Peace to Anxious Spaces

Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. – (Psalm 139:23, NIV)

God, examine me and know my mind. Test me and know all my worries. – (Psalm 139:23, ERV)

God, I invite Your searching gaze into my heart. Examine me through and through; find out everything that may be hidden within me. Put me to the test and sift through all my anxious cares. – (Psalm 139:23, TPT)

This is a good reminder, especially during seasons that seem to spark anxiety. Normally, I would have written something about the eagerness for the first day of school. However, yesterday, all I could do was read and pray, as I was anxious to walk into the unknown after nearly eighteen months. Yes, I had returned to hybrid school in the spring, but there were only a handful of kids in class at any given time, so the idea of full classrooms and the chaos of the “normal” start of the school year was weighty. God knows our needs and meets us where we are. Despite a bit of a bumpy morning, the day went well. Kids were excited to be back at school, and the vast majority were fantastic about masks and social distancing. I know for many, there was much anxiety about the unknown. Two-thirds of the student body had never before set foot on campus. My classes are primarily eighth graders, so most had been away since their sixth grade year that was cut short and flipped upside down. God knows each heart and what it needs. When we slow down and quiet our hearts, He whispers the words that bring peace. I can’t pretend to understand why we are in the midst of a pandemic that is still our reality, but I can trust that He has placed us all together for this season. May we ever give God the reins and ask Him to search our hearts, for He is the One who uncovers and soothes our anxiousness and brings peace to places of uneasiness.

O God, bring us peace,

In space of unrest;

You know well each heart,

And how to love best.

Lead us in Your love,

With goodness and grace;

Teach us to love well,

So peace finds a place.

A place in our schools,

Each classroom and hall;

Let kindness give room,

To one and to all.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are with us and that You know our every anxious thought. Thank You that You hear and answer us every time we call on You. Forgive us for holding on to anxious thoughts and not giving You room to bring Your peace. Teach us to trust You in all things and at all times, even when things don’t make sense. Show us how to love well and bring peace to all those whom we encounter. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You our cares and trust Your love to lead us in Your goodness and peace. Amen.

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

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

United Together

How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity! – (Psalm 133:1, NIV)

Oh how wonderful, how pleasing it is when God’s people come together as one! – (Psalm 133:1, ERV)

How truly wonderful and delightful it is to see brothers and sisters living together in sweet unity! – (Psalm 133:1, TPT)

There is nothing quite so sweet as when a group of people lives, works, and goes about their days in unity. Unity does not mean that all see eye-to-eye on all things, but rather that there is mutual respect and appreciation, as all are aiming for a similar goal. If we love, respect and prefer one another, unity naturally follows. God was intentional in how we were each designed. We each have strengths and purposes that contribute to the whole when we exist in community. May we ever pursue peace as we navigate each new day with the intent to love well, so that we may walk in unity with those whom God has placed around us.

United in peace,

Surrounded in love;

God grant us the grace,

To walk well with love.

For we were designed,

To live side by side;

Shoulder to shoulder,

With God as our guide.

He shows us the way,

To live and love best;

Care for each other,

Give grace and find rest.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You created each of us for community. Thank You that You show us how to live and love in a way that brings unity. Forgive us for the times that we have not sought to see others through Your eyes. Teach us to turn to You first, so that we may gain perspective and capacity to listen and love. Show us how to love those around us best, so that all may feel included and valued in the community. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to lead us to live and love in a way that unites and brings peace. Amen.

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

Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. – Ephesians 4:3

Strength and Song

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, NIV)

But I will sing about Your strength. I will rejoice in Your love every morning. You have been my place of safety, the place I can run to when troubles come. – (Psalm 59:16, ERV)

But as for me, Your strength shall be my song of joy. At each and every sunrise, my lyrics of Your love will fill the air! For You have been my glory-fortress, a stronghold in my day of distress. – (Psalm 59:16, TPT)

I am so grateful that all is new every morning. No matter what took place yesterday, last week, last month or last year, we have a fresh start each new day. Sometimes, it takes a simple change of scenery to remind us of all the good that God has provided. God knows our hearts, and blesses us with the things that remind us of His care and concern for us, individually. For me, I am very much a quality time person that craves time outdoors near water. On Saturday afternoon, my Viking and I went for a drive. We ended up in Gig Harbor, driving in sunshine and salt air, with the wind whipping through our vehicle. There is something about seeing the water, green trees, blue skies and Mount Rainier in the background that reminds me of the goodness of God. Yesterday, between church, a scooter ride, dog walking and visiting with our besties, my heart feels renewed and recharged. It is this goodness that God gives that inspires the new each morning and grants songs of praise to rise from my heart. He knows our worries, heartaches, and hopes, and provides safe space to navigate. May we ever seek the Lord, anew every morning, for He is our strength, song and space of safety.

Each morning I rise,

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And find new again;

Your strength and Your song,

Fresh grace to begin.

You know well my heart,

How to bless, lift up;

With goodness in love,

You choose fill my cup.

For from a full heart,

I’m equipped to pour;

Your goodness and love,

To those who need more.

Lord, help me to walk,

In strength and resolve;

So I might love well,

As I have been called.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your strength and song are our sources of joy. Thank You that You bless and renew our hearts as we seek You. Forgive us for allowing the weight of the world to steal the joy that You have deeply rooted within us. Teach us to trust in You and lean into You, no matter what comes our way. Show us how to rejoice in the goodness of Your loving kindness, and to give generously the love that You have overwhelmingly given to us to share with all those around us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You and depend on You to be our strength and song as each new day begins. Amen.

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

I love You, Lord, my strength. – Psalm 18:1

Undeserved Kindness

The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love. – (Psalm 103:8, NIV)

The Lord is kind and merciful. He is patient and full of love. – (Psalm 103:8, ERV)

Lord, You’re so kind and tenderhearted and so patient with people who fail You! Your love is like a flooding river overflowing its banks with kindness. – (Psalm 103:8, TPT)

The more we are aware of the goodness of God, the more readily we are able to extend the same to those around us. Though we don’t deserve it, the Lord extends kindness, patience and love to us. He forgives our faults and failures, picks us up, dusts us off, and equips us to keep moving forward in the direction to which we have been called. The kindness and compassion that we have experienced becomes the very thing that flows out of us when we recognize all that we have been given. May we take time to count our blessings and observe the goodness of God in our lives, and seek Him to extend the same to all those around us.

With kindness and grace,

The Lord’s full of love;

Freely He gives us,

Through goodness above.

Though we can’t earn it,

With mercy, He gives;

Love overflowing,

Each day that we live.

It is by His grace,

That we do the same;

Equipped well to love,

Let’s honor His Name.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You pour out Your kindness, goodness and grace, and that You are patient with our shortcomings. Thank You that You call us to do the same with those around us. Forgive us for the times that we have not chosen to love well. Teach us to trust and depend on You, so that we give the goodness and grace to which we are called. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we recognize Your overwhelming goodness and give from the overflow of all that You have given. Amen.

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

But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of His mercy. – Titus 3:4-5a

Created for Good

For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. – (Ephesians 2:10, NIV)

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

We have become His poetry, a re-created people that will fulfill the destiny He has given each of us, for we are joined to Jesus, the Anointed One. Even before we were born, God planned in advance our destiny and the good works we would do to fulfill it! – (Ephesians 2:10, TPT)

God is so good and gracious to us. His plans are so much better than our plans, and when we walk them out, we discover the depth and breadth of His love for us and for those around us. Good works do not have to be grandiose gestures or actions, but are found in simple everyday decisions. Each time we choose to love, to do what is best for another, we are doing the good work that God is calling us all to do. Sometimes, the good works are found in the things that we do, and sometimes it is the decision to forgive and let go of things we cannot control or change. The amazing thing is that God works all things out for good when we submit them to Him. His grace is enough, and His love never ends. Because of His great love and good works for us, we can reach out and follow in His footsteps to love well. No, we will not always get it right, and our frustrations and emotions will get the best of us, however, each time we choose to listen and move forward in the good to which we are called, He will use it for His glory. May we ever praise God for all the good that He has given us, and rely on Him to lead us in the good works that He has prepared for us each new day.

We’re each born a verse,

Our life, the poem;

That shows God’s goodness,

As His love’s made known.

Every good work,

Each time we choose love;

The Lord brings goodness,

Our help from above.

Before we were born,

Purpose was in mind;

To do His good works,

To love and be kind.

As each new day comes,

Lord, help us to choose;

To do the good things,

That show Your love’s true.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we are Your handiwork, created to do good works. Forgive us for the times that we have neglected to bring the good that You intended. Show us how to rely on You to lead us in love, so that we may choose to do the good that You planned in advance for us to do. Teach us to love those around us in tangible ways, so that You can clearly see the evidence of Your great love for them. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek Your face to lead us in Your ways, so that we may do the good works that You created us to do. Amen.

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

And in Him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by His Spirit. – Ephesians 2:22

To Run 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 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 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)

Though this was written to the early church to encourage and guide believers, the message remains true today. One thing that stands out to me is the idea of being surrounded by people who are great examples of what it is to live a godly life. It takes intentional investment in people to be surrounded by those who help lead, guide and walk beside us in the way that God is calling us to live. Next, we have to let go of previous harm to move forward. It is an intentional decision to forgive and give it to God. To do so does not mean that we have to forget what we learned or jump back into harmful spaces, but rather we must release the burden of hurt, anger and grudges, and choose to forgive and place it all in His hands. Additionally, we must be intentional to walk away from that which leads us astray. As a runner, I love the analogy of life being a marathon. We do not want to do things along the course that will inhibit our ability to run well. The same is true in life. The things that lead us astray, move us off course, or weigh us down, do not help us run our race well. Labor-intensive running is not fun or beneficial, and often leads to injuries. God has already mapped out our course, our job is to keep running in the direction to which we have been called. Our pace is set by Him, and it is never too fast nor too slow. His timing is perfect. May we ever be intentional to surround ourselves with those who encourage us to run well, let go of that which leads us off course, and persevere on the path which God has placed before us.

Let’s surround ourselves,

With those who live well;

In life and in love,

As faithfulness tells.

Let go of past harm,

With purpose, forgive;

Give it to the Lord,

In freedom to live.

Stay clear of the things,

That lead us astray;

And follow the course,

God grants us each day.

Let’s each run our race,

Stay true to the course;

God’s set before us,

Our Strength and our Source.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us and equip us to run the race that You have set before us. Thank You that You instruct us to surround ourselves with those who are running well and can help pace us to stay strong. Thank You too, for showing us to throw aside all that weighs us down or leads us off course. Forgive us for allowing the things of this life to distract us or steer us off course. Teach us to surround ourselves with those who are running well and to keep our eyes on the course You have set before us. Show us how to be an encouragement to others and to love all well so that they too will be encouraged to continue to run the race You designed for them. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we each rely on You to lead us to run our own race well. Amen.

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

When you walk, your steps will not be hampered; when you run, you will not stumble. – Proverbs 4:12

Prayer and Pursuit

Teach me Your way, Lord, that I may rely on Your faithfulness; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear Your Name. – (Psalm 86:11, NIV)

Lord, teach me Your ways, and I will live and obey Your truths. Help me make worshiping Your Name the most important thing in my life. – (Psalm 86:11, ERV)

Teach me more about You, how You work and how You move, so that I can walk onward in Your truth until everything within me brings honor to Your Name. – (Psalm 86:11, TPT)

This is an ongoing prayer and pursuit. The more I learn, the more I recognize how much more I need the Lord and His faithful love to grow in me an undivided heart. In our fast-paced world, it is far too easy to become distracted by all that surrounds us. It requires intentional time set apart to fix our eyes on Him, and to invest in reading and understanding His word. As we do, we become more aware of the Lord’s hand in everything. May we ever set our eyes and hearts on the Lord as we seek Him, so that we might learn to have undivided hearts and bring honor to His Name in all that we say and do.

O Lord, please teach me,

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To walk in Your way;

Heart undivided,

So I seek and pray.

Show me more and more,

The way I’m to live;

To honor Your Name,

Through love that I give.

May all that I am,

And all that I do;

Seek You to guide me,

So I might love true.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are faithful to meet us as we seek You. Thank You that You show us the way that we are meant to live and love, so that we may glorify You. Forgive us for our lack of seeking. Teach us to have an undivided heart, free from all that competes for our attention. Show us how to fix our eyes and hearts on You, so that we may honor You and love well. Lead us to love those around us the way that You intended. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we pursue a life focused on You and seek to love others well. Amen.

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

Glory in His holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice. – 1 Chronicles 16:10

Perfect Love

“If imperfect parents know how to lovingly take care of their children and give them what they need, how much more will the perfect heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit’s fullness when His children ask Him.” – (Luke 11:13, TPT)

“Even you who are bad know how to give good things to your children. So surely your heavenly Father knows how to give the Holy Spirit to the people who ask Him.” – (Luke 11:13, ERV)

Look, all of you are flawed in so many ways, yet in spite of all your faults, you know how to give good gifts to your children. How much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to all who ask! – (Luke 11:13, VOICE)

This is a reminder of God’s faithfulness, despite our flaws, failures and shortcomings. Whether a parent to children or fur babies, we all know how to give good gifts to those in our care, despite being broken and sinful. How much more does God, who is perfect in all His ways, know how to give us all that He has to offer when we seek Him? The Holy Spirit is God’s presence within us. If God is for us, who can be against us? God’s Spirit within us will lead us, guide us, protect us and help us as we earnestly seek Him. May we always remember the depth and power of our Heavenly Father’s love, so that we may ever seek Him.

Despite all our flaws,

The Lord’s ever near;

Ready to help us,

Making His way clear.

Just as a parent,

Knows how to love well;

Our perfect Father,

Will in us, come dwell.

It is in nearness,

That we’re led and known;

Grace overflowing,

As His love is shown.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You bless us with the ultimate gift as we ask. Thank You that Your presence is the greatest provider ever known. Thank You that by Your Spirit, You lead us, guide us, bless and protect us, as we place our heart in Your hands. Forgive us for forgetting how exceedingly powerful Your love is, and lead us to love likewise. Show us how to give good gifts to all, so that each who crosses our path may witness glimpses of You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to fill us with Your Spirit, so that Your path will be made clear in all that we say and do. Amen.

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

And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. – Colossians 3:14

Strength for the Weary

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, NIV)

Don’t worry – I am with you. Don’t be afraid – I am your God. I will make you strong and help you. I will support you with my right hand that brings victory. – (Isaiah 41:10, ERV)

So don’t be afraid. I am here, with you; don’t be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, help you. I am here with My right hand to make right and to hold you up. – (Isaiah 41:10, VOICE)

For whatever reason, I have not slept well for the last few nights. Last night, I woke from a disturbing dream and felt very unsettled. Typically when that occurs, I try to clear my mind and go back to sleep. This time, all I could do was pray. Pray for protection, for peace, and for a covering over my family and friends. I know that God is always with me, and that I need not be afraid or anxious. It is He who strengthens and upholds us, and is faithful to be found each time we choose to seek Him. Yesterday, despite exhaustion, I was granted the strength and energy to accomplish all that was needed. Today, I will trust Him for the same. May we ever seek our Savior to help, strengthen and support us, for in Him, we have no reason to fear.

Choose not to worry,

And be not afraid;

The Lord is present,

He will make a way.

Faithful forever,

God grants what we need;

He knows and He sees,

Gives strength to succeed.

Hope for the weary,

Strength when ours is gone;

Peace in His presence,

So we may press on.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You grant us strength when we are weary and burdened. Thank You that we need not fear. Thank You that You see and know our needs. Thank You that as we seek You, You meet us and lead us in Your strength. Forgive us for staying stuck, even in the moment, as You are always available for us to seek You. Teach us to turn to You in trust, for You are faithful to be with us and to meet our needs. Show us how to love those around us in ways that offer strength, help and support where it is needed. Show us how to love well. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we set fears at Your feet and rely on You to be present to help in all things. Amen.

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

Splendor and majesty are before Him; strength and joy are in His dwelling place. – 1 Chronicles 16:27

Qualities Clearly Seen

For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities – His eternal power and divine nature – have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that the people are without excuse. – (Romans 1:20, NIV)

There are things about God that people cannot see – His eternal power and all that makes Him God. But since the beginning of the world, those things have been easy for people to understand. They are made clear in what God has made. So people have no excuse for the evil they do. – (Romans 1:20, ERV)

Opposition to truth cannot be excused on the basis of ignorance, because from the creation of the world, the invisible qualities of God’s nature have been made visible, such as His eternal power and transcendence. He has made His wonderful attributes easily perceived, for seeing the visible makes us understand the invisible. So then, this leaves everyone without excuse. – (Romans 1:20, TPT)

I am fortunate to live in the beautiful Pacific Northwest. Any direction I drive, there is incredible evidence of God’s power and creativity. From the majestic mountains that surround the Puget Sound, to the towering Evergreen trees that line roads wherever I go, I cannot deny the power and majesty of all that His hands have created. The very same God who hand-crafted such beauty, formed everything and everyone that draws breath. To look in the face of others, is to witness the handiwork of God. Knowing that is the very beginning of walking the way that we are called to walk. If we see and recognize the beauty and value in all that God has made, we cannot help but want to love as He loves us. May we take pause and breathe in the goodness of all that God’s hands have made, and give thanks to the One who created it all. Let us look to Him to lead us to love well.

The truth is made plain,

Through all that we see;

All things formed by love,

Intentionally.

The powerful hands,

That made mountains rise;

Gave each creature life,

From earth to the skies.

Show us how to love,

Appropriately;

So Your love’s made known,

Through all that is seen.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that all of creation sings of Your glory through its mere existence. Thank You that You are the same God who called mountains to rise and the very One who grants us life and breath and love. Forgive us for neglecting to notice the obvious evidence of Your power and love. Teach us to recognize the beauty in all whom we encounter, and show us how to love as You call us to love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You praise for all that Your hands have made that clearly show us Your love and power that is present all around us. Amen. 

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

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