Steadfast Solitude

At daybreak, Jesus went out to a solitary place. – (Luke 4:42a, NIV)

The next day Jesus went to a place to be alone. – (Luke 4:42a, ERV)

Early the next morning Jesus went out to an isolated place. – (Luke 4:42a, NLT)

 

The fourth chapter of Luke begins with Jesus being led through the wilderness on His own, where He was tempted by the devil after forty days of fasting. Each time Jesus is tempted, He refutes the temptation with the truth of God’s word. The next portion of chapter four speaks of the various synagogues where Jesus spoke and taught and healed. By the time we reach verse forty-two, it only makes sense that Jesus would get away to pray and recharge, as people were constantly seeking to be in His presence. If Jesus, who is God in flesh, prioritized making time and finding space to be alone and pray, shouldn’t we? As an educator, coach, mom and a wife, I love hard, yet often feel spent by the end of the day. For me, creating space early each morning to rise, refresh and reset with my Redeemer, makes all of the difference. My day begins new, as I am recharged and reminded of what matters most before I actually encounter other humans. I know early mornings are not for everyone, but time and space to reset with God, ought to be. He is always available and willing to meet us where we are, and leads us to become more of who He has created us to become. His love fills us and His light shines through us, if only we choose to find time and space to be in His presence. May we be intentional to find solitude with God, so that we may reset and be refreshed, ever becoming more of who He has created us to be, so that we might love Him and love people well.

 

A time to reset, Hope in Discouragement

In the Lord’s presence;

Sets our hearts and minds,

With grace and reverence.

To be at our best,

We need solitude;

Time alone with God,

Align attitudes.

May we choose find time,

And create a space;

Be in God’s presence,

So we show His grace.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Jesus showed us that it ought to be a priority to seek time alone with You. Thank You that as we do, You meet us where we are and change us from the inside out. Thank You that Your heart for us is full of love and grace, and You fill us so that we may extend the same to those around us as we see Your face. Forgive us for not being intentional to seek time with You. Help us to discover the value of intentional solitude in Your presence. Show us how to love those around us in ways that clearly demonstrate Your goodness and grace, tangibly. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we look to You anew this morning, and praise You for Your faithfulness to meet us each time we seek. Amen.

 

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

 

But if from there you seek the Lord your God, you will find Him if you seek Him with all your heart and with all your soul. – Deuteronomy 4:29

Giving God Room

“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)

 

This is the season where it seems that everyone begins to feel a bit weary and burdened with life. Perhaps it is due to shorter days with less light, colder weather, more demands as the year draws to a close; whatever the case may be, the blessing of time off that covers Christmas and into the New Year, is both welcome and needed. Currently, I am in Oregon, spending time with Mom, as my sister and her family were able to get away for a much-needed family vacation. Rest comes in various forms, and despite being wide awake before five this morning, I slept well and feel rested. My sister and her family had a bit of a debacle with their plane departing and a missed connecting flight, so they arrived to their destination less than an hour ago, when they were scheduled to arrive late last evening. Today, at noon, they will attend my brother-in-love’s alma mater’s bowl game. Perhaps the rest and refreshment for them will come in the form of love, laughter and shared stories, after having successfully navigated the crazy frustration of last evening. Sometimes the rest we need for our lives is more for our heart and soul, than for our body. Often, I am most refreshed after a long run or a vigorous hike, despite that seeming counter-intuitive to rest. Rest is really a matter of being aware of God’s presence, wherever we are, and allowing His peace to permeate our entire being. It is a laying down of the weight we are carrying and giving God room to take over and be the One in charge, as He is far better at it than we are. We are all wired differently, and He grants rest to each of us, individually, as we seek Him. May we each go to God in our weariness, and allow Him room to grant us His rest.

As for Mom, it is wonderful to be with her! She is amazing me with her resilience and willingness to do the hard work. Yesterday afternoon we needed to look for a cane for her next step in physical therapy, and Mom was ready to go. I anticipated taking her in her wheelchair, as that is what I have known for outings that required potential long walks with many people around, but Mom said, “no, the walker is fine.” By golly, she totally did it too! We made our way into the store, found what we needed, paid in the pharmacy (no lines!) and returned to the car without incident. We were not fast, but she did it well. After dinner we worked on her speech homework together, and giggled quite a bit. Before long, we were wiped out and ready to call it a day. Both of us slept well, and I actually woke up before Mom.

 

When you are weary, wp-15775437741204257769910717152582.jpg

And in need of rest;

Pursue the Lord God,

For He provides best.

He knows what we need,

Far better than us;

Our heart, soul and mind,

His grace helps adjust.

Where things are heavy,

He’ll carry the load;

Take us by the hand,

On challenging roads.

For things of the heart,

He blesses with peace;

Grants love and laughter,

Ease burden’s release.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can come to You, no matter what shape we are in. Thank You that when we are weary, You grant us Your rest. When we are burdened, You lighten our load or grant us the strength needed to sustain us. Forgive us for attempting to shoulder heaviness on our own, or power through when we need rest. Teach us to trust You more, as You are our great Provider. Show us how to love those around us in practical and tangible ways, so that they may experience rest and a lightening of their burdens when we draw near. Help them to see that it is You in us that loves well. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for Your provision of rest and relief when we are weary and burdened. Amen.

 

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

 

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

Choose Praise

And Mary said: “My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, … for the Mighty One has done great things for me – Holy is His Name.” – (Luke 1:46,47 & 49, NIV)

Then Mary said, “I praise the Lord with all my heart. I am very happy because God is my Savior. Yes, the Powerful One has done great things for me. His Name is very holy. – (Luke 1:46, 47 & 49, ERV)

Mary: My soul lifts up the Lord! My spirit celebrates God, my Liberator! For the Mighty One has done great things for me; holy is God’s Name! – (Luke 1:46, 47 & 49, VOICE)

 

I observe in awe and wonder, the heart of Mary, as she focused on the gift and the honor for which she had been chosen, rather than the stigma and challenges that would come with what was being asked of her. She trusted God, and praised Him. In this season, and always, I desire to have a heart like hers. God has done incredibly great things for me, and I know with all that I am, that He indeed, is holy. When challenges come, I desire for my focus to be on glorifying God for who He is, so that I may rejoice in Him, rather than my circumstances. As we walk into the wearying last week before break, may we look to the Lord and celebrate all that He has done. May praise be present within me, as I know the true joy in who He is and how He loves so well.

 

I choose praise the Lord,

With all of my heart;

Celebrate His grace,

And strength He imparts.

So many great things,

The Lord does in love;

Worthy of our praise,

All gifts from above.

He’s mighty to save,

And faithful to show;

The mercy we need,

As His blessings flow.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we have unending reasons to glorify You and rejoice in Your Mighty Name. Thank You that Your mercies are new every morning and that Your faithfulness knows no end. Thank You that You love us with an unfailing love. Forgive us for doubting the depths of Your love and care when life takes difficult turns. Teach us to trust You more, as You know the outcome and walk beside us each step of life’s journey. Show us how to love those around us well, so that we extend grace and strength and hope to those who are lacking. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You praise, our Savior, who does great things for us all. Amen.

 

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

 

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

Use the Gifts

Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. – (1 Peter 4:10, NIV)

God has shown you His grace in many different ways. So be good servants and use whatever gift He has given you in a way that will best serve each other. – (1 Peter 4:10, ERV)

Use whatever gift you’ve received for the good of one another so that you can show yourselves to be good stewards of God’s grace in all its varieties. – (1 Peter 4:10, VOICE)

 

One of the reasons that I love to coach is because I was blessed with coaches who encouraged and inspired me to be the best version of myself, both on and off of the playing field/gym floor. A gift that I feel God has birthed and grown in me, is one of encouragement. This is an asset for a coach, and one of the things that I enjoy immensely about the job that I have partaken in for the majority of my life. There is great reward in encouraging and helping young athletes grow, and such joy in watching them discover the fruit of their labor. This morning, I have an interview for a high school assistant gymnastics coaching position at our local high school. My experience has been coaching recreational and middle school gymnastics since I was sixteen, yet the high school arena is entirely new, barring my own experience as a gymnast. As a middle school head coach, this would be an incredible opportunity to learn the sport at an entirely new level. For me, the hope is to grow that which is already within, so that I may become better equipped to lead well, and to extend what I have to offer to this group as we grow together. God is good, and He is faithful. I am embracing the opportunity to learn, and will serve in this season, whether I am hired for the paid spot or not.

 

We’re all given gifts, img_2019-11-21_04-33-541632839495721985461.jpg

In various forms;

Intended to serve,

Blessings God affords.

Whatever we have,

We are meant to use;

To extend God’s grace,

Purposeful pursuit.

May we each go forth,

And serve as we’re called;

Operate in strength,

Through God’s love installed.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You create each one of us with strengths, gifts and purpose. Thank You that You provide new opportunities for us to grow and utilize that which we have been given. Forgive us for the times that we neglect to navigate in the strength that we have been granted, or attempt to be someone or something other than who we are created to be. Teach us to lean into You so that we would be confident in that which we are called and created to do. Show us how to love those around us in exactly the way that it is needed most. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we walk out our purpose in the gifts that You have planted and purposed in each of us. Amen.

 

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

 

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. – James 1:17

Love Because…

Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. – (1 John 4:11, NIV) 

That is how much God loved us, dear friends! So we also must love each other. – (1 John 4:11, ERV)

My dear, dear friends, if God loved us like this, we certainly ought to love each other. – (1 John 4:11, MSG)

 

So far, this weekend has been exactly what Mark and I both needed. It is the first weekend in months that we have not had plans nor an agenda. Yesterday turned into a wonderful day of quality time catching up with friends. After my love and I took care of some errand and returned home, I was able to escape and get mani/pedis with my best friend. Between us, our work schedules have kept us from spending the time together that we would most enjoy, so an afternoon together was a great way to catch up. In the evening, Mark and I met up with one of my dearest friends from childhood (our bonus sister), along with her husband and son, and spent a wonderful evening together, sharing life and enjoying each other’s company. The love that God gives us to love one another was made evident throughout the day in each interaction. His love runs deep, and it is not limited by how often we see one another. His goodness and grace are abundant, and relationships long ago established, remain full of love by His grace. May we ever recognize the depth of love that God has for us, and extend the same to those with whom we interact.

 

May the love of God, Love Because

Move our hearts and minds;

To love as we’re loved,

With grace, choose be kind.

For each time we choose,

To love like the Lord;

His heart is made known,

As good is outpoured.

So, let us choose love,

Just as God loves us;

Grace to each other,

Through hope we express.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the depth and breadth of Your love that envelops us and empowers us to love. Thank You for the gift of friendships that exemplify the greatness of Your grace and goodness of Your love. Thank You that You place Your love for people within us. Forgive us for the times that we have chosen not to extend all that You have given us to others. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would love those around us in the same way that we are loved by You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we receive the incredible love that You give so that we can turn and extend the same to those around us. Amen.

 

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

 

And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. – Matthew 22:39

Everything. Everyone. Every Day.

And give thanks for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. – (Ephesians 5:20, NLT)

And give thanks to God the Father every day through the name of our Lord Jesus the Anointed for all He has done. – (Ephesians 5:20, VOICE)

Always give thanks to Father God for every person He brings into your life in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. – (Ephesians 5:20, TPT)

 

I love that these three various translations place the emphasis on three distinct things. The first, reminds us to give thanks for everything, the second, to be thankful for all that God has done, every day, and lastly, to give thanks for every person that the Lord brings into our lives. Each of these interpretations of the original text provide plentiful prose to promote praise. If we were to sit down and begin listing EVERYTHING we are thankful for, the list ought to continue for days… The second and third translations remind us to give thanks daily to God for the people He provides, and all that He has done. When I take pause and consider either of those, again, my list grows exponentially. God is so good and He is faithful and worthy of our gratitude forever. Though my life has not gone the way I might have imagined, I am blessed beyond what I could have hoped for, and loved lavishly. God has done immeasurably more than I ever hoped or dreamed, and to be real, even prayed. He sees and knows the desires of our heart and hears even the prayers that are but a mere whisper. He is so, so good. All thanks to God the Father every day for everything and all that He has done, and for every person that He has brought into our lives.

 

Always be thankful,

img_20191031_054841_6232209488813426161746.jpg

I am thankful for this sweet moment captured by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography during by boys’ senior photo shoot.

For everything;

For all that God’s done,

The countless blessings.

For people He’s placed,

Throughout all our days;

To navigate life,

And share well His grace.

For those who have taught,

And those who have cared;

Each who has chosen,

To love and to share.

For so many things,

To the Lord, we praise;

All thanks be to God,

Throughout all our days.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the countless ways that You bless us and give us reason to lift our thanks and praise to You. Thank You for everything and everyone that You have done and brought into our lives. Forgive us for forgetting just how gracious and generous You are. Teach us to recognize Your kindness and grace, so that we choose to daily, give You all of our praise. Show us how to love those around us well, so that they too, may feel reason to give You gratitude. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You thanks for everything and everyone, every day. Amen.

 

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

 

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

Return to Rest

Return to your rest, my soul, for the Lord has been good to you. – (Psalm 116:7, NIV)

My soul, relax! The Lord is caring for you. – (Psalm 116:7, ERV)

I said to myself, “Relax and rest. God has showered you with blessings.” – (Psalm 116:7, MSG)

 

I’m not sure if it has been an extraordinarily long week, or if my lack of rest finally caught up with me. Either way, by the time I arrived home from work yesterday afternoon, I was done. Heavy eyes and weary body, for once, I chose to listen to my body and lie down to rest. Typically, if I attempt to take a rest, my efforts last about twenty minutes before my mind and body determine that it is time to get moving again. Yesterday, that was not the case. Two hours later, my loving spouse wandered into our room and asked if I was planning on getting up, as it was already 6pm. As I woke, shocked that so much time had passed, I realized that I had desperately needed the rest. God knew what I needed, and by His grace, there was nothing scheduled, nor anything that I had to do, besides just rest. The evening was spent relaxing, and I had zero difficulty falling asleep at our typically early bedtime. When I woke this morning, there was a moment of wishing I could roll back over and sleep more. Not normal for me, but I can assume that meant I slept soundly. Though it may seem trivial, for me, the ability to relax and rest is clear evidence of the Lord caring for me. Rest and relaxation may look different on any given day, but He knows our need, and cares for us individually. May we seek the Lord to find rest for our weary souls, and relax in the blessings He pours out upon us.

 

Return to your rest, img_2019-10-17_04-44-322420476979709143818.jpg

O my weary soul;

For the Lord is good,

His love makes us whole.

He knows all our needs,

By grace, He provides;

Strength that’s enduring,

And faith to abide.

Relax in God’s rest,

For our needs are known;

Trust and see He’s good,

As His grace is shown.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You care for us in ways that provide rest. Thank You that we can relax and rest in You. Forgive us for neglecting to listen when our heart, mind, body or soul needs rest. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would slow down and find rest in You. Show us how to love those around us in ways that provide opportunities for rest and relaxation, reminding them of the blessings that You bring. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we rest in You and give You praise for the blessings that You continually bring. Amen.

 

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

 

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

Fit Our Feet With Peace

For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared. – (Ephesians 6:15, NLT)

On your feet wear the Good News of peace to help you stand strong. – (Ephesians 6:15, ERV)

Stand on your feet alert, then you’ll always be ready to share the blessings of peace. – (Ephesians 6:15, TPT)

 

This portion of Ephesians six is talking about the armor of God that each of us should wear as we go about our days. The idea of peace on your feet makes perfect sense, as it is a reminder that wherever we go, peace should be present and a foundation on which we stand. His peace is not just any peace, but is the perfect peace that brings blessings and strength, and is present, even when it seems like peace should not be possible. To put on the peace that comes from the Good News, we must know, trust and believe the truth of God. As we learn and grow our roots deeper in Christ, peace becomes more readily present; for we trust what we know. May we invest well in our relationship with the Lord, ever making ready our feet to go forth and share the blessings of peace.

 

May we make ready, fb_img_15335609939204632619799715819584.jpg

Our feet with God’s peace;

As we seek the Lord,

His grace He’ll release.

Strengthened for blessings,

With peace meant to share;

Feet readied to love,

Through ongoing prayer.

Rise up, be ready,

Shoe your feet with peace;

Bless in His goodness,

Surrendered release.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to ready our feet with peace so that wherever we go, peace may accompany us. Thank You that as we grow in You, Your peace is present within us, regardless of our circumstances. Forgive us for the times that we have neglected to allow the peace that is already within us, to pour out of us in the places it is needed most. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would be sensitive to Your leading and know how to best share Your peace in places it is absent. Show us how to love those around us well; especially those in need of peace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we fit our feet with Your peace, every step we take each day. Amen.

 

 

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

 

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

Rooted in Discipleship

This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples. – (John 15:8, NIV)

Show that you are my followers by producing much fruit. This will bring honor to my Father. – (John 15:8, ERV)

Your abundant growth and your faithfulness as My followers will bring glory to the Father. – (John 15:8, VOICE)

 

Yesterday, our pastor continued in a series that is unpacking our foundational beliefs. The focus this week, was on discipleship. Pastor Omar opened with the question, “Is being a disciple of Jesus about what we do or who we are?” As he continued, it became clear that who we are as a disciple, permeates into everything we do. However, it is less about “what” we do specifically, and instead, whether or not we bear fruit; the fruit being that of the Spirit – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. (Galatians 5:22-23) The fruit found in our lives, is what demonstrates discipleship to the world. He went on to talk about what it takes to actually bear fruit; for a seed planted will not grow if it is not set in good soil, nourished and cared for properly. Soil that is rich in what is right and intended for our good growth exists when we are planted in the Presence of God, the Word of God, and the Family of God. Each of these three are necessary to grow our faith and spur one another on into all that we have been called to become. May we ever be intentional to invest in the soil of our lives, so that we may be bearers of the fruit of God.

 

It is to God’s glory, Rooted in What is Real

When we bear much fruit;

It shares of His story,

His grace, resolute.

Choose to plant in good soil,

Enriched with the things;

That grow and establish,

Deep roots and strong wings.

Roots grown in God’s presence,

With time in His Word;

And wings to keep flying,

Surrounded and heard.

Our peace, patience, kindness,

And gentleness too;

Love and faithfulness,

Show growth that is true.

A life with self-control,

Too, tells the story;

Of a most faithful God,

And brings Him glory.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You desire for each of us to be Your disciples – not by what we do, but rather in who we are. Thank You that You show us what it is to grow and invest in good soil so that we may establish deep roots in You and bear much fruit. Forgive us for the times that our fruit has been bruised or rotten, as we allowed our own egos or agendas to get in the way of what You were doing in or through us. Teach us to trust You more, so that we are intentional to invest time in Your presence, Your Word, and in the community to which You have called us. Show us how to love well and bear fruit that lasts. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love You and choose to follow You as life-long learners. Amen.

 

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

 

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

This Wonderful Grace

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God. – (Ephesians 2:8, NIV)

I mean that you have been saved by grace because you believed. You did not save yourselves; it was a gift from God. – (Ephesians 2:8, ERV)

For it was only through this wonderful grace that we believed in Him. Nothing we did could ever earn this salvation, for it was the gracious gift from God that brought us to Christ! – (Ephesians 2:8, TPT)

 

I am forever grateful for God’s grace. His grace grants us the faith to receive the gift that He freely offers. All we need already is, it is simply up to us to embrace His grace or reject it. Daily, I am reminded of my own need for His grace. Whether in moments of frustration or through opportunities to extend kindness, grace is a gift that brings us back to Christ, and reminds us of His goodness. Each time we extend grace, we are offering glimpses of God’s goodness to those around us. May we give thanks for the grace that saved us, and continue in faith, extending the same to those around us, so they too may understand the precious gift that God gives.

 

The grace of the Lord, stone of grace

That’s mighty to save;

Freely grants new life,

All sins He forgave.

Not because we’ve done,

Acts of good to earn;

But simply through trust,

By faith, standing firm.

His glorious gift,

Of love and of grace;

Given lavishly,

So all might embrace.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that salvation is an amazing gift of grace that You grant us through faith. Thank You that none of us could somehow earn our way into Your grace, but rather You readily receive all who call on Your Name. Forgive us for not extending grace to others in all things and at all times. Teach us to trust and rely on You more, so that we would be tangible examples of Your grace to the world. Show us how to love those around us in ways that offer the grace that is needed most. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we glorify You for the amazing gift of Your grace that saves, and praise You with our lives as we extend grace to those around us. Amen.

 

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

Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. – 1 Corinthians 1:3