To Love, Learn and Grow

This is what the Lord says – your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: “I am the Lord your God, who teaches you what is best for you, who directs you in the way you should go.” – (Isaiah 48:17, NIV)

The Lord, the Savior, the Holy One of Israel, says, “I am the Lord your God. I teach you for your own good. I lead you in the way you should go.” – (Isaiah 48:17, ERV)

“I am God, your God, who teaches you how to live right and well. I show you what to do, where to go.” – (Isaiah 48:17, MSG)

 

As I sit here this morning, prayerfully, after a restless night’s sleep, I am grateful for the reminder of God’s guidance and grace. Today will mark the first day of my twenty-third year of teaching, and the last “first day” that my boys have that aligns with mine, as they begin their senior year. The night before school begins is always a bit restless, as there is an eager anticipation, along with nerves, knowing that there is much to do, and I desperately want to do my job well. This verse is an excellent reminder for me, as though there is a level of preparation that is my responsibility, and indeed the investment has been made, the part of me that knows that there is much more to learn and grow and do better, is encouraged that He will lead me, each new day. May we ever trust in the One who teaches us what is best for us, and how to live right and well; for wherever we go, others see and follow our lead.

Yesterday, mom enjoyed a day with the family at home. There was much hustle and bustle with each pitching in to purge their home in a sort of “spring-cleaning” fashion, and mom utilized some of the lessons that my sister has given her, showing her new ways to make use of her phone in a more one-handed friendly fashion. With mom, we are trusting God’s guidance to show us what to do and where to go, to get mom’s in-home therapies going.

 

Hours before dawn,

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A little “Art Therapy” for this art teacher.

Still waiting for light;

Teachers lie awake,

In hope and delight.

What will this year bring?

What stories unfold?

How will we touch lives,

These young hearts of gold?

Each year there is hope,

And joy in the new;

Potential waiting,

Lord, show us break through.

May schools and classrooms,

Provide a safe space;

To learn, love and grow,

Each know they’ve a place.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You lead us and guide us in the ways we are meant to go, and that You teach us best. Thank You that as You lead us, we in turn can lead and love well. Forgive us for the times that we have not given ear to Your leading. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would ever be learning and growing, just as we desire to see in our kids. Show us how to love and encourage all those around us, so that each person feels safe to grow into all that they are becoming. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You and listen to You as You teach us and lead us forward. Amen.

 

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

 

Show me Your ways, Lord, teach me Your paths. – Psalm 25:4

Bloom Where You Are Planted

Therefore, since we are surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. – (Hebrews 12:1, NIV)

We have all these great people around us as examples. Their lives tell us what faith means. So we, too, should run the race that is before us and never quit. We should remove from our lives anything that would slow us down and the sin that so often makes us fall. – (Hebrews 12:1, ERV)

As for us, we have all of these great witnesses who encircle us like clouds. So we must let go of every would that has pierced us and the sin we so easily fall into. Then we will be able to run life’s marathon race with passion and determination, for the path has been already marked out before us. – (Hebrews 12:1, TPT)

 

This, this is why we are called to be in community. Though we can accomplish much through Christ on our own, we can do and be more when we are surrounded by others who walk alongside us as we navigate the journey to which we are called. Incredibly, everyone has a story to tell, and we each have encouragement to offer, based on our experiences and the person whom we have been created to be. Though the struggles and seasons of suffering stink, they often become the space where we find God has grown us the strongest. It is in such seasons that we learn perseverance and dependence on Christ, and have to let go of everything else that weighs us down if we wish to keep moving forward. One of the things that I have missed terribly throughout this trying season, is the consistent community and gathering together to worship and fellowship with friends who have become family at home. However, I know that their prayerful support has been a tremendous contribution to what has sustained us as we have navigated this new and unknown road. God has been faithful each step of the way, and we trust Him to continue as each of us prepare for the next season in mom’s journey to a full recovery.

For mom, yesterday began with some strong ongoing progress that took incredible strength and courage. What terrified mom a little over a week ago, still frightened her a bit, yet she did not hesitate to participate and do her best. Doing upper body work from a kneeling position on the floor is a scary space for mom. However, it is a position that forces her to utilize the right side of her upper body, that she desperately wants to regain. She knows that the reward is worth the risk, and willingly fended off fear to do the work required of her. Ever so slowly, mom is activating her shoulder and scapula. Each time she does the exercises to strengthen the muscles, she also is increasing the message pathways to movement. Later in the afternoon, following an errand outing for a few necessities, lunch and Dutch Bros, we returned home and mom was ready to do some walking. Normally, mom changes into her tennis shoes with an AFO (something foot orthotic that lifts her toes so they don’t drag or catch when she steps) in them, but she already had her crocs on and I suggested she give it a try. Much to her surprise, she was able to walk well in her crocs without the AFO. This is extraordinarily exciting news, as it means that she is actually lifting her right leg as she steps, and no longer just dragging it through. The more she lifts her right foot as she steps, the greater variety of terrain she will be able to take on. (She really wants to walk around her yard!) Mom’s great cloud of witnesses have been coming to see her, more and more. She recognizes the benefit of visitors, and is enjoying reconnecting with dear friends from church, Bible studies and the like. Her perseverance is an encouragement to us all. May we ever seek to surround ourselves in community, so that we may encourage one another to persevere on the path to which we have been called.

 

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In community;

To learn and to grow,

Exponentially.

For each one planted,

Has something to give;

Wisdom to offer,

Strength from lessons lived.

Hearing from others,

Those far and those near;

Lifts up and strengthens,

Helps us persevere.

Reach out and grow roots,

Invest and make room;

Choose let others in,

Where you’re planted, bloom.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to be in community. Thank You that we can both gain and offer strength to those around us as we do life together in You. Forgive us for allowing ourselves to be isolated when the road is difficult. Thank You for those whom You place in our lives to keep community strong, even when we are not nearby. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would reach out to those around us, regardless of our circumstances, as You bring beauty from ashes and often use our own weakness as Your greatest strength through us. Show us how to love those around us well, so that they will be encouraged and built up; strengthened to persevere through all seasons. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we invest in the communities that You call us to, and praise You for the power to persevere that comes from You. Amen.

 

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

 

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

 

To Run Our Race Well

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. – (Hebrews 12:1, NIV)

We have all these great people around us as examples. Their lives tell us what faith means. So we, too, should run the race hat is before us and never quit. We should remove from our lives anything that would slow us down and the sin that so often makes us fall. – (Hebrews 12:1, ERV)

As for us, we have all these great witnesses who encircle us like clouds. So we must let go of every wound that has pierced us and the sin we so easily fall into. Then we will be able to run life’s marathon race with passion and determination, for the path has been already marked out before us. – (Hebrews 12:1, TPT)

 

Life is not a sprint; it is a marathon. In order to run well, a runner needs to be rid of all of the “extras” that would weigh them down. Just as a runner does not run a marathon with a backpack, nor with extra weight, we too need to rid ourselves of the burden of holding hurts and the sin that trips us up. The things that help most, both in running and in life, are those things we carry in our heart. Perseverance is possible when we know the end goal. In a marathon, though 26.2 miles may sound like forever, there is an end point. Likewise, in life, our time on this rock that spins around the sun, is not the end, but rather the time granted to learn and grow, share and know, the blessed hope that is held in our heavenly eternity. It is far easier to “run” with passion when one is well-trained. Ongoing training teaches our hearts to persevere. May we look to the examples of those who have gone before us and run life’s race well, so that we too, may be encouraged to rid ourselves of anything that hinders us from moving forward in Christ with passion and determination, so that we may run our own race well.

 

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That weigh the heart down;

Past hurts, temptation,

The trip-ups we’ve found.

Look to examples,

Of those who’ve run well;

Trust the Lord’s leading,

In Him, we’ll excel.

Our race isn’t won,

At a turbo pace;

Instead, with purpose,

We run our own race.

For Christ shall strengthen,

All those who choose seek;

Grant perseverance,

When we’re feeling weak.

In hope, keep running,

Our God, He provides;

All that is needed,

To eternal prize.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that life is not a sprint, but rather a marathon. Thank You that You provide all that we need to run our own race well. Thank You that You provide our ultimate race plan, so that we may run well. Forgive us for holding that which weighs us down, or for allowing sin to entangle us. Teach us to walk away from that which trips us up, and to lay down the weight we are not meant to carry. Show us how to love and encourage those around us to run with perseverance, the race to which they have been called. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to show us what weight needs be let go, and how to avoid that which entangles so that we may run with perseverance all of our days. Amen.

 

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

 

But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not grow faint. – Isaiah 40:31

 

 

Listen for Wisdom

(If you) turn your ear to wisdom and apply your heart to understanding – then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God. – (Proverbs 2:2 & 5, NIV) 

Listen to wisdom, and do your best to understand. If you do this, you will understand what it means to respect the Lord, and you will come to know God. – (Proverbs 2:2 & 5, ERV) 

So, train your heart to listen when I speak and open your spirit wide to expand your discernment – then pass it on to your sons and daughters. Then you will discover the fear of the Lord and find the true knowledge of God. – (Proverbs 2:2 & 5, TPT) 

 

Wisdom, knowledge and understanding come when we turn to God and seek Him. It requires that we purposely pursue the One who holds the key to all. Just as it is with people around us, we only get to know and understand them if we spend intentional time together. God waits willingly and lovingly for us to seek Him. When we do, we begin to understand who He is and how He loves. May we ever seek the Lord and set aside time to learn and grow with Him, as He opens our understanding to know more of Him. 

 

The wisdom of God, The Word of God

What we ought pursue; 

For His heart’s made known, 

To all those who do. 

Seek to understand, 

For that is the space; 

Where He will reveal, 

His wisdom and grace. 

For great is His Name, 

In every way; 

In awe and wonder, 

May we choose to pray. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we seek You, You are faithful to meet us and impart to us, new wisdom and understanding of who You are and how You love. Forgive us for the times that we need pursue You and do not. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would seek Your wisdom in all things, with reverence and awe. Show us how to love those around us in ways that are best for each individual whom we encounter. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You for understanding and insight in all things, and view You with proper awe and reverence. Amen.

 

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

 

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; all who follow His precepts have good understanding. To Him belongs eternal praise. – Psalm 111:10

The Time We’re Given

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

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

Teach us to number our days so that we may truly live and achieve wisdom. – (Psalm 90:12, VOICE) 

 

Godly wisdom is needed to navigate our days well. As a child, our potential lifespan seems endless, yet as we grow, we recognize how quickly the days and years go, and the intention to make every day count becomes more of a desire. Now in my forties, I am acutely aware of the brevity of life. I have lost loved ones that lived full, long lives, and have lost others who did not have the benefit of living out a long life. Not one of us has any guarantees, and we need recognize that each new day we wake, is a blessing that we have been granted. What we do with what we are given, matters. May we pursue the Lord with all that we are, so that we may know best, how to utilize the gift of time we each have been given.  

 

Great God of all hope, The Time We Are Given

We ever seek You; 

To lead and guide us, 

And grant wisdom too. 

For Godly wisdom, 

Teaches us to know; 

What we are to do, 

Where we’re meant to go. 

Dear God in Your grace, 

Help us each to use; 

The time we’re given, 

As Your love we choose. 

A choice to live well, 

To share grace and love; 

Ever keep learning, 

Your ways, high above. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the gift that You give us with each new day that we are granted. Thank You that You designed each of us with a plan and a purpose. Forgive us for taking the gift of time You have given for granted, as each day provides precious time to learn and grow with new love to show. Teach us how to trust You and Your plan for our lives, so that we may walk out our days with purpose in You. Show us how to love those around us well, so that Your goodness and grace are the things that lead each to make their days count. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give Your praise for the gift of our days, and seek You to live them well. Amen.

 

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

 

Trust in Him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts to Him, for God is our refuge. – Psalm 62:8.

Fresh Freedom Has Come

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! – (2 Corinthians 5:17, NIV) 

When anyone is in Christ, it is a whole new world. The old things are gone; suddenly, everything is new! – (2 Corinthians 5:17, ERV) 

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. – (2 Corinthians 5:17, NKJV) 

 

As we step into day one of this new year, there is promise of fresh starts and brand-new beginnings in all that is yet to come. A sense of hope and resolve rise when we recognize that we are free to begin again. I am not big on resolutions, but rather desire to continue to learn and grow in all that the Lord has for me. My personal life has been made new in a beautiful way that I could not have imagined only a few short years ago. He makes new all that we are willing to place in His hands, and grant Him reign. God does exceedingly more than we could hope or imagine, as we allow Him room to rule. May we all recognize the opportunity for fresh starts and restoration as we walk boldly into 2019, trusting that God will do amazing things as we place our hope and our lives in His mighty hands. 

 

For all who trust Christ,

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Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

Fresh freedom has come; 

God makes all things new, 

By grace through His Son. 

The old things are gone, 

And we are made new; 

As we allow God, 

To reign and to move. 

As the sun shall rise, 

To start a new day; 

So too, we’re made new, 

As we walk His way. 

Let us choose to trust, 

Find hope in His Name; 

For new life has come, 

Let God on high reign. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we are ever made new in You. Thank You that new life in You is not dependent on a day or a year, but rather on us allowing You to lead us and reign in our hearts. Thank You that new may begin each day, each moment, as we trust in You. Forgive us for our faltering faith, when new beginnings seem unobtainable. Help us to trust You, even when we cannot see hope, help or possible change in our circumstances. Show us how to love those around us in a way that demonstrates new life in You and offers the hope of the same for all. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we allow You reign and embrace each change, as You ever make us new. Amen.

 

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

 

You must be made new in your hearts and in your thinking. Be that new person who was made to be like God, truly good and pleasing to Him. – Ephesians 4:23-24 

Not Meant to Shoulder Alone

Give all your worries and cares to God, for He cares about you. – (1 Peter 5:7, NLT)

Let Him have all your worries and cares, for He is always thinking about you and watching everything that concerns you. – (1 Peter 5:7, TLB)

Pour out all your worries and stress upon Him and leave them there, for He always tenderly cares for you. – (1 Peter 5:7, TPT)

 

This is a timely reminder, as school feels really heavy right now. The academic demands feel unapproachable to some, and the behaviors displayed in response, disrupt and distract, making the teaching process extremely challenging. Inadvertently, I begin to carry the weight of the worry as to how to help all kids learn and grow. Though it is critical that I care, it is not my burden to bear alone. First and foremost, I need to give the weight of the worry and stress to the Lord, and allow Him to hold the heaviness. Second, I must ask for what I need. If it is strength or clarity or perspective, God is faithful to meet us where we are. When it is a tangible need that can be met in the moment by a colleague or simply by creating a built-in break, then each avenue ought to be utilized. May we cast all our cares to the Lord, for He is able and willing to walk us through, bearing the weight we are not meant to shoulder alone.

 

When worry and stress,

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Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

Begin to weigh down;

Give all to the Lord,

In Him, help is found.

Help in our struggles,

Strength when we feel weak;

In love and in grace,

He answers who seek.

So, go to the Lord,

With stress and concern;

He’s ever for us,

Unto Him, let’s turn.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we are not meant to bear the weight of the world on our shoulders. Thank You that we can come to You and give You our worries and cares, and You will shoulder the weight and grant us the help we need to navigate whatever we face. Forgive us for attempting to bear heavy burdens on our own, rather than running to You. Teach us to trust You more, as You are our strength and peace, no matter what storm we face. Show us how to love those around us in a way that provides help, peace and hope in the places where stress or anxiousness were weighing heavily on their heart. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give all of our worry and stress to You, and trust You to be our strength. Amen.

 

 

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

 

Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior, who daily bears our burdens. – Psalm 68:19

Grow to Overflow

I pray that your love will overflow more and more, and that you will keep on growing in knowledge and understanding. – (Philippians 1:9, NLT)

This is my prayer for you: that your love will grow more and more; that you will have knowledge and understanding with your love. – (Philippians 1:9, ERV)

My prayer for you is that you will overflow more and more with love for others, and at the same time keep on growing in spiritual knowledge and insight. – (Philippians 1:9, TLB)

 

Paul, in his letter to the church of Philippi, included this verse in the first portion of what was written. He passed along his desire to see their love grow for one another, as they continued to grow spiritually. Paul’s prayer back then was timeless, and not limited to the original group of recipients. Our desire and prayer for one another ought to be quite similar, for as we grow in God’s understanding and insight, the more our capacity to love expands. What we receive and know begins to overflow to those around us. May we ever seek the Lord’s knowledge and understanding so that we continue growing greater in our capacity to love those around us.

 

Lord, this too I pray, Grow to Overflowing

For each one of us;

That we’d learn to see,

Others like Jesus.

For God’s love is kind,

Not conditional;

Grace is His go-to,

Love made tangible.

We’re called to the same,

As we learn and grow;

Equipped as we seek,

So love overflows.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You equip us and model for us all that You call us to do. Thank You that the very things that You ask of us are those that make Your heart visible to those around us. Forgive us for the times that we have allowed our egos or agendas to get in the way of what You intended to do both in us and through us. Teach us to listen, learn and act upon that which You ask of us so that we may continue to grow and allow love to overflow. Help us to truly understand how to love those around us as You call us to love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to continue to grow in our understanding and go forth to love abundantly. Amen.

 

 

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

 

Instead, by speaking the truth with love, let’s grow in every way into Christ. – Ephesians 4:15