The Weight of Loss

My soul is weary with sorrow; strengthen me according to Your word. – (Psalm 119:28, NIV)

I am sad and tired. Say the word, and make me strong again. – (Psalm 119:28, ERV)

I weep with grief; my heart is heavy with sorrow; encourage and cheer me with Your words. – (Psalm 119:28, TLB)

Loss is heavy, and when it is seemingly out of the blue, it is even heavier. Yesterday, as our professional development day was about to begin, I received news that a dear friend and fellow coach in our league had died. The thing is, she, her twin sister, and several others of us, all grew up doing gymnastics together. A few evenings each week, we would learn, grow, laugh, and be challenged together. As adults, our paths began to intersect again through the world of coaching. Just last spring, we had several of our meets together, so we had enjoyed some quality catch up time. Hearing the news of her death hit hard. She was life and love, joy and kindness to all whom she encountered, and had a way of drawing everyone in with her infectious laughter. As a twin mom, my heart is extra heavy for her twin, as I know the incredible bond that twins have. I can’t help but feel weary from the weight of the loss, yet must cling to the hope that we will see one another again. Her love for the Lord was clear, and she never minced words when speaking the truth in love. To know her was to love her, and I cannot fully wrap my head around her passing. My prayer is that God will be our comfort, especially for her amazing twin sister. May we love a little harder, and be a bit kinder in honor of one who lived love out loud.

You were light and life,

Truth speaker with joy;

Contagious laughter,

Wisdom, loving voice.

Each life that you touched,

Made better by you;

Loved and encouraged,

Your faith proven true.

Lord, be our comfort,

As in loss, we grieve;

Renew our resolve,

To trust and believe.

The comfort I know,

Is found in the space;

Picturing entry,

As Your arms embrace.

Dear Heavenly Father, I cannot even begin to pretend I understand why such an incredible life was cut short, yet I know that she lived out each day with purpose and love. Thank You for the gift of knowing Kimmie, and for the imprint that she forever left on my heart. Hold us up in the weight of the heaviness of loss. Forgive us for allowing opportunities to love pass us by. Show us how to live and love each day, so that no matter how many days we are given, each and every one of them counts. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, for You are where true hope and comfort are found. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to live out each day with the purpose You intended, and give You thanks for the incredible gift that You gave us in our friend. Amen.

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

You who are my Comforter in sorrow, my heart is faint within me. – Jeremiah 8:18

Rest in His Care

Return to your rest, my soul, for the Lord has been good to you. – (Psalm 116:7, NIV)

My soul, relax! The Lord is caring for you. – (Psalm 116:7, ERV)

I said to myself, “Relax and rest. God has showered you with blessings.” – (Psalm 116:7, MSG)

This needs to be an ongoing reminder every single time the challenges of life come our way. There will always be trials and struggles, yet in the midst of them, God is near and His goodness never ends. For the last week, our home has been without water. Our water main to the house burst and we had to have the water main shut off until it could be replaced. Yes, it was inconvenient and the cost of the repair was not in our budget, yet even so, God has been good and has provided what we have needed. Yesterday, the repairs were made and I don’t think I have ever appreciated a shower in my own bathroom and the ability to do laundry and dishes more. Additionally, I was reminded that our week-long inconvenience was many people in the world’s reality. It is a luxury and a blessing to have access to clean running water that comes into our homes. No matter what comes our way, God is with us, and there are always blessings to count. May we take time to relax and rest in Him, and remember the blessings and care the Christ has for us all.

No matter what comes,

The Lord’s always near;

Present to help us,

And overcome fear.

The Lord, He provides,

He meets all our needs;

Our love and comfort,

Despite what we see.

Lord, settle our souls,

Help us rest in You;

Notice each blessing,

As You lead us through.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can find rest in You, no matter what comes our way. Thank You that You are present to help and that You provide what we need. Forgive us for our frustration when things go awry, and teach us to relax and trust in You to lead us through. Show us how to love, support and encourage others well in all things, so that Your blessings may be evident to all. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we rest and relax in You, knowing that Your presence and love will lead us through. Amen.

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

Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from Him. – Psalm 62:5

Grateful for the Gift

My beloved is mine and I am his. – (Song of Songs 2:16a, NIV)

My love is mine, and I am his. – (Song of Songs 2:16a, VOICE)

My darling, I am yours, and you are mine. – (Song of Songs 2:16a, CEV)

Today I am feeling extra grateful for the gift that God gave me in the form of my spouse. He came into my life when it was least expected, yet fully needed, and we have been building a beautiful life together ever since. Together, we have navigated some serious trials and incredible blessings, and continue to work together as a team to move forward in the direction to which we are called. Our children are learning how to navigate adulthood, and we are learning how to love, support and encourage them through the process. Happy Birthday to my Viking, who loves me well and is the one my heart adores. May we embrace the ones whom God has given us, and move forward in love and purpose, each new step we take.

The Lord is so good,

For He knows our need;

And blesses our hearts,

As in love, He leads.

Through just the right ones,

That love us so well;

His heart is made known,

Through grace true love tells.

Embraced in kindness,

Encouraged, held up;

One gifted to me,

As he fills my cup.

The one my heart loves,

Who calls me his own;

To walk through this life,

As true love is shown.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the blessing and the gift that You have given me in the one my heart adores. Thank You that You knew exactly what I needed and merged our paths together at just the right time. Forgive us for taking even a moment for granted that You have blessed us with. Teach us to appreciate each new day, challenge and victory that we face together. Show us how to love one another and those around us with a love like Yours. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as I praise You and thank You for the incredible gift that You have given me in my Viking. Amen.

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

Taste and see that the Lord is good. – Psalm 34:8a

Hope is Reborn

Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. – (Matthew 5:4, NIV)

Great blessings belong to those who are sad now. God will comfort them. – (Matthew 5:4, ERV)

You’re blessed when you feel you’ve lost what is most dear to you. Only then can you be embraced by the One most dear to you. – (Matthew 5:4, MSG)

Grief is in the forefront of my mind this morning, as I received news of a friend’s great loss. I never know what to say in the space of such suffering, as I know the despair and devastation created by loss, and we each respond differently in the depths of our own pain. For me, reminders of God’s goodness and ability to comfort, along with the recognition and recall that Jesus grieved in loss as well, seem to help my heart in such spaces. The shortest, yet most powerfully significant verse that I know in such a space is, “Jesus wept.” (John 11:35) Jesus weeping in the face of loss with His dear friends is a reminder to us that we are not meant to “keep it all together” or “be strong” when we face grief. It is good and necessary to grieve so that our hearts can heal. God takes the broken pieces of our hearts and puts them back together in such a wondrous way that beauty springs forth from our ashes. Incredibly, what I have found after a period of mourning, is that God brings along opportunities for me to offer comfort to others walking through something similar, and great hope as I can see so clearly how I was held through the pain. My hope and prayer this morning is that those in the midst of loss can find comfort and peace in the arms of the One who is able to heal us, and feel the freedom to grieve however it is needed so that release and relief may come.

When tragedy strikes,

Or great loss is known;

God be our comfort,

As Your love is shown.

Teach our hearts to grieve,

In spaces of loss;

So healing can come,

Let’s look to the cross.

For in such anguish,

You bore all our pain;

So that we might know,

That joy comes again.

For after the grave,

You breathed life anew;

Our forever hope,

That proves Your love’s true.

A time for weeping,

To grieve and to mourn;

So joy may return,

And hope is reborn.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have known and experienced loss and devastation, and You too, wept. Thank You that because You have lived it, You can relate to our suffering and bring comfort and healing and hope. Forgive us for our fears and doubts when all that we can feel is loss. Teach us to turn to You in our despair, for Your arms are big enough to hold our every heaviness. Show us how to love, support, encourage and walk beside those around us in their seasons of loss. May comfort be found and Your heart made known in new and tangible ways. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God as we give You room and freedom to bring beauty from our ashes and hope from our despair. Amen.

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

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens… – Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

To Run Well

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. – (Hebrews 12:1, NIV)

We have all these great people around us as examples. Their lives tell us what faith means. So we, too, should run the race that is before us and never quit. We should remove from our lives anything that would slow us down and the sin that so often makes us fall. – (Hebrews 12:1, ERV)

As for us, we have all of these great witnesses who encircle us like clouds. So we must let go of every wound that has pierced us and the sin we so easily fall into. Then we will be able to run life’s marathon race with passion and determination, for the path has been already marked out before us. – (Hebrews 12:1, TPT)

Though this was written to the early church to encourage and guide believers, the message remains true today. One thing that stands out to me is the idea of being surrounded by people who are great examples of what it is to live a godly life. It takes intentional investment in people to be surrounded by those who help lead, guide and walk beside us in the way that God is calling us to live. Next, we have to let go of previous harm to move forward. It is an intentional decision to forgive and give it to God. To do so does not mean that we have to forget what we learned or jump back into harmful spaces, but rather we must release the burden of hurt, anger and grudges, and choose to forgive and place it all in His hands. Additionally, we must be intentional to walk away from that which leads us astray. As a runner, I love the analogy of life being a marathon. We do not want to do things along the course that will inhibit our ability to run well. The same is true in life. The things that lead us astray, move us off course, or weigh us down, do not help us run our race well. Labor-intensive running is not fun or beneficial, and often leads to injuries. God has already mapped out our course, our job is to keep running in the direction to which we have been called. Our pace is set by Him, and it is never too fast nor too slow. His timing is perfect. May we ever be intentional to surround ourselves with those who encourage us to run well, let go of that which leads us off course, and persevere on the path which God has placed before us.

Let’s surround ourselves,

With those who live well;

In life and in love,

As faithfulness tells.

Let go of past harm,

With purpose, forgive;

Give it to the Lord,

In freedom to live.

Stay clear of the things,

That lead us astray;

And follow the course,

God grants us each day.

Let’s each run our race,

Stay true to the course;

God’s set before us,

Our Strength and our Source.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us and equip us to run the race that You have set before us. Thank You that You instruct us to surround ourselves with those who are running well and can help pace us to stay strong. Thank You too, for showing us to throw aside all that weighs us down or leads us off course. Forgive us for allowing the things of this life to distract us or steer us off course. Teach us to surround ourselves with those who are running well and to keep our eyes on the course You have set before us. Show us how to be an encouragement to others and to love all well so that they too will be encouraged to continue to run the race You designed for them. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we each rely on You to lead us to run our own race well. Amen.

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

When you walk, your steps will not be hampered; when you run, you will not stumble. – Proverbs 4:12

Let Go of Fear

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. – (Isaiah 41:10, NIV)

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)

Don’t panic. I’m with you. There’s no need to fear for I’m your God. I’ll give you strength. I’ll help you. I’ll hold you steady, keep a firm grip on you. – (Isaiah 41:10, MSG)

Fear is a funny thing, for fear does not simply involve being scared for your life or safety, as there are times that it can be a subtle anxiousness about the unknown that sneaks up on us. For me, the subtle anxiousness about the new or unknown is far more common than the other. It seems that I cannot avoid this ongoing walking into seasons of new. Some are announced, yet others come out of nowhere. I imagine that for the last year and a half, we all have had some sort of fear creep in. Not knowing how to navigate promotes anxiousness within me. This is the space where I must lean into God and trust that He will provide the support and help that I need to keep moving forward. In my experience, He has always shown up. He has provided peace, direction and help to lead me through whatever obstacle has been set before me. It is in this space of remembering His faithfulness that I find the fortitude to release fear and choose to trust in the One who helps and holds us up. May we ever seek the Lord as we stand in the face of fear, and remember Who is holding us securely in His hands.

Let go of the fear,

That holds a heart back;

Creates anxiousness,

Highlights what we lack.

For though on our own,

We’ve reason to fear;

Yet as we trust God,

We know He is near.

Our strength and supply,

The Lord remains near;

He grants us His peace,

In Him, there’s no fear.

Ever He’s holding,

Us up in His hands;

To walk in His strength,

Follow His commands.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that in You, we’ve no reason to worry or be fearful, for You hold us in the hollow of Your hands. Forgive us for allowing what we see and perceive to give fear a foothold. Teach us to trust in You and Your strength to supply us with all that we need to navigate the new and uncertain spaces. Show us how to love and encourage those around us, so that they too, may come to know Your faithful love that never leaves us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we let go of fear and anxiousness and trust in Your strong hands. Amen.

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

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with My righteous right hand. – Isaiah 41:10

To Finish Our Race

But those who hope 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 be faint. – (Isaiah 40:31, NIV)

But those who trust in the Lord will become strong again. They will be like eagles that grow new feathers. They will run and not get weak. They will walk and not get tired. – (Isaiah 40:31, ERV)

But those who wait upon God get fresh strength. They spread their wings and soar like eagles, they run and don’t get tired, they walk and don’t lag behind. – (Isaiah 40:31, MSG)

God is faithful to refresh us when we come before Him. Our weariness is exchanged for His strength. In Christ, we are able to do abundantly more than we had ever hoped or imagined, and He sustains and strengthens us so that we may continue in the direction to which we are called. To walk, run and soar in His strength is a provision of supernatural perseverance. For all of us who have been a part of an online transition over the last year, sticking with it has been the clear evidence of new feathers grown in us. It was not easy, but certainly worthwhile. And now, as we are on the cusp of the other side, it is far easier to look back and see the evidence of His hand through it all. May we ever trust in the Lord to renew our strength and to press forward walking, running and soaring as He sustains us.

On wings like eagles,

In Christ, I rise;

Our earnest seeking,

Will not be denied.

All strength and all hope,

Are found in the Lord;

Resolve to press on,

As love He affords.

More than we could hope,

He provides His grace;

All to keep going,

To finish our race.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can come to You in our weariness and be sustained and strengthened to continue in all that You call us to do. Forgive us for folding or for attempting to power through on our own. Teach us to trust and rely on You to renew us and lead us well. Show us how to love those around us in ways that encourage, strengthen and renew them to continue in all they are called to do. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for the new feathers we are granted as we seek You to run our race well. 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

Make Me Strong

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

May the Lord make His people strong. May the Lord bless His people with peace. – (Psalm 29:11, ERV)

God makes His people strong. God gives His people peace. – (Psalm 29:11, MSG)

I am so grateful for this. Today is the first high school gymnastics meet in which I will be coaching as the appointed interim head coach. It is both an honor and a blessing, but it is also an entirely new role, much different than fulfilling the role of head coach in middle school. This will be a long day, yet I know that God will be faithful to provide the strength that is needed to navigate this new. Additionally, His peace is already present, despite the nervousness in the unknown. More than anything, my heart is filled with gratitude for God’s nearness and faithfulness as He walks beside me and leads me in the new. May we ever turn to the Lord in trust, for He is faithful to provide the peace and strength required to continue to move forward in the direction that we have been called.

O God, make me strong,

When I’m feeling weak;

Grant wisdom and peace,

As my heart does seek.

Whatever I do,

Each step that I take;

Please lead me in grace,

In You, make me brave.

Brave to step into,

All that I’ve been called;

Strength to lead like You,

May peace be installed.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our strength and peace as we seek You in all things. Thank You for the blessings of new opportunities. Thank You that You provide places for us to grow in the things we enjoy. Forgive us for attempting to do things in our own strength, rather than turning to You to lead us as You intended. Teach us to trust and rely on You, for You are our supply of strength and our place of peace. Show us how to love and encourage those around us in ways that extend strength and peace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for Your presence that provides peace, and the strength You supply to sustain us. Amen.

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

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

United By Love

May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had. – (Romans 15:5, NIV)

Now may God, the Source of great endurance and comfort, grant you with unity among yourselves, which flows from your relationship with Jesus, the Anointed One. – (Romans 15:5, TPT)

I pray that our God, who calls you and gives you perseverance and encouragement, will join all of you together to share one mind according to Jesus the Anointed. – (Romans 15:5, VOICE)

To have the same attitude of mind toward others that Christ has for us, is to love and accept all. In our acceptance, we are called to give comfort and encouragement, which lead to unity among us. When we are encouraged and united, we have a greater capacity to persevere. Extending such love toward one another is not always natural, however, when we rely on Christ, rather than ourselves, it more easily flows from the heart. The more we invest in time with the Lord, the more we grow like Him in our capacity to love. May we ever seek the Lord in His goodness, so that we may extend the same to all those around us.

As we persevere,

In seeking the Lord;

His strength grows in us,

And love is outpoured.

It is in that love,

That we can reach out;

Encourage, unite,

Follow the Lord’s route.

His path leads to peace,

For love makes a way;

To rise together,

Let us not delay.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You give endurance and encouragement and the same heart toward others as You have for us. Thank You that Your love can unite us. Forgive us for the times that we have not lived and loved as You intended. Teach us to seek You to strengthen and fill us so that we may love others in the same way that You love us. Show us how to love each person that crosses our path in a way that extends encouragement and resolve and leads to unity within our communities. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek to love as we are loved by You. Amen.

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

And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. – Colossians 3:14

Help in the New

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. – (Philippians 4:6, NIV)

Don’t worry about anything, but pray and ask God for everything you need, always giving thanks for what you have. – (Philippians 4:6, ERV)

Don’t be anxious about things; instead, pray. Pray about everything. He longs to hear your requests, so talk to God about your needs and be thankful for what has come. – (Philippians 4:6, VOICE)

This is a timely reminder, as I have been feeling a bit anxious about a new role that I will be filling. I am excited and overjoyed, yet nervous because I feel ill-equipped and want to do things well. God knows my heart, and I have been blessed with the opportunity. Even now, as I anticipate what is yet to come, I need to place it all before Him and trust, for He knows what I need before I do, and is faithful to meet me each time I seek Him. My part is to do all that I can to properly prepare, and to continue to seek the Lord as I trust in Him to lead and guide me well. He is faithful and I will trust in Him. May we ever present our requests before our Redeemer, for with Him, we need not worry nor be anxious, but rather give Him thanks for all that is yet to come.

Do not be anxious,

About anything;

Instead, go to God,

Give all to our King.

Every request,

He’s faithful to hear;

God leads and guides us,

Ever He is near.

So, give God the praise,

Thank Him for all things;

Opportunities,

He lovingly brings.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are good and faithful to hear our every request. Thank You that You provide new opportunities for us to step out, learn and grow. Thank You that we need never walk alone, for You are faithful to be present and provide the help we need. Forgive us for the anxious ways in us, as anxiety comes when we think about navigating the new on our own. Teach us to seek You and to place all our concerns in Your hands. Lead us to move forward in faith. Show us how to strengthen, support and encourage those around us in ways that make Your overwhelming love evident. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You to lead and guide us in all that we do. Amen.

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

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