Navigating Unknowns

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go. – (Joshua 1:9, NIV)

Remember, I commanded you to be strong and brave. Don’t be afraid, because the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go. – (Joshua 1:9, ERV)

Haven’t I commanded you? Strength! Courage! Don’t be timid; don’t get discouraged. God, your God, is with you every step you take. – (Joshua 1:9, MSG)

We are commanded to be strong and courageous. This is not a command that says, “Good luck, kid, go take care of things on your own”, but rather is reminding us that because God will be with us wherever we go, we can be strong and courageous in Him. Strength and courage are not things that we can somehow muster on our own, but rather we are filled by the Lord’s overwhelming love, and are granted the strength and courage that we need to navigate life’s unknowns. Today will be a day that I need God’s strength and courage as I go to a pre-operative appointment this afternoon. Though a consultation is not necessarily a fearful thing on its own, the process that lies ahead is scary and unknown. My hope is that strength and courage will increase, and the surgeon will be one who sets my mind at ease. No matter what, I know God will go before me, will remain with me, and will supply what I need as it is needed. He is faithful and I am grateful. May we ever seek the Lord to be our strength and courage as we face the unknowns that come our way.

With God as my strength,

What have I to fear?

Always He’s with me,

I know He is near.

He grants me courage,

When alone, there’s none;

He floods me with love,

The most Holy One.

God supplies comfort,

When I am afraid;

I’m held in His hands,

Throughout each new day.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that courage and strength come from You. Thank You that You provide all that we need and more as we seek You. Thank You that You go before us and stay beside us as we walk into the unknowns that life brings. Forgive us for our fears that rise up and try to take root. Teach us to lean on You to lead us and trust in You to guide us through every step that we take. Show us how to be present in the strength and courage You supply. Lead us to love those around us as You do. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for the strength and courage that You supply and for Your nearness as we navigate unknowns. Amen.

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

Wait for the Lord; be strong and courageous. Wait for the Lord. – Psalm 27:14

Overflowing Gratitude

So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in Him, rooted and built up in Him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness. – (Colossians 2:6-7, NIV)

You accepted Jesus Christ as Lord, so continue to live in Him. You must depend on Christ only, drawing life and strength from Him. Just as you were taught the truth, continue to grow stronger in your understanding of it. And never stop giving thanks to God. – (Colossians 2:6-7, ERV)

Now that you have welcomed the Anointed One, Jesus the Lord, into your lives, continue to journey with Him and allow Him to shape your lives. Let your roots grow down deeply in Him, and let Him build you up on a firm foundation. Be strong in the faith, just as you were taught, and always spill over with thankfulness. – (Colossians 2:6-7, VOICE)

This is an ongoing, lifelong process that makes all of the difference in how our lives are lived. When we remain rooted in Christ, He strengthens our faith and reminds us of all that we have to be thankful for. Yesterday, as I was pulling into the parking lot where I coach high school gymnastics, I received a call from the specialist who had performed the biopsy on my lip. From the start, I could tell her tone was somber, so I took a deep breath and listened to the news she was sharing with me. The results were worse than she had anticipated, as aggressive carcinoma cells were found in the muscle, nerves and tissue from the punch sample. She said that normally the surgical process she had previously anticipated for me would be scheduled out in January, but due to the nature of the findings, it will be made a high priority and the schedulers will orchestrate a time as soon as possible. This is not exactly the news I had hoped or prayed for, but I needed to get into the gym and coach my girls. It was only after practice, when I called my husband, walked the dogs (prayerfully), and then spoke with my sisters and best friend, that I was able to breathe more easily and feel the familiar foundation of faith rise up. Being reminded of the beautiful community I am in floods my heart with gratitude. I am thankful that the spot was discovered before it spread further, that I have family and friends that support and encourage me, and that the success rate of treating this sort of cancer at this stage is outstanding. Additionally, I am grateful for sweet, smart dogs that seem to sense the need for snuggles. Currently, I have a gentle giant curled up and snoring softly on my lap. May we ever journey with Jesus through every twist and turn that life brings, for He is faithful to strengthen us and supply all that we need.

Give thanks to the Lord,

For He is the good;

That strengthens, supports,

Makes love understood.

He pours out His grace,

Holds us up gently;

Embraces our heart,

And makes our fears flee.

He brings alongside,

Kind community;

Equips, empowers,

Grants His eyes to see.

Things aren’t forever,

Pain’s temporary;

But our hope in Him,

Lasts eternally.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our strength, our hope and our help. Thank You that You are our reason to give thanks. Forgive us for the times that we allow our circumstances to temporarily blind us to the truth of Your love and grace that gets us through all things. Teach us to trust You more each day, and flood us to overflowing with Your goodness and love. Show us how to love those around us in ways that strengthen and encourage, making Your heart abundantly clear to all. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You thanks for who You are and how You love us so well. Amen.

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

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. – Colossians 3:15

Thankful For The Unshakable

Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe. – (Hebrews 12:28, NIV)

So we should be thankful because we have a kingdom that cannot be shaken. And because we are thankful, we should worship God in a way that will please Him. We should do this with respect and fear. – (Hebrews 12:28, ERV)

Therefore, let us all be thankful that we are a part of an unshakable Kingdom and offer to God worship that pleases Him and reflects the awe and reverence we have toward Him. – (Hebrews 12:28, VOICE)

Gratitude ought to be our mode of operation throughout each new day. A thankful heart is not dependent on merely that which we are walking into, but rather gratitude can look back and see the incredible ways that God has moved on our behalf, and look ahead to the faithfulness of God and the hope that is yet to come through eternity spent in His presence. Even in the here and now of difficulty, there are always things to be thankful for. For me, that includes the people whom God has placed around me, and those He has blessed me with as family. To worship God in a way that will please Him is all about the state of our heart. When our heart is full of awe and reverence for who God is and how He loves, our every act of worship is a reflection of such, and is pleasing to Him who we worship. May we ever let our hearts overflow with gratitude for He who deserves all of our worship forever. 

All thanks be to God,

Who sits on the throne;

Our help and our hope,

Through Whom love is shown.

He’s faithful always,

No matter what comes;

So let us give thanks,

For all He has done.

Even through heartache,

And difficulty;

His presence is clear,

Magnificently.

God’s presence gives hope,

Strength, life and His love;

Our anchor secure,

We are His beloved.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we are receiving Your kingdom both now and forevermore. Thank You that this means that we have help and hope in You, no matter what lies ahead. Forgive us for our fears and frustrations that block our view of who You are and how You love. Teach us to trust in You in all things and at all times. Show us how to love those around us in ways that grant hope and demonstrate gratitude. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we thank You and praise You for who You are and how You love. Amen.

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

Those who trust in the Lord are like Mount Zion, which cannot be shaken but endures forever. – Psalm 125:1

No Barrier

We have this hope as an anchor for our lives, safe and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain. – (Hebrews 6:19, HCSB)

This hope is like an anchor for us. It is strong and sure and keeps us safe. It goes behind the curtain. – (Hebrews 6:19, ERV)

That hope is real and true, an anchor to steady our restless souls, a hope that leads us back behind the curtain to where God is (as the high priests did in the days when reconciliation flowed from the sacrifices in the temple). – (Hebrews 6:19, VOICE)

God is the hope that anchors our lives. He is strong and secure and keeps us safe. Typically, I pause there, as knowing that I have Christ as the anchor to steady me is of great comfort. However, this morning as I ponder further the second half of the verse, I am reminded that Jesus goes where we cannot; He sees what we cannot; and He is able to do the things that we are not equipped, empowered, or allowed to do. The curtain, in Old Testament times, was the separation between God and man. When Jesus died on the cross, the veil was torn in two and there no longer was a divide between us and God. Jesus made the way for us to fully access God, personally, rather than having to have a go-between that was only allowed in His holy presence once a year. We can seek and approach the Lord any time, for Jesus is the lens through which the Father sees us as holy and acceptable. This is not through anything that we have or have not done, but rather all because of Jesus. May we ever hold fast to Him who is the anchor of our hope, and the One who has removed the barrier that kept us separated from God.

Hope is the anchor,

That keeps us afloat;

No separation,

With Christ in our boat.

He’s our safe harbor,

Throughout each new storm;

Our hope and our help,

To keep keeping on.

No longer is there,

A limit for us;

All times and places,

Right there is Jesus.

Cling to the anchor,

The barrier’s gone;

In Christ there’s a way,

For He makes us strong.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are the anchor of our hope, and that because of Jesus, there is no longer a barrier that separates us from You. Thank You Jesus, for making the way for us to have full access to God. Forgive us for being our own barrier. Teach us to trust in You, Lord, that Your sacrifice and Your grace are enough to steady us and grant us access to ever come before You. Show us how to love like there is no barrier standing in our way. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we hold fast to You, our anchor, and praise You for the ongoing access we have to come before You on Your throne, without fear or barrier to keep us from You. Amen.

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

You will be secure, because there is hope; you will look about you and take rest in safety. – Job 11:18

No Matter What May Come

For since He Himself was tested and has suffered, He is able to help those who are tested. – (Hebrews 2:18, HCSB)

And now He can help those who are tempted. He is able to help because He Himself suffered and was tempted. – (Hebrews 2:18, ERV)

Since He has also been tested by suffering, He can help us when we are tested. – (Hebrews 2:18, VOICE)

Because Jesus was tempted in every way, and He suffered beyond what we can even begin to fathom, He understands and knows how to help us when we struggle. It is easy to fall into the trap of thinking that we are completely alone in the midst of struggle or suffering, but the truth is, God is always near. Jesus is ever moving on our behalf. The challenge is to slow down, seek the Lord, and simply sit in His presence. He is faithful to meet us in our seeking, and will hold us up and lead us through the trials that we face. May we ever seek the Lord, for He is faithful, and He will help, hold, and lead us so that we may navigate every difficulty that comes our way.

No matter what comes,

God already knows;

How to best help us,

In His strength, we grow.

Through great temptations,

Or true suffering;

God will be faithful,

Grace and strength He brings.

So, rise up and seek,

Each time you shall find;

More than imagined,

His love does exceed.

Lean into Jesus,

No matter what comes;

He’s present to help,

The great Holy One.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are gracious and kind, and that You understand every trial and suffering that we endure. Thank You that because You have suffered and been tempted in every way, You are able to help and strengthen us to navigate all things. Forgive us for our fears and doubts. Teach us to trust You in all things and at all times. Show us how to love those around us as You do, so that they too may come to know Your strength and help and hope in all things. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You and trust You in all things and at all times, for in You, there is peace and hope and strength. Amen.

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

Whether it is favorable or unfavorable, we will obey the Lord our God, to whom we are sending you, so that it will go well with us, for we will obey the Lord our God. – Jeremiah 42:6

Heaven’s Poetry

For we are His creation, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared ahead of time so that we should walk in them. – (Ephesians 2:10, HCSB)

God has made us what we are. In Christ Jesus, God made us new people so that we would spend our lives doing the good things He had already planned for us to do. – (Ephesians 2:10, ERV)

For we are the product of His hand, heaven’s poetry etched on our lives, created in the Anointed, Jesus, to accomplish the good works God arranged long ago. – (Ephesians 2:10, VOICE)

There is something so powerful and encouraging about The Voice translation of this passage. The reminder that we are the work of God’s hands, created in Jesus, and as we walk out our days in pursuit of His will, “heaven’s poetry is etched on our lives,” and the evidence of who God is and how He loves is made visible to those around us, is an incredible inspiration to follow the Lord’s leading in all that we say and do. Thankfully, it is not up to us to do or to be enough, instead, as we follow after the Lord, He leads and guides us in all that He has for us. Our part is to be faithful, and God will do as only He can. May we each start this day in the knowledge and understanding that we have been created on purpose, with a purpose, and all of His plans are good.

Heaven’s poetry,

Unfolds on the earth;

Through God’s created,

Each life has great worth.

Purpose is planted,

For each person born;

It becomes made known,

In love, we’re adorned.

It is up to us,

To seek the Lord’s will;

And as we choose to,

With love we are filled.

Each step that we take,

That He leads us to;

Reflects His goodness,

And hope that is true.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You created each of us with a plan and a purpose. Thank You that as we seek You and follow after You, You lead, guide and provide all that we need to display the goodness of Your love as Your poetry is written on the walls of our heart. Forgive us for the times that we have gone our own way or have neglected to listen to Your leading. Teach us to trust You in all things and to intentionally listen to the still small voice within. Show us how to love those around us as You intended. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we listen to Your leading and love as You created us to love. Amen.

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

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.” – Jeremiah 29:11

Way Maker

“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.” – (Isaiah 43:18-19, NIV)

So don’t remember what happened in earlier times. Don’t think about what happened a long time ago, because I am doing something new! Now you will grow like a new plant. Surely you know this is true. I will even make a road in the desert, and rivers will flow through that dry land. – (Isaiah 43:18-19, ERV)

Eternal One: Don’t revel only in the past, or spend all your time recounting the victories of days gone by. Watch closely: I am preparing something new; it’s happening now, even as I speak, and you’re about to see it. I am preparing a way through the desert; waters will flow where there has been none. – (Isaiah 43:18-19, VOICE)

Though this was written centuries ago, it is a relevant encouragement to me this morning. Being an educator is an adventure for sure, yet there have been experiences that have impacted the way that I view things today. This year, I am teaching a subject in a grade level that I have never taught, with a completely new curriculum, and I have to let go of my former experiences in said subject, (my previous experience in such nearly had me walk away from teaching), as I can see that God can do something new both in me and through me. This hope is so helpful, as I do, at times, feel as though I am wandering through a desert without water. God is good, and He provides all that we need to navigate the new. He leads us, guides us, and grants us the strength, wisdom and resources we need as we seek and trust in Him. Additionally, He brings the right people alongside us to help us navigate the new. I never cease to be amazed at how He cares about the seemingly insignificant things, just as much as He is concerned with the big things. May we ever seek the Lord as we keep moving forward in faith, for He is doing something new, and continually pouring new life into us.

Like streams through dry land,

The Lord’s bringing new;

Forget the former,

God’s faithful and true.

The past is not now,

New things will arise;

Possibilities,

To yet realize.

In faith, let us seek,

Choose to trust the Lord;

He will make a way,

And keep us on course.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we need not dwell on the past, but instead, ought to look forward in faith to You. Thank You that You provide strength, refreshment, support, growth, wisdom and encouragement as we navigate the new You call us into. Forgive us for our fears and anxieties that prevent us from fully recognizing Your goodness and faithfulness. Teach us to trust You more, as we seek You and praise You for the support that You provide. Show us how to love those around us in ways that feel like water where souls are parched, and hope where it has been absent. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we look ahead with eager anticipation, to see how You will move mountains on our behalf. Amen.

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

Do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God. – Romans 12:2

Good Plans

“For I know the plans I have for you” – this is the Lord’s declaration – “plans for your welfare, not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” – (Jeremiah 29:11, HCSB)

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.” – (Jeremiah 29:11, NIV)

“I say this because I know the plans that I have for you.” This message is from the Lord. “I have good plans for you. I don’t plan to hurt you. I plan to give you hope and a good future.” – (Jeremiah 29:11, ERV)

“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Eternal, “plans for peace, not evil, to give you a future and hope – never forget that.” – (Jeremiah 29:11, VOICE) 

God is good and is faithful to fulfill His promises. He has good plans for us that include a hope and a future. The Lord is our protector and our source, and we can trust in Him to be who He says He is. May we ever seek God and place our trust in Him, for He is our hope and our future is found in Him.

Our future’s secure,

When we trust in Him;

Our hope, Protector,

Our Father and friend.

His plans are for good,

Full of love and peace;

His presence, promised,

Where grace is released.

Choose turn to the Lord,

By faith, trust in Him;

His love is assured,

And hope enters in.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have plans for each of us. Plans that include a hope and a future. Thank You that this is not just for us as children or young adults, but rather is true throughout our lifetime. Thank You that Your capacity to bring change and make things new, knows no end. Forgive us for feeling as if this is all there is. Thank You that in You, there is always more – more to learn, more growth, more love, more hope. Teach us to trust in You in all things and at all times. Show us how to love those around us in ways that convey hope and peace and Your perfect love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust our future in Your hands, and are assured that Your plans for us are good. Amen.

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

Surely Your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. – Psalm 23:6

Showered With Grace

Lord, be gracious to us! We wait for You. Be our strength every morning and our salvation in times of trouble. – (Isaiah 33:2, HCSB)

Lord, be kind to us. We have waited for Your help. Give us strength every morning. Save us when we are in trouble. – (Isaiah 33:2, ERV)

We’ve been waiting for You, Eternal One, to come and shower us with grace. In the morning, be our strength; in times of trouble, be what saves us. – (Isaiah 33:2, VOICE)

As we wait on the Lord, He meets us with His grace. Each new morning that we seek Him, He is faithful to arm us with strength. When troubles come, God is our help and our hope that saves us. This is a great reminder that we need not worry about tomorrow; instead, we ought to seek, trust and listen to the Lord, as He is faithful to ready and equip us for what each new day shall hold. Sundays are a perfect time to place this into practice. I love that a good chunk of my morning includes time with my church family, as we gather to worship, listen and grow. However, each Sunday evening brings the reminder that the following morning will be the start of a new week. At that point, I feel ill-equipped to take on all that lies ahead, yet God is faithful to meet me each new morning, and provides what is needed to navigate the day. It requires His strength, for on my own, I am not equipped to do all that is asked of me. With God, somehow what is needed is present as I keep walking forward. May we ever wait on the Lord to continue to shower us with His grace, and seek Him anew every morning, for it is in this space that He supplies strength and reminds us that He will be present to help, no matter what lies ahead.

O Lord, we seek You,

Your mercy and grace;

Faithful forever,

In all of Your ways.

You arm us with strength,

You are our supply;

Grace overwhelming,

Peace we can’t deny.

When troubles do come,

Ever You are near;

Giving what’s needed,

To overcome fear.

O God, we praise You,

For all that You are;

Our help, hope and grace,

Who never is far.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are gracious and kind, and ever near to help us anew every morning. Thank You that You strengthen us to persevere when trials come, and equip us and keep us safe in Your care. Forgive us for our anxiousness about what lies ahead, for You are faithful to be present each time we ask. Teach us to ever seek You in all that we do. Show us how to love those around us with Your grace and kindness. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to strengthen and equip us with Your goodness and grace so that we continue to become who You have created us to be. Amen.

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

Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. – Matthew 6:34

Fill Us Again

God, You are my God; I eagerly seek You. I thirst for You; my body faints for You in a land that is dry, desolate, and without water. – (Psalm 63:1, HCSB)

God, You are my God. I am searching so hard to find You. Body and soul, I thirst for You in this dry and weary land without water. – (Psalm 63:1, ERV)

O True God, You are my God, the One whom I trust. I seek You with every fiber of my being. In this dry and weary land with no water in sight, my soul is dry and longs for You. My body aches for You, for Your presence. – (Psalm 63:1, VOICE)

I so appreciate David’s heart throughout the Psalms. He was by no means a perfect person, but His heart after God was true. Though my daily devotions take me throughout the entire Bible, I cannot help but be drawn back in by the Psalms. What I have learned over the last many years of beginning each day with time with God and in His word, is that it is as necessary as the air I breathe. In the same way that I wake and am ready for coffee and food, so too, my soul is needing nourishment from God. Each time I seek the Lord, He is faithful to show me more of Himself. This verse is my heart, as I am tired and weary, and it at times, feels as if there is no relief in sight, yet He provides me with reminders of His presence, and brings the weekends as a time to rest and recharge. May we ever seek the Lord, in whom we can trust, for He is our nourishment and refreshment, even in the dry and weary places.

O God, I seek You,

My hope and all grace;

The One who strengthens,

Throughout all my days.

My heart ever seeks,

For in You I find;

Strength for my body,

And peace for my mind.

Faithful to meet me,

Each time that I seek;

You love me to life,

Give strength when I’m weak.

Ever I’ll praise You,

For in You alone;

I find all goodness,

As Your heart’s made known.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our water in the desert and the presence our entire being longs for. Thank You that as we seek You, You meet us and fill us again. Forgive us for wandering in our weariness instead of seeking You. Teach us to trust You to be our strength and hope, even when it seems that there is no way to sustain in the environment we find ourselves in. Show us how to love those around us in ways that build up, encourage, and strengthen in You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You to meet us and fill us again, each time we come to You. Amen.

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

The Lord has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy. – Psalm 126:3