Take Heart

Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the Lord. – (Psalm 31:24, NIV)

Be strong and brave, all of you who are waiting for the Lord’s help. – (Psalm 31:24, ERV)

Be strong and live courageously, all of you who set your hope in the Eternal! – (Psalm 31:24, VOICE)

 

Whenever I am in a space of struggle, difficulty or challenge, there is something about the Psalms that offers comfort. David, the author of many of them, penned perfectly, both the struggle in difficulties and the encouragement to overcome. It leads me to wonder if Paul, who wrote many of the letters that became the New Testament from a prison cell, found comfort too, in the songs and sonnets and scores of words recorded in the Psalms. For many of us, the staying in place feels a bit torturous, as it is in no way natural nor normal. However, when I consider the time spent by Paul under house arrest and in Roman prison, I need to count my blessings and take heart. In strength and courage, Paul encouraged entire congregations of new believers, despite his circumstances. We are no different. Whatever we are tasked to do in this season, may we be strong and take heart, and place our hope in He who is our help. God is good, and He is faithful to answer when we call on Him to be our help and our hope.

 

Be strong in the Lord, Take Heart

Take courage, be brave;

The Lord will be near,

When asked to come stay.

As we place our hope,

In the Lord above;

He grants what we need,

To go forth in love.

Fear not in trials,

For God’s ever near;

He’s present to help,

Each request, He hears.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can find strength and courage in You as we seek You to be our help and our hope. Thank You that You are ever-present. Forgive us for our fears and frustrations with our circumstances. Teach us to trust You more, so that we may learn and grow through every trial. Show us how to love those around us best, so that we may encourage and strengthen one another in spaces where resolve is running low. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we find strength and courage as we look to You to be our help and hope forever. Amen.

 

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

 

“I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” – John 16:33

Focus on Forever

So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. – (2 Corinthians 4:18, NIV)

So we think about what we cannot see, not what we see. What we see lasts only a short time, and what we cannot see will last forever. – (2 Corinthians 4:18, ERV)

Because we don’t focus our attention on what is seen but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but the unseen realm is eternal. – (2 Corinthians 4:18, TPT)

 

At times, even with the very best intentions, our focus gets lost on what we see directly in front of us, rather than trusting in what we know to be true, that we cannot yet see. Yesterday, though my morning began well, and my eyes were fixed on God as I began my day, it became a slippery slope as I found myself caught in the monotony of staying home, with all my guys caught up in their own things. Two were out in the shop working on a vehicle, and the other two were downstairs enjoying an online game with old friends. Discouragingly, that left me to far too much solitude, and I was about to lose it. After two weeks of staying home, with the exception of morning running and a rare trip to the store for needed groceries, I was ready to jump in my vehicle and just drive away. I didn’t care where, just somewhere; anywhere. Desperately, I needed a change of scenery, and really, I think my heart needed to be outdoors, where I am far more aware of the unseen. Thankfully, my best friend called, and we wandered to the water. We found a path that had few people, so social distancing was not difficult, and just walked. Breathing in the salty air, with a slight breeze and a gentle drizzle of rain sporadically falling, the weight of feeling stuck fell away, and I was free to move and breathe and be. For some of the walk we spoke and caught up with one another, yet, there was a sweet comfort in silence as well. Time, space, and being outdoors, granted fresh perspective, that there is so much more than right now. God is good, and He places eternity in our hearts. It is up to us to seek Him so that we might know Him, ever growing in our understanding that He has prepared a place for us that is beyond what our minds could begin to conceive. May we turn to the Lord in our struggles with what we are seeing now, and trust Him in faith; for what is unseen is an incredible forever that we cannot even begin to fathom.

 

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Just what our eyes see;

But also unseen,

All eternity.

Our circumstances,

In the here and now;

Are temporary,

And will end somehow.

But the things unseen,

God and all His good;

Do not know an end,

Through all times, withstood.

So, choose trust in God,

And what is unseen;

For trials right now,

Will no longer be.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are good and loving and eternal. Thank You that the struggles and trials that we face in the here and now are temporary. Thank You that the things we see are temporary, and even the best of them are but a glimpse compared to the good that we cannot see yet. Forgive us for losing perspective. Teach us to hold fast to eternity in our hearts, especially when what we see right now is overwhelming. Show us how to love and encourage those around us, so that they may find hope in despair and peace in times of turmoil. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose to fix our hearts and minds on that which we cannot see that lasts forever. Amen.

 

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

 

But in keeping with His promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, where righteousness dwells. – 2 Peter 3:13

 

 

He’s Present to Help

I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” – (Psalm 91:2, NIV)

I say to the Lord, “You are my place of safety, my fortress. My God, I trust in You.” – (Psalm 91:2, ERV)

He’s the hope that holds me and the Stronghold to shelter me, the only God for me, and my great confidence. – (Psalm 91:2, TPT)

 

It is such a strange space to be in a place when the world has to slow down and essentially be present at home. Yesterday, as our governor issued a “Stay at Home” decree, for most, I think there was an unanticipated sigh of relief. On one hand, it requires all “non-essential” employees to stay home, while on the other, still allows those that perform duties that keep the skeletal system of our nation running, to report to their positions. For both categories, we need God to be our refuge and our fortress; the One in whom we trust. Our home is one divided, as my husband and bonus son are both considered essential employees, and are called to continue working, while my boys and I remain at home, trusting that they will be kept safe and that others will be mindful of social distancing and necessary protective measures to keep them from being exposed and further spreading illness. God is good, even when circumstances are not. He is our hope and our refuge, and in Him we can trust and fear not. May we hold fast to our hope in Jesus, who is our space of safety and fortress; for in Him we can place our trust as we walk this unknown road with wisdom and strength.

 

God is our refuge, Sense in Storms

Our safe space indeed;

He’s present to help,

Protect and meet needs.

We need not choose fear,

For in God, there’s strength;

To do as we’re asked,

No matter what lengths.

He already knows,

What we need to do;

He’s present to help,

Protect, follow through.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our strength and our safe space as we navigate so many unknowns trusting You. Thank You that You are always with us, and You protect and provide as we abide in You. Forgive us for our fears and doubts as we attempt to make sense of what we cannot yet see. Teach us to trust You, rather than our own understanding. Show us how to love those around us well, as we seek You to be our strength and shelter, and support and encourage those around us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust all in Your mighty hands. 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

Better Ways

“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways,” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts higher than your thoughts.” – (Isaiah 55:8-9, NIV)

The Lord says, “My thoughts are not like yours. Your ways are not like mine. Just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so My ways are higher than your ways, and My thoughts higher than your thoughts.” – (Isaiah 55:8-9, ERV)

“I don’t think the way you think. The way you work isn’t the way I work.” God’s Decree. “For as the sky soars high above the earth, so the way I work surpasses the way you work, and the way I think is beyond the way you think.” – (Isaiah 55:8-9, MSG)

 

I am so grateful that this is the truth. God is not limited to human insight and understanding; for He sees and knows far beyond what we can even begin to imagine. Though we often think we know what would be best, when we give it to God, He reveals that there is so much more. His ways are far greater than ours, and He knows the best way to take us from where we are to where He planned and purposed for us to end up. This is particularly comforting when things do not seem to make sense. When we are caught in the space of “Why?” and need Him to lead, guide, strengthen and equip us to press on to the space that He is bringing us into, and we are not there yet. May we seek the Lord for His thoughts and His ways, for they are far greater than anything that we could ever hope or imagine.

 

The thoughts of the Lord, Statements of Praise

Are higher than mine;

His love so much more,

He’s holy, divine.

So too are His ways,

Far above my own;

His plan is greater,

Beyond what I’ve known.

Let us seek the Lord,

In all and always;

For His plans are good,

To bless and give grace.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your thoughts are so much higher than mine, and Your plans, beyond what my mind can fathom. Forgive us for doubting the goodness that You have in store for us when we are in a season of struggle. Thank You that Your love is not limited by our circumstances. Teach us to trust You in all things and at all times. Show us how to love those around us in the ways that they need love most. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek Your thoughts and Your ways in all things, for they are so much greater than our own. Amen.

 

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

 

Answer me, Lord, out of the goodness of Your love; in Your great mercy turn to me. – Psalm 69:16

Desires Fulfilled Through Delight in Him

Take delight in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart. – (Psalm 37:4, NIV)

Take great joy in the Eternal! His gifts are coming, and they are all your heart desires! – (Psalm 37:4, VOICE)

Make God the utmost delight and pleasure of your life, and He will provide for you what you desire most. – (Psalm 37:4, TPT)

 

The caveat to this verse is to be mindful of the first half, prior to fixating on the second. It is only when we delight in the Lord and take pleasure in that which pleases Him, that our heart’s desires transpire, as they are aligned with His good and perfect will for us. This is a great reminder on days that life doesn’t seem to go our way, as one day does not define our eternity. Yesterday, I had one of those days that required me to dig deep and choose to delight in God, as various circumstances sprinkled throughout my day, challenged my heart. God is faithful, and He provided good in the midst of the trying. Sweet reminders of His goodness and faithfulness were made evident through the people He has placed around me. Lovely colleagues and sweet students were mingled in between a migraine and a handful of students who were struggling behaviorally. At last, once the school day was done, my love and I were able to load the car and begin our journey to mom in Oregon. Traffic was terrible, yet I was able to take joy in the beauty along the way, and behold the blessing of the company I was keeping. What I desired most was to see Mom, and by 9:00 pm, we arrived and were greeted with such joy, my heart could hardly contain it. God is so good, and He blesses our hearts as we earnestly seek Him.

 

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In Him, seek true joy;

Ever He’s faithful,

Blessings He employs.

As we seek the Lord,

Our hearts shall align;

With His pleasing will,

His goodness we find.

For all things give thanks,

Each day we draw breath;

The Lord is so good,

By grace we are blessed.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we delight in You and seek to find joy in You, we discover the desires of our heart are met in You. Forgive us for fixing our eyes on the obstacles that attempt to steal our joy. Teach us to recognize the blessings, even in the trials; for You are always good. Show us how to love those around us with Your goodness and grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we take delight in You and give Your praise for the blessings You pour upon us. Amen.

 

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

 

The Lord makes firm the steps of the one who delights in Him. – Psalm 37:23

Fit Our Feet With Peace

For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared. – (Ephesians 6:15, NLT)

On your feet wear the Good News of peace to help you stand strong. – (Ephesians 6:15, ERV)

Stand on your feet alert, then you’ll always be ready to share the blessings of peace. – (Ephesians 6:15, TPT)

 

This portion of Ephesians six is talking about the armor of God that each of us should wear as we go about our days. The idea of peace on your feet makes perfect sense, as it is a reminder that wherever we go, peace should be present and a foundation on which we stand. His peace is not just any peace, but is the perfect peace that brings blessings and strength, and is present, even when it seems like peace should not be possible. To put on the peace that comes from the Good News, we must know, trust and believe the truth of God. As we learn and grow our roots deeper in Christ, peace becomes more readily present; for we trust what we know. May we invest well in our relationship with the Lord, ever making ready our feet to go forth and share the blessings of peace.

 

May we make ready, fb_img_15335609939204632619799715819584.jpg

Our feet with God’s peace;

As we seek the Lord,

His grace He’ll release.

Strengthened for blessings,

With peace meant to share;

Feet readied to love,

Through ongoing prayer.

Rise up, be ready,

Shoe your feet with peace;

Bless in His goodness,

Surrendered release.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to ready our feet with peace so that wherever we go, peace may accompany us. Thank You that as we grow in You, Your peace is present within us, regardless of our circumstances. Forgive us for the times that we have neglected to allow the peace that is already within us, to pour out of us in the places it is needed most. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would be sensitive to Your leading and know how to best share Your peace in places it is absent. Show us how to love those around us well; especially those in need of peace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we fit our feet with Your peace, every step we take each day. 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

Ponder the Wonderful Things

I will consider all Your works and meditate on all Your mighty deeds. – (Psalm 77:12, NIV)

I’ll ponder all the things You’ve accomplished, and give a long, loving look at Your acts. – (Psalm 77:12, MSG)

I ponder all You’ve done, Lord, musing on all Your miracles. – (Psalm 77:12, TPT)

 

Though I have spent much time pondering the things that God has done, especially over the last three and a half months, today is a perfect day to really recognize the mighty miracles of God, as mom and I spend our last full day together. Tomorrow, I return home to Federal Way, and mom will begin her journey in Albany, Oregon. It will be a strange separation for both of us, yet a well-timed return to my family and an opportunity for mom to spend time with my sister and her family as well.

First, the greatest gift and mightiest miracle is that mom is still here with us. The circumstances surrounding her stroke were a bit horrifying, as she was alone for three days before she was found. God, in His faithfulness, held and sustained her, protecting her life and quickening our hearts to call emergency services to do a wellness check. Already, mom has regained much of what was initially lost following the stroke. When we first arrived, her voice was so soft, it was barely audible, and words were very difficult for her to find. She had no control of the right side of her body, and was restricted in swallowing and positioning, as well as in a space of needing a bit of oxygen at night, due to the damage done. Since that time, her dietary restrictions were quickly lifted, as any swallowing concerns dissipated rapidly, and likewise did the need for oxygen. I have had the incredible blessing of watching her healing unfold. Mom has gone from no movement on her right side, to now being able to walk up and down her hallway with a platform walker, and navigate her front porch steps and into the grass with a hemi-walker. Her healing has come not all at once, but in small victories, one day at a time. Though seemingly painfully slow, to look back, it is a wonder to ponder all that He has accomplished. The thing that I remind her of most often when she becomes discouraged with the pace, is that it takes a baby a year to learn to walk, and here she is, a bit more than three months post-stroke, walking with a walker and tackling stairs! Way ahead of the curve. 😊 Additionally, God has blessed my relationship with my mom. Though we have always been close, He has orchestrated an opportunity for a tenderness that has not been present since I was small. My mom is an inspiration, and one of my reasons to live this life well.

Tomorrow will be a travel day for all of us, with me leaving in the early morning to head home, unload the car, then drive with my husband another hundred-plus miles to Anacortes to pick up my boys from their long cruise. Meanwhile, mom, Megan and Scott will be traveling the seven-plus hours to Albany, after loading and doing all of the final preparations for closing mom’s home for the season. Please join us in praying for traveling mercies, especially for mom, as she is a bit nervous to ride in a car for so many hours.

May we all take pause and ponder all of the wonderful things that God has done, for He is for us, and He ultimately uses all things for good.

 

The Lord, He is good, img_2019-08-09_07-20-292830600631577744291.jpg

In all of His ways;

He blesses, protects,

Throughout all our days.

God moves the mountains,

That stand in our way;

Or shows us the route,

The path, He’ll display.

Mighty miracles,

We cannot repay;

Instead we give thanks,

And ponder His grace.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the countless ways that You love us, bless us and protect us. Thank You for all that we have to remember and ponder because You are so loving and kind. Forgive us for the times that we get caught up in the chaos of what lies before us, and do not take pause to ponder Your faithfulness that has always been with us prior. Teach us to remember so that we trust You more. Show us how to love those around us in a way that extends grace and faithfulness, and inspires faith in Your goodness. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we ponder the many miracles that You have done, and all that is yet to come. Amen.

 

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

 

I remember the days of long ago; I meditate on all Your works and consider what Your hands have done. – Psalm 143:5

Endings and Beginnings

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

You are my refuge and my shield; Your word is my source of hope. – (Psalm 119:114, NLT)

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

 

Though David often had need for the Lord to be his literal hiding place, there were times too, that he needed his heart to be covered and “hidden” by God. For me, that is more often the space that I find myself in. When the cares of my circumstances become overwhelming or seem far too heavy to bear, it is in that space that I need seek Christ to cover my heart with His, as He is my place of refuge and a shield about me. He renews my hope with the truth of His word and reminds me anew of who He is. Today, I am being granted the gift of time with my boys as they prepare to leave for a ten-day cruise with the Sea Scouts. I had hoped and prayed for a way to get home to help them pack and prepare and send them off, and God has been faithful to provide faithful friends for such a time as this, so that I could do exactly that and know that mom is in great hands and comfortable in my brief absence.

Yesterday was an incredible day to end mom’s therapies in Washington. As she met with Nick, her physical therapist, he had me guide mom through the paces of navigating her front steps with her hemi-walker. Giving her verbal cues and only keeping a hand touching her low back to remind her that I was present if there was a need, she was able to go down the steps, walk some steps in the grass, turn around, and then return up the stairs. It was the very first time since her stroke that mom had set foot on grass, and after Nick left, she could not stop the tears from falling. For her, it was yet another mile-marker that reminded her that hope is tangible and that she is truly making progress. A few hours later, mom had her final session with Susan, her speech therapist. The beautiful thing about speech therapy is that there is much opportunity to visit, as word recall is largely called forth through conversation. Time flew by, and goodbyes were difficult. Lastly, a bit later in the afternoon, was Larissa, mom’s occupational therapist. Larissa went to great lengths to make certain that we had a solid plan in place for ongoing exercises and stretches for mom to be doing daily during the gap time between now and when therapies begin in Oregon. She has been innovative and kind, and has gone above and beyond to help research and facilitate mom’s needs. As she was leaving, she refused to call it goodbye, but rather a “see you later.” Each of mom’s therapists parted ways with mom with hugs and words of well-wishes, encouraging her and letting her know how much they had loved working with her and how much they would miss her. Mom has a way of winning folks over quickly, and once she has, she is not forgotten. My hope and prayer now, is that she will find the same to be true of her new therapists in Oregon, and that she will discover a new community with which to connect during her season in that space. God has always been her refuge, and I trust that He will continue to provide her hope and tangible evidence of His faithfulness.

 

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Where all hope is found;

The God of all grace,

Your word’s always sound.

You grant me safety,

And You cover me;

My heart is hidden,

In You, lovingly.

Hidden from the things,

That make me choose fear;

Blind to Your presence,

As You’re ever near.

Help us ever seek,

The light of Your grace;

For goodness is found,

Following Your ways.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our safety and our refuge, and that we can ever find hope in Your word. Thank You that You are present to help and protect and provide. Forgive us for our fearfulness in the unsteady or the unknown. Teach us to trust You more. Show us how to love those around us in a way that offers peace and grace and safety. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust and hope in You forever. Amen.

 

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

 

I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God in whom I trust.” – Psalm 91:2

Joy in Every Season

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! – (Philippians 4:4, NIV)

Always be filled with joy in the Lord. I will say it again. Be filled with joy. – (Philippians 4:4, ERV)

Be cheerful with joyous celebration in every season of life. Let joy overflow, for you are united with the Anointed One! – (Philippians 4:4, TPT)

 

This weekend is turning out to be a wonderful blessing, that I had not anticipated. As my husband and my anniversary draws ever nearer, and we have a planned getaway late next week, I did not imagine that not only he and my boys would come this weekend, but my running bestie arrived last evening and stays through late morning, and then as my guys leave on Sunday, my best friend will roll in for an overnight as well. The great thing is that the one who gave me life reaps the blessings, as well as the one whom they come to celebrate. It is a win-win, and yet another reason to rejoice.  The thing is, rejoicing in the Lord is not actually about our circumstances, but rather about our hope that is held in Him. My mom is an incredible model of this each day, as her joy is unwavering and her strength and determination are clearly grounded in God.

Yesterday, Mom had physical therapy and occupational therapy back-to-back, early in the day. During PT, mom walked the length of her hallway with a hemi-walker for the first time, which is incredible, as it is a one-handed walker and the step prior to transitioning to a cane. In fact, at the end of her session, Nick, her physical therapist, recommended that we find a cane for her before Monday. Occupational therapy was equally great, as the brace for mom’s shoulder that we had ordered had arrived, and Larissa adjusted and educated us both as to how it is to be placed and worn. Mom did a great job with her exercises for OT as well, and did some walking with her shoulder brace and hemi-walker, just to see what it would feel like to not need someone help hold her arm to keep it from hanging painfully. It was fantastic! After lunch, mom wisely took a rest, knowing that the afternoon and evening would be busy. Two of her sweet neighbors stopped by to visit and check in, while another neighbor from next door, was reinforcing brackets on some of mom’s sprinkler lines (just because he is kind). Shortly after the neighbors had gone, by dear friend, Ashley arrived. Mom was just as excited as I was, and we all shared dinner together, followed by a fun evening of teaching her our favorite game. Apparently, we taught her too well, as she won the last round. 😉 Mom had another good night of sleep, and we are hoping to sneak mom down to the paved path by the river so that we can at least get a good walk in, since mom’s chair will not allow a jog pace. We will see what mom is up for, but either way, the visit is great for all of us. May we ever rejoice in the Lord, for He has given us life and breath, hope and love; to Him be the glory forever.

 

Rejoice in the Lord,

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This morning’s view… ❤

As each season comes;

For He is faithful,

His will shall be done.

Despite what we see,

He’s working within;

Making a new way,

As we choose trust Him.

Find joy in trials,

And joy in success;

For God is in both,

His heart is to bless.

Look to the heavens,

Ever seek His face;

For there you’ll find joy,

And unending grace.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we always have joy in You, no matter our circumstances. Forgive us for losing sight of that joy when troubles or trials cloud our view. Teach us to fix our eyes on You above all else, so that we never lose sight of the joy we have forever. Show us how to love those around us in a way that spreads joy in all circumstances, and extends grace to those needing it the most. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love You and find joy in our hope in You forever. Amen.

 

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

 

Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength. – Nehemiah 8:10b