The Second Day at the Tomb

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

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

 

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

 

The day in between,The Second Day at the Tomb

His death and new life;

Silence in waiting,

After sacrifice.

Scrambling soldiers,

Sent to take up guard;

They sealed Jesus’ tomb,

All passage was barred.

Pharisees fearful,

Of what Jesus said;

That after three days,

He’d no more be dead.

No sealing nor guards,

Could ever prevent;

Miracle coming,

Sunday’s big event!

 

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

 

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

 

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

Clean the Inside of the Cup

“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside will also be clean.” – (Matthew 23:25-26, NIV)

“It will be bad for you teachers of the law and you Pharisees! You are hypocrites! You wash clean the outside of your cups and dishes. But inside they are full of what you got by cheating others and pleasing yourselves. Pharisees, you are blind! First make the inside of the cup clean and good. Then the outside of the cup will also be clean.” – (Matthew 23:25-26, ERV)

“You’re hopeless, you religion scholars and Pharisees! Frauds! You burnish the surface of your cups and bowls so they sparkle in the sun, while the insides are maggoty with your greed and gluttony. Stupid Pharisee! Scour the insides, and then the gleaming surface will mean something.” – (Matthew 23:25-26, MSG)

 

On the Tuesday of Holy Week, Jesus began His day, departing Bethany with the disciples. As they were leaving, they passed by the fig tree He had cursed, only to discover it had completely withered. That point of passage began a day filled with teaching, as Jesus started with a lesson on faith. He further taught several parables and answered important questions as people gathered in the temple to hear. The Pharisees, up to their usual attempt at trapping Jesus in some sort of misstep for which they could arrest Him, began a barrage of questions as well. After Jesus brilliantly answered, and completely silenced the scholars with His wisdom, He began a list of woes to them for the practices that they were participating in. One that stood out to me as particularly poignant, and one to ponder personally, is that which is found in the above listed verses from Matthew 23. What does it mean to clean the outside of the cup, but neglect cleaning the inside? To me, it seems He was using the image as an illustration of the heart versus how things appear. We must attend to the motives, desires and purposes within us to be considered clean. For if we seek the Lord and allow Him room to purify our hearts and cleanse us from within, the outside reflects the beauty on the inside. It does not work in reverse. I imagine we have all met or known someone who at first, appeared quite appealing. However, once the heart was made known, the ugly insides tainted the perspective on the outside. Jesus cares about the condition of our heart. Yes, wash your hands, for at least twenty seconds please, but really, it is what flows out of us that impacts those around us, not the package that holds our hearts. My take away today is to seek the Lord and ask Him to show me what filth within me still needs cleansing. We all have spots that get missed, or manage to lie hidden out of plain sight. Jesus is gentle and kind when we choose to seek Him with the hope of being cleansed to more clearly reflect His heart to the world. Lord, cleanse us from the inside out, so that Your love may be made abundantly clear, and no good thing withheld from those in need.

 

Lord, come and show us, Clean the Inside of the Cup

Where we need be cleansed;

Point out the places,

Help us make amends.

Places we’re selfish,

Greedy or unkind;

Over-indulgent,

Show us what You find.

By Your loving grace,

Show us how to change;

Be cleansed from within,

So Your love may reign.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son to show us the way to be cleansed from the inside out. Thank You that not only did You clean the temple, but You are willing to clean the hollows of our heart. Forgive us for the times that we have worried more about “appearances” than being cleansed on the inside. Teach us to fix our eyes and heart on You and what You ask of us. Show us how to love selflessly, without greed, gluttony or reservation. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to show us the ways to wash ourselves within, so that we may shine bright, reflecting Your love to all whom we encounter. Amen.

 

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

 

Have mercy on me, O God, according to Your unfailing love; according to Your great compassion blot out my transgressions. Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin. – Psalm 51:1-2

 

 

Ponder the Pain

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

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

 

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

 

Even in darkness,DSC00009

Light finds its way in;

Buds begin blooming,

As springtime begins.

In our rough seasons,

We are not alone;

Christ’s gone before us,

Each pain He has known.

And just when darkness,

Seemed it would not end;

His death on the cross,

Then He rose again…

From out of the grave,

Three days He had lain;

Christ resurrected,

Hope rose once again.

 

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

 

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

 

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

Strength When Things Seem Senseless

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

Be strong in the Lord, wp-15801297840646155505631906763539.jpg

For in Him, we’ll stand;

No matter what comes,

We’re held in His hands.

Choose seek after Him,

In good times and bad;

His grace and His strength,

Our safe space to land.

Lord, hold in Your hands,

Each heart that’s in pain;

Let Your love be known,

As Your goodness reigns.

 

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

 

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

 

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

Choose Reach Out

“Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke? Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter – when you see the naked, to clothe them, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood? Then your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear; then your righteousness will go before you, and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard.” – (Isaiah 58:6-8, NIV)

“I will tell you the kind of day I want – a day to set people free. I want a day that you take the burdens off others. I want a day when you set troubled people free and you take the burdens from their shoulders. I want you to share your food with the hungry. I want you to find the poor who don’t have homes and bring them into your own homes. When you see people who have no clothes, give them your clothes! Don’t hide from your relatives when they need help. If you do these things, your light will begin to shine like the light of dawn. Then your wounds will heal. Your “Goodness” will walk in front of you, and the Glory of the Lord will come following behind you.” – (Isaiah 58:6-8, ERV)

 

The foundation of what God asks of us has always been the same – Love God and love people. If we are fasting, let it be for the purpose of actively pursuing God and loving people. If we are praying, may it be out of faith in our Father and our desire to do good for others. As we live, may our lives clearly demonstrate our love for God and for ALL whom He has created. There are no qualifiers on loving people; He calls us to love all people tangibly and practically. If they are burdened; help carry the weight and set them free. If people are hungry; feed them. If people are in need of the basic requirements for existence; start with clothing and shelter. Furthermore, we are meant to be aware of and care for the needs of our family as well. Incredibly, as we do these things, we begin to reflect the heart of God to those around us. Our obedience leads to blessings in our own lives too. He heals and surrounds each soul that chooses to surrender and serve others as He asks. May we look to the Lord for wisdom and strength, so that we go forth and tangibly love people as an extension of our love for Him.

 

May our focus be,

H182

Typography poster lettering love and ethnic patterns. Vector illustration hand drawn.

Intent on the Lord;

On what He’s asking,

As strength He affords.

The priority,

In all that we do;

Love God and people,

It’s what we’re called to.

Some practical ways,

His love can be shown;

Help meet other’s needs,

Leads to God’s heart known.

As we choose reach out,

God’s present within;

Healing and helping,

Makes hope rise again.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that a reason for fasting and praying is ultimately to love God and love people better. Thank You that You are faithful to meet us as we come and seek You. Thank You that Your word tells us practically how to love people well, and in turn, honor and love You. Forgive us for the times that we have neglected to love people well. Teach us to have eyes to see, ears to hear and hearts to understand what You would have us do practically in every circumstance. Thank You that You are far greater than our time, talent or resources, and that You take what we offer and multiply what we bring. Show us how to love the people around us tangibly, for You know every need in existence. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose to be intentional as we love You and love the people around us, every seeking You for ways to love practically and tangibly to meet needs. Amen.

 

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

 

Human, the Lord has told you what goodness is. This is what He wants from you: Be fair to other people. Love kindness and loyalty, and humbly obey your God. – Micah 6:8

Place All Hope

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

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

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

 

This is where the “rubber meets the road”, as we have to make a decision to hold hope in the proper place, no matter what we see. Every time I find myself discouraged or disappointed in how things appear to be unfolding, I have to check myself and evaluate exactly where I am placing my hope. What I find each time, is that the let down or seeming “loss of hope” is due to hope misplaced. When I place my hope in people or things, I will always end up disappointed. Humans are flawed and things are empty. Hope belongs in Christ alone. He who makes promises, is faithful to fulfill them, and God is the One in whom our hope belongs. If I place my hope in Him, and give Him my dreams, desires, and aspirations, He will do abundantly more than I could ever do on my own. Even when it appears that what I desired most is dead in the water, He can turn it around for something good. It has to be a matter of trust, and placing hope where hope belongs. May we hold fast to the hope we confess, without wavering; for He who has promised, is faithful forever.

The process feels a bit different when it comes to someone else, whom we love with all of our heart. It seems that it boils down to a matter of trust. With Mom, and her recovery, I have to trust that God’s word is true, and that He loves her even more than I do. He has a plan and a purpose for her, and it is good, and that reminds my heart that I have every reason to hope in Him for all that He is and continues to do for Mom on her road to recovery. He who promised is faithful, and daily there is tangible evidence of His love and grace as He encourages and strengthens Mom.

 

Let us hold the hope, Anchor

Found in God alone;

He’s faithful always,

And our hearts are known.

It’s placing our trust,

In God and His will;

Not in other things,

For they won’t fulfill.

People are broken,

We fall short and fail;

But God, in His grace,

Will always prevail.

Choose trust in the Lord,

Place all hope in Him;

His love never fails,

Once we let Him in.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our hope. Thank You that You have plans and purposes for our lives that are greater than we could hope or imagine. Thank You that Your plans go far beyond what we can see with our eyes or own understanding. Thank You that You are always good. Forgive us for the times that we place our hope in people or things, rather than in You. Teach us to trust You more, for You alone deserve our trust. Show us how to love those around us in ways that bless, encourage and inspire hope in You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You and hope in You alone. Amen.

 

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

 

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

Goodness and Love that Won’t Quit

Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever. – (1 Chronicles 16:34, NIV)

Give thanks to the Lord because He is good. His faithful love will last forever. – (1 Chronicles 16:34, ERV)

Give thanks to God – He is good and His love never quits. – (1 Chronicles 16:34, MSG)

 

Though I have reflected upon this verse on more than one occasion, the words perfectly capture my heart for God, as I am reminded again and again of His love and His goodness. The last twenty-four hours have been a wonderful whirlwind of family time, as Mark and I have been blessed with the opportunity to be at my sister and brother-in-love’s home to spend time with mom and the whole family. My day began with tender time, reminiscent of where my season with mom began daily, as I was able to greet her as she woke (or in this instance, discover that she was already awake and quietly waiting like a ninja), and together, prepare for the day ahead. As she and I ate breakfast, others began to appear downstairs in the kitchen. It wasn’t long before we were able to interact with every family member, sans the fourteen-year-old, who was still sleeping. 😉 There was a relaxed ebb and flow, as my sister had a study session to attend; my eldest nephew, a practice; while the rest of us moved about the house visiting and preparing for mom’s next-door-neighbors from back home, to come join us for lunch. The visit was wonderful and a blessing to all. After Ken and Karen departed for the next outing of their day, mom, Mark and I decided to go on an adventure of our own, leaving time and space for Meg and Scott to scoot out and join their besties for some time together. The three of us ended up in Corvallis, and thoroughly enjoyed the break in the weather as we wandered along the river walk in the sunshine. We even ventured into a few shops in town on our way back to the car, taking in the town in a fashion typical of our exploratory ways. From there, we decided to try a favorite spot of Meg and Scott’s for a light dinner. We quickly discovered why it was a favorite, and delighted in our dining experience together. Once back home, we set to a game of “Dirty Marbles” (a family favorite that is a cross between Sorry and Chinese Checkers). When we were nearly finished, our nephews returned home, and no longer “sleepy” Skyler, asked to join the next game with a mischievous glint in his eyes. The game was a hilarious back and forth battle, enjoyed by all. By the time we finished, we all were ready to retire for the evening. Our time together reminds me of the goodness of God, and how His love never quits. May we give thanks to the Lord for His heart for us, as His love is everlasting.

 

All thanks be to God, img_2019-10-20_08-25-315565891628329069230.jpg

Who’s loving and kind;

He blesses our hearts,

With our need in mind.

He knows all the ways,

That fill our soul best;

Encourage our heart,

And grant our minds rest.

For all of these things,

And endlessly more;

I give the Lord thanks,

As love is outpoured.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are good and that Your love never ends. Thank You that You know our needs and bless our hearts in the very best ways possible. Forgive us for our worries, fears and weariness that overwhelm when we lose sight of You. Teach us to turn to You in all things and at all times. Show us how to love those around us in ways that demonstrate Your endless goodness and love in tangible ways. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You thanks forever for Your goodness and love. 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

Giver of Good

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of heavenly lights, who does not change like the shifting shadows. – (James 1:17, NIV)

Everything good comes from God. Every perfect gift is from Him. These good gifts come down from the Father who made all the lights in the sky. But God never changes like the shadows from those lights. He is always the same. – (James 1:17, ERV)

Every gift God freely gives us is good and perfect, streaming down from the Father of lights, who shines from the heavens with no hidden shadow or darkness and is never subject to change. – (James 1:17, TPT)

 

Boy, what a whirlwind… I had a later start than anticipated to return home yesterday, but was graced with a smooth trip and moving traffic. There was only one spot on Blewett Pass, where the road was down to a single lane for both directions, that I had to wait for about fifteen minutes, before continuing my journey home. Upon arrival, I was enthusiastically greeted by my boys with enormous hugs, and we quickly set to work to get organized and packed, so that they could be certain that they had everything necessary for their trip. By the time both boys were organized and packed, Mark had returned home from work. After giving him a few minutes of down time following his long commute, the four of us went to our favorite sushi place in town for dinner together. My momma heart was full, as I was surrounded by my guys. We enjoyed a great dinner, and then made a quick store run for a few items that were still needed for packing. As we were returning home, my best friend and I had messaged one another, and Mark and I ended up heading to their home (a few blocks away) for a quick visit. All was well, and it was wonderful to catch up. I had a moment though, as I finally heard back about the drop-off time for the boys (that I thought was either 8:30 or 9 am), only to discover that they were not expected to the base for loading and departure until 6:00 pm! Knowing the impossibility of the timing, I began attempting to problem solve. Thankfully, Jeff, Robin’s husband, offered to take the boys for me, knowing that I would be unable to stay that late into the evening. Waves of grief flooded me as we drove home, and by the time we were in the safety of our own room for the night, I was inconsolable. The weight of grief gripped my heart so heavily that it was hard to breathe. Mark just held me and offered comfort, and I had to ride it out. Once the weight had subsided, I was able to relax a bit and attempt to sleep. Though restless, I did sleep, and when I woke this morning, I discovered fresh resolve. After sleep, I cannot help but see that God is providing me more time with my boys. With an early departure, the boys would have been dropped off in the morning, and that would have been it. Now, they will have the opportunity to sleep in, I can run some errands and run with Ashley, and then take my boys to lunch and really visit with them some more, prior to my return to Wenatchee. Yes, I am a bit gutted to not actually drop them off for departure, yet I have to fix my eyes on the gift that has been given. Time together has been my greatest struggle over the last many months, as I have been in Wenatchee with mom, and here I am receiving the precious gift of more time. Plans change, expectations change, but God, in His infinite wisdom, does not. He knows what we need, and He loves us enough to grant us gifts that we sometimes don’t even recognize, until we step back and see them for what they truly are. He is good, and I am grateful.

As for mom, she is having a marvelous time of catching up with lifelong friends. Karin and Bill are treasures, and I do not think the visiting stopped from the time they arrived, until everyone called it a night. The two of them took mom out for a coffee date at Starbucks, and she had an incredible time and thoroughly enjoyed visiting sharing life together. All was well each time I checked in with Karin, and I am able to fully engage in my time at home, knowing mom is in loving, capable hands. Yet another incredible gift, as the two of them made my being here to help my boys prepare to go, possible. May we ever give thanks to the Father of Lights, for He is the giver of all good things.

 

Every good gift, img_2019-08-02_06-32-255141113095649126594.jpg

Comes down from above;

Treasures from heaven,

Given in God’s love.

Our expectations,

May appear not met;

Our God, in His grace,

Has more for us yet.

For the gifts God gives,

Always they are good;

His ways are higher,

Outcome’s understood.

So, let us choose trust,

The Father of Lights;

Who’s always for us,

And in us, delights.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are the Giver of every good and perfect gift. Thank You that though our circumstances and feelings change, You never change. Thank You that You are patient with us, and remain near, ever-loving and showing us how what we think is something to grieve, may actually be a blessing. Forgive us for our fear and frustration when we cannot see the good in the twists and turns that life takes. Teach us to trust You more, as You use all things for good for those who love You, and You love to bless Your children with good gifts. Show us how to slow down and look for the good in whatever comes our way. Lead us to love those around us in a way that extends Your goodness and light to the spaces it is missing. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, our Giver of every good gift, who remains the same forever. Amen.

 

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

 

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

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,

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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

A Longing Fulfilled

After this his wife Elizabeth became pregnant and for five months remained in seclusion. “The Lord has done this for me,” she said. “In these days He has shown His favor and taken away my disgrace among the people.” – (Luke 1:24-25, NIV) 

Later, Zechariah’s wife Elizabeth became pregnant. So, she did not go out of her house for five months. She said, “Look what the Lord has done for me! He decided to help me. Now people will stop thinking there is something wrong with me.” – (Luke 1:24-25, ERV) 

Soon afterward his wife, Elizabeth, became pregnant and went into seclusion for the next five months. She said with joy, “See how kind it is of God to gaze upon me and take away the disgrace of my barrenness!” – (Luke 1:24-25, VOICE)

 

God’s miracle for Elizabeth and Zechariah, through granting them a son after many years of being barren, was a magnificent prelude to the miracle arrival of the soon-to-follow birth of Jesus. Elizabeth had gone from years of longing and hoping and waiting, to a space of hope fulfilled, when she likely no longer thought it possible. Though I have not experienced the heartache of infertility personally, I have had several friends walk through a similar season of waiting and hoping and longing. Like Elizabeth, some received their own miraculous blessing through conception, others discovered their miracle through adoption, whereas others, still remain in a space of waiting. My heart cannot help but celebrate at the thought of Elizabeth’s joy, at such a longing fulfilled. May we give thanks for the gifts all around us, and for those that are yet to come.  

 

A longing fulfilled, The Mirror of the Heart

Such wonder indeed; 

A hope that’s answered, 

God’s grace meeting needs. 

Needs birthed within us, 

Desires of the heart; 

Treasured reflections, 

Of where His grace starts. 

Seek Him in longing, 

Place hope in His Name; 

Wait and choose trust Him, 

He does what He claims. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the examples of real-life heartache and hope that You give us in Your word. Thank You that You are the same yesterday, today and forever. Thank You that You are the same God who has done countless miracles throughout the ages, and are present to make the impossible possible still. Forgive us for our frustration and lack of faith based on what we see. Teach us to trust You more, knowing that You are moving, even when we are unaware. Show us how to love those around us in a way that encourages hope, despite the way that things may appear. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for Your faithfulness, grace and presence that remains the same forever. Amen.

 

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

 

Not one of all the Lord’s good promises to Israel failed; every one was fulfilled. – Joshua 21:45