Peace in All Things

“I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” – (John 16:33, NIV)

“I have told you these things so that you can have peace in Me. In this world you will have troubles. But be brave! I have defeated the world!” – (John 16:33, ERV)

“I’ve told you all this so that trusting Me, you will be unshakable and assured, deeply at peace. In this godless world you will continue to experience difficulties. But take heart! I’ve conquered the world.” – (John 16:33, MSG)

Jesus did not candy-coat things, nor lead anyone to believe that trusting in Him would suddenly make all our troubles disappear, but rather He let us know that despite the troubles of the world, in Him, we can have peace. This past year, God has continued to show me how true these words can be. In both seasons of trial and those of blessing, His peace has been made present as I pressed into trusting Him. Everything we face, He has already faced and overcome. Jesus knows how we feel as we face fires and understands how to provide His peace amid them. We can be brave in the comfort of His love as we recognize that He is far greater than anything we may face, and trust that He will remain with us as we navigate everything that comes our way. God is good in all, and the presence of His peace reminds us of how deeply we are loved. May we look back with thanksgiving for His unending faithfulness, and look forward with peace, knowing that He goes before us and will remain with us in and through all things.

Peace through the trials,

The Lord’s ever near;

To walk beside us,

And calm all our fears.

Jesus has conquered,

He has overcome;

Every trial,

Already it’s done.

For He goes before,

And walks alongside;

Providing His peace,

As we choose abide.

Rest in His mercy,

Let His love surround;

Trust in His goodness,

It’s where peace is found.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that though we will face struggles, You have promised to be present and be our perfect peace. Thank You that in all things, You remain near, and show us that as we seek You, You always hear. Forgive us for our frustrations with the challenges that come. Teach us to embrace the grace that You give to help us navigate, and let our hearts praise You for Your presence, even when things are not as we might hope. Lead us to live in the hope that we hold in eternity, for all that is in the here and now is temporary, yet You are forever. Show us how to love those around us with an eternal perspective. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for Your presence and Your perfect peace in all things and at all times. 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

Compassion and Comfort

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father compassion and the God of all comfort. – (2 Corinthians 1:3, NIV)

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. He is the Father who is full of mercy, the God of all comfort. – (2 Corinthians 1:3, ERV)

All praise goes to God, Father of our Lord Jesus, the Anointed One. He is the Father of compassion, the God of all comfort. – (2 Corinthians 1:3, VOICE)

Most nights, I wake and have little or no recollection as to what I dreamed about. This morning, however, I woke after having dreamed all throughout the night about the surgery that was just scheduled yesterday. It was neither bad nor good, but rather felt like an abundance of waiting. I imagine that it was sparked by the concern that has been weighing on me since I was told the appointment schedule, and it carried over into my dreams. It is no mystery that I am anxious about what lies ahead, yet I know I am in a space where I must simply trust and go through the process. Though I have never experienced anything quite like this before, I have experienced the unfailing faithfulness of God. God is compassionate and is our comfort, and time and time again, I can share His heart for these things in our lives. He has been with me, provided for me, and comforted me through some of life’s lowest valleys. God stayed beside me, held me up, and provided all that I needed to keep moving forward. In fifteen days, the process will have begun, and in sixteen, it will be complete. Right now, that seems like a very long wait. However, when I look back, it does not feel like gymnastics season is nearly a month in. Even when days drag on, the weeks have flown much more rapidly than realized. Time is tricky, as it goes quickly when we want it to slow down, and it seems to stand still when we desire time to speed up. God is faithful through it all, and when my focus is on praising Him and His goodness, time does not matter. May we ever seek God in all things and at all times, for He is compassionate and provides comfort as each is needed.

Praise be to the Lord,

In all things, always;

For He’s our comfort,

Throughout all our days.

When we are anxious,

We need not give fear;

A foot to stand on,

For God is so near.

His great compassion,

Comfort for the soul;

Soothes us in stillness,

As He makes us whole.

So, trust in the Lord,

Ever give Him praise;

Our hope forever,

The Ancient of Days.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You know our hearts and our needs far better than we do. Thank You that You are our Comforter, and You are full of compassion for us all. Forgive us for our fearfulness as we face unknowns. Teach us to trust and rely on You more, for You are faithful to go before us, stay beside us, and hold us up when we are unable to move forward without Your strength. Show us how to navigate the unknowns with faith in Your nearness, and grant us wisdom to know how to encourage and walk beside those who are in such spaces. Let Your love be evident to all. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we place our every fear and concern in Your capable and compassionate hands, for You are with us and will not leave us. Amen.

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

Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. – Psalm 23:4

Navigating Unknowns

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

Haven’t I commanded you? Strength! Courage! Don’t be timid; don’t get discouraged. God, your God, is with you every step you take. – (Joshua 1:9, MSG)

We are commanded to be strong and courageous. This is not a command that says, “Good luck, kid, go take care of things on your own”, but rather is reminding us that because God will be with us wherever we go, we can be strong and courageous in Him. Strength and courage are not things that we can somehow muster on our own, but rather we are filled by the Lord’s overwhelming love, and are granted the strength and courage that we need to navigate life’s unknowns. Today will be a day that I need God’s strength and courage as I go to a pre-operative appointment this afternoon. Though a consultation is not necessarily a fearful thing on its own, the process that lies ahead is scary and unknown. My hope is that strength and courage will increase, and the surgeon will be one who sets my mind at ease. No matter what, I know God will go before me, will remain with me, and will supply what I need as it is needed. He is faithful and I am grateful. May we ever seek the Lord to be our strength and courage as we face the unknowns that come our way.

With God as my strength,

What have I to fear?

Always He’s with me,

I know He is near.

He grants me courage,

When alone, there’s none;

He floods me with love,

The most Holy One.

God supplies comfort,

When I am afraid;

I’m held in His hands,

Throughout each new day.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that courage and strength come from You. Thank You that You provide all that we need and more as we seek You. Thank You that You go before us and stay beside us as we walk into the unknowns that life brings. Forgive us for our fears that rise up and try to take root. Teach us to lean on You to lead us and trust in You to guide us through every step that we take. Show us how to be present in the strength and courage You supply. Lead us to love those around us as You do. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for the strength and courage that You supply and for Your nearness as we navigate unknowns. Amen.

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

Wait for the Lord; be strong and courageous. Wait for the Lord. – Psalm 27:14

Bloom Under Pressure

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. – (James 1:2-3, NIV)

My brothers and sisters, you will have many kinds of trouble. But this gives you reason to be very happy. You know that when your faith is tested, you learn to be patient in suffering. – (James 1:2-3, ERV)

Don’t run from tests and hardships, brothers and sisters. As difficult as they are, you will ultimately find joy in them; if you embrace them, your faith will blossom under pressure and teach you true patience as you endure. – (James 1:2-3, VOICE)

I most appreciate the Voice translation of this particular passage, as it is far easier to relate to finding joy in the midst of our trials, rather than considering them joy. The older I get, the more I both witness and experience this truth. Between the progression of aging in both us and our parents, the frequency of trials and health challenges in our lives and those of dear family and friends around us seem to be on the rise. What I continue to witness is faith rising up, and joy found in the midst of unpleasant circumstances as patience and endurance are provided. God is faithful to meet us every step we take, be it through the deepest valleys or on the highest peaks. One of the greatest things that I am continuing to learn is that God provides people that lighten our loads – be it physically, emotionally, or financially in the center of our storms. Throughout the early days and weeks following my mom’s stroke, people sent notes, called, encouraged and lifted up, which strengthened us and brought joy in the midst of the fearful unknown. On Thursday, I was supposed to have a consultation with a surgeon about a procedure to remove cancerous cells from my upper lip. The appointment turned into a bigger biopsy than I had previously had, and resulted in a couple of stitches, with further surgery still looming ahead. Incredibly, I feel total peace about the ultimate outcome of all this. My trepidation lies in the process. Even with the unanticipated procedure, God provided a kind staff that blended humor and compassion perfectly for me. Despite the unpleasantness of the process, their demeanor set my heart at ease and I left the appointment with much gratitude for those charged with my care. Additionally, I had a conversation with a colleague and friend whose father had undergone something similar to what is in store for me, and she was able to share great encouragement as he had minimal scarring and complete success. God is good and He uses our circumstances to grow and encourage us as He strengthens us with His overwhelming love. May you be encouraged by His goodness and kindness, even in the midst of challenges, today and always.

In heartache and joy,

Challenges and peace;

The Lord is near us,

And strength He’ll increase.

Through each new trial,

Faith He will increase;

As we choose to trust,

His power’s released.

In the dark spaces,

Keep seeking His light;

Endurance will bloom,

To joy and delight.

Delight in moments,

Where His love is clear;

Trust in the process,

God is always near.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You use our trials and challenges to grow us in strength and endurance. Thank You that You provide joy, even in the most difficult circumstances. Forgive us for our fears and frustrations in the midst of the unexpected trials that we face. Teach us how to lean into You for strength and endurance as we navigate whatever comes our way. Show us how to encourage and support those around us well, so that they may see tangible evidence of Your goodness and love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we rely on You to be our strength in the struggles, and praise You for Your provision of joy despite our circumstances. Amen.

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

The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in Him, and He helps me. My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise Him. – Psalm 28:7

Confident Hope

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. – (Hebrews 11:1, NIV)

Faith is what makes real the things we hope for. It is proof of what we cannot see. – (Hebrews 11:1, ERV)

Faith is the assurance of things you have hoped for, the absolute conviction that there are realities you’ve never seen. – (Hebrews 11:1, VOICE

Faith is a necessary component to all that we do. When we marry, though we cannot actually see the future or know how life will unfold, we can trust God and have faith that He has brought us together for a purpose and on purpose. With children, we trust in the hope that we have for them to grow and thrive, though we cannot see nor predict the future. By faith, we rise each new day and do our best, trusting that God will do more than we could ever do on our own. Confident hope in Christ and all that He has done for us, is the faith we need to navigate our days well. Just as we cannot see the wind, we know it is there as we see the evidence through how things move. It is the same with Christ. Though we cannot see Him, we can see evidence of His goodness and love all around us. May we hold fast to our faith in Christ, for all that is hoped for comes through Him, and He is the blessed assurance of all that is still unseen.

Faith comes in knowing,

Our hope is secure;

Not in things we see,

In Him, who is near.

Though we can’t see Him,

We know He is true;

His grace and His love,

Are found in plain view.

As the sun rises,

Each day as we wake;

We have a fresh start,

New hope to embrace.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can have faith in You, for we are assured of the hope held in You, even though we cannot see You. Thank You that there is clear evidence of who You are and how You love, all around us. Forgive us for our lack of faith when troubles come. Teach us to trust You more, for You are always moving on our behalf, even when we cannot see or fathom what You are doing. Show us how to love and encourage those around us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we hold fast to the faith we have in You, for our confident hope is held in Your heavenly hands. Amen.

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

And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him. – Hebrews 11:6

To Pursue the Purposed Path

But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “Today”, so that none of you may be hardened to sin’s deceitfulness. – (Hebrews 3:13, NIV)

But encourage each other every day, while you still have something called “today”. Help each other so that none of you will be fooled by sin and become too hard to change. – (Hebrews 3:13, ERV)

Encourage each other every day – for as long as we can still say “today” – so none of you let the deceitfulness of sin harden your hearts. – (Hebrews 3:13, VOICE)

Encouragement is not only to build each other up, but it is useful to keep us moving in the right direction, according to God’s good and perfect will. Sin that so easily entangles us, is easier to avoid when there is accountability and encouragement. When we walk beside people who are moving with similar purpose and intent, we can encourage each other to continue on the path to which we have been called. This is one of the reasons that God calls us to be in community. None of us are meant to navigate this life alone. May we ever seek the Lord to lead us to encourage one another, and to point one another to pursue the path that He has placed before us according to His will and not our own.

Choose to encourage,

Each other each day;

In community,

In God’s will we’ll stay.

To keep far from sin,

Do not isolate;

Beside, together,

Choose to congregate.

With mutual love,

Respect and purpose;

Let us press forward,

As God has called us.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have called and created us to be in a community that walks together and encourages each other so that we may walk in Your way and do Your will. Forgive us for the times that we have isolated or have neglected to give or receive the encouragement You intended. Teach us to trust in Your leading and to invest in the communities to which we have been called. Show us how to love and encourage those around us as You intended, so that we may avoid the sin that so easily entangles us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to lead us and guide us so that we may encourage and walk alongside those whom You have placed on our path with purpose on purpose. Amen.

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

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

No Matter What May Come

For since He Himself was tested and has suffered, He is able to help those who are tested. – (Hebrews 2:18, HCSB)

And now He can help those who are tempted. He is able to help because He Himself suffered and was tempted. – (Hebrews 2:18, ERV)

Since He has also been tested by suffering, He can help us when we are tested. – (Hebrews 2:18, VOICE)

Because Jesus was tempted in every way, and He suffered beyond what we can even begin to fathom, He understands and knows how to help us when we struggle. It is easy to fall into the trap of thinking that we are completely alone in the midst of struggle or suffering, but the truth is, God is always near. Jesus is ever moving on our behalf. The challenge is to slow down, seek the Lord, and simply sit in His presence. He is faithful to meet us in our seeking, and will hold us up and lead us through the trials that we face. May we ever seek the Lord, for He is faithful, and He will help, hold, and lead us so that we may navigate every difficulty that comes our way.

No matter what comes,

God already knows;

How to best help us,

In His strength, we grow.

Through great temptations,

Or true suffering;

God will be faithful,

Grace and strength He brings.

So, rise up and seek,

Each time you shall find;

More than imagined,

His love does exceed.

Lean into Jesus,

No matter what comes;

He’s present to help,

The great Holy One.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are gracious and kind, and that You understand every trial and suffering that we endure. Thank You that because You have suffered and been tempted in every way, You are able to help and strengthen us to navigate all things. Forgive us for our fears and doubts. Teach us to trust You in all things and at all times. Show us how to love those around us as You do, so that they too may come to know Your strength and help and hope in all things. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You and trust You in all things and at all times, for in You, there is peace and hope and strength. Amen.

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

Whether it is favorable or unfavorable, we will obey the Lord our God, to whom we are sending you, so that it will go well with us, for we will obey the Lord our God. – Jeremiah 42:6

Peace is Plentiful

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

Give all your worries to Him, because He cares for you. – (1 Peter 5:7, ERV)

Since God cares for you, let Him carry all your burdens and worries. – (1 Peter 5:7, VOICE)

 No matter what we have been through, or what may lie ahead, we need not worry, for God already knows and will be faithful to be with us. When anxiousness begins to rise and creep in, we need to place it in His capable hands. Because He cares for us, we do not have to carry our burdens alone, nor do we have to face the fires by ourselves. God is with us, and He is able to meet us in each moment, and help us navigate through each new day. As a teacher, Monday mornings can feel a bit anxiety causing, especially on a holiday that provides a plethora of sugar to kids for the coming week. He is good, and already knows. The Lord will give us the wisdom and grace we need to keep moving forward. May we ever seek our Savior and place our worries and burdens at the foot of the cross, for it is there that they have already been seen, known and overcome.

Because the Lord cares,

We need not worry;

All is in His hands,

So strong and sturdy.

Anxiety falls,

When given to Him;

The Lord holds us up,

And grants peace within.

Help us turn to You,

Throughout all our days;

You are the answer,

You show us the way.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we need not worry or be anxious, for You are with us and remain present throughout all of our days. Forgive us for our fears and doubts that sneak in when we shift our gaze away from You. Teach us to ever trust in You and to lay all of our worries and concerns at Your feet. Show us how to let go and allow You to be Lord of all things. Lead us to love those around us as You do, so that Your hope and help are made clearly known. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust in Your faithfulness forever and find Your peace is plentiful as we seek You. Amen.

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

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. – Philippians 4:6

Walking the Way of Love

Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. – (Ephesians 5:1-2, NIV)

You are God’s dear children, so try to be like Him. Live a life of love. Love others just as Christ loved us. He gave Himself for us – a sweet-smelling offering and sacrifice to God. – (Ephesians 5:1-2, ERV)

Watch what God does, and then you do it, like children who learn proper behavior from their parents. Mostly what God does is love you. Keep company with Him and learn a life of love. Observe how Christ loved us. His love was not cautious but extravagant. He didn’t love in order to get something from us but to give everything of Himself to us. Love like that. – (Ephesians 5:1-2, MSG)

Some days, walking the way of love is far more difficult than others. There are moments in the craziness of my days that I am unsure of what love ought to look like. This is where we need Jesus more than ever. We need His eyes to see and His heart to love when we cannot even process the things unfolding before us. Yesterday, an insane incident in one of my classes left me so stunned that all I could do was ask if kids were okay after I had the disrupter step outside. I am very aware of my need for God to lead me in His love in everything I say and do, for I am not equipped on my own to navigate all that comes my way. May we ever seek the Lord and His lavish love, so that we may navigate our days in the light of His love.

Lord, teach us to love,

In all things like You;

Extravagantly,

So Your heart shines through.

For love is given,

Not so that we get;

But rather to show,

All that’s to come yet.

As we choose draw near,

Train us in Your ways;

Make Your love made known,

Throughout each new day.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we are an ongoing work in progress. Thank You that You continue to grow us and transform us to better reflect Your love to those around us. Forgive us for our frustrations and expectations of others. Teach us to see others through Your lens, as we recognize the need for love all around us. Show us how to love those whom You place on our path as You do. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we ever seek You to continue to teach us to love like You. Amen.

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

And this is love: that we walk in obedience to His commands. As you have heard from the beginning, His command is that you walk in love. – 2 John 1:6

Way Maker

“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)

Though this was written centuries ago, it is a relevant encouragement to me this morning. Being an educator is an adventure for sure, yet there have been experiences that have impacted the way that I view things today. This year, I am teaching a subject in a grade level that I have never taught, with a completely new curriculum, and I have to let go of my former experiences in said subject, (my previous experience in such nearly had me walk away from teaching), as I can see that God can do something new both in me and through me. This hope is so helpful, as I do, at times, feel as though I am wandering through a desert without water. God is good, and He provides all that we need to navigate the new. He leads us, guides us, and grants us the strength, wisdom and resources we need as we seek and trust in Him. Additionally, He brings the right people alongside us to help us navigate the new. I never cease to be amazed at how He cares about the seemingly insignificant things, just as much as He is concerned with the big things. May we ever seek the Lord as we keep moving forward in faith, for He is doing something new, and continually pouring new life into us.

Like streams through dry land,

The Lord’s bringing new;

Forget the former,

God’s faithful and true.

The past is not now,

New things will arise;

Possibilities,

To yet realize.

In faith, let us seek,

Choose to trust the Lord;

He will make a way,

And keep us on course.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we need not dwell on the past, but instead, ought to look forward in faith to You. Thank You that You provide strength, refreshment, support, growth, wisdom and encouragement as we navigate the new You call us into. Forgive us for our fears and anxieties that prevent us from fully recognizing Your goodness and faithfulness. Teach us to trust You more, as we seek You and praise You for the support that You provide. Show us how to love those around us in ways that feel like water where souls are parched, and hope where it has been absent. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we look ahead with eager anticipation, to see how You will move mountains on our behalf. Amen.

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

Do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God. – Romans 12:2