Through the Valleys and Highest Peaks

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

Beauty from ashes, 0515190557_hdr3238003239624041706.jpg

Great hope from despair;

Our most holy God,

Hears every prayer.

He’ll never forsake,

Nor leave us alone;

He sees all our needs,

And we each are known.

Trust that He is good,

His plan, purposeful;

Beauty from ashes,

A life meaningful.

 

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

 

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

 

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

Abundant Grace

The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. – (1 Timothy 1:14, NIV)

But our Lord gave me a full measure of His grace. And with that grace came the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. – (1 Timothy 1:14, ERV)

I was flooded with such incredible grace, like a river overflowing its banks, until I was full of faith and love for Jesus, the Anointed One! – (1 Timothy 1:14, TPT)

 

Grace is the freely given, unmerited favor and love of God. Daily, as we journey on this road to recovery with mom, we are acutely aware of God’s grace. His love abounds in the little things all around us every day, we simply need slow down, and watch for them. Yesterday, being a Sunday, was a day of rest for mom in her stroke rehabilitation program. It was odd to not have any therapy sessions scheduled, and the day was probably extra off, being Mother’s Day. At first, mom was quite annoyed that she was not actively working toward recovery yesterday, but when I reminded her that even God, Himself, rested on the seventh day, she agreed it might be okay if she too, had a day of rest. The day began with Mark, the boys and me all arriving together to visit with mom before the fellas had to head back home. There were many smiles and some animated banter, and before we knew it, it was time for the guys to get going. Mom and I visited and made a few phone calls together, then after another art project to add to her ceiling collection and lunch, we relaxed and watched a movie. Of course, after sitting for the length of an entire film, we both had grown restless, and were ready to head outdoors. Sun hats and sunglasses on, I quickly pushed her out of her wing, and we were riding the elevator to freedom. There was a warm wind blowing steadily as we made our way out, and we began with a lap around the building. After that, per her request, we moved east, and were both drawn in the direction of some beautifully blooming rhododendrons. We decided we ought to take a quick photo or two for posterity, and for my sister before heading back. My hat was blown off once on the return route, so we both ditched our hats and stashed them in her “magical” chair bag, as we did not want them to land in the street swept muck on the side of the road. Upon our return, I worked with mom on a few of her stretching things for PT, and she was very encouraged to use her right leg to practice pushing off from the hip. I love watching her face light up in recognition that she is indeed moving herself with that leg that she thought was done. Grace after grace. God is so good. May we ever be aware of the goodness and grace poured upon us, though we deserve it not, and give praise to Him to is the Giver of every good and perfect gift.

 

Grace is the Lord’s gift, img_2019-05-13_06-14-17471261504932170441.jpg

He gives unto us;

Though it’s not deserved,

He gives in excess.

Such love in all things,

Both great and the small;

All matter to Him,

He knows and sees all.

Every moment,

Each breath that we take;

The Lord is aware,

And He won’t forsake.

He is the anchor,

Our safe hiding place;

Love overwhelming,

Extravagant grace.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You love us beyond what we can even begin to fathom. Thank You that Your grace is granted in all things, great and small. Thank You for Your goodness that makes Your love tangible in everyday little things so often. Forgive us for being blind to Your blessings. Give us eyes to see, ears to hear and hearts to understand how deep and how wide Your grace runs for us. Teach us to trust You more, as our human hearts grow weary and fearful when we cannot see or understand the road ahead. Show us how to love those around us in great and small ways, so that they too, may recognize glimpses of the grace that You have for us all. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we hold fast to our faith and give You praise for the overwhelming grace that You give us each and every day. Amen.

 

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

 

Grace and beauty can fool you, but a woman who respects the Lord should be praised. – Proverbs 31:30

Evidence of the Unseen

For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see His invisible qualities – His eternal power and divine nature. So, they have no excuse for not knowing God. – (Romans 1:20, NLT)

Ever since the creation of the world, God’s invisible qualities – God’s eternal power and divine nature – have been clearly seen, because they are understood through the things God has made. So, humans are without excuse. – (Romans 1:20, CEB)

Opposition to truth cannot be excused on the basis of ignorance, because from the creation of the world, the invisible qualities of God’s nature have been made visible, such as His eternal power and transcendence. He has made His wonderful attributes easily perceived, for seeing the visible makes us understand the invisible. So then, this leaves everyone without excuse. – (Romans 1:20, TPT)

 

It boggles my mind to think that with all of the beauty of creation, there are still some who do not believe there is a Creator. I cannot even so much as look at a sunrise or sunset, the ocean waves, the mighty mountains, the countless stars in the sky, or the faces of my family, and question God’s goodness. God gives beauty, where humans attempt to destroy; He gives love, as humans have a propensity for hatred. Everything good comes from God. May we take pause to look all around us and discover the evidence that He who is unseen, has made visible for us to know Him.

 

All-powerful God, Filled Each Morning

Has made His heart known;

Throughout creation,

His goodness is shown.

Displayed by beauty,

For all to behold;

His power, present,

The truth being told.

Invisible things,

Become clearly shown;

The sun, moon and stars,

God’s greatness made known.

How can we question,

The God who has made;

All things for our good,

His love is conveyed.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the power and beauty of all that You have created. Thank You that Your presence is clearly shown throughout creation. Forgive us for our doubts, for Your handiwork is clear evidence of Your goodness. Teach us to trust You more, as You who created all that is seen and known, can surely handle our confusion and fear in that which is not known to us. Show us how to love those around us in practical, tangible and powerful ways, so that Your heart may be clearly conveyed. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we stand in awe of all that You have created, and trust in Your power and presence to show us Your good in all things. Amen.

 

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

 

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

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)

 

This is an incredible promise to which we can hold secure. All things that we face, endure and walk through can be transformed and utilized for our good, and the good of those around us. He turns our tests into testimonies, our ashes into something beautiful, and our mourning leads to celebration, through the power of His presence and strength. I can look back at the darkest trials that I have had to walk through, and see clearly, how His light shone brightest for me, and ultimately through me, as He turned difficult things into triumphs that encouraged others in similar situations. God is good, and we can trust Him to use everything for good, in due time. May we ever seek the Lord to be our strength, and watch for His love to turn ashes into things of beauty.

 

Beauty from ashes, All for Good

Strength where we were weak;

Light where things were dark,

When the Lord we seek.

His presence, promised,

And His love assured;

Trust and reliance,

Faith that the Lord heard.

He hears our requests,

God’s faithful to bring;

Solutions and grace,

Praise to our wise King.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You work all things together for the good of those who love You and seek answer Your call. Thank You that You are faithful forever. Forgive us for our fears and doubts when we are in the midst of a mess. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would recognize Your strength and grace as we go, and the beauty that You bring from our former ashes. Show us how to love those around us in a way that they see Your hope and light and strength in the middle of their struggle. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust in Your transforming power to bring beauty from the ashes of our trials. Amen.

 

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

 

I say to the Lord, “You are my Lord; apart from You I have no good thing.” – Psalm 16:2

Strength Through Freshly Fallen Snow

I love You, Lord, my strength.  – (Psalm 18:1, NIV)

I love You, Lord! You are my strength. – (Psalm 18:1, ERV)

I love You, Eternal One, source of my power. – (Psalm 18:1, VOICE)

 

God knows what we need, when we need it most. Last evening, as the Superbowl was being played, snowflakes began to fall outside of our living room window. It seemed to be just a whisper of snow at first, as the weather wavered back and forth between rain and snow. By the time the game had ended, the snow was beginning to stick to the grass, trees and cars parked outside. A delayed start would shorten my day, and provide a bit more time for me to rest. I woke multiple times in the night, courtesy of my lovely cough, and at 1:00 am, glanced at my phone to check the time. To my surprise, there was a text alert that our district had determined a two-hour delayed start time. Not only am I blessed by the beauty of a blanket of newly fallen snow covering everything outdoors, but I am strengthened knowing that I have a shorter day and a bit more time to rest. God is so good, and His love grants us the strength that we need. May we ever seek the Lord to be our strength in all things and at all times.

 

I love You, Lord God, 02041904352271528042305942502.jpg

You grant me Your strength;

To overcome all,

Each height and each length.

For You are faithful,

No matter what comes;

Your promised presence,

‘til each day is done.

May we ever know,

The help You’ve given;

Your strength, love and grace,

Equip right living.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your overwhelming love that strengthens us in all things. Thank You for Your grace that surrounds us like freshly fallen snow. Forgive us for concerning ourselves with worry about how things will work out, for You are for us, not against us. Show us how to love those around us in a way that builds strength and hope where it is absent. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. We love You Lord, and are so grateful for the help that You provide. Be glorified O God, as we give You praise for the wondrous ways You strengthen us when we need it most. Amen.

 

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

 

As the rain and snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater.  – Isaiah 55:10

Purposeful Reign

As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is My word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to Me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it. – (Isaiah 55:10-11, NIV) 

Rain and snow fall from the sky and don’t return until they have watered the ground. Then the ground causes the plants to sprout and grow, and they produce seeds for the farmer and food for the people to eat. In the same way, My words leave My mouth, and they don’t come back without results. My words make the things happen that I want to happen. – (Isaiah 55:10-11, ERV) 

 

It has been a typically torrential week, weather-wise, in the great Pacific Northwest. Rain has poured down daily, and the mountains are gaining significant snow to help us all remember that December is actually here. Though I prefer the sunshine and sweeter, more leisurely days of summer, there are blessings to behold as the rains come down. Yesterday, as my best running buddy and I were braving the elements on a run, we hit a favorite sweet spot that is an actual decline (as everywhere we run in our town is hilly) an old song I love kept going through my head – Send Your Rain”. As the lyrics were on repeat as we ran, I thought about the benefit and beauty that our wet winter weather affords our area. It is lush and green and gorgeous, and there is a view of either the mountains or water, (or both!) nearly everywhere one goes. In the same way, as I immerse myself in His word each morning, what I learn seems to be recalled at the most opportune moments, when I need to be reminded most. God is a God of intention, and He is able to use everything for good. Even the wet, cold days of winter serve a purpose, as they bring bounty as we walk into spring. (The jury is still out on spiders though, just sayin’…) May we ever seek the Lord and His word, recognizing that what He says is true and what He promises, He will do. May we allow Him reign in our hearts. 

 

Each raindrop that falls, fb_img_15445766468148440667160544576070.jpg

Has purposed intent; 

To water the earth, 

This grace, heaven-sent. 

The same with God’s word, 

Each spoken with care; 

To guide and instruct, 

Love, help and prepare. 

Both are sent for growth, 

For their yield is great; 

Each to be absorbed, 

New life, generate. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your rain and Your word. Thank You that both are used to nurture and grow. Thank You that You give us tangible, visible examples in the world around us to grasp that which might not be clearly seen. Forgive us for not absorbing all that we can from Your word, as You generously give us all that we need to navigate well. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would seek You and rely on Your word. Show us how to love those around us well, so that they may feel refreshed and grow in the grace that You so lovingly give. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we receive Your reign in our lives and soak in all that You speak to our hearts. Amen.

 

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

 

The Lord reigns, let the earth be glad; let the distant shores rejoice. – Psalm 97:1

 

 

Clothed From Within

You should clothe yourselves instead with the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God. – (1 Peter 3:4, NLT)

No, your beauty should come from inside you – the beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit. That beauty will never disappear. It is worth very much to God. – (1 Peter 3:4, ERV)

Let your adornment be what’s inside – the real you, the lasting beauty of a gracious and quiet spirit, in which God delights. – (1 Peter 3:4, VOICE)

 

I am noticing that the older I get, the more I recognize the people I view as most “beautiful” are those from whom a gentle and quiet spirit radiates the loving kindness of our Heavenly Father. The heart adorns the external and directly influences how my eyes perceive the person before me. Beauty begins on the inside. May we ever focus on that which comes from within – the spirit placed within us that is called to be gentle and still before Him, so that we may go forth and love as we are loved by Him.

 

Let our focus be, Ambassadors of Love

On beauty within;

The quiet, sweet space,

That keeps us from sin. 

The Lord God, Himself,

Delights when we’re still;

He refines in love,

By grace, shows His will.

In calm gentleness,

Let’s fix eyes on Him;

Love cleanses each heart,

And brings beauty in.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You see a quiet and gentle spirit as beautiful. Thank You that Your view of beauty is from the inside out. Thank You that You make beautiful things out of us as we choose to follow You. Forgive us for the ugliness of our selfishness and twisted perception of what truly matters. Teach us to trust You more as we quiet our hearts in stillness before You. Show us how to love those around us in a way that helps them recognize the beauty that You have created within them. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we aspire to be people that possess beautiful hearts, bearing gentle and quiet spirits toward all. Amen.

 

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

 

Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. – Philippians 4:5

 

 

 

 

Consistent Kindness

Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love. – (Ephesians 4:2, NLT)

Always be humble and gentle. Be patient and accept each other with love. – (Ephesians 4:2, ERV)

With tender humility and quiet patience, always demonstrate gentleness and generous love toward one another, especially toward those who may try your patience. – (Ephesians 4:2, TPT)

 

This verse is a go-to for teachers everywhere, especially the week of Halloween. Between the extra sugar infused in the growing bodies of middle schoolers, to the anticipation of what they will do with their time on the day itself (which happens to be early dismissal for them), kids are amped up and struggling to focus in the classroom. Patience, gentleness and kindness, especially toward those who are the most trying, is how we are called to navigate. The beauty in this is that with consistency over time, patience and gentleness prove themselves powerful, and often the most trying of tweens begin to soften. May we ever seek the One who is forever gentle and patient with us, allowing for our faults because of His unending love, so that we may go forth and do likewise.

 

Lord, let Your patience, Consistent Kindness

Lead us as we go;

So love and kindness,

Are the things we show.

For the most trying,

Oh God, give us grace;

Let each act of love,

Bring peace in our space.

Thank You that You have,

Endless love for us;

Help us do the same,

So others are blessed.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your goodness, kindness and love toward us. Thank You that You only call us to the things that You have shown us already. Forgive us for not walking in humility or patience with those who are most trying. Teach us to trust and rely on You for the patience and love required to walk in Your grace. Show us how to extend gentleness and kindness as we love those whom You have called us to love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose to be gentle and kind, extending grace to all whom we encounter. Amen.

 

 

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

 

Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart. – Proverbs 3:3

Setting Our Sight

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things. – (Philippians 4:8, NIV)

Brothers and sisters, continue to think about what is good and worthy of praise. Think about what is true and honorable and right and pure and beautiful and respected. – (Philippians 4:8, ERV)

Finally, brothers and sisters, fill your minds with beauty and truth. Meditate on whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is good, whatever is virtuous and praiseworthy. – (Philippians 4:8, VOICE)

 

In light of recent events in the news, there is much temptation to allow our thoughts to fix on things that are entirely opposite of that to which we are called.  Demoralizing or demonizing an entire group of people based on the actions of a few, is not focusing on what is honorable, right or lovely at all. As an individual who has a varied circle of people whom I love, opinions and affiliations among them lie on both sides of the argument. Both camps feel as if the media/popular opinion is making their side out to be something it is not. The name calling and judgments passed from both camps bring out the worst in people, rather than the best. It is my hope that rather than focusing on the bad, we all might fill our minds with beauty and truth.  Let us fix our hearts and minds on things that are honorable, right, pure, lovely, good, virtuous and praiseworthy.

 

For we are all called,

dsc059097914322808950888301.jpg

Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

To set our hearts right;

Love as the Lord loves,

In Him take delight.

As we choose to set,

Our hearts and our minds;

On the things of God,

There’s hope for mankind.

Hope’s found in choosing,

To set our soul right;

To love and be kind,

In good things delight.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You created each of us with the capacity to love and be loved. Thank You that You do not have a political agenda nor affiliation. Forgive us for allowing our opinions, emotions or personal experiences to taint how we view others. Help us to fix our eyes on that which is good, lovely, honorable, right, true and above all, that which brings glory to You. Show us how to love those around us well, regardless of differing opinions and views of the world. May many come to know You through our love. Be glorified O God, as we set our souls on the good that You give to us daily, as we choose with intention to open our eyes and hearts to notice. Amen.

 

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

 

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked before us. – Hebrews 12:1

True Source of Strength

I lift my eyes to the mountains – where does my help come from? My help comes the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. – (Psalm 121:1-2, NIV)

I look up to the mountains; does my strength come from mountains? No, my strength comes from God, who made heaven, and earth, and mountains. – (Psalm 121:1-2, MSG)

I look up to the mountains and hills, longing for God’s help. But then I realize that our true help and protection come only from the Lord, our Creator who made the heavens and the earth. – (Psalm 121:1-2, TPT)

 

The beauty and majesty found in creation are tangible reminders of the power and goodness of God. Even as a small child, I remember seeing the first star of the evening and beginning with a wish that would soon transform into a prayer to the very One who hung the stars in the sky. That same heart is still reminded of God’s grace and strength at the sight of the work of His hands. Today is a day that many of us will never forget. I still remember my drive to work as the news came over the radio that a plane had hit one of the Twin Towers. Upon arrival, I, with so many others, turned on the TV in my classroom to watch in horror as the footage of the horrific events unfolded. The images will forever be etched in my mind. As I drove home that day, I took in the view of the mountain, and was reminded that the same God who made majestic mountains, could bring beauty from the ashes of so much destruction. Though we may never understand why such tragedies occur this side of heaven, the stories of redemption and beauty and overcoming have risen from the ashes. People who were touched by the tragedy, hold their loved ones a little tighter and do not take a single day for granted. Spouses, siblings and children of those who were lost, have gone on to accomplish great things in honor of their loved ones. May we ever look to the Lord, our Creator, to be our help, as He is the true source of strength.

 

No matter what comes,9-11-memorial-03-marley-white__large.jpg

We must realize;

That God is the One,

Who gives strength to rise.

Rise from the ashes,

When all seemed but lost;

Rise from the rubble,

For He paid the cost.

No matter the darkness,

The Lord is the light;

His love and His grace,

Set wrong things to right.

O Lord, be our strength,

When trials come near;

Grant courage to rise,

In the face of fear.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have created so much beauty that reminds us of Your goodness and strength. Thank You that often, as we see the work of Your hands, our gaze is lifted to You. Forgive us for not looking to You to be the light in every darkness, or for celebrating creation rather than the Creator. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would seek You to be our help, and praise You in all things and at all times, as You alone are our strength and supply. Show us how to love those around us in a way that brings light and life, goodness and grace into spaces where there is none. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we recognize where we find help that lasts. Amen.

 

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

So we say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?” – Hebrews 13:6