To Draw Strength

Finally, be strengthened by the Lord and by His vast strength. – (Ephesians 6:10, HCSB)

To end my letter I tell you, be strong in the Lord and His great power. – (Ephesians 6:10, ERV)

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

Paul, in his letter to the church of Ephesus, reminded the people from where to draw their strength. This reminder is not only for them, but for all of us, throughout the ages. God’s strength is limitless and everlasting. We can call on Him and He is faithful to provide the strength we need to keep moving in the direction to which we have been called. Sometimes His strength is provided supernaturally, and other times, He supplies people around us to lean on, who encourage and build us up. Either way, He continues to prove that He is faithful and worthy of all of our trust. May we ever seek the Lord to be our strength, for He is good and is stronger than anything that we might face.

Brothers and sisters,

Look to God for strength;

It’s more than enough,

Endless height and length.

Wherever we go,

His strength shall endure;

So keep seeking Him,

All grace He assures.

He provides for needs,

In His love, He gives;

Hope, help and His peace,

And strength to forgive.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our Source and Supply of strength. Thank You that You meet us in our need, and provide in ways that we might not expect, yet grant us that which sustains us best. Forgive us for the times that we have tried to muscle our way through things, or suffer in silence; neither is what You intend for us. Teach us to bring our burdens to You, for You provide the strength we need to press on. Show us how to love those around us in practical ways, so that strength is shared as it is needed. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to be our strength and praise You for Your limitless power and provision. Amen.

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

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

All Thanks and Praise

Always give thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. – (Ephesians 5:20, NIV)

Sing praises over everything, any excuse for a song to God the Father in the name of our Master, Jesus Christ. – (Ephesians 5:20, MSG)

And give thanks to God the Father every day through the name of our Lord Jesus the Anointed for all He has done. – (Ephesians 5:20, VOICE)

Gratitude is what sets our hearts right. No matter what is going on in our lives, around us, or in the world, there are always reasons to give thanks to God. As I watch our puppies play in the living room as I write, I am thankful to God for our home and for the joy that these two pups bring to our family. It is easy to expand from there, as I am overwhelmed with gratitude for my family – both in our home and beyond. Additionally, I am grateful for the friends that surround us, and for the communities to which I belong. God is intentional in the people whom He places beside us and around us, as He knows what we each need and how to help us each navigate as He intended. May we ever be intentional to stop and give thanks to God for all that is good in our lives, for as we do, we recognize how good He is and how loved we truly are.

All thanks be to God,

For all that is good;

His loving kindness,

And grace understood.

Family and friends,

Each community;

In which we’ve been placed,

Opportunity.

A chance to be kind,

Encourage and love;

To help each other,

Like the Lord above.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the countless ways that You love, encourage, support and provide for us each day we draw breath. Thank You for the people whom You have placed in our lives. Forgive us for neglecting to give Your praise for all that You provide. Teach us to recognize the overwhelming goodness and love that You have for us, and how You care for us individually. Show us how to love those around us in ways that make Your goodness evident. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You and give You thanks for who You are and how You love us all. Amen.

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

Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift. – 2 Corinthians 9:15

Speak Truth

Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to your neighbor, for we are all members of one body. – (Ephesians 4:25, NIV)

So you must stop telling lies. You must always speak the truth to each other, because we all belong to each other in the same body. – (Ephesians 4:25, ERV)

What this adds up to, then, is this: no more lies, no more pretense. Tell your neighbor the truth. In Christ’s body we’re all connected to each other, after all. When you lie to others, you end up lying to yourself. – (Ephesians 4:25, MSG)

Initially, my thought was that I do speak truthfully to people. However, upon deeper reflection, sometimes not speaking up is not being honest. Telling others that everything is fine when it is not, is a sort of pretense that puts others off who would otherwise be ready and available to help. What I have discovered this week through one of my worst experiences as an educator, is that my neighbors, my fellow teachers and staff members, as well as many students, are ready to stand up for me, walk beside me, and extend kindness and support where it is needed most. Our connection to each other provides strength and support, for there is far more strength when we are connected than when we stand alone. I have been blessed to teach with incredible humans throughout the twenty-six years of my teaching career thus far. Numerous staff and students have come through our school community and left their beautiful imprints on my heart. Perhaps this is why I have stayed so long. Even on the toughest days, there are people who are near, who come alongside, and stand together, united in purpose. God is so gracious and kind. He shows us more of who He is and how He loves through the people He places alongside us. May we ever seek the Lord to lead us to speak truth, and to be honest about how we are and what we need. He is good, and He provides as we abide.

Choose to speak the truth,

What lies before us, and what lies behind us, are not nearly as important as who is beside us…

For love shows the way;

God’s help is present,

Throughout each new day.

With purpose, we’re placed,

In community;

To help each other,

Stand up strong and free.

Free to keep moving,

In all that we’re called;

With purpose and grace,

Goodness is installed.

Moving together,

Supporting in love;

United in strength,

That’s sent from above.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You place us in communities that have the capacity to work together, support each other, and thrive, rather than merely survive. Forgive us for the times that we have not been honest about how we are doing or what we truly need. Teach us to bring our burdens to You, and to share our struggles and triumphs with those whom You have placed beside us. Show us how to support, strengthen and encourage those around us in Your unwavering love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for the people whom You have placed in the communities we are in, and for the ways that we can stand together, united in purpose and in love. Amen.

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

Summon Your power, God; show us Your strength, our God, as You have done before. – Psalm 68:28

The Courage to Hope

So don’t throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. For you need endurance, so that after you have done God’s will, you may receive what was promised. – (Hebrews 10:35-36, HCSB)

So don’t lose the courage that you had in the past. Your courage will be rewarded richly. You must be patient. After you have done what God wants, you will get what He promised you. – (Hebrews 10:35-36, ERV)

Remember this, and do not abandon your confidence, which will lead to rich rewards. Simply endure, for when you have done as God requires of you, you will receive the promise. – (Hebrews 10:35-36, VOICE)

This confidence is the courage that comes from trusting in God. He provides as we abide, and He will lead us through all that He has called us to do. Our reward is the hope and help that we have in the here and now, and the promise to be in His presence for eternity. The Lord blesses and keeps us, helps and holds us, and loves us through all that comes our way. May we ever hold fast to the confidence we have in Him, and keep moving forward in the direction to which we have been called. He is faithful, and will see us through all things.

The courage to hope,

In what is unseen;

Is true confidence,

God says what He means.

His presence, promised,

And hope for much more;

Grace to keep going,

Love that He outpours.

Endurance given,

So we persevere;

Trust in His goodness,

And that He is near.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can be confident in You and have courage to keep pressing forward because You are with us. Thank You that our ability to persevere comes from You, not from our own strength. Thank You that You meet us where we are, and walk alongside us to where You are leading. Forgive us for our frustration when the road is not smooth. Teach us to hold fast to You, and to trust that You will continue to be faithful as You bring us to the places of promises fulfilled. Teach us to trust You more, especially when the way does not seem to be headed where we thought we would go. Show us how to love, encourage and walk alongside all those whom You have placed in our lives in this season. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You to do what You say You will do, and lean into Your love that holds us up. Amen.

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

But Christ is faithful as the Son over God’s house. And we are His house, if indeed we hold firmly to our confidence and the hope in which we glory. – Hebrews 3:6

The Lord’s Great Works

Great are the works of the Lord; they are pondered by all who delight in them. – (Psalm 111:2, NIV)

The Lord’s works are great, studied by all who delight in them. – (Psalm 111:2, HCSB)

The Lord does wonderful things, more than anyone could ask for. – (Psalm 111:2, ERV)

The works of the Eternal are many and wondrous! They are examined by all who delight in them. – (Psalm 111:2, VOICE)

The works of God are always something to delight in as we ponder all that He has done. It takes but a moment to create a long list of how the Lord has moved in my life and the lives of those around me. He is good, and He does wonderful things for all who seek Him. All things, great and small, He uses to bless and encourage us to trust in Him. Even something so simple as peace in our household, God cares and can make it happen. 

We were among the many that adopted puppies during Covid. First, we were able to get a sweet male yellow lab. He came to us at seven weeks, and has been an energetic spaz ever since. Four months after bringing Thor home, a friend of mine was fostering my husband’s dream dog in Arizona. After much discussion and deliberating, we were able to bring home a sweet and feisty blue nose little girl. At this point, Thor was nearly nine months, and Tali was a bit over four months. In the beginning, the two were fast friends. However, several months later, we began having issues with them brawling. Not just wrestling, but fighting that drew blood. It was an agonizing six months or so of having to alternate every hour, which dog was upstairs and which was downstairs in their own crate. Slowly, we began reintroducing time together, and it was solidified best when they were walked together on a splitter leash. 

Now, all these months later, the two still like to wrestle and play, but we have learned what to do if one is a bit amped up to calm them down, and to get them to give each other space. They truly love each other, and Tali wants her big brother to play every waking moment of every day. This is a small example of God’s faithfulness and wondrous works, as at one point, we were not sure we would be able to keep them both. God cares about even the small things. May we ever seek the Lord for wisdom and strength, and watch and wait as He moves in wonderful ways.

The Lord is so good,

His love wonderful;

His heart is for us,

He cares about all.

He loves beyond words,

All created things;

He blesses with peace,

His goodness He brings.

When we look around,

And see how He’s moved;

Our hearts overflow,

By how love is proved.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your wonderful works in our lives. Thank You that You love us and care about all aspects of our lives. Thank You that You see and know, and You give us Your strength and endurance to keep moving forward to the good that You have in store for us all. Forgive us for our frustration and lack of fortitude when things are challenging. Teach us to trust and rely on You to be our strength and peace as we patiently  wait. Show us how to love those around us as You do. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we reflect on the wondrous things that You have done and place our trust in You for all that lies ahead. Amen.

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

For Your faithful love is before my eyes, and I live by Your truth. – Psalm 26:3

The Power in Partnerships

Two are better than one because they have a good reward for their efforts. – (Ecclesiastes 4:9, HCSB)

Two people are better than one. When two people work together, they get more work done. – (Ecclesiastes 4:9, ERV)

It is better to have a partner than go it alone. Share the work, share the wealth. – (Ecclesiastes 4:9, MSG)

I love how practical these words are to all. I know this to be true, and can attest to the rewards of working together in a partnership. At work, being on a grade level team for the subject I teach makes a world of difference. Together, we can make meaning of the curriculum and plan together the small steps to reach the end goal. In doing so, the load is shared and the burden is lessened. In marriage, we each bring different strengths to the partnership, and together, we can accomplish far more than we could alone. One simple example is when we need to do yard work. For one person to complete the job, it would take several hours. However, when my Viking and I share the work, we often can complete the task within an hour. Additionally, as we both work and contribute to expenses and savings, we are afforded the blessing of being able to take vacation. God is good, and when we seek Him to lead us to spaces where we can work together and share the load, we discover strength is multiplied and there are great blessings that come from partnering with people to accomplish necessary tasks. May we ever seek the Lord to lead us to connect with those whom we are given to work beside, and may the pairing and sharing be a blessing to all.

Together we rise,

Accomplish great things;

Working together,

More strengths we can bring.

For work divided,

Is better a task;

When shared together,

We give and get back.

Lord, lead us to work,

Alongside others;

To share with the load,

As overcomers.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You created us to be in community. Thank You that as we pair up with those around us to accomplish tasks, the work is divided and the reward is blessings. Forgive us for the times that we attempt to do things alone that You intended to be shared. Show us who and where we can walk alongside to work together and get things done. Lead us to love like You, so that we support, encourage, and challenge each other to do what You have for us to do and become who You have created us to be. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we work together with those whom You have placed in our lives to do what we are called to do. Amen.

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

But as for you, be strong; don’t be discouraged, for your work has a reward. – 2 Chronicles 15:7

Look to the Heart

But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or his stature, because I have rejected him. Man does not see what the Lord sees, for man sees what is visible, but the Lord sees the heart.” – (1 Samuel 16:7, HCSB)

But the Lord said to Samuel, “Eliab is tall and handsome, but don’t judge by things like that. God doesn’t look at what people see. People judge by what is on the outside, but the Lord looks at the heart. Eliab is not the right man.” – (1 Samuel 16:7, ERV)

But God told Samuel, “Looks aren’t everything. Don’t be impressed with his looks and stature. I’ve already eliminated him. God judges persons differently than humans do. Men and women look at the face; God looks into the heart.” – (1 Samuel 16:7, MSG)

This passage is from when God called Samuel to go and anoint the one who was to succeed Saul as king. To the ordinary observer, David’s older brothers seemed to be far more appropriate candidates. However, God saw so much more. In David, God saw a man after His own heart. David had the heart of a warrior and a worshiper – both of which God used while David grew and learned the faithfulness of God as he faced a giant with a sling and a stone, and later led a nation as he sang and danced praising God for His faithfulness. Incredibly, what this shows us is that we never know who God is raising up for great things. Our task is to love and encourage all, and to look past appearances and instead see the heart. I know in relationships, the people I am most drawn to have beautiful hearts. The more I get to know them, the more I see who they are radiating through, and recognize what draws others in. As a teacher, this is critical. We never know who the next leaders, doctors, pastors, educators, community advocates, parents and more are in the ones seated in our classrooms. Each has been created with a purpose, and it is our job to help strengthen the heart so that they can see their own potential and pursue all that God has for them. May we ever seek the Lord to give us His eyes to see, so that we may encourage those around us in the strengths that they have been given, and glorify God for His goodness.

Look not at the face,

But rather the heart;

The true character,

Where seeing must start.

For we never know,

All that God has planned;

Purpose He has placed,

In women and men.

A mere shepherd boy,

Was anointed king;

Despite appearance,

Beyond what was seen.

God looks at our hearts,

The strengths found within;

His plan and purpose,

Waiting to begin.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You see beyond what others see. Thank You that You look to the heart to lead us into all that You have for us. Forgive us for selling others short based on what we see. Teach us to look through Your lens so that we see the potential and promise in everyone we meet. Lead us to love those around us in ways that encourage and strengthen each in the gifts and talents You have placed in them. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, and trust in You to lead them to walk out their purpose. Be glorified O God, as we look to You to help us see others as You do. Amen.

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

The One who chose you will do that for you. You can trust Him. – 1 Thessalonians 5:24

The Beauty of Intentional Design

I look at the heavens You made with Your hands. I see the moon and stars You created. And I wonder, “Why are people so important to You? Why do you even think about them? Why do You care so much about humans? Why do You even notice them?” – (Psalm 8:3-4, ERV)

I look up at Your macro-skies, dark and enormous, Your handmade sky-jewelry, moon and stars mounted in their settings. Then I look at my micro-self and wonder, why do You bother with us? Why take a second look our way? – (Psalm 8:3-4, MSG)

When I gaze to the skies and meditate on Your creation – on the moon, stars, and all You have made, I can’t help but wonder why You care about mortals – sons and daughters of men – specks of dust floating about the cosmos. – (Psalm 8:3-4, VOICE)

Between living in the Pacific Northwest, and having been blessed with numerous opportunities to see new locations around the world, I share David’s sentiment of awe and wonder at how people are considered the priority to God, who created so much magnificent beauty. We are but a speck of dust in comparison to the entire universe. The glory that surrounds us in His creation is clear evidence of God’s existence. As humans, we are still learning and discovering just how vast God’s creation actually is, and I imagine the discoveries will not end. God, who is timeless and endless, created more than our minds can conceive, yet intentionally hand-crafted each one of us to be unique with strengths, talents, personalities and more. We all were created with purpose and possibilities, accompanied with a free will to determine just how we might use what we have been given. The more I learn, the more I desire to honor and serve the Lord. His goodness and love are as vast as the universe, and His capacity to care for us knows no end. May we ever seek the Lord to reveal more and more of who He is and all that He has done so that we might recognize and honor God as we should.

May we choose look up,

No filter, Sunrise in Belize taken on my phone…<3

Survey all we see;

All that surrounds us,

God’s own majesty.

The stars in the sky,

Created and known;

The mountains and seas,

The Lord’s power shown.

Each work of His hand,

Intentionally;

Formed with a purpose,

Beyond what we see.

Each human on earth,

Is by God’s design;

Made with a purpose,

His love intertwined.

May we stand in awe,

Of all that He’s made;

Give all thanks to Him,

The Ancient of Days.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the incredible gift of all that You have created! Thank You for so much beauty all around us. Forgive us for making You too small, for the God who created everything and everyone is able to do abundantly more than we could hope or imagine. Teach us to trust You in all things and at all times, even when things around us seem crazy or impossible. Show us how to love, encourage and support those around us well, so that they may recognize Your heart for all. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we stand in awe of how You love and care for us. Amen.

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

The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky proclaims the work of His hands. – Psalm 19:1

Ongoing Transformation

Being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. – (Philippians 1:6, NIV)

I am sure of this, that He who started a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. – (Philippians 1:6, HCSB)

I am confident that the Creator, who has begun such a great work among you, will not stop in mid-design but will keep perfecting you until the day Jesus the Anointed, our Liberating King, returns to redeem the world. – (Philippians 1:6, VOICE)

 This verse is such a wonderful reminder that we are ALL a work in progress. Not one of us has “arrived”; we all can continue to be transformed more and more by the goodness of God and His unending grace, if only we are willing to seek and trust in Him. The process is different for everyone, and what we see is not the whole story. We all have challenges and triumphs, detours and direct routes as we navigate this life with the intent to grow more like Jesus. I love that the Lord will not stop in the middle, but rather will continue to work in us and through us as we depend on Him. Though I am certain I have passed the midpoint in this life, I am well aware of the work that still needs to be done. There is always more to learn, and always more patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness and more to gain. It is only through looking back that we can see how far we have come. For some, change is subtle, as the external has mostly always been a pleasant demeanor, however, the work in the heart is what transforms the mind to think and respond in love in all circumstances. May we ever seek the Lord to grow us more in His love, and recognize that we are all a work in progress and in desperate need of His love and grace.

Confidently trust,

The work is not done;

A lifelong process,

As we seek the Son.

Each day we choose Him,

His love is our guide;

To give as He gives,

With arms open wide.

Lead us in Your love,

To care as You do;

Let Your goodness show,

As we follow You.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we are all a work in progress and that Your work in us will not stop until the day that we see You face-to-face. Thank You that none of us “arrive” and are somehow without room to grow. Forgive us for our expectations and frustrations with others, for You are working in and through all of us. Teach us to trust in You in all things, for growth happens as we seek You. Show us how to love those around us well, so that we encourage one another to grow more like You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust in You to keep transforming our hearts and minds to more clearly reflect Your goodness and love throughout each day that we draw breath. Amen.

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

Do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is good, pleasing, and perfect will of God. – Romans 12:2

Our Present Strength

Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be afraid, for I am your God. I will strengthen you; I will help you; I will hold on to you with My righteous right hand. – (Isaiah 41:10, HCSB)

Don’t worry – I am with you. Don’t be afraid – I am your God. I will make you strong and help you. I will support you with my right hand that brings victory. – (Isaiah 41:10, ERV)

So don’t be afraid. I am here with you; don’t be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, help you. I am here with My right hand to make right and to hold you up. – (Isaiah 41:10, VOICE)

No matter what comes against us, God is for us and with us. He is our help and our hope; He provides the strength that we need and people to walk beside us to encourage and uphold us. Regardless of how things seem, God is faithful to carry us through, and lead us to something new. May we ever seek the Lord to bring His perfect peace as we recognize His nearness and strength to uphold us and carry us through every challenge we face, and how to be present for those who are in the midst of trials.

In You, Lord, there’s light,

Full of good and grace;

You strengthen, uphold,

As we seek Your face.

Victory in You,

Will surely be found;

Where hope is restored,

For Your love is sound.

Lead us, Lord Jesus,

To trust well in You;

For You are our peace,

And all that is true.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we need not fear, for You are with us to uphold and strengthen us. Thank You that You see well beyond today, and make a way where there seems to be no way. Forgive us for our fears when we cannot see an end in sight. Teach us to trust You in all things and at all times. Show us how to walk beside those who are in the midst of struggle, and use us to be Your hands, heart and voice to bring peace, strength and encouragement. Lead us to love like You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust in You to strengthen and uphold us, and help us to ever look to You to lead us to walk alongside those in the midst of challenge. Amen.

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

But those who trust in the Lord will renew their strength; they will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary; they will walk and not faint. – Isaiah 40:31