The Second Day at the Tomb

The next day, the one after Preparation Day, the chief priests and the Pharisees went to Pilate. “Sir,” they said, “we remember that while He was still alive that deceiver said, ‘After three days I will rise again.’ So give the order for the tomb to be made secure until the third day. Otherwise, His disciples may come and steal the body and tell the people that He has been raised from the dead. This last deception will be worse than the first.” “Take a guard,” Pilate answered. “Go, make the tomb as secure as you know how.” So, they went and made the tomb secure by putting a seal on the stone and posting the guard. – (Matthew 27:62-66, NIV)

That day was the day called Preparation Day. The next day, the leading priests and the Pharisees went to Pilate. They said, “Sir, we remember that while that liar was still alive He said, ‘I will rise from death in three days.’ So give the order for the tomb to be guarded well for three days. His followers might come and try to steal the body. Then they could tell everyone that He has risen from death. That lie will be even worse than what they said about Him before.” Pilate said, “Take some soldiers and go guard the tomb the best way you know.” So they all went to the tomb and made it safe from thieves. They did this by sealing the stone in the entrance and putting soldiers there to guard it. – (Matthew 27:62-66, ERV)

 

The somber silence of Saturday, was really not so silent at all. Behind the scenes, those who had accused, tried and crucified Jesus, were now scrambling to make certain that what He had foretold, would not in any way, appear to be the truth. It is almost comical to imagine the Pharisees, chief priests and Pilate as they have their troubled exchanges, as all the while, the disciples are grieving their loss. Stealing the body was likely the furthest thing from their mind. Mary and Martha were waiting to attend to His body, to further treat it properly for burial, but taking His body from the tomb… Eww… What I love most of all about this short passage of scripture, is that Jesus’ accusers took such care to be certain the tomb was guarded and secure from the outside, yet could not control the miracle that was taking place on the inside. Can you imagine the shock and awe that was to come for the soldiers sent to guard the tomb? Soldiers who were to be wary of those who would come near the tomb, would suddenly find themselves face to face with an angel of the Lord, and then the risen Christ himself, less than twenty-four hours later. Jesus was not a liar nor a deceiver. He is the truth, the way and the life. All who choose come to Him, may know love and life everlasting in Him. Though Saturday was somewhat silent, Sunday was on its way!

 

The day in between,The Second Day at the Tomb

His death and new life;

Silence in waiting,

After sacrifice.

Scrambling soldiers,

Sent to take up guard;

They sealed Jesus’ tomb,

All passage was barred.

Pharisees fearful,

Of what Jesus said;

That after three days,

He’d no more be dead.

No sealing nor guards,

Could ever prevent;

Miracle coming,

Sunday’s big event!

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for sending Your Son to show us Your goodness, grace and power. Thank You that You demonstrated Your incredible love for us as You willingly went to the cross and died the death that should have been ours, so that we could be forgiven and know life in You. Thank You that the grave was not the end. Thank You that hope rises, and that Sunday is coming for all. Forgive us for allowing our sorrows and grief to feel hopeless and helpless in the tomb of our heart. Thank You that You do Your miraculous work from within, so how things appear do not matter in order for You to move. Show us how to love in ways that offer hope in the same way that You do for us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we embrace the hope that is ready to rise, each day, because of the third day at the tomb. Amen.

 

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

 

Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the Lord. – Psalm 31:24

Six Trials and Three Denials to Good Friday

The centurion, seeing what had happened, praised God and said, “Surely this was a righteous man.” – (Luke 23:47, NIV)

The army officer there saw what happened. He praised God, saying, “I know this man was a good man!” – (Luke 23:47, ERV)

When the Roman captain overseeing the crucifixion witnessed all that took place, he was awestruck and glorified God. Acknowledging what they had done, he said, “I have no doubt; we just killed the righteous one.” – (Luke 23:47, TPT)

 

Good Friday. There is seemingly much irony in the name, as nothing that Jesus endured that day was good at all. Six trials, three denials, multiple beatings, abuse, mocking, disregarding, false accusations, a crown of thorns, and hanging on a cross, bearing the sin and shame of the world, all before noon that day. And yet, the things that transpired during the six hours that Friday, as Jesus hung in agony on the cross, transformed the heart and mind of a Roman army officer, whom likely was eager to crucify Jesus, when the whole scene on the hill began. He watched as Jesus forgave the criminals accused on either side of Him; he heard as Jesus told his mother that His dear friend would be her son (to care for her and help provide, as was customary and necessary back then); the officer witnessed Jesus turning down a drink that would have taken the edge off of the pain, and he heard Jesus cry out and commit His spirit into the Lord’s hands. As the darkness surrounded the scene from noon to three, I imagine the magnitude of the man, Jesus, before him, began to really resonate clearly in the heart of the Roman captain. When Jesus took His final breath, other signs and wonders transpired too. That centurion’s heart was forever changed, as he recognized a fraction of the reality of what had just taken place, and that they had indeed crucified the righteous one. In all reality, we ought to have the same sort of life-changing aha moments at the foot of the cross, as we recognize that Jesus hung in our place to extend us His grace so that we might live. All of us, without Jesus, deserve death. We all are sinners in need of mercy and grace. Jesus came, lived and loved, died and rose again, so that we could indeed refer to that horrific, painful, agonizing Friday, as good. May we take time today to kneel at the foot of the cross and give thanks. For God is so good and full of grace that He loved us with His very life.

 

Lord, help us to see, Six Trials and Three Denials

The truth through fresh eyes;

The weight sacrificed,

Saves us from demise.

The burdens You bore,

Were meant to be ours;

Your love held You there,

Enduring the scars.

There are not the words,

To ever suffice;

To praise and give thanks,

For Your sacrifice.

Today I will choose,

To kneel at the cross;

Give all unto You,

Without You, I’m lost.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for sending Your Son to bear the weight for us all. Thank You Jesus, for living in perfect love. Thank You for showing us what it means to endure all things in love, and why that wretched, awful, agonizing Friday was actually good. Forgive us for our lack of attention to the significance of what You did for us. Teach us to look back and recognize all that You endured on our behalf in love. Show us how to embrace the grace that You have freely given, so that we might go forth and love others as You love us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love You and praise You for the amazing good that came from that Friday so many years ago. Amen.

When the centurion and those with him who were guarding Jesus saw the earthquake and all that had happened, they were terrified, and exclaimed, “Surely He was the Son of God!” – Matthew 27:54

The Weight of Grief in the Garden

When He rose from prayer and went back to the disciples, He found them asleep, exhausted from sorrow. – (Luke 22:45, NIV)
When He finished praying, He went to His followers. He found them asleep, worn out from their grieving.  – (Luke 22:45, ERV)
When Jesus finished praying, He got up and went to His disciples and found them all asleep, for they were exhausted and overwhelmed with sorrow. – (Luke 22:45, TPT)
I am not sure why I have not ever noticed the phrasing of Luke’s account of what took place in the Garden of Gethsemane before, but why the disciples fell asleep, becomes far more relate-able somehow. The disciples had every reason to be grieving, for they had shared their final meal with Jesus, heard His last words of wisdom, sung their last hymn together, and then heard that one among them would betray Him and another would deny Him… That is some serious heaviness to hold. How often do we find ourselves in the same sort of space? There  are times that the grief is too great, and even as we try to pray, exhaustion takes over, and sleep finds a welcomed win. The disciples, though Jesus had told them what would take place, could likely not wrap their hearts and minds around it all. They were in the throes of the suffering and sorrow-filled part, and could not yet see the glorious hope that would come after the horror Jesus was about to endure. Incredibly, Jesus continued to pray. When Judas and his entourage of Sanhedrin and soldiers arrived to have Jesus arrested, Jesus continued to love as He healed the ear that an over-zealous disciple cut off in His defense. He went willingly, without argument nor needed force, for love led Him to the cross at Calgary.
I paused writing to go run, and ended up having a great discussion about the potential disparity between the four accounts of the disciples’ time in the garden. My running bestie is a nurse, so she reminded me that Luke was a doctor. Between us, we recognized that the other accounts were recorded by fishermen, who likely felt bad for falling asleep, and simply recorded that alone. Luke, however, from a physician’s standpoint, was the most likely to recognize the toll that grief and sorrow take on the body, and reported the occurrence accordingly. Like me, she had not ever noticed the difference in the accounts of what took place, but together, we discussed how it indeed made sense. Many of us find ourselves in a similar space of grief or sorrow. There is loss that we are uncertain how to process, and that weighs heavily, no matter how much we pray. Perhaps this forced slow down season is meant for more than just protecting ourselves from the further spread of a pandemic; maybe, just maybe, this is a season where we are to allow our bodies to sleep when we can fight it no longer, rest up, reflect on what truly matters, and rise up renewed and refreshed, as Jesus carried it all for us and rose again. May we give ourselves grace in our moments of sorrow, grief and exhaustion, and look to the Lord who is the One who strengthens, renews and grants us what we need to rise up restored, once again.
In grief’s heaviness,

The Weight of Grief

Sculpture by Celeste Roberge

We’re burdened and worn;
Exhausted and spent,
In sorrow, forlorn.
Our bodies in need,
Of overdue rest;
Sometimes a shut down,
When sleep is the best.
God knows all our needs,
He loves us with grace;
Refreshes, renews,
And brings brighter days.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son to show us Your goodness and grace, even in humanity’s most exhausted spaces. Thank You that You love us back to life again, even when our weariness from loss steals our resolve to rise and fight. Forgive us for thinking that we can somehow power through things without giving room for grief. Teach us to lean into You to show us how to properly process, rest and rise again in all that You are calling us to do. Lead us to love others well, so that their burdens may be lessened and their sorrow’s shortened. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we come to You in our heaviness and seek You for rest and refreshment as You restore and renew us in You. Amen.
My soul is weary with sorrow; strengthen me according to Your word. – Psalm 119:28

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Ponder the Pain

Now Jesus was going up to Jerusalem. On the way, He took the Twelve aside and said to them, “We are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be delivered over to the chief priests and the teachers of the law. They will condemn Him to death and will hand Him over to the Gentiles to be mocked and flogged and crucified. On the third day He will be raised to life!” – (Matthew 20:17-19, NIV)

Jesus was going to Jerusalem. His twelve followers were with Him. While they were walking, He gathered the followers together and spoke to them privately. He said to them, “We are going to Jerusalem. The Son of Man will be handed over to the leading priests and the teachers of the law, and they will say He must die. They will hand Him over to the foreigners, who will laugh at Him and beat Him with whips, and then they will kill Him on a cross. But on the third day after His death, He will be raised to life again.” – (Matthew 20:17-19, ERV)

 

As I opened my Bible application to read the passage for today, I was taken aback as I realized our nearness to Easter, and the significance of the passage presented. It has taken all of my fortitude to simply keep current on what day of the week it is, and recognize which particular date corresponds on the calendar, (with loads of helpful reminders from modern technology) let alone look further forward than a day or two. This passage, however, jolted my head and heart back to the reality of the sacred remembrance of this season. Jesus boldly and willingly went to Jerusalem, knowing what stood before Him. The love within Him was far greater than the human desire to detour away from pain and suffering. Jesus chose the agonizing road, so that we could have life, light, hope, love and freedom in Him. I imagine the days leading up to the cross seemed agonizingly long. He knew what He had to do, yet He could not stop preparing and living and loving, leading up to that point in time, when all of the sin, shame and suffering of the world would be His to bear on our behalf. There are a million directions my mind could go when I ponder the pain He endured for me. This morning, my thought is simply that if He could continue in living and loving, knowing that He would have to endure so much suffering; how much more ought we choose to live and love with hope, knowing that our present circumstances will not remain as they are forever. Though we do not know the end date, and have disappointments and losses and reasons to grieve, we also have reason to live and love and spread hope through extending the very same kindness that Christ has granted to us. May we take pause and ponder the purpose of this season, as we observe new life sprouting and taking root all around us. He is risen, and hope is here.

 

Even in darkness,DSC00009

Light finds its way in;

Buds begin blooming,

As springtime begins.

In our rough seasons,

We are not alone;

Christ’s gone before us,

Each pain He has known.

And just when darkness,

Seemed it would not end;

His death on the cross,

Then He rose again…

From out of the grave,

Three days He had lain;

Christ resurrected,

Hope rose once again.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You came and chose the painful road on our behalf, because You love so deeply. Thank You that Your life, death and resurrection made the way for life, hope and love for us all. Forgive us for allowing our present darkness to overshadow the light of all that You have done and continue to do for us and in us. Show us how to love those around us in ways that offer love, light, life and hope in the same way that You do for us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for the incredible sacrifice that You made on our behalf, and the love that carried You down that difficult road. Amen.

 

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

 

So Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many; and He will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for Him. – Hebrews 9:28

Clothed in Compassion

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. – (Colossians 3:12, NIV)

God has chosen you and made you His holy people. He loves you. So your new life should be like this: Show mercy to others. Be kind, humble, gentle, and patient. – (Colossians 3:12, ERV)

You are always dearly loved by God! So robe yourself with virtues of God, since you have been divinely chosen to be holy. Be merciful as you endeavor to understand others, and be compassionate, showing kindness toward all. Be gentle and humble, unoffendable in your patience with others. – (Colossians 3:12, TPT)

 

The tremendous impact that the mounting shutdowns are going to have on some of our local families continue to grow, as the governor called for the closure of all restaurants last night. Already, last evening, my husband and I could see the impact this COVID-19 crisis is having on such businesses, as we stopped at our favorite Thai restaurant, after I had picked him up from the airport. For a good twenty minutes, we were the only pair dining in the place. A few folks did come in to pick up take-out orders, and two more tables of two entered and were seated, prior to the end of our meal. Beginning today, their family business will be entirely dependent on take-out orders for sustaining their existence. I know there are so many others that are deeply impacted by this decision. As we navigate each new day, we must be compassionate and kind, gentle, humble, and unoffendable in our patience with others. We know not what the person in front, behind, or beside us is going through, and odds are, each could really use some kindness, patience and compassion in the midst of the current chaos. In a space like this we can either hide out in our own little space, or we can lift our head, look around, and seek ways to reach out and extend help where we are able. Because we are chosen and dearly loved, we are meant to love likewise. May we look for opportunities to show mercy to others, extend kindness and gentleness, be humble always, and choose to be unoffendable in our patience with others.

 

Because we are loved, Be Clothed in Compassion

We’re called to the same;

Compassionately,

In Christ’s Holy Name.

He arms us with strength,

Love, humility;

Empowers patience,

Most generously.

Let’s extend mercy,

Kindness through God’s grace;

Give as we’re given,

In this time and space.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to clothe ourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Thank You that as we do, we are equipped and empowered to love others as You so lavishly love us. Forgive us for either thinking there is nothing we can do, or for getting caught up in our own concerns. Teach us to have eyes to see the world around us as You do, so that we may reach out and do what we can with what we have been given. Show us how to love generously, live compassionately, and be unoffendable in our patience as we navigate these trying times as Your ambassadors of peace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love You and trust You to strengthen and equip us to be clothed in compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience, so that we may love others as You call us to love. Amen.

 

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

 

Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. – Ephesians 4:32

Strength When Things Seem Senseless

Finally, be strong in the Lord and His mighty power. – (Ephesians 6:10, NIV)

Last of all I want to remind you that your strength must come from the Lord’s mighty power within you. – (Ephesians 6:10, TLB)

Now my beloved ones, I have saved these most important truths for last: Be supernaturally infused with strength through your life-union with the Lord Jesus. Stand victorious with the force of His explosive power flowing in and through you. – (Ephesians 6:10, TPT)

 

Life is full of obstacles, challenges, peaks and valleys that appear before us without notification. We need the Lord’s strength to navigate trials and heartache, and His power to persevere on this journey set before us. In Christ, we have what we need to press on and discover the beauty on the other side. Though it does not always feel that way in the middle of the loss, trial or difficulty, His presence and His peace are always available if we choose depend on Him.

The impact of loss struck me yesterday, as the tragic news of Kobe Bryant, his daughter, Gianna, and the other seven people on the helicopter that crashed, had lost their lives. It is not so much that it was a celebrity who was lost, but rather one who represented a dream for so many young people, who was passing his dream on to his daughter, and an entire generation that followed after him. A common expression heard in my classroom when students toss trash into the can in basketball fashion, is “Kobe!” if the shot makes it in the can well on the first try. His impact has been tremendous throughout his well-decorated NBA career and beyond.

Where am I going with all of this? Honestly, I am not sure. What I do know, is that we need Jesus, and we need to love the people around us well. It requires strength from within to keep moving forward when we are blind-sided by tragedies. My heart aches for the wife and three daughters left behind, as well as for every young person who looked to the example set before them by the man who successfully navigated a phenomenal NBA career and beyond, as well as a family life, beautifully. May we seek our Savior to be supernaturally infused with His strength all of our days, so that we may go forth and love well.

 

Be strong in the Lord, wp-15801297840646155505631906763539.jpg

For in Him, we’ll stand;

No matter what comes,

We’re held in His hands.

Choose seek after Him,

In good times and bad;

His grace and His strength,

Our safe space to land.

Lord, hold in Your hands,

Each heart that’s in pain;

Let Your love be known,

As Your goodness reigns.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our strength and power when we need it the most. Thank You that though we cannot begin to understand why tragedies occur, You remain present to help, hold and love us through them all. Forgive us for our lack of seeking in spaces of loss. Teach us to trust and depend on You more deeply, for no one understands like You. Show us how to love those around us well, so that Your kindness and comfort may be made tangible. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You to be our strength in all things and at all times. Amen.

 

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

 

It is God who arms me with strength and keeps my way secure. – 2 Samuel 22:33

Recognize and Become Wise

Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom. – (Psalm 90:12, NIV)

Teach us how short our lives are so that we can become wise. – (Psalm 90:12, ERV)

Teach us to number our days and recognize how few they are; help us to spend them as we should. – (Psalm 90:12, TLB)

 

Love and loss are phenomenal teachers, as they show us tangibly, the importance of each new day that we are given. Though I have walked through the end of life with one too young before, we were reminded again this past year, just how important each new day is, as we lost Mark’s dad too soon, and nearly lost my mom when she had a stroke. When we navigate seasons of struggle and loss, we can either dwell on the devastation, or embrace the gift of each new day that we are given. In the case of Mark’s father, grace, goodness, forgiveness and healing happened, as there was a recognition of numbered days, and wisdom gained in how to utilize the time. Mark and his dad were able to mend what had been broken, and though there was loss at the death, there is peace. As for mom, we have embraced with gratitude, each new day we have been given. Recovery is slow, by human standards, yet each new step and gain of strength, is reason to celebrate and give God glory. It is interesting that we typically associate older individuals with wisdom, yet now that I think about it, the older we get, the more aware we are that our days are numbered. When we know that we have a finite amount of time remaining, we desire to do the best we can with what we have. Wisdom is gained when we recognize that we are not immortal and are in need of the Savior. May we ever recognize that though our days are limited, they are each intended to count. Show us Lord, how to spend each day in a way that honors You.

 

Lord, help me number, The Wisdom We Seek

Each one of my days;

To make each one count,

May my life bring praise.

And help me to seek,

Ever choose pursue;

The wisdom that comes,

From time spent with You.

Help me to honor,

You Lord, as I live;

Let Your love and grace,

Be what I choose give.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the precious gift of life. Thank You that we are given a limited amount of time to live and love and extend goodness and grace as You call us to do. Thank You that as we ask, You grant wisdom to know how to navigate. Forgive us for the times that we just drift along, rather than actively pursue Your best for each new day. Teach us to recognize the gift that each new morning holds. Grant us wisdom to know how to live and love best. Show us how to extend Your goodness and grace to those around us, so that they too, may understand the depth of Your love and the importance of embracing the time that we have. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we recognize how finite our time here, and pursue Your wisdom as to what to do with each new day. Amen.

 

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

 

For the Lord gives wisdom; from His mouth come knowledge and understanding. – Proverbs 2:6

Promised Peace

“I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” – (John 16:33, NIV)

“I have told you these things so that you can have peace in Me. In this world you will have troubles. But be brave! I have defeated the world!” – (John 16:33, ERV)

“And everything I’ve taught you is so that the peace which is in Me will be in you and will give you great confidence as you rest in Me. For in this unbelieving world you will experience trouble and sorrows, but you must be courageous, for I have conquered the world!” – (John 16:33, TPT)

 

Jesus never promised us an easy life; He promised us peace in His presence and the recognition that we can take courage, for He has already overcome every obstacle that we will ever face. Not one of us has any guarantees. We know not the triumphs and tragedies that lie before us, yet in Christ, we know Who will be present with us to see us through. The longer I live, the more I recognize these words to be true. Trouble does come, when we least expect it, yet if we cling to Christ, He will be our peace, our strength, and our hope. Perhaps it is my current age and stage in life, but this past year has been particularly weighty for many that I know. That being said, for each of the heartaches, there have been tremendous blessings, and God’s peace has been present. Each time we experience a struggle, heartache, or tragedy and lean into the Lord, we learn more deeply the truth of this verse. There is peace in Him. He has overcome trouble and sorrows and grants courage and strength and resolve to press on. Even when life seems less than what we are hoping for, God is present, and our future is secure in Him. May we hold fast to the hope we know in Christ, for He is our peace and our strength, no matter what comes our way.

 

Though troubles will come, Ongoing Peace

They’re part of this life;

Jesus brings us peace,

He loves us through strife.

In heartache or loss,

The Lord will be near;

He comforts with peace,

And wipes away tears.

God grants us the strength,

To rise and press on;

Brings blessings our way,

Love is His response.

So, lean into Christ,

The hope that we know;

His grace and His love,

Will lead as we go.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that though we have troubles and trials to face in this life, You are present to be our peace and strength. Thank You that as we call on You and depend on You, You equip us with all that we need to press on. Thank You for the blessings that You pour out upon us. Forgive us for our frustrations when troubles come. You did not promise us an easy life, You promised us Your peace, hope and presence. Thank You that You are forever faithful. Teach us to trust You more, in all things and at all times. Show us how to love those around us in ways that extend Your peace, strength, grace and hope where it is lacking. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust in Your faithfulness forever. Amen.

 

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

 

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

Merry Christmas 2019

Merry Christmas blessings to all! Today’s post is going to look a bit different than usual, as I wanted to take the opportunity to send out Christmas greetings and an update for family and friends, near and far, as I found myself in a space of having to let go of the expectation of sending out Christmas cards this year. wp-15772871873888784698050003969833.jpg

Grace is a beautiful thing. Once I realized that the only person who had the expectation of a card being sent was me, I was able to let that “one more thing” go, and be present and enjoy the season.

This year has been all about learning and growing in grace; letting go of expectations of what we thought life would be, and embracing the gifts that come our way each day. At the end of April, my mom suffered a stroke, completely out of the blue. She was in great health, fit, capable, and extraordinarily independent; always on the go. As a result, I was given the grace to take a leave of absence for the majority of the remaining school year, and had the wellness leave to cover the time without loss of pay. Grace was granted financially for my family, as I was afforded time and total support to go and be present with Mom in the beginning of her recovery.  We also were able to visit Mark’s dad in September while he was still doing reasonably well, as we just returned to Wisconsin a few weeks ago for his memorial. Love and loss, blessings and grace; we have been carried well this year, despite the unanticipated obstacles.

Mid-August, Mom moved to Oregon with my sister and her family, while I returned home to my own to prepare for the new school year. She and her family have been loving and caring for Mom with incredible grace.

Both of my boys are now nearly half-way through their senior year, as is my eldest nephew in Oregon. The duo gained their licenses at the close of summer, so there has been a new-found freedom for all. Our eldest, my bonus son, secured a new job in the field of his choosing, and is back to working days, after more than a year of graveyard. It is a wonderful blessing to be able to have family dinners at least a few times each week.

Mark’s twenty-year dream has become a reality over the last few months, as the shop construction is nearly complete. All that remains is wiring, insulation and equipping the shop with all of the various tools he will utilize to practice his trade on the side from home. Daily, he is like a little kid on Christmas morning, as he looks at the shop with awe and gratitude.

As for me, I am continuing my twenty-third year of teaching, currently teaching English, Social Studies and Art. Added to the list this season with joy, is the position of assistant gymnastics coach at the high school my boys attend. I will continue to be the head coach at the middle school where I teach, as the seasons are separate, so I am able to participate in both.

Mom, despite the enormous blow to her health that none of us had anticipated, is a resilient fighter. Her perseverance is paying off, as she is able to walk around with a walker well, and continues to gain strength and work tirelessly to rebuild that which was compromised. We are eagerly awaiting our visit in a few days to celebrate the season with her.

May the grace of God be poured out upon each of you this most wonderful season, as you take pause and reflect on His goodness and grace. Merry Christmas, and blessings of peace to all!

 

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

 

For unto us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on His shoulders. And He will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. – Isaiah 9:6

Statements of Praise

 

Let them give thanks to the Lord for His unfailing love and His wonderful deeds for mankind. – (Psalm 107:8, NIV)

Thank the Lord for His faithful love and for the amazing things He does for people. – (Psalm 107:8, ERV)

So lift your hands and thank God for His marvelous kindness and for all His miracles of mercy for those He loves. – (Psalm 107:8, TPT)

 

Any time that there is repetition in scripture, I recognize the need to take notice. In this particular Psalm, the same sentence is repeated four times by David, as he tells of a long list of God’s faithfulness to those who belonged to Him. I imagine many of us, particularly in this season, could create our own list of ways that God has shown His unfailing love and mercy, and follow each remembrance with a statement of praise. For me, in spite of much heaviness that has found our household this year, there has been in equal measure, God’s faithful provision, joy, peace, comfort, and abundant blessing. Perhaps it is why I so often find myself settling in the Psalms, as David understood the highest heights and the deepest depths, yet sought the Lord and praised Him through it all. He was human and fell short, yet searched for God, and was receptive to the Lord’s correcting and redirecting as he continued to move forward and give thanks. May we ever give thanks to the Lord for His unfailing love and His miracles of mercy that He pours out upon those whom He calls His own.

 

When life knocks us down,Statements of Praise

Takes wind from our sails;

The Lord’s love and grace,

Comes near, never fails.

In seasons of loss,

Struggle and heartache;

The Lord’s love remains,

And miracles take.

Where blessings abound,

And grace is made known;

Again, it’s God’s love,

And His power shown.

Rise up and give thanks,

For love that won’t end;

For wonderful deeds,

That move God’s love in.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your unfailing love and for the wonderful things that You do for those who follow You. Thank You that You hear our prayers and move mightily on our behalf. Thank You that Your power is made perfect in our weakness. Forgive us for allowing discouragement or sorrow to cause us to question Your love or care for us. Teach us to trust You through every high and low, as You remain present through all things at all times. Show us how to love those around us well, so that we may make Your unfailing love and marvelous kindness tangible in spaces where it is difficult to access. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You praise for Your unfailing love and Your miraculous deeds, done on our behalf. Amen.

 

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

 

Now, our God, we give You thanks, and praise Your glorious name. – 1 Chronicles 29:13