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

Working All For Good

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose. – (Romans 8:28, NIV)

We know that in everything God works for the good of those who love Him. These are the people God chose, because that was His plan. – (Romans 8:28, ERV)

We are confident that God is able to orchestrate everything to work toward something good and beautiful when we love Him and accept His invitation to live according to His plan. – (Romans 8:28, VOICE)

It is critical to both know and trust this is true in our lives, especially in times of uncertainty or when anxiety begins to rise. I do not know what I will be walking into in the coming school year, as I will again be teaching a new grade and new curriculum. With ever-changing conditions and circumstances, on top of new material, I am again in a space of feeling like a brand new teacher, despite my previous twenty-four years in my career thus far. New can be exciting, but it also makes me anxious, as I want to know what I am doing so that I can do the best possible job of helping kids learn and grow. On my end, I am doing all that I can to prepare, and have to trust that God has me in this space for this time for a purpose. He uses things for good, so I have to trust that I have something to offer and He has something good in store for me. May we ever lean into the Lord and place our trust and confidence in Him, for He is able to bring good and beauty out of spaces of uncertainty.

In everything,

God can create good;

Sunshine after storms,

Grace not understood.

His love never ends,

And His mercy, new;

Each day as we rise,

He’ll show us what’s true.

In love, He will lead,

Show us steps to take;

Heal and build us up,

Despite our mistakes.

So, trust in the Lord,

He’ll use all for good;

As He shows us new,

Where only He could.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You work all things out for the good of those who love You. Thank You that You can take circumstances and situations that seem dismal or difficult, and turn them into something amazing and beautiful. Forgive us for our fears and doubts as we enter the new and unknown. Remind us of Your presence anew each day, and show us clearly how to walk in Your way. Teach us how to love those around us well, so that they may come to understand the hope, help and peace that is found in You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love You and trust You to work all things out for good. Amen.

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

But let all who take refuge in You be glad; let them ever sing for joy. Spread Your protection over them, that those who love Your Name may rejoice in You. – Psalm 5:11

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

Come to the Fountain

May the God of all hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. – (Romans 15:13, NIV)

I pray that the God who gives hope will fill you with much joy and peace as you trust in Him. Then you will have more and more hope, and it will flow out of you by the power of the Holy Spirit. – (Romans 15:13, ERV)

Now may God, the fountain of hope, fill you to overflowing with uncontainable joy and perfect peace as you trust in Him. And may the power of the Holy Spirit continually surround your life with His super-abundance until you radiate with hope! – (Romans 15:13, TPT)

God is our fountain of hope. His outpouring is constant and abundant, if only we allow ourselves to draw near. The more we allow His hope to flow over us, the greater our experience of His joy and peace though trusting Him becomes. Even more, as we receive what He offers, the same will overflow from us. To radiate hope is exactly the way that I want to live. This only transpires through trust in Him. The Holy Spirit in us allows hope to flow from us in abundance. May we ever draw near to God, who is our fountain of hope, so that we may extend the same to those around us.

The God of all hope,

A fountain that pours;

Grace overflowing,

Flings wide open doors.

The doors to His peace,

And abundant joy;

For where hope is held,

Goodness is employed.

Let’s soak in the hope,

As He grants us peace;

No matter what comes,

His joy is released.

Joy in the journey,

Hope for the long ride;

Peace in the knowing,

He’ll be by our side.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our fountain of hope that never stops outpouring. Thank You that Your Holy Spirit within us grants us peace and joy, no matter our circumstances. Forgive us for not drawing near to receive all that You offer, which in turn dulls the light within us. Teach us to continually draw near so that we may radiate the hope we have in You. Show us how to love all those around us as You do. May many come into a lasting relationship with You as Your hope brings the joy and peace that has been absent. Be glorified O God and continually draw us into Your presence so that we may soak in the goodness of Your love that grows eternal hope, abundant joy and perfect peace. Amen.

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

Grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord. – 2 Peter 1:3

Hope Gives Reason for Gratitude

Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe. – (Hebrews 12:28, NIV)

Since we are receiving our rights to an unshakeable kingdom we should be extremely thankful and offer God the purest worship that delights His heart as we lay down our lives in absolute surrender, filled with awe. – (Hebrew 12:28, TPT)

Therefore, let us all be thankful that we are a part of an unshakeable Kingdom and offer to God worship that pleases Him and reflects the awe and reverence we have toward Him. – (Hebrews 12:28, VOICE)

Our gratitude to God ought to be abundant; not only for the life we have now, but for that which is yet to come. We have hope and love, strength and security in all that lies before us. For these things and so much more, let us give thanks and worship the One who gives us all. Our worship, from a grateful heart, pleases and delights He who is worthy of all praise and thanks. Though this Thanksgiving will look and feel far different than what many of us are accustomed to, we still have reason to give thanks. For me and my family, it is the first time in my twins’ lives that we have not spent Thanksgiving with my mom, sister, brother-in-law, and my nephews. We all have such fond memories of our times together, I cannot help but grieve the absence. However, we all are healthy and safe, and each family has remained gainfully employed. Though we cannot join together on this day, we have many reasons to give God gratitude. May we each give thanks to God for the hope we have in Him, and offer Him our worship and praise as we go about our days.

With hearts full of thanks,

We give God our praise;

For the hope we hold,

In Him, all our days.

His goodness and love,

Place hope in our hearts;

Remind us anew,

Each day’s a fresh start.

We worship You, Lord,

All honor and praise,

To Him who’s adored.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your love and grace, hope and presence, as You deserve all thanks and praise today, regardless of our circumstances. Thank You that our hope does not come from what we see, but what we know and have assurance of in our hearts. Forgive us for our frustrations with our present circumstances. Please help us to hold fast to the hope we have in You, rather than what is right now. Teach us to trust You and give You thanks in all things. Show us how to love those around us well. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, as Your hope is made evident through us. Be glorified O God, as we praise You and give You thanks for the hope we have in what is yet to come, and the blessings we have in the here and now. Amen.

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

Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the Lord. – Psalm 31:24

Among Us

For the Lord your God is living among you. He is a mighty savior. He will take delight in you with gladness. With His love, He will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs. – (Zephaniah 3:17, NLT)

The Lord your God is with you. He is like a powerful soldier. He will save you. He will show how much He loves you and how happy He is with you. He will laugh and be happy about you. – (Zephaniah 3:17, ERV)

The Eternal your God is standing right here among you, and He is the champion who will rescue you. He will joyfully celebrate over you; He will rest in His love for you; He will joyfully sing because of you like a new husband. – (Zephaniah 3:17, VOICE)

 

I love the Voice translation of this passage, as the word choice speaks so clearly to my heart. As an individual who understands the deep need for every person to have someone willing to fight for them, and the joy of a new husband, God’s promises are an encouragement that stand the test of time. His presence is our comfort, and His love brings peace and joy and calms our fears. Our mighty Savior, who is like a powerful soldier, is our Protector, ever present with us. The idea that He delights over us with joyful songs, is reminiscent of when my babies were young, and how I would delight in them and sing to them and there would be peace among us as we rested. My human experience is but a glimpse in comparison to the depth of love that God has for us. The joy and delight we discover in those whom He blesses us with in our lives are but a preview of all that He has in store for us in heaven. May we fix our eyes and hearts on the Lord who is among us, present to save and rejoice over us.

 

The Lord is with us,Among Us

He’s mighty to save;

In love, celebrates,

His grace is displayed.

Each fear shall be calmed,

As in Him, we rest;

For His help and love,

Fill our needs the best.

Imagine the sound,

As the Lord does sing;

With joy over us,

All peace He does bring.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are so good. Thank You that You are our Champion, who is willing to fight for us. Thank You that You rejoice over us with singing and calm our fears. Thank You that You are always present. Forgive us for the times that we have allowed our circumstances to interrupt the peace that You offer. Teach us to lean into You at all times, so that we may know Your peace, no matter what comes our way. Show us how to love those around us with Your love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for the incredible blessings You bestow upon us with Your love. Amen.

 

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

 

Yes, my soul, finds rest in God; my hope comes from Him. – Psalm 62:5

To Do Good and To Share

And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased. – (Hebrews 13:16, NIV)

And don’t forget to do good and to share what you have with others, because sacrifices like these are very pleasing to God. – (Hebrews 13:16, ERV)

Let’s not neglect what is good and share what we have, for these sacrifices also please God. – (Hebrews 13:16, VOICE)

 

It is amazing to see how an order to “Stay at Home” has produced incredible opportunities for people to utilize their time and talents to do good and share with others. One of the things that I have been most impressed with that my school district is doing, is they are mobilizing and making “grab and go” breakfasts and lunches available to all students in our district. The service will continue during our scheduled spring break, despite it technically being a time that our amazing nutrition service team ought to have a reprieve. In addition to the breakfast and lunch program, local businesses and churches, including my own church, have partnered with the district to identify families that may need additional meal/grocery support in this season, and are providing extra supplies to assist. The stories of neighbors helping and caring for one another bless my heart each time I hear them, and the army of seamstresses that are heeding the call for protective masks and sewing for hours on end are doing the very good and sharing with others as we have been called to do. Doing good can be acts that are great or small – each will make a difference. Our time, talent and resources are what we have to offer. Sometimes, doing good is reaching out and checking on whomever comes to mind. It is never an accident. May we seek the Lord and ask of Him how we can do good and best share what we have with others. He is faithful and will show us where to best utilize our time, resources and talents to bless and encourage those around us.

 

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And choose ask of Him;

What shall I do next,

Where do I begin?

Show me how to use,

Time, talents, supplies;

To bless and to serve,

Lord, help me be wise.

For each choice to give,

Is honoring You;

Overflow of thanks,

As Your love shines through.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to do good and to share what we have with those around us. Thank You that You bless us with more than just “things”, but You grant us time and talents too. Thank You that all of us have something to offer. Thank You for the countless examples of those who are rising up and doing good, selflessly, in this season. Forgive us for forgetting that we were indeed uniquely and intentionally designed with purpose to do good for Your glory. Show us how to best honor You in all that we say and do. Teach us how to love those around us in the ways that You have designed us to love and serve. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose to do good and serve others with our time, talent and resources. Amen.

 

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

 

A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you must love one another – John 13:34

Take Heart

Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the Lord. – (Psalm 31:24, NIV)

Be strong and brave, all of you who are waiting for the Lord’s help. – (Psalm 31:24, ERV)

Be strong and live courageously, all of you who set your hope in the Eternal! – (Psalm 31:24, VOICE)

 

Whenever I am in a space of struggle, difficulty or challenge, there is something about the Psalms that offers comfort. David, the author of many of them, penned perfectly, both the struggle in difficulties and the encouragement to overcome. It leads me to wonder if Paul, who wrote many of the letters that became the New Testament from a prison cell, found comfort too, in the songs and sonnets and scores of words recorded in the Psalms. For many of us, the staying in place feels a bit torturous, as it is in no way natural nor normal. However, when I consider the time spent by Paul under house arrest and in Roman prison, I need to count my blessings and take heart. In strength and courage, Paul encouraged entire congregations of new believers, despite his circumstances. We are no different. Whatever we are tasked to do in this season, may we be strong and take heart, and place our hope in He who is our help. God is good, and He is faithful to answer when we call on Him to be our help and our hope.

 

Be strong in the Lord, Take Heart

Take courage, be brave;

The Lord will be near,

When asked to come stay.

As we place our hope,

In the Lord above;

He grants what we need,

To go forth in love.

Fear not in trials,

For God’s ever near;

He’s present to help,

Each request, He hears.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can find strength and courage in You as we seek You to be our help and our hope. Thank You that You are ever-present. Forgive us for our fears and frustrations with our circumstances. Teach us to trust You more, so that we may learn and grow through every trial. Show us how to love those around us best, so that we may encourage and strengthen one another in spaces where resolve is running low. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we find strength and courage as we look to You to be our help and hope forever. Amen.

 

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

 

“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

Place of Safety

Trust in Him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts to Him, for God is our refuge. – (Psalm 62:8, NIV)

People, always put your trust in God! Tell Him all your problems. God is our place of safety. – (Psalm 62:8, ERV)

Join me, everyone! Trust only in God every moment! Tell Him all your troubles and pour out your heart-longings to Him. Believe me when I tell you – He will help you! Pause in His presence. – (Psalm 62:8, TPT)

 

We really are in a space of having no choice but to trust in Him. With the daily tolls climbing of those affected by COVID-19, and the increasing impact it is having on medical system, our economy, and families, it is a space where people either panic or choose to trust. God is a great listener. He hears all that we have to say. No question is too small nor too great, and He is not offended by our lack of understanding. God is our safe space, waiting with open arms to embrace us in our moments of fear, frustration or disbelief. For me, the greatest struggle is having to stay at home. Don’t get me wrong, I love my people who make our house a home; it is the wanderlust in me that has this constant desire to be out moving and doing and exploring. My one escape each day is to run, but that is severely out of balance in relationship to the number of hours I find myself seated on the couch, attempting to make sense of my job and how to function digitally. Please do not misunderstand, for I am immensely grateful that I am among the gainfully employed. Rather, it is a struggle to shift from continually moving around my classroom, and walking about campus, to spending so much time indoors. There is a learning curve, and I am adapting, it just takes time and trust and prayer. What I realize more than ever, is the countless reasons that I do have to express gratitude. Even from indoors, I can see trees surrounding us out each window. When I head outside and walk, I do not need to go far to see cherry blossoms blooming, daffodils cheerfully greeting walkways, and not far off, I can catch glimpses of the Puget Sound. Additionally, when I go further, the snow-capped Cascades rise over the water. If I head a different direction to run, I am greeted by the glorious glaciers gleaming in the early morning light a top Mt. Rainier. Beauty is everywhere, and this is our opportunity to truly take it all in. As we close out our week, may we pause in His presence and share our hearts with He who holds us in the hollow of His hands. God is good, and His love for us knows no end.

 

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Share your heart with Him;

He’s present to help,

As we let Him in.

Our place of safety,

When troubles surround;

Peace in the chaos,

Where life and love’s found.

Lean into Jesus,

He always is near;

Ready to listen,

Each heart cry He’ll hear.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are certain, even when all around us is not. Thank You that we can trust in You and depend on You to be our space of safety and the One to whom we can say anything that is on our heart. Thank You that You are bigger than our fears, frustrations and doubts. Forgive us for our restlessness as we adjust to a new normal. Show us how to call on You and depend on You to be our safety, our comfort and our companion. Teach us how to love those around us well, even though it will look different, Your heart can be conveyed through kindness, encouragement and support as we offer what we have to give. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You to be our safety, our confidante and the One who hears our every heart cry as we wait out this storm, loving people well. Amen.

 

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

 

You are my hiding place; You will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance. – Psalm 32:7

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.

 

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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