Orchestrated Overcoming

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

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

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

 

It is beyond my understanding how God takes the most difficult or heart-breaking of seasons, events, or circumstances, and uses them to launch us into something far greater than we would have ever thought possible. Not one hurt nor heartache is overlooked, and He leads us through to so much more than we would have envisioned for ourselves. When we choose God and listen to His leading, we find His grace, comfort and love through the trials, and discover the hardest of roads lead to the most beautiful of destinations. It is easy to lose sight of hope in the midst of despair, yet as we cling to Christ, love lights the way through the darkness, and His hand leads and guides us to something new. His new is light, life and love. Dreams are imagined and beauty comes from the ashes we thought would never end. May we ever hold fast to hope in God, as He uses all things for our good as we trust in Him.

 

All things in our lives,

Smiling fields

Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

Can be used for good;

When given to God,

His love, understood.

Beauty from ashes,

His hope from despair;

God shows us the good,

As His love repairs.

What once overwhelmed,

Darkness that has passed;

Seasons of struggle,

Lead to hope that lasts.

So, let us choose trust,

Find hope in His Name;

For there’s so much more,

Love changes the game.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You work all things out for good, as we trust in You. Thank You that You alone, can bring beauty from ashes and hope from despair. Thank You for the incredible outcomes of so many spaces we thought would be the end of us. Forgive us for our fears and doubts during seasons of difficulty. Teach us to trust You more, as we look to You to be our hope and help as we navigate to the new that awaits us on the other side. Show us how to love those around us in a way that extends help in the now and hope for all that is yet to come. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust and rely on You, even when we see no possible way for good to come from what we are walking through. 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

When We Pray

Then you will call on Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. – (Jeremiah 29:12, NIV)

Then you will call My Name. You will come to Me and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. – (Jeremiah 29:12, ERV)

At that time, you will call out for Me, and I will hear. You will pray, and I will listen. – (Jeremiah 29:12, VOICE)

 

When we pray and call upon the Lord, He listens to all that we lift before Him. There is no prayer nor praise that is too great or too small for God. The promise is that every time we call upon the Lord, He will hear our prayers. For me, this is incredibly reassuring. God is faithful, and no matter what I bring before Him, I know that I am heard and loved by Him. It does not mean that every prayer will be met with the answer that I desire, however, every answer is for my ultimate good. May we ever call on the Lord and pray to Him, for He hears and listens to our every word.

 

Call out to the Lord, Wisdom from Heaven

He hears all we pray;

Faithful to listen,

To all that we say.

It does matter not,

How great or how small;

He listens to us,

Each time that we call.

Blessed assurance,

Faithful to His word;

Each prayer that we pray,

By our God is heard.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are faithful to hear and listen to our every prayer. Thank You that we can call on You in all things and at all times, and trust that You hear our every heart cry. Forgive us for not presenting our requests before You. Teach us to trust You more, so that we will bring ALL before You each day. Show us how to love those around us in a way demonstrates Your heart as we truly listen and hear all that is on the hearts of people placed upon our path. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we call upon You and trust that You listen and hear our every word. Amen.

 

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

 

Your love, Lord, reaches to the heavens, Your faithfulness to the skies. – Psalm 36:5

Love Never Stops

Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. – (1 Corinthians 13:6-7, NIV)

Love is never happy when others do wrong, but it is always happy with the truth. Love never gives up on people. It never stops trusting, never loses hope, and never quits. – (1 Corinthians 13:6-7, ERV)

Love joyfully celebrates honesty and finds no delight in what is wrong. Love is a safe place of shelter, for it never stops believing the best for others. Love never takes failure as defeat, for it never gives up. – (1 Corinthians 13:6-7, TPT)

 

As I continue to study what the Word says about love, I am reminded of the endurance that love requires. Love rejoices with honesty and wants the very best for others. It trusts, hopes, believes, and refuses to give up. Additionally, love is a space of safety. Though we may not see eye-to-eye, love looks at each person as valued and lovable, regardless of how they interpret the world. When evil or ugliness happen, love is not happy with the hurts, even when the recipient may seem to deserve it. Rather, love delights in truth and never stops believing the best for others. Even when a toxic person is removed from our lives, we are meant to pray for them and trust that God will bring breakthrough on their behalf. To love is to choose to protect, trust, hope and persevere. The road is not always easy, but to love and be loved is always worth the investment. May we ever seek the Lord and His strength, to choose love; always.

 

Love does not delight,

dsc062128968373152916220376.jpg

Love always protects…❤ *Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography

In evil displayed;

But delights in truth,

Walking in God’s way.

The way of God’s love,

Trust, hope and belief;

Protects, perseveres,

Grace-granting relief.

Though it’s not easy,

Love’s always worthwhile;

To love and be loved,

As the Lord’s own child.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You love us in all of these ways to show us how we are meant to love others. Thank You that choosing to love is an act of our will, and not based on feelings. Forgive us for the times that we have not chosen love, and neglected to trust, hope, believe, protect or persevere. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would seek You and rely on You to equip us to love well. Show us how to love others in a way that helps them know that they are trusted, hoped for, believed in, protected, and that they will not stop being loved. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to show us how to love completely, as we are completely loved by You. Amen.

 

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

 

Know therefore that the Lord your God is God; He is the faithful God, keeping His covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love Him and keep His commandments. – Deuteronomy 7:9

Countless Expressions of Love

Many, Lord my God, are the wonders You have done, the things You planned for us. None can compare with You; were I to speak and tell of Your deeds, they would be too many to declare. – (Psalm 40:5, NIV)

Lord my God, You have done many amazing things! You have made great plans for us – too many to list. I could talk on and on about them, because there are too many to count. – (Psalm 40:5, ERV)

O Lord, our God, no one can compare with You. Such wonderful works and miracles are all found with You! And You think of us all the time with Your countless expressions of love – far exceeding our expectations! – (Psalm 40:5, TPT)

 

Whenever I pause to reflect on the wonders God has done, I stand in awe of the love and faithfulness He has shown me. As a visual learner, I have a tremendous appreciation for tangible reminders of God’s faithfulness – be it in writing, some sort of visual or the imagining of the altars of stone that were made so long ago to commemorate God faithfully seeing His people through a variety of challenges. Saturday, I had a tangible visual placed in my daily sight line, as a reminder of all that He has done. “The dragonfly has been a symbol of happiness, new beginnings and change for many centuries. The dragonfly means hope, change and love.” (- Why the Dragonfly) For me, in my life, this is the epitome of what God has done in my life. Knowing the symbolism behind the dragonfly, I have been gently reminded of His faithfulness to me at some incredibly pivotal times over the last few years. It seemed everywhere I went, I would see beautifully colorful dragonflies; overseas, out of state, and locally. After life took a turn that I had never imagined, God walked me through and brought me to a place of change, happiness and new beginnings. Where hope had been dashed, it was renewed. Where love had been lost, it has been gifted to me in ways I never thought possible. God works wonderful miracles in ways we would never think possible. His blessings far exceed what we would hope for when we trust in Him. May we ever seek the Lord and give thanks for the wonders He has done, for none can compare to the Lord.

 

God’s great faithfulness, fb_img_15485608179591346201081960421969.jpg

To none can compare;

Wherever we are,

God will meet us there.

In the deepest depths,

Or on mountain top;

His love, unfailing,

Grace that will not stop.

Beyond all His love,

His blessings abound;

Our Grantor of hope,

Where new life is found.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your goodness and grace and Your unending faithfulness throughout all our days. Thank You that no matter what comes, You are faithful to be with and see us through in ways far greater than we could have thought possible. Forgive us for losing sight of who You are and how You love, when we are in the heat of our own battles. Teach us to trust You more and continue to show us tangible reminders of Your goodness and faithfulness throughout all our days. Show us how to love those around us, according to Your good and perfect will. May we be a blessing that is an extension of Your hands and heart to those in need of Your touch. May many come into a lasting relationship with You.  Be glorified O God, as we give praise for who You are and how You love, and remember the new that You bring us into. Amen.

 

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

 

Guide me in Your truth and teach me, for You are God my Savior, and my hope is in You all day long. – Psalm 25:5

Grace in the Grief

Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. – (Matthew 5:4, NIV) 

Great blessings belong to those who are sad now. God will comfort them. – (Matthew 5:4, ERV) 

God blesses those who mourn, for they will be comforted. – (Matthew 5:4, NLT) 

 

This morning, as I checked my messages, there was a notice from a friend at church informing me that an incredible lady – a wife and mother about my age, has passed. It has been both inspiring and heartbreaking to watch, for she battled cancer with courage and strength over the last several years, as her family fought alongside her. There was a sense of maintaining as much normalcy as possible, despite the devastation that all must have been feeling. The comfort in this heart-breaking loss, is that she is free of the pain and walking in glory. That being said, her husband has lost his best friend, and the children have lost their mother. Grief is a heavy space. As I pray for the family and those closest to her, I lay hold of the promise held in this verse in Matthew. Though it is not an easy road, God will bring comfort. God will bring His perfect peace. May we hold fast to the promise that He holds the grieving in His hands, and God is our Source of comfort in every season. 

 

God of all comfort, Being Made New

We lean into Thee; 

For the ones mourning, 

Bring Your grace and peace. 

No words that we speak, 

Nor acts done in love; 

Can comfort the grief, 

Like You Lord, above. 

For You know each heart, 

How to help the ache; 

To soothe the sorrow, 

And mend the heartbreak. 

O Lord, be near them, 

As they walk through pain; 

Be their close comfort, 

‘til just love remains. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our comfort when we grieve. Thank You that You know this family and all that they need. Thank You that You will bring exactly what they need to navigate their new normal. Forgive us for forgetting our own mortality, and not receiving each day we wake as an incredible gift of time that not all are afforded. Teach us to appreciate each new day, and to seek You in all things. Show us how to love well, those who are mourning. May we be used in the practical as well as the prayerful. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for being our comfort and our peace, even in the most heartbreaking of times. Amen.

 

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

(There is) A time to cry and a time to laugh. A time to grieve and a time to dance. – Ecclesiastes 3:4

To Notice the New

“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland. – (Isaiah 43:18-19, NIV) 

So, don’t remember what happened in earlier times. Don’t think about what happened a long time ago, because I am doing something new! Now you will grow like a new plant. Surely you know this is true. I will even make a road in the desert, and rivers will flow through that dry land. – (Isaiah 43:18-19, ERV) 

Don’t revel only in the past, or spend all your time recounting the victories of days gone by. Watch closely: I am preparing something new; it’s happening now, even as I speak, and you’re about to see it. I am preparing a way through the desert; waters will flow where there had been none. – (Isaiah 43:18-19, VOICE) 

 

We are not called to dwell on the past and spend all of our time focusing on that which has already taken place, but rather we are to walk forward with eyes and hearts open, so that we can see, recognize and know the new things that God is doing as they come to pass. Yes, reflection and appreciation are good, as long as they do not get in the way of living in the present and perceiving the gifts that God is giving as He does new things to make the seemingly impossible, possible. For me, this past year has been one of remarkable blessings and new that God has done both in and for me. If I had been stuck in a space of dwelling on former things, I would not have seen, experienced, and appreciated the incredible new things that He has done. In the same way, if I choose to stay stuck and revel in the glow of recent events, I may miss all of the good that God is doing both today, and in the days yet to come. He is faithful forever, and we are meant to move with eyes and hearts open, so that we are aware of the presence of God in all things. May we embrace the grace that the Lord has for us each new day, and forge forward in faith, trusting that He is doing new things that will bless our hearts and further grow our faith. 

 

Don’t dwell on the past, To-Notice-the-New.jpg

For those things are gone; 

Instead, look forward, 

See what’s going on. 

The Lord makes a way, 

Where it seems there’s none; 

Supplies all we need, 

The Most Holy One. 

Grants strength for today, 

Hope for tomorrow; 

Comfort where we ache, 

Joy where there’s sorrow. 

New blessings He’ll bring, 

As we trust in faith; 

Impossible things, 

In Christ there’s a way. 

May we choose to move, 

With eyes open wide; 

As love, hope and strength, 

To all whom abide. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the abundant blessings, provision and grace that You have granted throughout the past year. Thank You for Your unending faithfulness that remains the same, yesterday, today and forever. Forgive us for the times that we have allowed the past to dominate our present, rather than choose praise You for the peace that Your provided and set our sights on what is today and that which is yet to come. Teach us to see the new that You are doing before us. Show us how to love those around us in a way that encourages, blesses and helps others see the new that You are bringing in all that lies ahead. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for the past, recognize the remarkable gift of today, and anticipate with hope, all that is yet to come. Amen.

 

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

 

See, the former things have taken place, and new things I declare; before they spring into being I announce them to you. – Isaiah 42:9

Strength is His Crown

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” – (Matthew 11:28, NIV) 

“Are you weary, carrying a heavy burden? Then come to me. I will refresh your life, for I am your oasis.” – (Matthew 11:28, TPT) 

 

As a teacher on winter break, I have felt burden-free for nearly a week. Strangely, each afternoon, I have hit a lull point, where I find myself fighting to stay awake. Rather than give in to the weariness, I have been brewing a cup of coffee, and moving on to whatever is next. My Fitbit stopped syncing nearly a month ago, so I had no access to my sleep data. This morning, I did not hear my husband’s alarm, and did not wake until he leaned over to give me a kiss goodbye. Out of curiosity, I checked to see if my Fitbit had synced and would let me know my length of sleep. Incredibly, it somehow began syncing yesterday, and the time sleeping feature, was suddenly in place for the entire last week. To my surprise, I discovered that I had not slept more than five or six hours each night, so apparently, last night, the rest my body needed, was granted. Seven and a half hours of sleep in one night is far closer to the recommended rest we ought to receive. Even though I did not realize I needed it, the rest my body required, was granted. The Lord provides what we need, even when we are unaware ourselves. May we ever seek Him to lay down our burdens and find true rest, as the Lord is our strength, song, and space of restoration. 

 

Give God your burdens, fef5d24e-e998-405b-b390-8f649c83aa77597430737440339617.jpg

Seek Him to find rest; 

He grants what’s needed, 

And He knows us best. 

Come all you weary, 

Lay your burdens down; 

Allow Him carry, 

For strength is His crown. 

Seek the Lord also, 

To truly know rest; 

His grace abundant, 

As love is expressed. 

For some it is sleep, 

Our just to slow down; 

Whatever the need, 

Provision is found. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can come to You with our burdens and weariness, and You supply us rest. Thank You that You are stronger than the weight of any burden we bear, and You know the sort of rest our bodies, minds and spirits require. Forgive us for ignoring the signals our bodies have been designed to give us when weariness comes, and attempting to power through, where You are ready to grant us rest. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would lay our burdens down before You, and seek You to supply the rest that we need most. Show us how to love those around us in a way that lightens loads and grants room to rest where it is needed most. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we bring our burdens before You and seek You to grant us rest. Amen.

 

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

 

Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from Him. – Psalm 62:5

A Glimpse of Heaven

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people.” – (Luke 2:8-10) 

That night, in a field near Bethlehem, there were shepherds watching over their flocks. Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared in radiant splendor before them, lighting up the field with the blazing glory of God, and the shepherds were terrified! But the angel reassured them, saying, “Don’t be afraid. For I have come to bring you good news, the most joyous news the world has ever heard! It is for everyone everywhere! – (Luke 2:8-10, TPT) 

 

Ordinary shepherds learned of extraordinary news. The men out in their fields were used to fending off predators to their flock, but angelic visits were not within their repertoire of everyday occurrences that they encountered while watching their sheep. Clearly it was an overwhelming sight, as the radiant splendor of God’s messenger caused great fright within the shepherds, and the angel of the Lord had to tell them that they need not be afraid. Incredibly, these faithful shepherds were the first to receive news of the Savior’s birth, and were quick to leave their fields to go and see what the angel had spoken of in Bethlehem. The shepherd’s rapid response to the angel’s news led to them being among the very first to witness and marvel at the miracle lying before them in a manger. The Son of God, Christ the Savior, had arrived. Just as the shepherds received the news so long ago, we are reminded each year during this season of celebration, of the great news that began with the birth of Jesus, that ultimately led to the opportunity for salvation for all who choose believe. May we take time to meditate on the splendor of Christ’s majesty, and recognize the remarkable way in which He came into the world. No palace nor throne, but a simple stable in the open air of night, as an angel proclaimed the arrival of Christ the Lord to some faithful shepherds. Ordinary men received extraordinary news, and because they chose to listen and go see, their lives were changed for all eternity. 

 

Faithful the shepherds, Faithful the Shepherds

In the fields that night; 

Met by an angel, 

Terrifying sight. 

Radiant glory, 

Overwhelmed the men; 

Unprepared to see, 

A glimpse of heaven. 

The angel told them, 

“Do not be afraid; 

For I bring good news, 

To tell you this day.” 

Birth of the Savior, 

In the town nearby; 

They rushed to go see, 

The sweet babe that night. 

Imagine the sight, 

As shepherds arrived; 

Just as they had heard, 

The hope for mankind. 

Though but an infant, 

The shepherds, they knew; 

What had been spoken, 

Was certainly true. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son to be among us. Thank You that though He is the King of kings and the Lord of lords, He came in a way that is approachable and relatable. Heaven came to earth through a miraculous birth, and was declared to ordinary people, just like us. Forgive us for not recognizing in wonder, the magnitude of what took place. Teach us to see and imagine the mountains You moved to bring heaven to earth, so that we all could come to know You, personally. Show us how to love those around us in a way that reflects the depth and willing sacrifice that Your love has given through Jesus. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we stand in awe and wonder at the humble and incredible way that Jesus came to make the way for us all to know You. Amen.

 

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

 

When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.” – Luke 2:15

Such a Humble Start

And while they were there, the time came for her baby to be born. She gave birth to her firstborn son. She wrapped him snugly in strips of cloth and laid him in a manger, because there was no lodging available for them. – (Luke 2:6-7, NLT) 

While Joseph and Mary were in Bethlehem, the time came for her to have the baby. She gave birth to her first son. She wrapped him up well and laid him in a box where cattle fed. She put him there because the guest room was full. – (Luke 2:6-7, ERV) 

 

There are so many details about the birth of Jesus that are beyond my ability to grasp. First, as a woman about to give birth, I cannot fathom the exhaustion Mary must have been feeling after their four-day journey. Then, after travelling eighty-some miles on foot, to be told that there were no rooms available, anywhere, would have been enough to send most over the edge. No mention is made about anyone aiding Mary with the delivery of Jesus. As far as I understand, it was Mary, Joseph, and perhaps the nearby animals in the stable that night. Modern medicine and midwives were not a reasonable option. I think that this was a space where the grace of God was made known in a tangible way, as the young couple brought the Son of God into the world. This brave, strong, young mother, made use of what she had, and wrapped Jesus in strips of cloth and laid him in a bed that was probably far from where she had imagined the precious Prince of Peace would be set to sleep as a newborn. Such a humble beginning made God-with-us all the more relatable and approachable. Though He is King of Creation, He came to us as a newborn baby, in need and dependent on His parents for ordinary things. However, He did not remain an infant in a stable, but grew and became the Overcoming One who saves, and ultimately returned to His rightful throne in heaven. May we remember the humble beginnings of our Savior, recognizing that He understands and can relate to our earthly struggles, yet He is God with us, ready to help and equip us to overcome anything that stands before us. 

 

Weary, in wonder,when-love-came-close.jpg

At their journey’s end; 

Where were they to stay, 

What did God intend? 

No room in the inns, 

But a stable found; 

To bring forth Jesus, 

The image, profound. 

Such a humble start, 

For the Prince of Peace; 

Try fathom the grace, 

To them, God released. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for loving us so much, that You sent Your Son to make the way for us to be restored to right relationship with You. Thank Your that because He came as a baby, in such a humble space, we find comfort as we seek Your grace. Forgive us for either forgetting that baby Jesus grew, became, overcame and is now seated at Your right hand, or for not recognizing that Jesus experienced the same joys and pains as we do and understands. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would bring all before You in faith. Show us how to love those around us in a way that makes Your heart tangible. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for Your purposes that are accomplished through that which does not seem to make sense. Amen.

 

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

 

The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us. We have seen His glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came to us from the Father, full of grace and truth. – John 1:14