Peace to Anxious Spaces

Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. – (Psalm 139:23, NIV)

God, examine me and know my mind. Test me and know all my worries. – (Psalm 139:23, ERV)

God, I invite Your searching gaze into my heart. Examine me through and through; find out everything that may be hidden within me. Put me to the test and sift through all my anxious cares. – (Psalm 139:23, TPT)

This is a good reminder, especially during seasons that seem to spark anxiety. Normally, I would have written something about the eagerness for the first day of school. However, yesterday, all I could do was read and pray, as I was anxious to walk into the unknown after nearly eighteen months. Yes, I had returned to hybrid school in the spring, but there were only a handful of kids in class at any given time, so the idea of full classrooms and the chaos of the “normal” start of the school year was weighty. God knows our needs and meets us where we are. Despite a bit of a bumpy morning, the day went well. Kids were excited to be back at school, and the vast majority were fantastic about masks and social distancing. I know for many, there was much anxiety about the unknown. Two-thirds of the student body had never before set foot on campus. My classes are primarily eighth graders, so most had been away since their sixth grade year that was cut short and flipped upside down. God knows each heart and what it needs. When we slow down and quiet our hearts, He whispers the words that bring peace. I can’t pretend to understand why we are in the midst of a pandemic that is still our reality, but I can trust that He has placed us all together for this season. May we ever give God the reins and ask Him to search our hearts, for He is the One who uncovers and soothes our anxiousness and brings peace to places of uneasiness.

O God, bring us peace,

In space of unrest;

You know well each heart,

And how to love best.

Lead us in Your love,

With goodness and grace;

Teach us to love well,

So peace finds a place.

A place in our schools,

Each classroom and hall;

Let kindness give room,

To one and to all.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are with us and that You know our every anxious thought. Thank You that You hear and answer us every time we call on You. Forgive us for holding on to anxious thoughts and not giving You room to bring Your peace. Teach us to trust You in all things and at all times, even when things don’t make sense. Show us how to love well and bring peace to all those whom we encounter. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You our cares and trust Your love to lead us in Your goodness and peace. Amen.

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

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

Abounding Love for the Asking

You, Lord, are forgiving and good, abounding in love to all who call on You. – (Psalm 86:5, NIV)

My Lord, You are good and merciful. You love all those who call on You for help. – (Psalm 86:5, ERV)

O Lord, You are good and ready to forgive; Your loyal love flows generously over all who cry out to You. – (Psalm 86:5, VOICE)

David, the author of the eighty-sixth Psalm, understood and experienced God’s goodness, mercy and loyal love as he called on Him. He was no stranger to desperately needing God, calling on His Name, and then experiencing His goodness, forgiveness and lavish love. In the same way that David sought the Lord and saw His faithfulness, we too, can seek and find the  Lord. If we call on Him, He hears us, and pours out His love upon us. May we ever turn to the Lord in every season, and call on Him to lovingly lead us along every twist and turn our journey provides.

Goodness and mercy,

Mystery of grace;

Lovingly poured out,

As we seek God’s face.

Forgiveness given,

Though it’s undeserved;

Faithful to answer,

Holiness observed.

May we ever seek,

For it’s where we’ll find;

Love that’s unending,

Grace from the Divine.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we seek You, we find You and all of Your goodness. Thank You that as we call on Your Name, You hear us and hold our heart. Forgive us for not seeking and pursuing You in all things. Teach us to trust who You are and how You love. Show us how to love those around us in the same way, so that Your goodness and grace may be evident to all. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we relentlessly pursue You and recognize the blessing beheld in time spent with You. Amen.

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

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

Follow the Example of Love

Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. – (Ephesians 5:1-2, NIV)

You are God’s dear children, so try to be like Him. Live a life of love. Love others just as Christ loved us. He gave Himself for us – a sweet-smelling offering and sacrifice to God. – (Ephesians 5:1-2, ERV)

Watch what God does, and then you do it, like children who learn proper behavior from their parents. Mostly what God does is love you. Keep company with Him and learn a life of love. Observe how Christ loved us. His love was not cautious but extravagant. He didn’t love in order to get something from us but to give everything of Himself to us. Love like that. – (Ephesians 5:1-2, MSG)

I so appreciate the Message translation of this passage. The reality that what God mostly does is love us, is incredible and undeserved. If we spend time with Him, He teaches and shows us what it is to live a life of love. Christ’s love is selfless, not selfish. He loved without expecting anything in return. We are called to do likewise. This kind of love is not natural for the human heart, however, the more we seek and spend time with the Lord, the more we learn to love like Him. In a world where so much adversity and animosity exist, we need to love all the more. Love is a decision, not a feeling. We must choose to love one another as we are loved by God. In order to do so, we must seek the Lord, know Him, and depend on Him to equip us to do exactly what we were created to do. May we ever lean into the Lord to show us what it is to love in every situation and circumstance.

As children of God,

May we seek to love;

All people, always,

Like the Lord above.

It is a free gift,

With no strings attached;

Yet it draws us in,

In thanks, we react.

Respond with kindness,

God’s grace, love and peace;

The more we choose love,

Enmity released.

The Lord’s love gave all,

We’re called to the same;

To extend His grace,

Instead of placed blame.

Lead us in love, Lord,

Show us love Your way;

Help us be better,

Each waking new day.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You first loved us – completely and extravagantly, despite what we deserved. Thank You that You call us to love in the same way. Forgive us for the times that we have neglected to choose love. Show us how to love like You in all things and at all times. Instruct us as You grow our hearts to more closely reflect Your own. Use us as Your ambassadors of peace as we seek to love You and people well. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we ever pursue You and seek to be a reflection of Your radiant love. Amen.

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

You, Lord, are forgiving and good, abounding in love to all who call to You. – Psalm 86:5

Place of Safety

Trust in Him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts to Him, for God is our refuge. – (Psalm 62:8, NIV)

People, always put your trust in God! Tell Him all your problems. God is our place of safety. – (Psalm 62:8, ERV)

Join me, everyone! Trust only in God every moment! Tell Him all your troubles and pour out your heart-longings to Him. Believe me when I tell you – He will help you! Pause in His presence. – (Psalm 62:8, TPT)

 

We really are in a space of having no choice but to trust in Him. With the daily tolls climbing of those affected by COVID-19, and the increasing impact it is having on medical system, our economy, and families, it is a space where people either panic or choose to trust. God is a great listener. He hears all that we have to say. No question is too small nor too great, and He is not offended by our lack of understanding. God is our safe space, waiting with open arms to embrace us in our moments of fear, frustration or disbelief. For me, the greatest struggle is having to stay at home. Don’t get me wrong, I love my people who make our house a home; it is the wanderlust in me that has this constant desire to be out moving and doing and exploring. My one escape each day is to run, but that is severely out of balance in relationship to the number of hours I find myself seated on the couch, attempting to make sense of my job and how to function digitally. Please do not misunderstand, for I am immensely grateful that I am among the gainfully employed. Rather, it is a struggle to shift from continually moving around my classroom, and walking about campus, to spending so much time indoors. There is a learning curve, and I am adapting, it just takes time and trust and prayer. What I realize more than ever, is the countless reasons that I do have to express gratitude. Even from indoors, I can see trees surrounding us out each window. When I head outside and walk, I do not need to go far to see cherry blossoms blooming, daffodils cheerfully greeting walkways, and not far off, I can catch glimpses of the Puget Sound. Additionally, when I go further, the snow-capped Cascades rise over the water. If I head a different direction to run, I am greeted by the glorious glaciers gleaming in the early morning light a top Mt. Rainier. Beauty is everywhere, and this is our opportunity to truly take it all in. As we close out our week, may we pause in His presence and share our hearts with He who holds us in the hollow of His hands. God is good, and His love for us knows no end.

 

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Share your heart with Him;

He’s present to help,

As we let Him in.

Our place of safety,

When troubles surround;

Peace in the chaos,

Where life and love’s found.

Lean into Jesus,

He always is near;

Ready to listen,

Each heart cry He’ll hear.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are certain, even when all around us is not. Thank You that we can trust in You and depend on You to be our space of safety and the One to whom we can say anything that is on our heart. Thank You that You are bigger than our fears, frustrations and doubts. Forgive us for our restlessness as we adjust to a new normal. Show us how to call on You and depend on You to be our safety, our comfort and our companion. Teach us how to love those around us well, even though it will look different, Your heart can be conveyed through kindness, encouragement and support as we offer what we have to give. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You to be our safety, our confidante and the One who hears our every heart cry as we wait out this storm, loving people well. Amen.

 

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

 

You are my hiding place; You will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance. – Psalm 32:7

Generous and Active Love

You, Lord, are forgiving and good, abounding in love to all who call to You. – (Psalm 86:5, NIV)

My Lord, You are good and merciful. You love all those who call to You for help. – (Psalm 86:5, ERV)

O Lord, You are good and ready to forgive; Your loyal love flows generously over all who cry out to You. – (Psalm 86:5, VOICE)

 

On mornings like this, it is so good to open up my reading for the day and be reminded of who God is and how generously and actively He loves. Love, as God intended, is not a feeling, but it is alive and active. Love forgives, extends goodness, is loyal and generous to all. I am amazed at how quickly He reminds me of His love when I find myself in a space in need of grace. This week has been extraordinarily long, as it is the final week of the semester. Add to that the last meet of the regular season for high school gymnastics and preparations required for the start of middle school season, as well as the ongoing post-season for high school, and I have felt a bit flooded. Kids in classes have been extra stirred up, and the pressure to make certain final submissions of projects are completed, only added to the angst. After practice yesterday afternoon, followed by a run in the pouring rain, I was so grateful to be showered in goodness and grace with a brief dinner escape with my love. The opportunity to connect and catch up after the crazy that the week contained, reminded me of God’s goodness and mercy for me. He provides what we need, when we need it most, and He holds our hearts in His hands, if we are willing to grant Him permission. Each time we call on Him for help, it is an affirmation of our trust in Christ. He hears and knows, and is ready to meet us with His love that is alive and active, ever moving on our behalf. May we call on Christ in faith, trusting in His goodness and grace; for He is good and His love endures forever.

 

The Lord is so good, Generous and Active Love

Abounding in love;

A heart set to give,

All who seek above.

He’s mercy and grace,

Ready to forgive;

Those who call on Him,

Know love as they live.

Faithful forever,

God’s goodness abounds;

Seek Him to find Him,

Where new life is found.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You show us what love means through Your example. Thank You that as we call on You, we come to know Your goodness, forgiveness, help and love that floods our hearts and lives as we seek You. Forgive us for not turning to You in trust when we grow weary or are at our wits end. Teach us to call out to You, for You are faithful forever. Show us how to love those around us with the same generosity and grace that You have for us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we call on You and recognize the abounding love that surrounds us as we seek You. Amen.

 

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

 

How priceless is Your unfailing love, O God! People take refuge in the shadow of Your wings. – Psalm 36:7

Just Pray

One day Jesus was praying in a certain place. When He finished, one of His disciples said to Him, “Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.” – (Luke 11:1, NIV)

One time Jesus was out praying, and when He finished, one of His followers said to Him, “John taught his followers how to pray. Lord, teach us how to pray too.” – (Luke 11:1, ERV)

One day, as Jesus was in prayer, one of His disciples came over to Him as He finished and said, “Would you teach us a model prayer that we can pray, just like John did for his disciples?” – (Luke 11:1, TPT)

 

Yesterday, after having been away last weekend, I finally had the opportunity to listen to the podcast from Sunday’s message. This week, Pastor Omar continued his DNA series (A review of our foundational values). The message was about prayer, and spring boarded from the passage in Luke 11, verses 1-13. First and foremost, Jesus lived and modeled a life of prayer. He set the example of what we were designed to do to be in communication with the Father. When asked by a disciple to teach them to pray, Jesus did not rattle off some eloquent prayer, nor give a formula to be repeated; rather what we have come to know as the Lord’s prayer, is really a reminder of things to keep in mind as we pray. We need to acknowledge and praise God for who He is, ask Him to meet our needs; seek forgiveness and His help forgiving others, and His protection from temptation. Jesus went on to tell a story of a person seeking their neighbor in need, and pointed out that the neighbor would get up and help the friend, not because of the friendship, but because of their boldness to ask when it was inconvenient.  The heart of God is so much more than that of our friends, neighbors and family members. He gives the Holy Spirit to help and guide us, and hears every word that is raised heavenward, as He meets the needs we know, and even those we may not be aware of yet. Most of us, if asked, would respond that our prayer life could use a lift. Pastor Omar gave some practical reminders of how exactly we can do just that.

To strengthen our prayer life:

– Ask Jesus to teach us how to pray.

– Walk with the Holy Spirit.

– Find a rhythm for prayer. (Discover when your best time to pray is, and use it!)

– Recognize that there are seasons in life, and as life ebbs and flows, what our prayer life looks like will too.

– Understand that we each have our own personality and relate to God individually. Just as children interact and relate to their parents uniquely, so too, do we with our Heavenly Father.

– Commit for the long haul. Change, habits, lifestyles all transform over time, not overnight.

– Be okay with silence. Sometimes, prayer is sitting silently before God and waiting, listening, or resting in His presence. All are good things to grow in Him.

– Lastly, just pray. To strengthen a prayer life requires praying.

May we remember that prayer is not just a thing that we do, but rather it is a place we go to be in the presence of God to communicate with Him.

 

As for mom, today is the day!!!! After two months and eight days, I will see mom tonight! The moment I arrive home from work, Mark and I will hop in the car and head south to my sister and family’s home in Oregon. Typically, due to traffic, it is a six-plus hour drive. We are praying for traveling mercies and lighter than usual traffic, but no matter what, we will have each other and a great destination awaiting our arrival. The anticipation of seeing Mom and witnessing her progress with my own eyes is making the thought of working a full day prior to our departure, a bit painful. I am praying that today is one of those days that flies by before you even feel like you can blink, sort of days. 😊

 

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The power of prayer;

To touch and change lives,

And show that we care.

It’s crazy to think,

That each time we pray;

He who gave us life,

Hears each word we say.

Holy is the Lord,

Who hears all our needs;

Forgives us our sins,

And in His way, leads.

Make time to reach out,

Spend time with the King;

It’s how lives transform,

As His love He brings.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we have the privilege of prayer. Thank You that You, the Creator of the Universe, care and have time to hear the heart and prayers of each of Your created; individually. Forgive us for not making prayer a priority, as communication is key in any relationship. Teach us to pray in a way that is comfortable and natural and sustainable. Show us how to love those around us well, as we lift each up to You in prayer. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we come to You and pray to You, asking, seeking, and listening; for You are amazing and it is a gift to grow in relationship with You. Amen.

 

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

 

I call on You, my God, for You will answer me; turn Your ear to me and hear my prayer. – Psalm 17:7

Our Hearts Are Heard

This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. – (1 John 5:14, NIV)

We can come to God with no doubts. This means that when we ask God for things (and those things agree with what God wants for us), God cares about what we say. – (1 John 5:14, ERV)

Since we have this confidence, we can also have great boldness before Him, for if we present any request agreeable to His will, He will hear us. – (1 John 5:14, TPT)

 

God amazes me with how He hears us, both audibly, and the very cries of our hearts. For me, since I have been home, there have been prayers met that were actually lifted, and then there have been those that were merely hidden hopes in my heart, that have been heard and honored by my Heavenly Father. One of the ways that my heart is filled best is through quality time with the people I love. After such an extended time away from home, it has been especially important to me to find time to spend with my family and friends before the school year begins again. Last week, I was able to take each of my boys back-to-school shopping, individually, and enjoy their company, one-on-one. I have been able to get some running in with my running bestie, and visits, walks and yes, even a run in, with my best friend too, as well as wonderful, ordinary, everyday life with my husband. Time together is such a blessing, and last evening, he took me back to the place where we had our very first date, three years ago. We sat at the same table, at nearly the same time of day. What a difference three years makes! Back then, I was so nervous, that I could not even lift my water glass without my hand shaking. That being said, Mark was able to set my heart and mind at ease, and made our first encounter light and enjoyable, as we began to learn more about one another. After he walked me out to my car and asked permission to call me to see me again, the nervousness had completely subsided, and I knew that there was something worth getting to know about this gentle giant. Nearly two years later we were married, and now, three years later, we have our first year of marriage under our belt with a lifetime to look forward to with joy. He too, was an answer to a prayer that I didn’t quite know how to pray. I knew that when the time came, I would need someone who could love me well, and that would appreciate being loved by me as well. God knew what we both needed, and fit us together perfectly. God hears and He answers when we ask Him according to His good and perfect will.

Yesterday, mom had a wonderful day of being celebrated well. The day began with my sister and her family taking mom to brunch, followed by a walk down by the river at a park nearby. The plan was to attend church after, but I did not catch whether or not that transpired or not, in our conversation last evening. Mom enjoyed the afternoon with the family, and was set up with some new technology to aid in the use of her tablet and cell phone. (Meg and family found holders for each that attach to mom’s chair so that she can use them while seated, one-handed) Their evening continued with my brother-in-love’s fantastic barbecue work for dinner, and a relaxing time enjoying one another. Our ask of the Lord this week is that God continues to settle mom’s heart and help all of them to find a routine so that each feels at ease and able to do what needs to be done. Change is challenging for all, but the grace of God is greater. We are trusting Him to be their peace and their Provider, as He leads them through each of the new that need be navigated this week.

 

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In confidence, come;

All asked in His will,

Are heard and welcome.

For God knows our needs,

What blesses our hearts;

Place all in His hands,

As grace He imparts.

His goodness abounds,

As His love shall lead;

We will discover,

He’ll meet all our needs.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that because of Jesus, we can approach You with confidence, trusting that You hear our every prayer. Thank You that Your ways are higher than ours, and Your will is the only way we should go. Forgive us for the times that we find ourselves frustrated for the seemingly unanswered prayers, as You patiently wait for us to listen for Your will and way, or to recognize what the right answer really is. Thank You for loving us through our wandering. Teach us to seek and trust You more. Show us how to love those around us in ways that make Your goodness and grace tangible. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love You and approach You with confidence, knowing that You will hear our every prayer that aligns with Your will. Amen.

 

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

 

I call on You, my God, for You will answer me; turn Your ear to me and hear my prayer. – Psalm 17:6

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

Lifting Up Those Who Lead

First of all, I ask that you pray for all people. Ask God to bless them and give them what they need. And give thanks. You should pray for rulers and for all who have authority. Pray for these leaders so that we can live quiet and peaceful lives – lives full of devotion to God and respect for Him. This is good and pleases God our Savior. – (1 Timothy 2:1-3, ERV)

The first thing I want you to do is pray. Pray every way you know how, for everyone you know. Pray especially for rulers and their governments to rule well so we can be quietly about our business of living simply, in humble contemplation. This is the way our Savior God wants us to live. – (1 Timothy 2:1-3, MSG)

Most of all, I’m writing to encourage you to pray with gratitude to God. Pray for all men with all forms of prayers and requests as you intercede with intense passion. And pray for every political leader and representative, so that we would be able to live tranquil, undisturbed lives, as we worship the awe-inspiring God with pure hearts. It is pleasing to our Savior to pray for them. – (1 Timothy 2:1-3, TPT)

 

The charge we are given in this passage is clear, we are meant to pray for people – for blessings, provisions, and with gratitude; especially for those who are in leadership positions. It does not qualify the call to pray based on whether or not we like or agree with the person in the position. Rather, we are called to pray with purpose so that we might live quiet and peaceful lives. In the wake of being flooded by campaigns that brought out the worst in people, I cannot think of a more important call. Our political views ought not determine our obedience to that which we are asked. Every person who has been placed in a position of authority will need wisdom and grace to lead well. Whether I agree with elected officials or not, I am called to pray. Imagine what the nation could be like if our first thought was to pray for our leaders, rather than to criticize? This is not to say that we ought to stand idly by when there is injustice or wrong-doing, but in the day-to-day, we need to pray for each person who is in a position that represents the people for the people. May we look to the Lord and present our petitions before Him, seeking Him for wisdom and blessing so that we may live in peace.

 

We are called to pray, All Together for Good

For everyone;

The people who lead,

Let us seek the Son.

His wisdom and grace,

Are needed by all;

And provide the peace,

His love does install.

Let us choose to pray,

For all those who lead;

May wisdom find way,

And fulfill each need.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to pray for people not only around us, but those who are chosen to represent us in leadership – be it in our city, state or our nation. Forgive us for forgetting the very thing that we are called to do, as prayer leads to peace. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would lift up our leaders, asking You to bless them with wisdom to lead well. Show us how to love those around us well, so that those who are in positions of authority over us feel supported and encouraged. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Please bless those who rise to lead with Your wisdom and strength. Be glorified O God, as we lift up people and leaders before You, asking that You bless them with wisdom and strength, trusting that You will answer and grant us peace. Amen.

 

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

 

I call on You, my God, for You will answer me; turn Your ear to me and hear my prayer. – Psalm 17:6