The Port of Peace

He stilled the storm to a murmur, and the waves of the sea were hushed. They rejoiced when the waves grew quiet. Then He guided them to the harbor they longed for. – (Psalm 107:29-30, HCSB)

He stopped the storm and calmed the waves. The sailors were happy that the sea became calm, and He led them safely to where they wanted to go. – (Psalm 107:29-30, ERV)

He commanded the storm to calm down, and it became still. A hush came over the waves of the sea, the sailors were delighted at the quiet, and He guided them to their port. – (Psalm 107:29-30, VOICE)

I feel like this is a perfect parallel to the end of the school year. The chaos and craziness of teaching through a pandemic, as the waves roared around us, are being silenced. At 10:30 today, teachers will be rejoicing as calm comes and we make our way into the peaceful harbor of summer. In the same way that educators have been carried through this crazy school year, God carries us through our most tumultuous storms. Challenge, heartache, illness, loss, and places we are lacking, God meets us where we are and walks beside us to the other side. There were days early on in the school year that I questioned my profession and purpose. Somehow, a way was made and things did improve. I have much hope that next year will be far better than this one. Kids will have become acclimated to being back at school, and two grade levels of students will have had a full school year on campus as they return. May we ever seek our Savior who is the calmer of the storms, and the One who is our safe harbor in whom we can delight.

With merely a word,

The storms had to cease;

Into safe harbor,

As calm is released.

Both throughout the storm,

And when the calm comes;

God will be with us,

The most Holy One.

Our anchor that holds,

No matter the waves;

Our Guide to safety,

Throughout all our days.

Now the safe harbor,

Is plainly in sight;

May we give Him praise,

Our strength and delight.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You can calm our chaos with merely a word, and lead us to safe harbor when the storms rage around us. Thank You that You strengthen and support us, and lead us through to places of peace. Forgive us for our fears and doubts when the storms last longer than we think they should. Teach us to ever trust in You. Show us how to love those around us in ways that provide safe harbor and extend Your perfect peace, even when storms rage around us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You to be our anchor and our Guide throughout all of our days. Amen.

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

I will both lie down and sleep in peace, for You alone, Lord, make me live in safety. – Psalm 4:8

Flooded With Love

Love us, God, with all You’ve got – that’s what we’re depending on. – (Psalm 33:22, MSG)

Let Your love and steadfast kindness overshadow us continually, for we trust and we wait upon You. – (Psalm 33:22, TPT)

O Eternal, drench us with Your endless love, even now as we wait for You. – (Psalm 33:22, VOICE)

Finally, this morning, after sleeping in until 5:00am, I am finally beginning to feel like it is actually Christmas break. It is strange how it takes a few days to settle in and realize that it is time to relax and decompress from the craziness that this year has held. This is the time to rest in Him, for His love floods our hearts and minds when we are intentional to seek time with the Lord. God surrounds us with His love through all things, great and small, if only we look to Him to be our Source and Supply. May we look to the Lord and depend on Him, for His love floods our hearts as we depend on Him.

O come, Lord Jesus,

Flood our hearts and minds;

With Your endless love,

And grace to be kind.

Lead us in all things,

Wherever we go;

Let Your goodness shine,

So all come to know.

Know of the wonder,

Of love that will last;

Peace never ending,

With lifelong impact.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we seek and depend on You, You flood us with Your overwhelming, never ending love. Forgive us for our lack of seeking. Teach us to lean into You in seasons of busy and times of rest. Show us Your faithfulness in the unexpected, and lead us to love those around us in ways that show Your amazing love made tangible. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You in every season and give praise for Your amazing love. Amen.

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

So then it does not depend on human will or effort but on God who shows mercy. – Romans 9:16

Safe and Stable Space

When I said, “My foot is slipping,” Your unfailing love, Lord, supported me. – (Psalm 94:18, NIV)

I know I was ready to fall, but, Lord, Your faithful love supported me. – (Psalm 94:18, ERV)

I cried out, “I am slipping!” but Your unfailing love, O Lord, supported me. – (Psalm 94:18, NLT)

I don’t know about you, but in the craziness of all that is going on in the world right now, I feel as if my foot will “slip” daily. Thankfully, God’s nearness and support does not change with our circumstances. He remains present to help, no matter what is going on around us or in us. His love is far more powerful than anything that transpires around us. God loves us far more than we can grasp or imagine, and is faithful forever. There is much comfort in this. Knowing that God is with me, no matter what is going on, grants me the strength and resolve to keep moving forward. May we ever turn to the Lord and His unfailing love, for He will support us and see us through all that comes our way.

When I’m not steady,

Unstable the ground;

I look to the Lord,

Where love and help’s found.

He knows each challenge,

That stands in our way;

Equips us with strength,

To get through each day.

He’s more than enough,

To meet all our needs;

He’ll walk beside us,

Help us to succeed.

All thanks be to God,

Our strength, hope and love;

The safe, stable space,

In the Lord above.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your unfailing love holds us up and keeps us afloat when the world feels like it will pull us under. Thank You that You are greater than every obstacle that comes our way. Forgive us for our fearfulness when we cannot fathom the solution to things that stand before us. Teach us to lean into You all the more, for You are where strength, wisdom, love and resolve are found. Show us how to love and support those around us well, so that they too, will know the power of Your great love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust in You and Your unfailing love in all things and at all times. Amen.

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

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight. – Proverbs 3:5-6

Live “Otherly”

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves. – (Philippians 2:3, NIV)

In whatever you do, don’t let selfishness or pride be your guide. Be humble, and honor others more than yourselves. – (Philippians 2:3, ERV) 

Be free from pride-filled opinions, for they will only harm your cherished unity. Don’t allow self-promotion to hide in your hearts, but in authentic humility put others first and view others as more important than yourselves. – (Philippians 2:3, TPT)

 

If this were truly the standard that people were following, I do not think that we would have empty store shelves and discover shortages of basic necessities. Before all of this COVID-19 craziness hit, stores were seldom out of the items that people needed on their typical grocery list. Now, however, grocery shopping online is not even an option, as such a large portion of one’s list is unable to be filled. Thankfully, we are well, and have all that we need. Being an early riser is helpful in more ways than one. That said, it matters how we conduct ourselves as we venture out to find what we need for our families. We must only take what is needed, so that others too may have what they require for their families. Also, how we treat these essential employees matters. Yesterday morning after I ran, I made a quick stop at Rite Aid to purchase Vitamin C for my family. The store was quiet, and the sweet cashier looked uncertain as she made her way to the register as I approached. We engaged in friendly conversation, and before I left, she was expressing her gratitude for my kindness. I had not done anything unusual, I simply was polite and respectful, and let her know that I appreciated her hard work, as it is likely a challenge right now in the midst of these circumstances. She informed me that she had been yelled at multiple times, for things that were completely beyond her control. I imagine I had a look of shock and horror on my face as she told her story, that I followed with an understanding apology for the ugly that comes out of humanity when fear enters in. Though our exchange was brief, I am further reminded of just how important it is to prefer others and make sure they know that they are valued and appreciated. This passage in Philippians is written to the church in Philippi, yet it can be applied to all of us and how we treat one another. It is amazing to see the shift in people as they are the recipients of being a priority and treated with respect and dignity. May we all seek the Lord to show us how to steer clear of selfishness and pride, and how best to honor and prefer others around us, above ourselves.

 

Let not our motives, Ambassadors of Love

Be driven by pride;

Lay down selfishness,

Seek the Lord to guide.

For He will show us,

How to choose to serve;

Prefer each other,

Help each see their worth.

Choose live “otherly”,

With kindness and grace;

Look for ways to bless,

As we live each day.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have shown us what it is to live life this way through Your Son. There was no selfish ambition nor pride within Him, and He walked out His days humbly and sought to serve. Forgive us for the times that pride or selfishness get in the way of who You want us to be. Teach us to trust and rely on You to lead and guide us in all that we say and do. Show us how to love those around us well, so that we prefer one another and extend kindness and grace in humility, without selfishness. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we lay down our selfishness and own ideas of how things ought to be, and look for opportunities to prefer others by extending kindness and care in tangible ways. Amen.

 

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

 

As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another. – Proverbs 27:17

To Receive Rest

Clearly, Christ is calling me into a season of rest, despite the dizzying pace of life all around me. In the midst of the craziness, I find myself blessed with a weekend without an agenda. This morning, I was able to wake without an alarm, and the time I rose, was a few hours later than my typical Saturday morning movement. Today holds only the honor of time with treasured friends. No schedule. No must do’s. Just time together, enjoying catching up after nearly a year since we last gathered. Rather than rushing around to take care of errands and schedules and the this and that’s that need to be accomplished, today will simply require me to be in the moment, and enjoy the precious time that I have been granted.
Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. – (Matthew 11:28)
He is so faithful to provide as we choose to abide. As I continue to hand Him my heavy burdens, Christ creates these precious places where my heart is filled and my spirit is refreshed, as He knows what I need and how to best give my weary soul, rest. May we continue to come before Him who is abundantly able to supply all of our needs, and allow the miraculous exchange to take place – our weariness for His glorious rest.
Come all you weary,Acceptance As We Acknowledge

for the Lord knows best;

how to lift us up,

and grant our souls rest.

He takes our burdens,

and carries the load;

gives strength where we’re weak,

and hope we can hold.

The Lord is faithful,

come near and abide;

let Christ come refresh,

as His love will guide.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for loving us where we are, and for being the place where we can find rest. Thank You that we can come to You when we are weary and burdened, and You give us rest. Thank You that the rest You give is far greater than that which we would even ask or hope for, as You know what we need better than we do. Forgive us for not seeking You in our weariness, and teach us to trust You even when our burdens feel unbearable. Lead us to love others with the same sort of tenacity that You have towards each of us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we come to You with our weariness and receive Your remarkable rest. Amen.

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

God has brought me laughter, and everyone who hears about this will laugh with me. – Genesis 21:6