Beautiful Strength and Help

I lift my eyes to the mountains – where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. – (Psalm 121:1-2, NIV)

I look up to the hills, but where will my help really come from? My help will come from the Lord, the Creator of heaven and earth. – (Psalm 121:1-2, ERV)

I look up to the mountains; does my strength come from mountains? No, my strength comes from God, who made heaven and earth, and mountains. – (Psalm 121:1-2, MSG)

It is no wonder that when my eyes take in the beauty all around us, that I am reminded again and again of the power, creativity and love that God had as He created all. The very same God who made the mountains and seas, stars and skies, is available and willing to love and help us, if only we allow Him in. I am so grateful that the same power that formed all with His hands, is near and ever helping and holding us up. May we look to the mountains and the stars, and recognize that the same power that made everything, is available to help and hold us all.

Majestic mountains,

Sparkling the seas;

Twinkling the stars,

Show His majesty.

All were created,

Formed by the Lord’s hands;

With loving intent,

As part of His plan.

The very same God,

Of power and might;

Loves each one of us,

Our Father’s delight.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the beauty of creation that reminds us of both Your power and love. Thank You that You are willing and available to help and hold us up whenever we call on You. Forgive us for the times we either try to power through on our own, or make You too small. Thank You that You are bigger than anything and everything we face. Show us how to love those around us in a way that extends strength and support to those who need it most. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for the beauty of creation and the powerful and loving hands of You, Who made all. Amen.

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

We wait in hope for the Lord, He is our help and our shield. – Psalm 33:20

Working All For Good

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose. – (Romans 8:28, NIV)

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

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

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

In everything,

God can create good;

Sunshine after storms,

Grace not understood.

His love never ends,

And His mercy, new;

Each day as we rise,

He’ll show us what’s true.

In love, He will lead,

Show us steps to take;

Heal and build us up,

Despite our mistakes.

So, trust in the Lord,

He’ll use all for good;

As He shows us new,

Where only He could.

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

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

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

Success in Our Savior

But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. – (1 Corinthians 15:57, NIV)

But we thank God who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ! – (1 Corinthians 15:57, ERV)

But we thank God for giving us the victory as conquerors through our Lord Jesus, the Anointed One. – (1 Corinthians 15:57, TPT)

There are times when we are moving forward, ever seeking to do what we are meant to do, and still obstacles come our way. It does not mean we are off course; often it is an indication that there is more that God wants to show or teach us as we press on. He does not cause frustrating things to stand in our way, but He does allow mountains and valleys before us to show His strength that equips us to overcome as we seek Him. One of my goals before my “big” birthday this summer is to run a marathon. About six weeks ago, I fractured all three bones in my little toe. This created a month-long hiatus from running, and some serious frustration. Over the last week or so, I had finally been able to get back to running and was working to rebuild endurance. On my first run back at it, we ended up running our usual pace (prior to the fracture) and I was encouraged and grateful for God’s grace and faithfulness. Fast forward to Friday evening, and out of nowhere I felt feverish and had a sore throat. I was supposed to get a long run in over the weekend, and at long last, return to teaching on campus. Sadly, neither took place, and I am again deterred by a setback. Thankfully, this race we are running is not a sprint, but is an ultra marathon. It requires ongoing forward momentum, even if our steps seem miniscule. God is faithful and grants us victory in Christ. This season may look nothing like I had hoped or imagined, but I know that He is good and will lead me forward according to His plan. He knows the desires of my heart and will not leave me or forsake me. I know not what victory in Him will look like in this season, but I know that God is good. Each new day, I will trust Him to lead me forward, and be my strength to keep moving in the right direction. May we ever thank the Lord for His goodness and faithfulness, for we have the ultimate victory in Him.

All thanks be to God,

Our true victory;

For He is our strength,

The One that we need.

No matter the course,

Our race seems to take;

God will be faithful,

With goodness and grace.

Setbacks and detours,

And bumps in the road;

He grants us His strength,

Helps carry the load.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that no matter what comes our way, You are faithful to be present and see us through. Thank You that even when obstacles lie before us, the road You have set us on remains the same. Forgive us for our frustration with setbacks and obstacles that come our way. Teach us to trust You to remain faithful as You lead us forward, despite how things appear. Show us how to love, encourage and support those around us as they run the race that You have set before them. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You to successfully lead us along the path You have placed before us; for victory is already ours in Christ. Amen.

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

Indeed our shield belongs to the Lord, our King to the Holy One of Israel. – Psalm 89:18

All Can Be For Good

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose. – (Romans 8:28, NIV)

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

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

Though at times this is seemingly impossible, I have seen it again and again in my own life. My greatest trials, hardships and heartaches have been used to grow me, encourage others, and have led to something beautiful. Incredibly, God is always able to work ALL things for our good, if only we are willing to place them in God’s hands. He takes our hurts and creates opportunities to help; He takes our trials and turns them into victories; and He takes our heartaches and brings us to something far more wonderful than we could have hoped or imagined. Additionally, this is available for all who accept His invitation and choose to follow after Him. May we ever seek the Lord and trust in Him, for He brings beauty from our ashes and joy from our sorrows.

The Lord can work all,

For our ultimate good;

Beauty from ashes,

True grace is understood.

During our trials,

The Lord’s present to help;

God’s great faithfulness,

Is our story to tell.

May we ever seek,

For always we shall find;

His help to hold us,

Ever loving and kind.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are able to work ALL things for good for those who love and trust You. Forgive us for our lack of faith when all we can see is the struggle. Teach us to trust in You and to hold fast to the hope of Your promises. Show us how to love those around us in ways that grant hope. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust and watch for You to work all things for good. Amen.

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

“…God has sent me to give them a beautiful crown in exchange for ashes, to anoint them with gladness instead of sorrow…” – Isaiah 61:3

To Love Our Neighbors

He answered, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.” – (Luke 10:27, NIV)

The man answered, “love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your strength, and all your mind.’ Also, ‘Love your neighbor the same as you love yourself.” – (Luke 10:27, ERV)

The religious scholar answered, “It states, ‘You must love the Lord God with all your heart, all your passion, all your energy, and your every thought. And you must love your neighbor as well as you love yourself.’” – (Luke 10:27, TPT)

In this chapter of Luke, Jesus was having a discussion with a religious scholar who was trying to trap Jesus with his questions. The verse listed above is the scholar’s response to Jesus’ question that He asked in response to the man’s initial inquiry about what must be done to inherit eternal life. Jesus had asked him what was written in the Law, and then the man quoted verse 27. The scholar then went on to ask, “…who is my neighbor?” I imagine that Jesus’ response shook him to the core. Jesus went on to tell the parable of the good Samaritan. The story is about a man who was attacked by robbers and left for dead. A priest passed by, saw the wounded, but continued on down the road. Next, a Levite, who was one much like the scholar to whom Jesus was speaking, did the same as the priest. Finally, a Samaritan (who was loathed by the scholar and his kind) came upon the injured man and not only helped him, but bandaged his wounds and took him into town on his own donkey. Upon arrival, the Samaritan took him to an inn and paid for his lodging so that the man might rest and recover. Jesus then asked the scholar which of the three had been a neighbor to the man attacked by robbers. He who had questioned Jesus, recognized that the one who had been a neighbor to the wounded man was the Samaritan who had been merciful. Jesus then told the scholar to go and do likewise.

The point in all this is for self-reflection. How can we love God and love our neighbors as we are called to love? What does it look like when we love with all of our heart, soul, strength and mind? We cannot be all things to all people, but we can begin to love our neighbors well, one at a time. Where are there needs? It is not difficult to find them if we move about with open eyes and hearts. May we ever seek the Lord to show us how to love those around us in ways that truly reflect His heart.

Love God and people,

To this we are called;

Each as our neighbor,

Next door and beyond.

To all those we meet,

We’re meant to show love;

To help and uplift,

With grace from above.

When we see a need,

Let’s do what we can;

Choose love like the Lord,

And live out His plan.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us and show us how to love You and love those around us. Thank You that neighbor is not just about people who live nearby, but rather is anyone with whom we cross paths. Forgive us for the times that we have neglected to love like You. Teach us to see others through Your eyes, so that we may be filled with compassion and grace that seeks to serve and love like You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, as we love the way we were created to love. Be glorified O God, as we seek You for strength and wisdom as to how to love best, all whom we encounter. Amen.

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

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. – John 13:34

Live Purposefully

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose. – (Romans 8:28, NIV)

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

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

 

It is incredible to watch and be a part of a group of people who are all walking out their purpose. Yesterday, despite the challenges of separation, new learning, and all of the trials and tribulations that go hand-in-hand with remote education and running a household (many with children of our own), there was a clear demonstration of so much good, as choosing to love people was and continues to be a clear priority. Our office manager, finance wizard, vice principal, and likely a few others, orchestrated a birthday parade for our principal. Many staff members gathered in the designated parking lot a short distance from her home to coordinate, decorate and caravan together in a parade of cars through her neighborhood. Seeing the smiling faces of fellow staff members and catching up with these dear friends, filled my heart with so much good. The look of surprise and joy on our principal’s face as the parade of vehicles kept rounding through her cul-de-sac, was fantastic. Despite the struggle of being apart and not being able to do our jobs in the way we all are accustomed to doing them, there is good that is coming out of this season, none the less. Personally, I am so grateful that these are the people who are chosen to walk out a similar purpose in this season with me. Though each of us come from different places, spaces and experiences, we are united in purpose as we seek to teach kids and love our community well. God really is able to orchestrate good and beautiful things in every season, as we earnestly seek Him and walk out the life to which we have been called. May we ever listen to the Lord’s leading and continue ever moving forward in love.

 

We know that the Lord, wp-15887743558471974361042245095214.jpg

Can work ALL for good;

We need to pursue,

Live the life we should.

For we are each called,

And made with intent;

With strength and purpose,

Designed, heaven-sent.

Even in hard times,

There’s much good to see;

As we seek to serve,

Live purposefully.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have created each of us with purpose, as we seek to love You and love people well. Thank You that as we move forward in these things, we see the good that You bring, even in trying times. Forgive us for our frustration with timing and circumstances. Teach us to trust Your timing – for You alone know the beginning and the end, and what is best. Show us how to love those around us well in the waiting. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for purpose and for the good that You can bring in all things. Amen.

 

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

 

Give thanks to the God of heaven. His love endures forever. – Psalm 136:26

Working Everything for Good

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose. – (Romans 8:28, NIV)

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

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

 

As I prepare for my last day of school as we know it for the next six weeks, I am so grateful for the truth of God’s word. Though we struggle to see it, He can work everything out for good as we love and trust in Him. This is a great reminder and encouragement while my heart wrestles with the sorrow of opportunities lost for my incredible group of gymnasts, and for the safe-haven that school provides for some of our most challenging kiddos, as they are anxious about the uncertainty that lies before them. While school districts have developed excellent plans to provide meals for kids during the day at strategic locations during the closures, my prayer is that the kids who find sanctuary during school hours in our buildings, would be protected and safe and know they are loved in the time apart. God is good, and He works all things out for the good as we trust in Him. Despite missed opportunities and uncertain spaces, slowing the spread of a sickness that could debilitate our entire medical structure is of critical importance for the good of all, long-term. This is where wisdom is required, and faith is granted the grace to grow greater. May we trust in the Lord and His goodness, and do what we can to love well and do good for those around us in these spaces of uncertainty.

 

In everything, wp-15840994936106113504864189946892.png

God’s promise is true;

He’ll work things for good,

As He makes things new.

In spaces of loss,

The Lord can bring gain;

In unlikely ways,

Good is His domain.

Lord, we give You all,

Trusting all You’ll do;

In faith we will wait,

For love to shine through.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are good and You are worthy of all of our trust. Thank You that in the midst of trials and sorrow and unknowns, You are able to work ALL things out for good. Forgive us for our fear and anxiousness when we allow the unknown to overwhelm us. Teach us to look to You and trust in You, for You are greater than all that we face and You work all things out for good. Show us how to love those around us well, as we can be Your hands, heart and voice that calms and comforts in the midst of chaos, and provides where there is lack. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You and choose to do good as we wait to see the good that You will bring from the unknown that lies before us. Amen.

 

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

 

But as for me, it is good to be near God. I have made the Sovereign Lord my refuge; I will tell of all Your deeds. – Psalm 73:28

Better Ways

“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways,” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts higher than your thoughts.” – (Isaiah 55:8-9, NIV)

The Lord says, “My thoughts are not like yours. Your ways are not like mine. Just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so My ways are higher than your ways, and My thoughts higher than your thoughts.” – (Isaiah 55:8-9, ERV)

“I don’t think the way you think. The way you work isn’t the way I work.” God’s Decree. “For as the sky soars high above the earth, so the way I work surpasses the way you work, and the way I think is beyond the way you think.” – (Isaiah 55:8-9, MSG)

 

I am so grateful that this is the truth. God is not limited to human insight and understanding; for He sees and knows far beyond what we can even begin to imagine. Though we often think we know what would be best, when we give it to God, He reveals that there is so much more. His ways are far greater than ours, and He knows the best way to take us from where we are to where He planned and purposed for us to end up. This is particularly comforting when things do not seem to make sense. When we are caught in the space of “Why?” and need Him to lead, guide, strengthen and equip us to press on to the space that He is bringing us into, and we are not there yet. May we seek the Lord for His thoughts and His ways, for they are far greater than anything that we could ever hope or imagine.

 

The thoughts of the Lord, Statements of Praise

Are higher than mine;

His love so much more,

He’s holy, divine.

So too are His ways,

Far above my own;

His plan is greater,

Beyond what I’ve known.

Let us seek the Lord,

In all and always;

For His plans are good,

To bless and give grace.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your thoughts are so much higher than mine, and Your plans, beyond what my mind can fathom. Forgive us for doubting the goodness that You have in store for us when we are in a season of struggle. Thank You that Your love is not limited by our circumstances. Teach us to trust You in all things and at all times. Show us how to love those around us in the ways that they need love most. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek Your thoughts and Your ways in all things, for they are so much greater than our own. Amen.

 

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

 

Answer me, Lord, out of the goodness of Your love; in Your great mercy turn to me. – Psalm 69:16

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

Known with Purpose

He determines the number of the stars and calls them each by name. – (Psalm 147:4, NIV)

He counts the stars and knows each of them by name. – (Psalm 147:4, ERV)

He sets His stars in place, calling them all by their names. – (Psalm 147:4, TPT)

 

If God, the Creator of the heavens and earth and all that is, knows each star and calls it by name, how much more does He know us, His created? God is aware of even the seemingly most insignificant details; “And even the very hairs on your head are all numbered.” (Matthew 10:30) Love alone, drives such care and concern for who we are, and everything about us. He knows how we were knit together, and He has already called it “good”. Each one of us were born with a plan and a purpose – with gifts and talents to share with the world. Our charge is to seek Him to discover what we have been created for, and then to go forth, and do whatever it is, in love. As a teacher, especially as I wear my art teacher hat, I have the opportunity to help each student who enters my classroom discover that they are an artist. Some come in with a preconceived idea that they have zero artistic abilities, and I spend the entire semester working to help them discover that there are more mediums in art that drawing. Additionally, art is in the eye of the beholder. To one, Picasso is the most profound, whereas to another, Monet or Degas have been deemed the best. God set us all in place too, and He knows us each by name. His care goes far beyond the knowing; He loves so that we can become the very best version of ourselves. May we ever seek the Lord and His loving kindness, so that we can live life in our strengths and purpose with love.

On the way back from a grocery trip with one of my boys, I was able to reach mom on the phone. It was great to talk to her and hear her voice, and I know that it was a bonus for both she and Lucas to speak with one another. Eager to hear about the start of school, much of the conversation was spent answering questions posed by mom. She caught us up on her day, and was pleased to let us know that she had been working hard on walking and other therapy exercises. Her determination and strength are inspiring, and part of the gift of how she was intentionally designed. We continue to pray for the details to fall into place, as mom is still in limbo, waiting for in-home therapies with actual therapists.

 

The very same God, known-with-purpose.jpg

Who hung all the stars;

Made us with a plan,

Purpose that is ours.

Designed with intent,

Wonderfully made;

Fully we are known,

As His love’s displayed.

May we each go forth,

And pursue His plan;

Love with intention,

Each day as we can.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You know and love us so well. Thank You that all of creation has been designed intentionally, and is fully known by You. Forgive us for somehow forgetting just how vast the expanse of Your love and wisdom reaches. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would faithfully pursue You and all that You have for us. Show us how to love well, so that we may walk out our days with purpose in a way that lifts up and encourages those around us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to lead us to love and grow into all that You have for us. Amen.

 

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

 

For it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill His good purpose. – Philippians 2:13

 

* A song that comes to mind as a reminder of this truth, is Stars, by Skillet. ❤