Extend Love

Do nothing out of rivalry or conceit, but in humility consider others as more important than yourselves. Everyone should look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others. – (Philippians 2:3-4, HCSB)

In whatever you do, don’t let selfishness or pride be your guide. Be humble, and honor others more than yourselves. Don’t be interested only in your own life, but care about the lives of others too. – (Philippians 2:3-4, ERV)

Don’t let selfishness and prideful agendas take over. Embrace true humility, and lift your heads to extend love to others. Get beyond yourselves and protecting your own interests; be sincere, and secure your neighbors’ interests first. – (Philippians 2:3-4, VOICE)

Life cannot just be about ourselves. When we are inwardly focused, we become miserable, and end up spreading our misery to others. However, when we take our eyes off of the mirror and begin looking out the window, we see those around us and recognize ways that we have been designed to reach out and to love. This is true in our household, neighborhood, communities, and beyond. When we care about the lives of those around us, our love seems to multiply and joy is discovered in the little things. A simple example of this being applied at home is the way that time yesterday was spent. If I had my way (my own selfish agenda), the day would have been spent taking off and exploring and being outdoors. That being said, my husband had just returned from being out of town all week, and there were things around the house that desperately needed to be done. His military background creates a need in him to have order. My artist brain does not mind a bit of clutter, as long as things are cleanish. The decision to spend several hours cleaning and organizing and purging, was an act of love that spoke clearly to my husband’s “acts of service” love tank. Incredibly, as I saw the appreciation on his face and the peace that settled in his countenance, I was blessed as well. May we ever seek the Lord to lead us to look for ways to love and care for those around us. 

When we take the time,

To pause, look around;

Places to reach out,

Are easily found.

An arm to extend,

Encouraging words;

Help we can offer,

Make the Lord’s love heard.

Instead of just self,

Look out for others;

Find God’s way to love,

And bless each other.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to be “otherly”. Thank You that You showed us what it is to look like through Jesus. Forgive us for the times that we have neglected to do the good that we were designed to do because we were too busy worrying about ourselves. Teach us to look around and to love one another as You intended. Show us how to love in practical and tangible ways, for it is in the simple and everyday acts of love that we can clearly see Your heart. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to lead us in Your love to be extended to those around us in the same way that You so lavishly give unto us. Amen.

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

And let us be concerned about one another in order to promote love and good works. – Hebrews 10:24

Provided Rest

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

“Come to Me all of you who are tired from the heavy burden you have been forced to carry. I will give you rest.” – (Matthew 11:28, ERV)

“Come to Me, all of you who are tired and have heavy loads. I will give you rest.” – (Matthew 11:28, ICB)

Sometimes, life can be exhausting. Weariness can come out of nowhere, and we simply need to slow down and rest. God is faithful to provide opportunities, if only we look to Him. After the great blessing of being able to go on vacation, we were exhausted from our return trip home. Our day had begun in its typical early fashion, followed by a day filled with preparing to head home, wandering around to pass the time prior to departure, and then the long journey home. Our first flight took off in the late afternoon, followed by a nearly two-hour layover, and then onto our red-eye flight home. No measurable sleep was had on the flight, and we arrived home to discover two puppies who were desperate for our attention. Though there was an attempt to nap after feeding and spending time with the pups, there was no sleep to be had for me. The day continued with the typical back home busy, and there was no thought nor opportunity for sleep until bedtime. Fast-forward to this morning, and I had slept nearly nine hours through the night! When I woke, I felt rested and refreshed, and ready for all that the day holds. God is good, and He is faithful to provide rest as we seek and listen to Him.

When tired, weary,

Or simply worn out;

God provides us rest,

Love’s what He’s about.

With goodness and grace,

The Lord makes a way;

Strength and endurance,

He supplies each day.

Blessings abundant,

Even when plans change;

His love apparent,

As it shall remain.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You love us and provide rest when we are weary. Thank You that even when rest comes in unconventional ways, You have a plan to bless, rest and refresh us. Forgive us for our frustrations when things don’t go as we might have anticipated. Teach us to trust that You have all in Your hands, and You love us more than we could hope or imagine. Show us how to love those around us as You do. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for Your love that supplies the strength and rest we need to navigate our days well. Amen.

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

The Lord God is our Protector and glorious King. He blesses us with kindness and honor. The Lord freely gives every good thing to those who do what is right. – Psalm 84:11

Give Thanks for His Faithfulness

Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His faithful love endures forever. – (Psalm 118:29, HCSB)

Praise the Lord because He is good. His faithful love will last forever. – (Psalm 118:29, ERV)

Give thanks to our Eternal Lord; He is always good. He never ceases to be loving and kind. – (Psalm 118:29, VOICE)

God is always good. He is worthy of our thanks and praise, for His faithful love knows no end. It has been an extraordinarily long week already, and today is only Wednesday. Between the dogs waking me well before my alarm, kids at school being extra with spring break coming up, and my own eager anticipation for a much-needed break, each day seems to drag on. That being said, it is now Wednesday. Two weeks ago, the countdown was much longer. Two more wakeups until we get to a break, and three wakeups until my love and I escape to a week in a warmer climate. There is so much to be thankful for. Two years ago, our spring break plans were canceled because of Covid. Now, two years later, our plans are firm and the countdown is about 72 hours away. Despite all of the busy and the crazy, I have felt His presence and His peace. I know anticipating something good has been helpful as well. In life, we should always hold that anticipation of something better coming, as we have hope in eternity with Him. No matter what lies directly before us, the ultimate outcome that we are waiting for is goodness forever. May we hold fast to the hope we have now and forevermore, and may we give God thanks and praise for His faithful love forever.

Give thanks to the Lord,

Forever He’s good;

His love surrounds us,

Kindness understood.

No matter what comes,

We’ve blessings to hold;

Hope in forever,

A love beyond bold.

His kindness and grace,

Fill and overwhelm;

Forever faithful,

He makes His love known.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are good and that Your love lasts forever. Thank You that all hope is found in You. Forgive us for our fears, frustrations and doubts that sneak in when days overwhelm us. Show us anew, the hope we have in You. Lead us to love those around us as You do.  May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we embrace the hope we have in You and praise You for Your loving kindness that meets us where we are and leads us where we need to go. Amen.

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

Be strong and courageous, all you who put your hope in the Lord. – Psalm 31:24

He Grants Us His Rest

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

“Come to Me all of you who are tired from the heavy burden you have been forced to carry. I will give you rest.” – (Matthew 11:28, ERV)

Then Jesus said, “Come to Me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.” – (Matthew 11:28, NLT)

God’s timing is perfect. Our need for rest does not escape Him. The six or so weeks between the New Year and this lovely long weekend, have seemed more like six months. Between being busy and the ongoing navigation of teaching and coaching in a pandemic, the weight of the last many weeks has taken its toll. In anticipation of the much-needed rest, I did some research and found a great AirbNb for a long weekend escape. It is in a small quiet town, right on the beach, and the weather is forecast to be rainy and gray. The combination of these things are promoters of rest. I anticipate lazy, leisurely mornings, relaxing days and restful nights. For both my love and me, it is exactly what we are needing together. The provision of time and resources to get away are an answer to prayer. May we ever seek the Lord to help us lay down our burdens and find rest in Him. 

Choose turn to Jesus,

When weary and worn;

He grants us His rest,

As new strength is born.

For in Him there’s peace,

He knows what is best;

To refresh our hearts,

And give our souls rest.

Lead us Lord Jesus,

To find rest in You;

Lighten the burdens,

As love’s what You do.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we come to You with our heaviness and weariness, You provide spaces and time for rest. Thank You for Your kindness and love that lightens our load and grants us the rest and refreshment we need. Forgive us for the times that we neglect to come to You, for You are faithful to meet us as we come to You and supply what we need most. Teach us to trust and rely on You always. Show us how to love well, so that those around us are blessed and refreshed too. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You for rest and praise You for Your provision. Amen.

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

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

Flooded With Love

Love us, God, with all You’ve got – that’s what we’re depending on. – (Psalm 33:22, MSG)

Let Your love and steadfast kindness overshadow us continually, for we trust and we wait upon You. – (Psalm 33:22, TPT)

O Eternal, drench us with Your endless love, even now as we wait for You. – (Psalm 33:22, VOICE)

Finally, this morning, after sleeping in until 5:00am, I am finally beginning to feel like it is actually Christmas break. It is strange how it takes a few days to settle in and realize that it is time to relax and decompress from the craziness that this year has held. This is the time to rest in Him, for His love floods our hearts and minds when we are intentional to seek time with the Lord. God surrounds us with His love through all things, great and small, if only we look to Him to be our Source and Supply. May we look to the Lord and depend on Him, for His love floods our hearts as we depend on Him.

O come, Lord Jesus,

Flood our hearts and minds;

With Your endless love,

And grace to be kind.

Lead us in all things,

Wherever we go;

Let Your goodness shine,

So all come to know.

Know of the wonder,

Of love that will last;

Peace never ending,

With lifelong impact.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we seek and depend on You, You flood us with Your overwhelming, never ending love. Forgive us for our lack of seeking. Teach us to lean into You in seasons of busy and times of rest. Show us Your faithfulness in the unexpected, and lead us to love those around us in ways that show Your amazing love made tangible. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You in every season and give praise for Your amazing love. Amen.

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

So then it does not depend on human will or effort but on God who shows mercy. – Romans 9:16

Quiet Retreat

You are my refuge and my shield; I have put my hope in Your word. – (Psalm 119:114, NIV) 

You’re my place of quiet retreat, and Your wrap-around presence becomes my shield as I wrap myself in Your word! – (Psalm 119:114, TPT) 

You are my hiding place and my shield of protection; I hope in Your word. – (Psalm 119:114, VOICE) 

I have been in the habit of seeking a quiet retreat with God every morning for several years now, however, in this seemingly long season of COVID, I find that there has been far more down time than I am a fan of having. That being said, it has forced me to either rest in the truth of His word, and appreciate the quiet retreat, or allow my heart and mind in a frenzy of what I could and should be doing. Thor, our yellow lab puppy, grants me glimpses of how God must see me. Sometimes, he is bouncing all over the place and struggles to settle down, even after food, play and his basic needs have been met. At times, he will settle himself down and rest in the safety of home. There are times though, where redirection and correction are needed to help him find a space of quiet retreat, where he will simply settle in and rest. I know that I am the same. In the early morning, it is easy for me to seek quiet retreat with God, and rest in His presence as I soak in His word. When the days grow long, and I desperately desire to go out and be active and busy, He will correct, redirect and help me to settle into His safety and trust Him to show me what to do next. God is good, and is our refuge and place of hope. May we ever seek Him to protect, direct and show us what is best. 

Our quiet retreat, 

Safety where there’s rest; 

The Lord is our hope, 

As He loves us best. 

Brings calm in the storm, 

The truth in His word; 

Grace in our chaos, 

Love that’s seen and heard. 

He offers us space, 

To rest in His grace; 

And trust in His truth, 

For all of our days. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our safety and shelter, and offer us truth and direction in Your word. Thank You that when we seek You, we find You. Forgive us for not seeking You in our own unrest. Teach us to turn to You for peace, direction and rest, as You lead us best. Show us how to love those around us well, so that Your loving kindness may be made known. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You and spend time in Your word to learn and rest in You. 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

Seek for Strength

Look to the Lord and His strength; seek His face always. – (1 Chronicles 16:11, NIV)

Depend on the Lord for strength. Always go to Him for help. – (1 Chronicles 16:11, ERV)

Seek the Lord; yes, seek His strength, and seek His face untiringly. – (1 Chronicles 16:11, TLB)

 

Every day is a day to look to the Lord for His strength, yet days that happen to be overwhelmingly scheduled with busy from morning until nearly bedtime, are especially strong reminders to seek the Lord for His help. Today happens to be one of those days. Our first early dismissal day happens to coincide with Open House. For the kids, this is fantastic, as they are able to have extra time at home to relax before returning to school to introduce their parents to their teachers and tour around the school. However, for staff, early dismissal actually means time with our colleagues for professional collaboration. Early out days for the kids, actually tend to be longer for staff, and for many of us, will be with little or no break all the way to the end of Open House. It is always a joy to meet the families; there is need though, for His strengthening to have the stamina to remain “on” for so many hours. Additionally, the Open House for my own children’s school happens to be this evening as well. This will be the first time in their schooling that I have been unable to attend. I am hopeful that their Open House has later hours than ours, and I can somehow swing by, but I am uncertain yet as to whether or not that is possible. Either way, God is good, and He will provide the strength I need to navigate today. May we ever seek the Lord for strength, for He is faithful to meet us each time that we seek Him.

Today will be mom’s speech therapy assessment for in-home care in Oregon. After more than a month-long battle to work out insurance issues, the day has finally come. Though mom’s speech has returned extraordinarily well since late April, word finding can still be a frustration, especially when she is tired. Speech therapy is fantastic for aiding in rebuilding the pathways to assist with the areas of struggle, and I know mom is eager to get back to it. Please continue to pray with us for the people whom God has chosen to work with mom, and for God to be her strength as she continues in her ongoing recovery and rehabilitation.

 

On the longest days, 0612190457254276551488597199.jpg

When we are unsure;

Of how we’ll get through,

In Christ, we’re secure.

The Lord, He provides,

All that our hearts need;

To rise in His strength,

As in love, He leads.

So, trust in the Lord,

He provides with grace;

Strength, love and His peace,

Throughout all our days.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can seek You to be our strength. Thank You that You are faithful to supply all that we need to navigate each new day. Forgive us for the times that we think we have to do it alone, or somehow have to “power through”. Teach us to trust and rely on You more. Show us how to love those around us well, so that we may offer strength and support, grace and peace, to encourage weary hearts to press on. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You to be our strength, even on our longest days. Amen.

 

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

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

Strength and a Sure Path

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

God is my strong fortress. He clears the path I need to take. – (2 Samuel 22:33, ERV)

God is my strong fortress; He has made me safe. – (2 Samuel 22:33, TLB)

 

Returning home after a long leave away, launched me into a season of scheduled busy that keeps me moving from early morning until the time I lie down to sleep each night. Though I would not trade it, on days such as this, I have to pause and reflect, and recognize that I only reached Friday by God’s grace and strength, with His guidance. He has protected my boys as they have begun the venture of driving solo, and granted each of us strength to return to the routine of the school year. Currently, this also includes crazy, busy weekends for all of us. God is good, and He knows our needs and is generous and kind to meet them. He makes a way for us to navigate securely, and shows us what to prioritize to maintain peace. May we ever seek our Savior to be our strength and fortress, and to show us the way that He is leading us to go.

As for mom, I imagine she is seeking the Lord to be her strength and security too, as she adapts to the new schedule in Oregon at my sister’s. With my nephews back at school, and sister and brother-in-love back to work, she has a “Visiting Angel” spending time with her during the day in their absence, and is continuing to adjust to discovering a new routine with new care-givers during the day. Mom is resilient and kind, and I know will continue to work tirelessly toward recovering with her eyes on the prize; ever pursuing her total independence again.

 

The Lord is our strength, Bold in Battle

Keeps the way secure;

Grants hope for today,

Help so we endure.

In all our trials,

And each victory;

God will be present,

Love’s delivery.

All thanks be to God,

For His faithfulness;

As we are transformed,

By His graciousness.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our strength and that You make our path secure. Thank You that You provide and guide, even when we feel weary or wonder how the way will even be possible. Forgive us for the times that we allow the obstacles or heaviness to cloud our faith, rather than look to You. Teach us to trust You, for You are far greater than anything that lies before us or comes our way. Show us how to love those around us in a way that extends strength and hope and direction. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for Your guidance, strength and love that lead us well. Amen.

 

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

 

The Lord is my strength and my defense; He has become my salvation. He is my God, and I will praise Him, my father’s God, and I will exalt Him. – Exodus 15:2

Rest in His Grace

For great is His love toward us, and the faithfulness of the Lord endures forever. Praise the Lord. – (Psalm 117:2, NIV)

He loves us very much! The Lord will be faithful to us forever! Praise the Lord! – (Psalm 117:2, ERV)

For He loves us very dearly, and His truth endures. Praise the Lord. – (Psalm 117:2, TLB)

 

After a long week, there is nothing quite so sweet as time with family. There is something about time together that reminds us of the Father’s love, and His faithfulness that knows no end. Last evening, both up north and down south, our family was appreciating the Lord’s faithfulness that carried us through the week. For my husband and I, we were grateful for the opportunity to take our eldest to dinner and enjoy time with him, one-on-one. He works graveyard shift, so time together has been rare over the last year. As for my sister, mom and family down south, it has been an insanely busy week as well. Between work, appointments, preparing for school to start, senior pictures, and everything else that goes along with life, an evening out together was enjoyed and appreciated by all. This weekend is intended to be one of exploration and discovery of the new, as well as the enjoyment of one another, both of which are things that remind us of God’s faithfulness to us, and of the endless reasons to give Him praise. May we ever be aware of the Father’s love and faithfulness forever, and praise Him as His goodness knows no end.

 

The love of the Lord, img_2019-08-24_06-14-411223535138380412305.jpg

Endures for all time;

His grace knows no end,

As we seek, we’ll find.

Faithful forever,

Worthy of all praise;

Gracious Redeemer,

The Ancient of Days.

Trust in the Lord God,

And rest in His grace;

He loves us to life,

Leads us in His ways.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You love us and are faithful forever. Thank You that You bring us to spaces of rest and refreshment when we need it the most. Thank You for the gift of family. Thank You for the countless reasons to praise You. Forgive us for the times that we get caught up in the momentary struggle and distracted from the ways in which You are at the ready to be our strength. Teach us to trust You more. Show us how to love and encourage those around us, so that they may come to know and understand the depth and faithfulness of Your love through us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for who You are and Your unending faithfulness. Amen.

 

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

 

Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. – Matthew 11:28

Answered with Unfailing Love

Answer my prayers, O Lord, for Your unfailing love is wonderful. Take care of me, for Your mercy is so plentiful. – (Psalm 69:16, NLT)

Answer me, Lord, from the goodness of Your faithful love. Out of Your great kindness turn to me and help me! – (Psalm 69:16, ERV)

Answer me, Lord, for Your faithful love is good! Turn to me in Your great compassion! – (Psalm 69:16, CEB)

 

God is so kind and knows how to love us so well; individually. One of the greatest challenges in this season for both mom and myself, has been the sense of feeling stuck indoors. Add to that the inactivity, (compared to our normal race-pace) and we each have had plenty of reason to pray. Over the last several weeks, God has been showing us more and more, ways to get out of the house for a change of scenery. Our need to wander has been satiated with afternoon exploration adventures in the car, where I have driven wherever mom has directed. In the process, I have discovered beautiful back roads that I never knew existed, and the restlessness from being stuck indoors has been greatly reduced. Yesterday, after taking care of some hall-walking and stretching, mom determined that she was ready for another adventure, but uncertain as to where she’d like to go. I mentioned that I had only been to Mission Ridge once, in the winter, so I was curious to see the space in the summertime. Mom said it was only a thirty-minute drive each way, so completely doable. We had a destination in mind, so off we went. The sun was shining and the ride along the way was wonderful. Beautiful back roads led the way, as we meandered past orchards and farmland, woods and hills, all leading to the winding way up the short pass. At the top, the view of the valley below was fantastic. Mom was content to remain in the car while I climbed up to the top of the nearby hill for a quick photo, and then returned to make our way back down. We of course stopped at Dutch Bros on our way home, and enjoyed a chat with my sister (the beauty of bluetooth technology) on the way. The remainder of the evening was relaxing and uneventful, as we enjoyed dinner, a movie and soon called it a night. Today should prove to be busy, as mom has her first hair appointment since before this all began, followed by a lunch get-together with her besties. She slept fairly well, with only one wake-up in the night, rising for the day, beginning with breakfast at 5:00 am.

 

When we choose to call, img_2019-08-04_15-53-407113136716219085470.jpg

On the loving Lord;

He’s faithful to hear,

His grace He affords.

Kindness unending,

Mercy that won’t fail;

Hope that will hold us,

As His love prevails.

In all things, choose trust,

For God’s always good;

Faithful forever,

Our hope understood.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You hear our prayers and You are faithful to answer. Thank You that You are good and that Your mercy knows no end. Forgive us for our fears and doubts when the time between the asking and the answer seems long. Teach us to trust You more, as Your timing is perfect, and You know our needs better than we know ourselves. Show us how to love and encourage those around us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You for answers and praise You for Your goodness and faithfulness forever. Amen.

 

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

 

Let the morning bring me word of Your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in You. Show me the way I should go, for to You I entrust my life. – Psalm 143:8