Piecing Together

For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. – (Romans 12:4-5, NIV)

Each one of us has one body, and that body has many parts. These parts don’t all do the same thing. In the same way, we are many people. But in Christ we are all one body. We are the parts of that body, and each part belongs to all the others. – (Romans 12:4-5, ERV)

In the human body there are many parts and organs, each with a unique function. And so it is in the body of Christ. For though we are many, we’ve all been mingled into one body in Christ. This means that we are all vitally joined to one another, with each contributing to the others.

As we prepare to welcome kids back to school in person, a huge focus on the forefront of everyone’s minds is to find ways to make connections and help kids engage and feel safe and welcome in our school and classroom communities. God created us for community. If we were not made to be with others and work together, we would all be experts and self-sufficient. Instead, He gifted us each with unique skills, talents and strengths that we have to offer the community that we are placed within. Just as a school would not work without staff with different strengths, a classroom is no different. Our task and challenge is to find ways to help kids see their unique values and strengths, and help them realize how important they are to the class as a whole. It is my hope and prayer that each student and staff member is able to see the value in others and in themselves, as we rejoin to meet in person after so much time apart. May we seek the Lord to show us ways to both participate and facilitate best in building community together.

Though we are many,

Together we’re one;

United purpose,

As each day’s begun.

Show us the pieces,

And how we each fit;

Together in strength,

Let our hearts be knit.

The unique colors,

Sizes and the shapes;

When fit together,

Each piece has a place.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have created us for community. Thank You that we have different strengths to offer, and each of us has a place and purpose in the communities to which we are placed. Forgive us for not seeing the beauty and blessing held in each member. Teach us to recognize and encourage the unique blessing found in each individual, and show us how the best way to help the parts work as a whole. Lead us to love and value everyone the way that You do. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for the part that each of us plays in the communities in which we have been placed. Amen.

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

The purposes of a person’s heart are deep waters, but one who has insight draws them out. – Proverbs 20:5

Hope and Rest to the Seeking

Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from Him. – (Psalm 62:5, NIV)

I must calm down and turn to God; He is my only hope. – (Psalm 62:5, ERV)

I am standing in absolute stillness, silent before the One I love, waiting as long as it takes for Him to rescue me. Only God is my Savior, and He will not fail me. – (Psalm 62:5, TPT)

Rest and hope are two things that all of us need. Sometimes, the need for rest has nothing to do with the physical, and everything to do with our heart, mind and soul. It is God’s hope that brings peace to our places of unrest, as He restores us in His love once again. In this seemingly never ending lockdown, I am so thankful for the hope that is held in Him. Though we know not what will come of the pending changes, we can trust the One who holds the world in His hands. God is good, and His love provides and in Him, hope abides. May we ever slow down and turn to the One who ever holds hope and provides rest where we need it most.

In stillness I come,

Before God our King;

Hope is held in Him,

Maker of all things.

Where rest is lacking,

The Lord will provide;

He stills all our storms,

And brings peace inside.

When hope’s all but lost,

We need never fear;

For God in His love,

Remains ever near.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our space of rest and hope forever. Thank You that no matter how we come, You meet us with open arms and bring us into Your loving embrace that provides the peace our hearts need most. Forgive us for continually running, rather than slowing down and turning to You to be our hope and rest. Show us how to rest in You to find the hope that our hearts need. Lead us to love well, all those around us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we come to You for rest and place our hearts in Your hands; for in You, hope is forever found. Amen.

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

Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will rest in hope. – Acts 2:26

God’s Intentional Care

The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, He leads me beside quiet waters, He refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for His Name’s sake. – (Psalm 23:1-3, NIV)

The Lord is my shepherd. I will always have everything I need. He gives me green pastures to lie in. He leads me by calm pools of water. He restores my strength. He leads me on right paths to show that He is good. – (Psalm 23:1-3, ERV)

God, my shepherd! I don’t need a thing. You have bedded me down in lush meadows, You find me quiet pools to drink from. True to Your word, You let me catch my breath and send me in the right direction. – (Psalm 23:1-3, MSG)

This is a well-known passage and happens to be the focus of a six-week series that my pastor is teaching. Additionally, three years ago today, my focus was on the very same three verses. I know it was no accident that today’s personal study directed me to this specific passage. Between being sidelined from running, passing the one-year mark for teaching from home, concern over mom’s dental drama (she is doing well, just sore), and the prolonged time away from people I love, it is no mistake that I am again reminded of God’s intentional care. Despite all of the challenges, I am gainfully employed. I have a loving family and a home, and spaces to retreat and rest in His love. Sitting in the silent space of our living room with a snuggly puppy on my lap, God is reminding me again that He is good and will show me what to do in all things. Though I know not what the next few months will look like, I can trust the Lord to go before me, remain with me, and provide all that I need to navigate well. May we ever slow down and allow the Lord to lead, for He is our good shepherd.

O Lord, You are good,

My shepherd, please lead;

For You know my heart,

And all that I need.

Intentionally,

By You we were made;

With plan and purpose,

For all of our days.

In chaos You lead,

Bring us space to rest;

To know in silence,

That Your plans are best.

There’s nothing not known,

In Your loving grace;

You show us spaces,

To know Your embrace.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You lovingly lead us to spaces of comfort, rest and peace. Thank You that You provide all we need – body, heart, mind and soul. Forgive us for giving fear a foothold. Teach us to seek You in silent spaces so that we may be abundantly aware of Your presence and provision. Show us how to love those around us in ways that extend the very same grace and goodness You grant to all who seek You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, our good and loving shepherd. Amen.

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

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

A Fine Line Between Fearlessness and Foolishness

For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline. – (2 Timothy 1:7, NIV)

The Spirit God gave us does not make us afraid. His Spirit is a source of power, love and self-control. – (2 Timothy 1:7, ERV)

For God will never give you the spirit of fear, but the Holy Spirit who gives you mighty power, love and self-control. – (2 Timothy 1:7, TPT)

There is a fine line between fearlessness and foolishness. We need the Holy Spirit to lead us and guide us to know the difference. As we seek the Lord and listen to His leading, we grow in understanding of what His power, love and self-discipline do for us. When we realize the power of Christ within us, we discover that fear has no place to set up camp. Fear may creep in at times, but His Spirit in us will not allow fear to remain. How then, do we use the power, love and self-control that God grants us to best love people? As a peacemaker, it is easy to default to silence, while the idea of conflict brings fear. However, if we look in God’s word to the example of Christ, He was not afraid to speak truth and stand firm. His actions were in love and with self-discipline, while He was fully aware of the power within Him. This is where dependence on Christ is a must. We need His Spirit within us to identify His will, not our own, and to move in His power and love with self-control. May we ever seek the Lord to keep fear at bay, and rely on His power, love and self-discipline to lead us to love like Him.

God’s not created,

Us to live in fear;

His power and love,

Forever are near.

We need only seek,

For our hearts to find;

He’s always with us,

Heart, body and mind.

His love gives us strength,

To conquer our fear;

His love evident,

As His grace appears.

Power in weakness,

Love where it seems lack;

Self-discipline too,

God helps as we ask.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have not created us to be afraid. Thank You that You infuse us with Your power, love and self-discipline as we seek You. Forgive us for our fearfulness and for the times that we have neglected to seek You. Show us how to turn to You in all things and at all times. Teach us to rely on Your Spirit within us to grant us the power, love and self-control that we need to navigate our days as You intended. Lead us in Your love with all those around us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You in all things and at all times, and give You praise for all You provide by Your love. Amen.

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

The Lord Himself goes before you and will be with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. – Deuteronomy 31:8

Be Not Discouraged

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord you 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)

This is My command: be strong and courageous. Never be afraid or discouraged because I am your God, the Eternal One, and I will remain with you wherever you go. – (Joshua 1:9, VOICE)

Today, this is the perfect reminder for me, especially the “do not be discouraged” part. One of my bucket list goals is to run a marathon before my 50th birthday. For a bit more than a month, I have been training to move toward my goal. My friend and I found a marathon that will be held in June, so we were on track to be ready to run. Last evening, when I took one of our pups downstairs to get ready for bed, she began running down the last few steps and pulled into our room. Sadly, I was ill-prepared for the pulling, and somehow slammed my little toe into the doorframe at full speed. I knew immediately it was not good, and iced it right away. Unfortunately, this morning, it is still agonizing to bear weight. Frustration and discouragement were flooding my mind as I attempted to do the normal things I do each morning. Thankfully, as I sat down to do my devotions, I was again reminded that God is with me and will remain with me. He is our healer and provider, and I need not be discouraged. If I have to take a few days off to heal and recover, so be it. God knows the desires of our hearts, and makes a way when there seems to be no way. May we ever take courage and be strong in the Lord, for He will be with us wherever we go.

Be strong and take heart,

Do not be afraid;

The Lord is present,

He’s promised to stay.

Don’t be discouraged,

God will make a way;

He’ll lead and guide us,

For all of our days.

Trust in His goodness,

Command to take heart;

Faithful He will stay,

From finish to start.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our courage and strength, and that we need not be discouraged when obstacles come our way. Thank You that You promise to be with us as You lead us through each new day. Forgive us for allowing obstacles and challenges to challenge our trust. Teach us how to lean into You in all circumstances. Show us how to love and encourage those around us in ways that give strength and courage and chase away doubt and fear. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we take courage in You and Your presence, always. Amen.

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

Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong. – 1 Corinthians 16:13

It’s All About Love

Jesus replied: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.” – (Matthew 22:37-39, NIV)

Jesus answered, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and most important command. And the second command is like the first: ‘Love your neighbor the same as you love yourself.” – (Matthew 22:37-39, ERV)

Jesus said, “Love the Lord your God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence.’ This is the most important, the first on any list. But there is a second to set alongside it: ‘Love others as well as you love yourself.” – (Matthew 22:37-39, MSG)

If we love God and love people in a way that truly honors and obeys His commands, ALL people will feel valued, seen, heard and known. Sadly, everywhere I look, I see evidence that we are far from this. It is devastating to hear reports of people’s brilliance being overlooked, or of individuals being treated harshly or in a way that is in no way warranted. If I read too much, or look too hard, the heaviness is overwhelming. That being said, what can one human do? The answer is Jesus. If I seek Him to lead me in love, I can be part of the change I long to see. My role is to recognize, listen to, celebrate, encourage, educate, empower, value and honor the next generation. At times, this whole remote teaching gig makes it feel like an impossible task. The kiddos whom I never “see,” I struggle to get to know. Each opportunity I have, I attempt to encourage and care well for each faceless black box, and recognize that I have no idea what their environment is truly like. My hope is that kindness and encouragement will help them feel valued, and that at the end of the day, each is aware that someone cares. Lord, help us to love You and love one another as You intended.

Lord, will You lead us,

To love as You do;

Care for each other,

Let Your light shine through.

Help us be vessels,

Afloat in Your love;

May kindness give hope,

Care that You’re proud of.

Show us the spaces,

For encouragement;

Teach us to listen,

Hear discouragement.

Lead us all in love,

So kindness may reign;

May all voices be heard,

And Your love made plain.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to love You and love each other. Thank You that You have shown us what it is to truly love one another. Forgive us for the times that we have not acted or spoken in ways that demonstrate Your love to those around us. Teach us to do and be better. Help us to recognize, value, encourage and love well, all those around us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose to love You and those around us as You first loved us. Amen.

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

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

The Way We Should Go

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) 

The Eternal One, who rescued you, the Holy One of Israel declares, “I am the Eternal One your God. I have given you My instruction for living well and right, leading you in how you should be and do.” – (Isaiah 48:17, VOICE) 

God is the same – yesterday, today and forever. He is faithful to teach, direct and lead us in how we should be and what we should do. It is our opportunity to seek Him, as He has given us a free will to choose. When we seek Him, He is faithful to answer. We may not always like the direction He is leading, but it is always what is ultimately best for us and those around us. May we ever choose to seek the Lord, for He will be faithful to teach us and guide us in all of His ways. 

The Lord, our Savior, 

The most holy One; 

Will teach us what’s best, 

Because of His Son. 

If we choose to seek, 

Truly, we shall find; 

Ever He’s for us, 

Heart, body and mind. 

He’ll make our path clear, 

Whenever we ask; 

Show us where to go, 

And what is our task. 

Help us keep asking, 

And choose listen well; 

Let all that we do, 

Make Your love be felt. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You teach us what is best for us when we seek and ask You. Forgive us for the times that we have not sought You, or chose not to listen to Your leading. Show us how to love those around us well, and how to seek and follow Your instruction. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You and listen to Your leading. Amen. 

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

I love those who love Me, and those who seek Me find Me. – Proverbs 8:17

Searched, Known, and Lovingly Shown

You have searched me, Lord, and You know me. – (Psalm 139:1, NIV) 

Lord, You have tested me, so You know all about me. – (Psalm 139:1, ERV) 

O Eternal One, You have explored my heart and know exactly who I am. – (Psalm 139:1, VOICE) 

This is simultaneously comforting and terrifying. Terrifying, because we each are aware of our own faults, failures and flaws, and dread the thought of that part of us being known. However, to have the very One who made us and loves us, know us better than we know ourselves, brings comfort. In spite of our shortcomings, He loves. Additionally, being intimately known, reminds us that He knows our greatest need, and is ready and willing to refine and grow our hearts and minds to more clearly reflect His. My hope in this is that God is not finished with me yet. He knows me and loves me as I am, yet loves me enough to not have me stay stagnant. God wants for us all to grow and be refined, allowing His heart to be shown to the world. May we embrace the grace that God freely offers, and seek Him earnestly to grow and change us to be better reflections of His goodness and grace. 

O great God of love, 

You see all our parts; 

The thoughts in our minds, 

Things hidden in hearts. 

Despite what You see, 

You love anyway; 

Eager to help us, 

Live and love Your way. 

Let goodness and grace, 

Be what comes from me; 

Refine mind and heart, 

So Your love is seen. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You know every part of us – body, heart, mind and soul, yet You love us relentlessly. Forgive us for our misguided thinking or lack of understanding that get in the way of You working in and through our lives. Teach us to pursue Your heart for the world, so that we may more clearly reflect Your love to all. Show us how to love all those around us best, and rid our hearts of anything that gets in the way of loving like You love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as You search us and know us, and lead us to love like You. Amen. 

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

I obey Your precepts and Your statutes, for all my ways are known to You. – Psalm 119:168

Showing Love

God is not unjust; He will not forget your work and the love you have shown Him as you have helped His people and continue to help them. – (Hebrews 6:10, NIV)

God is fair, and He will remember all the work you have done. He will remember that you showed your love to Him by helping His people and that you continue to help them. – (Hebrews 6:10, ERV)

For God is not unfair. How can He forget your hard work for Him, or forget the way you used to show your love for Him – and still do – by helping His children? – (Hebrews 6:10, TLB)

 

Everything points back to loving God and loving people. If we are loving people with the love that God has planted within us, we are loving Him as well. Love is an ongoing choice to care for others – body, heart, mind and soul. It is an intentional decision to see and meet needs, in the same way that God sees our needs and provides for us in love. Each time that we choose to love others, we are loving God’s creation. To love the created, we must also love the Creator. God sees and He knows each time that we choose to love. We are saved by grace, but it is certainly good and right to live according to His plan of love. May we rise up and put our faith in action, as we intentionally choose to love as God loves each of us.

 

For we are all called, wp-15898092692427851940096367446932.jpg

To love as we’re loved;

Love God and people,

With strength from above.

Love not just with words,

But with all we do;

Actions speak clearest,

To show love is true.

God will remember,

Our each act of grace;

In love and kindness,

How we run life’s race.

It is not a sprint,

We must persevere;

Each day choose to love,

And know He is near.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to love in the same way that You love each of us. Thank You that You see and know each time we willfully choose to love others in the same way that You call us to love. Forgive us for the times that we have not chosen to love as we ought to love. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would love You and others according to Your good and perfect will. Show us how to love those around us in tangible ways. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for who You are and how You love, and seek You to empower us to do the same. Amen.

 

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

 

Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart. – Proverbs 3:3

One Day At A Time

Say to those with fearful hearts, “Be strong, do not fear; your God will come, He will come with vengeance; with divine retribution He will come to save you.” – (Isaiah 35:4, NIV)

“Courage! Take heart! God is right here, right here, on His way to put things right and redress all wrongs. He’s on His way! He’ll save you!” – (Isaiah 35:4, MSG)

Tell those who worry, the anxious and fearful, “Take strength; have courage! There’s nothing to fear. Look, here – your God! Right here is your God! The balance is shifting; God will right all wrongs. None other than God will give you success. He is coming to make you safe.” – (Isaiah 35:4, VOICE)

 

Right now, life feels surreal. It is as if we are all caught in a bizarre dream, and are merely waiting to wake up. For me, I am a one-day-at-a-time sort of person anyway, so my brain is already wired to not get too hung up on what may lie ahead over the next several weeks. When life is operating as usual, taking things one day at a time allows me to be present and focused on only what lies directly before me. If I permit my mind to wander too far ahead, it only breeds anxiety as to how everything will be accomplished in the time granted. Now, more than ever, I need to remain focused on each day as it comes. Yes, it is wise to prepare and plan in general, but there is no need, nor any point, in attempting to map out details that are too far off to determine. God grants us wisdom and insight as we ask, and He provides what we need to navigate each new day. The Lord is our strength and our strong tower; in Him we are safe and find we have what we need. May we give all of our worries and fears to God, as He comes to put all things right, and saves us with His goodness and love.

 

Take strength, have courage,

balance business cobblestone conceptual

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

There’s nothing to fear;

All is in God’s hands,

His presence is near.

Despite what we see,

God will make a way;

Over rough terrain,

He’ll lead us each day.

The wrong things made right,

In His faithful hands;

Safety and our strength,

Firm in Him, choose stand.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are mighty to save. Thank You that as we seek You, You are our strength, courage and safety. Thank You that You provide where we lack, and Your love leads us in the direction we are meant to go. Forgive us for our fears and anxiety in the face of so many unknowns. Teach us to trust You more, as You are for us and faithful to lead us, always. Show us how to love those around us well, so that they may know Your strength and courage, goodness and grace in the midst of uncertainty. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we place all things in Your capable hands, and trust You to lead and guide us each day, one day at a time. Amen.

 

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

 

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight. -Proverbs 3:5-6