Good Words and Hard Work

From the fruit of their lips people are filled with good things, and the work of their hands brings them reward. – (Proverbs 12:14, NIV)

People get good things for the words they say, and they are rewarded for the work they do. – (Proverbs 12:14, ERV)

Well-spoken words bring satisfaction; well-done work has its own reward. – (Proverbs 12:14, MSG)

Yesterday was one of those days that words spoken brought life, and the reward of hard work was evident. Students were engaged in conversations with enthusiasm for our end-of-the-year project, and my gymnasts had a fantastic practice. New skills were achieved and fears were overcome. As I was preparing for a meet up to run, my Viking sent me a text that he wanted to do a date night. By the time we had gone to dinner, run into and visited with friends, returned home and walked the dogs, my heart was overflowing with the good things spoken and the reward of hard work that had filled my day. Even on the days that things don’t flow as smoothly, or the work seems to be in vain, I can speak good things and remember that there are days that simply knowing the hard work is being done brings its own reward. God is good, and He encourages us to speak blessings and work hard, for through each we witness Him moving in us, through us and for us. May we ever seek the Lord to fuel our hearts with His words, and strengthen us to do the work that we have been called to do.

Our words and actions,

Have power to give;

Goodness and blessings,

As each day we live.

May we speak kindness,

Let our words bring life;

For encouragement,

Ends internal strife.

Teach us to invest,

To work unto You;

Give our very best,

In all that we do.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the blessing of people You place around us who speak life and bring good things, and for the reward that is felt as we work as if unto You. Forgive us for the times that we have not spoken life to those around us, or have not worked with our heart invested in what we are doing. Teach us to lean into You to be our strength and our encouragement, for You speak life and love and strength to those who seek You. Show us how to speak good into those around us, and to work in a way that encourages others to invest as well. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we use our lips to speak life and our hearts to fully invest in all that we do. Amen.

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

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. – Colossians 3:12

Navigating the 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)

Just as you’ll never understand the mystery of life forming in a pregnant woman, so you’ll never understand the mystery at work in all that God does. – (Ecclesiastes 11:5, MSG)

God’s ways are not our ways, and His plans are not like ours. There are times that we cannot possibly see the purpose in what we go through, nor how the path we are on could lead to what He intended. Even so, God is good. His timing is not our own, and His ways are far higher. It is a matter of choosing to trust, even when we cannot see, for despite all things, He is good. The Lord cares about every detail of our lives. He knows how many hairs are on our heads, and the strengths and talents that He intentionally placed within us. Often, what we go through, provides the opportunity to discover strength we did not know was possible, and how to hold fast to hope. When I was young, I knew that I wanted to be a teacher. As I grew up, some of the class requirements steered me in a different direction. The one in particular, was a speech class. Rather than dig deep and suck it up, I chose to become an art major with an English minor. Graphic design was a delight, and I learned and grew in a variety of mediums. Once I graduated with my Bachelor’s Degree, I found my way to Montana as a YWAMer (Youth With A Mission), and ended up spending the next three years in and out of Asia. Ironically, (or as God designed) I ended up having to do much public speaking during that season. God called me back home to go back to school and fulfill my teaching credentials. Upon graduation from my Master’s program, I was hired to teach World Geography at my own former middle school. God had prepared my heart to have a passion for learning about new cultures, after I had experienced so much in the years prior. Additionally, I was granted the gift of coaching gymnastics, which I had done during high school and college, both as a job and joyful passion. Throughout my career thus far, I have had the opportunity to teach art and English as well. I know not where each new experience will lead, but I know that I can trust God to be with me. May we ever embrace each new path we are called to take and trust that God will lead us through. He is good, and He knows the desires of our hearts and the plan and purpose intended for each of us, individually.

No one truly knows,

Where the Lord will lead;

He grants us His strength,

As His will we heed.

Detours and trials,

And paths still unknown;

Each with a purpose,

As His grace is shown.

Even in heartache,

We grow and we learn;

He loves us through all,

To Him may we turn.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that though we cannot possibly know or understand all of Your ways, You are faithful to lead us and grow us through all. Thank You that as we depend on You, You use every experience for good. Forgive us for our fears and doubts in the spaces that we never thought we would be. Teach us to trust You completely, for Your plans are perfect. Show us how to love those around us in ways that offer strength, hope and peace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust in Your unfailing love to lead us as we navigate each step that You bring us to take. Amen.

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

Lord, You establish peace for us; all that we have accomplished You have done for us. – Isaiah 26:12

Give Thanks for Moms

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

Give thanks to the Lord because He is good. His faithful love will last forever. – (1 Chronicles 16:34, ERV)

Give thanks to God – He is good and His love never quits. – (1 Chronicles 16:34, MSG)

I am convinced that mothers are granted to us to demonstrate the goodness of God and the reality of what faithful love looks like. My mom, and her mother before her, have shown me that God is good and that His love endures. Their examples have filled my heart full of thanks, and being blessed with the privilege to love my own children in the same way, keeps my gratitude overflowing. Motherhood is not easy, but it is beyond worthwhile. From infancy, to toddlerhood, the teen years, and this transition into adulthood, it is a gift to be included in the process. Today, I am reminded to give God thanks for His goodness and love that He has made tangible through mothers and those who fill maternal roles. May we ever give thanks to God for His goodness and faithful love, as He shows us His heart through mothers.

Heavenly Father,

I give You all praise;

For goodness and love,

Granted all our days.

For kin and dear friends,

That make Your love known;

The gift of the moms,

Through whom grace is shown.

Your blessings are made,

Abundantly clear;

Through mothers and kids,

The ones we hold dear.

God, You have shown me,

That my heart is seen;

Through the gift of mom,

For love’s what mom means.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the precious gift that You have given me through my mom and in being a mom. You make Your love abundantly clear as Your goodness is displayed through those who mother us well. Forgive us for the times that we have neglected to give You thanks for the incredible gifts You have given. Teach us to give You thanks each new day, and to celebrate the gifts that You have given through our mothers and the treasured blessing of motherhood. Show us how to love those around us well, so that all may feel encouraged, appreciated and loved. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we thank You for mothers and for the opportunity to fill the role of mom. Amen.

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

Praise the Lord. Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever. – Psalm 106:1

Seek for Strength

Look to the Lord and His strength; seek His face always. – (1 Chronicles 16:11, NIV)

Depend on the Lord for strength. Always go to Him for help. – (1 Chronicles 16:11, ERV)

Always follow the Eternal, His strength and His face. – (1 Chronicles 16:11, VOICE)

Our own strength is limited, however, God’s is not. He is the One we are meant to look to for help and strength. The Lord provides where we are lacking, if only we seek Him. This morning, I am seeking Him anew, as I need His strength to navigate all the new in this coming week. Though I am looking forward with eager anticipation to having kids back in my classroom, there is the unknown element of how to make the who live and online teaching work simultaneously. God is good, and He will provide the patience and endurance that is needed, and the strength to continue moving forward. May we ever seek the Lord and His strength, for He is our help and all that we need to navigate the road that lies ahead.

When my strength is gone,

I need never fear;

For the Lord provides,

And is ever near.

As I seek His face,

Resolve is made new;

With love and His grace,

His strength leads me through.

So, look to the Lord,

Ever seek His face;

For strength, hope and love,

Throughout all our days.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can come to You and seek Your face, and You strengthen us and lead us in the ways that we are meant to go. Forgive us for attempting to power through things rather than turning to You for help. Teach us to trust in You, so that we would place all in Your hands. 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 Your face for strength in all things and at all times. Amen.

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

But You, Lord, do not be far from me. You are my strength; come quickly to help me. – Psalm 22:19

Fruit That Feeds The Soul

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. – (Galatians 5:22-23, NIV)

But the fruit that the Spirit produces in a person’s life is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these kinds of things. – (Galatians 5:22-23, ERV)

But the fruit produced by the Holy Spirit within you is divine love in all its varied expressions: joy that overflows, peace that subdues, patience that endures, kindness in action, a life full of virtue, faith that prevails, gentleness of heart, and strength of spirit. Never set the law above these qualities, for they are meant to be limitless. – (Galatians 5:22-23, TPT)

Despite what has transpired over this past weekend, my family feels surrounded and upheld by the outpouring from family and friends, both near and far. We have been showered with love, kindness and gentleness. Such fruit nourishes our souls, and we find there is peace in the midst of heartache, joy in the return of our fur babies, and self-control, despite the desire to do unto those what was done by their hands. God is good and He continues to plant and grow good fruit as we seek and trust in Him. May we ever pursue a heart that produces good fruit as we willingly allow the Master gardener to plant, prune and water the garden of our heart.

With love and support,

Settling in where they know they are safe and loved.

True joy overflows;

Not by circumstance,

But through whom we know.

A heart that’s gentle,

Purposefully kind;

Extends grace and love,

Keeps others in mind.

To choose self-control,

An act of the will;

Allowing the Lord,

To bring justice still.

A heart deep rooted,

In God’s loving grace;

Is shown how to move,

To follow His ways.

Make us a garden,

That ever bears fruit;

Plant, prune and nourish,

Lead us to love true.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are loving and kind and full of grace. Thank You that Your will for us is to bear good fruit. Forgive us for attitudes and actions that are not fruitful. Teach us to turn to You to provide what we need to nourish those around us with the Spirit’s good fruit. Show us how to love those around us in ways that blesses, encourages and nourishes hungry souls. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek to soften the soil of our hearts and grant You room to prepare us to produce fruit that honors You. 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

Faithful Answers

For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. – (Luke 11:10, NIV)

Yes, whoever continues to ask will receive. Whoever continues to look will find. And whoever continues to knock will have the door opened for them. – (Luke 11:10, ERV)

All who keep asking will receive, all who keep seeking will find, and doors will open to those who keep knocking. – (Luke 11:10, VOICE)

Now happily home…

When we ask the Lord, He answers. Friday evening, we were in communication with the trainers who were caring for our dogs during their board and train program. By the end of the back and forth conversation, I could not shake the gnawing feeling that had formed in my gut. As I prayed and sought the Lord, I knew that we needed to bring our dogs home the next day as we were scheduled for a private lesson to work on what the dogs had been doing throughout their training thus far. Yesterday, after having run an errand, we returned home to take care of some projects around the house, prior to heading to our meet up location at a park. Out of the blue, I received a phone call that I would never have expected. An animal control officer contacted me to let me know that there was a case involving our pup, Thor. Shock and disbelief overwhelmed me as I listened to the officer unpack what had transpired. A kind citizen had called animal control and submitted video footage of Thor being continually mistreated and harmed for somewhere between thirty and sixty minutes. The officer let me know that the initial officer who took the case had to hand it over to him, as she could not watch the footage due to the horror it portrayed. By this time, I was shaking and could not fathom the sort of people who would do such things. Prior to leaving for the park, we messaged the trainers and asked that they please bring our dogs belongings with them. Upon arrival at the park, we restlessly watched and waited. I knew that I was not to even speak to the trainers, for God had prepared me to focus only on my dogs, and have my husband speak to them. Thankfully, the kind animal control officer arrived prior to our pups, so we were able to speak more with him about what had taken place and what would happen next. He remained with us when the trainers arrived, and I immediately went to the back door of the car and took Thor’s leash to get him out. He joyfully came to me, and could not get away from the car fast enough. Once my husband had Tali, our other precious pup, he calmly took our belongings to load in the car, and then matter-of-factly informed the trainers that they would be granting us a full refund and covering the vet bill we would incur as our next stop was to be a wellness check with our vet for both dogs, to be certain there were no lasting injuries, or, we would be seeing them in civil court. With looks of fear and horror, they simply shook their heads in the recognition that we knew what had taken place. Thankfully, both pups were uninjured, but both had lost a dramatic amount of weight. Thor was down ten pounds, and Tali, six, after nine days in their “care”. Both horrified and tremendously grateful, we brought our babies home and have been loving them ever since. Though this has been a traumatic ordeal, I can see God’s faithfulness, protection and provision, despite the evil intent of the trainers. From the good citizen who reported and submitted what they saw, to the animal control officer who went out of his way to help us and be certain that our dogs were safely returned to our care, God was with us as He provided and protected, and showed us the way to deal with this horrific situation. Both pups are happily home, and have returned to their normal sweet and mischievous ways. God is good, and He is forever faithful to answer as we ask and seek Him.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we seek You, You hear us and answer our cries. Thank You that You open doors that we knock upon, and make Your heart and plan evident as we ask. Thank You for returning our fur babies safely. Forgive us for the fear and anger that arose as we discovered what had taken place. Continue to teach us how to trust You more, as You are always with us and working on our behalf. Show us how to love all those around us, even when we think others are undeserving of love. Please work in the hearts of the trainers so that they may come to understand Your love and kindness that heals hurts and changes hearts. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we continue to ask, seek and knock all of our days. Amen.

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

It (love) always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. – 1 Corinthians 13:7

Hope and Rest to the Seeking

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

I must calm down and turn to God; He is my only hope. – (Psalm 62:5, ERV)

I am standing in absolute stillness, silent before the One I love, waiting as long as it takes for Him to rescue me. Only God is my Savior, and He will not fail me. – (Psalm 62:5, TPT)

Rest and hope are two things that all of us need. Sometimes, the need for rest has nothing to do with the physical, and everything to do with our heart, mind and soul. It is God’s hope that brings peace to our places of unrest, as He restores us in His love once again. In this seemingly never ending lockdown, I am so thankful for the hope that is held in Him. Though we know not what will come of the pending changes, we can trust the One who holds the world in His hands. God is good, and His love provides and in Him, hope abides. May we ever slow down and turn to the One who ever holds hope and provides rest where we need it most.

In stillness I come,

Before God our King;

Hope is held in Him,

Maker of all things.

Where rest is lacking,

The Lord will provide;

He stills all our storms,

And brings peace inside.

When hope’s all but lost,

We need never fear;

For God in His love,

Remains ever near.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our space of rest and hope forever. Thank You that no matter how we come, You meet us with open arms and bring us into Your loving embrace that provides the peace our hearts need most. Forgive us for continually running, rather than slowing down and turning to You to be our hope and rest. Show us how to rest in You to find the hope that our hearts need. Lead us to love well, all those around us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we come to You for rest and place our hearts in Your hands; for in You, hope is forever found. Amen.

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

Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will rest in hope. – Acts 2:26

God’s Intentional Care

The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, He leads me beside quiet waters, He refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for His Name’s sake. – (Psalm 23:1-3, NIV)

The Lord is my shepherd. I will always have everything I need. He gives me green pastures to lie in. He leads me by calm pools of water. He restores my strength. He leads me on right paths to show that He is good. – (Psalm 23:1-3, ERV)

God, my shepherd! I don’t need a thing. You have bedded me down in lush meadows, You find me quiet pools to drink from. True to Your word, You let me catch my breath and send me in the right direction. – (Psalm 23:1-3, MSG)

This is a well-known passage and happens to be the focus of a six-week series that my pastor is teaching. Additionally, three years ago today, my focus was on the very same three verses. I know it was no accident that today’s personal study directed me to this specific passage. Between being sidelined from running, passing the one-year mark for teaching from home, concern over mom’s dental drama (she is doing well, just sore), and the prolonged time away from people I love, it is no mistake that I am again reminded of God’s intentional care. Despite all of the challenges, I am gainfully employed. I have a loving family and a home, and spaces to retreat and rest in His love. Sitting in the silent space of our living room with a snuggly puppy on my lap, God is reminding me again that He is good and will show me what to do in all things. Though I know not what the next few months will look like, I can trust the Lord to go before me, remain with me, and provide all that I need to navigate well. May we ever slow down and allow the Lord to lead, for He is our good shepherd.

O Lord, You are good,

My shepherd, please lead;

For You know my heart,

And all that I need.

Intentionally,

By You we were made;

With plan and purpose,

For all of our days.

In chaos You lead,

Bring us space to rest;

To know in silence,

That Your plans are best.

There’s nothing not known,

In Your loving grace;

You show us spaces,

To know Your embrace.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You lovingly lead us to spaces of comfort, rest and peace. Thank You that You provide all we need – body, heart, mind and soul. Forgive us for giving fear a foothold. Teach us to seek You in silent spaces so that we may be abundantly aware of Your presence and provision. Show us how to love those around us in ways that extend the very same grace and goodness You grant to all who seek You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, our good and loving shepherd. Amen.

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

Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you. – 1 Peter 5:7

Persist in Prayer

Then Jesus said to her, “Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted.” And her daughter was healed at that moment. – (Matthew 15:28, NIV)

Then Jesus answered, “Woman, you have great faith! You will get what you asked for.” And right then the woman’s daughter was healed. – (Matthew 15:28, ERV)

Jesus gave in. “Oh woman, your faith is something else. What you want is what you get!” Right then her daughter became well. – (Matthew 15:28, MSG)

This exchange between Jesus and a Canaanite woman is a great example of persistent faith. The woman’s daughter was suffering, and she knew that Jesus could heal her. Despite being a Canaanite (not God’s chosen people), the woman sought Jesus to heal her daughter. Jesus went back and forth with the woman about who is deserving, and she kept responding in a way that demonstrated her faith in His ability to heal. He recognized and admonished her for her trust in Him, and healed her daughter immediately. So often, I think we disqualify ourselves from His help, as we think that we are somehow unworthy of His touch if our request is not answered right away. What this shows us is that we need to keep asking, keep pursuing the help and healing we are hoping for, as often there is a wait that grows our faith. Perhaps the wait occurs to provide time for healing of our hearts, rather than just a quick fix. I cannot claim to truly understand why some healings are immediate, some are gradual, and some do not happen on this side of heaven. What I do know is that God is good. May we ever continue to seek Him to meet our needs, and praise Him for His goodness and love.

The heart of a mom,

That holds fast to hope;

Demonstrates great faith,

Grace granted to cope.

We must keep asking,

Choose trust and believe;

God’s loving kindness,

Is what we receive.

O Lord, please lead us,

Help us choose to pray;

Ever keep seeking,

For You are the way.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You hear our prayers and heal us in Your timing. Thank You that You listen to our persistent prayers. Forgive us for our frustration when answers don’t come as soon as we think they ought. Teach us to trust You and Your timing, and to contend for the help and healing that is needed. Show us how to love, encourage and lift up those around us with ongoing persistence. May many find healing and hope as they come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God as we continually trust and lean into You. Amen.

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

Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. – Matthew 7:7

Remember to Praise

Praise the Lord, my soul; all my inmost being, praise His holy name. Praise the Lord, my soul, and forget not all His benefits. – (Psalm 103:1-2, NIV)

O my soul, bless God. From head to toe, I’ll bless His holy name! O my soul, bless God, don’t forget a single blessing! – (Psalm 103:1-2, MSG)

O my soul, come, praise the Eternal with all that is in me – body, emotions, mind, and will – every part of who I am – praise His holy name. O my soul, come, praise the Eternal; sing a song from a grateful heart; sing and never forget all the good He has done. – (Psalm 103:1-2, VOICE)

For so many, I know this pandemic is a very long season of struggle. Isolation and financial hardships have not been a positive pairing. However, even so, God is good. Difficult seasons have a way of bringing out the good in people. I have witnessed generosity and grace, kindness, goodness and compassion, in spaces where it was needed most. As we praise God and remember His blessings, it inspires us to do the same for those around us. The more we recognize the goodness of God, the greater our desire becomes to praise Him with all that we are. May we ever seek to know God more, and allow our lives to sing out our gratitude for who He is and all that He has done, as we intentionally love people and love God, the way that He intended.

Lord, I lift my praise,

All up unto You;

For Your mighty love,

And all that You do.

Your kindness and grace,

Give reason to sing;

All thanks unto You,

Our praise offering.

Let our very lives,

Be songs that give praise;

For Your mighty love,

Outpoured each new day.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our reason to praise. Thank You for Your goodness and grace, love and merciful ways, shown to us again and again throughout all of our days. Forgive us for allowing our eyes to fix on the difficulties before us, rather than on the One who is our Provider. Teach us to turn to You, recognizing the power of Your love and provision. Show us how to love those around us in ways that glorify You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You with all that we are through all that we do and say. Amen.

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

Sing to Him, sing praise to Him; tell of all His wonderful acts. – 1 Chronicles 16:9