Blessings in Mourning

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)

One of the hardest things we face in life is loss. Though we all know that not one of us will live forever, there is always sorrow in the passing of those whom we love, especially when the loss comes far sooner than anticipated. Mourning is a challenging space for me, as I am not an external emoter. I feel deeply, yet seldom allow myself to give room for tears to escape. It is not intentional, but rather is a well-developed defense mechanism. As only God does, He has placed me in communities with loving, tender hearts, that create safe space to process however my heart needs to do so. For me, there is comfort in simply writing things down. In fact, that is often how I discover how I am actually feeling. Words in writing seem to bypass the filter in my mind and simply land on the page as they are. That being said, I guess my point is that despite my grieving in this space of loss, I am grateful for the comfort and kindness that I am blessed to have surrounding me. Additionally, the one whom my heart aches for the most, is clearly surrounded in community too. Even when life is hard, God is so good. May we ever seek the Lord in our spaces of loss and of blessing, for He loves us and provides safe space to process whatever our heart is holding.

In spaces of loss,

Where our hearts need mourn;

The Lord’s ever near,

To mend what is torn.

He blesses our hearts,

Surrounds us with peace;

Makes love tangible,

As our hearts release.

Release the heartache,

Place all in His hands;

His grace holds us up,

As we trust His plans.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that in our spaces of loss and mourning, You come near and bless us with Your comfort. Forgive us for the times we delay in turning to You in our grief. Teach us to trust and lean on You, for You bless us with Your comfort and love in all things. Show us how to love, support and comfort those around us in the same way that You support and comfort us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we thank You for Your blessings in our spaces of mourning, and for the communities that You place us in. Amen.

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

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

Patient Endurance Through Love

May the Lord direct your hearts into God’s love and Christ’s perseverance. – (2 Thessalonians 3:5, NIV)

We pray that the Lord will cause you to feel God’s love and remember Christ’s patient endurance. – (2 Thessalonians 3:5, ERV)

Now may the Lord move your hearts into a greater understanding of God’s pure love for you and into Christ’s steadfast endurance. – (2 Thessalonians 3:5, TPT)

God’s love and Christ’s perseverance are necessary in all aspects of our lives. Right now, it is needed to navigate the adolescence of a ninety pound labrador. I have never met a more intelligent or stubborn dog in my life. Training is easy, as he understands EVERYTHING, but his decision to comply or not, is the struggle. There is a fine balance of love and patient endurance required to navigate our days. Sometimes, he is a loving sweet snuggler, yet other times, he is a feisty, tantrum throwing toddler. I imagine God sees us in much the same way. His love is unending, despite our stubbornness, even when we understand what we are called to do. Perhaps this pup came into our lives to remind us just how great God’s love is and how much we need Him to help us patiently persevere. We know this is a season, and that there will come a day when our giant puppy is calm and ready to be reasonable all of the time. God sees us with an unhindered love that patiently endures through all of our stubbornness and willful disobedience. May we seek Him for love and perseverance in the spaces where it does not come easily, and trust in Him to supply all that we need to navigate according to His good and perfect will.

May the Lord guide us,

In His perfect will;

With love and patience,

Lord grant us Your fill.

Through each new season,

We’re called to endure;

To love like Jesus,

Trust that He is near.

He fills us with love,

And strength to press on;

To love all people,

Spur each other on.

Lord, help us to pray,

To turn unto You;

For strength and patience,

To love as You do.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we seek You, You lovingly meet us and direct our hearts in Your love and perseverance for all things. Forgive us for our lack of patience and love when we meet adversity. Teach us to trust and seek You to be our Supply. Show us how to love with patient endurance in every situation and season. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we pray for Your loving kindness and patience to be what we share with all. Amen.

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

A person’s wisdom yields patience; it is to one’s glory to overlook an offense. – Proverbs 19:11

Tenderness Tapers Tempers

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

A gentle answer makes anger disappear, but a rough answer makes it grow. – (Proverbs 15:1, ERV)

A gentle response defuses anger, but a sharp tongue kindles a temper-fire. – (Proverbs 15:1, MSG)

A tender answer turns away rage, but a prickly reply spikes anger. – (Proverbs 15:1, VOICE)

This is always a good reminder, as opportunities to gently reply are abundant, particularly when we want to respond in hurt or anger. No truer words have been penned, as when we respond in anger or with harsh or sarcastic words, it only inflames the situation. However, when we pause, take a deep breath, and respond with kindness and gentleness, there is a softening in the exchange that could have gone terribly wrong. We never know what has led to an interaction that begins poorly, yet we can control how we reply. Each time that I have caught myself and checked my heart to answer as I am called to do, I see tangible evidence of God’s love working on my behalf, as tension lessens and calm comes. It seems that one of the most difficult spaces to respond gently is on the road. There is something in many of us that rises up when other drivers make foolish maneuvers. Years ago, I had a great friend who would yell out, “Bless you, in Jesus’ Name! Or Jesus loves you!” whenever another driver would cut him off or jeopardize his safety. It may seem silly, but every time, it has the power to transform the mindset of anger and frustration, and causes a pause that allows for the brain to catch up to the heart to adjust enough to recognize that we all make mistakes and grace goes a long way. This mindset really is transformative in all situations and circumstances. Though it may not be opportune to always yell out a blessing, it is always useful and beneficial to pause and seek to see others through God’s lens. As we do, grace is abundant and good is given. May we ever seek the Lord to show us how to respond gently, and to grant a heart check when we are determined to do otherwise.

A tender reply,

Brings grace where it’s not;

Defuses the fire,

When tempers are hot.

An unkind response,

Only provokes rage;

Yet true gentleness,

Shows others the way.

The way to give love,

Despite what we feel;

God’s kindness breathes life,

Makes His goodness real.

Lord, help us rise up,

Seek to always love;

To respond like You,

Our Father above.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to respond gently, despite what we are given. Thank You that gentleness brings a calm where rage was rising. Forgive us for the times that we have responded in anger rather than with grace. Teach us to rely on You to show us how to respond with tenderness. Show us how to love those around us, even when love is far from what we desire to extend. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, as they recognize the gentleness and grace that You have waiting no matter the condition in which they come to You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to show us how to respond to others with tenderness and grace, extending Your love and kindness to the seemingly least deserving. Amen.

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

Hatred stirs up conflict, but love covers over all wrongs. – Proverbs 10:12

Hold Our Heaviness

“Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” – (Matthew 11:28, NIV)

“Come to Me all of you who are tired from the heavy burden you have been forced to carry. I will give you rest.” – (Matthew 11:28, ERV)

“Are you weary, carrying a heavy burden? Then come to Me. I will refresh your life, for I am your oasis.” – (Matthew 11:28, TPT)

Life is heavy and wearying right now. More than ten months of shutdowns with the announcement that it has yet again, been extended. It is easy to allow our circumstances to dictate how we feel. The truth is, there is only one Source where we can find rest and hand over the weight of what currently is our reality. Jesus calls us and comforts us, if only we are willing to seek Him. No, it does not mean that our circumstances instantly change, but it does mean that our hearts and minds can find comfort and rest, despite our circumstances. Sometimes rest comes through being out in creation, while other times it is through intentional time that is set aside to seek Him. For me, both are necessary. We all need oasis in the midst of the seeming desert. God alone, provides this best. May we ever seek the Lord to grant us rest and refreshment, no matter what weight comes our way.

When weariness comes,

And the weight’s just too much;

Choose seek our Savior,

And His loving touch.

For rest truly comes,

As we seek God’s face;

His peace overwhelms,

Through His endless grace.

O Lord, we need You,

To show us the way;

Help us and guide us,

Hold us up each day.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to come to You when we are weary and the heaviness is too much. Thank You that You help us, hold us, and grant us rest in You. Forgive us for turning to anyone or anything else to find relief. Teach us to come before You in faith, for it is in that space, that we come to know peace and rest in You. Show us how to walk beside those around us in ways that strengthen, encourage, and demonstrate love in practical and tangible ways. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to grant us rest in our weariness and heaviness. Amen.

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

Restore to me the joy of Your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me. – Psalm 51:12

Grace, Love and Fellowship

May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all. – (2 Corinthians 13:14, NIV) 

I pray that you will enjoy the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit. – (2 Corinthians 13:13, ERV) 

May the grace of the Lord Jesus the Anointed, the love of God the Father, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit remain with you all. – (2 Corinthians 13:14, VOICE) 

Grace, love and fellowship – who doesn’t need these? I love that Paul ended each of his letters in similar fashion, expressing his desire for God’s best to be granted to all. Right now, in this space of so much uncertainty and disruption from the norm, I am forever grateful for each of these three things that are freely given by God. Every day, I am abundantly aware of my need for grace. With so much new and such long days, I do not always react or respond in the way that I ought to. His grace picks me up and dusts me off, and His love encourages me to press on. As for the fellowship, it is amazing that no matter how I feel, I know that I am never truly alone. The promised presence of God sustains and covers me. May we ever seek the Lord, for His grace and love are poured out upon those who seek Him, and His presence is promised always. 

Wherever you are, 

In all that you do; 

May blessings pour out, 

As you seek the truth. 

It is in that space, 

Grace and love are found; 

God’s peaceful presence, 

Comes close and surrounds. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that exhortation of Paul to people everywhere is the same heart that You have for us all. Thank You that as we seek You, You show us the grace of Jesus, the love of God, and the nearness and presence of Your Holy Spirit. Forgive us for neglecting to recognize all that You provide. Teach us to trust You more, so that we may receive all that You offer. Show us how to love those around us in practical and tangible ways, so that Your grace, love and nearness may be made known through our very being. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for the grace, love and fellowship that You lovingly provide. 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

Everything In Love

Do everything in love. – (1 Corinthians 16:14, NIV) 

Love without stopping. – (1 Corinthians 16:14, MSG) 

Let love and kindness be the motivation behind all that you do. – (1 Corinthians 16:14, TPT) 

This is critical for me to remember as I utilize my final day prior to the start of the new school year, to prepare for the week that lies ahead. When I keep the main things, the main things, my motivation for all that I do to prepare, is love. In the same way that my colleagues are kind with me as we navigate this year’s journey together, my desire is that EVERYTHING I say and do is motivated by love and kindness. Each lesson, activity and presentation need to be delivered with love and kindness. Our kids have not had a “normal” day of school since March 13th; nor have we. Routine will feel and look different than it ever has before, yet there will be full class periods with curriculum, lessons, assignments, and assessments that will be counted toward grades and advancement. The task and the challenge will be to connect with kids in such a way, that they feel safe, known, and ready to learn. My hope and prayer are that I will be able to connect and get to know each student as they enter my classroom (virtual as it is), so that I may discover how to best assist them in their learning and well-being. This is no small desire, yet if love and kindness are my motivation, the seemingly insurmountable, will be possible. May we ever seek the Lord to be our love and strength, so that we may navigate this year with love and kindness in all that we say and do. 

Let everything, 

That I say and do; 

Be done in Your love, 

So kindness shines through. 

Each word, thought and deed, 

Be wrapped in Your care; 

May I shine Your light, 

To the world, out there. 

Help everyone, 

To know love and grace; 

Through kindness given, 

Throughout ev’ry day. 

Dear Heavenly Father, I thank You that You give us love and kindness in abundance. Thank You that You call us to do the same for all those around us. Forgive us for the times that we have allowed our egos, frustrations or fears to dictate what we give to those around us. Teach us to lean into You in faith, as You grant us love and kindness for all. Show us how to do everything in love, so all may know Your goodness and grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to show us how to do everything in love. Amen. 

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

Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart. – Proverbs 3:3

Free to Serve in Love

For you have been called to live in freedom, my brothers and sisters. But don’t use your freedom to satisfy your sinful nature. Instead, use your freedom to serve one another in love. – (Galatians 5:13, NLT) 

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

Beloved ones, God has called us to live a life of freedom in the Holy Spirit. But don’t view this wonderful freedom as an opportunity to set up a base operation in the natural realm. Freedom means that we become so completely free of self-indulgence that we become servants of one another, expressing love in all we do. – (Galatians 5:13, TPT) 

Freedom is an interesting topic right now, as our nation prides itself on being “the land of the free”. Rather than answers, this can lead to questions, as many feel as if their freedom is being taken. The catch here is to what extent do we exercise our “right” to freedom? Is our intent self-indulgent, or is it to serve one another in love? In Christ, we are free no matter what our circumstances. Our freedom is in knowing that our sin is forgiven and we have a hope and a future forever in Him. With that in mind, the desires of the heart begin to shift and become more otherly; desiring to love and serve others well, rather than simply satisfy the temporary cravings of our flesh. Don’t get me wrong, I want to be able to travel and go out, visit friends and go to church, and go and see my mom – without restrictions or reservations. However, love requires this waiting season. Yes, if I really wanted to do any of those things, I am sure there would be a way to do so, but would it be serving others in love, or simply serving my own desires, without considering the consequences for others? I need God’s wisdom to exercise the freedom He has given, so that I might express love for others in all that I do. This is a lifelong process of learning and growing in how to walk out our freedom in Christ well. There is no “arrival”, as we all have an ongoing battle with our human desires, yet we can ever become more of whom we have been designed to be, as we choose to use our freedom to sincerely love and generously serve others. May we not take our freedom in Christ for granted; instead, let us set aside our self-indulgent desires and go forth, seeking to serve one another in love. 

Brothers and sisters, 

We’re all called to be; 

Invested in Christ, 

So we might live free. 

Free in forgiveness, 

Empowered by grace; 

Called to serve others, 

Make love commonplace. 

Choose to set aside, 

Our old selfish ways; 

Love as Christ loves us, 

For all of our days. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for setting us free in Your limitless love. Thank You that by Your grace, we can freely love and serve as we have been designed to do. Forgive us for our selfishness, that keeps us from loving and serving as You have designed us to do. Teach us to exercise our freedom in You to bless others. Show us how to love those around us best. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose to love and serve freely in You. Amen. 

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

I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers. – Ephesians 1:16

On Purpose With Purpose

For You created my inmost being; You knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Your works are wonderful, and I know that full well. – (Psalm 139:13-14, NIV)

You formed the way I think and feel. You put me together in my mother’s womb. I praise You because You made me in such a wonderful way. I know how amazing that was! – (Psalm 139:13-14, ERV)

For You shaped me, inside and out. You knitted me together in my mother’s womb long before I took my first breath. I will offer You my grateful heart, for I am Your unique creation, filled with wonder and awe. You have approached even the smallest details with excellence; Your works are wonderful; I carry this knowledge deep within my soul. – (Psalm 139:13-14, VOICE)

 

I love the Psalms, as they are a space where I find much comfort. There is much raw and real in the calling out to God, followed by the recognition of who God is and how He loves. This passage is no exception, as it reminds us all that we were created intentionally, uniquely, and with purpose; down to the way that we think and feel. Perhaps I needed the reminder this morning, or maybe, it is for you. We, collectively, are known and loved and intentionally made. Our existence is for a purpose, on purpose. Each day that we draw breath, there is reason to praise; for even that is a gift not all are afforded. The way we take in our surroundings and interact with those around us, is an individual design, that has no duplicate. There is only one you, and your contributions to your surroundings are irreplaceable. It is not about being the “greatest” or the “best”, but rather embracing the beauty of God’s design as we discover we are called to be who He made us to be; nothing more, nothing less. The more that we seek and know Him, the more clearly, we come to know and understand His design for us, individually. May we take time today to thank the Lord for His intentional creation – in us, our loved ones, and for everyone with whom we interact; every work is wonderful and made with a purpose.

 

Designed with purpose, wp-1589461521970190463839278612615.jpg

Each one, fully known;

Before our first breath,

He called us His own.

Wonderfully made,

Unique in design;

There’s only one you,

You’re one of a kind.

The way that you think,

Look, talk, touch and feel;

There’s no other you,

His love is for real.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You knit us together in our mother’s wombs with intentional design and purpose. Thank You that we are fearfully and wonderfully made. Forgive us for the times that we have questioned our purpose or worth. Teach us to lean into You, even in our moments of frustration or feeling lost. Show us how to love those around us well, so that they might recognize the beauty of their unique, wonderful and purposeful design, as they understand that they are loved and valued as they are. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we thank You and praise You that You know us and that You designed us each with purpose, on purpose. Amen.

 

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

 

You have searched me, Lord, and You know me. – Psalm 139:1

 

 

Grace Enough

Have you ever had one of those days, a day where things are crazy busy and the day is long, and then the moment you can finally take pause and breathe, “Wham,” grief sneaks up and sucker punches you in the gut, and you can hardly catch your breath? That was me this afternoon, merely moments ago. I started this morning as usual, studying a totally different and unrelated passage in 2 Chronicles, and had to stop halfway through to go meet up for a safely socially distant run/walk. When I returned home, I had to set it aside and get started immediately on my work day; leaving little time for anything other than potty breaks for the puppy and a quick lunch bite in between meetings and emails. Everything went well, and my day was extended a bit longer than usual, due to a meeting for one of my students. Just as I had finished, my husband returned home from work, and I was ready to get back to the writing that sat undone from this morning. Somehow, as I opened my Outlook account, one particular email took me aback, and I suddenly found myself swallowed by grief. Maybe it is the timing, or perhaps the weight of the past year, but whatever it is, there was a moment of feeling sunk. Then, as nearly as the grief overwhelmed, the words of 2 Corinthians 12:9, flooded my mind, and I was anchored in truth once more.

But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.

In that moment, I needed reminding that His grace is enough. He is enough. Grief is okay to feel, but He will not allow it to sink my soul. I don’t know that I am eagerly boasting about the flash onset of grief, or weakness, or whatever one might want to call it, but I am so grateful that Christ is with me, and He reminds me that He will never leave me nor forsake me. He comforts me in my sorrow and rejoices when I am glad. Regardless of what life brings, God is always good. May we ever seek Him in our sorrow and our joy, for He grants us grace and strength and power to persevere in all things, through every season.

 

When grief like a flood, 63a09efb-a46a-4c36-b1af-4a9f0cf4c2e04975274388445686015.jpg

In waves, crashes in;

How do we anchor,

Where do we begin?

As we seek the Lord,

He hears our heart cry;

Reminds us of truth,

Grace He won’t deny.

For great is His love,

That ever comes close;

Strength in our weakness,

His love clearly shows.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your goodness and grace that comforts us in our grief and loves us through all things. Thank You that You are always near. Forgive us for not seeking or trusting You in all things. Teach us to trust You more. Show us how to extend Your grace to everyone we meet, so that they may know the power of Your love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for Your grace that is always enough. Amen.

 

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

 

The grace of the Lord Jesus be with you. – 1 Corinthians 16:23

Place of Perfect Peace

You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in You. – (Isaiah 26:3, NIV)

God, You give true peace to people who depend on You, to those who trust in You. – (Isaiah 26:3, ERV)

You will keep the peace, a perfect peace, for all who trust in You, for those who dedicate their hearts and minds to You. – (Isaiah 26:3, VOICE)

 

Perfect peace. When we feel it, we know it, for there is no comfort that comes close to that of His peace when we are quiet in His presence and able to simply settle in and soak in the sweet safety of knowing He is near. I wish that I could tell you that I am constantly hanging out in this space, but alas, I am not. Yesterday began well, as I spent time in the word and the tone for my day was embedded in truth. However, by early afternoon, the weight of all I had carried throughout the week caught up with me, and I had a mini melt down. Everything felt like it was too much. Hours on end each day, seated in one place, staring at a computer screen, trying to learn and make sense of this new platform for instructing; monitoring incoming daily messages from my mom’s senior living community, and struggling to actually contact and communicate with mom this past week, as we played phone tag more than we spoke live; and finally, not getting out of my house except to exercise or to make a grocery run was all at a point of stealing my peace. Part of me wanted to get in the car and just drive. I didn’t care where, just go and see and that there was more to existence than the walls that shelter and protected my family. Sometimes, as it seems, God uses people to bring us back to His perfect peace. My husband came in, hugged me and listened to me, then told me to get ready to go. He took me for a drive along the water, as he knows that is where I am reminded of God’s peace best, and we enjoyed fresh air and quiet as we traveled along. It took little time before we were talking and laughing, and noticing things along the way. We actually spotted a wedding on the waterfront, as two people, a clergy, and a few socially-distanced witnesses were standing in the pagoda by the Puget Sound, exchanging their vows. Our outing ultimately took us to a Fred Meyer for some needed groceries for the week, before returning home for dinner with the family. The evening was sweet and settled, and peace was again present in my heart. This morning, I am grateful for the family that I am blessed to call my own, and will continue to pursue the Lord any time I feel His peace wavering. May we seek the Lord and trust in Him, for He is our place of perfect peace.

 

The Lord is our peace, Place of Perfect Peace

In Him, we can thrive;

As we choose to trust,

Each day of our lives.

For circumstances,

Come and go like rain;

But as we choose trust,

His peace shall remain.

Choose trust in the Lord,

Place all in His hands;

His strength, hope and grace,

All we need to stand.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can trust in You and depend on You to be our perfect peace. Thank You that no matter what we are going through, we can still know Your perfect peace. Forgive us for allowing our hearts to become overburdened by the weight of the world. Teach us to place all in Your hands, so that we may know Your peace and only carry that which we are meant to shoulder. Show us how to come alongside those around us and help extend strength, hope and grace in Your love, so that they too, may feel and know Your perfect peace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust and depend on You in all things and at all times, giving You praise for the perfect peace that Your presence brings. Amen.

 

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

 

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