Through the Valleys and Highest Peaks

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose. – (Romans 8:28, NIV)

We know that in everything God works for the good of those who love Him. These are the people God chose, because that was His plan. – (Romans 8:28, ERV)

We are confident that God is able to orchestrate everything to work toward something good and beautiful when we love Him and accept His invitation to live according to His plan. – (Romans 8:28, VOICE)

 

This is the truth. Though the things we walk through may not be good, God can bring good out of our experiences. He will take our difficulties and direct our steps, demonstrating to us, just how much strength that He has deposited within our hearts for such a time as this. Things we might have never noticed before, suddenly become significant and beautiful beyond what our human heart can hold.

Yesterday, I was able to plug into my church and run media, experiencing Sunday in a way that felt “normal” for the first time in a month. There is something significant about being present as our worship team warms up and runs through the songs, then witnessing the wonderful unfolding of what God has in store, in two services. The two never unfold exactly alike, and there are always morsels of the message that I can carry with me into the week, that often come back to mind in moments when the message aligns with what lies before me. It is the great unfolding of His plan, as we invest in the truth of His word. We are not promised an easy or pain-free life, but we are promised that He will never leave us nor forsake us; and He is able to work ALL THINGS toward something good. God truly does bring beauty from ashes when we allow Him in. My own life is a living testament of His faithfulness. So many times, the places of trial or heartache became the greatest sources of strength, victory and grace. God is always good, and I know He is bringing even more beauty to the life He created for my mom.

Mom enjoyed a balance of time with Megan’s family, therapies, rest, and Mark and me even were able to sneak over and surprise her for a hug and quick visit, before trading off with Meg’s fellas. It is a joy to hear the perspective of both Scott and Mark, (Meg and my spouses), as they have had large gaps in between visits with mom, so they see giant leaps in her progress, rather than the day-to-day victories that my sister and I witness. Both of our guys cannot contain their joy as they speak of the change they see in mom. Each has been instrumental in my sister’s and my ability to be with mom every day. If not for them holding down the fort and running the households back home, we would not be able to be here. May we ever remain confident in He who is able to use ALL THINGS for good, and continue to trust in Him for every step of this uncharted journey.

 

Beauty from ashes, 0515190557_hdr3238003239624041706.jpg

Great hope from despair;

Our most holy God,

Hears every prayer.

He’ll never forsake,

Nor leave us alone;

He sees all our needs,

And we each are known.

Trust that He is good,

His plan, purposeful;

Beauty from ashes,

A life meaningful.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You work all things out for good for those who love You. Thank You that even though the circumstances or struggles are not good, You bring good from the process. Thank You that You are God and we are not. Forgive us for the times that we are too blinded by our own hurt or struggle to see how You are working for our good in the midst of it. Teach us to trust You more, as You are far greater that anything that stands before us. Show us how to love those around us as we walk through the valleys and climb the highest peaks. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You and praise You for the beauty You bring from ashes, and watch in anticipation for all that is yet to come. Amen.

 

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

 

…To bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair… – Isaiah 61:3

Modeled Love

You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. – (Galatians 5:13, NIV)

My brothers and sisters, God chose you to be free. But don’t use your freedom as an excuse to do what pleases your sinful selves. Instead, serve each other with love. – (Galatians 5:13, ERV)

Brothers and sisters, God has called you to freedom! Hear the call, and do not spoil this gift by using your liberty to engage in what your flesh desires; instead, use it to serve each other as Jesus taught through love. – (Galatians 5:13, VOICE)

 

Yesterday, we reached an impasse, and recognized that we had to make the final decision as to where mom would land next, as her stay at the acute rehabilitation facility comes to a close near the end of this month. After asking mom what she most wanted, watching how the familiarity of home made such a dramatic difference in her ability to recall information through an activity during speech therapy, and hearing from various therapists how often patients’ recovery accelerates by leaps and bounds in their own familiar settings, it became evident that her home was where she needed to be next. This is where the choosing to serve one another humbly in love comes in; for it is neither an easy nor convenient choice for either my sister or me. Megan has the obstacle of a seven-hour journey if she drives, a crazy, busy schedule at home with work and family, and the heartache of being away from mom whenever she needs to be home. For myself, I am still in my first year of a new marriage, raising two teenage sons, finishing their junior year, attempting to coordinate sub plans and grading from three hours from home, and seeking to maintain balance and normalcy in both spaces. Both Meg and I would not have it any other way. The words penned by Paul the Apostle, were modeled by mom throughout our entire lives. It is a simple decision to make, despite the logistical challenges. Additionally, we are overwhelmingly blessed and supported by our spouses, children, families, friends, and our extended communities – both near and far. The outpouring of love and support, both prayerfully and through notes and messages, has been an incredible blessing, and often just what was needed at the moment it was needed most.

As for mom specifically, she is continuing to make great gains. Her speech and language retrieval is phenomenally fast, but is more difficult by day’s end when she is tired. Physically, she is building more strength every day, and more and more movement is coming along. It is a painfully slow process, but it is happening. She would love to just jump up and take off running, but even as babies, we must first learn to crawl, then stand, then wobble and scoot, before we ever take steps. For a growing infant, the process takes the entire first year. Mom is making tremendous strides toward walking again, and it has not quite been a month yet. So often it is a matter of keeping it all in perspective.

For those who are walking alongside us in prayer, these are our present petitions before our Savior: for a smooth transition home, for protection from fear, protection physically, emotionally, and spiritually, against discouragement, for total and complete healing, for strength, for patience, for calendars and schedules to align easily, for grace, balance and wisdom, for her incredible community to continue to be patient about visiting until she is ready, as it needs to be in her time.

 

Jesus set us free, dsc090724766454540718468749.jpg

And gave us a choice;

To choose for ourselves,

Use heart, mind and voice.

Our purpose is more,

Than our own desire;

But rather to love,

Sacrifice, inspire.

Just as we are loved,

By He who gave all;

So we ought to give,

As we heed His call.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for sending Your Son and showing us what it means to choose to love and serve freely. Thank You for the treasured gift of our mom, who has modeled the same for us throughout our entire lives. Forgive us for the times that we have chosen to indulge our own selfish desires, rather than love like You. Teach us to trust You more, so that we choose to love and serve in the same way that You have always done for us. Show us how to love those around us as You would. Especially direct our steps as we prepare to bring mom back to her own home. May those around us who do not know You yet, come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose to serve in love, just as You have modeled for us through Your Son and those that You have strategically placed in our lives. Amen.

 

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

 

“Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet My unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor My covenant of peace be removed,” says the Lord, who has compassion on you. – Isaiah 54:10

 

Found by the Sound

For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost. – (Luke 19:10, NIV)

The Son of Man came to find lost people and save them. – (Luke 19:10, ERV)

For the Son of Man came to find and restore the lost. – (Luke 19:10, MSG)

 

Years ago, I was hiking in the early spring. We came upon an area that was covered in snow, and kept walking. Soon, we lost the trail, and were uncertain of which direction we were meant to go. In life, it is just as easy to slip away from the right path, once we start stepping beyond the security of the one that has been prepared for us. Thankfully, we stopped wandering and paused to listen. Water flows down, and we heard a stream nearby. We followed the sound, and soon discovered the path we had lost sight of in the snow. Jesus is the same way. If we listen for His voice, He will lead us in the way that we are meant to go. He pulls us out of our darkness and restores us into a right relationship with Him. His life, death, resurrection and ascension all took place so that we could be rescued from our wandering in the wilderness. Jesus will lead us back to the path He intends for us to walk, if we slow down and seek His voice. May we ever be intentional to listen, so that we know the path prepared for us; for this is the way to live eternally with Him.

 

We all are in need, Found by the Sound

God’s grace leads us on;

His love that forgives,

Empowers, makes strong.

Strong for the journey,

To follow the way;

The path He provides,

For all of our days.

He came to save us,

All who were once lost;

To set our feet right,

His love paid the cost.

Listen to His voice,

He’ll make the way clear;

Ever He will lead,

As we seek, draw near.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You came to seek and save us. Thank You that You bring us out of our wandering in the wilderness, and set our feet secure on the path that You have prepared for us. Forgive us for wandering. Teach us to trust You more, as You already know where every road leads, and have prepared the way for us with purpose. Show us how to love and support those around us as they discover the route that You have prepared for them to best navigate their own journey. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we faithfully follow every step You call us to take, for You path provides an eternal promise. Amen.

 

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

 

May your unfailing love be with us, Lord, even as we put our hope in You. – Psalm 33:22

Love Never Stops

Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. – (1 Corinthians 13:6-7, NIV)

Love is never happy when others do wrong, but it is always happy with the truth. Love never gives up on people. It never stops trusting, never loses hope, and never quits. – (1 Corinthians 13:6-7, ERV)

Love joyfully celebrates honesty and finds no delight in what is wrong. Love is a safe place of shelter, for it never stops believing the best for others. Love never takes failure as defeat, for it never gives up. – (1 Corinthians 13:6-7, TPT)

 

As I continue to study what the Word says about love, I am reminded of the endurance that love requires. Love rejoices with honesty and wants the very best for others. It trusts, hopes, believes, and refuses to give up. Additionally, love is a space of safety. Though we may not see eye-to-eye, love looks at each person as valued and lovable, regardless of how they interpret the world. When evil or ugliness happen, love is not happy with the hurts, even when the recipient may seem to deserve it. Rather, love delights in truth and never stops believing the best for others. Even when a toxic person is removed from our lives, we are meant to pray for them and trust that God will bring breakthrough on their behalf. To love is to choose to protect, trust, hope and persevere. The road is not always easy, but to love and be loved is always worth the investment. May we ever seek the Lord and His strength, to choose love; always.

 

Love does not delight,

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Love always protects…❤ *Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography

In evil displayed;

But delights in truth,

Walking in God’s way.

The way of God’s love,

Trust, hope and belief;

Protects, perseveres,

Grace-granting relief.

Though it’s not easy,

Love’s always worthwhile;

To love and be loved,

As the Lord’s own child.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You love us in all of these ways to show us how we are meant to love others. Thank You that choosing to love is an act of our will, and not based on feelings. Forgive us for the times that we have not chosen love, and neglected to trust, hope, believe, protect or persevere. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would seek You and rely on You to equip us to love well. Show us how to love others in a way that helps them know that they are trusted, hoped for, believed in, protected, and that they will not stop being loved. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to show us how to love completely, as we are completely loved by You. Amen.

 

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

 

Know therefore that the Lord your God is God; He is the faithful God, keeping His covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love Him and keep His commandments. – Deuteronomy 7:9

As Unto You

Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people. – (Colossians 3:23, NLT)

Whatever you do, do it from the heart for the Lord and not for people. – (Colossians 3:23, CEB)

Put your heart and soul into every activity you do, as though you are doing it for the Lord Himself and not merely for others. – (Colossians 3:23, TPT)

 

After student-led conferences, there is a sort of shift as we are race forward into the holiday season. We have a four-day week this week, less than three-day week next week, then we are only a month away until Christmas Break. Calendars fill rapidly, and it is easy to over-commit. That being said, my intent going into this busy, but beautiful season, is going to be – if I cannot put my heart and soul into whatever it is, as if unto the Lord, then my answer to the invitation will need to be a “no”. My family, my job, and my existing commitments to that which I am called, have to be my priority as I go. I love people deeply, and grew up as a “pleaser”, so I must be certain that my motivation is as unto the Lord. He is well-pleased with us because we are His, not for anything that we do or do not do. May we keep our eyes fixed on the Lord as we walk into this wonderful season, and allow Him to lead us into the things that we can do with our whole heart.

 

In all that we do, Weighing the Why

May it be done well;

As unto the Lord,

Love’s own personnel.

As we choose commit,

To events and tasks;

We need make certain,

Our heart in it lasts.

How we choose to work,

The care placed in things;

Is our way to show,

The good that God brings.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to do all things as unto You. Thank You that we are not created to please people, but rather to be obedient to You. Thank You that as we live and love according to Your call, work is done well and people are loved as You love. Forgive us for the times that we have over-committed ourselves and have been pulled in so many different directions that we were unable to fully invest in anything. Teach us to balance our time and place our whole heart into the things that we are called to do. Show us how to love and prioritize people as we work as unto You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we put our heart and soul into every activity that we do, as unto You. Amen.

 

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

 

A person’s steps are directed by the Lord. How then can anyone understand their own way? – Proverbs 20:24

 

Drawing Strength

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power. – (Ephesians 6:10, NIV)

Last of all I want to remind you that your strength must come from the Lord’s mighty power within you. – (Ephesians 6:10, TLB)

Finally, brothers and sisters, draw your strength and might from God. – (Ephesians 6:10, VOICE)

 

For whatever reason, be it the full moon, the constant fog each morning, spirit week at school, Halloween drawing near – whatever it is, there has been an abundance of energy and distraction in the classroom so far this week, and two days have felt like an entire week. In my own strength, I would have had to tap out about halfway through Monday. However, when I seek the true Source of strength and rely on His power already placed within me, I am equipped and empowered to press on. It does not mean that it is easy or that all is smooth sailing, but it does assure me that He is present and He will not leave me alone, even on the most trying of days. Though yesterday was rough, I had the strength I needed to navigate the day and was slightly less weary than the day prior. As I continue to draw my strength from He who is my strength, I trust that all I need will be supplied. He is faithful forever and I will trust in Him. May we ever be strong in the Lord, who is our strength, for He will grant us what we need to navigate each new day.

 

Let us remember, Rest from the Heaviness

Where true strength comes from;

From when our day starts,

To when it is done.

Faithful forever,

The Lord will be near;

To supply our needs,

Our requests, He hears.

Trust in the Lord’s grace,

His power and might;

The strength that He gives,

To fight the good fight.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can call on You to be our strength and You are faithful to supply what we need for each new day. Forgive us for attempting to “power through” on our own, rather than seeking You. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would come to know Your faithful provision of power when we feel powerless. Show us how to love those around us in a way that strengthens and lifts up those who are weary. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust in You and Your strength to successfully navigate our days. Amen.

 

 

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

 

I lift up my eyes to the mountains – where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. – Psalm 121:1-2

Gentleness Makes Love Tangible

Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. – (Philippians 4:5, NIV)

Let your gentleness show in your treatment of all people. The Lord is near. – (Philippians 4:5, CEB)

Keep your gentle nature so that all people will know what it looks like to walk in His footsteps. The Lord is ever present with us. – (Philippians 4:5, VOICE)

Let gentleness be seen in every relationship, for our Lord is ever near. – (Philippians 4:5, TPT)

 

Gentleness is a vehicle for kindness that makes love tangible. God loves us fiercely, but so often makes His love known through the gentleness of those whom He places in our lives. A kind word, a gentle gesture or a small, sweet sentiment extended toward us, make us feel seen and known and loved. We are called to allow gentleness to be seen in and through us in every relationship. God equips and empowers us to extend grace and kindness to all, even the seemingly undeserving. Just as we have received His gentleness when our thoughts, words or actions warranted quite the opposite, so too, are we to allow the very same gentleness to be evident through us. May we seek the Lord and His love for all to fill our hearts so that His gentleness may be seen in our every interaction with those around us.

 

Let sweet gentleness,

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Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

Be easy to see;

For kindness given,

Sets captive hearts free.

Because God is love,

We know tenderness;

A word, deed or touch,

In our brokenness.

So, let us choose too,

Be gentle and kind;

Such things soften hearts,

And soothe troubled minds.

The Lord’s ever near,

With kindness and grace;

Fill with gentleness,

So love is in place.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You not only call us to extend gentleness to others, but empower and equip us to love as You love each of us. Forgive us for the times that we have not been gentle with ourselves and with those around us, as each of us are loved and valued beyond measure by You. Give us Your eyes to see one another as You do, so that we are better able to allow gentleness to be our mode of operation as we interact. Show us how to love others with the same kindness and gentleness that You make so evident to us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we extend gentleness in our words, thoughts and actions to all whom we meet. Amen.

 

 

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

 

A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. – Proverbs 15:1

Spirit Lead Me

Teach me to do Your will, for You are my God; may Your good Spirit lead me on level ground. – (Psalm 143:10, NIV)

Show me what You want me to do. You are my God. Let Your good Spirit lead me over level ground. – (Psalm 143:10, ERV)

I just want to obey all You ask of me. So, teach me, Lord, for You are my God. Your gracious Spirit is all I need, so lead me on good paths that are pleasing to You, my one and only God! – (Psalm 143:10, TPT)

 

God is good and He is faithful to hear our prayers and lead us in the direction He has intended for us to go. The challenge is that we only learn when we are willing to be taught. If we seek Him for direction, the Lord is faithful to lead. May we ever pursue the path that is pleasing to God, as His Spirit will lead us to the places that we are meant to go.

 

Please show me Your will, 08031815407627047281169588861.jpg

In all that I do;

Let Your Spirit lead,

All steps unto You.

Teach me all Your ways,

My God and my King;

To level ground lead,

So my walk’s pleasing.

Help my heart choose seek,

Your will and Your way;

Let each step I take,

Be goodness conveyed.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can seek You to gain wisdom and understanding, so that we can come to know the paths we are meant to take each day. Thank You that You are always ready and willing to lead, if we are willing to follow. Forgive us for not seeking You, or for neglecting what we know we ought to do. Teach us to trust You more. Help us to seek You and follow Your leading in all things and at all times. Show us how to love those around us in a way that demonstrates Your faithfulness and kindness well. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You for wisdom and direction, and then faithfully follow Your leading. Amen.

 

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

 

Lord, show me Your right way of living, and make it easy for me to follow. People are looking for my weaknesses, so show me how You want me to live. – Psalm 5:8

Made With Purpose

For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago. – (Ephesians 2:10, NLT) 

God has made us what we are. In Christ Jesus, God made us new people so that we would spend our lives doing the good things He had already planned for us to do. – (Ephesians 2:10, ERV) 

For we are the product of His hand, heaven’s poetry etched on lives, created in the Anointed, Jesus, to accomplish the good works God arranged long ago. – (Ephesians 2:10, VOICE) 

 

This is an incredible thought. WE – you, me, and everyone we see – have been created with purpose for good! When we seek Him, He makes us new and through Jesus and equips us to accomplish the good things that He has planned for us already. It is easy to get frustrated when we do not accomplish that which we think we ought to, but God, in His goodness and grace, wants us to faithfully seek His face. As we do, and continue to move forward in that which He has called us, we are completing the things He has planned for good. The timeline is His, not ours, and we have to trust that He will accomplish the good He intends through our faithful pursuit of Him as we walk out our days. May we ever seek the Savior who considers us His masterpiece, who has a plan and purpose for each of our lives. 

 

God’s own masterpiece, Made With Purpose

We’re each works of art; 

Made with true purpose, 

From finish to start. 

He long ago planned, 

The good meant for us; 

And brings it to pass, 

Through His Son, Jesus. 

May we each pursue, 

His glory and grace; 

Walk in His purpose, 

As we seek His face. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have created each of us with purpose as Your own work of art. Thank You that as we pursue You, You direct and equip us to walk out Your plan for good. Forgive us for doubting our worth or ability to contribute. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would fearlessly and faithfully walk in the direction to which You have called. Show us how to love those around us in a way that supports and encourages each to move in the direction and purpose for which they are created. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You daily, and continue to move forward in the direction which we have been called. Amen. 

 

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

“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 hope and a future.” – Jeremiah 29:11

Giving Thanks

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)

 

After a bit more than a week away, my heart is overflowing with gratitude to God for His goodness and love. His faithfulness was evident throughout, and the work of His hands that we were blessed to witness, have left me further in awe of who God is and how He loves. At first, I had intended to continue writing while away on our honeymoon, but with spotty wifi service and a heart led to let go and just take in all that was before me, I took the longest break from writing that I have had in more than eight years. His grace covered my heart and set me free to just be in the moment. The Caribbean holds incredible beauty, and it was humbling to be out at sea with no land in sight for a few days.  Our overwhelming sentiment was awe at the vastness of creation and how little of it most are ever able to witness. God is good and His love never ends. May we give Him thanks for who He is and how He loves forever.

 

So great is His love, wp-15335618508844399711459607615907.jpg

It’s easy to see;

All of creation,

Testifies beauty.

All thanks be to God,

For love and for grace;

For light, life and love,

Found in His embrace.

Such treasure is found,

In eternal love;

All thanks unto Him,

Our Father above.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your loving kindness and blessings that You pour out upon us. Thank You for the incredible work of Your hands. Forgive us for not taking in the beauty and blessings that are all around us. Teach us to see Your hand in all things, and have hearts full of thanks for Your unending love. Show us how to love well, all those whom You have placed in our path. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You praise all of our days for Your eternal love. Amen.

 

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

 

Now, our God, we give You thanks, and praise Your glorious name. – 1 Chronicles 29:13