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

Follow the Example of Love

Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. – (Ephesians 5:1-2, NIV)

You are God’s dear children, so try to be like Him. Live a life of love. Love others just as Christ loved us. He gave Himself for us – a sweet-smelling offering and sacrifice to God. – (Ephesians 5:1-2, ERV)

Watch what God does, and then you do it, like children who learn proper behavior from their parents. Mostly what God does is love you. Keep company with Him and learn a life of love. Observe how Christ loved us. His love was not cautious but extravagant. He didn’t love in order to get something from us but to give everything of Himself to us. Love like that. – (Ephesians 5:1-2, MSG)

I so appreciate the Message translation of this passage. The reality that what God mostly does is love us, is incredible and undeserved. If we spend time with Him, He teaches and shows us what it is to live a life of love. Christ’s love is selfless, not selfish. He loved without expecting anything in return. We are called to do likewise. This kind of love is not natural for the human heart, however, the more we seek and spend time with the Lord, the more we learn to love like Him. In a world where so much adversity and animosity exist, we need to love all the more. Love is a decision, not a feeling. We must choose to love one another as we are loved by God. In order to do so, we must seek the Lord, know Him, and depend on Him to equip us to do exactly what we were created to do. May we ever lean into the Lord to show us what it is to love in every situation and circumstance.

As children of God,

May we seek to love;

All people, always,

Like the Lord above.

It is a free gift,

With no strings attached;

Yet it draws us in,

In thanks, we react.

Respond with kindness,

God’s grace, love and peace;

The more we choose love,

Enmity released.

The Lord’s love gave all,

We’re called to the same;

To extend His grace,

Instead of placed blame.

Lead us in love, Lord,

Show us love Your way;

Help us be better,

Each waking new day.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You first loved us – completely and extravagantly, despite what we deserved. Thank You that You call us to love in the same way. Forgive us for the times that we have neglected to choose love. Show us how to love like You in all things and at all times. Instruct us as You grow our hearts to more closely reflect Your own. Use us as Your ambassadors of peace as we seek to love You and people well. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we ever pursue You and seek to be a reflection of Your radiant love. Amen.

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

You, Lord, are forgiving and good, abounding in love to all who call to You. – Psalm 86:5

Making Our Days Matter

Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom. – (Psalm 90:12, NIV)

Teach us how short our lives are so that we can become wise. – (Psalm 90:12, ERV)

Help us to remember that our days are numbered, and help us to interpret our lives correctly. Set Your wisdom deeply in our hearts so that we may accept Your correction. – (Psalm 90:12, TPT)

A common thread among us is that I think we are all far more aware that our days are numbered. There is nothing quite like a pandemic to remind us that none of us are immune to the reaches of the affects, as I know few folks who do not at least know someone impacted by COVID19. We have the opportunity to respond to the realization that none of us are guaranteed a long life on earth, so how we spend our days matters. In order to use the time we are given well, we need God’s wisdom. He is faithful to grow us and show us more and more of His love and grace, as we choose to follow after Him. The Lord is faithful to direct and correct, if we are willing to pursue Him and respond to His promptings. I desire to live each day with intention, and am acutely aware of my need for God’s intervention to do so. May we ever recognize that we are not promised tomorrow, so that we might live each day with wisdom and grace, according to God’s good and perfect plan.

O Lord, I thank You,

For each day thus far;

As Your love and grace,

Meet us where we are.

Grant us Your wisdom,

Help us to live well;

Let each brand new day,

Be love’s show and tell.

May each day we rise,

Be seen as a gift;

Each moment a chance,

For spirits to lift.

Lord, show me Your heart,

In each circumstance;

Make me wise with love,

To live out Your plans.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have good plans for each of us. Thank You that You meet us as we seek You, and You grant us wisdom to navigate our days well. Forgive us for the times that we take our days for granted. Teach us how to live with intention, each new day that we draw breath. Show us how to live and love with wisdom and grace, so that all might seek Your welcome embrace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for each new day, and seek You to live it out with wisdom, love and grace. Amen.

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

How many are Your works, Lord! In wisdom You made them all; the earth is full of Your creatures. – Psalm 104:24

Trust in the Simple and Strange

Simon (Peter) answered, “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because You say so, I will let down the nets.” – (Luke 5:5, NIV)

Simon (Peter) answered, “Master, we worked hard all night trying to catch fish and caught nothing. But You say I should put the nets in the water, so I will.” – (Luke 5:5, ERV)

“Master,” Peter replied, “we’ve just come back from fishing all night and didn’t catch a thing. But if You insist, we’ll go out again and let down our nets because of Your word.” – (Luke 5:5, TPT)

There is so much loaded in this one particular verse. Jesus went to career fishermen who had just had a fruitless night of fishing, and told them to let down their nets. I imagine in their minds, they thought that it was a pointless task, yet they were intrigued enough to try, after having just listened to Jesus teach to those along the shore from their boat. What happened next was a pivotal teaching point, as the nets of those fishermen filled to overflowing. In fact, it says that the nets were so full that the boats began to take on water. Jesus used the men’s own area of expertise to illustrate what it would be like to join Him and become “fishers of men”. This miraculous catch reached the hearts of the fishermen, and further showed them that they could trust Jesus at His word. Those fishermen became the first of those Jesus called to be His disciples. 

This reminds me that though the things that Jesus calls us to might seem useless or ridiculous, we must trust Him, as He can turn the ordinary into extraordinary when we are willing to do as He asks. May we ever seek to hear the heart of heaven as we go about our days, for we never know the impact our obedience might have.

No matter the ask, 

That comes from the Lord;

Our obedience,

Will not be ignored.

God takes willing hearts,

Blesses from above;

Makes light and hope known,

And pours out His love.

Lord, help us to see,

Be willing to hear;

To answer Your call,

Show You’re always near.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You love us and call us to partner with You to make Your love known. Forgive us for the times that we have neglected to do that which we felt called to do, or for the times that we hesitated or questioned something that seemed small or bizarre. Teach us to trust You and to hear Your voice clearly. Grant us Your strength to move forward in love. Show us how to love those around us best, be it through small or great things. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose to step out in faithful obedience to all that You call us to do. Amen.

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

In You, Lord my God, I put my trust. – Psalm 25:1

Our Way Maker

They got up, drove Him out of the town, and took Him to the brow of the hill on which the town was built, in order to throw Him off the cliff. But He walked right through the crowd and went on His way. – (Luke 4:29-30, NIV)

They got up and forced Jesus to go out of town. Their town was built on a hill. They took Jesus to the edge of the hill to throw Him off. But He walked through the middle of the crowd and went away. – (Luke 4:29-30, ERV)

They mobbed Jesus and threw Him out of the city, dragging Him to the edge of the cliff on the hill on which the city had been built, ready to hurl Him off. But He walked right through the crowd, leaving them all stunned. – (Luke 4:29-30, TPT)

This scene transpired soon after Jesus had spent forty days and nights in the wilderness, where He was led by the Spirit and tested by the devil. Jesus had gone to the synagogue in Nazareth, where He was raised, and stood before the crowd to read. At first, His message was well-received, but when He began to speak of how previous prophets were not sent to their own towns to do miraculous things, but rather called to cleanse and heal and provide for those whom the people of the time considered “less worthy”. The words He spoke riled up the crowd and they ran Him out of the synagogue and out to the edge of town, where they fully intended to throw Him off the cliff. Incredibly, Jesus walked right through the crowd and went on His way to continue teaching and touching the lives of those wherever He went. 

As a visual person, the whole mob scene at the edge of a cliff leaves me in awe. Jesus didn’t panic or argue, He simply walked back out through the middle of the mob, unscathed, and free to go where He was called to go. It feels a bit like a “Jedi mind-trick”, as it says nothing of the crowds fighting Him or following Him. Jesus simply walked through where He needed to go, and He was on His way. This story reminds me that no matter how dismal or impossible things seem, if God has called us, He will make a way; whether it is parting a sea, clearing space through a crowd, or supplying all that we need to continue to move forward in that which He has called us to do. With Him, nothing is impossible. May we ever look to the Lord, who is the reason for this sacred season, as He is the One to supply our needs and pave a path that leads where we are meant to go.

A way in the desert,

This passage reminded me of this song. Be blessed as you listen to the truth of who God is.

Safety through the storms;

God’s power in weakness,

How hearts are transformed.

Nothing’s impossible,

As we trust in Him;

Our blessed Redeemer,

Heals and forgives sin.

Lord, help us to trust You,

In everything;

For we have Your Spirit,

And all that He brings.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son to show us who You are and how You love. Thank You that by Your Spirit, nothing is impossible. Thank You that our perspective is not Yours. Forgive us for our limited vision, as we see but only a glimpse and think we understand the whole picture. Teach us to trust You, as You knew our whole story before it had even begun. Show us how to love those around us in ways that help us all see the strength, love and supply that You have for all who trust in You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we invest our hearts, minds, time, strength and supply into all that You call us to. Amen.

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

He guides the humble in what is right and teaches them His way. – Psalm 25:9

Take Joy

Take delight in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart. – (Psalm 37:4, NIV)

Depend on the Lord. Trust in Him, and He will help you. – (Psalm 37:4, ERV)

Take great joy in the Eternal! His gifts are coming, and they are all your heart desires! – (Psalm 37:4, VOICE)

When we delight, depend on, and take great joy in the Lord, we desire what He desires, and we trust Him to help us walk into all that He has for us. All that we are and all that we long for become aligned with God as we earnestly seek Him. The more we understand who He is, the more deeply we delight in Him. God is good, and His love endures forever. As we seek and depend on Him, He shows us more and more of who He is and how He loves. Our desires become intertwined with loving Him and loving His creation. May we ever seek the Lord, in whom we can trust, depend and delight; for He helps us become who we have been created to be, and walk into the desires that align with His.

Take joy in the Lord,

In Him we can trust;

Our help and our hope,

The Savior is just.

When our hearts align,

As God’s very own;

Hopes and dreams fulfilled,

For His love is shown.

Be near us, Lord God,

As we seek to know;

Your heart for all things,

Your help so we grow.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we delight in You, You show us more and more of who You are and how You love. Thank You that it is in this space of knowing, that we recognize the desires of our hearts coming to pass. Forgive us for our selfishness and our lack of seeking You. Teach us to not only seek, but to depend on and delight in You. Show us how to love as You love, so that all might know the goodness of Your grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we take joy in You and all that You have in store for us. Amen.

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

Splendor and majesty are before Him; strength and joy are in His dwelling place. – 1 Chronicles 16:27

Wisdom in Exposure

Dear friends, we have these promises from God. So we should make ourselves pure – free from anything that makes our body or our soul unclean. Our respect for God should make us try to be completely holy in the way we live. – (2 Corinthians 7:1, ERV) 

With promises like this to pull us on, dear friends, let’s make a clean break with everything that defiles or distracts us, both within and without. Let’s make our entire lives fit and holy temples for the worship of God. – (2 Corinthians 7:1, MSG) 

Beloved ones, with promises like these, and because of our deepest respect and worship of God, we must remove everything from our lives that contaminates body and spirit, and continue to complete the development of holiness within us. – (2 Corinthians 7:1, TPT) 

If we love and respect God, and the temple within where He dwells, our objective ought to include removing the things from our lives that lead us away from Him and His will.  We must care for the temple, both outside and in. This means that the things that we expose ourselves to and consume, either edify and align with God, or they do not. With all that is going on in our country and our world, it is especially important to keep the main things, the main things. When we choose to use wisdom as to what we take in, we are better able to fix our eyes and hearts on where our hope is held. Though I stumble and fall short, my hope is in Christ, and I desire to honor Him through every decision I make, and how I care for the heart, mind, body and soul that He has given me. May we ever fix our eyes and hearts on Christ and His ways, so that we may rid ourselves of everything that contaminates body and spirit, and seek Him to develop His holiness within us. 

Let us choose part ways, 

With things that distract; 

Both mind and body, 

Temptations, attacks. 

Instead, let us fix, 

Our hearts upon Him; 

So Christ is honored, 

By what we take in. 

Though all’s permitted, 

Not all things are good; 

Seek God to guide us, 

To do as we should. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we seek You, You lead us in how to best care for our body, heart, soul and mind. Thank You that You provide wisdom and guidance as we trust and rely on You. Forgive us for the times that we have allowed garbage in, or have gotten caught up in what is around us, rather than abiding by You who are within us. Teach us to listen to Your leading. Help us to make a clean break from that which distracts or defiles us. Show us how to love those around us well, so that Your loving kindness is what is evident to all. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek to honor You by how we tend to the temple that we have been given. Amen. 

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

Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own, you were bought at a price. Therefore, honor God with your bodies. – 1 Corinthians 6:19-20

Time to Grow in Wisdom

Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom. – (Psalm 90:12, NIV) 

Teach us how short our lives are so that we can become wise. – (Psalm 90:12, ERV) 

Help us to remember that our days are numbered, and help us to interpret our lives correctly. Set Your wisdom deeply in our hearts so that we may accept Your correction. – (Psalm 90:12, TPT) 

We have a limited amount of time to be who we are called to be. Wisdom is required to walk out our days well. I don’t know about you, but I know for me, I am acutely aware of my need for wisdom to do that which I am called to do. This is especially evident this year, as we are navigating new territory to teach remotely, then in a hybrid manner, and ultimately, how to transition back to a full schedule on campus. Last spring, we all were in survival mode, doing the very best that we could with what we had. Sadly, there were many students who were unable to participate and engage, and much wisdom will be required to make it work for all students. To be wise is to be willing to take direction and correction, as we continue to learn how to navigate the new. I need Jesus to accelerate my learning, and show me the ways that are His best. My hope is to smoothly start the year, engaging all students and to create a learning community that will translate both online and back in the classroom. Time is short, and there is so much to learn. May we seek the Lord for His wisdom, so that we may make the most of every day that we are given. 

Our time here is short, 

And our days are few; 

We need God’s wisdom, 

To know what to do. 

As we choose seek Him, 

He’s faithful to show; 

What we’re meant to do, 

And how we can grow. 

With a willing heart, 

Investment of time; 

He’ll show us the way, 

Shift our paradigm. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You meet us and impart Your wisdom as we earnestly seek You. Thank You that as we recognize how limited our time is, You are faithful to show us how to utilize it best. Forgive us for thinking that we have an unlimited amount of time, or for not seeking and pursuing Your wisdom to walk out our days according to Your plans. Show us how to number our days and seek after the wisdom we need from You. Teach us how to love those around us wisely. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You for wisdom to walk out our days, so that each day that we have matters. Amen. 

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

For the Lord gives wisdom; from His mouth come knowledge and understanding. – Proverbs 2:6

To Be Clothed Well

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

God has chosen you and made you His holy people. He loves you. So your new life should be like this: Show mercy to others. Be kind, humble, gentle, and patient. – (Colossians 3:12, ERV)

You are always and dearly loved by God! So robe yourself with virtues of God, since you have been divinely chosen to be holy. Be merciful as you endeavor to understand others, and be compassionate, showing kindness toward all. Be gentle and humble, unoffendable in your patience with others. – (Colossians 3:12, TPT)

 

The times that I feel like I am the very best version of myself, are those in which I am led by the mercy that God has overwhelmingly shown me, again and again, so that I might interact with others with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Some of these attributes seem to be more abundant than others, and I clearly have “hot buttons” that when pushed, deplete my seeming supply to love as I am called to love. Constant bickering (when my boys were younger), or a teething puppy that struggles with impulse control to nip, are a few of the things if on repeat all day long, wear me down and deplete my capacity to feel merciful. Thankfully, much in the same way that patience and perseverance carried my boys and me through their younger years when they fought often, I know the same is true with this short-lived stage in puppyhood. The Passions Translation version drives it home well for me, as it is an ongoing reminder of how to operate in the struggle: “Be merciful as you endeavor to understand others, and be compassionate, showing kindness toward all.” It is a reminder that there is always a root reason for the unwanted behaviors, and through patience, compassion and kindness, a solution may be discovered and better way be made. Incredibly, sometimes, it is merely consistent kindness that transforms the heart of one who needed it most. May we embrace the blessing we behold in knowing that we have been shown mercy unending and love beyond what our hearts can hold, and go forth choosing to be merciful; ever extending compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience to all those with whom we interact.

 

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We need to love too;

Extend great mercy,

Compassion, exude.

With humility,

May we choose be kind;

Gentle and patient,

With others in mind.

May those whom we meet,

Through our love come know;

What God’s love is like,

Through mercy we show.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You love us with kindness and compassion, mercy and patience beyond measure. Thank You that because of Your love, we can love others. Forgive us for the places where we are lacking compassion, humility, patience, kindness, gentleness or mercy. Teach us how to love more like You. Show us the places and space where there is a greater need for mercy, compassion, humility, patience, kindness and gentleness, and help us to love in a way that represents Your heart tangibly. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for Your love and mercy, and rely on You to help us love like You. Amen.

 

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

 

Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. – Ephesians 4:32

Trust in Faithfulness

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

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

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

 

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

 

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Is right and is true;

He’s faithful always,

His grace sees us through.

Through uncertain times,

Ever He is near;

To help and give hope,

And take away fear.

For God is faithful,

Through everything;

Our strength to press on,

And reason to sing.

 

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

 

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

 

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