Reasons to Praise

I will praise You, Lord my God, with all my heart; I will glorify Your name forever. – (Psalm 86:12, NIV)

O Lord, my God! I praise You with all that I am. I will rightly honor Your great name forever. – (Psalm 86:12, VOICE)

With all my heart and passion, I will thank You, my God! I will give glory to Your name, always and forever! – (Psalm 86:12, TPT)

 

My heart is overflowing with reasons to praise. Yesterday, the day began with time seated on our couch, in our living room at home, with my husband beside me, as I did my devotions and writing. The morning followed with a joyful return to my church family after more than three months away, and the remainder of the day was spent thoroughly enjoying the ordinary errands that Sundays hold, along with a few bonus stops to celebrate Mark for his birthday. The day concluded with a great visit, seated around the fire pit at our best friends’ home.

Meanwhile, mom, Megan and Scott were making their way to Oregon. Each update that I received from my sister was excellent, as all of mom’s concerns about the long journey proved to be unnecessary. Mom did great, and took turns riding with each Megan and Scott. The trio safely arrived in Albany by mid-afternoon. I imagine the remainder of the day was spent enjoying time with my nephews, unpacking, and settling in. For all these things and so much more, we give glory to God forever.

 

Faithful is our God, img_2019-08-12_07-16-582256281050884293021.jpg

In everything;

He sees and He hears,

His goodness He brings.

Even in trials,

His presence is near;

His love evident,

And grace is made clear.

All praise unto God,

All glory, always;

Hope to ever trust,

For all of our days.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for loving us and meeting us where we are. Thank You that You lead us and take us the direction that You intend for us to go. Forgive us for our fears of the unknown that lie before us. Teach us to trust You more, as You are faithful forever. Show us how to love those around us in a way that grants hope, peace and trust in the good that lies ahead. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You with all that we are, forever. Amen.

 

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

 

I will sing the Lord’s praise, for He has been good to me. – Psalm 13:6

People With Purpose

A friend is always loyal, and a brother is born to help in time of need. – (Proverbs 17:17, NLT)

Friends love through all kinds of weather, and families stick together in all kinds of trouble. – (Proverbs 17:17, MSG)

A dear friend will love you no matter what, and a family sticks together through all kinds of trouble. – (Proverbs 17:17, TPT)

 

No truer words have ever been penned, as I have been overwhelmingly blessed and surrounded, each and every day since our whole world as we knew it, changed. Yesterday, as I drove home for the first time in three weeks, I was flooded with emotions that I could not quite identify. I was disgusted by the overgrowth of weeds in the yard, angered that I could not get my Jeep in the garage, and then stuck in an ugly emptiness I cannot quite describe, as I walked into the silent, uninhabited house. My husband was working, my boys at school, and my bonus son, upstairs sleeping soundly. There was no greeting; nothing to make me feel glad to be home, only stuck in a sorrowful space for having left my mom. My best friend sent a text, a quite timely one, asking me to go for a walk with she and her pups. She knew what I needed, better than I did, and I hesitantly agreed. After a good, long walk and talk with two happy dogs leading the way, I was in a much better space to return home and meet up with my boys, who were heading home from school, and ready to see me as well. The three of us enjoyed a late lunch together at a favorite local spot, then we returned home where the two of them retreated for a nap, as the end of the school year had caught up with them. Sadly, the silence again got to me, and I was left with my own angst. Determined to put the excess energy to good use, I went out front and began to tackle the weeds. By the time Mark made his way home from work, I had spent a few hours weeding, showered, changed, and was in a far better space; ready to enjoy our time together. Our evening flew by, as we ran a few errands together, and then ended up at the home of our besties on their deck for a visit, before heading home for the night. Up early this morning to share coffee together, he is running around now, making final preparations before leaving for his week-long motorcycle trip. The boys are preparing for a day at Sea Scouts, and I will spend the day with my best friend. Though things home are not how I might have hoped during my first trip home in so long, I am blessed with wonderful friends and family who love and support me faithfully through this most difficult season.

As for mom, yesterday was a far fuller day than originally anticipated. With an early start, mom was at the table for breakfast with me while I did my devotions and writing, hung out and visited and saw me off as I headed home, prepared for the day with Meg, had a visit from the nurse, went to an anti-coagulation specialist in town, returned home for speech therapy, had lunch, then finished off the string of appointments with physical therapy. Though long and busy, all appointments went extremely well. Speech therapy was especially encouraging, as it seems to be the fastest area of her recovery. It is incredible that each time the speech therapist comes, there is obvious improvement from the session prior. I imagine her visits with dear friends are contributing to the acceleration of her progress.

May we seek the Lord to give us strength to be the loyal, close friends and family to those around us who need our support.

 

Friends who are loyal, img_2019-06-15_07-54-322354392329068873074.jpg

And family close;

Oh what a treasure,

To be blessed with both.

As life ebbs and flows,

And trials do come;

Support’s a treasure,

From the Holy One.

A wondrous gift,

To be truly known;

And loved anyway,

It’s how God’s heart’s shown.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the gift of friends and family that You give to us. Thank You that You strengthen and equip them to be Your hands, heart and voice to us when we need it most. Thank You that Your love is made tangible through the people whom You place in our lives. Forgive us for allowing our circumstances to overwhelm us to the point of isolation, rather than allowing those whom You bring to walk beside us, by Your grace. Teach us to trust You more, and to receive all that You lovingly offer. Show us how to love those around us in a way that listens, helps, holds, encourages, and supports best, in the same way that You do for us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for the gift of the people whom You have placed in our lives with purpose. May we too, be such people for others. Amen.

 

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

 

Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. – Romans 12:10

Over Everything

Yours, O Lord, is the greatness, the power, the glory, the victory, and the majesty. Everything in the heavens and on earth is Yours, O Lord, and this is Your kingdom. We adore You as the One who is over all things. – (1 Chronicles 29:11, NLT)

Greatness, power, glory, victory, and honor belong to You, because everything in heaven and on earth belongs to You! The kingdom belongs to You, Lord! You are the head, the Ruler over everything. – (1 Chronicles 29:11, ERV)

All that is great and powerful and glorious and victorious and majestic is Yours, O Eternal One. Indeed, everything that is in the heavens and the earth belongs to You. The kingdom belongs to You, O Eternal One, and You are the head of it all. – (1 Chronicles 29:11, VOICE)

 

Everything is His. Sometimes, it is challenging to remember that. Yesterday began on very little sleep. Mom needed to get up a few times in the night, and my own heightened awareness seemed to get the better of me, stealing the precious time afforded between “get-ups”, and when she was ready to be up for breakfast a few short minutes after I gave in and got up to do my devotions, that was the end of any possible rest opportunities for me for the morning. Our day was filled with a good sort of busy, as dear “framily” whom we have known for nearly my entire life, stopped by for a quick hug and “hello”, on their way through to Leavenworth. Their visit was a wonderful boost for mom, and a great encouragement for all. The day unfolded with far more appointments than anticipated, as we ended up with a quick meeting with her case manager, a physical therapy appointment (that was indeed scheduled), and met the speech therapist for an entry assessment to determine a starting point for the work that will be done for recovery. During physical therapy, Victor had mom doing new and more challenging exercises than she had ever done before. We were all excited and encouraged by her strength and resolve to do the hard work, and discover new things that she is capable of doing right now. Her speech assessment went equally well, as Jim was thrilled with her starting point, and extremely positive about the outlook for her rehabilitation potential. Impressed with the connections she has already reestablished; he was grinning ear-to-ear as he entered his notes in preparation for what is yet to come. Once the dust had settled and everyone had gone, we had thoughts of watching a movie before dinner. Barely five minutes in,  mom recognized her own need for rest, and let me know she needed to go lay down. Rather than rest myself, I hopped online to determine whether or not Instacart is available in mom’s area. To my relief, it is, and I did some grocery shopping online, to be delivered within a few short hours. Upon completion, exhaustion set in. I spoke with my sweet spouse, and was in nearly meltdown mode. Thankfully, he is patient and kind, and simply offered words of love and encouragement in my depleted state. After a few hours, the delivery of our groceries, and a quick call to my sister, I woke mom for dinner. I’m not sure if it was dinner, the delivery, the check-in with my sister, seeing mom rested, my conversation with my Viking, or purely the grace of God, but I had a second wind that carried me through the remainder of the evening.

Everything belongs to God. My need for rest, mom’s sleep patterns, and the grace needed to get through. Last night, mom slept all the way until 3 am, which is huge, and not that far from my normal waking hours on a work day. I am far more rested this morning, and refreshed in the hope of a new day. God is good, and the victory is His as we navigate each step of this journey.

 

Yours is the greatness,

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This morning’s waking view. ❤

All power and praise;

Lord of the heavens,

And King of our days.

All of existence,

Is because of You;

Grace for the journey,

Your love sees us through.

Forever our hearts,

In awe, we shall stand;

As You hold us up,

In Your mighty hands.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that all greatness, power, glory, majesty and splendor are Yours, as everything in heaven and earth belong to You. Thank You that You are head over all, and that nothing is beyond Your reach. Thank You that You see us, hear us, and know our needs – great and small. Forgive us for forgetting how faithful You are, even in the little things. Teach us to trust You more, even for the things that seem insignificant. Show us how to love those around us in a way that helps others grasp Your glory. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You and trust all in Your hands. Amen.

 

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

 

The Father loves the Son and has placed everything in His hands. – John 3:35

Surrounded

“You will not have to fight this battle. Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the Lord will give you, Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Go out and face them tomorrow, and the Lord will be with you.” – (2 Chronicles 20:17, NIV)

“You will not have to fight this battle. Just stand there and watch the Lord save you. Judah and Jerusalem, don’t be afraid. Don’t worry, because the Lord is with you. So go out to stand against those people tomorrow.” – (2 Chronicles 20:17, ERV)

“Stand and watch, but do not fight the battle. There, you will watch the Eternal save you, Judah and Jerusalem. Do not fear or worry. Tomorrow, face the army and trust that the Eternal is with you.” – (2 Chronicles 20:17, VOICE)

 

After waking up and preparing my coffee, and settling to begin my devotions, I heard mom stirring in her room. Her movement is my cue to go check and see if she is ready to get up for a restroom run. Of course, she gladly took me up on the early morning offer, and after all was said and done, she determined that she would try to go back to bed and sleep a while longer. When I returned to my spot at the kitchen table with a view, the lyrics from a simple worship song kept playing on repeat in my head and heart:

This is how I fight my battles

This is how I fight my battles (repeats)

It may look like I’m surrounded 

But I’m surrounded by You (repeats)

(To listen, click here. )

As I looked in the word for similar, I found the story in 2 Chronicles, chapter 20. The gist is about God’s faithfulness in fighting on behalf of Judah and Jerusalem when they were surrounded on all sides. Reading verse seventeen, it was as if Jesus was saying to me: You will not have to fight this battle(alone). Just stand there and watch Me work. Shannon and Megan, don’t be afraid. Don’t worry, I am with You. Go out and take each tomorrow as it comes, for I will be with you. Now, I am not trying to twist scripture, nor change the meaning of a passage, but rather, I am attempting to share the encouragement gained from reading about God’s faithfulness to Judah and Jerusalem when they likely felt completely overwhelmed. For my sister and me, we too have had such “surrounded” moments as we navigate this road to recovery with mom. Just as the song came in like a flood and surrounded my heart and mind, so too has God’s faithful provision for mom, Megan and myself, when we needed it most. He knows our need and is full of goodness and grace, ready to move on our behalf. Personally, after my sister had to return home Thursday, I was a bit intimidated to take on the care giver role alone. I want to bless, protect, help and encourage mom every step of this journey as I love her well, and I feel completely inadequate and ill-equipped to do all that needs to be done. None of us are ever fully equipped nor prepared for the things to which we are called. I imagine that is part of God’s wise design. It keeps us dependent on Him to be our help, hope and strength, and helps us recognize His grace and provisions, both great and small.

Yesterday, mom and I were surrounded well by my husband and boys. It was so good to share meals together, visit together, and enjoy a family favorite game before bed. Watching the delight on mom’s face as she interacted with my guys, and the same look, mirrored on their faces, filled the places in my heart that were feeling a bit depleted. We have a bit more time altogether today before they head home, so I know that our cups will be fuller still, before the day’s end. May we ever seek the Lord to fight our battles, and know that we are surrounded by Him.

 

When life overwhelms,

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Surrounded by family. ❤ (Christmas 2018)

And battles rage on;

Turn in trust to God,

Whose help makes us strong.

Strong for the battles,

We’re chosen to fight;

Wisdom to listen,

Gain the Lord’s insight.

The courage to wait,

And trust in His plan;

Soak in surrender,

As for us, He’ll stand.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You fight on our behalf, even when we are unaware of how You are moving. Thank You that You are faithful to strengthen and equip us for each new day, and that You supply all that we need as the need arises. Forgive us for our fearfulness when we appear to be surrounded by more than we can bear. Teach us to recognize that we are actually surrounded by You. Show us how to walk by faith and not by sight, as You fight for us and through us. Lead us to love those around us well, so that they too may come to know and understand Your strength and grace and love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we fight our battles by surrendering to Your surrounding of us all. Amen.

 

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

 

For we live by faith, not by sight. – 2 Corinthians 5:7

Grace and Peace

May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you grace and peace. – (1 Corinthians 1:3, NLT)

 

As many of you know, I am a very early riser. My typical wake-up time on work days is 3:30 am. Yesterday morning, I woke to the sound of a sweet text message on my phone, rather than the usual song that my alarm is set to play. When I looked at the time, I realized it was two hours and twenty minutes later than my typical waking time, and I was going to have to move quickly to get out the door on time. Normally, being thrown off that much would have sent me into a bit of a panic mode, yet yesterday, I felt grace and peace. Although I was sad to not spend the first portion of my day doing devotions and writing, I felt His grace and peace, reminding me that my body needed to be nourished too. Additionally, my boys got going the moment I woke them, and were able to get ready and out the door on time, despite the late start. His grace and peace were given to each of us, and all three of us ultimately had good days, despite what could have produced a panicked start. The Lord is faithful to give grace and peace when we look to Him. May His grace and peace be present today, no matter what comes your way.

 

The God of all grace,Aquiring Armor

Will always be near;

He grants us His peace,

And calms all our fears.

We need not panic,

Nor allow stress reign;

For God is our strength,

He makes our path plain.

Seek the Lord always,

Be filled with His grace;

Let His peace lead us,

To walk well each day.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the gifts of Your grace and peace that You freely and lavishly give unto us. Thank You that You meet us in our moments of need, and bring calm to what could be chaotic. Forgive us for allowing panic to reign, rather than slowing down to seek You. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would depend on You and Your strength for grace and peace when things are askew. Show us how to extend Your grace and peace to those around us, so that they come to know how deeply You love each of us, individually. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we receive the grace and peace that You give, and then go forth to share the same with all whom we meet. Amen.

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

Is anyone happy? Let him sing songs of praise. – James 5:13

Be Glad In It

Saturdays are typically my go and get things done day. Yesterday, the intention was very much the norm, though I woke feeling a bit off. I was dizzy and a little nauseous, but figured it would pass if I powered through. Devotions were done, boys were up and out the door for their all-day retreat with youth group, and I went on my way to workout. What I normally blast through, was quite a struggle. My stomach was stirring maliciously, and I had to breathe through each movement. Finally, during the last five minutes or so of the workout, I had to tap out. I simply sat down and waited for it to finish. Stopping is not my M.O., but wisdom told me it was stop or create a scene with how my body responds.

When I arrived home, I crawled straight into bed. All I could do was toss and turn as my body fought the fever. Food and drink did not feel like quality options, so attempted sleep was it – all day long. No errands run, no outing fun – just rest. The fever must have broken late last night, as I don’t remember waking again until this morning.

Today is a brand new day. The sun is shining, the house is quiet, and my stomach seems satisfied with some Gatorade and gluten free pretzels. Though I will likely take another day to rest (and keep my germs to myself) I am so grateful for the difference that a day can make.

 

This is the day the Lord has made. We will rejoice and be glad in it. – (Psalm 118:24, NLT)

 

My rejoicing yesterday, despite how I was feeling, was the blessing that my mom was in town. She stayed at my house all day, to be available if I needed anything. Her trip to the store yesterday provided that which is palatable for me today.

Each new day is a gift, despite the challenges presented. He grants us what we need to sustain us and see us through, therefore we have reason to rejoice and be glad in the blessings of today.

 

Today is the day,photo (7)

Designed just for you;

He brought you to it,

So He’ll see you through.

Let us choose be glad,

In all things rejoice;

Thanks to our Savior,

We’ve always the choice.

No matter what comes,

Hope will not delay;

With God and His grace,

There’s always a way.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that each new day is a gift from You, no matter what comes our way. Thank You that You can use even our sickness or discomfort, to show us more of Your love and provision. Forgive us for our lack of gratitude when things don’t seem to go our way. Teach us to trust You more, so that we might recognize that You can take every trial and odd turn and use it for Your glory. Show us how to love others with Your goodness and grace. May many choose to seek Your face. Be glorified O God, as we rejoice and are glad in each new day that You grant us. Amen.

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

Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him. – Psalm 34:8

 

 

 

Seek Not Approval of Men

One of my least favorite parts of being an educator is the process of being observed and evaluated. I know the intent is good, and it is a way to identify strengths and areas to improve, yet, for me, as one who desires to please, and do things well, it is a painful process, regardless of the kindness of the observer. My own microscope of my craft is far more critical than that by which anyone else may utilize. Each day, my responsibility to God, not men, is to do my best for the kids in my care. This morning, I will be observed as I teach. As I was reading my devotions, the following passage may as well have been the only passage on the page, as it served as a neon sign, reminding me of what matters most. Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ. – (Galatians 1:10)

 

Though these words were Paul’s to the Galatians in regards to works verses grace, they serve as an excellent reminder for me this morning. It takes courage to remember that my priority is to please God, not men. If I am serving and honoring God by doing the job that He has called me to do to the best of my ability, then that will be enough. It is not about me, but rather Christ in me, that will be evident anyway. May we each go forth this day in courage, allowing His light to shine brightly before all men, seeking God’s approval, not man’s.

 

Seek not approval,Seek Not the Approval of Men

from our fellow man;

but rather seek God,

to do what we can.

Look to honor Christ,

in all that we do;

give glory to God,

and point to the truth.

Let our hearts be set,

on pleasing the Lord;

not allowing truth,

set aside, ignored.

May we all rise up,

as servants of God;

remaining steadfast,

inspired and awed.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we need not seek the approval of men, but rather we need only seek to serve You. Thank You that Your grace is enough. Thank You that as we come to You and trust in You, You meet us where we are and do the miraculous through our willing hearts. Forgive us for trying to please men, and help us to fix our eyes on You alone. Teach us to trust You more, so that we may do all things as unto You. May many see our heart for You as light and life and love that they have not known before. Let many be led unto You as we seek to honor You in all that we do. Be glorified, O God, as we serve You with our lives. Amen.

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

Show me your ways, O Lord, teach me Your paths; …my hope is in You all day long. – Psalm 25:4-5