Jesus is Our Refuge in Suffering

Truly my soul finds rest in God; my salvation comes from Him. Truly He is my rock and my salvation; He is my fortress, I will never be shaken. – (Psalm 62:1-2, NIV)

I must calm down and turn to God; only He can rescue me. He is my Rock, the only one who can save me. He is my high place of safety, where no army can defeat me. – (Psalm 62:1-2, ERV)

God, the One and only – I’ll wait as long as He says. Everything I need comes from Him, so why not? He’s solid rock under my feet, breathing room for my soul, an impregnable castle: I’m set for life. – (Psalm 62:1-2, MSG)

Though I have not been suffering, I have been navigating uncharted territory through this whole skin cancer ordeal. From biopsy of the unknown to a bigger biopsy to determine nature of what had become known, to the confirmation that my new normal will include a medical team to watch diligently, to make certain that what was surgically removed, will not return. In the coming weeks, I have two appointments with two different oncologists, and an appointment with a dermatologist. Again, I am not in a space of suffering, but I am in a space of uncertainty of the unknown. God has been faithful to be ever near as I have walked through two biopsies and two surgeries that followed. I can trust Him to be faithful to remain near as we navigate all that lies ahead. Thankfully, His peace has been present and He is helping keep fear at bay. Yes, the not knowing makes me uneasy, but the certainty in knowing that He will be with me grants the courage to keep pressing forward without allowing the unknowns to monopolize my thoughts. Also, He has provided financially, as being double-covered with medical insurance has kept the bills that have come to a minimum. The Message says it well, as it states, “He’s the solid rock under my feet, and breathing room for my soul…” May we ever seek the Lord in our uncertainty, suffering or sorrows, for He is our refuge and the One on whom we can depend.

Present through trials,

God is ever near;

Foundation to stand,

As He calms each fear.

Forever our hope,

Our place of refuge;

Comfort Provider,

Love that each day’s new.

Help us rise up, Lord,

Our strength comes from You;

All thanks and our praise,

Are unto You, due.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our help and our hope, and that You are our refuge in suffering. Thank You that You promise to be present through every trial as we call on You to be near. Forgive us for our fears and doubts, for in all things, the ultimate outcome is forever with You. Teach us to have an eternal perspective and to trust in You to be our strength and peace. Lead us to love those around us in ways that promote peace, pray for healing and wholeness, and bring hope to spaces that hope is lacking. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to be our comfort and praise You for Your unending faithfulness that we know is true. Amen.

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

But I will sing of Your strength, in the morning I will sing of Your love; for You are my fortress, my refuge in times of trouble. – Psalm 59:16

The Blessings of Strength and Peace

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

May the Lord make His people strong. May the Lord bless His people with peace. – (Psalm 29:11, ERV)

God makes His people strong. God gives His people peace. – (Psalm 29:11, MSG)

I have experienced this so much over the last few days. For each surgery, God gave me the strength that I needed, and His peace was present. Yesterday, as I had reconstructive surgery on my lip where the cancer had been removed the day prior, I was at total peace as I was checked in and prepped for the process. Again, the procedure took less time than anticipated, and the pain has been tolerable. This morning, though I woke far earlier than planned, I felt good and was glad to be up when one of my kiddos wandered up the stairs not feeling great. Being able to offer advice, comfort and company is still a blessing, even when your kids are adults. It seems that the same sort of peace that I received, is now being passed on to my son as he is resting on the couch with me and the pups. God is good, and He is faithful to supply the strength we need and will be our peace whenever we call on His Name. As we move into this weekend of celebrating Christ, who came to us as a baby, grew into a man, and showed us God in the flesh as He lived, loved, and gave His life for us, only to rise again to sit at the right hand of the Father and constantly contend for us all, may we prioritize give Him praise for His forever faithful ways.

God is our comfort,

Faithful place of peace;

Strength when we’re weary,

All goodness released.

O Lord, we praise You,

For all that You are;

The Light of the world,

For all near and far.

When we’re uncertain,

Of what lies ahead;

The Lord will guide us,

In His strength we’re led.

Praise to You, Father,

And praise to the Son;

And to the Spirit,

Godhead, three-in-One.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our strength and our Provider of peace. Thank You that You are loving and kind and faithful. Thank You that You are our Healer too. Forgive us for our fears and doubts when we face unknowns. Teach us to trust You more in all things and at all times. Show us how to love those around us in ways that strengthen and promote peace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as receive Your strength and peace with gladness and give You all the glory because You are so good. Amen.

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

You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in You. – Isaiah 26:3

Compassion and Comfort

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father compassion and the God of all comfort. – (2 Corinthians 1:3, NIV)

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. He is the Father who is full of mercy, the God of all comfort. – (2 Corinthians 1:3, ERV)

All praise goes to God, Father of our Lord Jesus, the Anointed One. He is the Father of compassion, the God of all comfort. – (2 Corinthians 1:3, VOICE)

Most nights, I wake and have little or no recollection as to what I dreamed about. This morning, however, I woke after having dreamed all throughout the night about the surgery that was just scheduled yesterday. It was neither bad nor good, but rather felt like an abundance of waiting. I imagine that it was sparked by the concern that has been weighing on me since I was told the appointment schedule, and it carried over into my dreams. It is no mystery that I am anxious about what lies ahead, yet I know I am in a space where I must simply trust and go through the process. Though I have never experienced anything quite like this before, I have experienced the unfailing faithfulness of God. God is compassionate and is our comfort, and time and time again, I can share His heart for these things in our lives. He has been with me, provided for me, and comforted me through some of life’s lowest valleys. God stayed beside me, held me up, and provided all that I needed to keep moving forward. In fifteen days, the process will have begun, and in sixteen, it will be complete. Right now, that seems like a very long wait. However, when I look back, it does not feel like gymnastics season is nearly a month in. Even when days drag on, the weeks have flown much more rapidly than realized. Time is tricky, as it goes quickly when we want it to slow down, and it seems to stand still when we desire time to speed up. God is faithful through it all, and when my focus is on praising Him and His goodness, time does not matter. May we ever seek God in all things and at all times, for He is compassionate and provides comfort as each is needed.

Praise be to the Lord,

In all things, always;

For He’s our comfort,

Throughout all our days.

When we are anxious,

We need not give fear;

A foot to stand on,

For God is so near.

His great compassion,

Comfort for the soul;

Soothes us in stillness,

As He makes us whole.

So, trust in the Lord,

Ever give Him praise;

Our hope forever,

The Ancient of Days.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You know our hearts and our needs far better than we do. Thank You that You are our Comforter, and You are full of compassion for us all. Forgive us for our fearfulness as we face unknowns. Teach us to trust and rely on You more, for You are faithful to go before us, stay beside us, and hold us up when we are unable to move forward without Your strength. Show us how to navigate the unknowns with faith in Your nearness, and grant us wisdom to know how to encourage and walk beside those who are in such spaces. Let Your love be evident to all. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we place our every fear and concern in Your capable and compassionate hands, for You are with us and will not leave us. Amen.

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

Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. – Psalm 23:4

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

In All Things Praise

And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him. – (Colossians 3:17, NIV)

Everything you say and everything you do should be done for Jesus your Lord. And in all you do, give thanks to God the Father through Jesus. – (Colossians 3:17, ERV)

Surely, no matter what you are doing (speaking, writing or working), do it all in the name of Jesus our Master, sending thanks through Him to God our Father. – (Colossians 3:17, VOICE)

This verse, paired with what I know and love about the Psalms, remind me that it is okay to struggle with and lament what is going on, yet we must ultimately fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith. David was a man after God’s own heart, and he questioned, lamented and cried out to God, yet ever kept perspective on who God is and gave Him the thanks that belongs to God alone. Right now, I am still reeling a bit from the prognosis I received from the specialist on Wednesday. I am still grateful that the carcinoma was discovered sooner than later, yet I am very much dreading the process of the prescribed procedure. It is not the pain I fear, but rather my body’s reaction to the process. God is good, and He will supply all that I need, however, my humanity is not looking forward to any of it, and the specialist’s insistence that I be fast-tracked to have the surgery sooner than later, adds a bit of angst as well. This is the space that I can pause and remember God’s incredible faithfulness in my life thus far, and His kindness to provide a long weekend to process and prepare my heart before heading back into the work week. Additionally, there is just enough activity sprinkled in, that I will not have too much time to dwell on what lies ahead. There is time to rest, to spend time with my loved ones, to cuddle my dogs extra often, to coach my gymnasts as they are working on building routines, and to celebrate the retirement of one of our dearest friends. I am missing my mom and sister terribly this holiday weekend, but know that I can joyfully anticipate time together at Christmas. May we ever fix our eyes on Jesus, our Help and our Hope in all things, and give Him all of our praise for His faithfulness throughout all of our days.

O Lord, in all things,

Will You help me praise;

Your great faithfulness,

Throughout all my days.

Each day You are good,

Even when life’s not;

You share our burdens,

Each time that You’re sought.

Thank You for kindness,

For goodness and grace;

For hope and Your help,

On difficult days.

Thank You, Lord Jesus,

That You’re good always;

And Your faithfulness,

Is reason to praise.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are good, faithful, loving and kind, and the Provider of all that we need each day. Thank You that no matter what lies ahead, we have You to walk beside us and to carry us when we can walk no further. Forgive us for our fears of the unknown, for You are known in all, even when what lies ahead is not. Teach us to trust You more each day, and lead us to live out each day trusting in Your unfailing love that never leaves us. Show us how to love, encourage and support those around us in ways that make Your love tangible and Your goodness evident. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose to praise You throughout all of our days. 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

Peace is Plentiful

Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you. – (1 Peter 5:7, NIV)

Give all your worries to Him, because He cares for you. – (1 Peter 5:7, ERV)

Since God cares for you, let Him carry all your burdens and worries. – (1 Peter 5:7, VOICE)

 No matter what we have been through, or what may lie ahead, we need not worry, for God already knows and will be faithful to be with us. When anxiousness begins to rise and creep in, we need to place it in His capable hands. Because He cares for us, we do not have to carry our burdens alone, nor do we have to face the fires by ourselves. God is with us, and He is able to meet us in each moment, and help us navigate through each new day. As a teacher, Monday mornings can feel a bit anxiety causing, especially on a holiday that provides a plethora of sugar to kids for the coming week. He is good, and already knows. The Lord will give us the wisdom and grace we need to keep moving forward. May we ever seek our Savior and place our worries and burdens at the foot of the cross, for it is there that they have already been seen, known and overcome.

Because the Lord cares,

We need not worry;

All is in His hands,

So strong and sturdy.

Anxiety falls,

When given to Him;

The Lord holds us up,

And grants peace within.

Help us turn to You,

Throughout all our days;

You are the answer,

You show us the way.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we need not worry or be anxious, for You are with us and remain present throughout all of our days. Forgive us for our fears and doubts that sneak in when we shift our gaze away from You. Teach us to ever trust in You and to lay all of our worries and concerns at Your feet. Show us how to let go and allow You to be Lord of all things. Lead us to love those around us as You do, so that Your hope and help are made clearly known. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust in Your faithfulness forever and find Your peace is plentiful as we seek You. Amen.

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

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. – Philippians 4:6

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

Strength and a Clear Path

God – He clothes me with strength and makes my way perfect. – (Psalm 18:32, HCSB)

It is God who arms me with strength and keeps my way secure. – (Psalm 18:32, NIV)

God is the one who gives me strength. He clears the path I need to take. – (Psalm 18:32, ERV)

The True God who encircled me with strength and made my pathway straight. – (Psalm 18:32, VOICE)

As so many of us return to school today after what felt like the first “real” summer in the last few years, may we be equipped with the strength of the Lord for all that lies ahead. Teaching through the pandemic made for challenge after challenge, and last year, as we all returned to buildings, there were even more trials through the process of having to reacclimate to being on campus and interacting with live humans. This morning, though it marks my 26th first day of school as a teacher, the nervousness and anticipation are still securely in place. How will I create community in my classroom, and how can I help each student feel as if they belong? We all need strength and clarity to navigate this new year, and a clear path to lead and guide well. May we all seek the Lord to be our strength and to show us the steps we need to take to help each student feel as if they belong.

O Lord, bring the new,

Better than before;

Please lead and guide us,

To open new doors.

Show us Your goodness,

Lead us in Your way;

Each step that we take,

Throughout each new day.

Help all who enter,

Feel welcomed and known;

Valued and noticed,

Let Your love be shown.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our strength and the Light that leads us in the direction You want us to go. Thank You that You go before us, remain with us, and walk beside us as we navigate each new day. Forgive us for our fearfulness of what is not yet known. Teach us to trust in You to be our strength and lead us well. Show us how to love those around us as You intended. Give us clear direction in our classrooms so that we might create a welcoming community where every child knows that they belong. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we depend on You to be our strength and seek You to direct our steps. Amen.

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

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with My righteous right hand. – Isaiah 41:10

Room to Roam and Rest

Trust in the Lord and do what is good; dwell in the land and live securely. – (Psalm 37:3, HCSB)

So trust in the Lord and do good. Live on your land and be dependable. – (Psalm 37:3, ERV)

Believe in the Eternal, and do what is good – live in the land He provides; roam, and rest in God’s faithfulness. – (Psalm 37:3, VOICE)

Wherever we are, and whatever we are called to do, we ought to do our best as unto the Lord. Sometimes, doing so is staying right where we are, even when things are challenging. God is faithful to provide what we need, and we can trust Him as we choose to keep doing good. Today is the final full day of the school year. It has been one of challenges and change, yet here we are on the second-to-last day, still standing. As a teacher, it is difficult not to look ahead to next year and anticipate what the year will hold, but right now, we simply need to choose to continue to do what is good and be present. His faithfulness will see us through whatever the year will hold, but for now, we are approaching our time to roam and to rest as we recharge for all that lies ahead. May we ever trust in the Lord and continue to be dependable in what we are called to do, for He is faithful, always.

Choose rise up in faith,

Photo by Harrison Haines on Pexels.com

Keep doing the good;

Where we have been called,

God’s love has withstood.

Near in the struggles,

His strength was given;

And now there’ll be rest,

His peace to live in.

Thank You, Lord Jesus,

For all You provide;

Your rest and the room,

To roam as You guide.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are faithful to meet us where we are and lead us to where we need to be. Thank You that You bring us out of seasons of struggle and into times of rest and refreshment. Forgive us for our fears and doubts when uncertainty lies ahead. Teach us to trust You and Your faithfulness. Show us how to build up, encourage, and love those around us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we depend on You in all things and at all times, and give You praise for time to roam and rest. Amen.

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

Rest in God alone, my soul, for my hope comes from Him. – Psalm 62:5

Comfort That Conveys Joy

When I am filled with cares, Your comfort brings me joy. – (Psalm 94:19, HCSB)

I was very worried and upset, but You comforted me and made me happy! – (Psalm 94:19, ERV)

When anxiety overtakes me and worries are many, Your comfort lightens my soul. – (Psalm 94:19, VOICE)

This weekend has been exactly what my husband and I have needed. The weight of the week had grown heavy, and time away together has been a space to relax and recharge. For me, I find joy being outside in God’s creation. There is nothing that makes me more aware of Him than fresh air and all of the colors that surround us. My husband is his best self when he gets to let go of the burdens and be himself. After much pondering about how to best discover a way for both of us to really relax and enjoy our time together, I ordered two e-scooters and helmets for us, prior to this weekend. My Viking and I scooted along miles of trails that run beside the bay, and run through lush green vegetation. We were further able to explore the town, and spent hours riding around, taking in all of the beauty of the area. I am not sure which brought me more joy – our surroundings or watching my mister play and enjoy himself in a childlike manner. I don’t think a smile ever left our faces. We will have time again this morning to explore a bit more before we need to pack up and head home. Already, I feel as if my soul has been lightened, and I am better equipped to navigate the week that lies ahead. God is good, and I am so grateful that He provides joy in ordinary spaces when we take time to get out and enjoy all that He has made.

When life feels heavy,

Take time and slow down;

Observe surroundings,

For peace will be found.

View all the beauty,

That His hands have made;

Joy rises within,

And worries will fade.

Place all in His hands,

For they’re strong enough;

He lightens our load,

Brings smooth to the rough.

Rise up each morning,

And look all around;

Joy is waiting,

In Christ it is found.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can bring our cares and burdens to You, and You soothe our souls and fill us with Your joy as we delight in You. Forgive us for allowing worries to overtake us instead of bringing all before You. Thank You that You call us unto Yourself and restore joy anew. Show us how to love those around us well, so they too, may be filled with Your joy and peace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we turn to You with our worries and cares, and recognize the joy that is within as we appreciate all that You have made. Amen.

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

May the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other and for everyone else, just as ours does for you. – 1 Thessalonians 3:12