Joy and Patience through Faithfulness

Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. – (Romans 12:12, NIV) 

Be happy because of the hope you have. Be patient when you have troubles. Pray all the time. – (Romans 12:12, ERV) 

Let this hope burst forth within you, releasing a continual joy. Don’t give up in a time of trouble, but commune with God at all times. – (Romans 12:12, TPT) 

My mom is the best example of this verse in action that I know. Despite living in a senior living community that has been locked down since March, she continues to exude joy, hope, patience and faithfulness. The restrictions were loosened for a few weeks, and during that time, both my sister’s family and mine were able to go and see her under strict regulations. We had to all wear masks, and could only visit outdoors, while practicing social distancing. Mom is an affectionate extrovert, so these limitations and long stretches of isolation, are particularly hard on her. I know much of the reason she is still sane is due to her unflappable faith. Currently, they are on total lockdown again, as they are awaiting the results of a second COVID test, to confirm a community member is not COVID positive, after a visit from one of his family members who did end up testing positive. Thankfully, the first test was negative, but they are extra cautious in order to keep all community members safe. This season is long and challenging for many. When we know where our hope is held, joy is present, regardless of the restrictions required to stay safe. For mom, her patience through both the COVID business and her own recovery, is inspiring. There are days that I imagine every breath and every step are offered as prayers – both thanking God for them and asking that He continue to sustain and heal her. May we ever hold fast to the hope that is found in God, for He grants us patience, peace and joy, as we continue to commune with Him in prayer. 

Such a joyful hope, 

Quick squeezes with staff approval, since we were outside and appropriately masked.<3

Is found in the Lord; 

Faithful provision, 

As grace He affords. 

Continue to seek, 

For in Him, we find; 

All that is needed, 

In Him love’s defined. 

Do not give up hope, 

Instead to choose pray; 

God’s faithful always, 

Each night and each day. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your incredible faithfulness through all times. Thank You that we can seek You and commune with You always. Forgive us for our lack of faithfulness when times get difficult. Teach us to trust You and turn to You in all things and at all times. Show us how to love those around us with Your faithfulness, so joy may abound. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we find joy in our hope, patience when times get tough, and a loving heart ready to hear us forever. 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

Remembering Goodness Gone By

I remember the days of long ago; I meditate on all Your works and consider what Your hands have done. – (Psalm 143:5, NIV) 

But I remember what happened long ago. I am thinking about all You have done. I am talking about what You made with Your hands! – (Psalm 143:5, ERV) 

I remember the glorious miracles of days gone by, and I often think of all the wonders of old. – (Psalm 143:5, TPT) 

Taking time to remember and reflect on all that God has done in the past, reminds us of the power He has for whatever we are walking through right now. David, who penned Psalm 143, knew well of God’s miracles and faithfulness. He was a boy who was anointed king in his youth, yet did not take the throne for several more years. Additionally, David was a shepherd, and he had killed lions that tried to take his sheep, as God strengthened and empowered him. The Lord protected and preserved David’s life on many occasions, and he knew full well of the works of God’s hands. As a person who has known and loved God for as long as I can remember, I need only pause for a moment before I am flooded with memories of God’s miracles in my own life, and in the lives of those around me. Pausing and reflecting is a wonderful way to find faith restored in weariness, and trust fine-tuned in trying times. God is good, and He is faithful forever. May we ever make time to reflect and remember God’s faithfulness throughout the ages; for the same God who parted the sea, makes a way for you and me. 

May our hearts hold fast, 

To all that God’s done; 

From all creation, 

To each setting sun. 

The strength and courage, 

All that He provides; 

Faithful He loves us, 

Ever by our side. 

Look back in wonder, 

And see all the ways; 

He has been faithful, 

Throughout all our days. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your love is evident throughout the ages. Thank You that when we look back, we can see the evidence of Your hand – moving, holding, helping and healing. Thank You that You are the same yesterday, today, and forever. Forgive us for neglecting to reflect on Your heart for us throughout the ages, as it is through observing Your goodness in days gone by, we gain hope for Your faithfulness in the future. Teach us to trust You more, as we pause and remember all of Your goodness and grace. Show us how to love those around us in ways that bless them today, and give them hope for the days that are yet to come. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we pause and remember the work of Your hands, gaining renewed resolve for Your presence in all that is yet to come. Amen. 

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

I will declare that Your love stands firm forever, that You have established Your faithfulness in heaven itself. – Psalm 89:2

Waiting Seasons

The Lord is not slow in keeping His promise, as some understand slowness. Instead He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. – (2 Peter 3:9, NIV) 

The Lord is not being slow in doing what He promised – the way some people understand slowness. But God is being patient with you. He doesn’t want anyone to be lost. He wants everyone to change their ways and stop sinning. – (2 Peter 3:9, ERV) 

Now the Lord is not slow about enacting His promise – slow is how some people want to characterize it – no, He is not slow but patient and merciful to you, not wanting anyone to be destroyed, but wanting everyone to turn away from following His own path and to turn toward God’s. – (2 Peter 3:9, VOICE) 

It seems that naturally, humans are not terribly patient creatures. Of course, there are exceptions, but for the most part, we struggle to wait longer than we think we should. This whole COVID situation makes it abundantly clear how impatient we really are. Being shut down for several months, not only as a city, state or nation, but nearly the entire world, has caused a restlessness in so many of us. That being said, it seems that for many, it has been a season of awakening; a time to read, reflect, and gain fresh perspective on the ills that have existed for far too long. Also, it has been a forced space of trust, as those of us who have loved ones in senior living communities, have not be allowed to go and visit and spend time with one another. Despite the frustration, He has been merciful and faithful to care for each. Additionally, this time in history has provided room for churches to love their communities well. It has always been God’s intention, and we are seeing this in action at a greater capacity than ever before. For those who have seized the opportunity to lean into God, He has been refining and realigning hearts and minds. God is ever faithful to prepare our hearts to be more like His, so that we will be living and loving well when we at last see Him, face to face. May we turn to God in this season of seeming slowness, and recognize the opportunity that this time is providing to learn better how to live and love as we are called to do. 

The Lord is not slow, 

How He would like us to trust in the waiting…<3

In keeping His word; 

But rather, He waits, 

‘til lessons are learned. 

God gives us the time, 

To seek and embrace; 

His great heart of love, 

With kindness and grace. 

Let us keep seeking, 

Pursuing His best; 

Embracing each change, 

Instead of unrest. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are not slow, but rather extending patience so that we may seek and know, learn and grow, being ever refined to walk in Your ways. Thank You that You are faithful to meet us wherever we are as we seek You, and You change us from the inside out. Forgive us for our lack of patience in seasons of waiting; for You use each one to grow and change us to better reflect Your heart to the world, if only we are willing to put in the work. Teach us to press in when seasons of waiting seem long, as You are forever faithful and kind. Show us how to love those around us best. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek and trust You in waiting seasons, because You have a plan and a purpose for all. Amen. 

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

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight. – Proverbs 3:5-6

Faithful to Hold

But the Lord is faithful, and He will strengthen you and protect you from the evil one. – (2 Thessalonians 3:3, NIV) 

But the Lord is faithful; He will make you strong and guard you from satanic attacks of every kind. – (2 Thessalonians 3:3, TLB) 

Still, the Lord is true to His promises; He will hold you up and guard you against the evil one. – (2 Thessalonians 3:3, VOICE) 

God is faithful. He strengthens us when we feel weak, and He is our protector and help when evil seems to surround us. Much of our struggle with evil is subtle. Our heart, our mind, and our character are challenged by the darkness. That voice or thought that tells us anything about who we are that does not align with God’s word, is an evil assault on our soul. The more we are immersed in His word, the truth that sets us free, the better we are able to stand strong and secure in the truth that He assures us is so. We are His; we are chosen; He has a plan and a purpose for each of us. God is faithful to meet us in our fear and doubt, and remind us again of what is true. His strength is mightier than anything that may come against us, and He promises are true forever. May we seek and invest time in pursuing God; for He is faithful and with strengthen and protect us from all that comes against us. 

Promises of God, 

The truth that remains; 

No matter what comes, 

We can trust His Name. 

The lies that assault, 

Who we truly are; 

From the pit of hell, 

Intended to scar. 

But God, in His love, 

Speaks truth to each heart; 

Affirming in grace, 

In Him, who we are. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are faithful to guard and protect us from evil as we trust and depend on You. Thank You that You speak truth to every heart that seeks You. Forgive us for not seeking You in our fears and doubts. Teach us to lean into You and to listen to what You have to say. Show us how to love those around us in a way that extends safety and goodness to all. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You and trust You to keep us safe from all evil. Amen. 

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

For the word of the Lord is right and true; He is faithful in all He does. – Psalm 33:4

Gaze at the Glory

The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of His hands. – (Psalm 19:1, NIV) 

The heavens tell about the glory of God. The skies announce what His hands have made. – (Psalm 19:1, ERV) 

God’s splendor is a tale that is told; His testament is written in the stars. Space itself speaks of His story every day through the marvels of the heavens. His truth is on tour in the starry vault of the sky, showing His skill in creation’s craftsmanship. – (Psalm 19:1, TPT) 

Even in the midst of all that is going on in the world, the evidence of God remains. All it takes is a glimpse of a sunrise or sunset, or to gaze at the moon and stars in all of their splendor, to be reminded of God’s glory. The same hands that paint the glorious array of colors and hung the stars in their place, holds each of us in the hollow of His hand. God, in His great love for us, created beauty for us to see. He knows us each by name, and designed each person with intention. There is a plan and a purpose for all of us; and as we seek Him, He is faithful to make His plans known.  

Today, as I prepare for my last day of work for the school year, and ready myself for my boys’ graduation, I am ever aware of God’s faithfulness to carry us through. His splendor is told through His presence that has carried us throughout the years, and brought us to this important milestone. Many times, over the last few years, I have watched the sunrise, and have been shown His goodness and faithfulness through the glorious array of colors awakening the sky. Tomorrow, following the broadcast version of the boys’ graduation, (recording of each student walking in cap and gown, as well as the recorded speakers), we will be driving to see my mom, for the first time since the shutdown began. Though we will not be able to embrace and interact as we normally would, we are grateful that we can go and lay eyes on her for ourselves, and visit, masked and physically distanced. One of the things that stood out to me, is one of my boys made a point to tell me that he wanted to wake up early enough to watch the sunrise while we are there, as he has fond memories of sitting together with mom in her living room, watching together in awe. He too, knows of the faithfulness of God, and His goodness that greets us anew every morning. It has not been an easy road, particularly during this pandemic with school closed, yet we have seen and known God’s goodness throughout. The work of God’s hands are tangible reminders that He is good and He is faithful. May we gaze at the glory of God’s creation, and know His faithfulness and love. 

We look to the sky, 

And God’s love is clear; 

Such beauty beheld, 

As we know He’s near. 

The very same hands, 

That painted the sky; 

Made us with purpose, 

Gave us wings to fly. 

Created, equipped, 

To go forth and rise; 

To love and be loved, 

It’s how we’re designed. 

Lay hold of the gifts, 

Birthed deep within you; 

Boldly walk forward, 

Embrace each step new. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we need only look up to be reminded of who You are and how You love. Thank You for the tangible evidence of Your goodness and grace. Forgive us for the times that we have made You too small. Teach us to pause and look up, making us ever aware of Your goodness, faithfulness and love. Show us how to love one another in the way that You intended; valuing, celebrating, encouraging and lifting each other up, so that Your love would be evident to all. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for the beauty that surrounds us and reminds us of Your unending love for all. 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

To Encourage One Another

Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing. – (1 Thessalonians 5:11, NIV) 

So, encourage each other and help each other grow stronger in faith, just as you are already doing. – (1 Thessalonians 5:11, ERV) 

Because of this, encourage the hearts of your fellow believers and support one another, just as you have already been doing. – (1 Thessalonians 5:11, TPT) 

It is imperative that we encourage one another, support each other, and help each other grow stronger in faith, for without faith there is no hope, and with no hope, there cannot be change. All that is going on in our nation, demands that we search ourselves and determine what must change. In order to press on and keep moving toward reconciliation and peace, we must encourage each other to stretch and grow. Between the months of isolation and the social injustices that now scream for our attention, we need each other to dig in and press on. In order to love God and love people, we must pursue deeper relationships. That only occurs as we seek to know one another better. With God, it is time in His word, in worship, in prayer, and intentional fellowship together that encourages our hearts to know Him more. With people, we must know and understand one another. This means there has to be time invested to know the unique history of each person, and what has shaped them into who they are today. When we understand people’s perspectives, we can more clearly encourage and support one another. Right now, for me, this space is one of educating myself more thoroughly about the marginalization of much of our nation’s population, based solely of the amount of melanin in their skin. It is a mortifying history, one that overwhelms, saddens and enrages me. If I feel this way on behalf of people I love, how much more are those who are living it feeling? We must be and do better. As we learn and grow, we are better equipped to love more deeply, and fight for the equality and loving society that God intended. Every nation, tribe and tongue will be sharing the same eternity. How I love and encourage all those around me, impacts not only today, but forever. May we seek the Lord for courage, and pursue wisdom to grow into the people who He created us to be.   

May we seek the Lord, 

His wisdom and grace; 

To love, encourage, 

For all of our days. 

We all have been called, 

To love each other; 

Encourage, lift up, 

Sisters and brothers. 

Each time we choose love, 

God’s will’s being done; 

Light in the darkness, 

We choose to become. 

So, let us rise up, 

Seek to learn and grow; 

Honor each other, 

Make the Lord’s love known. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to encourage one another to grow. Thank You that You are faithful to lead us to change and become more of who You created us to be as we seek Your help and Your heart. Forgive us for our ignorance or places where we have failed to encourage or build others up. Teach us how to best build up and encourage one another, so that all may grow in Your love. Show us how to love those around us best, so that each will be encouraged. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek to encourage and build those around us up, ever extending Your love to all. Amen. 

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

Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. – Romans 12:10

Beautiful Unknown

As you do not know the path of the wind, or how the body is formed in a mother’s womb, so you cannot understand the work of God, the Maker of all things. – (Ecclesiastes 11:5, NIV)

You don’t know where the wind blows. And you don’t know how a baby grows in its mother’s womb. In the same way, you don’t know what God will do – and He makes everything happen. – (Ecclesiastes 11:5, ERV)

You can no more predict the path of the wind than you can explain how a child’s bones are formed in a mother’s womb. Even more, you will never understand the workings of the God who made all things. – (Ecclesiastes 11:5, VOICE)

 

Back during the times of King Solomon, when he scribed Ecclesiastes, there was no Doppler radar system, nor ultra sound; the discoveries made over the last century in technology were not even an inkling of an idea, and so, and that time, those were reasonably comparable things to the ways of God. In current times, it seems that the comparison would be more along the lines of knowing what this COVID-19 virus actually is, if an effective vaccination is possible, and if and when life might return to a non-shutdown state of existence. God can do incredible things, and we never know how He will move in any given situation. After walking through last year with my mom, I thought this year might be a breeze, in comparison. This separation is an equal sort of difficult. I cannot predict how it will go, nor when it will change. All I can do is trust God, who is far greater than every obstacle we face, and seek Him to be with us through this season too. In the same way that the Lord never left me, and was faithful to show me His nearness every step of the journey, (and still is doing so), I know that He remains present in our current circumstances and is walking us through the valleys so that we may reach the other side of this seemingly sordid space. God is faithful, even in our most difficult seasons. To honestly look at this current season, I cannot say it is all bad. More time with my boys is an absolutely gift, and the time to get a puppy and be present to bond and train him is blessing as well. Though we cannot predict or know how God will move and work in all things, we can be certain that He will move and He will work all things for good for those who love Him.

 

Though we do not know, Beautiful Unknown

All that lies in wait;

Nor why things take place,

The next that awaits.

For God’s ways are not,

The same as our own;

Unpredictable,

Beautiful unknown.

Though sometimes scary,

And not understood;

God’s ever working,

For ultimate good.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the certainty of You, when everything else around us is uncertain. Thank You that though we cannot possibly know and understand all of Your ways, we can know Your heart and Your character; that You work all things out for the good of those who love You. Forgive us for our fear and doubt when we cannot figure out how things could possibly change, or find ourselves frustrated with timelines that do not align with our own. Teach us to trust Your ways and Your timing in all things. Show us how to love those around us in the waiting. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You to bring good through all things. 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

Faith Like Job

I know that my Redeemer lives, and that in the end He will stand on the earth. – (Job 19:25, NIV)

I know that there is someone to defend me and that there is someone to defend me and that He lives! And in the end, He will stand here on earth and defend me. – (Job 19:25, ERV)

 

The unwavering faith of Job amazes me every time I am brought back to any portion of his story. Job lost his family, his friends, his wealth and his health, yet his faith remained unflappable. In the midst of all of his loss, his friends tell him all of the possible reasons why such devastation had befallen him, yet Job knew he had been faithful to God and clung to his faith in the truth that was securely planted within him. Incredibly, Job’s story does not end in his space of desolation, but rather in one of restoration, redemption and abundant blessing. God still works in the same powerful ways. When my marriage ended several years ago, I grieved the loss and did not think it would be possible to allow my heart to love again. I trusted God with me and my sons, and it was good. Little did I know, but God had so much more for me; for us. God brought me a partner and help mate, someone to be strong when I am not, yet one whom I can challenge to grow too. His timing could not have been better, as we have weathered some intense storms together. Separately, they may have sunk us, but together, with Christ as our anchor, we have remained steady and secure. There will always be trials in this broken world, but when we know and trust God, we have assurance that the difficult will not last forever. We know that our forever will be far better than anything we could begin to hope or imagine in the here and now, and with all this time at home, I’ll bet many of us can imagine some fairly fantastic settings and spaces. May we pursue the Lord and trust in Him, so that He may grow more deeply in us, an unwavering faith.

 

My Redeemer lives,

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Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

I have certainty;

For in my own life,

He’s loved faithfully.

Not just in theory,

Or stories of old;

Through my own trials,

My hand He did hold.

Granted provision,

For every need;

At the darkest times,

His love took the lead.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are for us, even when it feels as if the world is against us. Thank You that our ultimate hope is eternity with You. Forgive us for forgetting the strength, hope and power that is present in You. Teach us to trust and rely on “God with us”, for You are always near. Show us how to love those around us best, so that we might encourage and strengthen them in hope. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust in Your faithful presence and hold fast to the hope we know is found in You forever. 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

Trust in Faithfulness

For the word of the Lord is right and true; He is faithful in all He does. – (Psalm 33:4, NIV)

The Lord’s word is true, and He is faithful in everything He does. – (Psalm 33:4, ERV)

For God’s Word is something to sing about! He is true to His promises, His word can be trusted, and everything He does is reliable and right. – (Psalm 33:4, TPT)

 

Yesterday was a shining example of the faithfulness of God. As teachers across the state went live for day one, I imagine many shared the crazy roller coaster that carried us through ups and downs, highs and lows, and unexpected turns as we navigated the new. After several weeks of preparing, and the last-minute checking prior to activating everything to go live according to schedule, all seemed to be ready and running according to plan. Shortly after activating my webpages, I received a panicked email from one of my students who was unable to access her account. I followed protocol and forwarded her information to our tech guy who is wonderful about resetting passwords, and returned a message to her to let her know that she should be ready to access everything, shortly. There were more emails to answer and issues to trouble-shoot, yet all seemed to be going well. Then, I received a very kind email from the father of one of my fantastic students, letting me know that she was struggling to access the assignments on Canvas. I shifted gears and accessed the site, wracking my brain to discover why the assignment would not be visible to scholars. Not two minutes after I had sent a message to tech support, inquiring what minute detail I might be missing, did I discover the mystery click that had been missed. Though every page, assignment and task had been published, if the top “unit” bar did not have the circle clicked, assignments that appear below it are inaccessible. Who knew? Anyway, problem solved, Thank You Jesus, and I was able to email the father back and thank him for his help as I learn this new technology, and for his grace, as his kindness was appreciated more than words can express. Though my Zoom office hours were attended by only a few, it was so good to see and hear my kiddos, and I am encouraged that Thursday’s will go far better. The day flew by, far more quickly than days in the previous several weeks, especially now that there is ongoing interaction with students and families again. Though it is not the same as in the classroom, I am grateful for a way to make this work during this season of time away from one another. Human connection is essential in the classroom before learning can take place, and we now have tools to reconnect and engage, so that all of us can learn and grow together. Though things did not go as I anticipated, it was still a good day. God is faithful and we are moving forward in our present season, and I can already see the good that is coming.

 

The word of the Lord,wp-15874736571019022579100896925719.jpg

Is right and is true;

He’s faithful always,

His grace sees us through.

Through uncertain times,

Ever He is near;

To help and give hope,

And take away fear.

For God is faithful,

Through everything;

Our strength to press on,

And reason to sing.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are faithful forever. Thank You that You go before us, walk beside us, and remain with us; always. Thank You that You equip and strengthen us to do difficult things. Forgive us for our frustrations and doubts when we cannot see how things could possibly work out. Teach us to trust You more, for You are far greater than any situation or circumstance that could ever come our way. Show us how to persevere, even when things don’t make sense. Help us to love, encourage and support those around us, so that they may grow and thrive in every season. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust in the truth of Your word, as You are faithful forever. Amen.

 

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

 

The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in Him, and He helps me. My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise Him. – Psalm 28:7