Faith Over Fear

The Lord Himself goes before you and will be with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. – (Deuteronomy 31:8, NIV)

The Lord will lead you. He Himself is with you. He will not fail you or leave you. Don’t worry. Don’t be afraid! – (Deuteronomy 31:8, ERV)

And He will be leading you. He’ll be with you, and He’ll never fail you or abandon you. So don’t be afraid. – (Deuteronomy 31:8, VOICE)

 

Just as Moses spoke these words to Joshua, to encourage him as he stepped into his new leadership role, the words still apply to us today, any time that we are moving forward in the direction to which we are being called. Currently, my heart and mind are with my mom. This morning, she will have her first appointment with her new primary care physician, and I know that can be a bit unsettling. After all that she has been through following her stroke in late April, everything that brings change and new, is difficult. Though all for good, and to further excel mom’s rehabilitation and recovery, the challenge of more change takes courage, strength and trust; much of which is being placed in people whom she has not even met yet. Ultimately, however, it is a matter of trusting that God, Himself, will go before her and will never leave her. He will not fail her nor abandon her. My hope this morning, is that fact alone, will fend off fear and instill faith, as mom moves forward to this next step of her journey. May we ever trust in the Lord and His faithful leading, for He is worthy of all of our trust.

 

If God is with us, Faith Over Fear

We need never fear;

He goes before us,

And will remain near.

He’ll not abandon,

If things become tough;

He’s our provision,

God’s always enough.

Choose trust in the Lord,

His grace shall remain;

Our anchor through storms,

Sunshine after rain.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You never leave us nor forsake us, and that You go before us and remain with us, wherever life takes us. Thank You for Your protection and faithfulness forever. Forgive us for our fearfulness of the unknown and the new. Show us again, how trustworthy You are. Help us to love those around us in ways that extend grace, peace and goodness wherever we go. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust in You to go before us and remain with us, through every step of our journey. Amen.

 

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

 

Who is like You, Lord God Almighty? You, Lord, are mighty, and Your faithfulness surrounds You. – Psalm 89:8

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

Courage to Do the Work

“Be strong and courageous, and do the work. Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord God, my God is with you.” –  (1 Chronicles 28:20a, NIV)

“Be strong and brave and finish this work. Don’t be afraid, because the Lord God, my God, is with you.” – (1 Chronicles 28:20a, ERV)

“Be strong, courageous, and effective. Do not fear or be dismayed. I know that the Eternal God, who is my God, is with you.” – (1 Chronicles 28:20a, VOICE)

 

In the same way that David extended these words of encouragement to his son, Solomon, as he was tasked to build the temple for the ark of the covenant, so too, does God extend the same to us, every time we step forward in faith to answer His call. These words feel a bit like a battle cry this morning, as Friday was probably my last “true academic teaching day” of the school year, and this morning, my last morning at home for several weeks. I am called and chosen to go and be with my mom, and I would not have it any other way; however, I am human, and there are elements of the unknown that cause me to constantly have to fend off fear, as well as a sort of grieving for the loss of the close of this school year with my students and time with my family and friends at home. God is good, and I know that He has called, chosen and prepared my sister and me for such a time as this. He has orchestrated time off and supplied for our every need. We are surrounded, supported and loved; tangibly. Our spouses, children, family and friends have only encouragement and love to offer, and we are eternally grateful. We are strengthened and encouraged to be effective in the work that lies ahead, because of the warriors that are battling on our behalf, behind the scenes. God is with us, and with Him, we need not fear.

As for mom, the busy days continue with her transition day drawing nearer still. Yesterday, between her morning of therapy sessions and the excitement of my brother-in-love and nephews arriving and spending time with she and my sister, she was completely exhausted and ready to call it a day, shortly after dinner. There are two wonderful things about this, as I pause to ponder what took place. First, mom advocated for herself, and let it be known that she was tired and ready to rest. (Of utmost importance, as the brain continues to heal and repair itself during rest) Second, I imagine some of her decision was the hostess in her, that desperately desired Meg to spend some time with her fellas. That too, is another indicator of her healing, as more and more of her usual ways become evident in all that she says and does. Selfless and loving, preferring others above herself, I imagine she wanted desperately for her girl to have time with her husband and boys, and she figured the rest would do her some good as well. Win. Win.

 

Be strong, take courage,

img_2019-05-26_06-29-226071714814702286098.jpg

An early morning view from Mom’s deck. ❤

For we’re not alone;

We’re called and chosen,

And completely known.

We’ve nothing to fear,

With God by our side;

No mountain’s too great,

Nor valley too wide.

Do not be dismayed,

When things seem go wrong;

For God is present,

And He’ll make us strong.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You never leave us nor forsake us, even when the road ahead seems intimidating in the unknown. Thank You that we’ve nothing to fear, for You are always with us. Forgive us for allowing the unknowns to intimidate us into fearfulness. Teach us to depend on You to be our strength and resolve, trusting You to lead us and guide us, every step of each new day. Show us how to love those around us well, so that they may be strengthened and encouraged and shown Your love in tangible ways. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust in You to be our strength and resolve in all things. Amen.

 

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

 

We also pray that you will be strengthened with all His glorious power so you will have all the endurance and patience you need. May you be filled with joy. – Colossians 1:11

Courage Comes

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go. – (Joshua 1:9, NIV)

Remember, I commanded you to be strong and brave. Don’t be afraid, because the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go. – (Joshua 1:9, ERV)

Haven’t I commanded you? Strength! Courage! Don’t be timid; don’t get discouraged. God, your God, is with you every step you take. – (Joshua 1:9, MSG)

 

As my sister and I navigate these days with our mom, into this vast unknown, there are many barriers and bumps that cause fear and discouragement. On our own, we would be huddled in the corner in the fetal position, rocking back and forth in a puddle of tears; sorrow and fear, anger and devastation overtaking us. Thankfully, we are not on our own. The battle belongs to the Lord, and He has surrounded us with an army of warriors who love fiercely – from our families, friends who are framily, to all those near and far who love mom deeply. Even the hospital staff is wonderful, and they are fighting fiercely to deal with the insurance loopholes required to move her to the very best acute care facility available. Mom continues to make progress with her speaking, at least when she is relaxed and speaking with Megan and me, but we are finding that she struggles when there are more than one or two people in the room, particularly those she does not know really well. Words are far more difficult to find when she is put on the spot, and when she feels pressed, she becomes quiet and just shakes her head with a disgusted smile. That smile makes me die inside a little more, each time I see it. My mama bear instincts rise up, and I want to throat punch people who say foolish things that do NOT encourage her, or motivate her to keep pressing forward. There are some enormous decisions to be made, and I am in need of covering as I contact HR to find out what my options are for FML in the coming weeks. What we do know is that mom will be at the Good Samaritan Acute Care Facility in Puyallup. Additionally, through dear friends, we have discovered that a mutual friend is actually on staff there! We see evidence of God’s hands all over this journey, it is just a road we wish we’d never had to walk. God knows, and we know He is with us; we just need to keep our eyes and ears open for the reminders. Humanity is fragile, but God is strong. May we ever depend on Him to be our strength and courage for every step we take.

 

Be strong, take courage, img_2019-05-02_06-41-226964497963981900913.jpg

For our Lord is near;

Despite what we see,

We need never fear.

Into His great hands,

We are firmly held;

The strength of His love,

Cause doubts be dispelled.

Lean into Jesus,

For in Him is found;

All safety and grace,

In strength, to abound.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our strength in weakness, and that You are our courage when we feel afraid. Forgive us for our fear of what we perceive, as we only see in part, what You already know. Lord Jesus, please go before us and prepare the way. Orchestrate the transportation to the new facility for mom – the very best and most comfortable method to safely transport; the timing that You have already set in place; please expedite the insurance paperwork and grant favor so that the current out-of-network status will be overturned, and above all else, continue to bring complete and total healing and restoration to mom. May her heart and mind and attitude be an example to those who do not know You yet, and draw others into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, even in this, for You are good, even when circumstances are not. Amen.

 

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

 

Be still and know that I am God… – Psalm 46:10a

Even in This

The Lord Himself goes before you and will be with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. – (Deuteronomy 31:8, NIV)

The Lord will lead you. He Himself is with you. He will not fail you or leave you. Don’t worry. Don’t be afraid. – (Deuteronomy 31:8, ERV)

And He will be leading you. He’ll be with you, and He’ll never fail you or abandon you. So don’t be afraid. – (Deuteronomy 31:8, VOICE)

 

Last weekend, Mom spent Easter with us. She let me know when she arrived safely home as promised on Tuesday, but I had not been able to reach her since. At first, I thought nothing of it, as she is a busy, social, love of a lady, who easily gets caught up in her wonderful community at home. On Saturday, my nephew, her grandson, had prom. My sister posted great photos, and normally, no matter how busy, Mom would be first to jump in and rave about how fantastic they were. However, we did not see nor hear a single response. By Sunday, both my sister and I were becoming a bit frantic, and I contacted some of her friends who live nearby. The most recent contact any of them had made, was Thursday. My sister contacted the police to make a non-emergent wellness check. To our horror, they found our mom, unresponsive. Thankfully, they had her sitting up and speaking a little before they had paramedics rushing her to the emergency room. What is known, is that she had a stroke. She is currently unable to move her right arm and right leg. Speaking is possible, but slow and difficult. Mom knows the answers to important questions, but after yesterday’s ordeal, was completely exhausted. This verse is what I will cling to, as we don’t know what this week, month or coming year will hold. What we do know, is that God is with us and will not abandon us, just as we will not be leaving Wenatchee while our mom is in the hospital. Fear is a liar, be it a loud one. Please pray with us for miraculous healing and full and complete recovery for our mom. She is more than any description I could write, and the only consistent grandparent that my boys know. To know her is to love her, as she loves with all that she is. As we were leaving the hospital so she could sleep last evening, she was listing food in the fridge that we might enjoy for dinner…

 

The Lord will lead us, img_2019-04-29_06-56-462555965120756472194.jpg

Despite how things look;

When storms come our way,

And our world is shook.

He’ll steady our hearts,

And show us the way;

To trust He is good,

And get through today.

When we’re feeling lost,

God will take our hand;

He’ll show us the way,

To walk out His plan.

And when we’ve no strength,

His is all the more;

Our God lifts us up,

As hope He restores.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are the Great Physician and that You love our Mom even more than we do. Thank You that You knit her together in her mother’s womb, and You know how ever synapse and connection works best. Thank You that You are a God who heals and restores, strengthens and leads. Father, we are trusting You. Forgive us for allowing fear to creep in. Show us Your strength and power and provision in ways we have never known before. Turn this trial into an incredible testimony, and bring beauty from these ashes as only You can do. Show us how to love Mom and all who are caring for her in the ways that bless and encourage best. May those who do not know You yet, come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, even in this. Amen.

 

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

 

Praise the Lord, my soul, and forget not all His benefits – who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases. – Psalm 103:2-3

Hope Rises

There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men. The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; He has risen, just as He said. Come and see the place where He lay.” – (Matthew 28:2-6, NIV)

“Don’t be alarmed,” he said. “You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid Him.” – (Mark 16:6, NIV)

“He is not here; He has risen! Remember how He told you, while He was still with you in Galilee: ‘The Son of Man must be delivered over to the hands of sinners, be crucified and on the third day, be raised again.” Then they remembered His words. – (Luke 24:6-8, NIV)

 

Mary and Mary Magdalene had been with Jesus consistently throughout the previous three years. They had witnessed miracles and listened to His teachings, again and again. On the day that He was crucified, the two were mentioned as they stood at the foot of the cross, and the two were there watching as Pilate’s guards placed the stone in front of Jesus’ tomb. In the morning, on the third day, the day following the Sabbath, Mary and Mary Magdalene hurried to the place where Jesus lay, hoping to at least gain a glimpse of His body, likely to honor the Savior with their mourning. I can only imagine their shock and disbelief at the sight of giant gleaming angel, seated on the enormous stone that had been rolled away. I wonder if their hearts leaped within them as the angel of the Lord reminded them of Jesus’ own words, when He had foretold of His resurrection. As soon as the words settled in, they viewed the empty tomb, and realized that all Jesus had spoken, had come to pass. Today, we remember the remarkable way that Jesus came to offer salvation to all who believe. He died in our place, but not even death, a dreadful death on a cross, could overcome our Giver of Life. Death was defeated and Jesus is alive! His death, so we may live; His resurrection, so that we have hope for eternity with Him. May we celebrate this glorious day in the knowledge that He is Risen and we can forever dwell with Him!

 

Early one morning, Hope in an Empty Tomb

Many years ago;

While others still slept,

Two ladies did go.

They walked to the tomb,

Where Jesus did lay;

Angelic greeting,

The stone rolled away.

The tomb sat empty,

Jesus was not there;

“The Lord is alive”,

The angel declared.

In awe and wonder,

The women recalled;

Jesus said He’d rise,

New hope was installed.

Jesus is alive,

Death has lost its sting;

All sin, defeated,

Through Christ’s offering.

Celebrate in faith,

His power to rise;

Through death and new life,

Our hope realized.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that death was defeated and our sins, forgiven. Thank You for the hope and the power that is planted in us through the resurrection. Forgive us for not recognizing both the weight and the wonder, as Jesus took it all so that we might live. Teach us to look upon the cross with great gratitude, and recall the empty tomb with resurrected hope. Show us how to love those around us in a way that displays the hope we hold because death was defeated for us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, our Risen Redeemer. Be glorified O God, as we celebrate Your ultimate victory and praise You for the power You impart to us, so that we too may be overcomers, with hope that is secure for our eternity. Amen.

 

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

 

“Then go quickly and tell His disciples: ‘He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see Him.’ Now I have told you.” – Matthew 28:7

The Source of Strength and Courage

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” – (Joshua 1:9, NIV)

“Remember, I commanded you to be strong and brave. Don’t be afraid, because the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” – (Joshua 1:9, ERV)

“This is My command: be strong and courageous. Never be afraid or discouraged because I am your God, the Eternal One, and I will remain with you wherever you go.” – (Joshua 1:9, VOICE)

 

God’s presence is our protection from fear and discouragement. Knowing His nearness fends off fear and encourages hearts with His strength. His presence is promised wherever we go. In the same way that a small child is comforted and emboldened knowing that a parent is near, we too, in similar fashion, may find peace, comfort and strength as we are aware of our Heavenly Father’s presence. May we ever seek the Lord for strength and courage, as He is faithful to meet us and make His presence known.

 

We are commanded, Compassion in Confrontations

Be strong in the Lord;

Do not be afraid,

As love is outpoured.

Ever He is near,

His presence assured;

Where we are lacking,

His strength is secured.

Rise up, be fearless,

In faith choose press on;

God faithfully leads,

Strength when ours is gone.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are faithful to lead, strengthen and encourage us always, and You never leave us or forsake us. Thank You that we need not fear nor be discouraged, as You hold us in Your hands. Forgive us for our fearfulness and losing heart, as we lose sight of the truth of how powerful You truly are. Teach us to trust You more, so that we will find strength and courage in knowing Your nearness, even when we cannot feel You near nor see how You are moving on our behalf. Show us how to love those around us in a way that offers strength and courage when it is lacking. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust Your faithful presence and provision, no matter what comes our way. Amen.

 

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

 

It is God who arms me with strength and keeps my way secure. – 2 Samuel 22:33

A Glimpse of Heaven

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people.” – (Luke 2:8-10) 

That night, in a field near Bethlehem, there were shepherds watching over their flocks. Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared in radiant splendor before them, lighting up the field with the blazing glory of God, and the shepherds were terrified! But the angel reassured them, saying, “Don’t be afraid. For I have come to bring you good news, the most joyous news the world has ever heard! It is for everyone everywhere! – (Luke 2:8-10, TPT) 

 

Ordinary shepherds learned of extraordinary news. The men out in their fields were used to fending off predators to their flock, but angelic visits were not within their repertoire of everyday occurrences that they encountered while watching their sheep. Clearly it was an overwhelming sight, as the radiant splendor of God’s messenger caused great fright within the shepherds, and the angel of the Lord had to tell them that they need not be afraid. Incredibly, these faithful shepherds were the first to receive news of the Savior’s birth, and were quick to leave their fields to go and see what the angel had spoken of in Bethlehem. The shepherd’s rapid response to the angel’s news led to them being among the very first to witness and marvel at the miracle lying before them in a manger. The Son of God, Christ the Savior, had arrived. Just as the shepherds received the news so long ago, we are reminded each year during this season of celebration, of the great news that began with the birth of Jesus, that ultimately led to the opportunity for salvation for all who choose believe. May we take time to meditate on the splendor of Christ’s majesty, and recognize the remarkable way in which He came into the world. No palace nor throne, but a simple stable in the open air of night, as an angel proclaimed the arrival of Christ the Lord to some faithful shepherds. Ordinary men received extraordinary news, and because they chose to listen and go see, their lives were changed for all eternity. 

 

Faithful the shepherds, Faithful the Shepherds

In the fields that night; 

Met by an angel, 

Terrifying sight. 

Radiant glory, 

Overwhelmed the men; 

Unprepared to see, 

A glimpse of heaven. 

The angel told them, 

“Do not be afraid; 

For I bring good news, 

To tell you this day.” 

Birth of the Savior, 

In the town nearby; 

They rushed to go see, 

The sweet babe that night. 

Imagine the sight, 

As shepherds arrived; 

Just as they had heard, 

The hope for mankind. 

Though but an infant, 

The shepherds, they knew; 

What had been spoken, 

Was certainly true. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son to be among us. Thank You that though He is the King of kings and the Lord of lords, He came in a way that is approachable and relatable. Heaven came to earth through a miraculous birth, and was declared to ordinary people, just like us. Forgive us for not recognizing in wonder, the magnitude of what took place. Teach us to see and imagine the mountains You moved to bring heaven to earth, so that we all could come to know You, personally. Show us how to love those around us in a way that reflects the depth and willing sacrifice that Your love has given through Jesus. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we stand in awe and wonder at the humble and incredible way that Jesus came to make the way for us all to know You. Amen.

 

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

 

When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.” – Luke 2:15

Mercy Like Our Maker

But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.” – (Matthew 1:20, NIV) 

Now when Joseph had decided to act on his instincts, a messenger of the Lord came to him in a dream. Messenger of the Lord: Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to wed Mary and bring her into your home and family as your wife. She did not sneak off and sleep with someone else – rather, she conceived the baby she now carries through the miraculous wonder-working of the Holy Spirit. – (Matthew 1:20, VOICE) 

 

Much like Mary, Joseph found himself in a difficult situation. Normally, the law would lead Joseph to bring public disgrace and likely death upon Mary, yet even before the appearance of the angel of the Lord, he had determined to walk away quietly. However, his plans were transformed when a messenger of God appeared to him to announce the truth of what had happened to his fiancé. His faith held fast to what was spoken, and he willingly walked a likely trying road, as he moved forward with the plans to wed a woman whom few knew or understood the truth about her visible unexpected condition. Joseph chose to obey, and became the earthly father to the Son of God. Though our willing obedience will not lead to parenting the Prince of Peace, we never know the lasting impact our decision to do the things that the Lord asks of us may have. Our extension of mercy and grace when it is not deserved can be utilized by God to change hearts and transform communities. May we seek the Lord to be our strength and our guide, so that we may walk in His ways and love others as He intends us to love. 

 

When actions deserve, No Room for Them

Seeming punishment; 

We ought to ask God, 

What is His intent. 

For often what’s seen, 

Mere part of the whole; 

Wisdom is needed, 

To serve well, our role. 

God’s mercy and grace, 

Made the way for us; 

To love as He loves, 

Just like Lord Jesus. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for showing us the willing hearts of those before us who have extended mercy and grace, when it was seemingly undeserved. Thank You that what we see is not always the whole story. Forgive us for the times that we have not extended mercy and grace, and simply acted on what we observed. Teach us to slow down and seek You, so that we will know best how to love and honor You in all that we say and do. Show us how to love those around us in a way that extends mercy and grace, and seeks to listen and understand first. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we learn to love others as You first loved us. Amen.

 

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

 

Answer me, Lord, out of the goodness of Your love; in Your great mercy turn to me. – Psalm 69:16

To Trust the Prince of Peace

But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.” – (Luke 1:30-33, NIV) 

The angel said to her, “Don’t be afraid, Mary, because God is very pleased with you. Listen! You will become pregnant and have a baby boy. You will name him Jesus. He will be great. People will call him the Son of the Most High God, and the Lord God will make him king like his ancestor David. He will rule over the people of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end.” – (Luke 1:30-33, ERV) 

 

Always, I am in awe as I reread the unfolding of the Christmas Story, and how it all began. Mary, a young and innocent bride-to-be, was visited by an angel of God. More than that, she was told that she would conceive and give birth to a son that would one day rule forever. There are multiple points that would leave any of us with eyes wide open and our jaw hanging toward the floor. First, she was visited by and had an actual conversation with a messenger of God! Since the angel led with “Do not be afraid,” I can only venture to imagine that the extraordinary sight found in the presence of God’s messenger was a bit overwhelming. Add to that, the message that was being delivered. She was then admonished for being highly favored with God. A bit later in the story, we recognize her bewilderment in being chosen and recognized by the Lord. Additionally, to be told that one would conceive and bear a child, let alone one that would rule forever, when there had been no participation in the process, would be beyond perplexing. Even so, Mary was willing, knowing in full, the potential ostracization, or far worse, that could result from this unknown walk of obedience. As we know, God protected her, and Jesus was born, even in the most unassuming of circumstances. Her strength and willingness to do whatever she was called to do, are likely the very character traits that led to her finding such favor with God. May we all seek the Lord and His strength, with willing hearts, ready to do whatever He asks. 

 

An angel appeared, Better is One Day

Imagine the sight; 

Such curious news, 

To be Mary’s plight. 

To conceive and birth, 

A forever king; 

Her choice to obey, 

True self offering. 

God’s favor is found, 

Where hearts are willing; 

To trust and serve Him, 

Always, in all things. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have shown us such incredible examples of people who are willing to walk where You call, even when it does not make sense at all. Thank You that as we take steps of willing obedience, we discover Your goodness, grace and faithfulness as well. Forgive us for the times that we have either neglected to do what You have asked, or have attempted to make our own way. Teach us to trust You more, as You are our Provider and the Prince of Peace. Show us how to love those around us in a way that demonstrates Your goodness and faithfulness, and grants courage to seek You for strength. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek to listen and obey all that You ask of us each day. Amen.

 

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

 

Those who know Your Name trust in You, for You, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek You. – Psalm 9:10