Heaven’s Handiwork

For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. – (Ephesians 2:10, NIV)

For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things He planned for us long ago. – (Ephesians 2:10, NLT)

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

 

Though I seldom feel like a masterpiece, I know that I am clay in the Potter’s hands. I am His, and He is continually etching heaven’s poetry on my heart and in my life. Watching my children grow into young men, has been the greatest reminder of my charge to do the good that God prepared for me in advance. In spite of my flaws and failures, God has grown my boys into kind, thoughtful, intelligent, loving, handsome young men, with hearts that are set on loving people well. Each one is a masterpiece that I have been blessed to witness in the works. The beautiful thing for all of us, is that we are His handiwork that is continually being crafted and honed, until the day we meet Him face-to-face. We do not have to be in “final form” to be effective in doing the good work that He calls us to do; rather as we do each next thing, our hearts are further shaped to mirror His. May we delight in the hands that hold and shape us into our best selves as we seek Him, and ever pursue opportunities to carry out good works to which we are called.

The masterpiece that is my mom, was excited to view the sneak peek photos from my boys’ senior photo shoot. For those who know mom, it is clear that pictures are a priority for her, as she has family photos hung throughout her home, with an enormous shelf at the end of the hallway, full of photo albums. Christmas gifts for mom this year will be a bit easier to choose. 😉 We kept missing one another with phone calls, but thankfully, the text full of photos made the needed connection yesterday.

 

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God’s own work of art;

Made with a purpose,

He’s known from the start.

When God looks at us,

He calls His work good;

The Lord’s masterpiece,

Purposed livelihood.

Heaven’s poetry,

Etched upon each heart;

How can we argue,

Or question His art?

Rise up in wonder,

In awe, choose embrace;

The call to do good,

Love others with grace.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have created each of us with purpose to do good works as Your intentionally and purposefully handcrafted works of art. Thank You that we are constantly being refined so that we may more clearly reflect heaven’s poetry through how we live our lives. Forgive us for questioning Your handiwork or for neglecting to do the good that You created us to do. Teach us to trust Your hands and Your leading, as You provide all that we need to do whatever it is that is asked of us. Show us how to love those around us best, so that they may understand the work of art that they truly are. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for the plans and purpose that You have for each of us, and for the intentional art that You have created each of us to become as we move forward according to Your calling. Amen.

 

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

 

But the plans of the Lord stand firm forever, the purposes of His heart through all generations. – Psalm 33:11

Choose to Not Argue

And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. – (2 Timothy 2:23, NIV)

As a servant of the Lord, you must not argue. You must be kind to everyone. You must be a good teacher, and you must be patient. – (2 Timothy 2:23, ERV)

For a true servant of our Lord Jesus will not be argumentative but gentle toward all and skilled in helping others see the truth, having great patience toward the immature. – (2 Timothy 2:24, TPT)

 

This verse is a practical application verse for teachers everywhere, and a great reminder to start off the week. We cannot engage in arguments, or all will be lost. Kindness to everyone opens doors, ears, and hearts. When kids feel cared for, they are more likely to allow us to come alongside them and help guide them in new learning. All of this requires patience. Though in the forefront of my mind for teaching, these principles also apply in parenting, friendships, and every sort of familial relationship as well. Kindness and patience, willingness to help teach or guide in what is true, and choosing to not engage in arguments helps strengthen bonds and increase trust. May we ever depend on the Lord and His strength to help us walk out our days in this very way.

 

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And walk in His will;

We will need kindness,

The sort Christ instills.

Choose to not argue,

Be patient, always;

Help others see truth,

As we extend grace.

May goodness and light,

Flood all that we do;

So God’s love is known,

And His word shown true.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You love us and remind us of the things that matter most. Thank You that we are called to kindness and love, with patience and endurance as we seek to honor You with our lives. Forgive us for the times that we have senselessly argued with those around us, or have neglected to extend kindness or patience of goodness, according to Your plan placed before us. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would listen and learn how to best avoid arguments and loving with kindness and patience as we come alongside each other. Show us how to love those around us in the same way that we are loved by You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we turn in trust to You. Amen.

 

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

 

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. – Matthew 5:9

Undeterred Hope in the Unseen

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. – (Hebrews 11:1, NIV)

Faith is what makes real the things we hope for. It is proof of what we cannot see. – (Hebrews 11:1, ERV)

Now faith brings our hopes into reality and becomes the foundation needed to acquire the things we long for. It is all the evidence required to prove what is still unseen. – (Hebrews 11:1, TPT)

 

I am not sure if it was the fact that I was able to sleep through the night with zero wake-ups, or that I rose in time to watch the sunrise, but whatever the combination of factors, I feel a renewed sense of faith in my hope for what I cannot yet see. My faith in God’s goodness has not wavered, yet discouragement has been a struggle, as I am simply at a place of longing to be home with my family. By day, God provides all that I need to be fully present, engaged and focused with mom, yet in the quiet moments and when I try to sleep, I struggle with the absence and distance from my husband and children. Though I have not actually received definitive plans nor a specific date for mom’s move to Oregon, I have the assurance that it will transpire, and the confidence that this next step with be exactly what she needs to continue on her road to a full recovery. God is good, and He has good things in store for us all. He has the very best in mind for my mom, my sister and her family, and for me and my family as well.

Yesterday, mom and I had a leisurely morning, as nothing was scheduled until noon. Her speech appointment ended up starting a little behind schedule, but went very well. Immediately after, two friends of hers from church came for a visit. It was a wonderful time of reconnecting for all three of them, and a pleasure for me to witness. After their visit, mom was a bit worn, but determined that a Dutch Bros run was in order, not a nap. Who can argue with that logic? 😊 As usual, we soaked in the sunshine and scenery as we drove the back way into town, and stopped for a car wash on the way. Our outing brought us home in time to prepare dinner, watch a movie, and call it a day. A bonus blessing was that mom slept through the entire night! This was the first time she has done that in all of the time that I have been here, so I think that I am better rested than I have been in quite some time. Again, thank you so much to those of you praying for her sleep.

May we continue to have faith in the things hoped for, and trust, even when we cannot yet see how God will bring all to fruition.

 

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The things yet unseen;

Holding onto hope,

Through time in between.

It is confidence,

That God’s in control;

He’ll work things for good,

Make broken things whole.

He knows what we need,

Each cry of our heart;

He loves and blesses,

As grace He imparts.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your goodness and grace as You build our faith and confidence in You, even when we cannot see that which we hope for. Forgive us for the times that our faith wavers or our hope grows dim, based on what we see. Teach us to trust You more, as Your plans are perfect and You have good things in store for those who love You. Show us how to love those around us well, especially those stuck in the waiting for long awaited hopes to be realized. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You with confident hope, knowing that You are moving on our behalf, even when we cannot see evidence of Your hand. 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

Monumental Hope

With God’s power working in us, He can do much, much more than anything we can ask or think of. – (Ephesians 3:20, ERV)

God can do anything, you know – far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! – (Ephesians 3:20, MSG)

Never doubt God’s mighty power to work in you and accomplish all this. He will achieve infinitely more than your greatest request, your most unbelievable dream, and exceed your wildest imagination! He will outdo them all, for His miraculous power constantly energizes you. – (Ephesians 3:20, TPT)

 

Right now, my requests and hopes and dreams seem monumental. Originally, I did not think they were so far-fetched, yet as I have attempted to pursue possibilities to meet the needs of my own family, I am finding closed doors and discovering that what I thought was reasonable, is really a God-sized ask. I know God is greater than our circumstances and that He can make a way where there seems to be no way. I am trusting Him, but this morning, I again find myself weary after a second near-sleepless night in a row. God is faithful, and He has never let me down yet. Despite lack of sleep yesterday, I had the energy I needed to do all that He called me to do. He knows what we need, far better than we do ourselves, and I have to give Him my renewed trust each morning.

Physical therapy went well yesterday, as mom again conquered the entire length of her hallway by herself. Each time she does it, it is stronger and smoother than the time prior. Additionally, she did strong work with her various exercises and stretches both during her appointment and throughout the day. Shortly after Nick left, mom looked at me and said, “Let’s get out of here!” I was certainly not about to argue. We began with our usual drive through Dutch Bros, followed by a trip to Safeway. Much to my surprise and delight, she agreed to come into the store with me. It was still quiet in the store, so we roamed freely and filled the small basket that I was carrying as I pushed her around, to overflowing. Mom was pleased to actually see and decide for herself, what groceries would go into the cart. From there, I thought she would want to go home, but to my surprise, she directed me to drive on another scenic adventure around parts of Wenatchee I had not yet explored. It was wonderful and light, as we laughed often and soaked in the views. As we turned on the main road home, mom saw some dear friends walking their dog, and she asked me to stop so that she could say hello. Our quick stop turned into an invitation for the two to join us later in the afternoon for a visit. By the time we returned home, it was already lunchtime. After the groceries were put away and lunch had been eaten, mom determined that a rest would be wise, so she took a  snooze for a bit. We had a lovely visit with her friends that took us to dinner time, then another evening of movies and stretching before bed. The biggest ask for mom is her ongoing healing and for clear direction and orchestration as to where she will be next. We are fairly certain she will spend a season at my sister’s in Albany, but there are details to orchestrate and of course there is timing to determine. May we continue to seek our Savior, who can do so much more than we ask or imagine.

 

O God, unto You, To Drive Out Darkness

Again, I choose trust;

With all of my hopes,

For You, Lord, are just.

And far beyond that,

You are merciful;

Bless undeserving,

Make life beautiful.

You take the weary,

The broken, the lost;

And loved with Your life,

Paid ultimate cost.

Now You are seated,

On Your rightful throne;

Loving and blessing,

Beyond what we’ve known.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are loving and kind, and that You bless us beyond what we could ever hope or imagine. Thank You that You hear our every prayer; that not one whisper or utterance of the heart goes unheard by You. Forgive us for feeling defeated when things seem impossible, for You are the God that makes all things possible. Teach us to trust You more. Show us how to love those around us in ways that encourage those who are discouraged and strengthens those who are weary. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we place our hearts, hopes and lives in Your hands, trusting that You will do abundantly more than we could hope or imagine. 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

Trust for Transition

I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in Him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit. – (Romans 15:13, NLT)

I pray that God, the source of all hope, will infuse your lives with an abundance of joy and peace in the midst of your faith so that your hope will overflow through the power of the Holy Spirit. – (Romans 15:13, VOICE)

Now may God, the inspiration and fountain of hope, fill you to overflowing with uncontainable joy and perfect peace as you trust in Him. And may the power of the Holy Spirit continually surround your life with His super-abundance until you radiate with hope! – (Romans 15:13, TPT)

 

Yesterday was a transition day for me. As I traveled from west to east, my heart was full of hope and excited anticipation to see mom, as I could not wait to witness the positive gains she has made in my time away. Upon my arrival, she was happily visiting with a dear friend. Though there was a gap between when my sister had gone home and I had arrived, we both were at peace, thanks to a few of her sweet, sister-like friends. As soon as her friend had gone, mom confessed that she was exhausted. It had been an extraordinarily long week, and I think having a few different people with her, for more than a brief time without one of us present, had taken a toll on her. With us, she knows that she can say or do anything, and we can read her body language and facial expressions – so little effort is required. This is why the number of visitors currently allowed is extraordinarily limited right now. (per her request) She is doing amazingly well, but I imagine there are insecurities and anxieties about finding the right words with those she doesn’t talk to daily. I am certain that much of her desire to wait to see people, has much to do with this, and my sister and I are doing everything we can to safeguard and protect mom’s wishes. It does not matter if those wanting to visit are not bothered by her struggle for finding words; if it bothers her and she does not want to share the struggle with others yet, we will honor our mother. Period. For those who have been incredibly gracious in the waiting, thank you.

As for the fountain of hope and uncontainable joy, I am seeing God fill mom with fresh hope and joy, every single day. Though her right hand is still not cooperating as she would like, she no longer hides it under a pillow on her lap, but rather she stretches it out with her other hand, holds onto it, recognizes it, and continues to send signals to tell it to move. She is hopeful, and does have feeling, so we trust that it is simply a matter of time. Peace in the waiting is clearly present. Most shifts, mom manages to have the kindest and most experienced charge nurse assigned to her. My guess is that they argue about who gets to work with her, as she is always smiling, gracious, grateful, and appreciative of all that they do to help with her healing.

The next week and a half are going to be pivotal for all of us, as we have some critical decisions to make about where mom ought to be next, in the transition. We are not sure yet as to whether to be at her house, Meg’s house, or mine, as much will depend on insurance, available therapies, accessibility, and of course, what mom wants. Obviously, we want what is very best for mom in this season as she continues to gain strength and heal. She will not be ready to live alone, nor would we want her to do so, even if she were. Please join us in praying for wisdom and direction to be made abundantly clear. Not our will, but His.

 

Let the Lord of hope, Trust for Transition

Fill you with all joy;

For His perfect peace,

All doubt does destroy.

Choose trust in the One,

Whose power and grace;

Surround and indwell,

Abound in your space.

His filling’s so great,

We too, overflow;

Radiate His hope,

So others may know.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we seek You, You fill us completely with joy and peace, as we trust in You. Thank You that You fill us to overflowing with confident hope, by the power of Your Holy Spirit within us. Forgive us for fearing the unknown, or being anxious about that which we cannot control. Teach us to trust all in Your hands. Show us how to listen for Your voice and to walk in the way that You lead. Direct our every step, O God. Lead us to love those around us in a way that demonstrates the joy and peace that are found through hope held in You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we place all of our trust in Your hands. 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

Generate Good Growth

Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification. – (Romans 14:19, NIV)

So, let’s try as hard as we can to do what will bring peace. Let’s do whatever will help each other grow stronger in faith. – (Romans 14:19, ERV)

So, let’s agree to use all our energy in getting along with each other. Help others with encouraging words. – (Romans 14:19, MSG)

 

Peace is a place within ourselves where we feel at ease, despite what surrounds us. Another sort of peace is that which is discovered as people choose to prefer one another and give grace to each other, making peace possible in spaces where we gather and dwell together – be it at home, school, work, church, or out and about in the community. Encouragement and kindness do not require like-mindedness. It is entirely possible (and necessary) to bring peace into places where individuals of great diversity dwell. There need not be common faith, political views, nor upbringing to listen and care for the community around us. Each person has purpose and something to offer, and when we recognize and value one another, peace and mutual edification soon follow. May we do whatever we can to help each other grow, as we pursue peace in the places where we are planted.

 

O Lord help us be, Trusted Thoughts and Worthwhile Words

Instruments of peace;

Who encourage well,

Set people at ease.

For we are not called,

To argue and fight;

But to be at peace,

And walk in Your light.

Teach us, dear Jesus,

To bring about peace;

To love as You love,

And Your grace increase.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to be at peace with one another and to encourage each other. Forgive us for the times that we have been at odds with others, or have chosen to use words that tore down, rather than built up. Teach us to turn to You to lead us and guide us in what we say and do to promote peace in all the places we have been planted. Show us how to love those around us with encouragement that generates good growth. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek Your strength and wisdom to walk in peace and wield words of encouragement wherever we go. Amen.

 

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

The Lord gives His people strength. The Lord blesses them with peace. – Psalm 29:11

Cut Complaints to Give Glimpses of Good

Do everything without complaining or arguing so that you will be blameless and pure, children of God without any fault. – (Philippians 2:14-15a, ERV)

Do everything without complaining and arguing, so that no one can criticize you. Live clean, innocent lives as children of God. – (Philippians 2:14-15a, NLT)

Do everything readily and cheerfully – no bickering, no second-guessing allowed! Go out into the world uncorrupted, a breath of fresh air in this squalid and polluted society. Provide people with a glimpse of good living and of the living God. – (Philippians 2:14-15, MSG)

 

In a world where it is commonplace for people to complain and argue, we have the opportunity to be different. When we choose to love and extend kindness, rather than argue, we offer a glimpse of God’s goodness. Likewise, when things are challenging or overwhelming, if we opt to seek answers or assistance rather than complain, a clear anomaly is observed. God calls us to be love and light to the world, and one of the ways in which we are asked to do so, is to be a breath of fresh air in places where perhaps the normal mode of operation is less than kind and often full of conflict. May we choose to do everything without arguing or complaining, recognizing that our Redeemer calls us to be love and light to grant glimpses of Him in spaces where He otherwise might not be seen.

 

Strong Heart

 

Lord, help us to choose,

Do everything;

Without complaining,

And trust grace You bring.

Try not to argue,

Be ready with cheer;

For our attitude,

Can show God is near.

Let Your love light shine,

A breath of fresh air;

As we choose live right,

And show that we care.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son to show us what it is to live a blameless life without complaining or arguing. Thank You that when we choose to do things readily and cheerfully without bickering or second-guessing, we give glimpses of Your goodness to the world. Forgive us for the times that we have chosen otherwise. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would present our concerns to You, and trust You to show us how to navigate, rather than complain or argue. Show us how to love those around us so that they would gain glimpses of Your heart for them, individually. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to do everything readily and cheerfully, according to Your good and perfect will. Amen.

 

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

 

For it is commendable if a man bears up under the pain of unjust suffering because he is conscious of God. – 1 Peter 2:19

Where Greatness is Found

They began to argue among themselves about who would be the greatest among them. – (Luke 22:24, NLT)

Later, the apostles began to argue about which one of them was the most important. – (Luke 22:24, ERV)

The disciples bickered over which one of them would be considered the greatest in the kingdom. – (Luke 22:24, TPT)

 

Even after spending nearly every day with Jesus for the previous three years, the disciples still argued and postured for position. What this shows me is that even those who walk closely with the Lord, are subject to the frailty of the human condition. We all sin and fall short of the glory of God, and we all desperately need a Savior to lead a life of love, according to His good and perfect will. A bit further in the same chapter, Jesus let the disciples know that to be great, is to serve rather than to be served. He reminded them to follow the example that He had set before them all along. As always, the main message can be simplified to loving God and loving people. If we do both of these things, we will not worry about being greater, because we will prefer one another in love. Love lifts up, it does not tear down nor posture for position. May we ever seek the Lord and His ways, so that we can love Him and others for all of our days.

 

Let’s fix not our eyes, Enter With Thanksgiving

On how to be great;

But instead choose serve,

Lift up, elevate.

Choose prefer others,

Let love lead the way;

For this is God’s plan,

To share well His grace.

Never be worried,

About being great;

For God looks at you,

And He celebrates.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You love us not because of what we do, but because we are Your created. Thank You that You meet us where we are, and love us anyway. Forgive us for our foolishness that argues or seeks position rather than Your affirmation. Teach us to trust You more, so that the only approval that concerns us is Yours. Show us how to love those around us in a way that prefers others first and meets needs wherever they may be. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose to love You and love people as You call us to do. Amen.

 

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

 

Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy. – Hebrews 4:16

Unity, Liberty and Love

Be willing to accept those who still have doubts about what believers can do. And don’t argue with them about their different ideas. – (Romans 14:1, ERV)

 

There will always be differences of opinion among believers, as there are things that the Bible does not deem right nor wrong; and therefore each are a matter to be taken up individually, between God and man, personally. What is acceptable for one, may be off limits for another. Our charge is not to dispute our differing views, but rather to be accepted and handled with love. If each of us is acting according to our conscience (the leading of the Holy Spirit), then we are doing right in the eyes of the Lord – even if it is not the same as our sister or brother. “Our principle should be: In essentials, unity; in nonessentials, liberty; in everything, love.” – (NIV footnotes for Romans 14:1)

 

What the Bible clearly establishes, these are non-negotiables. The things that have not been clearly laid out nor established, for these we must trust each to walk in the wisdom and counsel that the Lord provides, so that we may maintain united as a body of believers. In all things, whether we stand in agreement or not, we are called to operate in love. May we accept one another in love, choosing our conversations with wisdom and grace. Let the Lord be our guide and example as to how we are to operate in unity, liberty and love.

 

For the Lord calls us,Intended for Obedience

to accept in love;

any uncertain,

of His law above.

For some things it’s clear,

God’s way is laid out;

yet still there are some,

we must pray about.

We’re not to argue,

with differing views;

in love, just listen,

God’s voice will ring true.

What is yes for one,

not for another;

we’re not meant to judge,

sisters and brothers.

Stand firm in the truth,

liberty in grey;

all things done in love,

is walking God’s way.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You love and know us individually. Thank You that what may be acceptable and safe for one, can be a resounding “NO” for another, because of Your love and protection for us individually. Thank You that You know our hearts and minds, and You determine what will lead us down a path of destruction, and what will not bring harm at all. Forgive us for either assuming that Your answer should be one way or another for those around us, or for not listening well to the answer that You are clearly offering before us. Teach us to trust You more so that we may be united in the essentials, grant liberty in the nonessentials, and in all things, operate in love. Lead us to love with Your wisdom and grace, so that many may come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we are united as a body, and gracious and loving to all. Amen.

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

Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him. – Psalm 34:8