A Work In Progress

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

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

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

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

Lord, in Your kindness,

Grow us in Your love;

May our lives reflect,

Your heart from above.

With wisdom and grace,

Teach us self-control;

Add to our knowledge,

As love is our goal.

Grace us with patience,

Throughout each new day;

So love is poured out,

As we walk Your way.

Grow our devotion,

To You and others;

So care is made clear,

To sisters, brothers.

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

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

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

Let Thanks Be Present

Let them give thanks to the Lord for His faithful love and His wonderful works for all humanity. – (Psalm 107:8, HCSB)

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

May they erupt with praise and give thanks to the Eternal in honor of His loyal love and all the wonders He has performed for humankind! – (Psalm 107:8, VOICE)

The Thanksgiving break was far different than what I am accustomed to, yet it was very good and had an excellent balance of rest and of time with loved ones nearby. God knows what we need and is faithful to provide as we seek Him. Because of my coaching responsibilities, I needed to stay home this past weekend. Though that meant that we did not get time together with my mom or my sister and family, we did have time with our four all in the house at once, and opportunity to spend time with our besties to celebrate a retirement, be present and involved at church, and there was time to get together with a lifelong friend who is really a sister to both my sister and me. There are some intimidating unknowns in the coming weeks, yet the same God who cared for me with such kindness over the weekend, will be faithful to continue through all that lies ahead. In fact, even as I go to get stitches out this morning, my best friend is coming along to help me ask all of the questions about the pending procedure that will be required. God grants us comfort and peace, hope and help, and He is worthy of all of our thanks and praise. May we ever praise Him and continue into the season with grateful hearts. Though we know not all that lies ahead, we know Who will remain beside us through all things, and the One who makes His love tangible.

Let thanks be present,

In all that we do;

For God is faithful,

He will see us through.

Our help and our hope,

His love knows no end;

All grace and mercy,

On Him we depend.

Our hope forever,

May our praises rise;

To God, our Father,

Where all goodness lies.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your faithful love and wonderful works, as Your love knows no end. Thank You that You are our reason to give thanks and praise. Forgive us for the times that we are blind to Your blessings. Teach us to see things through Your eyes, for even in challenges, You provide blessings. Lead us to love those around us as You do, and help us to be Your love made tangible to all who need Your touch. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You our thanks and praise for Your unfailing love and the wonderful works that You do on our behalf. 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

Bloom Under Pressure

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. – (James 1:2-3, NIV)

My brothers and sisters, you will have many kinds of trouble. But this gives you reason to be very happy. You know that when your faith is tested, you learn to be patient in suffering. – (James 1:2-3, ERV)

Don’t run from tests and hardships, brothers and sisters. As difficult as they are, you will ultimately find joy in them; if you embrace them, your faith will blossom under pressure and teach you true patience as you endure. – (James 1:2-3, VOICE)

I most appreciate the Voice translation of this particular passage, as it is far easier to relate to finding joy in the midst of our trials, rather than considering them joy. The older I get, the more I both witness and experience this truth. Between the progression of aging in both us and our parents, the frequency of trials and health challenges in our lives and those of dear family and friends around us seem to be on the rise. What I continue to witness is faith rising up, and joy found in the midst of unpleasant circumstances as patience and endurance are provided. God is faithful to meet us every step we take, be it through the deepest valleys or on the highest peaks. One of the greatest things that I am continuing to learn is that God provides people that lighten our loads – be it physically, emotionally, or financially in the center of our storms. Throughout the early days and weeks following my mom’s stroke, people sent notes, called, encouraged and lifted up, which strengthened us and brought joy in the midst of the fearful unknown. On Thursday, I was supposed to have a consultation with a surgeon about a procedure to remove cancerous cells from my upper lip. The appointment turned into a bigger biopsy than I had previously had, and resulted in a couple of stitches, with further surgery still looming ahead. Incredibly, I feel total peace about the ultimate outcome of all this. My trepidation lies in the process. Even with the unanticipated procedure, God provided a kind staff that blended humor and compassion perfectly for me. Despite the unpleasantness of the process, their demeanor set my heart at ease and I left the appointment with much gratitude for those charged with my care. Additionally, I had a conversation with a colleague and friend whose father had undergone something similar to what is in store for me, and she was able to share great encouragement as he had minimal scarring and complete success. God is good and He uses our circumstances to grow and encourage us as He strengthens us with His overwhelming love. May you be encouraged by His goodness and kindness, even in the midst of challenges, today and always.

In heartache and joy,

Challenges and peace;

The Lord is near us,

And strength He’ll increase.

Through each new trial,

Faith He will increase;

As we choose to trust,

His power’s released.

In the dark spaces,

Keep seeking His light;

Endurance will bloom,

To joy and delight.

Delight in moments,

Where His love is clear;

Trust in the process,

God is always near.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You use our trials and challenges to grow us in strength and endurance. Thank You that You provide joy, even in the most difficult circumstances. Forgive us for our fears and frustrations in the midst of the unexpected trials that we face. Teach us how to lean into You for strength and endurance as we navigate whatever comes our way. Show us how to encourage and support those around us well, so that they may see tangible evidence of Your goodness and love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we rely on You to be our strength in the struggles, and praise You for Your provision of joy despite our circumstances. Amen.

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

The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in Him, and He helps me. My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise Him. – Psalm 28:7

Hold On

Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for He who promised is faithful. – (Hebrews 10:23, NIV)

We must hold on to the hope we have, never hesitating to tell people about it. We can trust God to do what He promised. – (Hebrews 10:23, ERV)

Let us hold strong to the confession of our hope, never wavering, since the One who promised it to us is faithful. – (Hebrews 10:23, VOICE)

No matter how the day ahead appears, we have hope to hold onto. Jesus is our rock and our anchor, the One who has promised and has proven Himself faithful, again and again. For some, the day holds anticipation for the unknown; for others, the overwhelming busyness that awaits; yet in all things, we have hope that we can cling to, for God is always faithful, and He grants us peace in places it does not make sense, and helps in things that seem impossible. May we ever cling to Christ, who is our hope, for He is faithful to fulfill His promises.

May we speak aloud,

The truth our hearts know;

That God’s always good,

And His way He’ll show.

He grants us His peace,

When chaos seems reign;

Provides strength we need,

And makes our way plain.

Always He faithful,

He’ll show us the way;

He leads and guides us,

As in Him, we stay.

So, trust in the Lord,

Hold tight to what’s true;

Trust Him forever,

In Him we’re renewed.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are the One whom we can cling to in all situations and circumstances. Thank You that You are faithful forever and that our hope is assured in You. Forgive us for our fearfulness when we cannot see how You are working in the midst of all that lies before us. Teach us to see things through Your lens, for all that is now is temporary, yet all that is in You, is forever. Show us how to have an eternal perspective. Thank You for the glimpses of Your glory that we get to witness in the waiting. Lead us to love those around us as You do, so that they may come to know the hope that is found in You alone. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we hold fast to the hope we confess, and trust without wavering because we know that You are good and faithful forever. Amen.

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

He reached down from on high and took hold of me; He drew me out of deep waters. – Psalm 18:16

Light Through Love

Anyone who loves their brother and sister lives in the light, and there is nothing in them to make them stumble. – (1 John 2:10, NIV)

Those who love their brothers and sisters live in the light, and there is nothing in them that will make them do wrong. – (1 John 2:10, ERV)

It is the person who loves brother and sister who dwells in God’s light and doesn’t block the light from others. – (1 John 2:10, MSG)

When we choose to love as God loves us, light and life pour out of us. Where there is light, there is a clear path. In the same way that God shines His light upon us and shows us how to love, we become reflections of His light to others so that they too, see what is good. To love our sisters and brothers is a choice, and one that only transpires well when we rely on God to lead us. May we seek the Lord to lead us to love those around us as He loves, and depend on Him to shine His light through us to the world.

When we choose to love,

God’s light truly shines;

The darkness must flee,

For goodness defines.

It defines what’s good,

What’s lovely and pure;

How light is let in,

And hope is assured.

Lead us in Your love,

For one another;

Flood Your light within,

To shine on others.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we choose to love our sisters and brothers as You intended, Your light leads the way to what is good. Forgive us for the times that we have not chosen love and allowed darkness in. Teach us to depend on You to lead us in the light of Your love. Show us how to be Your light and love to those around us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love one another as You love, and rely on You to shine Your light on and through us. Amen.

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

Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path. – Psalm 119:105

Needed Strength

Look to the Lord and His strength; seek His face always. – (1 Chronicles 16:11, NIV)

Depend on the Lord for strength. Always go to Him for help. – (1 Chronicles 16:11, ERV)

Always follow the Eternal, His strength and His face. – (1 Chronicles 16:11, VOICE)

This is the time of year that I am reminded of my desperate need for God and His strength. From the start of school to Veteran’s Day, there are no days off nor long weekends. Additionally, it is when cold and flu season rears its ugly head and the shorter days are full of gray skies and cold rains. Kids and staff go through the cycle of sickness, and the germs are passed around. With a sub shortage, it means losing our planning period regularly as well. All of this becomes a bit exhausting, and we need strength beyond ourselves. Each morning, I look to the Lord to be my strength as I seek Him. Even on the toughest days, I know His nearness and He grants me what I need to get through each day. May we ever look to the Lord for strength and depend on Him, for He is faithful to meet us each time we seek Him.

Choose look to the Lord,

For all that you need;

He’s faithful, gracious,

And His strength exceeds.

God’s more than enough,

To show us the way;

Keep moving forward,

Throughout each new day.

No matter what comes,

He’ll always be near;

To strengthen, uplift,

Show us that He hears.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can come before You and depend on You to provide the strength we need to navigate each new day. Thank You that You are faithful to meet us each time we seek You. Forgive us for trying to gut things out on our own, or for quitting before we begin. Teach us to trust in You and to rely on Your leading and strength each day that we draw breath. Show us how to love those around us well, so that they may come to know the goodness and faithfulness of Your overwhelming love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we depend on You to lead and strengthen us for each new day. Amen.

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

But You, Lord, don’t be far away. My Strength, come quickly to help me. – Psalm 22:19

To Live in Peace

…Slander no one, be peaceable and considerate, and always be gentle toward everyone. – (Titus 3:2, NIV)

Tell them not to speak evil of anyone but to live in peace with others. They should be gentle and polite to everyone. – (Titus 3:2, ERV)

Don’t tear down another person with your words. Instead, keep the peace, and be considerate. Be truly humble toward everyone. – (Titus 3:2, VOICE)

Our words ought to be to build others up, not tear down. When we watch our words, we are better equipped to live in peace with those around us. Gentleness toward and consideration of others are ways to walk out our days as God intended. May we ever seek the Lord to lead us in how we use our words, for what exits our mouth is a direct representation of our heart.

Speak out no evil,

Don’t tear others down;

Instead, choose speak life,

Let kindness be found.

Be gentle, humble,

Considerate, kind;

Let peace breathe purpose,

So love’s what we find.

The Lord is faithful,

To lead us with care;

So seek Him always,

As love’s what we share.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are loving and kind, and that You are faithful to lead us with words that give life as we depend on You. Forgive us for the times that we have spoken out with the intent to harm rather than to encourage and build up and extend love. Teach us to speak life to those around us so that they may come to know the magnitude of Your incredible and unending love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose to be peaceable, considerate and gentle towards everyone. Amen.

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

If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. – Romans 12:18

Open the Eyes of Our Hearts

I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which He has called you, the riches of His glorious inheritance in His holy people, and His incomparably great power for us who  believe. – (Ephesians 1:18-19a, NIV)

I pray that God will open your minds to see His truth. Then you will know the hope that He has chosen us to have. You will know that the blessings God has promised His holy people are rich and glorious. And you will know that God’s power is very great for us who believe. – (Ephesians 1:18-19a, ERV)

Open the eyes of their hearts, and let the light of Your truth flood in. Shine Your light on the hope You are calling them to embrace. Reveal to them the glorious riches You are preparing as their inheritance. Let them see the full extent of Your power that is at work in those of us who believe. – (Ephesians 1:18-19a, VOICE)

This is a great prayer for all of us, as everyone needs hope to hold onto. God’s hope is that which is an anchor for our souls. The glorious riches of His inheritance include an eternity that goes beyond what our minds can fathom. As we begin to grasp hope in Christ, His power is made evident in and for us as we walk out our days. May we ever seek the Lord to reveal more and more of who He is and how He loves so that we may hold fast to His hope that holds us secure forever.

In Christ, there is hope, 

For all who believe;

Blessed assurance,

To Him we can cleave.

Glorious riches,

In God’s great power;

Peace that is present,

In our Strong Tower.

Let us run to Him,

Ever seek His face;

Faithful, He meets us,

And shows us His grace.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are faithful to open the eyes of our hearts to see who You are and how You love when we choose to seek You. Thank You that we have eternal hope in You. Forgive us for losing sight of how temporary the here and now is in comparison to forever with You. Teach us to have an eternal perspective on all that we face, and teach us to trust You to bring good from all things. Lead us in Your unending love, so that we might love those around us as You do. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to continue to show us more and more of who You are and how You love, leading us to securely place all of our hope in You. Amen.

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

We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure… – Hebrews 6:19a

Heaven’s Poetry

For we are His creation, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared ahead of time so that we should walk in them. – (Ephesians 2:10, HCSB)

God has made us what we are. In Christ Jesus, God made us new people so that we would spend our lives doing the good things He had already planned for us to do. – (Ephesians 2:10, ERV)

For we are the product of His hand, heaven’s poetry etched on our lives, created in the Anointed, Jesus, to accomplish the good works God arranged long ago. – (Ephesians 2:10, VOICE)

There is something so powerful and encouraging about The Voice translation of this passage. The reminder that we are the work of God’s hands, created in Jesus, and as we walk out our days in pursuit of His will, “heaven’s poetry is etched on our lives,” and the evidence of who God is and how He loves is made visible to those around us, is an incredible inspiration to follow the Lord’s leading in all that we say and do. Thankfully, it is not up to us to do or to be enough, instead, as we follow after the Lord, He leads and guides us in all that He has for us. Our part is to be faithful, and God will do as only He can. May we each start this day in the knowledge and understanding that we have been created on purpose, with a purpose, and all of His plans are good.

Heaven’s poetry,

Unfolds on the earth;

Through God’s created,

Each life has great worth.

Purpose is planted,

For each person born;

It becomes made known,

In love, we’re adorned.

It is up to us,

To seek the Lord’s will;

And as we choose to,

With love we are filled.

Each step that we take,

That He leads us to;

Reflects His goodness,

And hope that is true.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You created each of us with a plan and a purpose. Thank You that as we seek You and follow after You, You lead, guide and provide all that we need to display the goodness of Your love as Your poetry is written on the walls of our heart. Forgive us for the times that we have gone our own way or have neglected to listen to Your leading. Teach us to trust You in all things and to intentionally listen to the still small voice within. Show us how to love those around us as You intended. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we listen to Your leading and love as You created us to love. Amen.

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

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.” – Jeremiah 29:11

Remove Retaliation

Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. – (Romans 12:17, NIV)

If someone does you wrong, don’t try to pay them back by hurting them. Try to do what everyone thinks is right. – (Romans 12:17, ERV)

Do not retaliate with evil, regardless of the evil brought against you. Try to do what is good and right and honorable as agreed upon by all people. – (Romans 12:17, VOICE)

In my college years, I had a dear friend who had an awesome strategy to keep himself in check when people were rude on the road. Every time someone would cut him off or do something that felt dangerous that could lead to anger or retaliation, he would yell, “Jesus loves you,” at the person who was driving offensively. Though the yell was through closed windows, the words were what his own heart heard, rather than an angry or rude response. It was a reminder to himself that he did not need to do anything to get back at the driver, and to hold onto the truth that they were indeed, loved by God. As a passenger, not only did it diffuse the frustration with the recklessness of others, but it planted a seed that I never forgot about what I could do instead of retaliating. This principle is useful in responding to people in general. If they are unkind, I can smile and walk away, reminding myself that they are loved by God, or I can extend compassion, despite the ugly that I received. God is gracious and kind, and He loves us, even when we are the most unlovable. If He can love and forgive and receive us, then we ought to extend the same to those around us. No, this does not mean we are meant to be a doormat, but we are not meant to return evil for evil. 

Wrong done unto us,

Should not be done back;

We are called to peace,

Not to choose attack.

Instead we are called,

Let love lead the way;

Give good undeserved,

Like God does each day.

He gives us His grace,

His mercy and love;

And we’re called to do,

As the Lord above.

Father we need You,

To show us Your way;

Keep us from evil,

Lead us each new day.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us and have shown us through Your Son, that we are not to retaliate and return harm. Forgive us for the times that we have returned evil for evil, be it in our words, thoughts or actions. Teach us to give all to You, and to trust You to move on our behalf. Show us how to make Your love known, even when love is the last thing that we want to extend. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to show us what to do when harm or evil is directed at us. Lead us in Your everlasting love. Amen.

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

Do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is good, pleasing, and perfect will of God. – Romans 12:2