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

Dependable in Distress

When I am in distress, I call to You, because You answer me. – (Psalm 86:7, NIV)

I am praying to You in my time of trouble. I know You will answer me. – (Psalm 86:7, ERV)

When times of trouble come, I will call to You because I know You will respond to me. – (Psalm 86:7, VOICE)

I am amazed at the power held in our senses. So often, a particular scent takes me back to childhood memories of people or places that made a lasting impression. After yesterday, I am certain that it works the same for animals. The pups had been adjusting back to being home fairly well, but yesterday, after a package containing the rest of our babies’ items from board and train arrived and was opened, Thor began acting out. I quickly took their belongings down to the laundry room to wash in HOT, but aggressive and out of the ordinary behaviors continued. It was as if Thor was instantly taken back and placed in fight or flight mode. The afternoon was exhausting, and I was so grateful for my husband’s help upon his return home from work. A considerable amount of my time had been spent seated on the floor beside Thor, as he refused to enter his crate.(He normally does so very willingly.) Anguish and anger played ping pong in my heart, as I again and again had to release rage and remorse, and redirect my focus to loving my pup well. After quiet prayers were lifted for peace to return, I had a restless night’s sleep. This morning, as I began our normal routine, Thor seemed more His sweet self, and was terrific company after he ate his breakfast. When it was time to get back in his crate, he did so willingly and easily. God responds when we seek Him and He cares about what matters to us. On my part, the patience and prayers will continue, for I know the Lord will respond. May we ever seek the Savior in our distress, for He responds as we call on Him.

God has created,

Wonderfully made;

All of creation,

He loves and will aid.

The Lord hears our cries,

In love, He responds;

He heals what is hurting,

Restores broken bonds.

God sees and He hears,

Each prayer lifted up;

In love He refills,

The emptiest cup.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can call on You in our times of distress and You hear and respond to our heart’s cry. Thank You that You are faithful to meet us, walk beside us, and lovingly restore brokenness. Forgive us for holding onto hurts, and show us how to continually place all in Your hands. Teach us to love in ways that restore and offer hope where hurts have a hold of hearts. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You in our distress and trust You to respond. Amen.

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

He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. – Psalm 147:3

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

Reign in Love

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

Give all your worries to Him, because He cares for you. – (1 Peter 5:7, ERV)

Pour out all your worries and stress upon Him and leave them there, for He always tenderly cares for you. – (1 Peter 5:7, TPT)

For many, this upcoming week creates much anxiety, worry and stress. No matter the outcome of the election, there will be people who are upset. What we must remember, no matter who is chosen, God is still on the throne. He cares for each of us, regardless of our party affiliation. Each of us is created and chosen by Him, with a plan and a purpose. No elected official nor governing body can get in the way of God’s care for each of us, individually and corporately. God is the God of miracles, and He can move mountains and change hearts so that His plans prevail and His love is made known. May we each give our cares, concerns and stress to Him, and allow His love to tenderly care for us. Let His love be made known in and through us.

O Lord, unto You,

We humbly come;

Bringing our worries,

Trusting Your outcome.

In all that we face,

We’re never alone;

The Lord always cares,

And makes His love known.

So, ever seek Him,

Hope in love and grace;

For God’s on the throne,

Let none take His place.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can bring our every worry, care, concern or stress to You, and You show us Your loving kindness and grace. Thank You that no matter who is elected, You are the One who rules heaven and earth. Forgive us for allowing anxiety or fear to dictate how we interact with others. Show us how to love above all else. Teach us how to give You our cares and concerns, and to receive Your tender mercies that are new every morning. Lead us to love all those around us as You do; for You always loved first. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we lift our every concern to You, and trust You to reign and rule in Your love. Amen.

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

Those who know Your Name trust in You, for You, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek You. – Psalm 9:10

In Worrisome Space

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

Give all your worries to Him, because He cares for you. – (1 Peter 5:7, ERV)

Let Him have all your worries and cares, for He is always thinking about you and watching everything that concerns you. – (1 Peter 5:7, TLB)

 

We are in a time that is full of uncertainty and unknowns. It is seemingly impossible to avoid “what if” scenarios, as a state of emergency has been declared by our governor, and the World Health Organization has deemed Covid-19 a pandemic. The weight and worry that I bear looks different than those who are living with compromised immune systems or are in households with young children or elderly, as their concerns are much more immediate and life-threatening. For others, it is more a matter of day-to-day living and the wonder as to how it will all work out. As an educator, there is much uncertainty as to when our schools will be closed, and for how long. In this space, my only real choice is to give all of my worries and uncertainties to God. He sees and knows, and He cares about all that concerns us. I know not why such a crazy crisis is taking place, yet I know it is an opportunity for people to rise up and love others well. Our charge is to love as we are loved. May we give all of our worries to God, because He cares for us, and depend on Him to lead and guide us as we navigate this rocky road of uncertainty.

 

In worrisome space, In Worrisome Space

Give all unto God;

The Lord cares for us,

Despite all our flaws.

He sees and He knows,

Our each anxious thought;

He’s present to help,

Each time He is sought.

Even when all things,

Impossible seem;

The Lord has a way,

To give grace, redeem.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can come to You and cast all of our worries and cares upon You. Thank You that Your hands can hold them, and Your shoulders have already bore every burden we ever will bear. Thank You that You provide grace, goodness and love as we come to You. Forgive us for carrying weight and holding anxiety and concerns that we are not meant to hold in fear. Teach us to trust You and listen to wisdom, so that we would navigate in grace and love. Show us how to love well, all those around us, in tangible and meaningful ways. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You all of our cares and concerns and trust You to lead us in wisdom and strength in the face of all of the unknown. Above all, help us to choose love in all that we say and do, every step of the way. Amen.

 

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

 

Cast your cares on the Lord, and He will sustain you; He will never let the righteous be shaken. – Psalm 55:22

What Love Brings

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 who 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 weekend has been a whirlwind, and I have seen God work for the good in incredible ways. First, on Saturday, the high school gymnastics team received some heartbreaking news, just prior to leaving for the state qualifying meet. The ride to the meet was quite somber, and then the incredible support, love and kindness expressed through the head coach’s words of care and concern for all those impacted, led the entire group to enter the building, wiping eyes and leaning on each other. I was in awe at how the girls rallied together and leaned on one another for strength, as they determined that they would persevere and do their best, despite their present circumstance. Good did indeed come from the resolve displayed by these young ladies, as they qualified as a team to compete in the state meet next weekend.

The second example of God working for good that I witnessed this weekend, was as my Viking and I spent the day back in Wenatchee with Mom. Already, we can see the good and beautiful that is yet to come, through her being back in her own hometown. Her joy as we ran errands together and helped set up her new space, was abundantly clear, at the recognition of how far God has brought her, and how much more He has in store for Mom, back in her own community.

Examples such as these, are reminders that God has a plan to work everything for good in our lives; even the most challenging of circumstances. He can bring beauty from ashes and hope from despair. Our charge is to trust and follow Him. May we ever seek the Lord and listen to His leading, so that we may walk in the goodness that He has planned for each of our lives.

 

In everything, wp-15819516692066865318171231899170.jpg

The Lord can bring good;

Beyond what we’d hope,

His grace understood.

Beauty from ashes,

Hope up from despair;

God makes a new way,

Shows our hearts He cares.

Lean into the Lord,

Seek Him in all things;

Trust His faithfulness,

And watch what love brings.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You work all things out for good for those who love You and seek Your face. Thank You for showing Your faithfulness again and again. Thank You that You love and protect, care for and provide. Forgive us for our frustrations and fears when all we can see is the dark or the despair. Teach us how to trust You in troubled times, for You move mountains, even when we cannot see Your work. Show us how to love those around us well, so that they may know Your love, hope, faithfulness and care for them in tangible ways. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love You and seek to follow Your leading for every next step in our lives. Amen.

 

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

 

I will sing the Lord’s praise, for He has been good to me. – Psalm 13:6

Come with Confidence

In Him and through faith in Him we may approach God with freedom and confidence. – (Ephesians 3:12, NIV)

In Christ we come before God with freedom and without fear. We can do this because of our faith in Christ. – (Ephesians 3:12, ERV)

Now we can come fearlessly right into God’s presence, assured of His glad welcome when we come with Christ and trust in Him. – (Ephesians 3:12, TLB)

 

Though we fall short and are fallible, when we are rooted and established in Christ, we can approach God with freedom and confidence, knowing that He will welcome us; not because we are worthy, but because we are covered and made clean as we come with His Son. There is such comfort in knowing that we may approach our Maker, no matter how we come, and we will be heard and accepted by Him. Christ bridged the great divide between heaven and earth, and because of Him, there is no prayer too great or small to miss the ear of God. He hears and He cares, and we can be confident that He is moving on our behalf, even when we cannot see what is being done. May we hold fast to our faith and trust in the freedom and confidence that we have been granted through Christ.

It has been a strange couple of days with a lack of communication between mom and myself, as my days have been filled with back-to-school meetings and planning time with my colleagues, and my evenings booked with concerts and a football game. Not at all our usual, and it put a wrench in timing for talking. What I did happily observe, however, is that my brother-in-love took mom out for a walk in the sunshine. They made it to a park nearby, and watched a helicopter take off as they traveled. I know how much she loves and needs to be outdoors, so it was a blessing to see that she was out and enjoying the weather. We are still waiting and praying for all of the details to be coordinated for her in-home therapies, and continuing to fearlessly enter His presence with these requests.

 

Unworthy alone,

Yet covered in Christ;

Granted confidence,

As He paid the price.

His goodness and grace,

Covers all our sin;

Makes the way for us,

To pray, enter in.

For God, the Father,

Does not see our flaws; 

He sees Christ in us,

Not what our heart was.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can confidently and fearlessly come before You, because of Christ. Thank You that rather than our flaws, You see the perfection of Your Son. Forgive us for forgetting the enormity of the price that was paid for us to freely enter Your presence, or for somehow discounting the fact that it has been done. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would bring our requests before You and praise You for the work You are doing, and that which You have already done. Show us how to love those around us well, so that they may be acutely aware of Your goodness and grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we confidently come to You, trusting You to hear our every prayer. Amen.

 

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

 

I call on You, my God, for You will answer me; turn Your ear to me and hear my prayer. – Psalm 17:6

For God and His Grace

Ah, Sovereign Lord, You have made the heavens and the earth by Your great power and outstretched arm. Nothing is too hard for You. – (Jeremiah 32:17, NIV)

Lord God, with Your great power You made the earth and the sky. There is nothing too hard for You to do. – (Jeremiah 32:17, ERV)

Eternal Lord, with Your outstretched arm and Your enormous power You created the heavens and the earth. Nothing is too difficult for You. – (Jeremiah 32:17, VOICE)

 

The same God, who in His great power, made the heavens and the earth, also knit each of us together while we were being formed in the womb. He knows every cell and fiber of our being, and the unspoken needs of our hearts. God sees, He hears, He cares, and He answers, even when we are unsure of what we are asking.

This morning, I am grateful that I had a four-hour stretch of sleep, after multiple wake-ups due to the pain that mom is suffering from her right shoulder. Finally, after a second dose of ibuprofen, she was able to sleep for a stretch long enough to provide both of us some true rest. Thankfully, her shoulder seldom bothers her during the day, as she is able to support it properly and stretch and utilize it in the ways that best keep it stable. The struggle is during the night as she sleeps. As she continues to grow stronger, she adjusts her sleep position more and more, yet doing so in a way that does not cause pain to her shoulder, is extraordinarily difficult, particularly when she is maneuvering in her sleep. Yesterday, mom did her best walking yet. She walked the full length of the hallway with her walker without assistance nor pause, and did so fluidly and with clear purpose. Additionally, mom showed marked improvement with all of her strengthening exercises during physical therapy as well. So much so, that we discussed a possible transition to a hemi-walker on Friday (which is a much smaller, one-handed walker that assists in a transition to a cane). Mom is motivated and determined, and after she and I had a quick outing to drive to pick up a prescription and coffees, we returned home. After lunch she decided she would relax and watch a movie in the living room, so I had her transfer from her wheelchair to a comfortable chair. For the first time ever, as she transferred, she actually picked up her right foot as she stepped! She did not slide nor drag it, but picked it up for an actual step. The entire transfer was completely on her own, with me only holding her right arm so that it would not dangle down and cause pain. We both recognized right away what she had done, and looked at one another in awe and pure delight. God is moving, and we are seeing the fruit of her labor and His faithfulness. The biggest prayers right now are obviously for her full and complete healing, yet as we wait, for no more pain and ongoing regain in that right arm. He is good, and we continue to trust in Him.

 

The very same God, For God and His Grace

Who made earth and sky;

Saw fit to make us,

And loved with His life.

Whatever we face,

All that comes our way;

Is never too much,

For God and His grace.

He knows all our needs,

And hears our heart’s cry;

He draws ever near,

Lord of love, Most High.

So, each day we choose,

To trust in His grace;

For always He’s good,

And He’ll make a way.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You, the One who created heaven and earth, by Your great power, can overcome anything with a mere word. Thank You that You know us and love us, and are willing to draw near and hear our every cry. Forgive us for our wavering faith. Teach us to trust You more. Show us how to love those around us in a way that encourages and strengthens and gives grace and goodness in the spaces where it is needed most. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose to trust in You, and recognize that You are far greater than all else. Amen.

 

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

 

Praise be to the name of God for ever and ever; wisdom and power are His. – Daniel 2:20

Not Meant to Shoulder Alone

Give all your worries and cares to God, for He cares about you. – (1 Peter 5:7, NLT)

Let Him have all your worries and cares, for He is always thinking about you and watching everything that concerns you. – (1 Peter 5:7, TLB)

Pour out all your worries and stress upon Him and leave them there, for He always tenderly cares for you. – (1 Peter 5:7, TPT)

 

This is a timely reminder, as school feels really heavy right now. The academic demands feel unapproachable to some, and the behaviors displayed in response, disrupt and distract, making the teaching process extremely challenging. Inadvertently, I begin to carry the weight of the worry as to how to help all kids learn and grow. Though it is critical that I care, it is not my burden to bear alone. First and foremost, I need to give the weight of the worry and stress to the Lord, and allow Him to hold the heaviness. Second, I must ask for what I need. If it is strength or clarity or perspective, God is faithful to meet us where we are. When it is a tangible need that can be met in the moment by a colleague or simply by creating a built-in break, then each avenue ought to be utilized. May we cast all our cares to the Lord, for He is able and willing to walk us through, bearing the weight we are not meant to shoulder alone.

 

When worry and stress,

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Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

Begin to weigh down;

Give all to the Lord,

In Him, help is found.

Help in our struggles,

Strength when we feel weak;

In love and in grace,

He answers who seek.

So, go to the Lord,

With stress and concern;

He’s ever for us,

Unto Him, let’s turn.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we are not meant to bear the weight of the world on our shoulders. Thank You that we can come to You and give You our worries and cares, and You will shoulder the weight and grant us the help we need to navigate whatever we face. Forgive us for attempting to bear heavy burdens on our own, rather than running to You. Teach us to trust You more, as You are our strength and peace, no matter what storm we face. Show us how to love those around us in a way that provides help, peace and hope in the places where stress or anxiousness were weighing heavily on their heart. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give all of our worry and stress to You, and trust You to be our strength. Amen.

 

 

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

 

Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior, who daily bears our burdens. – Psalm 68:19