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

Assured By Love

Then the angel told her: Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. – (Luke 1:30, HCSB)

Then the angel said to her, “Don’t be afraid, Mary, because God is very pleased with you. – (Luke 1:30, ERV)

But the angel reassured her, saying, “Do not yield to your fear, Mary, for the Lord has found delight in you and has chosen to surprise you with a wonderful gift.” – (Luke 1:30, TPT)

As I continue to ponder the role that Mary played in Christmas, I imagine that she must have been quite startled by the appearance of an angel, and felt fear in the presence of God’s own messenger standing before her. I love that her immediate need was met, as he assured her that she had nothing to fear, for God was pleased with her and she had found His favor. In the present day, we have little understanding of the fear of appearing before a king. Back then, if a person appeared before a king without being summoned, they could be killed if the king was not pleased with them. How much more would they have had a similar fear in being in the presence of the King of the Universe’s messenger? The loving kindness of God was made known through Gabriel as He reassured Mary. To hear that God is delighted with you and has a wonderful gift for you, would likely bring peace in the panicked places. Incredibly, when we seek the Lord and pursue a life of love through Him, He is pleased with us as well. He has good gifts to give us if only we are ready and willing to receive them. Peace, joy, love and hope are the gifts that we celebrate as we anticipate the celebration of Christ’s arrival. May we ever look to the Lord to be our peace, for He is our hope and grants us joy through His love as we seek Him.

Imagine the sight,

Before Mary stood;

God’s angelic host,

With news that was good.

To be called favored,

One whom God called blessed;

Quite overwhelming,

Assured in distress.

Little did she know,

The news he would bear;

Lives changed forever,

God would soon be there.

He’d come in the flesh,

Miraculous plan,

A new baby born;

Where hope soon began.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You see us where we are and meet us in our need. Thank You that You see our heart and show us Your great love and grace that provide hope, peace and joy. Forgive us for not turning to You in both our joy and our times of need, for You hear every prayer and are ever near. Teach us to trust You like Mary, for though she did not know what was ahead, she knew and trusted You. Show us how to be willing to listen and give our best yes to You. Lead us to love one another as You love us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we set aside fears and trust big in You and all that You have for us. Amen.

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

This is how we know that we remain in Him and He in us: He has given assurance to us from His Spirit. – 1 John 4:13

United in Peace

Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. – (Ephesians 4:3, NIV)

You are joined together with peace through the Spirit. Do all you can to continue as you are, letting peace hold you together. – (Ephesians 4:3, ERV)

Make every effort to preserve the unity the Spirit has already created, with peace binding you together. – (Ephesians 4:3, VOICE)

 

Yesterday, I had the pleasure of attending the celebration of life for my father-in-law with my husband, sister-in-law, her husband, and my brother-in-law. Incredibly, despite the eclectic collection of family brought together by loss, there was a sense of peace in the room, despite normal tensions between some of the various family members. Everyone seemed to set aside their differences for the sake of celebrating their eldest sibling/uncle. Stories were shared around tables, and much laughter filled the room. I think Donald would have been pleased to see smiling faces, rather than tears, and delighted at the distance that so many traveled to gather in his honor. The sentiment that Mark, his brother and I walked away with, was gratitude. We were thankful for the opportunity to see the aunts, uncles and cousins all together in one place, and to have had a positive and peaceful gathering together with family.

 

Each chance that we get,

img_2019-12-15_09-06-097590851263573878757.jpg

6/7 of the remaining siblings in top photo. Their children in photo below.

Rise up and choose peace;

Preserve what God gives,

Allow grace release.

A spirit of peace,

Invites others in;

Broadens your circle,

It’s how grace begins.

Go forth in God’s grace,

Sow always, His peace;

Let God’s love be known,

For it shall not cease.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your goodness and grace that grants us peace in places it seems unlikely. Thank You for empowering us with Your Spirit to extend peace wherever we go. Forgive us for the times that we have neglected our role as purveyors of peace. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would depend on You to go before us, walk beside us, and dwell within us in peace. Show us how to love those around us in ways that promote Your peace wherever we go. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we rise up and share Your peace wherever we go. Amen.

 

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

 

The Lord gives strength to His people; the Lord blesses His people with peace. – Psalm 29:11

Goodness and Love that Won’t Quit

Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever. – (1 Chronicles 16:34, NIV)

Give thanks to the Lord because He is good. His faithful love will last forever. – (1 Chronicles 16:34, ERV)

Give thanks to God – He is good and His love never quits. – (1 Chronicles 16:34, MSG)

 

Though I have reflected upon this verse on more than one occasion, the words perfectly capture my heart for God, as I am reminded again and again of His love and His goodness. The last twenty-four hours have been a wonderful whirlwind of family time, as Mark and I have been blessed with the opportunity to be at my sister and brother-in-love’s home to spend time with mom and the whole family. My day began with tender time, reminiscent of where my season with mom began daily, as I was able to greet her as she woke (or in this instance, discover that she was already awake and quietly waiting like a ninja), and together, prepare for the day ahead. As she and I ate breakfast, others began to appear downstairs in the kitchen. It wasn’t long before we were able to interact with every family member, sans the fourteen-year-old, who was still sleeping. 😉 There was a relaxed ebb and flow, as my sister had a study session to attend; my eldest nephew, a practice; while the rest of us moved about the house visiting and preparing for mom’s next-door-neighbors from back home, to come join us for lunch. The visit was wonderful and a blessing to all. After Ken and Karen departed for the next outing of their day, mom, Mark and I decided to go on an adventure of our own, leaving time and space for Meg and Scott to scoot out and join their besties for some time together. The three of us ended up in Corvallis, and thoroughly enjoyed the break in the weather as we wandered along the river walk in the sunshine. We even ventured into a few shops in town on our way back to the car, taking in the town in a fashion typical of our exploratory ways. From there, we decided to try a favorite spot of Meg and Scott’s for a light dinner. We quickly discovered why it was a favorite, and delighted in our dining experience together. Once back home, we set to a game of “Dirty Marbles” (a family favorite that is a cross between Sorry and Chinese Checkers). When we were nearly finished, our nephews returned home, and no longer “sleepy” Skyler, asked to join the next game with a mischievous glint in his eyes. The game was a hilarious back and forth battle, enjoyed by all. By the time we finished, we all were ready to retire for the evening. Our time together reminds me of the goodness of God, and how His love never quits. May we give thanks to the Lord for His heart for us, as His love is everlasting.

 

All thanks be to God, img_2019-10-20_08-25-315565891628329069230.jpg

Who’s loving and kind;

He blesses our hearts,

With our need in mind.

He knows all the ways,

That fill our soul best;

Encourage our heart,

And grant our minds rest.

For all of these things,

And endlessly more;

I give the Lord thanks,

As love is outpoured.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are good and that Your love never ends. Thank You that You know our needs and bless our hearts in the very best ways possible. Forgive us for our worries, fears and weariness that overwhelm when we lose sight of You. Teach us to turn to You in all things and at all times. Show us how to love those around us in ways that demonstrate Your endless goodness and love in tangible ways. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You thanks forever for Your goodness and love. Amen.

 

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

 

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. – Colossians 3:15

Countless Expressions of Love

Many, Lord my God, are the wonders You have done, the things You planned for us. None can compare with You; were I to speak and tell of Your deeds, they would be too many to declare. – (Psalm 40:5, NIV)

Lord my God, You have done many amazing things! You have made great plans for us – too many to list. I could talk on and on about them, because there are too many to count. – (Psalm 40:5, ERV)

O Lord, our God, no one can compare with You. Such wonderful works and miracles are all found with You! And You think of us all the time with Your countless expressions of love – far exceeding our expectations! – (Psalm 40:5, TPT)

 

After spending yesterday afternoon with my boys and dear friend, who is an incredible photographer, as she captured fantastic photos of each of my blessings for their senior pictures, I find the above verse from Psalm 40 incredibly fitting this morning as I reflect. These boys are two of the most incredible gifts that I have ever received, and the works and miracles that have taken place from their premature entry into the world up to now, more than seventeen years later, account for countless wonders that have shown me God’s love, over and over again. Creative and kind, tenderhearted and wise beyond their years, to witness their lives unfold as they navigate near adulthood floods my heart with gratitude and awe. Each time I catch a glimpse of either of my children, I am reminded of the goodness of God. May we remember with gratitude, the wonderful works and miracles found in God, and the countless expressions of love that He shows us each new day that we are granted.

The boys and I were delighted to catch mom on our drive home, as she and my sister’s family were a few minutes away from dinner, so the timing seemed to work well. Mom loved hearing about her grandsons’ senior photoshoot, and we were thrilled to hear the excitement in her voice about her new-found capacity to stand at the island in the kitchen and lend a hand with dinner preparation. For each of us, we sat in a space of gratitude for the works that God is doing.

 

The wonderful works, img_2019-10-16_03-55-198198983554930588560.jpg

Of God’s mighty hands;

Too many to count,

For His love is grand.

A love that exceeds,

All depth that we feel;

Grace, strength and goodness,

His blessings reveal.

In awe and wonder,

May we give God praise;

One beyond compare,

His love, all our days.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the wonders You have done for us and planned for us. Thank You that the work of Your hands on our behalf is limitless. Forgive us for even a moment of taking Your goodness and blessings for granted. Teach us to appreciate every single blessing; for You know our hearts and bless us individually. Show us how to love those around us in ways that make Your heart for them known. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for the countless wonders and blessings You have granted in our lives, and for how perfectly, You love. 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

Good and Faithful

Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good. His love endures forever. – (Psalm 136:1, NIV)

Praise the Lord because He is good. His faithful love will last forever. – (Psalm 136:1, ERV)

Let everyone thank God, for He is good, and He is easy to please! His tender love for us continues forever! – (Psalm 136:1, TPT)

 

Yesterday was a fantastic day, full of reminders of the Lord’s goodness and love. Together with my husband and our eldest boy, we spent the day exploring Vancouver in the very best way. We began at the aquarium, which has much to see outdoors, enjoyed lunch outside at the aquarium, and then determined we ought to explore Stanley Park. At first, we drove through much of the park to discover the lay of the land. As we were driving, we spotted a sign that said “Pitch and Putt”. It piqued each of our interests, and we found parking and the source of the sign. The next three hours were spent in the sunshine, playing eighteen holes of golf with only a pitching wedge and a putter at a par three course. We followed a family of five from England that had kids about the ages of our own sons, and enjoyed friendly banter back and forth whenever there was a wait between holes. The trio that followed us were wonderful as well, as they were local college students that had great suggestions for dining and outing activities during our stay. For me, I was overjoyed because we were outside, in the sun, smiling, laughing, and enjoying each other in beautiful surroundings. Once we finished, we headed back to our Airbnb house to get changed to go out for a delightful dinner. It is a joy to driving into an unfamiliar city, and take everything in. Joe Fortes did not disappoint, as we had excellent service, delicious food, and kind and lovely exchanges with those seated around us at the oyster bar. And yes, each of us tried an oyster for the first time. Surprisingly, we all agreed that they were pretty good. Following our fabulous feast, we determined that a wander around town would be wise. We walked several city blocks, taking in the sights and sounds, and incredible variety that can be found in such a small square area. Leaving the city center to return to our accommodations, we caught the tail-end of a gorgeous sunset as the colors faded upon the water. It was the perfect end to a fantastic day, and McKale (our eldest) certainly felt well-celebrated as we all closed the day. Just as his dad and I delighted in finding activities and places that would bring him joy, so too does our Father in Heaven for us. May we give our good God thanks, for His love endures forever.

 

The Lord God above,img_2019-08-25_06-44-312722813625352872790.jpg

Is loving and kind;

Forever faithful,

He has us in mind.

It is only right,

To give Him our praise;

For His faithfulness,

We can trust always.

To truly know good,

We must know the Lord;

For He is the Source,

Where love is outpoured.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are good and that Your love and faithfulness last forever. Forgive us for the times that we do not give You the praise for the good in our days, as every good and perfect gift come from You. Teach us to recognize Your blessing in our days, and to be quick to give You our gratitude. Show us how to love those around us well, so that they too, may come to understand the faithfulness that is forever found in You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You praise for Your goodness and faithful love that last forever. Amen.

 

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

 

I will proclaim the name of the Lord. Oh, praise the greatness of our God! – Deuteronomy 32:3

Tangible Goodness

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 and see that the Lord is good. Oh the joys of those who take refuge in Him! – (Psalm 34:8, NLT)

 

Yesterday evening, I was delighted with a beautiful example of the joy found in blessing another. Just as God shows His goodness to us as we depend on Him and trust Him, the beloved spouse of one of my dearest friends went all out to create an enchanted evening for his bride. The joy he found in planning surprise after surprise for her, reminded me of how the Lord does likewise for us. Whatever hopes or expectations we may have for what lies before us, His plans are exceedingly more than we could hope or imagine when we place our trust in Him. No, trusting Him does not mean that every day will be a birthday extravaganza, but it does mean that He is ALWAYS for us, and will never leave us, no matter what lies before us. The assurance of His presence and His plan for our lives, ought to bring joy and delight, as a good Father has good things in store. May we place our trust in He who is our refuge, and allow Him to show us His goodness and grace.

 

For the Lord is good,tangible-goodness

Allow Him the chance;

To show you His grace,

In each circumstance.

God pours out blessing,

On those who depend;

Tangible goodness,

Our Savior extends.

May we each take joy,

As we taste and see;

The goodness of God,

Whose hope sets us free.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are good and that You bless those who depend on You. Thank You for tangible reminders of how You love and find joy in blessing us. Forgive us for not depending on You, or for doubting Your plans for us. Teach us to trust You more, regardless of what we see. Help us to hold fast to the truth of knowing that You are for us, no matter what lies before us. Show us how to love those around us in practical and tangible ways, so that they too, might see how very good You are. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust in Your goodness and take refuge in You. Amen.

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

Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God. – 2 Corinthians 3:5