Pleased with Good Plans

“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 Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” – (Jeremiah 29:11, NLT)

 

As I continue to move forward throughout this month with a heart turned toward intentional gratitude, I am overwhelmed with thanks that God’s plans go far beyond what we see at any given moment. So often, we have to walk through dark spaces to truly appreciate the glory of the light that is waiting on the other side. His plans are good. God grants us hope and a future that is eternal. Not only does He bless us here, but He holds our eternity in His hands. Each season in my life that I have walked through that has been difficult, or seemingly devastating, has led to a new season of hope and beauty and blessing. It is through the trials and challenges and heartaches that we see, know and understand the enormity of the blessed hope we hold in the future as it unfolds. God is good and He has good plans for us that include a hope and a future. May we ever give Him thanks for our lives through His lens, rather than our own.

Mom, though she has moments of frustration and heartache over what was lost, she also holds fast to the hope and promise of a future that is good. God has good plans for her too. We are beyond grateful that her life was spared, and that she is doing well and fighting hard on this journey to recovery. Today, I am hopeful to catch up with both mom and my sister, and discover all of the new that has taken place and that lies ahead.

 

With a thankful heart, Pleased with Good Plans

Gratitude I raise;

A future and hope,

In Christ, ours always.

His plans, they are good,

Even in our mess;

God ever is near,

To help and to bless.

Give thanks to the Lord,

All praise for His grace;

For hope we can hold,

Today and always.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we have a hope and a future in You. Thank You that Your plans for us are good. Thank You that You come near and walk beside us through our darkness and show us the beauty of Your incredible light. Forgive us for losing sight of the hope in what lies ahead with You. Teach us to trust Your plans, even when we cannot see or imagine how our circumstances could possibly lead to good. Show us how to love and encourage those around us so that they too, may see light and hope and love, even in difficult spaces. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You all of our thanks and praise for Your faithfulness to be present and have a good plan for our lives. Amen.

 

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

 

Guide me in Your truth and teach me, for You are God my Savior, and my hope is in You all day long. – Psalm 25:5

Train in Truth

Have nothing to do with godless myths and old wives’ tales; rather, train yourself to be godly. – (1 Timothy 4:7, NIV)

People tell silly stories that don’t agree with God’s truth. Don’t follow what these stories teach. But teach yourself to be devoted to God. – (1 Timothy 4:7, ERV)

Be quick to abstain from senseless traditions and legends, but instead be engaged in the training of truth that brings righteousness. – (1 Timothy 4:7, TPT)

We live in a day and age where there is so much out there, vying for our attention, that if our heart and mind are not set secure in the truth of God, we will be pulled in so many directions that we will have no direction at all. God calls us to set our sights on Him, the author and finisher of our faith. As we do, we find our hearts and minds protected and directed away from the senseless things that would tempt our attention and cause fear and anxiety, rather than faith and trust in what is true. This is why it is so important that we know and understand the word of God. When His truth is rooted and established in our hearts, we are easily able to decipher what is true and from Him, and that which is not. May we ever invest time in the word of God, so that we may know and understand what is good, lovely, righteous and true.

As for a mom update: One of my favorite things is when I receive a text from Mom. Yesterday, just as I was leaving work to go run, I discovered a sweet “hello, I’m thinking of you” sort of message that made me wish even more, that mom was not such a long drive away. I gave her a call, and we were able to catch up on the day’s happenings, thus far. She is continuing to work hard, as the next step for her will be the transition to outpatient therapies, rather than in-home therapies that she is currently doing.

Follow not stories, The Word of God

Or legends or tales;

As how to live life,

In the end, they’ll fail.

For God is the truth,

The way and the light;

Our path provider,

He shows us what’s right.

In everything,

Seek God earnestly;

For He’ll point the way,

To live fruitfully.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our Source and Provider. Thank You that Your word is truth. Thank You that as we seek You and invest time in Your word, You make Your path more plain to us. Forgive us for allowing our hearts or minds to be distracted by all of the things that vie for our attention that do not point us back to You. Teach us to seek You first, so that we may look through Your lens at all that is placed before us. Show us how to love well, all those whom are in our lives. Help us to be Your hands, feet, heart and voice to those around us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love You and seek You and Your word to lead and guide us in the ways we are meant to go. Amen.

 

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

 

Guide me in Your truth and teach me, for You are God my Savior, and my hope is in You all day long. – Psalm 25:5

All Things Together

He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. – (Colossians 1:17, NIV)

He existed before anything was made, and now everything finds completion in Him. – (Colossians 1:17, TPT)

He was before all else began and it is His power that holds everything together. – (Colossians 1:17, TLB)

 

Some days, the weight of the world feels heavy on my heart. Yesterday was one of those days. Things in my immediate reach are good, however, there are challenges and trials that greet my grit the moment I set foot out of the oasis in my own home. Even in the comfort of my own space, I know the heaviness awaits me. What I have to remember, above all else, is that God is already there. He goes before me, He knows the solution, and He holds all together in His hands. I need not worry about that which I cannot control, and need seek Him for strength and solutions for the things that I can change. Today, I turn in trust to He who is already where I need Him to be, and believe that He is holding all together as God sees all things through to completion.

Yesterday, Mom had a great in-home physical therapy appointment. She was encouraged, as she did quite a bit of walking, leg strengthening exercises, and some practical exercises in the kitchen standing by the sink. When I tried to catch up with my sister last evening, she and mom were actually at Costco, so we were unable to chat in the midst of errand running. I continue to be encouraged, each time I hear that mom is out and doing “normal” things. Though I am sure a Costco run is a bit labor intensive compared to what she is accustomed to, it has to feel good to get out and see and select things again.

 

Before there was time, trust in the battle

Love, light, hope or fear;

Forever God’s been,

Making life appear.

All things together,

He holds in His hands;

Bringing completion,

Divine, loving plan.

Always we can trust,

Our great God above;

Who brings completion,

In strength and in love.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have always been and that You hold us in Your Mighty Hands. Thank You that You do not leave us nor forsake us, but You carry us through until things are complete. Forgive us for our faltering faith when the weight of the world wears us down. Teach us to trust You more, so that we place all in Your strong and capable hands. Show us how to love those around us in a way that strengthens and encourages each person to persevere on the path to which they have been called. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust in Your eternal goodness and Your capacity to lead and carry us through all things. Amen.

 

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

The works of His hands are faithful and just; all His precepts are trustworthy. – Psalm 111:7

Realigned for Gratitude

Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. – (Ephesians 5:19b-20, NIV)

And give thanks to God the Father every day through the name of our Lord Jesus the Anointed for all He has done. – (Ephesians 5:20, VOICE)

Always give thanks to Father God for every person He brings into your life in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. – (Ephesians 5:20, TPT)

 

Some days, a reminder to give thanks is well-timed, particularly when the “crud” is still lingering, and I wake up not quite ready to embrace the day. Regardless of how I feel, there are countless reasons for which I can give God thanks. This morning, the simple reminder in His word, helped realign my heart with gratitude. Each new day is a gift, and I am incredibly grateful for the people He has placed in my life. I have an incredibly loving and supportive husband, bright and kind children, loyal and caring friends, colleagues that are included in my circle of friends, extended family that is close despite the distance, a church in which we are firmly rooted, and a job that I enjoy, even on the difficult days. For each of these things and countless more, I give God praise, both today and always.

Mom is one of the greatest reasons to give praise. First and foremost, I am overwhelmingly grateful that she is with us and on the road to recovery. Though the road is long and painfully slow by human standards, she is here, and she is making positive progress. Mom embraces opportunities to work on growing stronger, and remains hopeful, ever trusting in He who is her strength. May we ever give thanks to God for all that He has done.

 

All thanks be to God,img_2019-10-03_05-05-362923133453325865323.jpg

Each day we draw breath;

For light, life and love,

Defeater of death.

Praise Him for the good,

The blessings that come;

Each beautiful soul,

That helps us become.

Become so much more,

Than we would alone;

Encouragement grows,

As people feel known.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for who You are and how You have surrounded me with an incredible community of support and encouragement. Thank You that even on days that I don’t feel great, I have so much to be thankful for and reasons to give You praise. Forgive us for the times that we allow our frustrations or challenges to overshadow the blessings that You bestow upon us. Teach us to see the good, even in the shadowy spaces. Show us how to love those around us in a way that offers encouragement and support in the way that it is needed most. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You thanks for all of the blessings that You bring into our lives. Amen.

 

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

 

Give thanks to the Lord for He is good; His love endures forever. – 1 Chronicles 16:34

We Belong to the Light

For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth). – (Ephesians 5:8-9, NIV)

In the past you were full of darkness, but now you are full of light in the Lord. So live like children who belong to the light. This light produces every kind of goodness, right living, and truth. – (Ephesians 5:8-9, ERV)

Because, although you were once the personification of darkness, you are now light in the Lord. So act like children of the light. For the fruit of the light is all that is good, right, and true. – (Ephesians 5:8-9, VOICE)

 

This passage from Ephesians 5, reminds us of the transformative power of the light of Christ in our lives. Though we once were full of darkness, when we at last allowed the light of Christ to enter in, the darkness could not remain. Light and darkness cannot coexist. As a light is ignited, darkness disappears. All that was previously hidden under the cloak of shadows in the absence of light, suddenly comes into view when light is allowed in. The light that comes and fills us and transforms us, so that we may bear fruit that is good, right and true. May we ever keep the door of our heart open, so that the light of Christ may flood every corner with His transformative power, producing every kind of goodness, right living and truth.

 

No more in darkness, img_2019-10-02_05-01-485044434115357390363.jpg

In Christ, we are light;

Flooded to bear fruit,

And do what is right.

The fruit is goodness,

The way that we love;

Right living in truth,

Through grace from above.

Leave behind darkness,

Walk full in His light;

Live a life fruitful,

Love well, do what’s right.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we invite You in, the darkness disappears, and Your light floods our existence. Thank You that in the light of Your love, we are called to bear the fruit that illuminates Your heart to the world. Thank You that You grow us in righteousness, goodness, and truth as we invest our lives in knowing more of You. Forgive us for the times that we have neglected to walk in the light that You have called us into. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would live lives that bear Your fruit. Show us how to love those around us with goodness, truth and right living in a way that points people unto You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we live in the light of Your love and walk in Your goodness, righteousness and truth. Amen.

 

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

 

Anyone who loves their brother and sister lives in the light, and there is nothing in them to make them stumble. – 1 John 2:10

A Day to Remember

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

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

I look up at the vast size of the mountains – from where will my help come in times of trouble? The Eternal Creator of heaven and earth and these mountains will send the help I need. – (Psalm 121:1-2, VOICE)

 

It is impossible to begin today without taking pause to reflect on the events that transpired on this date, nearly two decades ago. The shock and horror of the tragic losses, are forever etched in images in my mind. However, in the midst of such devastation, people came together and helped one another, in ways that have seldom been matched since. Stories of ordinary people doing extraordinary things to help and provide for those around them, brought great light in the midst of so much darkness. When I see such dissent in our current culture, and the ensuing animosity that follows, I have to take pause and remember to lift my eyes to the One who can be the help and the peace that is present, and trust Him to bring change, beginning with me. May we look to the Lord to be our help and our hope, as we extend the light that we long to see in the world.

 

A day to remember, 9-11-memorial-03-marley-white__large

Let us never forget;

All the loss that took place,

Sorrow’s sea of regrets.

Lives tragically taken,

Families left alone;

To pick up the pieces,

Acts of terror had sown.

The nation chose rally,

Stand together, unite;

Support one another,

Rise and do what was right.

May we capture the heart,

That came from tragedy;

Choose to love others well,

Agree to disagree.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our help who we can always look to, no matter what we face. Thank You for the countless ways that You made Your heart known through the kindness of people on that fateful day, years ago. Thank You that we saw the best in people in the worst of times. Forgive us for forgetting that there is good in the world. Teach us to go forth and be the example that we long to see. Show us how to love those around us in a way that spreads Your light and life and hope. May many come in a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we look to You and go forth in love. Amen.

 

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

 

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

To Carry the Sweet Scent

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)

 

When we invite Christ to come and dwell within us, He covers us with His goodness and grace. No longer do we wreak of the stench of sin and death, but we are made new, filled with His scent of hope and light, life and love. Our charge is to go forth in His love and love others. As we do, we carry His aroma by association. To those who are in need of hope and ready to receive it, the scent is sweet; yet to those who have set their heart on the sin they are in, the scent we bear is pungent. Incredibly, each one of us had to be drawn to God in our own time, before we recognized how sweet the fragrance of our Heavenly Father. May we ever seek the Lord to listen and do His will, so that we may carry His sweet scent wherever we go and in all that we say and do.

 

We carry the scent, img_2019-07-16_06-35-183702170351870846491.jpg

Before God above;

Of Jesus, His Son,

Through how we choose love.

For as we love well,

The fragrance of life;

Shared with each other,

Brings an end to strife.

Yet, sometimes the smell,

Is not found so sweet;

Only the ready,

Come forth in receipt.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Christ brings the sweet scent of life and hope and love to all who are ready to receive Him. Thank You that as we do, we too may bear the favorable fragrance found in You. Forgive us for the times that we have been a bit pungent, as our words or actions did not clearly reflect who You have created us to become. Teach us to trust and rely on You more, so that we would bear Your beloved scent before all others. Show us how to love those around us well, so that they may embrace Your sweet fragrance of life. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to ever transform us, so that we may carry the blessed aroma of Your Son, that leads to everlasting life. Amen.

 

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

 

In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. – Matthew 5:16

 

 

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,

09021914503103742408969719714.jpg

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

Faithful Through All Generations

For the Lord is good and His love endures forever; His faithfulness continues through all generations. – (Psalm 100:5, NIV)

The Lord is good! There is no end to His faithful love. We can trust Him forever and ever! – (Psalm 100:5, ERV)

Because the Eternal is good, His loyal love and mercy will never end, and His truth will last throughout all generations. – (Psalm 100:5, VOICE)

 

God has been overwhelmingly faithful throughout the generations. Between my mother and her mother before her, (and so on) there have been incredible examples set before us of God’s loving kindness and faithfulness that have been made tangible. Today, we celebrate the gift that is my mom. For seventy years, she has graced the earth with her goodness, life, and light. Though this past year has likely been her most challenging, (particularly the last four months) she has risen to every challenge and is persevering with strength, faith and fortitude, trusting in Him to be her Healer. Where some would grow grumpy and lose their graciousness, mom has remained loving and kind, full of humor and grace, willing to laugh at the humor that comes with the obstacles we all face in the midst of life’s challenges. I know that I would not be the woman, mother, wife, friend, teacher and human that I have become, without the leading and influence of my mom. Her guidance has taught me that I can be tender and tough, sweet and strong, and extend kindness to all. She models each of these through her very existence. May we all trust in the Lord and the goodness of His love, for His faithfulness endures through all generations.

 

God’s blessing to us, img_2019-08-18_07-53-379032292884983487160.jpg

Is like no other;

In the treasured gift,

That is our mother.

No matter what comes,

Her presence is near;

Prayers tangibly felt,

Strength to persevere.

She models the way,

To love and to live;

May we do the same,

And of ourselves, give.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the treasured gift that You have given us in our mom. Thank You for Your grace and protection that spared her life and that is granting her strength and hope and courage to recover what was lost four months ago. Thank You not for the stroke, but for the blessings that have come from it – the time together that far exceeded what we would have ever had otherwise. Lord, bless our mom with the desires of her heart in the coming year. Forgive us for our impatience with Your timeline. Thank You that You know best and that You have a plan and a purpose, and that You bring beauty from all things. Teach us to trust You more when we cannot see the next step, or feel discouraged in the here and now. Show us how to love and encourage all those whom we encounter. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we follow the example of love and joy that mom offers to all as we navigate each day. Amen.

 

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

 

Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever. – 1 Chronicles 16:34

God Guides and Provides

Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path. – (Psalm 119:105, NIV)

Your word is like a lamp that guides my steps, a light that shows the path I should take. – (Psalm 119:105, ERV)

By Your words I can see where I’m going; they throw a beam of light on my dark path. – (Psalm 119:105, MSG)

 

The word of God is alive and active. It is not just some book of words recorded long ago, but rather it is a source of encouragement and wisdom as we traverse life’s journey. So often, when the road is bleak or unclear, I find comfort and peace as I await next steps. Right now, we are in a space of tying up loose ends here and making final preparations there, prior to mom’s move to the next leg of her healing journey. This week, she will have her final in-home appointments with physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech therapy, as her insurance has to end in Washington in July, in order to begin in Oregon in August. This creates a strange sort of gap in the in-between, but God has been opening doors and showing us ways to keep mom moving forward with her various exercises during the week she will be in Washington without any appointments, prior to moving. Additionally, the whole swimming option has added a beautiful new element of therapy that not even the professionals have been able to offer. God guides and provides every step of the way.

Yesterday was a day of visiting, as the day began with our final hours together with my love before he had to drive home, followed by dear pastoral friends of mom’s at mid-day, and a wonderful evening together with mom’s best friend and her husband, as we shared dinner, much laughter, and taught them our family favorite game. Our fantastic full day led to a solid night’s sleep, with only one wake-up. We both rose at a reasonable hour, rested, and are ready for a full day, as mom has both physical therapy and speech therapy, as well as a visit with friends, late this afternoon. May we trust in God and the goodness of His word, as He lights our path and makes our way clear.

 

The word of the Lord, The Word of God

In love, lights the way;

To walk in His truth,

Grants grace each new day.

No matter how rough,

Or bleak the road seems;

The Lord’s love light shines,

All things, He redeems.

The God of all grace,

Can do so much more;

Beauty from ashes,

And broken, restored.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your word is the lamp unto our feet and the light unto our path. Thank You that Your word is timeless and relevant. Thank You that You see us and know us, and You hear our every need. Forgive our fearfulness when we cannot see the path You prepare before us. Teach us to trust You more so that we would seek You and spend time in Your word to discover the path You are calling us to travel. Show us how to love those around us in a way that extends grace and kindness and peace, so that broken hearts and lives may come to know restoration and wholeness. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love You and thank You for Your word that guides us. Amen.

 

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

 

For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. – Hebrews 4:12