Blessings in Mourning

Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. – (Matthew 5:4, NIV)

Great blessings belong to those who are sad now. God will comfort them. – (Matthew 5:4, ERV)

You’re blessed when you feel you’ve lost what is most dear to you. Only then can you be embraced by the One most dear to you. – (Matthew 5:4, MSG)

One of the hardest things we face in life is loss. Though we all know that not one of us will live forever, there is always sorrow in the passing of those whom we love, especially when the loss comes far sooner than anticipated. Mourning is a challenging space for me, as I am not an external emoter. I feel deeply, yet seldom allow myself to give room for tears to escape. It is not intentional, but rather is a well-developed defense mechanism. As only God does, He has placed me in communities with loving, tender hearts, that create safe space to process however my heart needs to do so. For me, there is comfort in simply writing things down. In fact, that is often how I discover how I am actually feeling. Words in writing seem to bypass the filter in my mind and simply land on the page as they are. That being said, I guess my point is that despite my grieving in this space of loss, I am grateful for the comfort and kindness that I am blessed to have surrounding me. Additionally, the one whom my heart aches for the most, is clearly surrounded in community too. Even when life is hard, God is so good. May we ever seek the Lord in our spaces of loss and of blessing, for He loves us and provides safe space to process whatever our heart is holding.

In spaces of loss,

Where our hearts need mourn;

The Lord’s ever near,

To mend what is torn.

He blesses our hearts,

Surrounds us with peace;

Makes love tangible,

As our hearts release.

Release the heartache,

Place all in His hands;

His grace holds us up,

As we trust His plans.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that in our spaces of loss and mourning, You come near and bless us with Your comfort. Forgive us for the times we delay in turning to You in our grief. Teach us to trust and lean on You, for You bless us with Your comfort and love in all things. Show us how to love, support and comfort those around us in the same way that You support and comfort us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we thank You for Your blessings in our spaces of mourning, and for the communities that You place us in. 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

Hope is Reborn

Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. – (Matthew 5:4, NIV)

Great blessings belong to those who are sad now. God will comfort them. – (Matthew 5:4, ERV)

You’re blessed when you feel you’ve lost what is most dear to you. Only then can you be embraced by the One most dear to you. – (Matthew 5:4, MSG)

Grief is in the forefront of my mind this morning, as I received news of a friend’s great loss. I never know what to say in the space of such suffering, as I know the despair and devastation created by loss, and we each respond differently in the depths of our own pain. For me, reminders of God’s goodness and ability to comfort, along with the recognition and recall that Jesus grieved in loss as well, seem to help my heart in such spaces. The shortest, yet most powerfully significant verse that I know in such a space is, “Jesus wept.” (John 11:35) Jesus weeping in the face of loss with His dear friends is a reminder to us that we are not meant to “keep it all together” or “be strong” when we face grief. It is good and necessary to grieve so that our hearts can heal. God takes the broken pieces of our hearts and puts them back together in such a wondrous way that beauty springs forth from our ashes. Incredibly, what I have found after a period of mourning, is that God brings along opportunities for me to offer comfort to others walking through something similar, and great hope as I can see so clearly how I was held through the pain. My hope and prayer this morning is that those in the midst of loss can find comfort and peace in the arms of the One who is able to heal us, and feel the freedom to grieve however it is needed so that release and relief may come.

When tragedy strikes,

Or great loss is known;

God be our comfort,

As Your love is shown.

Teach our hearts to grieve,

In spaces of loss;

So healing can come,

Let’s look to the cross.

For in such anguish,

You bore all our pain;

So that we might know,

That joy comes again.

For after the grave,

You breathed life anew;

Our forever hope,

That proves Your love’s true.

A time for weeping,

To grieve and to mourn;

So joy may return,

And hope is reborn.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have known and experienced loss and devastation, and You too, wept. Thank You that because You have lived it, You can relate to our suffering and bring comfort and healing and hope. Forgive us for our fears and doubts when all that we can feel is loss. Teach us to turn to You in our despair, for Your arms are big enough to hold our every heaviness. Show us how to love, support, encourage and walk beside those around us in their seasons of loss. May comfort be found and Your heart made known in new and tangible ways. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God as we give You room and freedom to bring beauty from our ashes and hope from our despair. Amen.

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

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens… – Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

The Goodness of God

Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in Him. – (Psalm 34:8, NIV)

Give the Lord a chance to show you how good He is. Great blessings belong to those who depend on Him! – (Psalm 34:8, ERV)

Taste of His goodness; see how wonderful the Eternal truly is. Anyone who puts trust in Him will be blessed and comforted. – (Psalm 34:8, VOICE)

I am constantly in awe of the goodness of God. His goodness is not dependent on our circumstances, rather He is good, despite our circumstances and in the midst of them. God knows what we will face, long before challenges come our way, and He prepares blessings to strengthen and uphold us as we continue moving forward with Him. Yesterday, as my Viking and I celebrated our third wedding anniversary, I cannot help but be reminded of God’s goodness. I was at a place in my life where I was completely content being single, and had no aspirations of joining the dating scene. God had different plans for me, and in His kindness and gentleness, orchestrated a love story that resulted in a marriage that supplied the support, love and encouragement that my heart did not even know it needed. Together, we have navigated trials and triumphs, heartaches and great joy, and hand-in-hand are ever moving forward in all that God has called us to do. It is not always easy, but it is always easy to see the blessings and goodness of God. May we depend on the Lord and His glorious goodness, for He upholds us and brings blessings through His overwhelming love.

In sickness and health,

Through trials and joy;

God’s goodness is found,

As His love’s employed.

He knows what we need,

Far better than us;

I’m certain that’s why,

He sent us Jesus.

For in Him we learn,

Blessings, love and grace;

We can taste and see,

God’s wonderful ways.

So, turn to the Lord,

Seek to taste and see;

Just how good He is,

He loves perfectly.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You see and know what we need, long before we have even an inkling of an idea. Thank You that You bless us with Your goodness and love that carries us through trials and triumphs. Thank You for the gift of those whom You have placed in our lives to love us well. Forgive us for fears and doubts, for You already know how You will carry us through every season. Teach us to trust You and give thanks for the countless ways that You show us Your goodness and love. Show us how to love those around us in ways that make it easy for others to taste and see how good You truly are. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for the tangible goodness that You place in our lives to remind us of who You are and how You love. Amen.

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

But as for me, it is good to be near God. I have made the Sovereign Lord my refuge; I will tell of all Your deeds. – Psalm 73:28

May We Recognize His Goodness

Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in Him. – (Psalm 34:8, NIV) 

Give the Lord a chance to show you how good He is. Great blessings belong to the Lord. – (Psalm 34:8, ERV) 

Taste of His goodness; see how wonderful the Eternal truly is. Anyone who puts trust in Him will be blessed and comforted. – (Psalm 34:8, VOICE) 

The Lord is faithful to meet us as we seek Him. His goodness does not always manifest in the way we expect, but always, He is good. The more we trust, the more we find His comfort and presence that bless our hearts. This weekend is a strange one, as it has traditionally been a time to gather with family and enjoy time together. Today, we will share a meal and some of our favorite games with our dearest friends, while remaining very close to home. I will miss time with my mom, sister and extended family, but I know that there will still be blessings in the goodness of His presence as we trust in Him. May we all taste and see how good God is, for He is our space of comfort and safety in every season. 

The Lord, He is good, 

May all taste and see; 

Blessing and comfort, 

For you and for me. 

As we choose to trust, 

He makes His love clear; 

His goodness made plain, 

As we seek draw near. 

Let love lead the way, 

In all that we do; 

Give glory to God, 

As He makes things new. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we need only pause to recognize how very good You are. No matter our situation or circumstances, thank You that You are present to help, protect and comfort. Forgive us for getting caught up in our own circumstances rather than trusting You. Teach us to rely on You, for You are our comfort and safety in every season. Show us how to love those around us well, so that all may taste and see how very good You are. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we make time to recognize how very good You are. Amen. 

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

Surely Your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. – Psalm 23:6

Love is Secure

Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in Him. – (Psalm 34:8, NIV)

Give the Lord a chance to show you how good He is. Great blessings belong to those who depend on Him! – (Psalm 34:8, ERV)

Taste of His goodness; see how wonderful the Eternal truly is. Anyone who puts trust in Him will be blessed and comforted. – (Psalm 34:8, VOICE)

 

Yesterday was an incredibly good day. So many of the things hoped for and trusted for, seemed to begin to fall into place. Though uncharacteristically quiet, the Zoom meeting with my Social Studies kiddos was the best attended one yet. I was so blessed to see faces and hear voices and laughter, of students who have been absent from my world for nearly six weeks. If that were not enough goodness for one day, I received a call at lunchtime from the gal I had been speaking with about yellow lab puppies. She let me know that there was only one remaining, and another family was asking, but she wanted me to have priority, as I had inquired first. We then and there had a Zoom meeting of our own, so that the boys and I could virtually meet our potential puppy. All three of us were smitten, and the decision was not at all difficult. With commitment made, I continued the remainder of my afternoon, Zooming with my art classes, answering emails, and receiving completed work that was submitted early. By the time my husband arrived home, I was ready to run out the door. I did give him time to relax and unwind for a few, followed by a masked trip to the pet store to prepare with our purchases for all things puppy. Puppy chow and treats, dog bed and bowl; potty pads and chew toys, collar and leash, puppy shampoo and brush, and a few other things that I cannot recall that I am certain we will “need” for our new fur baby. Our sweet addition will be picked up and brought home late this afternoon, following the conclusion of my workday. Though I know puppies are loads of work and care, it will be well worth it, and honestly, God prepared me long ago – I have twins! 😊

There was great joy in sharing our news with my mom as well. Though she has not had a dog in her household since we lived at home, she is the one, so many years ago, who first allowed my sweet greyhound to sleep on a bed (with her, no less) as she has a very tender spot for grand-dogs. It will be especially sweet to share photos and videos with mom as we endeavor in the wonderful new adventure.

All this to say that as we depend on God, and persevere in that to which we are called, He sees, He hears, and He loves in ways that are so very good. May we all seek Him and give God room to move as only He does.

 

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Seek, taste and you’ll see;

Our God is for us,

His love meets our needs.

So much more than that,

He blesses each heart;

That keeps trusting Him,

As strength He imparts.

Keep looking to God,

You’ll find that He’s good;

His timing’s perfect,

And love is secured.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the blessings that come to fruition after they have been long hoped for and pursued. Thank You for those that are still hopes and dreams, as Your timing is perfect, even when we do not understand. Forgive us for our impatience, as we only see a glimpse of what is, whereas You see the end before things begin. Teach us to trust You and to embrace Your goodness and Your grace in every season; for You are so good. Show us how to love those around us in ways that bless, encourage, and uplift the hearts of all with Your goodness and grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose take notice of all the countless ways that You are good. Amen.

 

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

 

Surely Your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. – Psalm 23:6

Be Glad, Lovely Sky

Shout for joy, you heavens; rejoice, you earth; burst into song, you mountains! For the Lord comforts His people and will have compassion on His afflicted ones. – (Isaiah 49:13, NIV)

Heavens and earth, be happy! Mountains, shout with joy! The Lord comforts His people. He is good to His poor people. – (Isaiah 49:13, ERV)

Oh joy! Be glad – sky! Take joy – earth! Burst into song – mountains! For the Eternal, moved to compassion, has comforted and consoled His people. – (Isaiah 49:13, VOICE)

 

Though we may not feel it in the midst of our struggles, God is moving with compassion and supplying His comfort. Perhaps that is the “why” to rejoice, for when we do, it further comforts us, despite our circumstances. Additionally, even if we do not choose to rejoice and be glad, “…the very rocks would start to shout!” (Luke 19:40, VOICE) The truth of who God is will be made known, with or without us. We are in a unique position to demonstrate joy, despite our circumstances; rejoice in the truth that we know, and hold fast to the hope of all that is yet to come. It does not mean that we will be “Miss Susie Sunshine” all the time, but what it does mean is that there is an underlying joy and hope, deep-rooted within us, that shines forth somehow, even on the most difficult of days. May we set our sights on He who is good to His people and has compassion and comfort for those in need. Let us take joy in the truth that we know and be glad in ways that spread goodness to those around us.

 

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Take joy, all the earth;

For God sees us each,

With infinite worth.

In His holy love,

Comfort He does bring;

Full of compassion,

Our reason to sing.

So, sing out with praise,

All the earth rejoice;

Lift praise to the Lord,

One heart and one voice.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that all of heaven and earth has reason to rejoice and be glad, as You bring comfort and compassion to the afflicted and those in need. Thank You that You hear every prayer and see every need. Forgive us for our lack of praise in spaces of struggle. Show us how to rejoice and hold hope in tangible ways that spread joy to those around us. Help us to love all those whom we have contact with in ways that encourage and strengthen them with joy and hope. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You with grateful hearts, full of hope, as You are our Comforter, full of compassion in every season of our lives. Amen.

 

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

 

“I tell you,” He replied, “if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.” – Luke 19:40

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.

 

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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

Faithfully and Tangibly Good

Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in Him. – (Psalm 34:8, NIV)

Give the Lord a chance to show you how good He is. Great blessings belong to those who depend on Him! – (Psalm 34:8, ERV)

Taste of His goodness; see how wonderful the Eternal truly is. Anyone who puts trust in Him will be blessed and comforted. – (Psalm 34:8, VOICE)

 

He really, truly is good. Despite loss, frustration, trials and exhaustion, there are blessings and goodness, and above all, there is love. The Lord is faithful to show His kindness and grace as we take refuge in Him and seek His face. In this season, I have been blessed with new opportunities, as I am taking on a new role as a high school assistant gymnastics coach at my alma mater. Before this season, I have only coached recreational gymnastics since age sixteen, and middle school gymnastics for the last twenty-three years. This sort of new learning is a wonderful joy, and includes the added bonus of working not only with fantastic coaches, but great girls, some of which who were my gymnasts when they were in middle school. Additionally, God has blessed us with the means and time from our jobs to travel across the country next week for my father-in-law’s memorial. Though there is sorrow in the loss, I know there will be joy in the remembering, and peace in the blessing of time together for closure. In all things, God is good. It is up to us to open our eyes, minds and hearts to notice His willingness to meet us when we seek Him, and witness how He moves on our behalf. May we ever look to the Lord to be our refuge, and be quick to notice the goodness and blessings that God bestows upon us all.

 

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For God is so kind;

Our refuge and strength,

Where grace is designed.

In Him, there’s blessing,

To know and be known;

He loves us to life,

And calls us His own.

In good and trial,

The Lord’s ever near;

We need choose seek Him,

For His love is clear.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your goodness and grace. Thank You that when we seek You, we come to know that You are our refuge, as You love us through all things well. Thank You that You make Your loving kindness tangible through those whom You place in our lives. Forgive us for the times that we have not sought You in our sorrow, or withheld the good that You have for us to offer those around us. Teach us to seek You in all things, so that we may receive all that You have to offer, and in turn, extend the same to those around us. Show us how to love those around us well, in ways that make Your goodness tangible. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we taste and see just how very good You truly are. Amen.

 

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

 

But as for me, it is good to be near God. I have made the Sovereign Lord my refuge; I will tell of all Your deeds. – Psalm 73:28

The Source of Strength and Courage

“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)

“Remember, I commanded you to be strong and brave. Don’t be afraid, because the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” – (Joshua 1:9, ERV)

“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)

 

God’s presence is our protection from fear and discouragement. Knowing His nearness fends off fear and encourages hearts with His strength. His presence is promised wherever we go. In the same way that a small child is comforted and emboldened knowing that a parent is near, we too, in similar fashion, may find peace, comfort and strength as we are aware of our Heavenly Father’s presence. May we ever seek the Lord for strength and courage, as He is faithful to meet us and make His presence known.

 

We are commanded, Compassion in Confrontations

Be strong in the Lord;

Do not be afraid,

As love is outpoured.

Ever He is near,

His presence assured;

Where we are lacking,

His strength is secured.

Rise up, be fearless,

In faith choose press on;

God faithfully leads,

Strength when ours is gone.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are faithful to lead, strengthen and encourage us always, and You never leave us or forsake us. Thank You that we need not fear nor be discouraged, as You hold us in Your hands. Forgive us for our fearfulness and losing heart, as we lose sight of the truth of how powerful You truly are. Teach us to trust You more, so that we will find strength and courage in knowing Your nearness, even when we cannot feel You near nor see how You are moving on our behalf. Show us how to love those around us in a way that offers strength and courage when it is lacking. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust Your faithful presence and provision, no matter what comes our way. Amen.

 

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

 

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