The Beauty of Intentional Design

I look at the heavens You made with Your hands. I see the moon and stars You created. And I wonder, “Why are people so important to You? Why do you even think about them? Why do You care so much about humans? Why do You even notice them?” – (Psalm 8:3-4, ERV)

I look up at Your macro-skies, dark and enormous, Your handmade sky-jewelry, moon and stars mounted in their settings. Then I look at my micro-self and wonder, why do You bother with us? Why take a second look our way? – (Psalm 8:3-4, MSG)

When I gaze to the skies and meditate on Your creation – on the moon, stars, and all You have made, I can’t help but wonder why You care about mortals – sons and daughters of men – specks of dust floating about the cosmos. – (Psalm 8:3-4, VOICE)

Between living in the Pacific Northwest, and having been blessed with numerous opportunities to see new locations around the world, I share David’s sentiment of awe and wonder at how people are considered the priority to God, who created so much magnificent beauty. We are but a speck of dust in comparison to the entire universe. The glory that surrounds us in His creation is clear evidence of God’s existence. As humans, we are still learning and discovering just how vast God’s creation actually is, and I imagine the discoveries will not end. God, who is timeless and endless, created more than our minds can conceive, yet intentionally hand-crafted each one of us to be unique with strengths, talents, personalities and more. We all were created with purpose and possibilities, accompanied with a free will to determine just how we might use what we have been given. The more I learn, the more I desire to honor and serve the Lord. His goodness and love are as vast as the universe, and His capacity to care for us knows no end. May we ever seek the Lord to reveal more and more of who He is and all that He has done so that we might recognize and honor God as we should.

May we choose look up,

No filter, Sunrise in Belize taken on my phone…<3

Survey all we see;

All that surrounds us,

God’s own majesty.

The stars in the sky,

Created and known;

The mountains and seas,

The Lord’s power shown.

Each work of His hand,

Intentionally;

Formed with a purpose,

Beyond what we see.

Each human on earth,

Is by God’s design;

Made with a purpose,

His love intertwined.

May we stand in awe,

Of all that He’s made;

Give all thanks to Him,

The Ancient of Days.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the incredible gift of all that You have created! Thank You for so much beauty all around us. Forgive us for making You too small, for the God who created everything and everyone is able to do abundantly more than we could hope or imagine. Teach us to trust You in all things and at all times, even when things around us seem crazy or impossible. Show us how to love, encourage and support those around us well, so that they may recognize Your heart for all. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we stand in awe of how You love and care for us. Amen.

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

The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky proclaims the work of His hands. – Psalm 19:1

Slow Down and Celebrate

Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in Him. – (Psalm 34:8, NIV)

Give the Lord a chance to show you how good He is. Great blessings belong to those who depend on Him! – (Psalm 34:8, ERV)

Open your mouth and taste, open your eyes and see – how good God is. Blessed are you who run to Him. – (Psalm 34:8, MSG)

Despite the turmoil that seems to be constantly swirling in our nation, the goodness of God is still evident all around us. No matter what we see or hear going on around us, we can take refuge in the Lord, for His love remains the same forever. For me, as I pause and take inventory of God’s goodness, gratitude rises for the family and friends whom He surrounds me with, and for the grace and kindness He provides, no matter the circumstances that we walk through. He is near and always good, and we can depend on Him to be our space of safety and peace. May we take time to reflect and recognize God’s goodness all around us, and choose to trust and run to Him.

Look all around you,

image by Soda Head

Choose taste and you’ll see;

The goodness of God,

His love’s given free.

Our safe place to run,

His arms full of love;

Safety, provision,

All good from above.

So, trust in the Lord,

Give all thanks to Him;

Celebrate the good,

That He’s placed within.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the opportunity to slow down and celebrate Your goodness, as we gather and enjoy the communities in which we’ve been placed. Thank You that You provide Your love and faithfulness wherever we go. Forgive us for not noticing the blessings that You have placed all around us. Teach us to observe Your goodness and love all around us. Show us how to love those around us best, so that we may make Your heart evident to all. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we slow down to taste and see how very good You are. Amen.

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

Your love, Lord, reaches to the heavens, Your faithfulness to the skies. – Psalm 36:5

Good and Faithful Love

Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His faithful love endures forever. – (Psalm 118:1, HCSB)

Thank God because He’s good, because His love never quits. – (Psalm 118:1, MSG)

Give thanks to the Eternal because He is always good. He never ceases to be loving and kind. – (Psalm 118:1, VOICE)

This morning, this verse is so fitting. As I sit and gaze out at the sea, I am overwhelmed with gratitude for the opportunities that God provides, and the beauty of His creation. Even on difficult days, He is good. His love never leaves us and His mercies are new every morning. May we embrace the loving kindness that He provides and give Him thanks for His unending goodness. 

All thanks be to God,

For He is so good;

His love never quits,

His grace is assured.

Forever He’s kind,

His mercy is new;

Every morning,

He shows His love’s true.

Each rise of the sun,

Brings light to the day;

New strength is supplied,

To walk in His way.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are faithful forever and that Your loving kindness knows no end. Forgive us for the times that we neglect to give You thanks for who You are and how You love. Teach us to recognize the glory of Your goodness and the magnitude of Your grace. Show us how to love those around us in ways that make Your loving kindness evident to all. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You thanks for who You are and how You love. Amen.

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

Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His faithful love endures forever. – I Chronicles 16:34

The Process of Perfect Love

Dear friends, if God loved us in this way, we also must love one another. No one has ever seen God. If we love one another, God remains in us and His love is perfected in us. – (1 John 4:11-12, HCSB)

That is how much God loved us, dear friends! So we also must love each other. No one has ever seen God. But if we love each other, God lives in us. If we love each other, God’s love has reached its goal – it is made perfect in us. – (1 John 4:11-12, ERV)

My dear, dear friends, if God loved us like this, we certainly ought to love each other. No one has seen God, ever. But if we love one another, God dwells deeply within us, and His love becomes complete in us – perfect love! – (1 John 4:11-12, MSG)

God’s love changes our hearts and transforms our minds so that we too, might love as He loves. As humans, we are subject to sin and falling short, so the process of being transformed is one that requires an entire lifetime. That being said, it is a process that is well worth the while. When we allow God’s love to reconstruct our hearts and minds to more clearly reflect His own, we have the opportunity to show God’s love to all those around us. In this space of loving as God loves us, we can become His representatives of what love ought to be. The challenge is that when we do not choose to act in love, we are responding as the world does, and discrediting the heart of God for others. I say that not to bring shame, but rather to encourage each of us to seek to love God and love people (His creation) as He loves us. We all fall short, but what we do with our shortcomings makes all the difference. Are we quick to apologize and make amends, or do we ignore and let things go that can create a divide? The more I seek the Lord, the more I see opportunities all around me to show evidence of His love. Love is patient and kind, it rejoices in the truth, bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things and endures all things. It does not envy, is not boastful or conceited, does not act improperly, is not selfish, is not provoked and does not keep a record of wrongs. Love never ends and has set before us the way to love well. (see 1 Corinthians 13) May we ever seek the Lord to lead us in His love so that those around us might experience for themselves the goodness of God.

The love of the Lord,

Is greatest of all;

For it lifts us up,

Each time that we fall.

It brushes us off,

And fills us again;

Overwhelms with good,

As each day begins.

Press in, keep seeking,

For God’s always found;

Perfect love won’t fail,

Hope in Him is sound.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are loving and kind, and that You fill and equip us to love like You as we seek You and depend on You. Forgive us for our shortcomings and failures when we did not choose love. Lead us in Your kindness so that we may love as You love each of us. Show us how to love those around us in ways that make Your perfect love tangible. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love You and love those around us as You intended. Amen.

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

This is My command. Love one another as I have loved you. – John 15:12

Teach Us to Love

With all humility and gentleness, with patience, accept one another in love. – (Ephesians 4:2, HCSB)

Always be humble and gentle. Be patient and accept each other with love. – (Ephesians 4:2, ERV)

With tender humility and quiet patience, always demonstrate gentleness and generous love toward one another, especially toward those who may try your patience. – (Ephesians 4:2, TPT)

This is how we are called to love one another. Love is a choice that has to be made again and again. Humility and gentleness take the time to truly listen and seek to understand. Patience propels us to persevere, to accept each other with love, especially those who are more difficult to love. As a middle school teacher, I am provided plenty of opportunities each day to practice doing just this. The kids who act out the worst are typically the ones who need patient and loving acceptance the most. Some days are easier than others, and most days are exhausting. That being said, God does not call us to an easy life, but to one of purpose that is rooted and established in love. May we ever seek the Lord to equip and empower us with His love, so that we may go forth each new day in humility, quiet patience, gentleness and generous love.

Lord, teach us to love,

As You love us all;

Lavished with Your grace,

You hear all who call.

Call on Your goodness,

Seek patience and peace;

Accept each other,

Frustrations released.

Equip us to love,

The challenging ones;

May goodness and grace,

Point hearts to the Son.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us and equip us to love as You intended. Forgive us for every time that we lose sight of what You are calling us to, and we allow our emotions or frustrations to dictate how we respond to one another. Lead us to seek and depend on You for strength, help and hope as we navigate each new day. Show us how to love as You are calling us to love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love you and depend on You to show us how to love best. Amen.

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

But when we obey God’s teachings, His love is truly working in us. This is how we know that we are living in Him. – 1 John 2:5

Presence that Provides Peace

The Lord replied, “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” – (Exodus 33:14, NIV)

The Lord answered, “I myself will go with you. I will lead you.” – (Exodus 33:14, ERV)

Eternal One: My presence will travel with you, and I will give you rest. – (Exodus 33:14, VOICE)

Though this particular verse was what God spoke to Moses in the wilderness, His faithfulness remains the same for us today. Currently, my husband and I are on a much needed escape for a portion of my spring break. After having spent the last year teaching from home with Covid restrictions, this wanderlust needed a change of scenery. Thankfully, we booked our trip months ago, so this getaway was much anticipated, and something that we have both been looking forward to. Our destination may seem unusual for one who loves to get outside and discover new places, but surprisingly, Las Vegas is conveniently located near many gorgeous parks and holds great opportunities for adventure. Yesterday, we hopped into our rental car and drove an hour to cross the border into Arizona, where we were met by the Colorado River as we entered Willow Peak. After exploring the park, we found a place to rent a tandem kayak, and spent the next few hours in the sunshine, paddling along the river as we took in the jagged cliffs that surrounded us and clear water below us. For me, being outside in this way provides rest and a remarkable reminder of His nearness. Though we both have sore shoulders this morning, I know that each of us found rest in His presence that is so evident in His creation. May we ever remember that God will go with us wherever we go, and He is the One who provides rest to all who seek Him.

Wherever we go,

The Lord will be near;

Leading us to rest,

He knows and He hears.

The cry of our hearts,

He lovingly knows;

Love everlasting,

In goodness, He shows.

Grace that surrounds us,

His presence brings peace;

God of creation,

All hope made complete.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You go with us wherever we go, and bring us to places where You provide true rest. Thank You for the beauty in all that You have created, and for the ways that You place water in the wilderness. Forgive us for allowing our circumstances to disrupt our peace. Teach us to trust You to bring us Your rest as we earnestly seek You. Show us how to love those around us in ways that provide promise, hope and help in ways that make Your heart clear. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for Your presence and for the incredible ways that You give us the rest we need. Amen.

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

Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. – Matthew 11:28

Clothed in Compassion

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. – (Colossians 3:12, NIV)

God has chosen you and made you His holy people. He loves you. So your new life should be like this: Show mercy to others. Be kind, humble, gentle, and patient. – (Colossians 3:12, ERV)

You are always dearly loved by God! So robe yourself with virtues of God, since you have been divinely chosen to be holy. Be merciful as you endeavor to understand others, and be compassionate, showing kindness toward all. Be gentle and humble, unoffendable in your patience with others. – (Colossians 3:12, TPT)

 

The tremendous impact that the mounting shutdowns are going to have on some of our local families continue to grow, as the governor called for the closure of all restaurants last night. Already, last evening, my husband and I could see the impact this COVID-19 crisis is having on such businesses, as we stopped at our favorite Thai restaurant, after I had picked him up from the airport. For a good twenty minutes, we were the only pair dining in the place. A few folks did come in to pick up take-out orders, and two more tables of two entered and were seated, prior to the end of our meal. Beginning today, their family business will be entirely dependent on take-out orders for sustaining their existence. I know there are so many others that are deeply impacted by this decision. As we navigate each new day, we must be compassionate and kind, gentle, humble, and unoffendable in our patience with others. We know not what the person in front, behind, or beside us is going through, and odds are, each could really use some kindness, patience and compassion in the midst of the current chaos. In a space like this we can either hide out in our own little space, or we can lift our head, look around, and seek ways to reach out and extend help where we are able. Because we are chosen and dearly loved, we are meant to love likewise. May we look for opportunities to show mercy to others, extend kindness and gentleness, be humble always, and choose to be unoffendable in our patience with others.

 

Because we are loved, Be Clothed in Compassion

We’re called to the same;

Compassionately,

In Christ’s Holy Name.

He arms us with strength,

Love, humility;

Empowers patience,

Most generously.

Let’s extend mercy,

Kindness through God’s grace;

Give as we’re given,

In this time and space.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to clothe ourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Thank You that as we do, we are equipped and empowered to love others as You so lavishly love us. Forgive us for either thinking there is nothing we can do, or for getting caught up in our own concerns. Teach us to have eyes to see the world around us as You do, so that we may reach out and do what we can with what we have been given. Show us how to love generously, live compassionately, and be unoffendable in our patience as we navigate these trying times as Your ambassadors of peace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love You and trust You to strengthen and equip us to be clothed in compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience, so that we may love others as You call us to love. Amen.

 

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

 

Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. – Ephesians 4:32

Trust to Do What is Right

“If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand. But even if He does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.” – (Daniel 3:17-18, NIV)

“If you throw us into the hot furnace, the God we serve can save us. And if He wants to, He can save us from your power. But even if God does not save us, we want you to know, King, that we refuse to serve your gods. We will not worship the gold idol that you have set up.” – (Daniel 3:17-18, ERV)

“If you throw us into the blazing furnace, then the God we serve is able to rescue us from a furnace of blazing fire and release us from your power, Your Majesty. But even if He does not, O king, you can be sure that we still will not serve your gods and we will not worship the golden statue you erected.” – (Daniel 3:17-18, VOICE)

 

Daniel 3 is a fantastic example of trusting God to do what is right, and the Lord’s faithfulness as the trio of young men stood firm in their convictions. Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego knew that bowing down to a statue constructed of gold, made by man, would dishonor God. Despite the threat of death as a punishment for disobedience, the young men trusted that God would save them if sent to the fire. They even went so far as to say that if God did not save them, they still refused to bow before the gold statue. God honored their faithfulness in a miraculous way, as He met them in the fire, and kept them from being burned, despite the intense heat. As a result, the king decreed that if anyone spoke out against the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, they would lose their life. The king’s heart was transformed as he witnessed the trio’s trust and the Lord’s faithfulness. We may not be facing the fiery furnace, nor forced to bow before a golden statue, but we do have opportunities daily to choose to trust God. How are we standing firm in faith, despite what we see? Each stand we take in trust, gives God room to move mightily. Our ongoing trust gives glimpses of the faithfulness of God to those around us. May we ever choose to stand firm in our convictions, and have faith to trust God to be faithful forever.

 

Choose trust in the Lord, Trust to Do What is Right

When facing the fire;

He’s faithful always,

The help that’s required.

He knows what we need,

Provision through trust;

Faith makes us aware,

Of how He meets us.

God grants us the strength,

In truth, to stand firm;

Obey, honor Him,

In all that we’ve learned.

So, let us choose right,

By faith, do His will;

The Lord will grant strength,

As peace He instills.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the examples in Your word of people who were faithful to You, even when society dictated otherwise. Thank You that You show us again and again, that You are faithful to those who trust in You. Forgive us for the times that we have not stood firm in what we know You are asking us to do. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would not waiver from what You ask. Show us how to love those around us as You call us to love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You in all things and watch in wonder as You move faithfully on our behalf. 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

The New is Here

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

When anyone is in Christ, it is a whole new world. The old things are gone; suddenly, everything is new! – (2 Corinthians 5:17, ERV)

Therefore, if anyone is united with the Anointed One, that person is a new creation. The old life is gone – and see – a new life has begun! – (2 Corinthians 5:17, VOICE)

 

Today is the beginning of a new day, a new month, a new year, and a new decade! Seldom do we have similar spaces of new. Incredibly, when we are in Christ, we are made new every morning as we depend on Him. The more we choose to lean in and listen to His leading, the more He shapes us into who we were created to become. God is ever making us new. Daily, we have new opportunities to allow Him to write the pages of our story. He takes the ashes of the past and turns them into something new and beautiful and helpful to those around us; if we are willing. Our age, occupation, marital status, and the like, matter not when it comes to what Christ can do to bring the new. He grants fresh starts, new life, more hope, extra strength and increased tenacity to traverse into the new to which He calls us into. May we find the courage to let go of the past and press forward in faith, allowing God to make all things new – both within us and through us.

Yesterday provided a glimpse into the new that God can do for Mom. For the first time since her stroke, Mom was able to actually shop for clothes and things that she might enjoy. It may seem insignificant, but for her, it was a joy and a sort of return to something that felt normal. We went to Fred Meyer and determined to give the motorized carts a try. There were many giggles and was much joy as mom figured out how to drive the scooter and navigate her way through the store. It may have been a bit of a comedy act as I rolled clothing racks around to make way for Mama Andretti, but we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves and she found a few items that she will very much enjoy wearing. The cane is now her only aid used for walking, and she is one motivated lady! God is doing a new thing in her, as her strength and resolve continue to leave me in awe. I cannot wait to see what God does in the coming year for Mom, as she continues to gain strength and mobility, ever working toward reclaiming her independence.

 

May the things of old, Taking Courage in Trials

Be given to God;

For He will make new,

In love, He responds.

The Lord brings beauty,

From ashes, despair;

Brings hope where there’s none,

He’s always aware.

Watch in the waiting,

Trust and you will see;

God making all new,

Possibilities.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we come to You and trust in You, You are ever making us new. Thank You that You are always moving on our behalf, bringing forth the new for us to walk forward. Thank You that Your presence is unending and Your love never fails. Forgive us for our fears and doubts. Teach us to trust in the new that You are doing both in us and for us; for You are always good. Show us how to love those around us well, so that we can contribute to the new that You intend in their lives too. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love You and praise You for the new that You are bringing forth in the coming year. 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

Faithfully and Tangibly Good

Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in Him. – (Psalm 34:8, NIV)

Give the Lord a chance to show you how good He is. Great blessings belong to those who depend on Him! – (Psalm 34:8, ERV)

Taste of His goodness; see how wonderful the Eternal truly is. Anyone who puts trust in Him will be blessed and comforted. – (Psalm 34:8, VOICE)

 

He really, truly is good. Despite loss, frustration, trials and exhaustion, there are blessings and goodness, and above all, there is love. The Lord is faithful to show His kindness and grace as we take refuge in Him and seek His face. In this season, I have been blessed with new opportunities, as I am taking on a new role as a high school assistant gymnastics coach at my alma mater. Before this season, I have only coached recreational gymnastics since age sixteen, and middle school gymnastics for the last twenty-three years. This sort of new learning is a wonderful joy, and includes the added bonus of working not only with fantastic coaches, but great girls, some of which who were my gymnasts when they were in middle school. Additionally, God has blessed us with the means and time from our jobs to travel across the country next week for my father-in-law’s memorial. Though there is sorrow in the loss, I know there will be joy in the remembering, and peace in the blessing of time together for closure. In all things, God is good. It is up to us to open our eyes, minds and hearts to notice His willingness to meet us when we seek Him, and witness how He moves on our behalf. May we ever look to the Lord to be our refuge, and be quick to notice the goodness and blessings that God bestows upon us all.

 

Taste of His goodness, fb_img_15572013665455142348901490916085.jpg

For God is so kind;

Our refuge and strength,

Where grace is designed.

In Him, there’s blessing,

To know and be known;

He loves us to life,

And calls us His own.

In good and trial,

The Lord’s ever near;

We need choose seek Him,

For His love is clear.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your goodness and grace. Thank You that when we seek You, we come to know that You are our refuge, as You love us through all things well. Thank You that You make Your loving kindness tangible through those whom You place in our lives. Forgive us for the times that we have not sought You in our sorrow, or withheld the good that You have for us to offer those around us. Teach us to seek You in all things, so that we may receive all that You have to offer, and in turn, extend the same to those around us. Show us how to love those around us well, in ways that make Your goodness tangible. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we taste and see just how very good You truly are. Amen.

 

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

 

But as for me, it is good to be near God. I have made the Sovereign Lord my refuge; I will tell of all Your deeds. – Psalm 73:28