Restore to Me the Joy

Restore to me the joy of Your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me. – (Psalm 51:12, NIV)

Your help made me so happy. Give me that joy again. Make my spirit strong and ready to obey You. – (Psalm 51:12, ERV)

Give back to me the deep delight of being saved by You; let Your willing Spirit sustain me. – (Psalm 51:12, VOICE)

 

As I sat down to read my devotions this morning, the words that kept resonating in my heart and mind, were “restore to me the joy”, despite the lack of connection to the passages I was reading. For the last few days, I have been in a bit of a funk. I seemed to reach my breaking point yesterday, as I could not coax the normal joy from within, to make any sort of appearance externally. The weight on my heart and mind was just too heavy. Between sickness, disease, and pending death in family members, work, home, and numerous responsibilities and demands that go far beyond what one person is meant to bear alone, I was beginning to crumble on the inside. Kindness extended from colleagues made my eyes threaten to defy me, and it took everything in me to fend off tears. Isolation and work best suited my sullen state during lunch, and God granted me the strength to navigate the remainder of the day. Thankfully, gymnastics practice after school is a place that brings joy, as I delight in the doing that offers help and encouragement in an arena outside of the classroom, where I am not being assessed on every move that I make. Post practice I had the privilege of meeting up with my running buddy for a run, and that too, reminded me of the joy that is within me as I moved freely, pounding out the pain into the pavement. Upon arriving home, my amazing husband was set to love me well. He was aware of my struggle, and took care of dinner preparations, clean up, and then just sat with me, in silent support loving me all the while. This morning, I feel lighter somehow. God is faithful, and He is willing to restore His joy in us as we seek Him. His joy is not happiness with our circumstances, but rather a deep delight in Him, despite what we are walking through. The smile that is typically so readily seen on my face is not because life is always easy, but rather it is rooted in the joy granted through knowing who holds me in the hollow of His hands, every minute of every day. Perhaps yesterday I lost sight of that for a time, or my frail humanity reared its ugly head. Either way, sorrow and heavy took a spot not designated for them, and today, they are being placed back in the palms of He who can carry it all. May we ever seek the Lord to hold our heart and our hands in our heaviness, and pursue Him to restore the joy that comes in knowing our eternity is secure forever in Him.

 

O Lord God above, Restore to Me the Joy

May I ever seek;

Your joy in sorrow,

And strength when I’m weak.

For You are faithful,

You’re mighty to save;

You love us to life,

Through all of our days.

Help us to place all,

In Your mighty hands;

As Your love restores,

Faith we need to stand.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are the One who restores true joy within us. Thank You that You love us and take our burdens upon Yourself, when we are carrying more than we should. Forgive us for losing sight of where our true joy resides. Teach us to trust You more, so that Your light will shine through us, always. Show us how to love those around us in practical and tangible ways. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to restore our joy in You. Amen.

 

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

 

When Jesus spoke again to the people, He said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows Me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life. – John 8:12

Defense Against Discouragement

Let us come before Him with thanksgiving and extol Him with music and song. – (Psalm 95:2, NIV)

Come and worship Him with songs of thanks. Let us sing happy songs of praise to Him. – (Psalm 95:2, ERV)

Come face-to-face with God, and give thanks; with loud and joyful voices, praise Him in songs. – (Psalm 95:2, VOICE)

 

The best defense against discouragement and frustration, is praise and thanksgiving. Yesterday was a bit of a battle for me. Between fending off a doozy of a headache and a report of less-than-stellar student behavior during my absence on Monday, it was a struggle to operate from a space of gratitude and joy. Thankfully, I have incredible colleagues, and the blessing of positive and encouraging interactions with them throughout my day, made all of the difference in how my heart was held. I am certain that taking the opportunity to give mom a quick call during my planning period helped too. By the time I arrived at high school gymnastics practice to warm, friendly greetings by the girls and fellow coaches, joy and gratitude were back in their proper place, and practice flew by. Days such as these, I am so grateful for the people that He has placed in my life to remind me of what truly matters. May we ever come before the Lord with thanksgiving and praise Him with song; for He is good and His love endures forever.

As I mentioned, I was blessed to get a hold of Mom during my planning period in the morning yesterday. Speaking to her before her first out-patient speech appointment was good, as I know she was a bit nervous for the new, yet excited to continue to move forward on this journey of healing. Thankfully, I had the pleasure of checking back in with Mom last evening to hear how her first appointment had gone. Although it was the usual assessment to establish a starting point, she really liked the speech therapist, and was encouraged by the work he initiated and the hope that lies ahead. Additionally, now that she has been to an out-patient appointment, the other new upcoming therapy appointments are less daunting. For all of these things, we give thanks.

 

When discouragement, img_2019-11-20_04-57-501882498755502868600.jpg

Or frustration come;

Combat them with praise,

To the Holy One.

Despite what we see,

There’s always reason;

To give thanks to God,

In each new season.

For life and for breath,

For hope, strength and peace;

So many blessings,

By grace, He’s released.

Let us rise and praise,

Give thanks where it’s due;

All unto the Lord,

Whose love’s ever true.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that in You we have reason to give thanks and sing songs of praise unto You, in every season. Thank You that even in a time that feels heavy, You are present and ready to carry the weight. Thank You that as we lift our burdens unto You and give praise where praise is due, we are able to navigate the way true. Forgive us for losing sight of gratitude in the grip of the grind. Teach us to keep our eyes on You, so that our perspective is eternal rather than on the temporary. Show us how to love those around us in the midst of their heaviness, so that they too may find reason to give thanks. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You praise and thanks for all of our days, for You are always good. Amen.

 

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

 

The righteous will rejoice in the Lord and take refuge in Him; all the upright in heart will glory in Him! – Psalm 64:10

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

Begin With Thanks

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

Give thanks to the Lord because He is good. His faithful love will last forever. – (1 Chronicles 16:34, ERV)

Give thanks to God – He is good and His love never quits. – (1 Chronicles 16:34, MSG)

 

This morning, I woke twenty minutes prior to my alarm. I am uncertain as to whether it was my full bladder or my strange dream that disrupted my slumber, but either way, I was not pleased to be awake at that time, knowing that I would be up for the day in such a short time. As I felt a toasty blast of heat on my way to the restroom, I had a quick check in my heart as to what really matters. Above all else, I have so many reasons to give thanks. So often, we need to take pause and take inventory. God’s goodness and love know no end. For me, in that moment, I remembered that this is the first day of November, a month often dedicated to giving thanks. Upon further pondering, my mental list of gratitude has grown, exponentially, and I could likely spend the month writing about all of the reasons that I am thankful. At 2:57 am, my list included a home with heat, a warm, comfortable bed, a roof over my head, a loving husband, wonderful children, our moms, siblings, and extended family, as well as an incredible circle of familial-like friends. We all have struggles and challenges and trials to face, yet in the midst of them all, we have God and His unending grace. For all of these things, and so many more, may we give thanks to God.

As for mom, her progress provides yet another reason to give God thanks. This week she had the very last of her in-home therapy appointments, as she is now going to transition to out-patient therapy. The switch is significant, as physical and occupation therapy providers have resources, tools and equipment that expedite mobility and strength, and we are eager to see how mom grows in this new chapter of her stroke recovery. Our prayer now is that the timing of the transition is seamless. We are hopeful that because she is in the same city, insurance will process and appointments will be available quickly. Above all, we give thanks to God that mom is with us, and is on the road to recovery, working hard and growing stronger every day.

 

Give thanks to the Lord,

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Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography

For He’s always good;

His love’s forever,

Through all times, withstood.

Every good gift,

Comes from God above;

Blessings from heaven,

Surrounded in love.

For all that is good,

And help when it’s not;

Give thanks to the Lord,

Who amply allots.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are good and that Your love endures forever. Thank You for the ways that You bless, sustain and help us throughout all of our days. Forgive us for losing sight of Your goodness when things don’t go our way. Teach us to look to You with gratitude, trusting that even in the struggles, trials, inconveniences and the like; You are with us and will see us through. Show us how to love those around us in a way that multiplies gratitude in others. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You thanks for who You are and for Your goodness and love that know no end. Amen.

 

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

 

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

 

 

Joy in Every Season

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

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

Be cheerful with joyous celebration in every season of life. Let joy overflow, for you are united with the Anointed One! – (Philippians 4:4, TPT)

 

This weekend is turning out to be a wonderful blessing, that I had not anticipated. As my husband and my anniversary draws ever nearer, and we have a planned getaway late next week, I did not imagine that not only he and my boys would come this weekend, but my running bestie arrived last evening and stays through late morning, and then as my guys leave on Sunday, my best friend will roll in for an overnight as well. The great thing is that the one who gave me life reaps the blessings, as well as the one whom they come to celebrate. It is a win-win, and yet another reason to rejoice.  The thing is, rejoicing in the Lord is not actually about our circumstances, but rather about our hope that is held in Him. My mom is an incredible model of this each day, as her joy is unwavering and her strength and determination are clearly grounded in God.

Yesterday, Mom had physical therapy and occupational therapy back-to-back, early in the day. During PT, mom walked the length of her hallway with a hemi-walker for the first time, which is incredible, as it is a one-handed walker and the step prior to transitioning to a cane. In fact, at the end of her session, Nick, her physical therapist, recommended that we find a cane for her before Monday. Occupational therapy was equally great, as the brace for mom’s shoulder that we had ordered had arrived, and Larissa adjusted and educated us both as to how it is to be placed and worn. Mom did a great job with her exercises for OT as well, and did some walking with her shoulder brace and hemi-walker, just to see what it would feel like to not need someone help hold her arm to keep it from hanging painfully. It was fantastic! After lunch, mom wisely took a rest, knowing that the afternoon and evening would be busy. Two of her sweet neighbors stopped by to visit and check in, while another neighbor from next door, was reinforcing brackets on some of mom’s sprinkler lines (just because he is kind). Shortly after the neighbors had gone, by dear friend, Ashley arrived. Mom was just as excited as I was, and we all shared dinner together, followed by a fun evening of teaching her our favorite game. Apparently, we taught her too well, as she won the last round. 😉 Mom had another good night of sleep, and we are hoping to sneak mom down to the paved path by the river so that we can at least get a good walk in, since mom’s chair will not allow a jog pace. We will see what mom is up for, but either way, the visit is great for all of us. May we ever rejoice in the Lord, for He has given us life and breath, hope and love; to Him be the glory forever.

 

Rejoice in the Lord,

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This morning’s view… ❤

As each season comes;

For He is faithful,

His will shall be done.

Despite what we see,

He’s working within;

Making a new way,

As we choose trust Him.

Find joy in trials,

And joy in success;

For God is in both,

His heart is to bless.

Look to the heavens,

Ever seek His face;

For there you’ll find joy,

And unending grace.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we always have joy in You, no matter our circumstances. Forgive us for losing sight of that joy when troubles or trials cloud our view. Teach us to fix our eyes on You above all else, so that we never lose sight of the joy we have forever. Show us how to love those around us in a way that spreads joy in all circumstances, and extends grace to those needing it the most. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love You and find joy in our hope in You forever. Amen.

 

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

 

Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength. – Nehemiah 8:10b

Countless Expressions of Love

Many, Lord my God, are the wonders You have done, the things You planned for us. None can compare with You; were I to speak and tell of Your deeds, they would be too many to declare. – (Psalm 40:5, NIV)

Lord my God, You have done many amazing things! You have made great plans for us – too many to list. I could talk on and on about them, because there are too many to count. – (Psalm 40:5, ERV)

O Lord, our God, no one can compare with You. Such wonderful works and miracles are all found with You! And You think of us all the time with Your countless expressions of love – far exceeding our expectations! – (Psalm 40:5, TPT)

 

Whenever I pause to reflect on the wonders God has done, I stand in awe of the love and faithfulness He has shown me. As a visual learner, I have a tremendous appreciation for tangible reminders of God’s faithfulness – be it in writing, some sort of visual or the imagining of the altars of stone that were made so long ago to commemorate God faithfully seeing His people through a variety of challenges. Saturday, I had a tangible visual placed in my daily sight line, as a reminder of all that He has done. “The dragonfly has been a symbol of happiness, new beginnings and change for many centuries. The dragonfly means hope, change and love.” (- Why the Dragonfly) For me, in my life, this is the epitome of what God has done in my life. Knowing the symbolism behind the dragonfly, I have been gently reminded of His faithfulness to me at some incredibly pivotal times over the last few years. It seemed everywhere I went, I would see beautifully colorful dragonflies; overseas, out of state, and locally. After life took a turn that I had never imagined, God walked me through and brought me to a place of change, happiness and new beginnings. Where hope had been dashed, it was renewed. Where love had been lost, it has been gifted to me in ways I never thought possible. God works wonderful miracles in ways we would never think possible. His blessings far exceed what we would hope for when we trust in Him. May we ever seek the Lord and give thanks for the wonders He has done, for none can compare to the Lord.

 

God’s great faithfulness, fb_img_15485608179591346201081960421969.jpg

To none can compare;

Wherever we are,

God will meet us there.

In the deepest depths,

Or on mountain top;

His love, unfailing,

Grace that will not stop.

Beyond all His love,

His blessings abound;

Our Grantor of hope,

Where new life is found.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your goodness and grace and Your unending faithfulness throughout all our days. Thank You that no matter what comes, You are faithful to be with and see us through in ways far greater than we could have thought possible. Forgive us for losing sight of who You are and how You love, when we are in the heat of our own battles. Teach us to trust You more and continue to show us tangible reminders of Your goodness and faithfulness throughout all our days. Show us how to love those around us, according to Your good and perfect will. May we be a blessing that is an extension of Your hands and heart to those in need of Your touch. May many come into a lasting relationship with You.  Be glorified O God, as we give praise for who You are and how You love, and remember the new that You bring us into. 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

Yet and Still

Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior. – (Habakkuk 3:18, NIV)

But I will still be glad in the Lord and rejoice in my Savior. – (Habakkuk 3:18, ERV)

Then I will still rejoice in the Eternal! I will rejoice in the God who saves me! – (Habakkuk 3:18, VOICE)

 

Yet, and still… These are powerful transition words as they represent what we choose to do in spite of our circumstances. Today is the second to last Friday of the school year. This past school week has been full of challenges that have shocked and overwhelmed our staff community as we bring this way-too-long week to a close. Yet, and still, I will rejoice in the Lord who saves me. To rejoice is to be glad; to take delight, (dictionary.com) and though none of us are glad about what has transpired, we can take delight in the One who kept us safe and sane in the midst of the chaos. There are days that my joy is renewed in knowing that we are almost done, however, the true Source and space where I find gladness and delight is in the presence of my true Protector. God is good even when circumstances are not, and I will forever have reason to rejoice in Him. May we seek the One in whom all joy resides and take delight in knowing that the trials we face are merely temporary compared to the joy we will know for all eternity.

 

To rejoice in the Lord, Yet and Still

Yet and still, I will choose;

For our God is faithful,

Hope in Him, our best news.

He saves from our chaos,

He brings calm in the storm;

He leads to safe harbor,

As He protects from harm.

No matter the challenge,

Nor struggle that we face;

We’ve reason to rejoice,

In the God of all grace.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that in You, we have reason to be glad and take delight in You and the promises that You have made. Thank You that You save us. Forgive us for losing sight of our reasons to rejoice when life gets trying and hectic. Teach us to trust and lean into You more, so that we would not lose sight of You and all that You have done and continue to do in us and for us. Show us how to love those around us well, so that they too will find reason to be glad, even when life is hard. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we rejoice in You forever. Amen.

 

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

 

Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy. – Hebrews 4:16

Our Real Reason

Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. – (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, NIV)

Always be full of joy. Never stop praying. Whatever happens, always be thankful. This is how God wants you to live in Christ Jesus. – (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, ERV)

Always be joyful. Always keep on praying. No matter what happens, always be thankful, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus. – (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, TLB)

 

When we choose to keep praying and give thanks in all things, joy seems to remain, even during our times of struggle. No wonder it is God’s will for us to pray and give thanks in all things, as He longs for His children to remain full of joy, regardless of our surroundings. Our real reason to rejoice is not found in temporary things, but rather it resides in the hope we hold forever. May we choose to keep on praying, no matter what happens, and always be thankful for who God is and how He loves.

 

May our joy be full, Purposeful Prayer

As we choose to pray;

Giving thanks always,

For this is God’s way.

We’re called to seek Him,

No matter what comes;

For he is our help,

‘Til each day is done.

It is the Lord’s will,

That we ever seek;

For each circumstance,

In Him, joy’s complete.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to rejoice, pray and give thanks, as this is the very way that You desire for us to walk out our days in You. Thank You that no matter what comes our way, we always have reason to rejoice in You. Thank You that You are our help and our hope. Forgive us for losing sight of eternity when our present circumstances overwhelm us. Teach us to trust You more and to view things through Your lens of forever. Show us how to love those around us in a way that spreads joy and gratitude and offers hope where it has been lacking. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we rejoice always, pray continually and give thanks in all things according to Your good and perfect will. Amen.

 

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

 

Answer me, O Lord, out of the goodness of Your love; in Your great mercy turn to me. – Psalm 69:16