United in Peace

For He is our peace, who made both groups one and tore down the dividing wall of hostility. – (Ephesians 2:14, HCSB)

Christ is the reason we are now at peace. He made us Jews and you who are not Jews one people. We were separated by a wall of hate that stood between us, but Christ broke down that wall. – (Ephesians 2:14, ERV)

He is the embodiment of our peace, sent once and for all to take down the great barrier of hatred and hostility that has divided us so that we can be one. – (Ephesians 2:14, VOICE)

If God can unite two groups who were separated and against each other for many generations, He can bring peace in a home, a neighborhood, a classroom or a school. This is a great reminder that God is able to do surpassingly more than we could hope or imagine as we seek and trust in Him. For me, this is the hope that I am holding onto, as I have a class that ends each day with a combination of kids that make it feel like a combat zone. At the close of each school day, it feels as though I have barely survived a horrendous hurricane, and I long for the opportunity to walk away. If I were independently wealthy, I would walk away and never look back. Clearly this is not a solution, but the struggle that is endured each day is bringing me to a breaking point. Something has to give. I trust that God can do far more than I can imagine, yet I am struggling to see what could possibly be done in the here and now. Each day, I embrace the new, and try to move forward with positivity and grace, but the grit within me is waning. If God can bring two warring groups of people together as one, I know He is able to bring calm and peace to a classroom. May we ever seek the Lord to break down barriers of hostility, and bring His peace that surpasses understanding.

The embodiment,

Of God’s perfect peace;

Is what is needed,

Abundant release.

For He who calms storms,

With only His words;

Can calm great chaos,

His peace is transferred.

Lord, bring Your goodness,

Flood me with Your grace;

Show me the answer,

As I seek Your face.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are the God of perfect peace. Thank You that You can unite groups of people who once were at odds with one another. Thank You that You are greater than anything that we must face. Forgive us for struggling to believe there is a solution when we are in the midst of the fire. Show us the power of Your peaceful presence. Teach us to be promoters of Your peace as we continually choose to love as You love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, the Prince of Peace. Be glorified O God, as we earnestly seek You for solutions to that which leaves us feeling hopeless. Amen.

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

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

The Grace That Meets Us

And God is able to make every grace overflow to you, so that in every way, always having everything you need, you may excel in every good work. – (2 Corinthians 9:8, HCSB)

And God can give you more blessings than you need, and you will always have plenty of everything. You will have enough to give to every good work. – (2 Corinthians 9:8, ERV)

God can pour on the blessings in astonishing ways so that you’re ready for anything and everything, more than just ready to do what needs to be done. – (2 Corinthians 9:8, MSG)

God is ready to overwhelm you with more blessings than you could ever imagine so that you’ll always be taken care of in every way and you’ll have more than enough to share. – (2 Corinthians 9:8, VOICE)

When we give generously of our time, talents and resources, God is able to bless us beyond what we need. He does this so that we are equipped to do what needs to be done, and can share and give, knowing that all that we have is because of Him. In my life, I have experienced this over and over again. As I have chosen to continue to be faithful to give, He has provided all that I have needed and more. God, who made all that is with the work of His hands, is able to supply all that we need. Just this week I have seen this each day. My job has been exhausting, and it has been compounded this week as my husband has been out of town for work. Incredibly, I have gotten better sleep this week than I have in years, despite my intentional choice to continue to rise early to spend time with Him. Additionally, He is providing the help I need to move forward in an assignment that I am ill-prepared to do. It is not by my strength, but by His, and through His loving kindness that He is granting me all that I need and more. May we ever seek God to be our strength and source, so that we may do the good that He is calling us to do.

With goodness and grace,

My sweet, loyal, loving boy, Thor. ❤

The Lord will come near;

He meets all our needs,

And calms all our fears.

Ever He calls us,

To be and do more;

Not in our own strength,

He opens new doors.

Often in a way,

That we have not seen;

So we count on Him,

To learn new routines.

His grace is enough,

For He’s our supply;

To keep pressing on,

He hears ev’ry cry.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You bless us in amazing ways as we choose to keep giving of ourselves as You call us to do. Thank You that You have more than enough of what we need to keep us moving forward in the direction to which we are called. Forgive us for our fears and doubts when we cannot see how there is a way. Teach us to ever lean into You, and to continue to pour out to those around us. Show us how to love those around us best, so that they too may experience the overflowing goodness of Your kindness and grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we thank You and praise You for who You are and how You meet our needs with Your abundance. Amen.

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

You will be enriched in every way for all generosity, which produces thanksgiving to God through us. – 2 Corinthians 9:11

Simple to Love

This is what I command you: Love one another. – (John 15:17, HCSB)

This is My command: Love each other. – (John 15:17, ERV)

But remember the root command: Love one another. – (John 15:17, MSG)

Each year, the more I experience life, the more I recognize how critical it is for us to prioritize following God’s greatest commands: to love God and love one another. If what we do and say is fueled by His love, we are making a positive impact on the world, no matter how small. It is amazing how this lens changes our approach in what we say and do. In fact, it truly changes our perspective on everything. One example that is a part of my everyday routine is to take our dogs on long walks. Each morning I anticipate how God might use me (and them) to love others well. Incredibly, there is some sort of interaction or exchange with others along our route every time we go out. Sometimes, it is simply a warm smile and friendly hello, yet other times it is a sweet stop to chat with another and extend kindness. On our route, as we near home, there is an older gentleman in a wheelchair. What began as simply smiling and waving, has turned into a stop each time Michael is outside, so that we can check in and he can give pets to the pups. Michael is forty years and ten days my senior, and sits outside working on Suduko puzzles and gladly greets us with a warm smile and gratitude. It amazes me how God can take something so ordinary that we already do, and use it as an opportunity to show His love to those we encounter. May we ever seek the Lord to lead us as we go, and may His love be made evident through our every word and deed. 

We are commanded,

To love each other;

As mothers, fathers,

Sisters and brothers.

Wherever we go,

Whatever we do;

Our God is able,

To show His love true.

It is quite simple,

To choose to give love;

A smile and kind word,

Show hope from above.

May we make the choice,

To love each other;

In the little things,

It’s worth the bother.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call and command us to love each other. Thank You that love looks different to everyone. Thank You that You can use a smile, a kind word, a friendly wave – all to be expressions of the goodness of Your love. Forgive us for the missed opportunities to love when we have been in a hurry, distracted, or “not in the mood.” Show us how to love in the little things, for it is the little things that lead to the enormity of how good and loving You are. Lead us to love those around us in ways that speak directly to the heart so that the recipient will feel and know how good You truly are. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You as we choose to love each other well. Amen.

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

Now these three remain: faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love. – 1 Corinthians 13:13

Readily and Cheerfully

Do everything without grumbling and arguing. – (Philippians 2:14, HCSB)

Do everything without complaining or arguing. – (Philippians 2:14, ERV)

Do everything readily and cheerfully – no bickering, no second-guessing allowed! – (Philippians 2:14, MSG)

It is always good to be reminded of the attitude that we ought to have throughout our day. Today is timely, as this happens to be a day bookended with extra meetings. Rather than be grumbly about having to meet, I can cheerfully give thanks that I am gainfully employed and that we meet to be and do better in all that we do. May we ever seek the Lord to help us do all things readily and cheerfully, without complaining or arguing. He is good, and His love knows no end.

O Lord, show us how,

To do all with love;

Without complaining,

Seek Your grace above.

Help us be cheerful,

With hearts set to serve;

To extend goodness,

Despite what’s deserved.

Make our heart like Yours,

Full of love and grace;

Teach us to run well,

Each leg of our race.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to do all things readily and cheerfully, for that is one way that we can demonstrate the depth of Your love. Forgive us for our frustrations that have led to complaining or arguing. Teach us to take all things in stride as You do. Show us how to cheerfully approach all things with grateful hearts. Lead us to love those around us well, so that they might come to know the power of Your great love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to help us do all things without grumbling or complaining, but rather approach all things with a cheerful and grateful heart. Amen.

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

And God is able to make every grace overflow to you, so that in every way, always having everything you need, you may excel in every good work. – 2 Corinthians 9:8

Working All For Good

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, NIV)

We know that in everything God works for the good of those who love Him. These are the people God chose, because that was His plan. – (Romans 8:28, ERV)

We are confident that God is able to orchestrate everything to work toward something good and beautiful when we love Him and accept His invitation to live according to His plan. – (Romans 8:28, VOICE)

It is critical to both know and trust this is true in our lives, especially in times of uncertainty or when anxiety begins to rise. I do not know what I will be walking into in the coming school year, as I will again be teaching a new grade and new curriculum. With ever-changing conditions and circumstances, on top of new material, I am again in a space of feeling like a brand new teacher, despite my previous twenty-four years in my career thus far. New can be exciting, but it also makes me anxious, as I want to know what I am doing so that I can do the best possible job of helping kids learn and grow. On my end, I am doing all that I can to prepare, and have to trust that God has me in this space for this time for a purpose. He uses things for good, so I have to trust that I have something to offer and He has something good in store for me. May we ever lean into the Lord and place our trust and confidence in Him, for He is able to bring good and beauty out of spaces of uncertainty.

In everything,

God can create good;

Sunshine after storms,

Grace not understood.

His love never ends,

And His mercy, new;

Each day as we rise,

He’ll show us what’s true.

In love, He will lead,

Show us steps to take;

Heal and build us up,

Despite our mistakes.

So, trust in the Lord,

He’ll use all for good;

As He shows us new,

Where only He could.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You work all things out for the good of those who love You. Thank You that You can take circumstances and situations that seem dismal or difficult, and turn them into something amazing and beautiful. Forgive us for our fears and doubts as we enter the new and unknown. Remind us of Your presence anew each day, and show us clearly how to walk in Your way. Teach us how to love those around us well, so that they may come to understand the hope, help and peace that is found in You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love You and trust You to work all things out for good. Amen.

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

But let all who take refuge in You be glad; let them ever sing for joy. Spread Your protection over them, that those who love Your Name may rejoice in You. – Psalm 5:11

Through the Valleys and Highest Peaks

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, NIV)

We know that in everything God works for the good of those who love Him. These are the people God chose, because that was His plan. – (Romans 8:28, ERV)

We are confident that God is able to orchestrate everything to work toward something good and beautiful when we love Him and accept His invitation to live according to His plan. – (Romans 8:28, VOICE)

 

This is the truth. Though the things we walk through may not be good, God can bring good out of our experiences. He will take our difficulties and direct our steps, demonstrating to us, just how much strength that He has deposited within our hearts for such a time as this. Things we might have never noticed before, suddenly become significant and beautiful beyond what our human heart can hold.

Yesterday, I was able to plug into my church and run media, experiencing Sunday in a way that felt “normal” for the first time in a month. There is something significant about being present as our worship team warms up and runs through the songs, then witnessing the wonderful unfolding of what God has in store, in two services. The two never unfold exactly alike, and there are always morsels of the message that I can carry with me into the week, that often come back to mind in moments when the message aligns with what lies before me. It is the great unfolding of His plan, as we invest in the truth of His word. We are not promised an easy or pain-free life, but we are promised that He will never leave us nor forsake us; and He is able to work ALL THINGS toward something good. God truly does bring beauty from ashes when we allow Him in. My own life is a living testament of His faithfulness. So many times, the places of trial or heartache became the greatest sources of strength, victory and grace. God is always good, and I know He is bringing even more beauty to the life He created for my mom.

Mom enjoyed a balance of time with Megan’s family, therapies, rest, and Mark and me even were able to sneak over and surprise her for a hug and quick visit, before trading off with Meg’s fellas. It is a joy to hear the perspective of both Scott and Mark, (Meg and my spouses), as they have had large gaps in between visits with mom, so they see giant leaps in her progress, rather than the day-to-day victories that my sister and I witness. Both of our guys cannot contain their joy as they speak of the change they see in mom. Each has been instrumental in my sister’s and my ability to be with mom every day. If not for them holding down the fort and running the households back home, we would not be able to be here. May we ever remain confident in He who is able to use ALL THINGS for good, and continue to trust in Him for every step of this uncharted journey.

 

Beauty from ashes, 0515190557_hdr3238003239624041706.jpg

Great hope from despair;

Our most holy God,

Hears every prayer.

He’ll never forsake,

Nor leave us alone;

He sees all our needs,

And we each are known.

Trust that He is good,

His plan, purposeful;

Beauty from ashes,

A life meaningful.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You work all things out for good for those who love You. Thank You that even though the circumstances or struggles are not good, You bring good from the process. Thank You that You are God and we are not. Forgive us for the times that we are too blinded by our own hurt or struggle to see how You are working for our good in the midst of it. Teach us to trust You more, as You are far greater that anything that stands before us. Show us how to love those around us as we walk through the valleys and climb the highest peaks. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You and praise You for the beauty You bring from ashes, and watch in anticipation for all that is yet to come. Amen.

 

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

 

…To bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair… – Isaiah 61:3

Orchestrated Overcoming

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, NIV)

We know that in everything God works for the good of those who love Him. These are the people God chose, because that was His plan. – (Romans 8:28, ERV)

We are confident that God is able to orchestrate everything to work toward something good and beautiful when we love Him and accept His invitation to live according to His plan. – (Romans 8:28, VOICE)

 

It is beyond my understanding how God takes the most difficult or heart-breaking of seasons, events, or circumstances, and uses them to launch us into something far greater than we would have ever thought possible. Not one hurt nor heartache is overlooked, and He leads us through to so much more than we would have envisioned for ourselves. When we choose God and listen to His leading, we find His grace, comfort and love through the trials, and discover the hardest of roads lead to the most beautiful of destinations. It is easy to lose sight of hope in the midst of despair, yet as we cling to Christ, love lights the way through the darkness, and His hand leads and guides us to something new. His new is light, life and love. Dreams are imagined and beauty comes from the ashes we thought would never end. May we ever hold fast to hope in God, as He uses all things for our good as we trust in Him.

 

All things in our lives,

Smiling fields

Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

Can be used for good;

When given to God,

His love, understood.

Beauty from ashes,

His hope from despair;

God shows us the good,

As His love repairs.

What once overwhelmed,

Darkness that has passed;

Seasons of struggle,

Lead to hope that lasts.

So, let us choose trust,

Find hope in His Name;

For there’s so much more,

Love changes the game.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You work all things out for good, as we trust in You. Thank You that You alone, can bring beauty from ashes and hope from despair. Thank You for the incredible outcomes of so many spaces we thought would be the end of us. Forgive us for our fears and doubts during seasons of difficulty. Teach us to trust You more, as we look to You to be our hope and help as we navigate to the new that awaits us on the other side. Show us how to love those around us in a way that extends help in the now and hope for all that is yet to come. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust and rely on You, even when we see no possible way for good to come from what we are walking through. Amen.

 

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

 

…”to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair…” – Isaiah 61:3