Reason to Rejoice

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! – (Philippians 4:4, NIV)

Always be filled with joy in the Lord. I will say it again. Be filled with joy. – (Philippians 4:4, ERV)

Be cheerful with joyous celebration in every season of life. Let your joy overflow! – (Philippians 4:4, TPT)

The key to this is Whom we rejoice in, not our circumstances. To rejoice is to be glad and take delight in, which is how our hearts feel when we understand who God is, and how He loves. Joy and rejoicing are not dependent on our circumstances, but rather are present despite our circumstances as we look to and lean on the Lord. True joy is found in Him, and is not swayed by what goes on around us. Though rejoicing is not dependent nor determined by our circumstances, I think He often uses the people in our lives to remind us of His goodness, grace and loving ways. Yesterday, I was in need of a reminder of the joy found in every season. It was a long week, and the opportunity to spend one-on-one time with my youngest, blessed my heart and reminded me of my reasons to rejoice in He who has provided me with my family. Though each day and season presents its own set of challenges, there is always reason to rejoice in the Lord. May we ever seek to know Him more, for the more we know Him, the better our heart holds onto the joy provided through His love.

Rejoice in the Lord,

Be glad for His grace;

Give thanks unto Him,

Throughout all our days.

For blessings we know,

All come from the Lord;

Our reasons to praise,

Him who we adore.

His gift of children,

A love that delights;

Each season given,

Wonder in plain sight.

Let all that’s in me,

Rejoice and give praise;

For love unending,

That lasts for all days.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our reason to rejoice in every season. Thank You for the tangible blessings that point our hearts back to You with gratitude. Forgive us for allowing our circumstances to overshadow our hope that is held in You. Teach us to continue to trust and pursue You, as You are our Source of strength and hope, love and light. Show us how to love those around us well, so that they may understand the delight that is held in Your nearness. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we delight in the goodness of Your love, and praise You for the hope we have in You forever. Amen.

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

Glory in His holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice. – Psalm 105:3

To Carry and Sustain Us

Even to your old age and gray hairs I am He, I am He who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you. – (Isaiah 46:4, NIV)

And I will still be carrying you when you are old. Your hair will turn gray, and I will still carry you. I made you, and I will carry you to safety. – (Isaiah 46:4, ERV)

Even as you grow old and your hair turns gray, I’ll keep carrying you! I am your Maker and your Caregiver. I will carry you and be your Savior. – (Isaiah 46:4, TPT)

I don’t think of myself as old, yet white hairs keep peeking through. In this current season, I know my own need to be sustained, and at times, carried. Understanding that God will sustain me, even so, provides hope and endurance when weariness sets in. We have not yet had a full five-day week of school, and already it feels as if we have been back for months. Perhaps it is the masks and extra safety measures, or just the extra energy and excitement of the kids to be back around their friends, but either way, it is exhausting. God is good, and I know that He holds me in His hands. Today, I will continue to trust and rely on Him, and give thanks that we have reached Friday. May we ever hold fast to the promises of God, and trust that He will continue to carry and sustain us through every season as it comes.

God’s promises true,

With each passing year;

His strength and His help,

Remain ever near.

When moving forward,

Is too hard to do;

His love lifts us up,

And carries us through.

Lord, help us recall,

And trust in Your word;

You help forever,

As love’s seen and heard.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You promise to be present to help, strengthen and sustain us throughout our whole life. Thank You that You are good, even when we are weary. Forgive us for our frustrations with what is beyond our control. Teach us to lean into You to be our strength and supply, and to carry us when we feel like we cannot continue. Show us how to love, encourage and support those around us, so that they are strengthened to keep moving forward. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, as You are our strength in all things and at all times. Be glorified O God, as we cling to Your promises of care in our weariness, and praise You for carrying us in our exhaustion. 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

The Scent of Promise

For we are to God the pleasing aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. – (2 Corinthians 2:15, NIV)

Our offering to God is to be the perfume of Christ that goes out to those who are being saved and to those who are being lost. – (2 Corinthians 2:15, ERV)

In a turbulent world where people are either dying or being rescued, we are the sweet smell of the Anointed to God our Father. – (2 Corinthians 2:15, VOICE)

I love that God created us with powerful senses, and that with them, we have memories that can be recalled quickly with a whiff of a familiar smell. For example, I cannot inhale the scent of fresh fruit or baking pies without thinking fondly of my grandparents. For me, there are certain scents that immediately turn my heart to Him, as they draw me into a space of sensing His nearness. As a runner and a lover of being outdoors, every spring, (and sometimes again in the summer) I anticipate the sweet scent of English Laurels in bloom all around our area. It is a smell that immediately brings praise to my heart, for there is something about it that causes me to associate the scent with the aroma of Christ. Incredibly, it is our charge to carry His sweet scent of life wherever we go. To some, it will be received and appreciated, whereas by others, it will be shunned and rejected. Our charge is to keep choosing to love and extend kindness, for that is the sweet smell of our loving Father. May we ever seek the Lord to lead us well, so that we might be the sweet scent of Christ that offers light and life and hope in spaces where they are absent.

The sweet scent of Christ,

Is hope, love and peace;

It’s promised goodness,

That will never cease.

On our darkest days,

Still He’s ever near;

The scent of promise,

That drives away fear.

Lord, help us receive,

So that we may give;

Your sweet, pleasing scent,

Hope each day we live.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the gift of our senses and how You use them to help us be more aware of You. Thank You that scents can be associated with good things, and that we too, can offer the pleasing scent of Your Son to the world. Forgive us for the times that our words and actions were not a sweet scent. Teach us to bring goodness and kindness to all that we say and do, so that Your sweet scent may ring true. Show us how to love those around us best, so that they may see Your heart through our words and actions. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for the sweet scent of Christ that is all around us, and seek You to help us to operate from the overflow of Your abundant goodness and grace. Amen.

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

Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God. – Romans 15:7

Live Out Love

Do everything in love. – (1 Corinthians 16:14, NIV)

Let love and kindness be the motivation behind all that you do. – (1 Corinthians 16:14, TPT)

Let love prevail in your life, words, and actions. – (1 Corinthians 16:14, VOICE)

Can you imagine what the world would be like if we all allowed love and kindness to be the motivation behind all that we do? Though we cannot change the entire world’s perspective, we can live out love right here and now in our own households, workplaces, and communities. Each time we let love prevail in what we say and do, we are allowing others to see glimpses of the love of God. It is a joy to be around those who operate accordingly, and a motivation to do likewise. The more we choose love, the more we truly see and hear one another. May we ever seek the Lord to lead us in His love in all that we say and do, so that love prevails in our lives.

Lead us in love, Lord,

In all that we do;

May our words and deeds,

Point straight back to You.

Your love and kindness,

Forever prove true;

Unending goodness,

Shows us what to do.

Help us to listen,

To follow Your lead;

So all’s done in love,

Each word, thought, and deed.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to live Your love in all that we say and do. Thank You that You sent Your Son to model this perfectly for all. Forgive us for every word and action that has not conveyed love. Teach us to trust and follow Your leading, so that we may demonstrate love in all that we say and do. Show us to love those around us as You do. May many come into a lasting relationship with You as they experience the goodness and fullness of Your loving kindness extended to us all. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to live out Your love in all that we say and do. Amen.

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

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. – 1 Corinthians 13:13

Piecing Together

For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. – (Romans 12:4-5, NIV)

Each one of us has one body, and that body has many parts. These parts don’t all do the same thing. In the same way, we are many people. But in Christ we are all one body. We are the parts of that body, and each part belongs to all the others. – (Romans 12:4-5, ERV)

In the human body there are many parts and organs, each with a unique function. And so it is in the body of Christ. For though we are many, we’ve all been mingled into one body in Christ. This means that we are all vitally joined to one another, with each contributing to the others.

As we prepare to welcome kids back to school in person, a huge focus on the forefront of everyone’s minds is to find ways to make connections and help kids engage and feel safe and welcome in our school and classroom communities. God created us for community. If we were not made to be with others and work together, we would all be experts and self-sufficient. Instead, He gifted us each with unique skills, talents and strengths that we have to offer the community that we are placed within. Just as a school would not work without staff with different strengths, a classroom is no different. Our task and challenge is to find ways to help kids see their unique values and strengths, and help them realize how important they are to the class as a whole. It is my hope and prayer that each student and staff member is able to see the value in others and in themselves, as we rejoin to meet in person after so much time apart. May we seek the Lord to show us ways to both participate and facilitate best in building community together.

Though we are many,

Together we’re one;

United purpose,

As each day’s begun.

Show us the pieces,

And how we each fit;

Together in strength,

Let our hearts be knit.

The unique colors,

Sizes and the shapes;

When fit together,

Each piece has a place.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have created us for community. Thank You that we have different strengths to offer, and each of us has a place and purpose in the communities to which we are placed. Forgive us for not seeing the beauty and blessing held in each member. Teach us to recognize and encourage the unique blessing found in each individual, and show us how the best way to help the parts work as a whole. Lead us to love and value everyone the way that You do. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for the part that each of us plays in the communities in which we have been placed. Amen.

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

The purposes of a person’s heart are deep waters, but one who has insight draws them out. – Proverbs 20:5

Safe and Stable Space

When I said, “My foot is slipping,” Your unfailing love, Lord, supported me. – (Psalm 94:18, NIV)

I know I was ready to fall, but, Lord, Your faithful love supported me. – (Psalm 94:18, ERV)

I cried out, “I am slipping!” but Your unfailing love, O Lord, supported me. – (Psalm 94:18, NLT)

I don’t know about you, but in the craziness of all that is going on in the world right now, I feel as if my foot will “slip” daily. Thankfully, God’s nearness and support does not change with our circumstances. He remains present to help, no matter what is going on around us or in us. His love is far more powerful than anything that transpires around us. God loves us far more than we can grasp or imagine, and is faithful forever. There is much comfort in this. Knowing that God is with me, no matter what is going on, grants me the strength and resolve to keep moving forward. May we ever turn to the Lord and His unfailing love, for He will support us and see us through all that comes our way.

When I’m not steady,

Unstable the ground;

I look to the Lord,

Where love and help’s found.

He knows each challenge,

That stands in our way;

Equips us with strength,

To get through each day.

He’s more than enough,

To meet all our needs;

He’ll walk beside us,

Help us to succeed.

All thanks be to God,

Our strength, hope and love;

The safe, stable space,

In the Lord above.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your unfailing love holds us up and keeps us afloat when the world feels like it will pull us under. Thank You that You are greater than every obstacle that comes our way. Forgive us for our fearfulness when we cannot fathom the solution to things that stand before us. Teach us to lean into You all the more, for You are where strength, wisdom, love and resolve are found. Show us how to love and support those around us well, so that they too, will know the power of Your great love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust in You and Your unfailing love in all things and at all times. Amen.

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

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight. – Proverbs 3:5-6

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

Unknown Open Doors

“Call to Me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.” – (Jeremiah 33:3, NIV)

“…Pray to Me, and I will answer you. I will tell you important secrets. You have never heard these things before.” – (Jeremiah 33:3, ERV)

“Call to Me and I will answer you. I’ll tell you marvelous and wondrous things that you could never figure out on your own.” – (Jeremiah 33:3, MSG)

Though this passage is a message that God gave to Jeremiah while he was shackled and guarded in captivity, the message remains true for us, no matter our circumstances. God is the God of all wisdom, understanding and insight. Though Jeremiah and his people were in a dismal situation, God spoke promises of what was yet to come. His plans and purposes for the people did not end in captivity, but rather in being rebuilt and free. In the same way, God has a plan and purpose for us. No matter what we have been through, are going through, or face in the future, God will grant us wisdom and understanding to navigate each step, and to walk forward into the hope He has for us all. May we ever call on the Lord to lead us well, for He is faithful to teach us and reveal to us that which we need to know to keep moving forward into all that is yet to come.

Choose call on the Lord,

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He’s faithful to tell;

The wonderful things,

That help us live well.

God in His wisdom,

Reveals unto us;

Unsearchable things,

He hears our requests.

No matter what is,

In Christ, there is more;

Through love He reveals,

Unknown open doors.

In struggle, seek Him,

In strength, give Him praise;

Pursue His wisdom,

To walk out each day.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we seek You, You reveal new wisdom and insight that grant us hope and equip us for all that comes our way. Forgive us for allowing our present circumstances to limit our faith. Teach us to turn to You and pray, for You are faithful to show us what we need to know to keep moving forward in the direction You have called us. Lead us to love those around us well, so that Your goodness and grace are evident to all. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we call on You and trust You to give us wisdom and insight as to how to continue in the direction You have called us. Amen.

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

Then you will call on Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. – Jeremiah 29:12

All Made Possible

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)

No matter how difficult things may appear in the natural, there is no obstacle too great or any situation that is impossible for God. The very same God who created all that is seen, (and unseen) is capable of helping us in and through all things. There are days when a task before me seems impossible, yet in His strength, things beyond me are completed. He gives strength when we are weary, hope in the midst of despair, joy when laughter feels far from us, and peace that surpasses all understanding. Additionally, He cares about the little things too. I am ever in awe of the strength I find to push up another hill, step into more new, and rest in His presence in spaces of uncertainty. May we ever remember the power found in the Lord, and call on Him to be our help, hope and strength in all things.

The Almighty God,

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Creator of all;

Can do anything,

As to Him we call.

The impossible,

Is not so for Him;

Whatever He says,

Will be ushered in.

The God that we serve,

Is always enough;

He loves us through all,

And makes smooth the rough.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are God and we are not. Thank You that nothing is too difficult for You. Thank You that You meet us where we are and strengthen us to press forward to all that is yet to be. Forgive us for our fears and doubts when things seem impossible through our own eyes. Teach us to trust and rely on You, for You are ever-present to be our help, strength and hope. Show us how to love those around us in ways that strengthen and encourage, in the same way that You strengthen and encourage us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for who You are and for all that You make possible in You. Amen. 

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

For no word from God will ever fail. – Luke 1:37

Rest Replenished in Hope

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

God, the One and only – I’ll wait as long as He says. Everything I hope for comes from Him, so why not? – (Psalm 62:5, MSG)

My soul quietly waits for the True God alone because I hope in only Him. – (Psalm 62:5, VOICE)

As an educator during a pandemic, this has been the truth I have come to know even more than ever before. It is in Christ that I find rest and hope, even on the days that our circumstances felt hopeless. Yesterday was our final day of live and Zoom instruction, and today is an asynchronous day that provides time to tie up loose ends, and work to complete final grading. Tomorrow, we report for one final day to aid in the collection of materials being returned, and to close up our classrooms for the summer. Friday will be the final day of gymnastics, utilized for returning all of our equipment to storage until next year’s season begins. I am beyond grateful for the summer season that provides rest. Though there is a variety of training and such scheduled throughout the time off, there is still time to truly take pause, recognize the goodness of God, and really rest. The beautiful thing about the rest that God provides, is that He does not need vacation nor weekends to make it so. We simply must quiet our soul before Him, for He is our hope and our Provider of rest. God is faithful, and He does what He says He will do. May we quiet our souls before Him and wait on the rest that comes from Him, the One in whom we hold our hope.

My soul does find rest,

In the Lord alone;

As my heart seeks Him,

His love is made known.

The space where hope’s held,

When we seek the Lord;

Is flooded with love,

As goodness is shown.

Trust in His goodness,

Hold hope in His grace;

He’s true to His word,

When we seek His face.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your loving kindness and faithfulness that provide us hope and rest as we seek You. Thank You for moments and seasons of rest. Forgive us for lumbering on in exhaustion, rather than slowing down to see Your true provision of rest. Teach us to turn to You in trust, and wait quietly before You, resting in Your presence. Show us how to come alongside those around us in ways that offer relief and evidence of Your overwhelming love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we wait on You and praise You for Your blessed provision of real rest. Amen.

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

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