Comfort and Joy

When I am filled with cares, Your comfort brings me joy. – (Psalm 94:19, HCSB)

I was very worried and upset, but You comforted me and made me happy! – (Psalm 94:19, ERV)

When I was upset and beside myself, You calmed me down and cheered me up. – (Psalm 94:19, MSG)

When anxiety overtakes me and worries are many, Your comfort lightens my soul. – (Psalm 94:19, VOICE)

The psalmist who penned this Psalm knew and understood the nature of God, individually; personally. Throughout time, this has remained true. Whenever we worry, find ourselves anxious or upset, or become overwhelmed with cares, as we slow down and seek the Lord, He brings us comfort and joy, even in the midst of circumstances that are not ideal. God is good and loving and kind, and He provides comfort in our cares and peace in our spaces of unrest. His love has brought joy in the midst of horrible situations. 

A few years ago, my mom suffered a massive stroke. The circumstances and situation surrounding it were devastating. However, God made a way for me to be with her and to spend the first few months following the incident with her. He brought joy and laughter to us both, even in the most challenging of circumstances. We were able to delight in simple things, and His goodness and grace were overwhelmingly apparent. It has been a roller coaster of a road to recovery ever since, but all the while, God has brought comfort and joy to us all each step of the way. 

May we ever look to the Lord when we feel our cares compounding, for He is faithful to meet us in our moments, as He shows us His goodness and love, and comforts us with true joy that comes from Him alone.

The Lord brings comfort,

Sunset on Oahu. ❤

When chaos surrounds;

He’s peace that’s present,

And love that astounds.

God grants us His joy,

In the midst of pain;

He lightens our load,

And shows us He reigns.

When worry creeps in,

And peace slips away;

Seek the Lord Jesus,

For He is the way.

The way to know joy,

When it seems so far;

His love overwhelms,

Wherever we are.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You meet us in our chaos and anxiety and bring us comfort and joy. Thank You that You are our peace in all things and at all times. Forgive us for allowing our circumstances to flood our hearts with anxiousness and fear. Teach us to turn to You in all things, and to trust You to lead us through with Your goodness and strength. Show us how to love those around us well, so that we might be bearers of joy and comfort in challenging times. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You in all things and at all times, knowing that You alone are our source of comfort and joy. Amen.

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

Shout for joy, you heavens; rejoice, you earth; burst into song, you mountains! For the Lord comforts His people and will have compassion on His afflicted ones. – Isaiah 49:13

Comfort That Conveys Joy

When I am filled with cares, Your comfort brings me joy. – (Psalm 94:19, HCSB)

I was very worried and upset, but You comforted me and made me happy! – (Psalm 94:19, ERV)

When anxiety overtakes me and worries are many, Your comfort lightens my soul. – (Psalm 94:19, VOICE)

This weekend has been exactly what my husband and I have needed. The weight of the week had grown heavy, and time away together has been a space to relax and recharge. For me, I find joy being outside in God’s creation. There is nothing that makes me more aware of Him than fresh air and all of the colors that surround us. My husband is his best self when he gets to let go of the burdens and be himself. After much pondering about how to best discover a way for both of us to really relax and enjoy our time together, I ordered two e-scooters and helmets for us, prior to this weekend. My Viking and I scooted along miles of trails that run beside the bay, and run through lush green vegetation. We were further able to explore the town, and spent hours riding around, taking in all of the beauty of the area. I am not sure which brought me more joy – our surroundings or watching my mister play and enjoy himself in a childlike manner. I don’t think a smile ever left our faces. We will have time again this morning to explore a bit more before we need to pack up and head home. Already, I feel as if my soul has been lightened, and I am better equipped to navigate the week that lies ahead. God is good, and I am so grateful that He provides joy in ordinary spaces when we take time to get out and enjoy all that He has made.

When life feels heavy,

Take time and slow down;

Observe surroundings,

For peace will be found.

View all the beauty,

That His hands have made;

Joy rises within,

And worries will fade.

Place all in His hands,

For they’re strong enough;

He lightens our load,

Brings smooth to the rough.

Rise up each morning,

And look all around;

Joy is waiting,

In Christ it is found.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can bring our cares and burdens to You, and You soothe our souls and fill us with Your joy as we delight in You. Forgive us for allowing worries to overtake us instead of bringing all before You. Thank You that You call us unto Yourself and restore joy anew. Show us how to love those around us well, so they too, may be filled with Your joy and peace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we turn to You with our worries and cares, and recognize the joy that is within as we appreciate all that You have made. Amen.

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

May the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other and for everyone else, just as ours does for you. – 1 Thessalonians 3:12

Working All For Good

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)

It is critical to both know and trust this is true in our lives, especially in times of uncertainty or when anxiety begins to rise. I do not know what I will be walking into in the coming school year, as I will again be teaching a new grade and new curriculum. With ever-changing conditions and circumstances, on top of new material, I am again in a space of feeling like a brand new teacher, despite my previous twenty-four years in my career thus far. New can be exciting, but it also makes me anxious, as I want to know what I am doing so that I can do the best possible job of helping kids learn and grow. On my end, I am doing all that I can to prepare, and have to trust that God has me in this space for this time for a purpose. He uses things for good, so I have to trust that I have something to offer and He has something good in store for me. May we ever lean into the Lord and place our trust and confidence in Him, for He is able to bring good and beauty out of spaces of uncertainty.

In everything,

God can create good;

Sunshine after storms,

Grace not understood.

His love never ends,

And His mercy, new;

Each day as we rise,

He’ll show us what’s true.

In love, He will lead,

Show us steps to take;

Heal and build us up,

Despite our mistakes.

So, trust in the Lord,

He’ll use all for good;

As He shows us new,

Where only He could.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You work all things out for the good of those who love You. Thank You that You can take circumstances and situations that seem dismal or difficult, and turn them into something amazing and beautiful. Forgive us for our fears and doubts as we enter the new and unknown. Remind us of Your presence anew each day, and show us clearly how to walk in Your way. Teach us how to love those around us well, so that they may come to understand the hope, help and peace that is found in You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love You and trust You to work all things out for good. Amen.

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

But let all who take refuge in You be glad; let them ever sing for joy. Spread Your protection over them, that those who love Your Name may rejoice in You. – Psalm 5:11

The Knowing in Stillness

He says, “Be still, and know that I am God…” – (Psalm 46:10, NIV)

God says, “Stop fighting and know that I am God…” – (Psalm 46:10, ERV)

Surrender your anxiety. Be still and realize that I am God… – (Psalm 46:10, TPT)

I love that each of these translations use a different phrase prior to pointing out that God is God. We are called to be still, to stop fighting, and to surrender our anxiety to Him. These things do not transpire automatically, rather they are actions with intention. To be still, we must stop what we are doing and find a space of quiet rest. In the midst of fighting or anxiety, being still is typically the last thing we want to do. God’s ways are not our ways, yet He sees and knows what we need. It is in that space of slowing down and releasing what burdens us, that we recognize God in the midst of all that we are going through. In the same way that we often miss things if we are driving by a space because we are moving too quickly, and then suddenly notice if we are walking by at a leisurely pace, so it is also with the goodness of God. We realize the depth and breadth of who God is and how He loves best when we slow down, are intentionally still, and sit in the stillness of knowing that God is God and He is for us. May we all be intentional to find time and space to be still, for in that stillness peace comes and love abounds.

Just stop and be still,

Give all to the Lord;

Burdens and unrest,

Peace is our reward.

In stillness we’re shown,

The power of God;

And how great His love,

So deep and so broad.

Choose to surrender,

All things unto Him;

Faithful to meet us,

As we let Him in.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to surrender, lay our burdens and anxieties down, and simply be still. Thank You that we can trust in You and Your faithful love, no matter what state we find ourselves in. Forgive us for the times we don’t slow down and continue to try to carry what was never meant to be ours. Teach us to trust You more and to seek You in intentional stillness, for that is where we find You best. Show us how to love those around us in ways that help them discover still spaces to lay down what they need not carry. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose to be still and surrender all that we are and all that we are going through to You and Your love. 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

God’s Intentional Care

The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, He leads me beside quiet waters, He refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for His Name’s sake. – (Psalm 23:1-3, NIV)

The Lord is my shepherd. I will always have everything I need. He gives me green pastures to lie in. He leads me by calm pools of water. He restores my strength. He leads me on right paths to show that He is good. – (Psalm 23:1-3, ERV)

God, my shepherd! I don’t need a thing. You have bedded me down in lush meadows, You find me quiet pools to drink from. True to Your word, You let me catch my breath and send me in the right direction. – (Psalm 23:1-3, MSG)

This is a well-known passage and happens to be the focus of a six-week series that my pastor is teaching. Additionally, three years ago today, my focus was on the very same three verses. I know it was no accident that today’s personal study directed me to this specific passage. Between being sidelined from running, passing the one-year mark for teaching from home, concern over mom’s dental drama (she is doing well, just sore), and the prolonged time away from people I love, it is no mistake that I am again reminded of God’s intentional care. Despite all of the challenges, I am gainfully employed. I have a loving family and a home, and spaces to retreat and rest in His love. Sitting in the silent space of our living room with a snuggly puppy on my lap, God is reminding me again that He is good and will show me what to do in all things. Though I know not what the next few months will look like, I can trust the Lord to go before me, remain with me, and provide all that I need to navigate well. May we ever slow down and allow the Lord to lead, for He is our good shepherd.

O Lord, You are good,

My shepherd, please lead;

For You know my heart,

And all that I need.

Intentionally,

By You we were made;

With plan and purpose,

For all of our days.

In chaos You lead,

Bring us space to rest;

To know in silence,

That Your plans are best.

There’s nothing not known,

In Your loving grace;

You show us spaces,

To know Your embrace.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You lovingly lead us to spaces of comfort, rest and peace. Thank You that You provide all we need – body, heart, mind and soul. Forgive us for giving fear a foothold. Teach us to seek You in silent spaces so that we may be abundantly aware of Your presence and provision. Show us how to love those around us in ways that extend the very same grace and goodness You grant to all who seek You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, our good and loving shepherd. Amen.

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

Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you. – 1 Peter 5:7

Reign in Love

Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you. – (1 Peter 5:7, NIV)

Give all your worries to Him, because He cares for you. – (1 Peter 5:7, ERV)

Pour out all your worries and stress upon Him and leave them there, for He always tenderly cares for you. – (1 Peter 5:7, TPT)

For many, this upcoming week creates much anxiety, worry and stress. No matter the outcome of the election, there will be people who are upset. What we must remember, no matter who is chosen, God is still on the throne. He cares for each of us, regardless of our party affiliation. Each of us is created and chosen by Him, with a plan and a purpose. No elected official nor governing body can get in the way of God’s care for each of us, individually and corporately. God is the God of miracles, and He can move mountains and change hearts so that His plans prevail and His love is made known. May we each give our cares, concerns and stress to Him, and allow His love to tenderly care for us. Let His love be made known in and through us.

O Lord, unto You,

We humbly come;

Bringing our worries,

Trusting Your outcome.

In all that we face,

We’re never alone;

The Lord always cares,

And makes His love known.

So, ever seek Him,

Hope in love and grace;

For God’s on the throne,

Let none take His place.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can bring our every worry, care, concern or stress to You, and You show us Your loving kindness and grace. Thank You that no matter who is elected, You are the One who rules heaven and earth. Forgive us for allowing anxiety or fear to dictate how we interact with others. Show us how to love above all else. Teach us how to give You our cares and concerns, and to receive Your tender mercies that are new every morning. Lead us to love all those around us as You do; for You always loved first. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we lift our every concern to You, and trust You to reign and rule in Your love. Amen.

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

Those who know Your Name trust in You, for You, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek You. – Psalm 9:10

Strength in the Waiting

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

Wait for the Lord’s help. Be strong and brave, and wait for the Lord’s help. – (Psalm 27:14, ERV)

Here’s what I’ve learned through it all: Don’t give up; don’t be impatient; be entwined as one with the Lord. Be brave and courageous, and never lose hope. Yes, keep on waiting – for He will never disappoint you! – (Psalm 27:14, TPT)

As usual, a verse from my daily reading stands out in the timeliness of the message presented. While there have been so many jokes and memes about the neverending year that is 2020, I find I can relate to the sentiment of this being a very long season. We just passed the seven-month mark of the closure of traditional schooling and society functioning as we had always known before. While I understand the necessity to protect our most fragile population, I also see, first hand, the detrimental effect that isolation is having on our young people. Untimely deaths have impacted numerous communities, including our own, and the rate of depression and anxiety have skyrocketed. Lack of contact and community for our teens and young adults is taking a horrendous toll. For me, I have had to be intentional to get outside and exercise, find ways to connect with my own family and community, and seek strength anew every morning. Getting out of the house, even if it is only for a drive, walk or run, makes a world of difference for my heart and mind. I can only imagine the angst and frustration this causes young people, as few have the option or luxury of simply getting in the car and going just to find a change of scenery. Add to that the lack of interaction with their peers, and it is no wonder we are seeing such struggle. I know I have taken a bit of a detour as I am attempting to process the application of this verse. Perhaps it is a reminder to lift up those around us, and to encourage strength and hope in the waiting, and dependence on He who is our help and hope. May we seek the Lord each new day, and extend the strength and hope that He grants us in the waiting, to all those around us.

O Lord, I’m seeking,

Your hope and Your strength;

Comfort to pass on,

Your grace through great lengths.

Lead us in goodness,

May we each take heart;

Trusting Your kindness,

As strength You impart.

Help us be patient,

In You, as we wait;

Remind us again,

That You’re never late.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are with us in the waiting, and that You are our hope and our strength.  Thank You that we can be brave and take heart in You. Forgive us for our fears and doubts, as the waiting seems so long. Teach us to trust You more, as You do great things in us as we wait and trust in You. Show us how to love and encourage those around us, especially those who are feeling stuck or isolated. Grant them hope and strength in You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You in the waiting and reach out to love well, all those around us. Amen.

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

Lord, I wait for You; You will answer, Lord my God. – Psalm 38:15

Prayer Over Worry

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. – (Philippians 4:6-7, NIV)

Don’t worry about anything, but pray and ask God for everything you need, always giving thanks for what you have. And because you belong to Christ Jesus, God’s peace will stand guard over all your thoughts and feelings. His peace can do this far better than our human minds. – (Philippians 4:6-7, ERV)

Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life. – (Philippians 4:6-7, MSG)

 

As usual, what is part of my scheduled daily reading, is exactly what I needed to remember this morning. Part of the joy and blessing in our new puppy, is the constant companion who joyfully wants to join me in all things. The thing I have been most excited about, has been to have a dog who can run with us. For the last week, Thor (my sweet puppy), has been joining us on jog/walk/carries on weekday mornings. Two dear dog-owning friends privately messaged me to be careful about how far I take a puppy. I thought I was using caution, as I watched his cues, and picked him up to carry him any time he seemed weary or bored of walking. Sadly, unless I know specifics, I just do what seems best until I learn otherwise. One of the friends happened to send me a link about puppies and how much exercise they need, based on age, and all of the justification as to why. That sent me to research further, only to discover that I now need to pump the brakes on our morning sessions until Thor is quite a bit older. This caused two-fold anxiety in me. One, I felt horrible that I had likely overdone the exercise for my poor puppy for four or five days, and second, I was worried about how I would be able to stand staying seated for all of the hours of work that I need to do each day, without getting out and moving first. My prayer was pretty much, “O God, now what?” I paused, took a deep breath, and decided to call my running buddy. She was extremely gracious, and we determined to get back to afternoon running, as it is when I could recruit my boys to puppy sit. I know this is a small and seemingly insignificant concern, but God cares about our every concern, great and small. May we ever present our cares and concerns to Christ, for He hears, He loves, and He brings everything together for good somehow.

 

We need not worry, wp-1588686616242993864274389575531.jpg

Instead, let us pray;

For Christ hears each cry,

All night and all day.

What concerns our hearts,

He’ll carry with peace;

As we turn to Him,

Our fear is released.

So, lift head and heart,

To Him, give all care;

He’s ever-present,

And everywhere.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can bring all of our concerns, cares and anxieties to You, and You care and bring us Your peace. Thank You that You are always ready and available to hear our prayers. Forgive us for fear and doubt that allow anxiousness a foothold. Teach us to trust You more, for You are faithful and kind and care about our concerns, no matter how small. Show us how to love those around us in tangible ways that make Your peace an obvious presence. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You and trust You in all things. Amen.

 

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

 

Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life? – Luke 12:25

 

 

Refuge, Strength and Help

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

God is our protection and source of strength. He is always ready to help us in times of trouble. – (Psalm 46:1, ERV)

God, You’re such a safe and powerful place to find refuge! You’re a proven help in time of trouble – more than enough and always available whenever I need You. – (Psalm 46:1, TPT)

 

I try not to catch too much of the news, as more than one update per day does nothing but cause anxiety in anyone. Yes, it is wise to be aware and recognize the reality of the situation and risk that we all are living in, but bombarding ourselves with a constant barrage of numbers and images only instills fear. If we are staying at home as ordered, we ought to be okay. God is our protection and source of strength; ready to help us in times like these. If peace is lacking; He is peace. If all seems chaotic and out of control; Christ brings calm and order. When our strength is sapped, His is steadfast. It is a matter of choice as to where we turn in times of trial. As we turn to God, we find safety, strength and help; whereas when we rely on our own devices, we end up fearful, stressed out and anxious about everything. May we turn to God, who is our refuge, strength and help, as He brings peace in the places within us that need it most.

For me, what seemed like a random impulse purchase on Amazon, actually turned out to likely be some listening to the still small voice within. I struggle staying put, especially when I feel like I have to stay seated and stuck in one area for any length of time. After the addition of a long string of color-changing LED lights around the perimeter of the room where I need to spend my days during the week for work, it suddenly is a calmer, more welcome space, that I find easier to be in. More of a refuge and less of a space that I’m stuck. God cares about the little things, and it is amazing what a tremendous difference the little things make in the overall scheme of an entire day. God is good, and He provides as we abide; may we ever choose seek Him for refuge, help and strength.

 

God is my refuge, wp-15854082280268137732906669162830.jpg

In whom I abide;

He is my safe space,

Where true peace resides.

The Lord is my strength,

And help as I seek;

Ever He’s faithful,

Provider of peace.

When there is chaos,

His love brings the calm;

Unending mercy,

Our true healing balm.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can seek You and You answer. Thank You that You are our refuge, strength and help whenever we call on Your Name. Thank You that You are forever faithful. Forgive us for our anxiousness when chaos and uncertainty surround us. Teach us to trust You more, as You are the anchor in our storms and the peace when there is chaos within. Show us how to love those around us in ways that offer refuge, strength and help so that they too, may find comfort and peace in these times of such uncertainty. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You to be our refuge, strength and help in all things and at all times. Amen.

 

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

 

In peace I will lie down and sleep, for You alone, Lord, make me dwell in safety. – Psalm 4:8

One Day At A Time

Say to those with fearful hearts, “Be strong, do not fear; your God will come, He will come with vengeance; with divine retribution He will come to save you.” – (Isaiah 35:4, NIV)

“Courage! Take heart! God is right here, right here, on His way to put things right and redress all wrongs. He’s on His way! He’ll save you!” – (Isaiah 35:4, MSG)

Tell those who worry, the anxious and fearful, “Take strength; have courage! There’s nothing to fear. Look, here – your God! Right here is your God! The balance is shifting; God will right all wrongs. None other than God will give you success. He is coming to make you safe.” – (Isaiah 35:4, VOICE)

 

Right now, life feels surreal. It is as if we are all caught in a bizarre dream, and are merely waiting to wake up. For me, I am a one-day-at-a-time sort of person anyway, so my brain is already wired to not get too hung up on what may lie ahead over the next several weeks. When life is operating as usual, taking things one day at a time allows me to be present and focused on only what lies directly before me. If I permit my mind to wander too far ahead, it only breeds anxiety as to how everything will be accomplished in the time granted. Now, more than ever, I need to remain focused on each day as it comes. Yes, it is wise to prepare and plan in general, but there is no need, nor any point, in attempting to map out details that are too far off to determine. God grants us wisdom and insight as we ask, and He provides what we need to navigate each new day. The Lord is our strength and our strong tower; in Him we are safe and find we have what we need. May we give all of our worries and fears to God, as He comes to put all things right, and saves us with His goodness and love.

 

Take strength, have courage,

balance business cobblestone conceptual

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

There’s nothing to fear;

All is in God’s hands,

His presence is near.

Despite what we see,

God will make a way;

Over rough terrain,

He’ll lead us each day.

The wrong things made right,

In His faithful hands;

Safety and our strength,

Firm in Him, choose stand.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are mighty to save. Thank You that as we seek You, You are our strength, courage and safety. Thank You that You provide where we lack, and Your love leads us in the direction we are meant to go. Forgive us for our fears and anxiety in the face of so many unknowns. Teach us to trust You more, as You are for us and faithful to lead us, always. Show us how to love those around us well, so that they may know Your strength and courage, goodness and grace in the midst of uncertainty. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we place all things in Your capable hands, and trust You to lead and guide us each day, one day at a time. Amen.

 

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

 

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight. -Proverbs 3:5-6