Before All Things and In All Things

He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. – (Colossians 1:17, NIV)

The Son was there before anything was made. And all things continue because of Him. – (Colossians 1:17, ERV)

He existed before anything was made, and now everything finds completion in Him. – (Colossians 1:17, TPT)

 

There are times when particular groups of people are joined together for a season, that the reality of this verse is made tangible. I am always in awe when beautifully diverse groups of people come together for a common purpose, and grow close in the process. This winter, as I participated in my first season as a high school assistant gymnastics coach, I have had the pleasure of witnessing and participating in such a fantastic unfolding as this team has bonded and had a season that has far exceeded their own expectations. Last night, the ladies competed at the state gymnastics meet as a team. To qualify, they had an undefeated regular season, were among the top teams at sub-districts, and again found themselves on the podium as a team at the state-qualifying district meet. There were personal bests and disappointments, a moment of terror as a girl went down during her floor routine, (thankfully only sustaining what would be a relatively minor injury and she should good as new in a day or two) and one of our seniors qualified for the finals later today on the floor exercise. All of the girls celebrated the successes with those who achieved something they had been working for, comforted those who did not perform as well as they had hoped, and gathered around the young lady who was injured to be certain she was okay, extending comfort and care. All in all, it has been just such a season that reminds me that He goes before all things and holds all things together. I am beyond blessed to have been a part of it, and cannot wait to continue coaching with the returning underclassmen. May we all look for the ways that God makes His presence evident, as He has gone before us, and He holds all things together.

 

Before all that is,wp-1582384037844602029485298511295.jpg

The Lord always was;

With good things in mind,

Because He loves us.

Always He is near,

Wherever we go;

Whatever we do,

His presence made known.

We need only look,

In wonder, shall see;

The power of love,

God grants you and me.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You love us so much that You prepare time and space for us. Thank You that You bless us with the people whom we are surrounded with in different seasons of our lives. Forgive us for the times that we take the gifts for granted. Teach us to appreciate each person and each season, as You show us Your heart and grow us more to reflect Your heart to others if we rely on You. Show us how to lean into You, so that we would love well, all those whom we interact with each day. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise and honor You for who You are and how You love. Amen.

 

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

 

And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. – Hebrews 10:24

Enduring Faithfulness

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 His unfailing love is great, and it is intended for us, and His faithfulness to His promises knows no end. Praise the Eternal! – (Psalm 117:2, VOICE)

 

God’s faithfulness looks different in every family, yet it is present for all who seek His face. The hardest part for us in our humanity, is that His ways are higher than our ways, and His thoughts, above our own. What we see as something terrible and final, God sees as a starting point for something new. Yesterday, our family continued our typical adventuring on Friday, following Thursday’s feasting, and we left the house to find a change of scenery. We drove through the country a bit, taking in the green fields, snow-capped mountains in the distance, and the brilliant blue sky, until we reached our dining destination of mom’s choosing. Mom navigated the parking lot, restaurant and an errand afterward, all with her walker. She was on her feet and moving for many hours throughout the day. When we made our stop at Play it Again Sports on the way home, Mark and I hopped onto the giant rocking chair again to repeat a photo that we had taken two years prior. The photo again represents God’s faithfulness, as two years ago when he and his son joined us for Thanksgiving, it was in love and with positive intent toward the future, yet we were not yet engaged, and did not know all the good that God had in store for us together. Today, two years later, we have celebrated our first year of marriage together, purchased a home together, navigated and are still navigating serious health struggles with our parents, traveled, traversed trials, triumphs, and tragedies, and have been blessed to do so with the faithfulness of God in the center of it all. God knows our needs, and He is faithful to meet us when we seek Him. May we ever praise the Lord for His goodness and grace, and for His love that knows no end.

 

For great is the love,

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Our photographer has grown a bit in two years too. 😉

The Lord has for us;

Eternal is His,

Loving faithfulness.

God’s promises are,

For now and always;

All for us endures,

Throughout all our days.

Rise up and give praise,

To the Lord above;

Who’s always for us,

Forever with love.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are good and that Your love endures forever. Thank You that Your faithfulness never ends. Thank You that Your promises are truth that we can trust in forever. Forgive us for our fearfulness and doubt when life takes terrifying turns or wanders in directions that we do not know how to navigate on our own. Teach us to turn in trust to You in all things, as You are the One who brings beauty from ashes and hope from despair. Show us how to love those around us through all things, in ways that offer hope, endurance, faithfulness and grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You forever for Your great love for us and for Your faithfulness that never ends. 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

Remember With Thanks

I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy. – (Philippians 1:3-4, NIV)

I thank God every time I remember you. And I always pray for all of you with joy. – (Philippians 1:3-4, ERV)

All my prayers for you are full of praise to God! When I pray for you, my heart is full of joy. – (Philippians 1:3-4, TLB)

 

Last evening, my wonderful husband accompanied me to my 30-year, high school reunion. It was the informal, post-homecoming game, meet up, and incredible to see and recognize faces; even though for some it had been twenty, or even thirty years. What I loved about both participating in, and observing, was the mingling of all sorts of people. Individuals who either did not know each other in high school, or ran in separate circles, interacted and celebrated the presence of one another. After thirty years, life has happened to us all – tragedies and triumphs, celebrations and heartaches, children, marriages, jobs, and a great deal of discovering what truly matters. Occasions such as these, are what I appreciate about social media. With some classmates, I had already felt a bit of connection, as we have kept in touch over the years and followed one another’s lives, via Facebook. Though some are put off by the whole social media venue, what it does for me is exactly what the verse expresses. It reminds me of those for whom I am thankful, as each contributed to a part of my formative years. I am reminded to pray for those near and far, and give thanks for the good that goes on in their lives. Each new day is a gift, and my heart is full of joy for the privilege of reconnecting with people thirty years later.

 

Each time I recall, fb_img_1570286184673570243275686313723.jpg

Those met on my way;

I have to give thanks,

For the gifts God gave.

The greatest treasures,

Found throughout our lives;

Are beautiful souls,

Who’ve treated us kind.

For each, I give praise,

My heart full of joy;

Please bless each dear heart,

With good to enjoy.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the gift of people that You bring throughout our lives. Thank You for the opportunity to reconnect and celebrate life together, so many years later. Thank You for the blessed ones that are far away and cannot join us. Thank You for the joy that You bring to us through the presence of others. Forgive us for neglecting to lift our loved ones up before You. Bring to mind all those whom we are meant to remember. Show us how to love well, all the people that You have placed around us today, so that they may feel Your joy and peace in our presence. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we remember with praise the people You have placed along our path, and thank You for the joy that each one brings. Amen.

 

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

 

Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever. – 1 Chronicles 16:34

Faithfulness to the Skies

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

Lord, your faithful love reaches to the sky. Your faithfulness is as high as the clouds. – (Psalm 36:5, ERV)

Your steadfast love, O Lord, is as great as all the heavens. Your faithfulness reaches beyond the clouds. – (Psalm 36:5, TLB)

 

I love that every day is new, and each morning is a fresh reminder of God’s goodness and faithfulness and love. It is particularly clear from my vantage point, as the view from mom’s kitchen table is spectacular. Each day as I rise before the sun, God’s handiwork greets me as He paints the sky new every morning. No two sunrises look the same. The cloud patterns and the colors shift and change, mix and blend, reminding me that He is creative and innovative, able to take on new challenges in new ways.

Last night, mom only woke one time during the night! For those who have been following our story daily, this means that both of us slept more last night, than we like did over the previous two nights combined. (Thank you for those of you who have been praying!) Furthermore, yesterday was full of things to be celebrated! During physical therapy in the morning, mom walked nearly half the length of her hallway with her walker, unassisted! Once she grew a bit fatigued, she rested for a moment or two, and then the physical therapist, Nick, had me assist/spot mom with her walking. It was exhilarating to participate directly with her, and gain the nod of approval to at last work with mom on our own on walking. Because we now have clearance to practice walking, we gave it another go in the evening as we were winding down. Mom is overjoyed and completely motivated, as she is ready to demonstrate her new-found confidence for my husband and boys when they arrive later this morning. The appointment with mom’s physiatrist went well, as she is the one who oversees and coordinates all post-stroke care. She was pleased with mom’s progress thus far, and will see her again in early August. We had a wonderful visit with mom’s next-door neighbors before dinner, and made the most of our evening, prior to calling it a night fairly early, after our previous two nights of not nearly enough sleep. Mom and I shared an early breakfast to watch the sunrise (photo below), and appreciated God’s handiwork together. Each of us sat in awe, as we gazed upon His glory in gratitude. May we ever remember the faithfulness and goodness of God, and just how far-reaching His love is for us all.

 

The Lord is faithful,img_2019-06-29_05-55-33225047676974216251.jpg

Beyond what we see;

His grace unending,

He loves tangibly.

Be it a sunrise,

At the break of day;

Or loving guidance,

As He points the way.

No matter what comes,

The Lord, He is near;

He will remain close,

Help us persevere.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are good and kind and loving. Thank You that Your faithfulness never ends. Thank You for sleep and restoration when we need it the most. Forgive us for our frustration when we cannot do anything to control our circumstances. Continue to teach us to hand all to You. Show us how to love well all those around us, as You empower us to walk faithfully and lovingly alongside them, encouraging and building up as they move forward. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You praise for Your steadfast love and faithfulness that reaches to the heavens and is painted across the sky each morning. Amen.

 

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

 

Out of His fullness we have all received grace in place of grace already given. – John 1:16

The Process of Good Growth

Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. – (James 1:4, NIV) 

If you let that patience work in you, the end result will be good. You will be mature and complete. You will be all that God wants you to be. – (James 1:4, ERV) 

So, let it grow, and don’t try to squirm out of your problems. For when your patience is finally in full bloom, then you will be ready for anything, strong in character, full and complete. – (James 1:4, TLB) 

 

Growth is a process. Just as children often experience growing pains as their bodies mature, so too do people, as we learn and insight is expanded. The challenges in maturing, both physically and spiritually, are often difficult and at times, painful. There is a letting go of what was and growing into what is meant to be. As a parent, this is alarmingly obvious as we watch our children mature. When our kids are young, they are dependent on us for nearly everything, yet as they age, new learning and growth takes place, and they are expected to do more and more for themselves. Ideally, we will raise them up in the ways they should go, and ultimately, they will become adults who are independent, strong in character, and able to spread their wings and soar. Yesterday, we celebrated the seventeenth birthday of my boys. I am in awe of both how they have grown and who they are becoming as young men. Though it is still a process, even painful at times, they are learning responsibility, chivalry, kindness, patience, faithfulness, self-control, and the attributes that most admire in sweet, young men. Had there been a folding of expectations any time things became difficult, they would not know or understand how to persevere. Because they had to keep moving forward, even when things became difficult, they know that though things may be tough, they can overcome with persistence and faith. May we each seek the Lord to be our strength in the trials, rather than attempt escape that which we are intended to walk through. For each time we persevere and overcome, we mature further in our faith. 

 

Growth is a process, img_2019-01-20_06-13-146032963583724101848.jpg

We all travel through; 

Learning to spread wings, 

And how we’re meant to. 

For we all are called, 

To seek so we find; 

The way God prepared, 

With us each in mind. 

As we move forward, 

Trials surely come; 

We need persevere, 

So His work is done. 

Both that within us, 

And things He has planned; 

Let’s keep pressing on, 

Follow His commands. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to patiently persevere, even when the road before us seems rough. Thank You that You never leave us or forsake us when we place our trust in You. Thank You that each time we keep pressing forward through trials and difficulty, You grow us and show us You strength and grace. Forgive us for our desire to escape challenges. Teach us to run to You for all that we need, so that we would ever persevere and grow stronger in You. Show us how to love those around us in a way that promotes patient perseverance that leads to gracious growth. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek Your strength for patience to persevere, even when our way is more challenging that we would like, for You are faithful to see us through. All glory to You, now and forever. Amen.

 

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

 

Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it. – Proverbs 22:6

Wonderful Counselor

He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever. – (Revelation 21:4, NLT) 

He will wipe away every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death, sadness, crying, or pain. All the old ways are gone. – (Revelation 21:4, ERV) 

He will wipe away every tear from their eyes and eliminate death entirely. No one will mourn or weep any longer. The pain of wounds will no longer exist, for the old order has ceased. – (Revelation 21:4, TPT) 

 

Yesterday, as my pastor continued in our current series, “The Light Has Come”, he spoke about our Wonderful Counselor in Jesus. As he unpacked several things about Jesus as our “Wonderful Counselor”, he included the original meaning of the words in Greek. Wonderful, as used in Isaiah and in its first appearance after God parted the Red Sea when Moses celebrated in a song of praise, the word means “beyond wonder”. Counselor means “guide with purpose”. Our Wonderful Counselor is always available, always aware, and always answers, as He guides with purpose in a way that is beyond wonder. With that in mind, there is no question as to why we are called to seek the Lord in all things and at all times. The hope we hold in Him reminds us that all of our present pain will pass away, as He tends to our every sorrow. This is an excellent encouragement after a week of sorrow and loss. God is faithful, and He will meet us, hear us and guide us in His goodness and grace, as we seek Him, our Wonderful Counselor. 

 

Almighty, our God, All Things Made New

Promised Prince of Peace; 

Soother of sorrow, 

Where grace is released. 

He’s beyond wonder, 

How He loves and guides; 

Provides future hope, 

As we choose abide. 

Run to the Father, 

His love always hears; 

Faithful, He’ll answer, 

All who choose draw near. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we have the blessed hope that one day all death, sorrow and pain will pass away, and Your new will come. Thank You that in the in-between time, You are our Wonderful Counselor, ever available, aware and faithful to answer. Forgive us for our lack of faith, or for seeking counsel anywhere other than You first. Thank You that You provide people to come alongside us as Your hands, heart and voice, making Your grace tangible. Show us how to love others in a way that does just that – extends Your hands, heart and voice to those needing Your love made visible in dark and sorrowful spaces. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek and rely on You to be our Wonderful Counselor in all things and at all times. Amen.

 

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

 

For unto us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on His shoulders. And He will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. – Isaiah 9:6

 

 

Peace Through Loving People First

Live in harmony with each other. Don’t be too proud to enjoy the company of ordinary people. And don’t think you know it all! – (Romans 12:16, NLT)

Live together in peace with each other. Don’t be proud, but be willing to be friends with people who are not important to others. Don’t think of yourself as smarter than everyone else. – (Romans 12:16, ERV)

Work happily together. Don’t try to act big. Don’t try to get into the good graces of important people, but enjoy the company of ordinary folks. And don’t think you know it all! – (Romans 12:16, TLB)

 

We are called to be at peace with one another. One glimpse at the news, and the work that needs to be done becomes overwhelmingly apparent. What if each one of us began exactly where we are planted? In our neighborhood, our school, our workplace, our city? If each one of us treated everyone with value and respect, and recognized that all people have something to contribute, the political, economic, ethnic, religious, and whatever else separates one from another, could be celebrated and appreciated, rather than utilized to divide. Each one of us is infinitely valued and loved by God. If we are called to love as God loves, then why would we not do the same? May we seek the Lord for His heart for each other so that we may be at peace with one another, willing to be kind to all who cross our path, seeing each as one with infinite worth.

 

May we choose to live, Show the Love

Harmoniously;

Value each other,

With equality.

Each person offers,

What they have to bring;

From which we can learn,

And grow in new things.

Let us strive for peace,

Through kindness and love;

Give good to others,

Let grace be enough.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to be people of peace with one another. Thank You that peace does not mean that we have to agree on everything or view the world through the same lens, but rather it is a mutual respect for one another that loves, regardless of opinions and perspectives. Thank You for the areas in our life where we have seen and experienced such peace. Forgive us for the places where we have done anything to prevent peace from being present. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would choose to love and listen above all else. Show us how to love those around us, especially those who see the world far differently than we do. May Your peace be present, even in the most unlikely of places. Help hurting hearts come into a lasting relationship with You, the Prince of Peace. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to show us how to best love and bring peace into the places where we find ourselves each day. Amen.

 

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

 

Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. – Ephesians 4:2

Thinking of Thanks

Every time I think of you, I give thanks to my God. – (Philippians 1:3, NLT)

I thank God every time I remember you. – (Philippians 1:3, ERV)

Whenever you cross my mind, I thank my God for you and for the gift of knowing you. – (Philippians 1:3, VOICE)

 

This has been a summer overflowing with connections to those dear to me. Near and far, friends and family have celebrated with me, as I have stepped into this beautiful new season of married life. Every message, conversation, card or phone call has brought a flood of memories of the blessing that each have been in my life. The overwhelming theme of this summer is gratitude, as I cannot help but stand in awe of the blessings He has poured out upon us, especially through the gift of people He has placed in our lives. My heart is full, and I am ever giving God thanks for the gift of knowing those whom He has brought into every avenue of my life. May we ever give praise to our Provider for the people whom He places on our path.

 

All thanks be to God, wp-15346046481951630469001601204563.jpg

For the treasure found;

In knowing such love,

Where friendships abound.

For each is a gift,

From God up above;

Granted to us all,

By His lavish love.

Each time I recall,

The treasure of you;

I thank God again,

For His blessings true.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we are created for relationships. Thank You for the gift of people that You place in our lives. Thank You that You bring people from all walks of life into our world to show us more of Your heart. Forgive us for not giving You glory for all of the good You bring to us through the people You place on our path. Teach us to recognize the gift of those around us, daily, so that we would celebrate them and glorify You. Show us how to love in a way that demonstrates our gratitude for the gift that people are in our lives. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You gratitude for the gift of great people whom You have placed in our lives. Amen.

 

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

 

Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise; give thanks to Him and praise His Name. – Psalm 100:4

Ever Sing Praise

I will sing the Lord’s praise, for He has been good to me. – (Psalm 13:6, NIV)

I will sing to the Lord because He has blessed me so richly. – (Psalm 13:6, TLB)

I’m singing at the top of my lungs, I’m so full of answered prayers. – (Psalm 13:6, MSG)

 

After an amazing day of being celebrated well, I cannot help but overflow with gratitude to God for surrounding me with people who love me as He does. He makes His heart known to me in ways that bless my heart. I am loved as I had always hoped to be loved, and now am six days away from marrying the man whom my heart loves, who gently and fiercely loves me too. God’s timing is perfect, even when we are unaware. I can look back and give thanks for the difficulties that I was carried through, as they have shaped who I have become in Him and make me appreciate the good that has followed all the more. May we ever sing praise to the Lord, for He is good to all who seek Him.

 

Each day my heart sings, wp-15316631004892234831728557638132.jpg

With thanks to the Lord;

For how He blesses,

All grace He affords.

The Lord has been good,

Throughout all my days;

He lifts me with love,

As I seek His face.

Through trial and good,

The Lord’s ever near;

To bless us with joy,

And calm all our fears.

Let grateful hearts sing,

For all of our days;

As goodness and grace,

Are God’s loving ways.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your heart for all of creation. Thank You that You are so good to us. Forgive us for not offering proper praise for Your goodness, grace and generous loving ways. Teach us to praise You daily, for You alone are worthy of all of our gratitude. Show us how to love those around us in a way that helps them recognize the good that we have been given through Your love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we sing Your praise for all of our days. Amen.

 

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

 

I will praise the Lord all my life; I will sing praise to my God as long as I live. – Psalm 146:2

 

 

To Love Likewise

Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. – (1 Corinthians 13:4-5, NLT)

Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous, it does not brag, and it is not proud. Love is not rude, it is not selfish, and it cannot be made angry easily. Love does not remember wrongs done against it. – (1 Corinthians 13:4-5, ERV)

Love is patient; love is kind. Love isn’t envious, doesn’t boast, brag, or strut about. There’s no arrogance in love; it’s never rude, crude, or indecent – it’s not self-absorbed. Love isn’t easily upset. Love doesn’t tally wrongs. – (1 Corinthians 14:4-5, VOICE)

 

In this season where love is celebrated and elevated, it is important to realize what love is and is not. God’s love is our ultimate example, be it in love between family, friends, or the one whom we have been given as our person with whom to share life. To love and be loved, we need to be patient and kind. We are not meant to be jealous, proud, nor rude. If we love others as ourselves, we will not be easily upset nor keep record of wrongs. Because God forgives us, we must forgive. Just as He loves, we need to do the same. While we were yet sinners, He chose to love us. Likewise, we are called to walk in love with those around us, even when they do not treat us the way we desire to be treated. Our patience and kindness are an avenue to express the very same love that we have been given, to those around us. May we ever choose to walk in His love, extending love, just as God loves each of us.

 

Love that is patient,wp-1518363553391117403764.jpg

And kind to others;

Is like the Lord’s love,

For sisters, brothers.

True love is not rude,

Won’t seek its own way;

Instead love prefers,

To give good away.

Love will not record,

Wrongs that have been done;

But instead forgives,

By grace from the Son.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have shown us what love is and is not. Thank You that as we seek You, You provide patience and kindness and correct us when we get caught up in ourselves rather than preferring one another. Forgive us for the times that we have held onto the wrongs against us, or have chosen anything other than patience and kindness when that is what You call us to do. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would prefer one another in love, just as You love us. Show us how to be patient and kind, extend forgiveness and grace, and love as You love us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You thanks for Your lavish love, and go forth and seek to love likewise. Amen.

 

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

 

Praise the Lord, for He has shown me the wonders of His unfailing love. – Psalm 31:21a