Thankful Through All Things

Rejoice always! Pray constantly. Give thanks in everything, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. – (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, HCSB)

Be cheerful no matter what; pray all the time; thank God no matter what happens. This is the way God wants you who belong to Christ Jesus to live. – (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, MSG)

Celebrate always, pray constantly, and give thanks to God no matter what circumstances you find yourself in. (This is God’s will for all of you in Jesus the Anointed.) – (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, VOICE)

To pray constantly makes sense and is a natural inclination; it is simply to thank God for the blessings and ask Him for help in the struggles; it is ongoing conversations with our Creator. However, rejoicing always is a challenge. It is easy to rejoice when all is well, yet it takes an intentional effort to do so when it is not. To rejoice requires us to remember our reason for joy. Joy is not circumstantial, but rather it is found deep within the heart through the hope we have in Christ. Gratitude takes but a momentary pause to recall all the reasons there are to give God thanks, even in the midst of difficulties. He is good, and His love knows no end. May we celebrate God’s goodness always, and give Him thanks for His nearness in all things. 

To rejoice always,

Is seeing the joy;

not in external,

But what hearts employ.

In all things, always,

Lord, help us to pray;

For Your love equips,

Gratitude each day.

God, help us to see,

Your good in all things;

Your nearness and grace,

And hope that You bring.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are always good, even when our circumstances are not. Thank You that the hope, help and love we have in You bring joy. Help us to rejoice in You always, and to praise You for who You are and how You love. Forgive us for the times that we have lost sight of our reasons to rejoice in You. Show us how to hold hope in our hearts through every season, and lead us to love those around us well. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we rejoice in You and give You praise in all things and at all times for who You are and how You love and hold us up with Your mighty hands. Amen.

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

Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His faithful love endures forever. – 1 Chronicles 16:34

Higher Thoughts and Ways

“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, and your ways are not My ways.” This is the Lord’s declaration. “For as heaven is higher than earth, so My ways are higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.” – (Isaiah 55:8-9, HCSB)

The Lord says, “My thoughts are not like yours. Your ways are not like Mine. Just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so My ways are higher than your ways, and My thoughts are higher than your thoughts.” – (Isaiah 55:8-9, ERV)

Eternal One: My intentions are not always yours, and I do not go about things as you do. My thoughts and My ways are above and beyond you, just as heaven is far from your reach here on earth. – (Isaiah 55:8-9, VOICE)

Though there are times that I wish God’s thoughts were the same as my own, He always has the best for us according to His will. He sees what we do not, there is purpose in all that we experience, and He knows the ultimate outcome. Sometimes, we are blessed in seeing and knowing why things have gone a certain way, yet other times, we have to wait and trust. No matter how things go in the here and now, we have hope in knowing that today is but the blink of an eye in comparison to eternity with Him. May we trust in the One who holds us all in the hollow of His hands, for He is good and has our best in mind.

The thoughts of the Lord,

Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography

Are greater than mine;

For He knows what’s best,

His plans are divine.

When things don’t make sense,

We are called to trust;

He purposes good,

He made us from dust.

Lead us, Lord Jesus,

To trust in Your ways;

For love, hope and life,

Come from You, always.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your thoughts and ways are far greater than ours. Thank You that You saw the outcome long before we even breathed our first breath. Forgive us for our fears and doubts when things simply do not make sense. Teach us to trust in the spaces of uncertainty and grant us Your strength to know that You have a purpose and a plan for all things. Show us how to love those around us through every season that we walk through. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You and Your ways throughout all of our days. Amen.

© Shannon Elizabeth 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 a hope and a future.” – Jeremiah 29:11

Plans vs Purpose

Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails. – (Proverbs 19:21, NIV)

People might make many plans, but what the Lord says is what will happen. – (Proverbs 19:21, ERV)

We humans keep brainstorming options and plans, but God’s purpose prevails. – (Proverbs 19:21, MSG)

The impulses of the human heart may run wild, but the Eternal’s plan will prevail. – (Proverbs 19:21, VOICE)

We can make plans, but if we are not in tune with God’s intent for us, He slows us down and reminds us again of His purpose. It is when we seek to live and love as we are called to do that we are walking out His plans and His purposes for our lives. His plan for us is made evident when our words and deeds point hearts to Him. God does not plan for bad or difficult things to happen to us, but when we persevere and trust in Him, He will use those things to grow, strengthen and refine us so that we more clearly reflect His heart to the world. If our plans are to honor and serve God in all that we do, then His purpose for us will prevail. May we ever seek the Lord to lead us through every season and circumstance, for in doing so, His plans shall prevail.

When we lose our way,

Or find ourselves blind;

Unsure what to do,

The Lord will be kind.

His hands hold us up,

And He’ll lead us through;

Trials and triumphs,

His love’s always true.

Let us seek the Lord,

To show us the way;

To live our lives well,

For all of our days.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that though we have plans and ideas in our heart as to how we want things to go, Your plan is greater and is always for our good. Forgive us for trying to navigate things on our own, rather than seeking You to lead us well. Show us how to place all in Your hands so that we may walk the path that You have placed before us with Your strength and fortitude. Lead us to love others well, for when we seek to love You and love people, we remain on the path that You have prepared for us all. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we place our hopes, dreams, expectations and plans in Your hands and trust You to lead us in the ways that fulfill Your purpose each new day. Amen.

© Shannon Elizabeth 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 a hope and a future.” – Jeremiah 29:11

Reason to Rejoice

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! – (Philippians 4:4, NIV)

Always be filled with joy in the Lord. I will say it again. Be filled with joy. – (Philippians 4:4, ERV)

Be cheerful with joyous celebration in every season of life. Let your joy overflow! – (Philippians 4:4, TPT)

The key to this is Whom we rejoice in, not our circumstances. To rejoice is to be glad and take delight in, which is how our hearts feel when we understand who God is, and how He loves. Joy and rejoicing are not dependent on our circumstances, but rather are present despite our circumstances as we look to and lean on the Lord. True joy is found in Him, and is not swayed by what goes on around us. Though rejoicing is not dependent nor determined by our circumstances, I think He often uses the people in our lives to remind us of His goodness, grace and loving ways. Yesterday, I was in need of a reminder of the joy found in every season. It was a long week, and the opportunity to spend one-on-one time with my youngest, blessed my heart and reminded me of my reasons to rejoice in He who has provided me with my family. Though each day and season presents its own set of challenges, there is always reason to rejoice in the Lord. May we ever seek to know Him more, for the more we know Him, the better our heart holds onto the joy provided through His love.

Rejoice in the Lord,

Be glad for His grace;

Give thanks unto Him,

Throughout all our days.

For blessings we know,

All come from the Lord;

Our reasons to praise,

Him who we adore.

His gift of children,

A love that delights;

Each season given,

Wonder in plain sight.

Let all that’s in me,

Rejoice and give praise;

For love unending,

That lasts for all days.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our reason to rejoice in every season. Thank You for the tangible blessings that point our hearts back to You with gratitude. Forgive us for allowing our circumstances to overshadow our hope that is held in You. Teach us to continue to trust and pursue You, as You are our Source of strength and hope, love and light. Show us how to love those around us well, so that they may understand the delight that is held in Your nearness. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we delight in the goodness of Your love, and praise You for the hope we have in You forever. Amen.

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

Glory in His holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice. – Psalm 105:3

To Carry and Sustain Us

Even to your old age and gray hairs I am He, I am He who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you. – (Isaiah 46:4, NIV)

And I will still be carrying you when you are old. Your hair will turn gray, and I will still carry you. I made you, and I will carry you to safety. – (Isaiah 46:4, ERV)

Even as you grow old and your hair turns gray, I’ll keep carrying you! I am your Maker and your Caregiver. I will carry you and be your Savior. – (Isaiah 46:4, TPT)

I don’t think of myself as old, yet white hairs keep peeking through. In this current season, I know my own need to be sustained, and at times, carried. Understanding that God will sustain me, even so, provides hope and endurance when weariness sets in. We have not yet had a full five-day week of school, and already it feels as if we have been back for months. Perhaps it is the masks and extra safety measures, or just the extra energy and excitement of the kids to be back around their friends, but either way, it is exhausting. God is good, and I know that He holds me in His hands. Today, I will continue to trust and rely on Him, and give thanks that we have reached Friday. May we ever hold fast to the promises of God, and trust that He will continue to carry and sustain us through every season as it comes.

God’s promises true,

With each passing year;

His strength and His help,

Remain ever near.

When moving forward,

Is too hard to do;

His love lifts us up,

And carries us through.

Lord, help us recall,

And trust in Your word;

You help forever,

As love’s seen and heard.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You promise to be present to help, strengthen and sustain us throughout our whole life. Thank You that You are good, even when we are weary. Forgive us for our frustrations with what is beyond our control. Teach us to lean into You to be our strength and supply, and to carry us when we feel like we cannot continue. Show us how to love, encourage and support those around us, so that they are strengthened to keep moving forward. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, as You are our strength in all things and at all times. Be glorified O God, as we cling to Your promises of care in our weariness, and praise You for carrying us in our exhaustion. Amen.

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

We wait in hope for the Lord; He is our help and our shield. – Psalm 33:20

Choose Joy

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! – (Philippians 4:4, NIV) 

Always be filled with joy in the Lord. I will say it again. Be filled with joy. – (Philippians 4:4, ERV) 

Be cheerful with joyous celebration in every season of life. Let joy overflow, for you are united with the Anointed One! – (Philippians 4:4, TPT) 

After navigating the first week of school, despite all of the challenges and adjustments to an entirely new way of teaching, I find myself with a heart full of joy. God is good, all the time. Even when things are tough, He is still good. When we seek Him and look to Him to be our joy, we discover the countless ways that He is good. For me, the best thing about remote learning is my new group of kids. These sixth graders are sweet, polite, engaged, and have wonderful senses of humor. There is something to be said about keeping these great kids from too much exposure to the older kids, as they too quickly attempt to change who they are to fit in, during a “normal” school year. As I began to read the surveys that I had my students submit, my joy multiplied. From favorite family traditions to things that inspire them to do their best, these young people blessed my heart to overflowing, and joy abounds. I am reminded again and again, that God grants me joy, and fills my heart to overflowing. May we rejoice in the Lord, always, for He plants His joy deep within us, and fills our days with reason to praise. 

Be cheerful. Find joy, 

In each circumstance; 

For the Lord grants us, 

Hope and second chance. 

Even in trials, 

The Lord’s always good; 

Grants silver lining, 

His hope understood. 

Each day we’re given, 

Help us to rejoice; 

Joy on the journey, 

Is truly a choice. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You love us and bless us with Your deep-rooted joy as we seek You. Thank You that there is always a reason to rejoice in You. Forgive us for our frustration and grumbling when things become difficult. Teach us to rejoice in the hope we have in You. Show us how to love those around us in ways that spread joy in all things and all seasons. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You and rejoice in You, always. Amen. 

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

…for the joy of the Lord is your strength. – Nehemiah 8:10

Remember the Wonders

Well, apparently today is not meant to look like any other day. I rose at the usual time. Spent time in the word. Prayed, pondered, and then wrote out my reflections on the passage and how it applied to my life. Rather than finish the process of editing, copying, pasting and editing again, prior to publishing, I simply saved my Word Document and determined to finish the process after my early morning exercise session. Sadly, when I returned, I opened my document, copied to paste, then shifted applications to continue, I discovered, much to my dismay, what pasted was a bunch of coded garbled gunk, that in no way resembled what I had written. I deleted that, went back to my Word Document, and umm… it was blank. Everything I attempted was fruitless. After fifteen plus minutes of doing all that I knew to do, I gave up. My writing was gone.

There is always a lesson in the lesson, so here I sit, open to discover why. The gist of what I wrote about was my reflection on the following verse:

He has caused His wonders to be remembered; the Lord is gracious and compassionate. – (Psalm 111:4, NIV)

Today, exactly one year ago, my sister and I received the news that rocked our world in a way that we had never anticipated. Our strong, healthy, independent mom, had suffered a massive stroke. What made matters worse, is that we had not been able to reach her for a few days. The news that was a dread to us, was simultaneously the most welcome sight in the world to our mom. What I mean is, mom lived alone and was alone. She suffered the stroke and was left isolated and half-paralyzed, as she drifted in and out of consciousness for a couple of days, with her voice too weak to be audible beyond a few feet away. Our well-check request of the local police, resulted in her receiving medical attention hours sooner than if we had waited to drive there to find out for ourselves.

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This photo is from the last time all of us were able to get together. Mom is even stronger now than she was then!

So, where I am I going with the connection to wonders and grace and compassion? Honestly, in spite of everything, God was incredibly faithful and kind, as He provided the right people, places, resources, and time to allow the best possible road for mom’s recovery to be set in place. His grace and compassion have been made new every morning, and I remain in a space of awe at the determination and resilience that He has supernaturally given our mom. She went from barely speaking above a whisper, while struggling to find words, to now speaking and carrying on conversations in a normal voice. Additionally, when she was first in the hospital, we were excited about small muscle twitches in her right side, particularly in her right leg. Now, a year later, she is walking independently with a cane, and continues to work on rebuilding her strength and stamina to increase her speed and the steadiness of her gait. Every step of the journey, God was gracious and compassionate. We have grown even closer as an extended family, and will be having some serious gatherings when these restrictions are finally lifted. In the meantime, there are many phone calls made and photos shared, as we continue to work together to move forward on this healing journey. May we each take time to remember in wonder the incredible ways that God has been gracious and compassionate to us, even in our most trying of times.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that through every season in our lives we have reason to look back in awe and wonder, for You have always been gracious and compassionate to us. Forgive us for our fears, frustrations, and our “if onlys”, for You bring beauty from ashes and hope from despair. Thank You that You are not finished yet! Teach us to trust You more, so that we can go forth and love those around us with the same compassion and grace that You give to us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You in wonder for who You are and how You love us so well. 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

Be Glad, Lovely Sky

Shout for joy, you heavens; rejoice, you earth; burst into song, you mountains! For the Lord comforts His people and will have compassion on His afflicted ones. – (Isaiah 49:13, NIV)

Heavens and earth, be happy! Mountains, shout with joy! The Lord comforts His people. He is good to His poor people. – (Isaiah 49:13, ERV)

Oh joy! Be glad – sky! Take joy – earth! Burst into song – mountains! For the Eternal, moved to compassion, has comforted and consoled His people. – (Isaiah 49:13, VOICE)

 

Though we may not feel it in the midst of our struggles, God is moving with compassion and supplying His comfort. Perhaps that is the “why” to rejoice, for when we do, it further comforts us, despite our circumstances. Additionally, even if we do not choose to rejoice and be glad, “…the very rocks would start to shout!” (Luke 19:40, VOICE) The truth of who God is will be made known, with or without us. We are in a unique position to demonstrate joy, despite our circumstances; rejoice in the truth that we know, and hold fast to the hope of all that is yet to come. It does not mean that we will be “Miss Susie Sunshine” all the time, but what it does mean is that there is an underlying joy and hope, deep-rooted within us, that shines forth somehow, even on the most difficult of days. May we set our sights on He who is good to His people and has compassion and comfort for those in need. Let us take joy in the truth that we know and be glad in ways that spread goodness to those around us.

 

Be glad, lovely sky, wp-15856580783495833011096505555461.jpg

Take joy, all the earth;

For God sees us each,

With infinite worth.

In His holy love,

Comfort He does bring;

Full of compassion,

Our reason to sing.

So, sing out with praise,

All the earth rejoice;

Lift praise to the Lord,

One heart and one voice.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that all of heaven and earth has reason to rejoice and be glad, as You bring comfort and compassion to the afflicted and those in need. Thank You that You hear every prayer and see every need. Forgive us for our lack of praise in spaces of struggle. Show us how to rejoice and hold hope in tangible ways that spread joy to those around us. Help us to love all those whom we have contact with in ways that encourage and strengthen them with joy and hope. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You with grateful hearts, full of hope, as You are our Comforter, full of compassion in every season of our lives. Amen.

 

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

 

“I tell you,” He replied, “if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.” – Luke 19:40

Deep Roots Bear Fruit

But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in Him. They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit. – (Jeremiah 17:7-8, NIV)

But those who trust in the Lord will be blessed. They know that the Lord will do what He says. They will be strong like trees planted near a stream that send out roots to the water. They have nothing to fear when the days get hot. Their leaves are always green. They never worry, even in a year that has no rain. They always produce fruit. – (Jeremiah 17:7-8, ERV)

But blessed is the man who trusts Me, God, the woman who sticks with God. They’re like trees replanted in Eden, putting down roots near the rivers – never a worry through the hottest of summers, never dropping a leaf, serene and calm through droughts, bearing fresh fruit every season. – (Jeremiah 17:7-8, MSG)

 

As the need to “shelter in place” grows, so too ought our commitment to trust in the Lord. When we choose to be intentional in our time with God, our confidence in Him grows and our roots gain depth and strength. Deep roots protect us from storms and harsh weather, as depth creates a capacity to continue to draw nourishment and water from what has been firmly established, rather than being tossed to and fro, or uprooted by the unanticipated storms. Incredibly, not only are we able to be nourished ourselves, but we can produce fruit that is beneficial to those around us, as we stay securely planted in Christ. May we seek the Lord in trust, so that we grow confident in Him; ever deepening our roots to nourish and bear fruit in every season.

 

Blessed is the one, Deep Roots Bear Fruit

Who trusts in the Lord;

A tree, well planted,

Nourishing reward.

For deep roots are strong,

Always resolute;

Hold fast through the storms,

And keep bearing fruit.

So, let us resolve,

Be planted in Christ;

Secure and fruitful,

Joy in sacrifice.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we trust in You, we gain confidence in who You are and how You love and protect us. Thank You that our trust is like the roots of a tree, growing deep and far-reaching, granting us what we need to weather whatever comes our way. Thank You that the nourishment we receive produces fruit that can be shared with others too. Forgive us for the times that we allow trials to challenge our root system. Teach us to trust You more, so that our roots will be planted so deep, that we will not be shaken by anything that comes our way. Show us how to love well and bear fruit from where we are, however we can. May many come into a lasting, deep-rooted relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we invest in our roots and seek You to bear fruit. Amen.

 

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

 

That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither – whatever they do prospers. – Psalm 1:3

 

 

Grace in the Grief

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) 

God blesses those who mourn, for they will be comforted. – (Matthew 5:4, NLT) 

 

This morning, as I checked my messages, there was a notice from a friend at church informing me that an incredible lady – a wife and mother about my age, has passed. It has been both inspiring and heartbreaking to watch, for she battled cancer with courage and strength over the last several years, as her family fought alongside her. There was a sense of maintaining as much normalcy as possible, despite the devastation that all must have been feeling. The comfort in this heart-breaking loss, is that she is free of the pain and walking in glory. That being said, her husband has lost his best friend, and the children have lost their mother. Grief is a heavy space. As I pray for the family and those closest to her, I lay hold of the promise held in this verse in Matthew. Though it is not an easy road, God will bring comfort. God will bring His perfect peace. May we hold fast to the promise that He holds the grieving in His hands, and God is our Source of comfort in every season. 

 

God of all comfort, Being Made New

We lean into Thee; 

For the ones mourning, 

Bring Your grace and peace. 

No words that we speak, 

Nor acts done in love; 

Can comfort the grief, 

Like You Lord, above. 

For You know each heart, 

How to help the ache; 

To soothe the sorrow, 

And mend the heartbreak. 

O Lord, be near them, 

As they walk through pain; 

Be their close comfort, 

‘til just love remains. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our comfort when we grieve. Thank You that You know this family and all that they need. Thank You that You will bring exactly what they need to navigate their new normal. Forgive us for forgetting our own mortality, and not receiving each day we wake as an incredible gift of time that not all are afforded. Teach us to appreciate each new day, and to seek You in all things. Show us how to love well, those who are mourning. May we be used in the practical as well as the prayerful. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for being our comfort and our peace, even in the most heartbreaking of times. Amen.

 

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

(There is) A time to cry and a time to laugh. A time to grieve and a time to dance. – Ecclesiastes 3:4