Guided In Love

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)

The Eternal is my shepherd, He cares for me always. He provides me rest in rich, green fields beside streams of refreshing water. He soothes my fears; He makes me whole again, steering me off worn, hard paths to roads where truth and righteousness echo His Name. – (Psalm 23:1-3, VOICE)

 

Yesterday was such an incredibly strange day. I felt a bit lost, and quite uncertain as to what I actually was meant to do. After beginning my day with God, I went to the grocery store with my “youngest” boy, and was thankful to find restocked shelves. Upon our return, I sat and pondered and prayed a bit, to determine what to do next. Following the lead of some of my school district colleagues, I constructed a message to my students and families, providing suggested activities and drawing prompts for the coming week, as well as conveying my care for their well-being. Upon completing some other household tasks, I determined to at least begin tackling my grading pile. Just as I completed the final class for the first project that needed grading, my best friend messaged me to go take a walk out in the sunshine. For me, this was exactly what my heart needed, as our walk took us down a steep staircase to the Puget Sound, where we took in the view and soaked up some sunshine, before embracing the challenge of tackling the stairs back up to the road. In Him, I do indeed, have everything I need. He is granting me rest and refreshing my soul. Walking near the waves, comforts me, as I am reminded of His power and strength. Despite what we see, He will lead us on the right path, and show us that He is good. May we ever remember that even in the most uncertain of times, God cares for us; always. He provides, calms, comforts, restores, and leads, demonstrating His unending goodness to all who seek Him.

 

O Lord, my shepherd, wp-15844488533327357260751564309605.jpg

I choose seek Your face;

Lead me and guide me,

In Your loving grace.

Show me the planned paths,

That I’m meant to take;

Help me to love well,

Forgive my mistakes.

The comfort You give,

Help me to give too;

Rest and refreshment,

Grace that makes us new.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You lead us beside still waters and bring us to spaces of comfort and rest. Thank You that You strengthen and restore us so that we can go forth and follow the path that You prepare for us to love others well. Forgive us for not embracing the rest You provide, or for not following where You lead. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would receive all that You offer and go wherever You call. Show us how to love those around us tangibly in ways that make Your heart known and Your provision shown. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You, our shepherd, to lead and guide us each step of every day. Amen.

 

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

 

Truly my soul finds rest in God; my salvation comes from Him. – Psalm 62:1

Search to Show

Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. – (Psalm 139:23-24, NIV)

God, examine me and know my mind. Test me and know all my worries. Make sure that I am not going the wrong way. Lead me on the path that has always been right. – (Psalm 139:23-24, 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. See if there is any path of pain I’m walking on, and lead me back to Your glorious, everlasting ways – the path that brings me back to You. – (Psalm 139:23-24, TPT)

 

God is faithful to show us our anxious ways if we are actively pursuing Him. For me, it seems that the time I am most able to recognize or perhaps, best able to hear, is when sleep is disrupted by dreams that relate to real life, or while I prepare for the day and do not yet have the distractions of a typical day’s busy routine. Although the idea of having our every thought examined can be a bit intimidating, knowing that God does not using it to condemn us, but rather to lead us away from painful paths and back to His ways that are right and everlasting, are well worth the discomfort. May we ever invite the Lord to search, test, redirect and lead us; for His ways bring light, life and love forever.

 

Search my mind, O God, given-to-show-goodness

Examine my heart;

Take the anxiousness,

Show me a fresh start.

Please lead me away,

From paths that are wrong;

And show me the way,

To follow, be strong.

For where You lead, Lord,

Forever is good;

Bring peace to my mind,

As love’s understood.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we seek You and invite You in, You show us the things that get in the way of us fully knowing all that You have for us. Forgive us for allowing anxiousness and distractions to get in the way of the path You have placed before us. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would seek You, know You, and follow wherever You lead. Show us how to love those around us in ways that point them to Your path of perfect peace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we invite You to search us and know us, redirect us and lead us in the ways that You have lovingly prepared for us to go. Amen.

 

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

 

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

Filter the Flow

“Nothing outside a person can defile them by going into them. Rather, it is what comes out of a person that defiles them.” – (Mark 7:15, NIV)

“Your souls aren’t harmed by what you eat, but by what you think and say!” – (Mark 7:15, TLB)

“There is nothing outside someone that can corrupt him. Only the things that come out of a person can corrupt him.” – (Mark 7:15, VOICE)

 

The things that surround us do not defile us by their mere existence. It is what we do with what we take in that determines the outcome. Our thoughts, words and deeds are what demonstrate the condition of our heart, not what we eat or where we happen to be planted. We all have a choice as to what we do with what we take in – we either embrace whatever it is and it seasons that which we say and do, or we recognize the need for a Godly filter, and cast aside that which is of no benefit to us or others. May we seek the Lord and His goodness and grace, allowing room for His heavenly filter to decipher what is beneficial and what needs to be let go, so that what comes out of us is wrapped in the love of God.

 

Our heart is the space, Enter With Thanksgiving

Where we all decide;

Which words and actions,

In life, be applied.

It is these choices,

Not things that surround;

That lift or corrupt,

As the truth is found.

May we all choose seek,

The Lord and His grace;

May our words and deeds,

Provide love’s embrace.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that what is outside of us and even what we take in is not what corrupts us. Thank You that it is a matter of the heart and what we do with our thoughts and actions that determine whether we are walking in line with You or far from You. Forgive us for the times that we have wandered on our own with our words, thoughts or actions. Please repair the damage done by our lack of listening. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would take pause and listen to Your leading in every word, thought and deed. Show us how to love those around us well. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to lead and guide us in our thoughts, words and actions. May we ever honor You in all that we say and do. Amen.

 

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

 

Hear my prayer, O God; listen to the words of my mouth. – Psalm 54:2

Choose to Do Good

Do not those who plot evil go astray? But those who plan what is good find love and faithfulness. – (Proverbs 14:22, NIV)

Whoever works to do good will find love and loyalty. It is a mistake to work at doing evil. – (Proverbs 14:22, ERV)

Haven’t you noticed how evil schemers always wander astray? But kindness and truth come to those who make plans to be pure in all their ways. – (Proverbs 14:22, TPT)

 

We reap what we sow. If our plans are for the good of others, love and faithfulness find way back to us. However, if our intentions are to harm or are unkind in any way, we begin to veer off of the path that God has for us. It is a slippery slope, and one ill-intended word, deed or action, can lead to many more. Thankfully, the same is true of operating in kindness and truth. The more we seek to be pure in all of our ways, the more we recognize the good in walking out our lives according to God’s perfect plan for us. May we ever seek the Lord to lead us in what is good, so that we may operate in kindness and truth for all of our days.

 

The ways of the Lord, To Bear Good Fruit

Are good and with love;

Led by faithfulness,

Graced from God above.

Choosing unkindness,

Is far from God’s way;

Those who plot evil,

Find they’ve gone astray.

Instead, seek the Lord,

And choose to do good;

In kindness and truth,

Do as Jesus would.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we seek You and trust in You to lead us to do good, love and faithfulness find way back to us. Forgive us for the times that we have chosen poorly in word, thought or deed. Teach us to turn to You for strength to do the right thing; always. Show us how to do all things with kindness in truth for all whom we meet, so that each may come to understand the power of Your love for themselves. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose to do good in kindness and truth as we walk out each day trusting You. Amen.

 

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

 

Turn from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it. – Psalm 34:14

Be Willing

Jesus replied, “Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness.” Then John consented. – (Matthew 3:15, NIV)

Jesus answered, “Let it be this way for now. We should do whatever God says is right.” Then John agreed. – (Matthew 3:15, ERV)

But Jesus said, “Please do it, for I must do all that is right.” So then John baptized Him. – (Matthew 3:15, TLB)

 

This verse is part of the story of when Jesus went to the Jordan River, where John the Baptist was baptizing people, in order to be baptized. At first, John tried to dissuade Him, for he felt the roles should be reversed. John understood who Jesus was, and did not feel worthy to fulfill such a significant role in the life of the Savior. However, Jesus let John know that it was an act of obedience to God. With that in mind, John’s mind quickly changed and he somberly moved forward in fulfilling that which was being asked of him. Because John was willing, he also was witness to heaven opening and the Spirit of God descending upon Jesus, with a voice from heaven saying, “This is my Son, whom I love, with Him I am well pleased.” One act of willing obedience, despite it not making sense, led to a tremendous blessing that few were privileged to see. God still works the same way with us. Often, He calls us to things that seem strange or beyond our capacity, yet when we rise up and move forward in faith, we discover more of who He is and how much He loves. May we ever choose to do all that is right, according to what God asks of us; even when it does not make sense or is far beyond our capacity to complete on our own. God is faithful, and He does not lead us anywhere that He will not also meet us and see us through.

 

Be willing to walk,

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Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

Into the brand new;

Despite how it seems,

God will see us through.

For He will not call,

Us where He won’t lead;

He supplies us strength,

And grace to succeed.

For in Christ there’s more,

Than our hearts can dream;

We have to choose trust,

In Him we’re redeemed.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us into new things that are beyond what we think we can do. Thank You that in You, we are granted the strength, wisdom, grace and help we need to keep moving forward in all that is asked of us. Forgive us for our fears and doubts, as we look at what we can see, rather than who You are. Teach us to trust You more. Show us how love, encourage and support those around us in the same way. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we listen to Your leading and move forward into the new that You call us to. Amen.

 

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

 

Blessed are those who act justly, who always do what is right. – Psalm 106:3

For Beautiful New

“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.” – (Isaiah 43:18-19, NIV)

So don’t remember what happened in earlier times. Don’t think about what happened a long time ago, because I am doing something new! Now you will grow like a new plant. Surely you know this is true. I will even make a road in the desert and rivers will flow through that dry land. – (Isaiah 43:18-19, ERV)

Eternal One: Don’t revel only in the past, or spend all your time recounting the victories of days gone by. Watch closely: I am preparing something new; it’s happening now, even as I speak, and you’re about to see it. I am preparing a way through the desert; Waters will flow where there has been none. – (Isaiah 43:18-19, VOICE)

 

I am not big on resolutions nor bandwagon ideas for the coming year. However, as I sat down to prepare to do my devotions this morning, I pondered the overarching word that could capture the heart of this past year. Right away, the word that came to mind was hope. Hope has been the anchor for my soul through some seriously stormy seas that I never thought I’d need to navigate. God’s grace has been abundant, and His hope – overwhelmingly present. Looking forward, I paused, for only a moment, and prayed, asking what word might be one to look for in the coming year. Right away, the word “new” came to mind. For most, I know that new would make sense for a new year, but as a teacher, the new year falls only halfway through the school year, so it really never feels “new”. It is simply a return, rested and recharged for part two. That being said, as I opened my Bible app to go to the day’s reading, and immediately I was greeted by the verses listed above. I do not think that the verse and the word that came to mind and heart are a coincidence. God is doing something new, and I am going to eagerly anticipate all that awaits in the new year. Growth is always good, and possible where things seem impossible – excellent! May we ever watch closely and take notice, for God is doing new things – making a way where there seems no way, and providing beyond what we thought possible.

Yesterday, I had the privilege of accompanying Mom to her therapy appointments. It was incredible to watch all of the “new” that she is doing in occupational, speech and physical therapies. Additionally, Saturday morning, Mom determined to try out her new cane, rather than her walker. Since then, she has not looked back, and is now only using the cane to walk! That includes going out for appointments, quick errands, and even when we went out to dinner last evening. God continues to do the “new” in Mom, and we are anticipating an incredible year ahead for her as well.

 

Behold, there is new, wp-15778113316466110001030105135888.jpg

That is yet to come;

God’s making a way,

He’s only begun.

Where impossible,

Was how it all seemed;

God’s making the way,

Realizing dreams.

We know not the way,

He’s working for us;

But He’s full of love,

And faithful to bless.

So, rise up in trust,

Have faith His word’s true;

God’s making a way,

For beautiful new.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are good and faithful and full of love. Thank You that You make a way where there seems to be no way, and grow us beyond what we ever imagined possible. Thank You that You are always doing something new on our behalf. Forgive us for our fears and doubts that question the possibility of anything more than where we are right now. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would view life through Your lens rather than our own. Show us how to love those around us in ways that support, encourage, and strengthen all whom we meet with reason to believe there is more in store. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You in all the new that is yet to come in 2020. Amen.

 

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

 

I will give them an undivided heart and put a new spirit in them; I will remove from them their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh. – Ezekiel 11:19

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

Every New Step

I can do all this through Him who gives me strength. – (Philippians 4:13, NIV)

Christ is the one who gives me the strength I need to do whatever I must do. – (Philippians 4:13, ERV)

For I can do everything God asks me to with the help of Christ who gives me the strength and power. – (Philippians 4:13, TLB)

 

Do you ever wake at the start of the week and wonder how you will get from the now to the close of the week? It is not a lack of faith thing, nor a whoa is me situation, but rather a recognition of the demands that lie before me, and the need for Christ to be present every step of the way. The week ahead is like that for me, particularly as I step into the new and unknown. I am excited and eager, yet uncertain of how all will unfold. God is good, as He grants me the strength to do the He is leading me to, and He makes plain the path that He has prepared in advance for me to walk. Today, I am trusting His strength for each next step as I navigate the new in this season.

Mom understands this far better than most, as she continues to trust in Christ and His strength each new day for every new step that she is to take on this road of healing and recovery. Each week, she is trying a bit more as she gets out of the house and engages in social activities with my sister and brother-in-love. More and more, there is a return to self, as Christ’s strength continues to grow and be made known in Mom.

 

The strength of the Lord, Strong Heart

Is present and free;

For all who choose seek,

He gives what we need.

All that the Lord asks,

We’re equipped to do;

His power and grace,

Ever see us through.

So, trust in the Lord,

Answer what He asks;

You’ll find you’ve the strength,

For every task.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You give us the strength and power to do all that You call us to do. Thank You that You have a perfect plan and purpose for each of us. Forgive us for our moments of being a bit overwhelmed by all that we see that lies ahead. Teach us to trust You more, as You are always faithful to go before us and walk beside us, every step of the way. Show us how to love those around us in ways that encourage, strengthen and empower each to do all that is asked of them. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust Your power and strength to supply all that we need for each step we are meant to take of every day. Amen.

 

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

 

The Lord makes firm the steps of the one who delights in Him. – Psalm 37:23

The Beauty of Otherly

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of others. – (Philippians 2:3-4, NIV)

In whatever you do, don’t let selfishness or pride be your guide. Be humble, and honor others more than yourselves. Don’t be interested only in your own life, but care about the lives of others too. – (Philippians 2:3-4, ERV)

Don’t let selfishness and prideful agendas take over. Embrace true humility, and lift your heads to extend love to others. Get beyond yourselves and protecting your own interests; be sincere, and secure your neighbors’ interests first. – (Philippians 2:3-4, VOICE)

 

An “otherly” approach brings beauty far greater than anything that comes from simply looking out for oneself. This weekend, I have witnessed two wonderful examples of such love in action. First, my sister has been working tirelessly to fight the insurance battle to orchestrate in-home therapy for our mom. She has been loving mom well, and fighting on her behalf. The fruit of all of Megan’s labor has finally come to fruition, as Mom’s evaluation and step one of in-home therapy will take place on Monday! Second, our trip out to this part of the country has been for the sole intent and purpose for my husband to see his father and let him know he is valued and loved. Mark’s love for his dad is not dependent on their history together, but rather on knowing how important it is to look beyond himself and simply choose to love. Additionally, he wanted his dad to have one more chance to see his grandson and daughter-in-law, along with his son. We had a great day visiting with each other, and Mark is able to go back home knowing that he has cared well and extended love as he is called to do. May we ever choose to have an “otherly” approach, so that we may care well for the lives of those around us with humility.

 

May all that we do, 09141912302527739590534708850.jpg

Be rooted in love;

With others in mind,

Lives valued above.

Held higher than pride,

In humility;

Love without limits,

For in Christ, we’re free.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son to show us what it means to prefer others and to love with others in mind. Thank You for a love so selfless that He laid down His very life for us. Forgive us for the times that we get caught up in ourselves and neglect to look beyond at the needs around us. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would love as You love and without pride or selfish ambition, would simply love others well. Show us how to love like You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek to share the beauty of Your “otherly” love with the world. 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

Way Maker

He who did not spare His own Son, but gave Him up for us all – how will He not also, along with Him, graciously give us all things? – (Romans 8:32, NIV)

If God didn’t hesitate to put everything on the line for us, embracing our condition and exposing Himself to the worst by sending His own Son, is there anything else He wouldn’t gladly and freely do for us? – (Romans 8:32, MSG)

For God has proved His love by giving us His greatest treasure, the gift of His Son. And since God freely offered Him up as the sacrifice for us all, He certainly won’t withhold from us anything else He has to give. – (Romans 8:32, TPT)

 

More than anyone, God understands sacrifice and suffering. In fact, because He chose the ultimate sacrifice for us all, no one is left to face life alone, and though we will endure trials and hardships in this life, we have help and hope to overcome. What we see and perceive is not the whole story. God is at work, far beyond what we can observe or comprehend. Yesterday, mom had her appointment with her new primary care physician in Oregon. We thought that through the consultation, in-home therapies could be referred out and quickly established, just as they had been in Washington. Unfortunately, that was not the case. According to insurance criteria in Oregon, mom has to see a specialist of some sort to gain a referral for her in-home care. In our limited understanding, this is frustrating, as it delays the entire process of getting mom back to work with forward momentum. Even so, God sees far more than we do. He does not withhold good. I have to believe that there is purpose in the delay, and He is making a way for something even greater than we could hope or imagine on mom’s behalf. The Lord is generous and kind, and He loves our mom even more than we do, and wants even greater things for her than us. We have to trust that He has a purpose and plan for the delay, and is making a way that is greater still than anything that we have known before. May we all trust in the Lord, who does not withhold good from us, as He loves us beyond what we can even begin to grasp.

 

O Lord, help us trust,

bloom blossom flora flower

Photo by icon0.com on Pexels.com

Your grace is secured;

For You don’t withhold,

Your love we’re assured.

Despite what we see,

In You, there is more;

The impossible,

Become open doors.

Show us Your goodness,

Flood us with Your grace;

Fill hearts with Your peace,

As You make the way.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are good and that Your love endures forever. Thank You that You do not withhold any good thing from us. Thank You that You willingly and lovingly sacrificed everything to make the way for us to be with You. Forgive us for our fears and doubts, as we somehow make You small, when You are the Creator of all that exists. Teach us to trust You more, as You are our Healer, Provider, Father, Friend, and so much more. Show us how to love those around us through the seasons of waiting, so that they might be encouraged and strengthened and know how deeply they are loved. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust in Your goodness to make the way, where it seems so difficult. Amen.

 

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

 

I will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths I will guide them; I will turn darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth. These are the things I will do; I will not forsake them. – Isaiah 42:16