Hope is Rising

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

Be brave. Be strong. Don’t give up. Expect God to get here soon. – (Psalm 31:24, MSG)

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

As I was doing my lesson planning yesterday, I did more research on the work of Amanda Gorman, the poet laureate who spoke at the Inauguration. Both when she shared her poem then, and while I discovered a recent poem of hers, “The Miracle of Morning”, I was in awe of her ability to tackle current events and convey hope through poetry. My sixth graders have been studying the poem, “If”, by Rudyard Kipling, and the opportunity to spend some time studying the works of a modern-day poet seemed a perfect pairing. For me, as I listen to and read Miss Gorman’s words, I cannot help but think her message is one of choosing to be brave and strong, and to not give up. The words call upon hope to rise within us, much like God’s word, for He is where our hope is held, and our Source of courage, strength and resolve. May we seek the Lord to find the strength and courage to see His love that is all around us, and the resolve to love as we are loved by Him.

Take heart, dear ones,

For hope is rising;

Light found in darkness,

There’s no disguising.

The chaos that is,

Will not always be;

For hope is rising,

As love is released.

A choice to honor,

Sisters and brothers;

To stand hand-in-hand,

Supporting each other.

Stand up, dear young ones,

Please take it from me;

The future is yours,

Rise up and shine, so all may see.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are good and You are our Source of courage, strength and resolve. Thank You that as we seek and learn to depend on You, hope rises within us. Forgive us for not being light and life in the midst of darkness. Teach us to seek You to ignite Your fire within us. Show us how to love those around us in ways that spread Your light that chases away the darkness. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust in You to raise us up as light-bearers and love givers. Amen.

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

For you have been my hope, Sovereign Lord, my confidence since my youth. – Psalm 71:5

Seeking Solitude for Strength

When Jesus heard what had happened, He withdrew by boat privately to a solitary place. – (Matthew 14:13a, NIV)

When Jesus heard what happened to John, He left in a boat. He went alone to a place where no one lived. – (Matthew 14:13a, ERV)

When Jesus got the news, He slipped away by boat to an out-of-the-way place by Himself. – (Matthew 14:13a, MSG)

This passage in Matthew 14 is an account of when John the Baptist (the cousin of Jesus) was beheaded by Herod and Jesus had just received news of it. Jesus, in His grief, sought some solitary space to grieve. However, soon after His retreat, crowds of people caught wind of His whereabouts and followed Him. Though Jesus was likely attempting to process and pray, when He saw the large crowd of people in need, “…He had compassion on them and healed their sick.” (vs. 14)

Jesus was the Son of God, yet on earth, He was also fully man. The grief, suffering, sorrow, and struggles that we all experience, He experienced too. Much like us, He desired room to grieve and pray. That being said, in His perfect love, Jesus recognized the needs in front of Him and set aside His own desires, in order to help. How do we navigate spaces of suffering, sorrow, and struggle like Jesus? He sought the Father, and then He saw the need before Him. Only Jesus is able to provide what we need to do both – to navigate our own trials and simultaneously reach out to those around us who are in need. We cannot allow the challenges of life to keep us from loving people the way we were created to love. Incredibly, when we do choose to look and reach out, the weight of our own burdens become lighter. May we ever seek the Lord to lead us in love and compassion, so that we may walk out our purpose, even when the road is rough.

Lord, teach us to pray,

To ever seek You;

Please lead us in love,

Grant us hope anew.

When challenges come,

For they always do;

Give us compassion,

To keep loving true.

It is by Your strength,

That we are made new;

Equipped to answer,

How we’re called by You.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the example that Jesus set before us to remind us that even in our darkness, we are called and equipped to be Your light. Forgive us for staying in our space of withdrawal when struggles come, rather than turning to You, then continuing to look forward. Teach us to trust You completely, for You bring comfort and compassion to the weariest of souls, and empower us to love all the more. Lead us to love those around us in ways that soothe the struggles and calm the chaos. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to pick us up, dust us off, and keep moving forward into all that You have created us for. Amen.

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

Look to the Lord and His strength; seek His face always. – 1 Chronicles 16:11

Live Wisely and Do Good

Be very careful, then, how you live – not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. – (Ephesians 5:15-16, NIV) 

So be very careful how you live. Live wisely, not like fools. I mean that you should use every opportunity you have for doing good, because these are evil times. – (Ephesians 5:15-16, ERV) 

So be careful how you live, not being like those with no understanding, but live honorably with true wisdom, for we are living in evil times. Take full advantage of every day as you spend your life for His purposes. – (Ephesians 5:15-16, TPT) 

How we live matters. To live well requires wisdom and a choice to make the most of every opportunity to do good and live for His purposes. Evil exists in the world, but we can overcome evil with good. We can either allow the darkness to overcome us, or we can be light bearers and bring good wherever we go. No one is perfect, yet we can ever purposefully pursue His best for how we live out our days. When we are intentional to seek the Lord and listen to His leading, we walk in His wisdom and grace that leads us to love as we are loved by Him. May we ever be careful how we live; choosing wisdom and the pursuit of good toward all. 

Choose live carefully, 

Use wisdom and grace; 

To love and do good, 

Throughout all our days. 

Though there is evil, 

True good overcomes; 

Wise, loving living, 

Shows how good is done. 

So, ever pursue, 

God’s purpose for us; 

Be bearers of light, 

Just like our Jesus. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that despite the evil in the world, You are good, and good overcomes every darkness. Thank You that You designed each of us to be bearers of light and to do good. Forgive us for the times that we have not. Show us how to listen to Your leading, so that we may do good and love well. Teach us to love those around us in the same way that You love each of us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as You grant us wisdom to do good, regardless of what surrounds us. Amen. 

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

Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. – Romans 12:21

The Blessing of Rain

He covers the sky with clouds; He supplies the earth with rain and makes grass grow on the hills. – (Psalm 147:8, NIV)

He fills the sky with clouds. He sends rain to the earth. He makes the grass grow on the mountains. – (Psalm 147:8, ERV)

He fills the sky with clouds, sending showers to water the earth so that grass springs up on the mountain fields and the earth produces food for man. – (Psalm 147:8, TPT)

 

We have been blessed with beautiful weather the last two weeks, which considering our “stay at home” status, has been extra beneficial. There is something about having sunrays streaming in through windows, and the light shining through the burly branches of the evergreen trees in our backyard, that lifts my countenance and bring me joy, simply at the sight of sunshine. This morning, I was almost surprised to see drizzle, darkness and damp, blanketing the scene out back through my kitchen window. At first, I felt my heart sink a little, as I inwardly groaned at the limitations it could cause for our day. After I made a bit of breakfast and sat down with my coffee, I thought it best to turn to the word and remind myself of the reason for rain. The first verse that captured my attention to remind me again of the beauty of rain, was the above-mentioned verse from Psalm 147. Rain is supplied to us to water the earth. It helps grass and crops grow, and where we live, keeps everything beautiful and green. Because rain is abundant in the Northwest, we seldom have to think about watering grass or plants outdoors, as rain takes care of it for us. After the simple reminder, I looked again and noticed how much greener the trees and the grass appear, when freshly covered in rain. Another great thing about rain this morning is that it will wash away the build-up of pollen everywhere. Atop of cars, roads, decks, trees, stoops, and basically anything outdoors, there has been a thick coating of yellow-green dust that clings to everything. One good round of rain clears the pollen and refreshes the air, so that allergy sufferers may breathe more freely, once again. For a bit of humor, my husband just woke and walked upstairs, looked out into the backyard, and said, “Oh man, rain. Really?” I giggled to myself, as I think we had similar hopes of outdoor activities for the day. God is good, and so is the rain. We will take the watering of the earth, the clearing of the pollen, and appreciate all the sunshine that we have had so many days in a row. May we find the good in whatever comes, for God is faithful to provide in every season.

 

When clouds fill the sky,wp-15872244864286637822912657625399.jpg

And the rains do come;

Know they have purpose,

There’s good to be done.

As rain waters earth,

Grass and the crops grow;

Providing for us,

God’s faithfulness shown.

Lord help us recall,

The blessing of rain;

As Your love’s outpoured,

We all stand to gain.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You send Your rain to water the earth and wash away what does not need to remain. Thank You that You do the same for our hearts as we call on You and seek Your guidance in all things. Forgive us for our frustration with things that are much bigger than ourselves, as You have purpose in all things. Teach us to trust You and rely on You to order our days, as You lead us and love us through every sort of weather. Show us how to love those around us in ways that encourage each, so that they come to understand how showered in love they are by You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give Your praise for the rain that waters the earth, and thank You for the sunshine that follows. Amen.

 

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

 

I will send you rain in its season, and the ground will yield its crops and the trees their fruit. – Leviticus 26:4

Let It Shine

In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. – (Matthew 5:16, NIV)

In the same way, you should be a light for other people. Live so that they will see the good things you do and praise your Father in heaven. – (Matthew 5:16, ERV)

You are like that illuminating light. Let your light shine everywhere you go, that you may illumine creation, so men and women everywhere may see your good actions, may see creation at its fullest, may see your devotion to Me, and may turn and praise your Father in heaven because of it. – (Matthew 5:16, VOICE)

 

What we do and how we live speak volumes about God. Our choices either point to Him in a positive light, or one that is less than edifying. For some, our light, life, and approach in what we do, is the only exposure to Christ that exists in their lives. How we choose to live, matters. As we invest in our relationship with Christ, our lives are transformed to more clearly reflect His light through how we choose to live. May we ever invest in the Light of the World, for He grows the good within us that fans the flame of our light to shine ever brighter before those around us.

As for Mom, she is happily back in the routine of life with my sister and her family. It is a joy to receive texts and sneak in quick phone calls, as we lovingly laugh about the fun we had shopping with the driving carts and checking in with one another. She continues to build confidence with using her cane, as there has been no looking back. Yesterday marked one whole week of only using a cane as a walking aid! We are celebrating and praising God, as this is remarkable progress in this healing process Mom is walking through. Please continue to pray for strength to return to her right arm and pathways to be made. She is able to move her right arm when it is unweighted in a hydraulic contraption at physical therapy, but she does not yet have the strength to move the weight of her arm on its own. Again, the capacity to move is there, she now needs the strength to be built up and returned to make it all work together. Mom’s positivity and perseverance shine brightly wherever she goes.

 

We are all equipped,let-it-shine.jpg

To rise up and shine;

Embrace all God gives,

Love as we’re designed.

For how we choose live,

Determines the light;

That shines to others,

Through both day and night.

As we choose give good,

God’s love light’s made known;

Darkness fades away,

As kindness is shown.

Let us choose to love,

To live in God’s light;

Extend love and grace,

And do what is right.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to be light wherever we go. Thank You that it is not something that we do on our own, but rather it is Your light within us that shines through us, as we trust and follow after You. Forgive us for neglecting to listen to Your leading and doing what serves us best, rather than seeking the good of others. Show us how to be Your light wherever we go. Teach us to love all those around us as Your do. Help us to do the practical and tangible good that blesses hearts and soothes minds. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we pursue the path that You make plain before us so that we may shine Your light before those around us through doing good. Amen.

 

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

 

Therefore, if your whole body is full of light, and no part of it is dark, it will be just as full of light as when a lamp shines its light on you. – Luke 11:36

Born As Blessed News

“Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; He is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” – (Luke 2:11-12, NIV)

“Today your Savior was born in David’s town. He is the Messiah, the Lord. This is how you will know Him: You will find a baby wrapped in pieces of cloth and lying in a feeding box.” – (Luke 2:11-12, ERV)

“Today, in the city of David, a Liberator has been born for you! He is the promised Anointed One, the Supreme Authority! You will know you have found Him when you see a baby, wrapped in a blanket, lying in a feeding trough.” – (Luke 2:11-12, VOICE)

 

The good news announced more than two-thousand years ago, is still the good news that we celebrate today. That baby, announced the Messiah and Lord at birth, grew and made His power known. He did this not be demanding reverence and obedience, but rather through living and loving in a way that made His peace, power and provision visible and tangible, so that we might understand His heart for us. Being a visual learner, I try to imagine what it might have been like to take in such an incredible announcement from an enormous angel, hear praise from the angelic hosts, and then attempt to find a swaddled baby, lying in a manger. Were there many families with farm animals and feed boxes in Nazareth? How did the shepherds know where to go? I know there was a star, but I imagine that is what made the way to Nazareth clear for the wise men, not so much the final details once in town. Maybe it was small enough that the shepherds (and later the wise men) could simply ask where the couple was that were staying out with the animals and just birthed a baby. No matter how the minute details of history unfolded, I am forever grateful that they did. May we all look at the truth told so many centuries ago, that transformed hearts and lives in such a way, that we may all access the holy, living God, personally.

 

The Light of the world, And the Word Became Flesh

Entered our darkness;

Humbly He was born,

To make right our mess.

His love restores hope,

Grants strength to the weak;

Brings peace where it’s not,

As we choose to seek.

Holy announcement,

By grace, entered in;

Born Lord and Savior,

To take away sin.

Willingly He died,

So we’d come to know;

Salvation, free life,

Love that nurtures growth.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your goodness and love that sent Your one and only Son to earth as an infant, so that we would see what it is to live and love and grow in You without sin. Thank You that Jesus modeled the sort of life that we are called to lead, as He loved people without limits. Forgive us for the times that we do not live or love like You. Teach us to trust You more, as we recall the sacrifices made on our behalf to bring us life everlasting. Show us how to love those around us in ways that extend Your goodness and grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we thank You and praise You for the gift of Your presence this most holy season. Amen.

 

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

 

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

Every Good Gift

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. – (James 1:17, NIV)

Everything good comes from God. Every perfect gift is from Him. These good gifts come down from the Father who made all the lights in the sky. But God never changes like the shadows from those lights. He is always the same. – (James 1:17, ERV)

Every good gift bestowed, every perfect gift received comes to us from above, courtesy of the Father of lights. He is consistent. He won’t change His mind or play tricks in the shadows. – (James 1:17, VOICE)

 

God is always good. Though life takes twists and turns that are not; He forever remains the same. In the darkness, we can trust in His light. There is no place that we can go to depart from God’s presence, and there is nothing that we can do that will take away His love for us. Such consistency is reassuring in seasons of uncertainty. It matters not what we face, for God remains good, and present, and for us. He gives good gifts and brings light to the darkness; His love is always the same. May we trust in the Lord in all things and at all times, and recognize every good and perfect gift that comes from our Father above, for He is faithful and true and remains the same forever.

Today will be mom’s first day of out-patient occupational therapy, which is the therapy she is most eager to get started on, as O.T. focuses on upper body, and for mom, that is especially significant for her right arm. We are praying that new pathways begin firing to her right arm, and that movement and mobility begin to be reestablished where it has been lacking the most. Mom is hopeful and ready to work hard, and we are trusting in faith beside her.

 

All good that exists, The Holiday of Hope

Comes down from above;

Gifted from the Lord,

Full of His great love.

Light in the darkness,

Hope when there’s despair;

Love in low spaces,

His grace, everywhere.

All thanks be to God,

For each good gift known;

It’s given in love,

As His heart is shown.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that every good and perfect gift comes from You. Thank You that in You there are no shadows and that You do not change. Thank You that Your love and faithfulness remain the same forever, so we can always trust in You. Forgive us for our fears and doubts when life takes unanticipated turns. Teach us to trust You more, for You bless us with Your presence and Your peace as You love us through all things. Show us how to love those around us at all times, so that they may know the beauty of Your light, hope and love in all things. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You and praise You for every good and perfect gift that comes from You, and for Your unchanging nature. Amen.

 

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

 

So if you, who are sinful, know how to give your children good gifts, how much more so does your Father in heaven, who is perfect, know how to give great gifts to His children! – Matthew 7:11

Pleased with Good Plans

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.” – (Jeremiah 29:11, NIV)

“I say this because I know the plans that I have for you.” This message is from the Lord. “I have good plans for you. I don’t plan to hurt you. I plan to give you hope and a good future.” – (Jeremiah 29:11, ERV)

“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” – (Jeremiah 29:11, NLT)

 

As I continue to move forward throughout this month with a heart turned toward intentional gratitude, I am overwhelmed with thanks that God’s plans go far beyond what we see at any given moment. So often, we have to walk through dark spaces to truly appreciate the glory of the light that is waiting on the other side. His plans are good. God grants us hope and a future that is eternal. Not only does He bless us here, but He holds our eternity in His hands. Each season in my life that I have walked through that has been difficult, or seemingly devastating, has led to a new season of hope and beauty and blessing. It is through the trials and challenges and heartaches that we see, know and understand the enormity of the blessed hope we hold in the future as it unfolds. God is good and He has good plans for us that include a hope and a future. May we ever give Him thanks for our lives through His lens, rather than our own.

Mom, though she has moments of frustration and heartache over what was lost, she also holds fast to the hope and promise of a future that is good. God has good plans for her too. We are beyond grateful that her life was spared, and that she is doing well and fighting hard on this journey to recovery. Today, I am hopeful to catch up with both mom and my sister, and discover all of the new that has taken place and that lies ahead.

 

With a thankful heart, Pleased with Good Plans

Gratitude I raise;

A future and hope,

In Christ, ours always.

His plans, they are good,

Even in our mess;

God ever is near,

To help and to bless.

Give thanks to the Lord,

All praise for His grace;

For hope we can hold,

Today and always.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we have a hope and a future in You. Thank You that Your plans for us are good. Thank You that You come near and walk beside us through our darkness and show us the beauty of Your incredible light. Forgive us for losing sight of the hope in what lies ahead with You. Teach us to trust Your plans, even when we cannot see or imagine how our circumstances could possibly lead to good. Show us how to love and encourage those around us so that they too, may see light and hope and love, even in difficult spaces. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You all of our thanks and praise for Your faithfulness to be present and have a good plan for our lives. Amen.

 

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

 

Guide me in Your truth and teach me, for You are God my Savior, and my hope is in You all day long. – Psalm 25:5

We Belong to the Light

For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth). – (Ephesians 5:8-9, NIV)

In the past you were full of darkness, but now you are full of light in the Lord. So live like children who belong to the light. This light produces every kind of goodness, right living, and truth. – (Ephesians 5:8-9, ERV)

Because, although you were once the personification of darkness, you are now light in the Lord. So act like children of the light. For the fruit of the light is all that is good, right, and true. – (Ephesians 5:8-9, VOICE)

 

This passage from Ephesians 5, reminds us of the transformative power of the light of Christ in our lives. Though we once were full of darkness, when we at last allowed the light of Christ to enter in, the darkness could not remain. Light and darkness cannot coexist. As a light is ignited, darkness disappears. All that was previously hidden under the cloak of shadows in the absence of light, suddenly comes into view when light is allowed in. The light that comes and fills us and transforms us, so that we may bear fruit that is good, right and true. May we ever keep the door of our heart open, so that the light of Christ may flood every corner with His transformative power, producing every kind of goodness, right living and truth.

 

No more in darkness, img_2019-10-02_05-01-485044434115357390363.jpg

In Christ, we are light;

Flooded to bear fruit,

And do what is right.

The fruit is goodness,

The way that we love;

Right living in truth,

Through grace from above.

Leave behind darkness,

Walk full in His light;

Live a life fruitful,

Love well, do what’s right.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we invite You in, the darkness disappears, and Your light floods our existence. Thank You that in the light of Your love, we are called to bear the fruit that illuminates Your heart to the world. Thank You that You grow us in righteousness, goodness, and truth as we invest our lives in knowing more of You. Forgive us for the times that we have neglected to walk in the light that You have called us into. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would live lives that bear Your fruit. Show us how to love those around us with goodness, truth and right living in a way that points people unto You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we live in the light of Your love and walk in Your goodness, righteousness and truth. Amen.

 

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

 

Anyone who loves their brother and sister lives in the light, and there is nothing in them to make them stumble. – 1 John 2:10

Light in Darkness

Even the darkness will not be dark to You; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to You. – (Psalm 139:12, NIV)

Even the darkness is not dark to You. The night is as bright as the day. Darkness and light are the same. – (Psalm 139:12, ERV)

You can see in the dark, for it is not dark to Your eyes. For You the night is just as bright as the day. Darkness and light are the same to Your eyes. – (Psalm 139:12, VOICE)

 

There is such power in being reminded of the truth of God. It matters not what season we are in, be it one of joy or sorrow; God is present and He sees and knows our need. The people in my life are in a variety of spaces and seasons. For some, they are enjoying a time of blessing and peace, whereas others are in a space of struggle or sorrow or trial. Incredibly, the Lord is near for all, no matter the state we find ourselves in. He is faithful and kind, loving and full of grace. Peace is possible, even in the eye of the storm, and He light can illuminate the darkest of circumstances. May we ever seek the Lord and trust in His love to light the way.

For mom, the light that God is using to demonstrate His nearness, is the connection of her best friend in Wenatchee. She is so faithful to call and be intentional to contact mom, that every time mom mentions that she has spoken with June, her heart sounds lighter and more encouraged. I know there are others as well, she just happens to be the one that has been the most consistent and already had such a closely established friendship with mom.

 

Whatever season,

0903191947540549994982973966.jpg

More poster-making fun for my classroom.

We find ourselves in;

God will be present,

If we welcome Him.

Even our darkness,

Is not out of reach;

Of His loving light,

That provides peace.

So, turn to the Lord,

Whose love is complete;

In His perfect light,

We find safe retreat.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You see us the same, no matter what season we are in, and that darkness and light are the same to You. There is nothing nor any place too dark for You to see. Thank You that Your love illuminates dark spaces. Forgive us for forgetting that Your light dwells within us, even on our darkest days. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would seek You to strengthen and carry us through the storms. Show us how to love those around us, so that we may bring light and life to places that have become dark. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love You and invest in our relationship with You, as that is what fuels our light within. Amen.

 

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

 

In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. – Matthew 5:16