss and devastation, and You too, wept. Thank You that because You have lived it, You can relate to our suffering and bring comfort and healing and hope. Forgive us for our fears and doubts when all that we can feel is loss. Teach us to turn to You in our despair, for Your arms are big enough to hold our every heaviness. Show us how to love, support, encourage and walk beside those around us in their seasons of loss. May comfort be found and Your heart made known in new and tangible ways. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God as we give You room and freedom to bring beauty from our ashes and hope from our despair. Amen.

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

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens… – Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

Trust Over Fear

In God, whose word I praise – in God I trust and am not afraid. What can mere mortals do to me? – (Psalm 56:4, NIV)

I trust God, so I am not afraid of what people can do to me! I praise God for His promise to me. – (Psalm 56:4, ERV)

In God – whose word I praise – in God I place my trust. I shall not let fear come in, for what can measly men do to me? – (Psalm 56:4, VOICE)

As we enjoy the blessing of a bonus long weekend, my heart cannot help but give gratitude for the brave men and women who served our country with a trust like this. This weekend, may we remember those who stood firm in the face of fear, knowing that they had a purpose to protect their friends, family and the nation they loved and paid the ultimate price. Though people can take a life on earth, they cannot deter the eternal destination of those who trust in God. Our time here is but the blink of an eye in comparison to forever. May we truly place our trust in God, and not allow fear to overwhelm us. For God has promised to be present and is preparing a place for all who trust in Him. 

May we ever choose trust,

In God, whom we praise;

For He’s always faithful,

Forever; always.

Help us not permit fear,

To stand in our way;

Please grant us Your courage,

To do as You say.

Help us to choose honor,

Those whom have served well;

Paid the ultimate price,

Before their time, fell.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You showed us what it is to sacrifice for others. Thank You for the men and women who have sacrificed and paid the ultimate price for our freedom. Forgive us for allowing any to be forgotten, for You love all with a love that laid down Your life in our place. Teach us to trust in You and be not afraid, for You are with us, always. Show us how to love those around us in such a way that they come to know the faithfulness found in You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust in You and fend off fear, knowing You are with us always. Help us to remember and honor all who sacrificed so that we might be free. Amen.

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

God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. – Psalm 46:1

Hope in the Waiting

It was Preparation Day, and the Sabbath was about to begin. The women who had come with Jesus from Galilee followed Joseph and saw the tomb and how His body was laid in it. Then they went home and prepared spices and perfumes. But they rested on the Sabbath in obedience to the commandment. – (Luke 23:54-56, NIV)

It was late on Preparation Day. When the sun went down, the Sabbath day would begin. The women who had come from Galilee with Jesus followed Joseph. They saw the tomb. Inside they saw where he put Jesus’ body. Then they left to prepare some sweet-smelling spices to put on the body. On the Sabbath day they rested, as commanded in the Law of Moses. – (Luke 23:54-56, ERV)

It was Preparation Day – the day before the holy Sabbath – and it was about to begin at sundown. The women who had accompanied Jesus from the beginning in Galilee now came, took note of where the tomb was and how His body had been prepared, then left to prepare spices and ointments for His proper burial. They ceased their work on the Sabbath so they could rest as the Hebrew Scriptures required. – (Luke 23:54-56, VOICE)

When I ponder the day in between Good Friday and Easter Sunday, I imagine a sense of mourning and anticipation. The women who had been with Jesus from the beginning, had just witnessed the death of their Savior. Rather than running off in their sorrow, they waited and watched to see what they might do next to honor Him. In anticipation, they followed Joseph, the upright man from the Council, who had gone to Pilate and asked for Jesus’ body so that he might properly place Jesus in a tomb. When the ladies knew where Jesus was laid, they went home to prepare spices to give the Savior a proper burial. However, as soon as the sun went down it was the Sabbath, and the time of rest and waiting began. It is in that space of rest, that I cannot help but imagine what it all was like. Grief, anticipation, remembering… The women had walked beside Jesus and lived and learned what a sinless life could be, only to see it cut short by the cross. Despite their anguish, they arrived at the conclusion that there was purpose for them to fulfill. Preparation Day was full of preparing for so much more than they could have ever imagined. Today, this day between the crucifixion and the resurrection, we have time to purposefully ponder all that Jesus did for us. Our sin and shame were buried with Him in that tomb, waiting to burst forth with new life, intended for all. May we look to the cross with thanksgiving for all that was placed upon Him, and look ahead with anticipation, to all that tomorrow brings. New life and eternal hope are ours to behold, if only we seek the Savior.

His death on the cross,

And all they had seen;

Lost, seeking purpose,

What did it all mean?

The women in wait,

Watched, followed to see;

Where was their Savior,

What might the Lord need?

Laid in a new tomb,

His location known;

Christ’s body broken,

Somber and alone.

A day to prepare,

To honor the Lord;

They did what they knew,

All time would afford.

Then came the waiting,

Such sorrow unknown;

Grief and a purpose,

Their hope felt postponed.

Soon to discover,

All hope was not lost;

The Savior would rise,

From death on that cross.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for sending Your Son to make the way for new life in us. Jesus, thank You that though we lose sight of hope in the waiting, it is simply a time to pause and anticipate the new that is coming. Forgive us for forgetting the power You have. The very One who defeated death is always working on our behalf, and will never leave us nor forsake us. Teach us to trust You more, even in the spaces that seem like we are waiting in darkness. Show us how to love those around us in such a way that hope may rise, even in the darkest tombs in our hearts. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we thank You for how You endured the cross for our sake, and praise You for the power in You that overcame death to rise again. Amen.

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

Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord. – Psalm 27:14

How Love Abounds

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

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

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

To fully embrace, 

All that God’s love is; 

We must choose to trust, 

And know we are His. 

As we come to know, 

His kindness and grace; 

Our hearts are opened, 

To God’s loving ways. 

Such blessings are found, 

The more that we know; 

His heart is for us, 

To bless and to grow. 

O what a treasure, 

To have and to hold; 

The one He’s given, 

Such love does unfold. 

Today I give thanks, 

For the love I’ve found; 

As I’m fiercely loved, 

And goodness abounds. 

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

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

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

Overcome Evil with Good

Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. – (Romans 12:21, NIV)

Don’t let evil defeat you, but defeat evil by doing good. – (Romans 12:21, ERV)

Never let evil get the best of you; instead, overpower evil with the good. – (Romans 12:21, VOICE)

 

As social media has been flooded with the atrocity of the killing of an innocent man, out for a run, who was senselessly chased down and murdered by two self-professed vigilantes, who had no authority to question his motives for being out on a run, much less gun him down in cold blood. What is even more evil in all of this, is that nothing seemed to be done to bring justice to Ahmaud Arbery’s murderers until there was public outcry, due to the clear evidence produced in a release of video footage of the barbarity. For many of us, we feel overcome with horror at the wickedness that has played out through such a heinous act against humanity. That being said, the good that is rising up to bring justice to Ahmaud’s case, is overpowering the evil that transpired. No, there is nothing that will ever bring Ahmaud back to life, nor is there any justice that seems valid when a life is so senselessly taken; however, the good is raising awareness and aiding in a change of mindset for ordinary things that so many have taken for granted, and Ahmaud’s murderers are finally being charged. As a fellow runner, my heart aches for the fear that already exists in those who worry about a similar encounter, and for anyone who chooses not to go at all, due to the evil that is present and waiting to pounce. Awareness, education, wisdom and support are ways to combat and overpower the evil with good. I don’t have the answers, but I will continue to listen to the voices of those who have encountered and live with a constant heightened awareness of evil, simply because of the color of their skin, so that I can do what I can to be better and contribute to good overcoming such wickedness. May we seek the Lord to direct our steps to bring about a safe, peaceful, loving existence among all people, just as He intended.

 

So senseless the death, wp-15890342122543911826434050258269.png

Of a man, so young;

Out to maintain health,

With joy, he would run.

Evil encounter,

Malicious intent;

A life no longer,

Such darkness present.

The saying, it goes,

“Your sins find you out;”

The truth bringing good,

Airing evil out.

May justice be brought,

Where evil once stood;

May all do better,

And seek to do good.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that good overcomes evil, even when the evil that takes place seems insanely overwhelming. Please be with the family of Ahmaud Arbery; though there is nothing that will ever make this senselessness right, let justice be served to those who murdered this young man. Thank You that Your intention is for there to be peace among Your people. Forgive us for the things we have said, done, or left unsaid or undone, that have prevented the good that You intended. Teach us to do and be better. Bring healing to our land, O God. Show us how to love one another, as sisters and brothers, in all things and at all times. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to be our strength so that we may ever overcome evil with good. Amen.

 

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

 

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” – John 13:34

Grace Enough

Have you ever had one of those days, a day where things are crazy busy and the day is long, and then the moment you can finally take pause and breathe, “Wham,” grief sneaks up and sucker punches you in the gut, and you can hardly catch your breath? That was me this afternoon, merely moments ago. I started this morning as usual, studying a totally different and unrelated passage in 2 Chronicles, and had to stop halfway through to go meet up for a safely socially distant run/walk. When I returned home, I had to set it aside and get started immediately on my work day; leaving little time for anything other than potty breaks for the puppy and a quick lunch bite in between meetings and emails. Everything went well, and my day was extended a bit longer than usual, due to a meeting for one of my students. Just as I had finished, my husband returned home from work, and I was ready to get back to the writing that sat undone from this morning. Somehow, as I opened my Outlook account, one particular email took me aback, and I suddenly found myself swallowed by grief. Maybe it is the timing, or perhaps the weight of the past year, but whatever it is, there was a moment of feeling sunk. Then, as nearly as the grief overwhelmed, the words of 2 Corinthians 12:9, flooded my mind, and I was anchored in truth once more.

But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.

In that moment, I needed reminding that His grace is enough. He is enough. Grief is okay to feel, but He will not allow it to sink my soul. I don’t know that I am eagerly boasting about the flash onset of grief, or weakness, or whatever one might want to call it, but I am so grateful that Christ is with me, and He reminds me that He will never leave me nor forsake me. He comforts me in my sorrow and rejoices when I am glad. Regardless of what life brings, God is always good. May we ever seek Him in our sorrow and our joy, for He grants us grace and strength and power to persevere in all things, through every season.

 

When grief like a flood, 63a09efb-a46a-4c36-b1af-4a9f0cf4c2e04975274388445686015.jpg

In waves, crashes in;

How do we anchor,

Where do we begin?

As we seek the Lord,

He hears our heart cry;

Reminds us of truth,

Grace He won’t deny.

For great is His love,

That ever comes close;

Strength in our weakness,

His love clearly shows.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your goodness and grace that comforts us in our grief and loves us through all things. Thank You that You are always near. Forgive us for not seeking or trusting You in all things. Teach us to trust You more. Show us how to extend Your grace to everyone we meet, so that they may know the power of Your love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for Your grace that is always enough. Amen.

 

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

 

The grace of the Lord Jesus be with you. – 1 Corinthians 16:23

Faith Like Job

I know that my Redeemer lives, and that in the end He will stand on the earth. – (Job 19:25, NIV)

I know that there is someone to defend me and that there is someone to defend me and that He lives! And in the end, He will stand here on earth and defend me. – (Job 19:25, ERV)

 

The unwavering faith of Job amazes me every time I am brought back to any portion of his story. Job lost his family, his friends, his wealth and his health, yet his faith remained unflappable. In the midst of all of his loss, his friends tell him all of the possible reasons why such devastation had befallen him, yet Job knew he had been faithful to God and clung to his faith in the truth that was securely planted within him. Incredibly, Job’s story does not end in his space of desolation, but rather in one of restoration, redemption and abundant blessing. God still works in the same powerful ways. When my marriage ended several years ago, I grieved the loss and did not think it would be possible to allow my heart to love again. I trusted God with me and my sons, and it was good. Little did I know, but God had so much more for me; for us. God brought me a partner and help mate, someone to be strong when I am not, yet one whom I can challenge to grow too. His timing could not have been better, as we have weathered some intense storms together. Separately, they may have sunk us, but together, with Christ as our anchor, we have remained steady and secure. There will always be trials in this broken world, but when we know and trust God, we have assurance that the difficult will not last forever. We know that our forever will be far better than anything we could begin to hope or imagine in the here and now, and with all this time at home, I’ll bet many of us can imagine some fairly fantastic settings and spaces. May we pursue the Lord and trust in Him, so that He may grow more deeply in us, an unwavering faith.

 

My Redeemer lives,

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Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

I have certainty;

For in my own life,

He’s loved faithfully.

Not just in theory,

Or stories of old;

Through my own trials,

My hand He did hold.

Granted provision,

For every need;

At the darkest times,

His love took the lead.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are for us, even when it feels as if the world is against us. Thank You that our ultimate hope is eternity with You. Forgive us for forgetting the strength, hope and power that is present in You. Teach us to trust and rely on “God with us”, for You are always near. Show us how to love those around us best, so that we might encourage and strengthen them in hope. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust in Your faithful presence and hold fast to the hope we know is found in You forever. Amen.

 

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

 

Who is like You, Lord God Almighty? You, Lord, are mighty, and Your faithfulness surrounds You. – Psalm 89:8