Hope in the Waiting

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

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

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

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

His death on the cross,

And all they had seen;

Lost, seeking purpose,

What did it all mean?

The women in wait,

Watched, followed to see;

Where was their Savior,

What might the Lord need?

Laid in a new tomb,

His location known;

Christ’s body broken,

Somber and alone.

A day to prepare,

To honor the Lord;

They did what they knew,

All time would afford.

Then came the waiting,

Such sorrow unknown;

Grief and a purpose,

Their hope felt postponed.

Soon to discover,

All hope was not lost;

The Savior would rise,

From death on that cross.

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

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

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

Blessed to Bear Fruit

But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in Him. They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit. – (Jeremiah 17:7-8, NIV)

But those who trust in the Lord will be blessed. They know that the Lord will do what He says. They will be strong like trees planted near a stream that send out roots to the water. They have nothing to fear when the days get hot. Their leaves are always green. They never worry, even in a year that has no rain. They always produce fruit. – (Jeremiah 17:7-8, ERV)

But blessed is the man who trusts me, God, the woman who sticks with God. They’re like trees replanted in Eden, putting down roots near the rivers – never a worry through the hottest of summers, never dropping a leaf, serene and calm through droughts, bearing fresh fruit every season. – (Jeremiah 17:7-8, MSG)

Our blessings come through trust in God. When we know that God will do what He says, there is a constant stream of hope to water our soul, no matter what surrounds us. This is especially encouraging, as the days that lie ahead hold much uncertainty, yet we can be assured that God will be with us through all things. More than that, as we trust and rely on God, we bear the fruit of His character to nourish those around us. May we ever trust in the Lord and rely on Him to provide all we need to stand strong, to grow deep roots, and to bear good fruit in every season.

Through the Lord alone,

We find streams of hope;

Nearby to nourish,

And soothe weary souls.

As we trust in Him,

Roots grow deep, secure;

Granting all we need,

To be blessed, endure.

In ev’ry season,

His blessings shall flow;

So we may bear fruit,

Making His love known.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You plant our hearts securely in You and grow our roots deep to water our souls. Thank You that You not only refresh us, but You raise us up to bear good fruit that lasts. Forgive us for the times that we allow the dry stretches to distract us from the promised faithfulness found in You. Teach us to remember our Source, for Your love never stops flowing. Show us how to love those around us in ways that bear good fruit that nourishes souls and point hearts to You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You to ever deepen our roots and water our weariness so that we bear the fruit of Your love. Amen.

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

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. – Galatians 5:22-23

To Treasure What Matters Most

“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” – (Luke 12:34, NIV)

“Your heart will be where your treasure is.” – (Luke 12:34, ERV)

“Where you deposit your treasure, that is where your thoughts will turn to – and your heart will long to be there also.” – (Luke 12:34, TPT)

If we focus on loving God and loving people, our treasure will be found in doing just that. Our treasure is our time, talent and resources. When we invest what we have and who we are into that which God is calling us to, our lives become fully invested. This can be a tricky road to navigate, for when we truly look around and open our eyes and hearts, the need can become overwhelming. God does not ask us to solve the world’s woes alone. Rather, He calls us to love one person at a time, as our paths cross. If we treasure our time and remember that others are a gift from Him, we end up loving God and those around us as He intended. 

Currently, many of us are in a season of great loss; loss of loved ones, loss of security, loss of normalcy, and more. In the last two days of conferencing, I have met with a grieving family, and heard devastating news of another family’s loss, whose daughter I had in class. Additionally, a very dear family friend is in his final hours. My heart grieves for each family, and I am reminded of how fleeting life can be. As we recognize that our days are limited, we are reminded who holds each day in His hands. When all that I am begins the day seeking God, I am better equipped to remember the gift that each day holds in Him and in time with those whom He has given me. May we ever treasure what matters most, and seek to love as we are loved by God.

May our hearts treasure,

That which matters most;

God and all people,

As we keep each close.

Each near in our hearts,

Let us lift and pray;

Value each other,

And love in God’s way.

For God so loves us,

That to us, He gave;

Love, light and freedom,

Grace to walk His way.

Lord, help us to bring,

Each prayer and concern;

Teach us to love well,

As we grow and learn.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that our greatest treasures are found in You and those whom You place in our lives. Thank You that You show us and grow us so that we may love like You. Forgive us for allowing our hearts to hoard the treasure You intended for others. Show us how and where to invest our time, talent and resources. Help us to love like You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, as they recognize where true hope is found. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to show us how to treasure what matters most. Amen.

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

For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. – Matthew 6:21

Inventive in Hospitality

Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality. – (Romans 12:13, NIV)

Help needy Christians; be inventive in hospitality. – (Romans 12:13, MSG)

When God’s people are in need, be ready to help them. Always be eager to practice hospitality. – (Romans 12:13, NLT)

 

If ever there was a time to do as we are called to do, now is the time. Sharing and extending help to those in need is a necessity as businesses are having to close their doors if they cannot be sustained through online ordering or curbside pickup. I love how the Message translation says, “be inventive in hospitality.” This is indeed required, as social distancing transforms the traditional perception of hospitality. However, for fun, I checked the dictionary definition, and discovered that it pairs well with being inventive in hospitality. According to dictionary.com, hospitality is: the quality or disposition of receiving and treating guests and strangers in a warm, friendly, generous way. As far as I can fathom, it is not required to have someone into a home or a space that violates the social distancing expectations, to extend warmth, kindness and generosity. If we watch and listen, we are able to discover needs and do what we can, where we can. Yesterday, I had the privilege of participating at one of my school district’s breakfast and lunch distribution sites, as our union has partnered with nutrition services to lend a hand and be familiar faces for families as they drive through to pick up meals. A fellow teacher from my school and I, worked together with three incredible ladies from nutrition services. One, I discovered, was the mom of a terrific young man whom I had known throughout my schooling days, the second, was a sweet mom of two young kids who were waiting at home, and the third, was the incredible woman who runs the kitchen right there at the high school. We all worked together to keep the supply on the table for distribution, as families trickled through the bus loop to pick up meals. It was a treasure to exchange smiles and friendly greetings, even from our safe distances, as the sun was out and it was clear that all were in appreciation of the hospitality our district is extending.

As for Mom, she is doing fairly well, considering she is stuck in quarantine with NO VISITORS allowed. The only people permitted to see her are her therapists and those who work onsite. No family, friends or the like. We know it is good and necessary for prevention, but a bummer for someone as social as Mom. Phone calls, messages, and mail are always good, and I imagine the same is true for anyone living in a senior living community. In fact, if you are looking for an activity for kids to do at home that is an art/writing combination, making cards and or drawing pictures to send to loved ones in quarantine, or to local senior living facilities would be amazing. It is a simple way that even the youngest among us can learn to practice being inventive in hospitality. May we all look for ways to reach out, safely, to help bless and meet needs where we are able.

 

We have been chosen, wp-15847113510635646106566926534739.jpg

To love and reach out;

Do what we’re able,

To help those without.

As God’s created,

We are made to love;

To extend and give,

Place people above.

Let not the lonely,

Stay trapped in alone;

A call, card or text,

Can make them feel known.

For physical lack,

Let’s rise up and give;

Where we are able,

To help others live.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to take care of one another. Thank You that in trying times, we are meant to share one another’s burdens. Show us how to be inventive in hospitality, so that we may treat those around us in warm, friendly and generous ways. Forgive us for thinking that we have nothing to offer, or that there is no safe way to be hospitable in times like these. Teach us to trust You to lead and guide us in ways that You have for us to extend hospitality to others. Show us how to love those around us in generous, tangible and practical ways. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to show us where we are meant to extend our time, talent or resources to bless those around us. Amen.

 

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

 

A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed. – Proverbs 11:25

Steadfast Solitude

At daybreak, Jesus went out to a solitary place. – (Luke 4:42a, NIV)

The next day Jesus went to a place to be alone. – (Luke 4:42a, ERV)

Early the next morning Jesus went out to an isolated place. – (Luke 4:42a, NLT)

 

The fourth chapter of Luke begins with Jesus being led through the wilderness on His own, where He was tempted by the devil after forty days of fasting. Each time Jesus is tempted, He refutes the temptation with the truth of God’s word. The next portion of chapter four speaks of the various synagogues where Jesus spoke and taught and healed. By the time we reach verse forty-two, it only makes sense that Jesus would get away to pray and recharge, as people were constantly seeking to be in His presence. If Jesus, who is God in flesh, prioritized making time and finding space to be alone and pray, shouldn’t we? As an educator, coach, mom and a wife, I love hard, yet often feel spent by the end of the day. For me, creating space early each morning to rise, refresh and reset with my Redeemer, makes all of the difference. My day begins new, as I am recharged and reminded of what matters most before I actually encounter other humans. I know early mornings are not for everyone, but time and space to reset with God, ought to be. He is always available and willing to meet us where we are, and leads us to become more of who He has created us to become. His love fills us and His light shines through us, if only we choose to find time and space to be in His presence. May we be intentional to find solitude with God, so that we may reset and be refreshed, ever becoming more of who He has created us to be, so that we might love Him and love people well.

 

A time to reset, Hope in Discouragement

In the Lord’s presence;

Sets our hearts and minds,

With grace and reverence.

To be at our best,

We need solitude;

Time alone with God,

Align attitudes.

May we choose find time,

And create a space;

Be in God’s presence,

So we show His grace.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Jesus showed us that it ought to be a priority to seek time alone with You. Thank You that as we do, You meet us where we are and change us from the inside out. Thank You that Your heart for us is full of love and grace, and You fill us so that we may extend the same to those around us as we see Your face. Forgive us for not being intentional to seek time with You. Help us to discover the value of intentional solitude in Your presence. Show us how to love those around us in ways that clearly demonstrate Your goodness and grace, tangibly. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we look to You anew this morning, and praise You for Your faithfulness to meet us each time we seek. Amen.

 

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

 

But if from there you seek the Lord your God, you will find Him if you seek Him with all your heart and with all your soul. – Deuteronomy 4:29

Sharing Shoulders

Share each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ. – (Galatians 6:2, NLT)

Help each other with your troubles. When you do this, you are obeying the law of Christ. – (Galatians 6:2, ERV)

Shoulder each other’s burdens, and then you will live as the law of the Anointed teaches us. – (Galatians 6:2, VOICE)

 

It is overwhelmingly obvious that God’s very best plan for us is to be invested in community. What I have discovered, is that the more I invest my heart, my time, and my willingness to be transparent, the more burdens are divided and overcome. This is true in my marriage, family, and in close friendships. The imagery of shouldering each other’s burdens is powerful, as it is a reminder to walk alongside and help bear the weight. In college, I was on our crew team. When we carried our racing shell down the hill to the dock, it was not a heavy burden if each rower stepped up and helped shoulder the weight. However, if members were missing, slacking off, or slow to get to the boathouse, the weight of the boat in our shoulders became extraordinarily taxing. It is no wonder we are called and commanded to help each other. The hope is that none become too heavily weighed down, as every heavy burden is shared. Sadly, the caveat is that the sharing of burdens is only possible if people are known. Community is key. To love people well, we need to know people and be known. May we ever invest in those whom Christ has placed in our community, so that we may love well and help shoulder one another’s burdens in accordance to God’s law of perfect love.

 

To walk side-by-side,img_2019-10-23_03-59-095236091504307344571.jpg

Or move hand-in-hand;

Helping each other,

Is what the Lord planned.

We are created,

For community;

To know and be known,

Let love be what’s seen.

Help one another,

With burdens we bear;

For weight divided,

Doable when shared.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we are not meant to bear our burdens alone, nor are we to watch others struggle through theirs. Thank You that we have been created to be in community. Thank You that as we invest and know one another, we are equipped to help each other carry the weight of whatever comes our way. Forgive us for the times that we have attempted to shoulder our burdens alone, or have neglected to walk beside one whom You are calling us to help shoulder a struggle. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would be sensitive to Your nudging. Show us how to love those around us well, so that we would be in the sort of community that walks side-by-side and hand-in-hand. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You to grant us strength to have the shoulders needed to be the spouse, parent, family member and friend that You call us to be. Amen.

 

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

 

Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. – 1 Peter 4:10

Realigned for Gratitude

Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. – (Ephesians 5:19b-20, NIV)

And give thanks to God the Father every day through the name of our Lord Jesus the Anointed for all He has done. – (Ephesians 5:20, VOICE)

Always give thanks to Father God for every person He brings into your life in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. – (Ephesians 5:20, TPT)

 

Some days, a reminder to give thanks is well-timed, particularly when the “crud” is still lingering, and I wake up not quite ready to embrace the day. Regardless of how I feel, there are countless reasons for which I can give God thanks. This morning, the simple reminder in His word, helped realign my heart with gratitude. Each new day is a gift, and I am incredibly grateful for the people He has placed in my life. I have an incredibly loving and supportive husband, bright and kind children, loyal and caring friends, colleagues that are included in my circle of friends, extended family that is close despite the distance, a church in which we are firmly rooted, and a job that I enjoy, even on the difficult days. For each of these things and countless more, I give God praise, both today and always.

Mom is one of the greatest reasons to give praise. First and foremost, I am overwhelmingly grateful that she is with us and on the road to recovery. Though the road is long and painfully slow by human standards, she is here, and she is making positive progress. Mom embraces opportunities to work on growing stronger, and remains hopeful, ever trusting in He who is her strength. May we ever give thanks to God for all that He has done.

 

All thanks be to God,img_2019-10-03_05-05-362923133453325865323.jpg

Each day we draw breath;

For light, life and love,

Defeater of death.

Praise Him for the good,

The blessings that come;

Each beautiful soul,

That helps us become.

Become so much more,

Than we would alone;

Encouragement grows,

As people feel known.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for who You are and how You have surrounded me with an incredible community of support and encouragement. Thank You that even on days that I don’t feel great, I have so much to be thankful for and reasons to give You praise. Forgive us for the times that we allow our frustrations or challenges to overshadow the blessings that You bestow upon us. Teach us to see the good, even in the shadowy spaces. Show us how to love those around us in a way that offers encouragement and support in the way that it is needed most. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You thanks for all of the blessings that You bring into our lives. 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

Faith Over Fear

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

The Lord will lead you. He Himself is with you. He will not fail you or leave you. Don’t worry. Don’t be afraid! – (Deuteronomy 31:8, ERV)

And He will be leading you. He’ll be with you, and He’ll never fail you or abandon you. So don’t be afraid. – (Deuteronomy 31:8, VOICE)

 

Just as Moses spoke these words to Joshua, to encourage him as he stepped into his new leadership role, the words still apply to us today, any time that we are moving forward in the direction to which we are being called. Currently, my heart and mind are with my mom. This morning, she will have her first appointment with her new primary care physician, and I know that can be a bit unsettling. After all that she has been through following her stroke in late April, everything that brings change and new, is difficult. Though all for good, and to further excel mom’s rehabilitation and recovery, the challenge of more change takes courage, strength and trust; much of which is being placed in people whom she has not even met yet. Ultimately, however, it is a matter of trusting that God, Himself, will go before her and will never leave her. He will not fail her nor abandon her. My hope this morning, is that fact alone, will fend off fear and instill faith, as mom moves forward to this next step of her journey. May we ever trust in the Lord and His faithful leading, for He is worthy of all of our trust.

 

If God is with us, Faith Over Fear

We need never fear;

He goes before us,

And will remain near.

He’ll not abandon,

If things become tough;

He’s our provision,

God’s always enough.

Choose trust in the Lord,

His grace shall remain;

Our anchor through storms,

Sunshine after rain.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You never leave us nor forsake us, and that You go before us and remain with us, wherever life takes us. Thank You for Your protection and faithfulness forever. Forgive us for our fearfulness of the unknown and the new. Show us again, how trustworthy You are. Help us to love those around us in ways that extend grace, peace and goodness wherever we go. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust in You to go before us and remain with us, through every step of our journey. Amen.

 

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

 

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

Surrounded

“You will not have to fight this battle. Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the Lord will give you, Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Go out and face them tomorrow, and the Lord will be with you.” – (2 Chronicles 20:17, NIV)

“You will not have to fight this battle. Just stand there and watch the Lord save you. Judah and Jerusalem, don’t be afraid. Don’t worry, because the Lord is with you. So go out to stand against those people tomorrow.” – (2 Chronicles 20:17, ERV)

“Stand and watch, but do not fight the battle. There, you will watch the Eternal save you, Judah and Jerusalem. Do not fear or worry. Tomorrow, face the army and trust that the Eternal is with you.” – (2 Chronicles 20:17, VOICE)

 

After waking up and preparing my coffee, and settling to begin my devotions, I heard mom stirring in her room. Her movement is my cue to go check and see if she is ready to get up for a restroom run. Of course, she gladly took me up on the early morning offer, and after all was said and done, she determined that she would try to go back to bed and sleep a while longer. When I returned to my spot at the kitchen table with a view, the lyrics from a simple worship song kept playing on repeat in my head and heart:

This is how I fight my battles

This is how I fight my battles (repeats)

It may look like I’m surrounded 

But I’m surrounded by You (repeats)

(To listen, click here. )

As I looked in the word for similar, I found the story in 2 Chronicles, chapter 20. The gist is about God’s faithfulness in fighting on behalf of Judah and Jerusalem when they were surrounded on all sides. Reading verse seventeen, it was as if Jesus was saying to me: You will not have to fight this battle(alone). Just stand there and watch Me work. Shannon and Megan, don’t be afraid. Don’t worry, I am with You. Go out and take each tomorrow as it comes, for I will be with you. Now, I am not trying to twist scripture, nor change the meaning of a passage, but rather, I am attempting to share the encouragement gained from reading about God’s faithfulness to Judah and Jerusalem when they likely felt completely overwhelmed. For my sister and me, we too have had such “surrounded” moments as we navigate this road to recovery with mom. Just as the song came in like a flood and surrounded my heart and mind, so too has God’s faithful provision for mom, Megan and myself, when we needed it most. He knows our need and is full of goodness and grace, ready to move on our behalf. Personally, after my sister had to return home Thursday, I was a bit intimidated to take on the care giver role alone. I want to bless, protect, help and encourage mom every step of this journey as I love her well, and I feel completely inadequate and ill-equipped to do all that needs to be done. None of us are ever fully equipped nor prepared for the things to which we are called. I imagine that is part of God’s wise design. It keeps us dependent on Him to be our help, hope and strength, and helps us recognize His grace and provisions, both great and small.

Yesterday, mom and I were surrounded well by my husband and boys. It was so good to share meals together, visit together, and enjoy a family favorite game before bed. Watching the delight on mom’s face as she interacted with my guys, and the same look, mirrored on their faces, filled the places in my heart that were feeling a bit depleted. We have a bit more time altogether today before they head home, so I know that our cups will be fuller still, before the day’s end. May we ever seek the Lord to fight our battles, and know that we are surrounded by Him.

 

When life overwhelms,

295835825870096043076989.jpeg

Surrounded by family. ❤ (Christmas 2018)

And battles rage on;

Turn in trust to God,

Whose help makes us strong.

Strong for the battles,

We’re chosen to fight;

Wisdom to listen,

Gain the Lord’s insight.

The courage to wait,

And trust in His plan;

Soak in surrender,

As for us, He’ll stand.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You fight on our behalf, even when we are unaware of how You are moving. Thank You that You are faithful to strengthen and equip us for each new day, and that You supply all that we need as the need arises. Forgive us for our fearfulness when we appear to be surrounded by more than we can bear. Teach us to recognize that we are actually surrounded by You. Show us how to walk by faith and not by sight, as You fight for us and through us. Lead us to love those around us well, so that they too may come to know and understand Your strength and grace and love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we fight our battles by surrendering to Your surrounding of us all. Amen.

 

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

 

For we live by faith, not by sight. – 2 Corinthians 5:7

Through the Valleys and Highest Peaks

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose. – (Romans 8:28, NIV)

We know that in everything God works for the good of those who love Him. These are the people God chose, because that was His plan. – (Romans 8:28, ERV)

We are confident that God is able to orchestrate everything to work toward something good and beautiful when we love Him and accept His invitation to live according to His plan. – (Romans 8:28, VOICE)

 

This is the truth. Though the things we walk through may not be good, God can bring good out of our experiences. He will take our difficulties and direct our steps, demonstrating to us, just how much strength that He has deposited within our hearts for such a time as this. Things we might have never noticed before, suddenly become significant and beautiful beyond what our human heart can hold.

Yesterday, I was able to plug into my church and run media, experiencing Sunday in a way that felt “normal” for the first time in a month. There is something significant about being present as our worship team warms up and runs through the songs, then witnessing the wonderful unfolding of what God has in store, in two services. The two never unfold exactly alike, and there are always morsels of the message that I can carry with me into the week, that often come back to mind in moments when the message aligns with what lies before me. It is the great unfolding of His plan, as we invest in the truth of His word. We are not promised an easy or pain-free life, but we are promised that He will never leave us nor forsake us; and He is able to work ALL THINGS toward something good. God truly does bring beauty from ashes when we allow Him in. My own life is a living testament of His faithfulness. So many times, the places of trial or heartache became the greatest sources of strength, victory and grace. God is always good, and I know He is bringing even more beauty to the life He created for my mom.

Mom enjoyed a balance of time with Megan’s family, therapies, rest, and Mark and me even were able to sneak over and surprise her for a hug and quick visit, before trading off with Meg’s fellas. It is a joy to hear the perspective of both Scott and Mark, (Meg and my spouses), as they have had large gaps in between visits with mom, so they see giant leaps in her progress, rather than the day-to-day victories that my sister and I witness. Both of our guys cannot contain their joy as they speak of the change they see in mom. Each has been instrumental in my sister’s and my ability to be with mom every day. If not for them holding down the fort and running the households back home, we would not be able to be here. May we ever remain confident in He who is able to use ALL THINGS for good, and continue to trust in Him for every step of this uncharted journey.

 

Beauty from ashes, 0515190557_hdr3238003239624041706.jpg

Great hope from despair;

Our most holy God,

Hears every prayer.

He’ll never forsake,

Nor leave us alone;

He sees all our needs,

And we each are known.

Trust that He is good,

His plan, purposeful;

Beauty from ashes,

A life meaningful.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You work all things out for good for those who love You. Thank You that even though the circumstances or struggles are not good, You bring good from the process. Thank You that You are God and we are not. Forgive us for the times that we are too blinded by our own hurt or struggle to see how You are working for our good in the midst of it. Teach us to trust You more, as You are far greater that anything that stands before us. Show us how to love those around us as we walk through the valleys and climb the highest peaks. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You and praise You for the beauty You bring from ashes, and watch in anticipation for all that is yet to come. Amen.

 

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

 

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