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

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

Inspired to Love

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

We should think about each other to see how we can encourage each other to show love and do good works. – (Hebrews 10:24, ERV)

Let us consider how to inspire each other to greater love and to righteous deeds. – (Hebrews 10:24, VOICE)

 

This is a season in which people are either most readily willing to step out and love greater and do good works in the name of “the Christmas Spirit”, or are most in need of being blessed, as lack or loss or absence makes this season extraordinarily difficult for them. Giving trees and Random Acts of Kindness are just a few of the simple ways that we are able to demonstrate love through good deeds. Being intentionally aware of those around us is a wonderful way to start. It is not difficult to find someone in need of encouragement or a kind word. Such things take little from us, yet have the capacity to turn a day around, simply by allowing another to know that they are seen and that they matter. As we continue to walk out these last few weeks leading to Christmas, may we consider how to spur one another on in love and good deeds, so all may know the kindness of Christ this sacred season.

 

May we consider, Inspired to Love

How to best inspire;

To choose love greater,

Spread good like wild fire.

Look for the spaces,

Reach out and do good;

Help one another,

Just as we each should.

One act of kindness,

A sweet spoken word;

Make the difference,

Of how truth is heard.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your goodness and kindness are present throughout all of our days, if we only slow down and look around to take notice. Thank You that You call us to do the same, so that we may encourage one another. Forgive us for the opportunities to do good or love well that we did not take. Teach us to rise up and love like You. Show us how to love and encourage those around us in ways that bless tangibly. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we consider how to love, encourage and do good, as You are calling us to do. Amen.

 

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

 

Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. – 1 John 4:11

Everything. Everyone. Every Day.

And give thanks for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. – (Ephesians 5:20, NLT)

And give thanks to God the Father every day through the name of our Lord Jesus the Anointed for all He has done. – (Ephesians 5:20, VOICE)

Always give thanks to Father God for every person He brings into your life in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. – (Ephesians 5:20, TPT)

 

I love that these three various translations place the emphasis on three distinct things. The first, reminds us to give thanks for everything, the second, to be thankful for all that God has done, every day, and lastly, to give thanks for every person that the Lord brings into our lives. Each of these interpretations of the original text provide plentiful prose to promote praise. If we were to sit down and begin listing EVERYTHING we are thankful for, the list ought to continue for days… The second and third translations remind us to give thanks daily to God for the people He provides, and all that He has done. When I take pause and consider either of those, again, my list grows exponentially. God is so good and He is faithful and worthy of our gratitude forever. Though my life has not gone the way I might have imagined, I am blessed beyond what I could have hoped for, and loved lavishly. God has done immeasurably more than I ever hoped or dreamed, and to be real, even prayed. He sees and knows the desires of our heart and hears even the prayers that are but a mere whisper. He is so, so good. All thanks to God the Father every day for everything and all that He has done, and for every person that He has brought into our lives.

 

Always be thankful,

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I am thankful for this sweet moment captured by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography during by boys’ senior photo shoot.

For everything;

For all that God’s done,

The countless blessings.

For people He’s placed,

Throughout all our days;

To navigate life,

And share well His grace.

For those who have taught,

And those who have cared;

Each who has chosen,

To love and to share.

For so many things,

To the Lord, we praise;

All thanks be to God,

Throughout all our days.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the countless ways that You bless us and give us reason to lift our thanks and praise to You. Thank You for everything and everyone that You have done and brought into our lives. Forgive us for forgetting just how gracious and generous You are. Teach us to recognize Your kindness and grace, so that we choose to daily, give You all of our praise. Show us how to love those around us well, so that they too, may feel reason to give You gratitude. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You thanks for everything and everyone, every day. 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

Examples En Route

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

Look at those who are honest and good, for a wonderful future awaits those who love peace. – (Psalm 37:37, NLT)

Keep your eyes on the innocent. Model your life after the blameless. Everyone who loves peace has a future. – (Psalm 37:37, VOICE)

 

So often, when we read the words blameless, upright, or innocent, the standard set before us seems unattainable. However, we must remember that when we have Christ in us, God views us through the lens of Jesus. He is blameless, upright and innocent. Honesty, goodness, and a love for peace become part of our character as we invest in our relationship with Christ. Most of us know people who model this lifestyle well. Honesty and goodness radiate from their very existence, and to be in their presence, is to understand a space of peace. Jesus is our ultimate model of such, and He places people in our lives to show us tangible evidence of the fruit that a heart after Him will bear. May we ever look to the examples set before us, and model our lives after He who was without sin. Let a love of peace propel us forward on the path to which we each have been called.

 

Look to examples,

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A tiny snapshot of those who have been examples of honesty, goodness and peace in my life.

Each placed in our lives;

To show us the way,

To love well and thrive.

Observe the upright,

Honest, innocent;

Their goodness and peace,

Show us God’s intent.

For as we pursue,

Lives lived out this way;

God makes His heart known,

As love is conveyed.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son, Jesus, to show us what a blameless and upright life look like, and the beauty found in the ultimate future of those who love and pursue peace. Forgive us for thinking that we have to somehow accomplish these things on our own, rather than seeking You and allowing You to transform our hearts and lives to more closely mirror Yours. Teach us to turn to You to show us what it means to be honest and good, and to love peace. Show us how to love those around us in a way that conveys honesty, goodness and peace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we look to the examples that You have set before us of those who lived and those who are now living, blameless and upright, ever seeking Your peace. Amen.

 

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

 

The mouths of the righteous utter wisdom, and their tongues speak what is just. – Psalm 37:30

 

 

Faith is Expressed Through Love

For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision has any value. The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love. – (Galatians 5:6, NIV)

When someone belongs to Christ Jesus, it is not important if they are circumcised or not. The important thing is faith – the kind of faith that works through love. – (Galatians 5:6, ERV)

When you’re placed into the Anointed One and joined to Him, circumcision and religious obligations can benefit you nothing. All that matters now is living in the faith that is activated and brought to perfection by love. – (Galatians 5:6, TPT)

 

God is not interested in whether or not we follow religious rituals, but rather He wants our hearts. Faith is the expression of our trust in action, made evident by the attestation of our love. As we love consistently and lavishly, God’s heart is made known. May we ever seek our Savior to express our faith through love in action, so that His love may be made evident to all.

 

Lord, help Your children, Love that Grows

Grow faith in our hearts;

Perfected by love,

By grace, set apart.

Lead us each day, Lord,

To love with our lives;

Set faith in action,

Your heart realized.

Our walking in faith,

Makes God’s heart more clear;

As we love like Christ,

People feel Him near.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the incredible love that You have for us all. Thank You that faith is not about religious rituals, but rather it is about relationship. Thank You that our faith grows as we walk forward in love. Forgive us for the times that we have not chosen love, or have somehow thought we needed to do certain things to earn love. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would receive the love that You freely give, and in turn, love others in the same way. Show us how to love those around us in a way that builds faith and extends grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we receive Your abundant love and extend the same to those around us. 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

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

To Wait in Hope

We wait in hope for the Lord; He is our help and our shield. – (Psalm 33:20, NIV)

So we will wait for the Lord. He helps us and protects us. – (Psalm 33:20, ERV)

The Lord alone is our radiant hope and we trust in Him with all our hearts. His wrap-around presence will strengthen us. – (Psalm 33:20, TPT)

 

This is the time where I have to dig in and wait in hope all the more for God to be my help and my shield. As my time with my husband and my brief time at home with my boys this evening will be drawing to a close as I return to my mom in Wenatchee tomorrow morning, I have to place my heart and my trust in Him. Each time I leave my family, I am a bit more gutted than the last; not because I am going to my mom, as I love the time with mom and am grateful to be able to be with her and help her, but rather because I have been away from my husband and children for far too long, and it is taking its toll on all of us. Each of us knew the cost when we decided as a family that my being with mom was the best choice, but as the end date is drawing near, closure and next steps are needed. That being said, we need the Lord to orchestrate the details for mom’s time and care in Oregon. There is much to consider and many things that must be in place, prior to moving mom seven hours from her home for a season.

As for mom, prayers were answered last night, for she slept far better, with a five-hour consecutive stretch in the night. She had a great day and enjoyed a couple of great visits with some of her dearest friends both during the afternoon and again in the evening. I imagine that the extra stimulus contributed positively to her stellar sleep. Today includes both occupational therapy and speech therapy on the agenda. Both are great for taxing the body and mind, and will hopefully aid in another great night of sleep. Tomorrow will be transition day, as Megan will make the long drive back to Oregon, and I will return from my home west of the mountains. It sounds as if we will not actually see one another in the switch, as a dear friend will likely stay with mom during the gap. Please continue to pray with us for every detail of mom’s care in Oregon to fall into place, so that the transition will be smooth and timely. Ideally, there will be little to no gap in therapy appointments, to maximize mom’s continued progress. Though we cannot fathom how all of this will come to fruition, God can.

 

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In hope, love and trust;

For He is faithful,

And forever just.

He knows all our needs,

Each cry of our heart;

He answers in ways,

As faith, He imparts.

So, trust in the Lord,

Even when it’s tough;

His grace is greater,

And blessings, enough.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we wait on You, You help us and protect us. Thank You that You provide all that we need, as it is needed. Forgive us for our fears and doubts, especially when we cannot conceive a way for things to work out. Teach us to trust You more, as You are so much greater than our doubts and our lack of vision beyond what our mere eyes can see. Show us how to love those around us through the struggles and doubts, and encourage one another to trust in Your goodness and love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust in You; our help and shield forever. Amen.

 

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

 

Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord. – Psalm 27:14

Persevere in Doing Good

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. – (Galatians 6:9, NIV)

We must not get tired of doing good. We will receive our harvest of eternal life at the right time. We must not give up. – (Galatians 6:9, ERV)

So let’s not allow ourselves to get fatigued doing good. At the right time we will harvest a good crop if we don’t give up, or quit. – (Galatians 6:9, MSG)

 

The first person that came to mind as I read this verse this morning, is my vice principal at school. She is the person who did some of the most difficult work on campus, yet did not grow weary in doing good, with a positive attitude and a heart for people. Her kindness and heart for people draws others in, and I consider her a friend as well as a colleague. Part of not growing weary in doing good, is knowing when to take a rest. For her, the opportunity to take a year’s sabbatical has presented itself in the coming school year, and I imagine God has an incredible harvest of blessings for her as she enjoys a new season of rest and is able to spend far more quality time with her wonderful family.

This same principle applies with mom and all who are in her corner. Each person who is investing or has invested time to help with her healing and recovery, is aiding in her ultimate good. The willingness of others to walk alongside mom has encouraged her to rise up and press on with a determination and resilience that few would find in such a situation. Yesterday was a changing of the guard day for my sister and me. I returned after time at home to close out the school year, and she now needs to get back to her home to her family and work. There is good to be done in each space, and our call is to do what we can, wherever we are – no more, no less. God is faithful to grant us the strength; it is our charge to keep moving forward. May we ever continue to press on in the good that lies before us, for every act of kindness goes out and can be utilized by God.

 

Let’s not grow weary, fb_img_15611258346534200705895356085413.jpg

In choosing do good;

For God grants us strength,

To do as we should.

He helps us to rise,

Encourage, be kind;

To help each other,

With their best in mind.

When the day is done,

And it’s time to rest;

May we truly say,

We gave God our best.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to do good; not because we have to do or be anything to earn Your favor, but rather because You want others to see You through us. Thank You that we can be Your ambassadors of love to those who need to know what love and kindness and grace truly means. Forgive us for the times that we have neglected to demonstrate the good that You have for those around us. Teach us to trust You more, so that we may be a living reflection of who You are to those around us. Show us how to love others in the same way that You so perfectly love each of us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose to do good and love well. Amen.

 

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

 

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law. – Galatians 5:22-23

Selected to Serve

In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to His own advantage; rather, He made Himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. – (Philippians 2:5-7, NIV)

In your life together, think the way Christ Jesus thought. He was like God in every way, but He did not think that His being equal with God was something to use for His own benefit. Instead, He gave up everything, even His place with God. He accepted the role of a servant, appearing in human form. – (Philippians 2:5-7, ERV)

And consider the example that Jesus, the Anointed One, has set before us. Let His mindset become your motivation. He existed in the form of God, yet He gave no thought to seizing equality with God as His supreme prize. Instead He emptied Himself of His outward glory by reducing Himself to the form of a lowly servant. He became human! – (Philippians 2:5-7, TPT)

 

Jesus was the ultimate example of how we ought to relate to one another. He let go of who He was so that He could love all in a way that was tangible and approachable. Heaven came to earth and walked among us. The Creator of all that is and was and ever will be, set down His deity to become like us, so that we might understand what love means. Jesus did not come as a king demanding to rule, but rather as one who served and loved, helped and healed, touched and taught. By serving in love, Jesus influenced the hearts of humans for all of eternity. We are called to do the same. May we seek the Lord and His loving kindness, so that we may love and serve with the same mindset that Christ has for us.

 

How vast is the love, Healed Hands Reach Out

That set throne aside;

To be made like man,

Deity denied?

And O so much more,

Jesus came and gave;

He taught, lived and loved

Healed, sacrificed, saved.

O how the Lord loves,

Still unto this day;

Contending for us,

To walk in His way.

We are also called,

To choose do the same;

To love and to serve,

Honor Jesus’ Name.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the incredible gift of Jesus. Thank You Jesus for the example You lived, and for Your ongoing help through Your Holy Spirit. Thank You that You showed us what it looks like to serve and love. Forgive us for not following the example that You are calling us to walk out. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would choose loving kindness, regardless of what we receive. 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 seek You for strength to walk in Your ways and do Your will, all of the days of our lives. Amen.

 

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

 

Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not people. – Ephesians 6:7