Community Brings Comfort

For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there among them. – (Matthew 18:20, HCSB)

Yes, if two or three people are together believing in Me, I am there with them. – (Matthew 18:20, ERV)

For when two or three gather together in My name, I am there in the midst of them. – (Matthew 18:20, VOICE)

This is one of the reasons we are meant to be in community. When we join together with one another, God is present among us. It does not mean that He won’t be with us on our own, but there is a powerful awareness of His presence when we gather with others. There is something tangible about the nearness of God when there are at least one or two others with You. I imagine that is the reason that we gather for weddings, funerals, baby showers, bridal showers, birthdays and the like – all are occasions to join with others in celebration, grief, expectation or gratitude. Tomorrow will be just such an occasion, as a friend, classmate, teammate and fellow coach has to lay her husband to rest. My hope and prayer is that God is tangibly present to comfort, provide, grant wisdom and His perfect peace. He is always good, even when our circumstances are not, so we can trust that He will move in the hearts of all who join together in remembrance. 

O Lord, we invite,

Photo by Min An on Pexels.com

Your presence come in;

Your hands to hold us,

As Your love floods in.

May peace be present,

In the midst of loss;

Your hope tangible,

As love comes across.

Across the heartache,

And what should have been;

In the loneliness,

May Your peace come in.

Lord, be ever near,

Your heart truly known;

May comfort surround,

And hope in You grown.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to gather in Your Name, for when we do, You promise to be present. Thank You that You are already preparing the way for tomorrow, as You know every need that will arrive. Forgive us for isolating when we are meant to allow others in. Show us how to reach out and be present with others so that they may experience Your love, comfort and peace, even when it does not make sense. Lead us in Your love to lift others up and be Your hands, feet, heart and voice made tangible. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love You and praise You for knowing our needs and surrounding us with community in every season. Amen.

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

When I am filled with cares, Your comfort brings me joy. – Psalm 94:19

Where Trust is Complete

The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in Him, and I am helped. Therefore my heart rejoices, and I praise Him with my song. – (Psalm 28:7, HCSB)

The Lord is my strength and my shield. I trusted Him with all my heart. He helped me, so I am happy. I sing songs of praise to Him. – (Psalm 28:7, ERV)

The Eternal is the source of my strength and the shield that guards me. When I learn to rest and truly trust Him, He sends His help. This is why my heart is singing! I open my mouth to praise Him, and thankfulness rises as a song. – (Psalm 28:7, VOICE)

God is good and He is faithful to be our strength and shield as we trust in Him. Knowing His protection and provision, we cannot help but praise Him with gratitude for His goodness. I love that our natural inclination is to have a song in our heart when we are grateful. We were created with the capacity to praise, and it seems to flow freely when we recognize God’s goodness and love as He protects and strengthens us. May we ever seek the Lord, for He is our Source of strength and the One who guards our hearts.

O God, be our strength,

For You are so good;

The shield that guards us,

True hope understood.

Lead us to Your rest,

Where trust is complete;

Show Your faithfulness,

In You we retreat.

Let praise rise in us,

As thanks we declare;

All blessings in You,

The Lord God who cares.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your love strengthens and protects us as we walk out our days. Thank You that Your all-encompassing love is our reason to praise. Forgive us for the times that our trust falters because of what we can and cannot see. Teach us to trust and rely on You in all things and at all times. Show us how to love those around us well and how to praise You with all that we are. May many come into a lasting relationship with You as they recognize and come to know Your goodness. Be glorified O God, as we sing praise with thankful hearts unto You. Amen.

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

But I have trusted in Your faithful love; my heart will rejoice in Your deliverance. – Psalm 13:5

Approach Boldly

Therefore let us approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us at the proper time. – (Hebrews 4:16, HCSB)

With Jesus as our high priest, we can feel free to come before God’s throne where there is grace. There we receive mercy and kindness to help us when we need it. – (Hebrews 4:16, ERV)

So now we draw near freely and boldly to where grace is enthroned, to receive mercy’s kiss and discover the grace we urgently need to strengthen us in our time of weakness. – (Hebrews 4:16, TPT)

This morning, the need for grace is great, as I am running on four hours of sleep. Our dogs do not understand daylight savings time, nor do they have any concern for whether or not I get enough sleep. Thankfully, I can come before God and ask for help to function and do what I need to do, and can praise Him for the time to nap that will be available this afternoon. It seems trivial, but God cares about every aspect of our lives, including our need for sleep. I am grateful that this is still a weekend, and trust that He will provide what I need to feel refreshed and ready for the week ahead. May we ever seek the Lord, our High Priest, whom we can approach boldly to receive mercy and kindness and help whenever we need it.

Sweet sleeping puppies,

All has become calm;

The Lord’s loving grace,

Is a healing balm.

No matter our need,

Both the great and small;

The Lord, He hears us,

And cares about all.

So, look to the Lord,

Seek Him and His grace;

Loving Provider,

Who hears us, always.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You see and hear and know our needs. Thank You that You care about all things, great and small. Thank You that we can come to You for anything and You hear us. Forgive us for thinking that our needs are trivial or not what You care about. Teach us to present all to You and give You praise for Your ongoing faithfulness. Show us how to love those around us well. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we boldly approach Your throne, trusting that You are good and faithful to meet our needs. Amen.

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

For the Father Himself loves you, because you have loved Me and have believed that I came from God. – John 16:27

Comfort and Joy

When I am filled with cares, Your comfort brings me joy. – (Psalm 94:19, HCSB)

I was very worried and upset, but You comforted me and made me happy. – (Psalm 94:19, ERV)

When I was upset and beside myself, You calmed me down and cheered me up. – (Psalm 94:19, MSG)

Whenever my busy thoughts were out of control, the soothing comfort of Your presence calmed me down and overwhelmed me with delight. – (Psalm 94:19, TPT)

I am constantly amazed by the Lord and how He brings balance back into our lives. When we are overwhelmed with what surrounds us, He brings us peace, comfort and compassion that bring us joy. He calls us into community so that His love can be made tangible. God is good, and He brings us the peace of His presence that shows us again what is good.

When life overwhelms,

And all seems a mess;

Choose turn to the Lord,

For He knows what’s best.

He soothes weary hearts,

Brings comfort and peace;

Reason to delight,

As love is released.

So, turn to the Lord,

Allow His love in;

His joy and His peace,

Restore hope again.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we are weary and overwhelmed, we can come to You to find comfort and peace. Thank You that You show us again what is good, and bring delight, even in the seeming darkness. Forgive us for our frustrations and fears when all seems too much to bear. Show us again, that You are with us and for us, and remind our hearts of our reasons to rejoice. Lead us to love one another well, so that all whom we encounter are encouraged and built up. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we bring our cares before You and You exchange the weight for the joy found in You. Amen.

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

He comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any kind of affliction, through the comfort we ourselves receive from God. – 2 Corinthians 1:4

Peace Makes a Way

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. – (Colossians 3:15, NIV)

Let the peace that Christ gives control your thinking. It is for peace that you were chosen to be together in one body. And always be thankful. – (Colossians 3:15, ERV)

Let your heart be always guided by the peace of the Anointed One, who called you to peace as part of His one body. And always be thankful. – (Colossians 3:15, TPT)

When we allow the peace of Christ to come and dwell within us, we are equipped and empowered to be promoters of peace to those around us. It is by God’s grace that we are placed exactly where we are for this very season, and it is out of a heart of gratitude that we discover His peace and purpose for us. I had mixed feelings as I left campus yesterday. It was the last day of a long and challenging year, and my class load for next year was shared with me. Though I was thrilled to know that I will have three sections of art, the two sections of 8th grade English grieved my heart a bit. The grieving is over the loss of working on a fabulous team with dear friends with a curriculum that I finally feel like I know, yet the two ladies that I will be teaming with next year are incredible, so I do look forward to getting to know them better. Peace was disrupted by the thought of yet again, having to learn an all new curriculum, causing me to feel like a brand new teacher. This is a space that I have to trust in God’s grace, and allow His peace to cover me. May we ever give thanks to God for His goodness and grace and allow the peace of God to fill us to overflowing, so that we may go forth and be promoters of peace.

O Lord, flood our hearts,

With Your perfect peace;

May all our concerns,

To You, be released.

As we choose let go,

You fill us with peace;

‘Til it overflows,

Anxieties cease.

All thanks unto You,

Throughout all our days;

Lead us in Your love,

As peace makes a way.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You fill us with Your perfect peace so that we can go and bring peace to those around us. Thank You that Your grace covers us and Your love fills us. Forgive us for the times that we have allowed circumstances to steal the perfect peace You provide. Teach us to trust You with everything, for You are always faithful. Show us how to love those around us in a way that extends Your peace to all. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You with our cares and concerns and rely on You to provide our perfect peace. Amen.

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

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. – Romans 15:13

Present in All

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go. – (Joshua 1:9, NIV)

Haven’t I commanded you? Strength! Courage! Don’t be timid; don’t get discouraged. God, your God, is with you every step you take. – (Joshua 1:9, MSG)

This is My command: be strong and courageous. Never be afraid or discouraged because I am your God, the Eternal One, and I will remain with you wherever you go. – (Joshua 1:9, VOICE)

This morning, this is a reminder to myself of what is true. A week and a half ago, we placed our puppies in the care of trainers for a three-week board and train program. Yesterday evening, we received a message that it might not work out for one of our dogs. The thing is, we trusted that the trainers were professionals and would be able to aid us in correcting some undesired behaviors, as well as guide us through additional obedience training. Now, after a sizable investment and emotional turmoil, we may be bringing our doggos home, requiring us to begin again with the search for how to best train our sweet puppies to peacefully coexist with each other and be mindful of what is being asked of them. Right now, after a reasonable night’s sleep, I cannot help but trust that God knows our needs and perhaps this was not the best fit or solution, and He will be with us as we walk out this process. Today, I will trust that He will provide the strength, courage and tenacity to do whatever we need to do that is best for our family. No matter the outcome, God will be with us. What matters most is that we listen to His leading and follow through. To some, this may seem trivial, however, for us, our dogs are a huge part of our family. God knows our needs and I will trust Him as we go today. May we ever choose strength, courage and resilience rather than fear or discouragement. For He will remain with us wherever we go.

Be not discouraged,

Choose faith over fear;

The Lord has promised,

He’ll always be near.

No matter what lies,

Ahead in our lives;

The Lord has His best,

True hope realized.

The things that matter,

That pull our heart strings;

Also God’s concern,

And answers He’ll bring.

Today I choose trust,

I know the Lord cares;

He’ll lead us in love,

Through answers He shares.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You remind us to be strong and courageous in You. Thank You that You love and care for all creatures that You created. Thank You that You are faithful to show us how to care best for all that You bless us with. Forgive us for our anger and frustration over something that may be for the best. Teach us to trust You more as we walk out each new day, seeking to follow after You and all that You have for us. Show us how to love in such a way that we extend Your goodness and grace in all that we do and say. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we continue to trust in You. Amen.

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

May the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other and for everyone else, just as ours does for you. – 1 Thessalonians 3:12

It’s All About Love

Jesus replied: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.” – (Matthew 22:37-39, NIV)

Jesus answered, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and most important command. And the second command is like the first: ‘Love your neighbor the same as you love yourself.” – (Matthew 22:37-39, ERV)

Jesus said, “Love the Lord your God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence.’ This is the most important, the first on any list. But there is a second to set alongside it: ‘Love others as well as you love yourself.” – (Matthew 22:37-39, MSG)

If we love God and love people in a way that truly honors and obeys His commands, ALL people will feel valued, seen, heard and known. Sadly, everywhere I look, I see evidence that we are far from this. It is devastating to hear reports of people’s brilliance being overlooked, or of individuals being treated harshly or in a way that is in no way warranted. If I read too much, or look too hard, the heaviness is overwhelming. That being said, what can one human do? The answer is Jesus. If I seek Him to lead me in love, I can be part of the change I long to see. My role is to recognize, listen to, celebrate, encourage, educate, empower, value and honor the next generation. At times, this whole remote teaching gig makes it feel like an impossible task. The kiddos whom I never “see,” I struggle to get to know. Each opportunity I have, I attempt to encourage and care well for each faceless black box, and recognize that I have no idea what their environment is truly like. My hope is that kindness and encouragement will help them feel valued, and that at the end of the day, each is aware that someone cares. Lord, help us to love You and love one another as You intended.

Lord, will You lead us,

To love as You do;

Care for each other,

Let Your light shine through.

Help us be vessels,

Afloat in Your love;

May kindness give hope,

Care that You’re proud of.

Show us the spaces,

For encouragement;

Teach us to listen,

Hear discouragement.

Lead us all in love,

So kindness may reign;

May all voices be heard,

And Your love made plain.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to love You and love each other. Thank You that You have shown us what it is to truly love one another. Forgive us for the times that we have not acted or spoken in ways that demonstrate Your love to those around us. Teach us to do and be better. Help us to recognize, value, encourage and love well, all those around us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose to love You and those around us as You first loved us. Amen.

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

The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love. – Psalm 103:8

Zoom into Peace

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your request to God. – (Philippians 4:6, NIV)

Don’t worry about anything, but pray and ask God for everything you need, always giving thanks for what you have. – (Philippians 4:6, ERV)

Don’t be pulled in different directions or worried about a thing. Be saturated in prayer throughout each day, offering your faith-filled requests before God with overflowing gratitude. Tell Him every detail of your life. – (Philippians 4:6, TPT)

 

Today will be the first official day of remote learning. The first day of instructing online; the first day of posting parent instructional videos; and the first opportunity to see the faces and hear the voices of my students on Zoom. I would be lying if I said I have not been a bit anxious the last few weeks, as we have been unpacking and preparing to go “live”. Learning an entirely new way of instructing and how to organize and upload and post everything, for three different preps has stretched and challenged me beyond what I thought I could handle. With much prayer and the blessed provision of professional learning communities, I think that I am ready to launch. As I was finishing up my final video posts for parents last evening, I checked my school email. To my surprise, there was a wonderful message from one of my Language Arts and Social Studies students, letting me know how excited he is to get started with remote learning today! He filled me in on a bit of what he has been doing under his mom’s tutelage, and informed me that he was pretty much an expert on Zoom, having watched his mom participate in countless meetings over the past several weeks. I imagine that you too, can understand the power held in the encouraging words of my 6th grade student. All of the struggles over the past several weeks to navigate this new learning, suddenly did not matter. Knowing that at least one student is eager and ready to get started, makes it all worthwhile. It is easy to forget that we are often God’s hands or His voice to soothe anxiety and bring calm to those around us. He utilizes His people to make His heart tangible so that we may know His peace. Prayers are often answered through the people He provides, and one of those for me was a simple email from a sixth grader. Yes, I am still a bit nervous about today, but it is a first-day-of-school, can’t-wait-to-meet-them, sort of feeling. These are my kids whom I have not seen in more than a month. Today, I get to begin to reconnect and see and hear them for myself. More than an email – live voices and smiling faces. It will be good, and I am glad. May anxiety melt away as we lift our concerns to God. He hears and He cares, and He is the perfecter of our peace.

 

Choose lift to the Lord,

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Classroom vs. Virtual Room Preparations…

Each anxiety;

For He hears and cares,

Is near and ready.

He brings us His peace,

Most generously;

His kindness and grace,

Sets anxiousness free.

Come before the Lord,

Seek His help and grace;

His goodness and strength,

He’ll fill up our days.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You love us with an everlasting love. Thank You that Your goodness and grace wash away our anxiousness when we bring our concerns before You. Thank You that You utilize people to make Your heart tangible. Forgive us for allowing our anxiousness to overwhelm us, rather than slowing down and setting all at Your feet. Teach us to trust You more, as You provide all that we need to navigate every new circumstance and situation when we rely on You. Show us how to love those around us well, so that we might be the encouragement, strength, or peace that is needed to ease away anxiousness. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love You and praise You for Your care and concern for us, individually, and the peace that is provided through Your incredible love. Amen.

 

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

 

Consider the blameless, observe the upright; a future awaits those who seek peace. – Psalm 37:37

In Worrisome Space

Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you. – (1 Peter 5:7, NIV)

Give all your worries to Him, because He cares for you. – (1 Peter 5:7, ERV)

Let Him have all your worries and cares, for He is always thinking about you and watching everything that concerns you. – (1 Peter 5:7, TLB)

 

We are in a time that is full of uncertainty and unknowns. It is seemingly impossible to avoid “what if” scenarios, as a state of emergency has been declared by our governor, and the World Health Organization has deemed Covid-19 a pandemic. The weight and worry that I bear looks different than those who are living with compromised immune systems or are in households with young children or elderly, as their concerns are much more immediate and life-threatening. For others, it is more a matter of day-to-day living and the wonder as to how it will all work out. As an educator, there is much uncertainty as to when our schools will be closed, and for how long. In this space, my only real choice is to give all of my worries and uncertainties to God. He sees and knows, and He cares about all that concerns us. I know not why such a crazy crisis is taking place, yet I know it is an opportunity for people to rise up and love others well. Our charge is to love as we are loved. May we give all of our worries to God, because He cares for us, and depend on Him to lead and guide us as we navigate this rocky road of uncertainty.

 

In worrisome space, In Worrisome Space

Give all unto God;

The Lord cares for us,

Despite all our flaws.

He sees and He knows,

Our each anxious thought;

He’s present to help,

Each time He is sought.

Even when all things,

Impossible seem;

The Lord has a way,

To give grace, redeem.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can come to You and cast all of our worries and cares upon You. Thank You that Your hands can hold them, and Your shoulders have already bore every burden we ever will bear. Thank You that You provide grace, goodness and love as we come to You. Forgive us for carrying weight and holding anxiety and concerns that we are not meant to hold in fear. Teach us to trust You and listen to wisdom, so that we would navigate in grace and love. Show us how to love well, all those around us, in tangible and meaningful ways. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You all of our cares and concerns and trust You to lead us in wisdom and strength in the face of all of the unknown. Above all, help us to choose love in all that we say and do, every step of the way. Amen.

 

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

 

Cast your cares on the Lord, and He will sustain you; He will never let the righteous be shaken. – Psalm 55:22

Blessed in the Bittersweet

My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. – (Psalm 73:26, NIV)

Maybe my mind and body will become weak, but God is my source of strength. He is mine forever! – (Psalm 73:26, ERV)

Lord, so many times I fail; I fall into disgrace. But when I trust in You, I have a strong and glorious presence protecting and anointing me. Forever You’re all I need! – (Psalm 73:26, TPT)

 

Sundays are bittersweet. The sweet comes through the blessings found in gathering with my church family to worship and hear the word together. However, the challenging portion of Sundays are found in the reminder that my weekend has come to a close, and much of the day is spent preparing for the week ahead. Today is no exception, as I will have to go in to work to take care of things that must be ready for Monday afternoon, and require far more time and energy than my planning period permits. Sometimes, the need to go in on a weekend feels a bit like a failure, as I cannot wrap my head around how people are able to complete all that must be done during the week. I am worn out, and six days spent at work are more than I desire, even if only a few hours extra on a weekend. That being said, God provides what I need, as He grants me the strength and the help as I go. Always He is faithful to meet me in my weakness, and supplies the strength that I need. May we ever trust in the Lord, for His strength and His presence are the provisions we need to rise.

 

No matter the day, Daily Provision

Or how my heart cries;

God remains faithful,

And grants strength to rise.

Rise up from weakness,

Step out of despair;

Enduring presence,

Strengthens as He cares.

Faithful Provider,

Our God of all grace;

Our help and our hope,

For now, and always.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that though we fall short, You are always enough. Thank You that You are our strength and our portion forever. Thank You that You meet us in our weakness and provide the strength of heart required to press on in the direction that You are calling us to move. Forgive us for our frustrations and lack of faith. Teach us to trust in You in all things and at all times; for You are strength and hope and love and life. Show us how to love those around us in ways that encourage and strengthen in spaces where hope is hard to find. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we rely on You to be our strength and provision forever. 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