Navigating Unknowns

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go. – (Joshua 1:9, NIV)

Remember, I commanded you to be strong and brave. Don’t be afraid, because the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go. – (Joshua 1:9, ERV)

Haven’t I commanded you? Strength! Courage! Don’t be timid; don’t get discouraged. God, your God, is with you every step you take. – (Joshua 1:9, MSG)

We are commanded to be strong and courageous. This is not a command that says, “Good luck, kid, go take care of things on your own”, but rather is reminding us that because God will be with us wherever we go, we can be strong and courageous in Him. Strength and courage are not things that we can somehow muster on our own, but rather we are filled by the Lord’s overwhelming love, and are granted the strength and courage that we need to navigate life’s unknowns. Today will be a day that I need God’s strength and courage as I go to a pre-operative appointment this afternoon. Though a consultation is not necessarily a fearful thing on its own, the process that lies ahead is scary and unknown. My hope is that strength and courage will increase, and the surgeon will be one who sets my mind at ease. No matter what, I know God will go before me, will remain with me, and will supply what I need as it is needed. He is faithful and I am grateful. May we ever seek the Lord to be our strength and courage as we face the unknowns that come our way.

With God as my strength,

What have I to fear?

Always He’s with me,

I know He is near.

He grants me courage,

When alone, there’s none;

He floods me with love,

The most Holy One.

God supplies comfort,

When I am afraid;

I’m held in His hands,

Throughout each new day.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that courage and strength come from You. Thank You that You provide all that we need and more as we seek You. Thank You that You go before us and stay beside us as we walk into the unknowns that life brings. Forgive us for our fears that rise up and try to take root. Teach us to lean on You to lead us and trust in You to guide us through every step that we take. Show us how to be present in the strength and courage You supply. Lead us to love those around us as You do. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for the strength and courage that You supply and for Your nearness as we navigate unknowns. Amen.

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

Wait for the Lord; be strong and courageous. Wait for the Lord. – Psalm 27:14

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

Love Deeply

Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sin. – (1 Peter 4:8, NIV)

Most important of all, love each other deeply, because love makes you willing to forgive many sins. – (1 Peter 4:8, ERV)

Most of all, love each other steadily and unselfishly, because love makes up for many faults. – (1 Peter 4:8, VOICE)

The more we love one another, the more willing we are to give grace when others are not at their best. Incredibly, when we choose to love, the recipient wants to do and be better too. Many times I have been on the receiving end of love that I did not deserve, and each time, it compelled me to love more deeply and forgive more freely, for this is how Jesus loves us all. As we march forward into the holiday season, may we be intentional to love each other deeply. We know not the burden that others are carrying, so as we interact with those around us, may we give grace and extend love to all. 

To love steadily,

Is to look past faults;

Ever giving good,

Through word, deed and thoughts.

For grace upon grace,

Is what we’ve received;

God’s loving kindness,

Brought us to believe.

Let’s rise with purpose,

Give grace and forgive;

Love without limits,

And choose freely give.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that while we were yet sinners, You loved. Thank You that Your love is not dependent on our behavior, performance, or goodness. Thank You that You love us because we are Yours. Thank You that You call us to do the same for those around us. Forgive us for the times that we have not given grace and not chosen to love. Show us how to love in every circumstance. Make a way for Your heart to be made evident to all. Lead us in Your unending love and overwhelming grace to treat those around us as You would. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to show us how to love others so deeply that we are ever willing to forgive their faults, just as You have forgiven us. Amen.

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

Together with these things, the most important part of your new life is to love each other. Love is what holds everything together in perfect unity. – Colossians 3:14

In All Things Praise

And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him. – (Colossians 3:17, NIV)

Everything you say and everything you do should be done for Jesus your Lord. And in all you do, give thanks to God the Father through Jesus. – (Colossians 3:17, ERV)

Surely, no matter what you are doing (speaking, writing or working), do it all in the name of Jesus our Master, sending thanks through Him to God our Father. – (Colossians 3:17, VOICE)

This verse, paired with what I know and love about the Psalms, remind me that it is okay to struggle with and lament what is going on, yet we must ultimately fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith. David was a man after God’s own heart, and he questioned, lamented and cried out to God, yet ever kept perspective on who God is and gave Him the thanks that belongs to God alone. Right now, I am still reeling a bit from the prognosis I received from the specialist on Wednesday. I am still grateful that the carcinoma was discovered sooner than later, yet I am very much dreading the process of the prescribed procedure. It is not the pain I fear, but rather my body’s reaction to the process. God is good, and He will supply all that I need, however, my humanity is not looking forward to any of it, and the specialist’s insistence that I be fast-tracked to have the surgery sooner than later, adds a bit of angst as well. This is the space that I can pause and remember God’s incredible faithfulness in my life thus far, and His kindness to provide a long weekend to process and prepare my heart before heading back into the work week. Additionally, there is just enough activity sprinkled in, that I will not have too much time to dwell on what lies ahead. There is time to rest, to spend time with my loved ones, to cuddle my dogs extra often, to coach my gymnasts as they are working on building routines, and to celebrate the retirement of one of our dearest friends. I am missing my mom and sister terribly this holiday weekend, but know that I can joyfully anticipate time together at Christmas. May we ever fix our eyes on Jesus, our Help and our Hope in all things, and give Him all of our praise for His faithfulness throughout all of our days.

O Lord, in all things,

Will You help me praise;

Your great faithfulness,

Throughout all my days.

Each day You are good,

Even when life’s not;

You share our burdens,

Each time that You’re sought.

Thank You for kindness,

For goodness and grace;

For hope and Your help,

On difficult days.

Thank You, Lord Jesus,

That You’re good always;

And Your faithfulness,

Is reason to praise.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are good, faithful, loving and kind, and the Provider of all that we need each day. Thank You that no matter what lies ahead, we have You to walk beside us and to carry us when we can walk no further. Forgive us for our fears of the unknown, for You are known in all, even when what lies ahead is not. Teach us to trust You more each day, and lead us to live out each day trusting in Your unfailing love that never leaves us. Show us how to love, encourage and support those around us in ways that make Your love tangible and Your goodness evident. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose to praise You throughout all of our days. Amen.

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

I will sing the Lord’s praise, for He has been good to me. – Psalm 13:6

Overflowing Gratitude

So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in Him, rooted and built up in Him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness. – (Colossians 2:6-7, NIV)

You accepted Jesus Christ as Lord, so continue to live in Him. You must depend on Christ only, drawing life and strength from Him. Just as you were taught the truth, continue to grow stronger in your understanding of it. And never stop giving thanks to God. – (Colossians 2:6-7, ERV)

Now that you have welcomed the Anointed One, Jesus the Lord, into your lives, continue to journey with Him and allow Him to shape your lives. Let your roots grow down deeply in Him, and let Him build you up on a firm foundation. Be strong in the faith, just as you were taught, and always spill over with thankfulness. – (Colossians 2:6-7, VOICE)

This is an ongoing, lifelong process that makes all of the difference in how our lives are lived. When we remain rooted in Christ, He strengthens our faith and reminds us of all that we have to be thankful for. Yesterday, as I was pulling into the parking lot where I coach high school gymnastics, I received a call from the specialist who had performed the biopsy on my lip. From the start, I could tell her tone was somber, so I took a deep breath and listened to the news she was sharing with me. The results were worse than she had anticipated, as aggressive carcinoma cells were found in the muscle, nerves and tissue from the punch sample. She said that normally the surgical process she had previously anticipated for me would be scheduled out in January, but due to the nature of the findings, it will be made a high priority and the schedulers will orchestrate a time as soon as possible. This is not exactly the news I had hoped or prayed for, but I needed to get into the gym and coach my girls. It was only after practice, when I called my husband, walked the dogs (prayerfully), and then spoke with my sisters and best friend, that I was able to breathe more easily and feel the familiar foundation of faith rise up. Being reminded of the beautiful community I am in floods my heart with gratitude. I am thankful that the spot was discovered before it spread further, that I have family and friends that support and encourage me, and that the success rate of treating this sort of cancer at this stage is outstanding. Additionally, I am grateful for sweet, smart dogs that seem to sense the need for snuggles. Currently, I have a gentle giant curled up and snoring softly on my lap. May we ever journey with Jesus through every twist and turn that life brings, for He is faithful to strengthen us and supply all that we need.

Give thanks to the Lord,

For He is the good;

That strengthens, supports,

Makes love understood.

He pours out His grace,

Holds us up gently;

Embraces our heart,

And makes our fears flee.

He brings alongside,

Kind community;

Equips, empowers,

Grants His eyes to see.

Things aren’t forever,

Pain’s temporary;

But our hope in Him,

Lasts eternally.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our strength, our hope and our help. Thank You that You are our reason to give thanks. Forgive us for the times that we allow our circumstances to temporarily blind us to the truth of Your love and grace that gets us through all things. Teach us to trust You more each day, and flood us to overflowing with Your goodness and love. Show us how to love those around us in ways that strengthen and encourage, making Your heart abundantly clear to all. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You thanks for who You are and how You love us so well. Amen.

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

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. – Colossians 3:15

Good Through All Generations

For the Lord is good and His love endures forever; His faithfulness continues through all generations. – (Psalm 100:5, NIV)

The Lord is good! There is no end to His faithful love. We can trust Him forever and ever! – (Psalm 100:5, ERV)

Because the Eternal is good, His loyal love and mercy will never end, and His truth will last throughout all generations. – (Psalm 100:5, VOICE)

Though I know very few stories from my family’s history prior to my grandparents, I do know that despite trials and heartaches, God’s faithful love was abundantly clear throughout their lives, is still in their children’s lives, their grandchildren’s lives, and now too, in the lives of their great-grandchildren. God’s goodness and love does not mean we will be free of challenges and trials, but it does mean that God will be near and that we can trust in the goodness of His love forever. When life is hard, the Lord is faithful to meet us with His strength to carry us and His love to lead us through. As we experience God’s goodness and faithful love, we recognize the bountiful blessings that we have in Him. May we ever give God thanks for His faithful love that we can trust forever, and praise Him because He remains the same throughout all generations.

The love of the Lord,

Is faithful and true;

Forever remains,

As He sees us through.

Every heartache,

And joyful event;

He’s present with us,

His peace, heaven sent.

So, keep trusting God,

Throughout each new day;

Forever faithful,

He’ll show us the way.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are good, kind, loyal and loving throughout all generations. Thank You that we can trust in You forever, no matter what comes our way. Forgive us for the times that we lose sight of You, as our eyes become diverted by our circumstances. Teach us to look to You with total trust, and show us how to continue to make Your goodness known to those who follow after us. Lead us to love those around us as You do. May many come into a lasting relationship with You as they recognize that Your faithfulness knows no end, and that You are trustworthy in all things at all times. Be glorified O God, as we recognize and praise You for Your faithful love that has been present always and will continue throughout all eternity. Amen.

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

Your love, Lord, reaches to the heavens, Your faithfulness to the skies. – Psalm 36:5

Peace and Gratitude

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. – (Colossians 3:15, NIV)

Let the peace that Christ gives control your thinking. It is for peace that you were chosen to be together in one body. And always be thankful. – (Colossians 3:15, ERV)

Let your hearts fall under the rule of the Anointed’s peace (the peace you were called to as one body”, and be thankful. – (Colossians 3:15, VOICE)

We are called to be the body of Christ together in peace. When we allow gratitude to rule our thinking, Christ’s peace reigns in our hearts and we are empowered to peacefully be together as one. Peace among the body does not mean that we are all exactly alike, but it instead means that we appreciate and honor one another’s strengths and perspectives. May we ever seek the Lord with grateful hearts, and allow Him to lead us to be one body, united in purpose.

With grateful hearts,

We are called to peace;

To be the body,

Where love is released.

As we give God room,

To reign in our hearts;

Gratitude rises,

We’re shown how to start.

Honor each other,

Seek to understand;

Let thanks overflow,

Side by side, we stand.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the abundant blessings that You pour out upon us as You have placed us in communities on purpose, with a purpose. Thank You that in You, there is peace, and that You show us how to function together in Your peace. Forgive us for allowing our egos to get in the way. Show us how to allow gratitude to rise and Your peace to permeate all that we say and do. Teach us how to love those around us in ways that unite us in purpose and bind us in Your perfect love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You with grateful hearts and trust You to lead us to be the body in Your perfect peace. Amen.

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

Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever. – Psalm 107:1

To Live and Love With Wisdom

But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peace-loving, gentle, compliant, full of mercy and good fruits, without favoritism and hypocrisy. – (James 3:17, HCSB)

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

But the wisdom from above is always pure, filled with peace, considerate and teachable. It is filled with love and never displays prejudice or hypocrisy in any form. – (James 3:17, TPT)

In order to be the person that God has called and created me to be, I need His wisdom. I desire to be pure, peaceful, gentle and easy to please, and I long to do good for others without favoritism or hypocrisy. This does not naturally flow from humans on our own, but rather these traits grow in us when we seek the Lord and His wisdom. May we ever invest our hearts, minds and lives into knowing and growing in the Lord, so that we may live a life of love that bears good fruit.

The wisdom of God,

Bears beautiful fruit;

Pure, peaceful, loving,

Good soil grows deep roots.

Roots that are planted,

Secure in God’s love;

Seek to love others,

Like the Lord above.

Gentle with mercy,

Looking to do good;

Loving all others,

As God’s children should.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You teach us to seek You for wisdom, as Your wisdom teaches us to love as You do. Thank You that You are gentle, peace-loving and full of mercy, and that Your love extends to all who seek You no matter where we have come from or what we have done. Forgive us for the times that we have not sought Your wisdom to lead us in love. Teach us to turn to You, for You alone know how to live and love best. Show us how to love wisely so that all those around us might come to know the power of Your loving kindness and the peace that is found in Your presence. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You for the wisdom to live and love in the ways You have called and created us to live. Amen.

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

I pray that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, would give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him. – Ephesians 1:17

Let Love Continue

Keep on loving one another as brothers and sisters. – (Hebrews 13:1, NIV)

Continue loving each other as brothers and sisters in Christ. – (Hebrews 13:1, ERV)

Let love continue among you. – (Hebrews 13:1, VOICE)

We are called and commanded to love one another like family. I know not all families show and express love as God intended, but it seems that God places us among those who can become family. I am beyond blessed to have a sister and mom who love well. Their love for me and one another is unconditional, and loyalty is a bond that cannot be broken. If in our broken humanity we are able to love and be loved well, how much more ought we extend the same to those in our communities. The more we choose to love, the greater the opportunity for God’s love to be made known, and His light to shine in places lacking light. Yesterday, I had to have a punch biopsy done on my upper lip. The result included a few stitches and a lovely bandage situation in said location. Though a bit self-conscious about it when I walked into the gym to coach my high school gymnasts, I was met with nothing but love and concern. Their kindness reminded me that God is always good, and that He has me in the hollow of His hands. The biggest challenge now is that I can’t smile without pulling on the stitches, and I am surrounded by people who make me smile by being themselves. God’s goodness is evident all around us, and the more we choose to love our brothers and sisters (the people whom God places in our lives), the more His love continues to spread and His light shines ever brighter. May we seek the Lord to lead us in His love so that we may love well, all whom He has placed upon our path.

The love of the Lord,

Is given to us;

So we too may love,

Just like Lord Jesus.

His love is gracious,

Gentle and it’s kind;

Without conditions,

He has us in mind.

With this sort of love,

That’s meant for others;

To reach out, to give,

Sisters and brothers.

Help us ever seek,

So that we shall find;

Overflowing love,

To share with mankind.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to love those around us like family. Thank You for the beautiful blessing I have in both my family by blood, and those whom You have purposefully placed in my life. Forgive me for the times that I have not loved as You intended. Teach me to trust You more, so that all that I do and all that I say is a reflection of Your gracious and generous love. Lead me to love those around me in ways that make Your heart abundantly clear. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to show us how to love those around us as brothers and sisters. Amen.

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

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

Thankful For The Unshakable

Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe. – (Hebrews 12:28, NIV)

So we should be thankful because we have a kingdom that cannot be shaken. And because we are thankful, we should worship God in a way that will please Him. We should do this with respect and fear. – (Hebrews 12:28, ERV)

Therefore, let us all be thankful that we are a part of an unshakable Kingdom and offer to God worship that pleases Him and reflects the awe and reverence we have toward Him. – (Hebrews 12:28, VOICE)

Gratitude ought to be our mode of operation throughout each new day. A thankful heart is not dependent on merely that which we are walking into, but rather gratitude can look back and see the incredible ways that God has moved on our behalf, and look ahead to the faithfulness of God and the hope that is yet to come through eternity spent in His presence. Even in the here and now of difficulty, there are always things to be thankful for. For me, that includes the people whom God has placed around me, and those He has blessed me with as family. To worship God in a way that will please Him is all about the state of our heart. When our heart is full of awe and reverence for who God is and how He loves, our every act of worship is a reflection of such, and is pleasing to Him who we worship. May we ever let our hearts overflow with gratitude for He who deserves all of our worship forever. 

All thanks be to God,

Who sits on the throne;

Our help and our hope,

Through Whom love is shown.

He’s faithful always,

No matter what comes;

So let us give thanks,

For all He has done.

Even through heartache,

And difficulty;

His presence is clear,

Magnificently.

God’s presence gives hope,

Strength, life and His love;

Our anchor secure,

We are His beloved.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we are receiving Your kingdom both now and forevermore. Thank You that this means that we have help and hope in You, no matter what lies ahead. Forgive us for our fears and frustrations that block our view of who You are and how You love. Teach us to trust in You in all things and at all times. Show us how to love those around us in ways that grant hope and demonstrate gratitude. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we thank You and praise You for who You are and how You love. Amen.

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

Those who trust in the Lord are like Mount Zion, which cannot be shaken but endures forever. – Psalm 125:1