It is Well With My Soul

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)

Now faith brings our hopes into reality and becomes the foundation needed to acquire the things we long for. It is all the evidence required to prove what is still unseen. – (Hebrews 11:1, TPT)

 

Faith trusts that what we hope will actually come to pass. Both faith and hope are required to navigate this season of life, as I walk so closely beside mom, in these months following her stroke. We hope for a full recovery, and have faith that she will attain independence and regain what was lost. In the beginning, we did not see much at all; it was completely a matter of believing in that which we could not yet see. Now, as we are a few months into her rehabilitation and recovery, there are mile markers along the way that encourage hope and fortify our faith, though we still do not see fully, that which we are hoping for. God is good and He is faithful, as He shows us what we need, as it is needed. Progress seems painfully slow by human standards, but when we pause and reflect, it is actually miraculous that mom is able to walk the full length of her hallway twice, by herself with her walker, when nearly three months ago, she could not even move her right side at all. Furthermore, there is proof found in the hearts of those most closely impacted by mom and how she is navigating this ordeal. I know that for myself, my spouse, my sister, my children, and her dearest friends, we have all learned to love more deeply and hope more firmly in faith, as we have walked beside her and have witnessed in wonder, her perseverance and positivity, even when the road has seemed impossibly long and difficult to navigate. Faith in what we hope for is exactly what brings reality into existence.

The milestones overcome yesterday were not so much physical feats, as much as fears conquered for mom. She knows how much I desire to move and be outdoors, and for the last nearly three months, I have had little time to do either. I had mentioned that it might be nice if we all went down to the river walk together for a little stroll, but did not push nor place much weight on it, as I needed it to be her decision. Incredibly, she threw caution to the wind, and determined that we ought to go down by the river for a wander. My husband, children, mom and myself, walked (pushing mom in her chair) for over an hour! Mom had given me the gift of movement, and herself the realization that she was indeed safe to go beyond the barriers of a drive-thru or a small restaurant. Her smile, as evidenced in the photo below, shows that it fueled her heart as much as it did mine. My love of the outdoors was nurtured from an early age by her, and she too, needs to be out and moving. I think getting out was a wonderful reminder of just how much it benefits us both. After the riverfront, we came home and enjoyed visiting together until after lunch. Upon our return, we were greeted by my best friend, who had driven over to stay a night to celebrate my birthday too. As we said our goodbyes to Mark and the boys, the ladies and I began to visit a while. The second milestone of the day came when a dear friend called to see if she was up for a visit with another mutual friend, whom my mom had not seen in twenty-five plus years. At first, mom said, “no”. When I told her it would be in a few hours, she softened, and said okay. I was both pleased and amazed. The three ladies had a wonderful visit together, and I was able to visit with my bestie. After they had gone, the three of us had an amazing dinner and we taught Robin our favorite game. The day drew to a close, and each of us could confidently say, “It is well with my soul.”

 

Hope is the anchor, img_2019-07-15_08-15-465369529854207780981.jpg

That faith holds onto;

Trusting in the Lord,

That His word is true.

Hope for the unseen,

Below raging seas;

Calm in the chaos,

Peace He brings to me.

Faith to rest assured,

That He’s ever near;

Making our path plain,

As His love is clear.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the faith and hope that You grow in us when we turn to You in trust. Thank You that You will take faith as small as a mustard seed, and grow it into something great. Forgive us for allowing our fears and failures to stand in the way of Your goodness and grace. Teach us to trust You more, as You are able to do immeasurably more than we could ever hope or imagine. Show us how to love those around us in a way that encourages hope and strengthens faith. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust in that which we cannot see and have faith in that which we know we can hold hope forever. Amen.

 

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

 

For the word of the Lord is right and true; He is faithful in all He does. – Psalm 33:4

The Value of Virtue

“It’s not what goes into your body that defiles you; you are defiled by what comes from your heart.” – (Mark 7:15-16, NLT)

“Your souls aren’t harmed by what you eat, but by what you think and say!” – (Mark 7:15-16, TLB)

“What truly contaminates a person is not what he puts into his body, but what comes out. That’s what makes a person defiled.” – (Mark 7:15-16, TPT)

 

Our bodies are a temple and should be treated accordingly. Though we ought to be wise with what and how much we consume, it is not what makes the temple unclean, but rather the things that come from our heart. Our charge to love God and love people requires an investment in our relationship with Him. When we are intentional to seek time with the Lord and study His word, our hearts are cleansed and what we think and say more clearly reflects what He intends for us. In other words, the temple is made beautiful by the expressions of the heart, not by the appearance of the structure. May we ever seek our Savior to cleanse and empower us, so that we may go forth in love, according to His good and perfect plan.

 

The things from the heart, img_2019-03-02_05-51-164357877272792768654.jpg

Each word that’s spoken;

Has power to heal,

Or make things broken.

It is up to us,

To seek and choose well;

And trust in the Lord,

As in Him we dwell.

For He will grant strength,

Remove what’s unclean;

Plant in us, His light,

So His love is seen.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that what we consume is not what makes us unclean, but rather the state of our heart and what we think and say. Forgive us for allowing our hearts to stray from You, so that our thoughts or words no longer reflect Your goodness and grace. Teach us to trust You in all things and at all times to grant us Your grace to speak light and life and love. Show us how to love those around us in the same way that You so lavishly and unconditionally love each of us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, as Your heart is made visible by our love. Be glorified O God, as we seek and trust in You to help us fix our thoughts on the things of You so that our words and deeds shine Your light wherever we go. 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

 

Perfect Love Made Visible

Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and His love is made complete in us. – (1 John 4:11-12, NIV)

My dear, dear friends, if God loved us like this, we certainly ought to love each other. No one has ever 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)

Delightfully loved ones, if He loved us with such tremendous love, then “loving one another” should be our way of life! No one has ever gazed upon the fullness of God’s splendor. But if we love one another, God makes His permanent home in us, and we make our permanent home in Him, and His love is brought to its full expression in us. – (1 John 4:11-12, TPT)

 

Though no one has seen God, His perfect love is made visible through those who love God and love one another. Not one of us is perfect, but we can be vessels of perfect love. Perfect love is complete, everlasting, and does not have qualifications to give or receive. The more we come to know and love God, the more completely we are equipped to love others, according to His good and perfect will. May we ever seek the Lord and His perfect love, so that we will grow in His likeness to love as He loves us.

 

Because we are loved,

Come with me

Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

So too, shall we give;

To all whom we meet,

His love ever lives.

Though none are perfect,

God’s love truly is;

As we love like Him,

Love given is His.

In all that we do,

And all that we say;

May we choose to love,

And walk in His way.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are perfect love. Thank You that as we seek You and come to know You more, we are equipped to love completely, according to Your perfect plan. Forgive us for the times that we have not sought You, or not chosen love to lead. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would operate out of the lavish love that You give to us, extending the same to others. Show us how to love well, each person we encounter. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we pursue You with our whole heart, so that we too, may love like You. Amen.

 

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

 

There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. – 1 John 4:18

Gifts to Bless

God has given each of you a gift from His great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another. – (1 Peter 4:10, NLT)

God has shown you His grace in many different ways. So be good servants and use whatever gifts He has given you in a way that will best serve each other. – (1 Peter 4:10, ERV)

Use whatever gift you’ve received for the good of one another so that you can show yourselves to be good stewards of God’s grace in all its varieties. – (1 Peter 4:10, VOICE)

 

God created each of us with a gift that will bless and benefit those around us, if we choose to walk out our days with the purpose for which we were designed. We do not need to go searching to discover what our “gift” is, but rather we ought to serve in the spaces where we have been called, as faithful forward momentum is how we can be faithful stewards of the good God has placed within us. May we ever choose to seek and serve the Lord, utilizing the gifts which we have been granted to love and serve one another.

 

We’ve all been gifted,

Thankful for Love that Endures

Vandy Massey Watercolor

By God’s loving grace;

Spiritual blessings,

To share all our days.

All we’ve been given,

Was done with intent;

So others are blessed,

By God, heaven sent.

Let us choose to use,

These great gifts of grace;

To love others well,

For all of our days.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You create each of us with gifts and purpose and a plan. Forgive us for the times that we have either neglected the gift or the purpose, or wandered away from the plan that You have placed before us. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would walk in Your way and do Your will, even when we cannot see the “why” or where we are going. Show us how to love those around us well, as we utilize the gifts You have placed within us to bless and love others well. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we walk out our days utilizing the gifts that You have given. Amen.

 

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

 

But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in Him. – Jeremiah 17:7

 

 

Not Meant to Shoulder Alone

Give all your worries and cares to God, for He cares about you. – (1 Peter 5:7, NLT)

Let Him have all your worries and cares, for He is always thinking about you and watching everything that concerns you. – (1 Peter 5:7, TLB)

Pour out all your worries and stress upon Him and leave them there, for He always tenderly cares for you. – (1 Peter 5:7, TPT)

 

This is a timely reminder, as school feels really heavy right now. The academic demands feel unapproachable to some, and the behaviors displayed in response, disrupt and distract, making the teaching process extremely challenging. Inadvertently, I begin to carry the weight of the worry as to how to help all kids learn and grow. Though it is critical that I care, it is not my burden to bear alone. First and foremost, I need to give the weight of the worry and stress to the Lord, and allow Him to hold the heaviness. Second, I must ask for what I need. If it is strength or clarity or perspective, God is faithful to meet us where we are. When it is a tangible need that can be met in the moment by a colleague or simply by creating a built-in break, then each avenue ought to be utilized. May we cast all our cares to the Lord, for He is able and willing to walk us through, bearing the weight we are not meant to shoulder alone.

 

When worry and stress,

wp-1540986023788172550623987343732.jpg

Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

Begin to weigh down;

Give all to the Lord,

In Him, help is found.

Help in our struggles,

Strength when we feel weak;

In love and in grace,

He answers who seek.

So, go to the Lord,

With stress and concern;

He’s ever for us,

Unto Him, let’s turn.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we are not meant to bear the weight of the world on our shoulders. Thank You that we can come to You and give You our worries and cares, and You will shoulder the weight and grant us the help we need to navigate whatever we face. Forgive us for attempting to bear heavy burdens on our own, rather than running to You. Teach us to trust You more, as You are our strength and peace, no matter what storm we face. Show us how to love those around us in a way that provides help, peace and hope in the places where stress or anxiousness were weighing heavily on their heart. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give all of our worry and stress to You, and trust You to be our strength. Amen.

 

 

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

 

Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior, who daily bears our burdens. – Psalm 68:19

Trusted Thoughts and Worthwhile Words

May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to You, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer. – (Psalm 19:14, NLT)

May my words and thoughts please You. Lord, You are my Rock – the One who rescues me. – (Psalm 19:14, ERV)

May the words that come out of my mouth and the musings of my heart meet with Your approval, O Eternal, my Rock, O Eternal, my Redeemer. – (Psalm 19:14, VOICE)

 

The art of self-editing is something that I share with my students, often. Just because we have a thought on a matter, does not necessarily mean that we need or ought to give it a voice. This verse takes it a step further, and reminds us that it is more than our words that need to be reined in, but our very thoughts as well. If I want my thoughts and words to be pleasing to God, I need to view the world through His lens of love. Such perspective is only possible if I am in tune with the heart of the Father. The way to know His heart and see His perspective is found through time invested with Him. In the same way that we begin to take on a likeness to those whom we spend the majority of our time, likewise is true when we are intentional with prioritizing time with God. May we invest our heart and mind in purposeful time pursuing God and His heart for people, so that the words that we speak and the thoughts that we think are pleasing unto our Provider.

 

O Lord, may my life, Trusted Thoughts and Worthwhile Words

Be lived unto You;

Each word and each thought,

All things that I do.

Teach my heart to choose,

To see through Your lens;

So my words and thoughts,

Give grace as to friends.

Let all that I think,

And each word I say;

Be pleasing to You,

Throughout all my days.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You do not call us to anything that You are not also willing to equip us to carry out. Thank You that though impossible on our own, with You, our every word and thought can be captured by Your love. Forgive us for the words and thoughts that we have entertained that were not in line with Your heart. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would commit our thoughts to You, and speak words that offer light and life and love. Show us how to love those around us with both thoughts and our words. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose to be intentional in our time with You, allowing Your heart to shape our thoughts and words so that we may clearly reflect Your love to the world. Amen.

 

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

Then the Lord reached out His hand and touched my mouth and said to me, “I have put My words into your mouth.” – Jeremiah 1:9

Blot Out Barriers to Love

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 be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too. – (Philippians 2:3-4, NLT)

 

Selfishness and pride are both barriers to love. To love others as we are called to love, we have to take a genuine interest in people and care about their lives. As we set aside self and allow our focus to becomeotherly, pride is dispelled and love flows freely. This is not to say that goals are not good, but rather we ought to look to discover how we are best able to help others succeed in their goals as we work toward that which we too are pursuing. May we worry less about what we can attain or achieve on our own, and instead set our sights on how we might love others well.

 

Lord, help us to keep, Blot Out Barriers to Love

Aware of others;

May our hearts know well,

Sisters and brothers.

Remove within us,

Pride and selfishness;

And teach us to love,

With true tenderness.

Show our hearts the way,

To love and invest;

To put others first,

And support them best.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to love others in the same way that You love us. Forgive us for our selfishness and pride that prevent us from investing in the lives of those around us. Teach us how to place others above ourselves in a way that encourages and values people, without losing our own sense of purpose in the process. Show us how to love as we are loved by You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we set aside the parts of ourselves that withhold or withdraw, and move forward with open hearts and arms, set to support and serve. Amen.

 

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

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. – 1 Corinthians 13:4

 

 

Made With Purpose

For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago. – (Ephesians 2:10, NLT) 

God has made us what we are. In Christ Jesus, God made us new people so that we would spend our lives doing the good things He had already planned for us to do. – (Ephesians 2:10, ERV) 

For we are the product of His hand, heaven’s poetry etched on lives, created in the Anointed, Jesus, to accomplish the good works God arranged long ago. – (Ephesians 2:10, VOICE) 

 

This is an incredible thought. WE – you, me, and everyone we see – have been created with purpose for good! When we seek Him, He makes us new and through Jesus and equips us to accomplish the good things that He has planned for us already. It is easy to get frustrated when we do not accomplish that which we think we ought to, but God, in His goodness and grace, wants us to faithfully seek His face. As we do, and continue to move forward in that which He has called us, we are completing the things He has planned for good. The timeline is His, not ours, and we have to trust that He will accomplish the good He intends through our faithful pursuit of Him as we walk out our days. May we ever seek the Savior who considers us His masterpiece, who has a plan and purpose for each of our lives. 

 

God’s own masterpiece, Made With Purpose

We’re each works of art; 

Made with true purpose, 

From finish to start. 

He long ago planned, 

The good meant for us; 

And brings it to pass, 

Through His Son, Jesus. 

May we each pursue, 

His glory and grace; 

Walk in His purpose, 

As we seek His face. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have created each of us with purpose as Your own work of art. Thank You that as we pursue You, You direct and equip us to walk out Your plan for good. Forgive us for doubting our worth or ability to contribute. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would fearlessly and faithfully walk in the direction to which You have called. Show us how to love those around us in a way that supports and encourages each to move in the direction and purpose for which they are created. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You daily, and continue to move forward in the direction which we have been called. Amen. 

 

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

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” – Jeremiah 29:11

The Essence of Prayer

In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit Himself interceded for us through wordless groans. And He who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God. – (Romans 8:26-28, NIV)

Meanwhile, the moment we realize we get tired in the waiting, God’s Spirit is right alongside helping us along. If we don’t know how or what to pray, it doesn’t matter. He does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs and aching groans. He knows us far better than we know ourselves, knows our pregnant condition, and keeps us present before God. That’s why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good. – (Romans 8:26-28, MSG)

 

Yesterday, my pastor spoke about prayer. He reminded us that the essence of prayer is talking to God. So often we overcomplicate prayer, thinking that it requires specific rituals, routines or the “right” words. In actuality, prayer is us communing with God. It is a time of intentional slowing down to not only share our hearts with Him, but to listen as well. When we do not have the words to speak, we can rest in silence before Him, fixing our hearts on Him, and He hears what we cannot put into words. May we take time each day to commune with our Maker, as He knows and He hears our every heart cry and is faithful to be present as we travel each step of our path.

 

In strength and weakness, Refreshment Through Repentance

Our faithful Lord hears;

Each prayer that we pray,

Throughout all our years.

Even without words,

With our hearts to Him;

He hears and He knows,

Each need from within.

All things in our lives,

Can be used for good;

As we live for Him,

His grace understood.

So make time to pray,

With our God, commune;

You’ll find He’s faithful,

His heart to us tuned.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that prayer is not the complicated thing that we tend to make it out to be. Thank You that prayer is talking to You. Thank You that You made the way for us to commune with You directly. Forgive us for neglecting our relationship with You through lack of prayer. Teach us how to slow down, pull away and be disciplined to have intentional time conversing with You. Show us how to love well, all those whom we encounter, and to pray for all who are in need. Help us to listen too. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we come before You intentionally and spend time communing with You. Amen.

 

 

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

 

I thank You and praise You, O God of my fathers: You have given me wisdom and power. – Daniel 2:23

Staving Off Soreness

Our bodies get sore when we either use muscles we have not used consistently in a while, or utilize them in a new and more challenging way. The resulting soreness reminds us that the muscles exist, and that we ought to perhaps pay more regular attention to the muscle groups that are groaning. Interestingly, our spiritual lives work much the same way. If we rarely exercise our faith, we may find ourselves fearful when setting foot into the new. In prayer, a loss for words is not uncommon, as the posture and position only becomes normal and natural as it is done regularly.

 

Late in the afternoon the twelve disciples came to Him and said, “Send the crowds away to the nearby villages and farms, so they can find food and lodging for the night. There is nothing to eat here in this remote place.”

But Jesus said, “You feed them.”

“But we have only five loaves of bread and two fish,” they answered. “Or are you expecting us to go and buy enough food for this whole crowd?” – (Luke 9:12-13, NLT)

 

I so appreciate this story of Jesus and the disciples, as He was training the faith muscles of the disciples for later days. Sometimes, the disciples would get it right and find faith in the things that they were being asked to do, yet other times, they would require specific instruction and modeling (true training) in their faith, to learn the lessons that they would need to go forth and do the great things that God was calling them to do down the road. Just as our bodies require consistent physical training to keep from becoming too sore, so too our spirits need ongoing faith-building to be ready to do whatever God asks us to do. The sort of training that we are given for our faith comes through time in the word, worship, fellowship, and prayer. May we be wise with our time and choose to invest well, so that we may be ready for whatever God calls us to do.

 

When muscles are sore,Staving Off Soreness

And we’re out of shape;

We’re meant to persist,

That’s how strength grows great.

Whether in our faith,

Prayer or being;

It requires of us,

Often repeating.

There’s no easy way,

To instantly grow;

Make process habit,

And strength will soon show.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You use everyday experiences to show us the truth of Your word. Thank You that though physical training is good and important to keep our bodies strong and at the ready, our spiritual training is far more significant as it lasts into eternity. Forgive us for the places where we lack consistency, be it our prayer life, time in the word, or in our faith when facing obstacles that seem larger than life. Teach us to seek You daily for our spiritual training, so that we may be fit for all that You are calling us to do. Show us how to love well, all those whom You place on our path. Be glorified O God, as we seek to be fit to serve You well. Amen.

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

Shout aloud and sing for joy. – Isaiah 12:6