Search, Know and Lead

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

God examine me and know my mind. Test me and know all my worries. Make sure that I am not going the wrong way. Lead me on the path that has always been right. – (Psalm 139:23-24, ERV)

Investigate my life, O God, find out everything about me; cross-examine and test me, get a clear picture of what I’m about; see for Yourself whether I’ve done anything wrong – then guide me on the road to eternal life. – (Psalm 139:23-24, MSG)

When we invite God to be Lord of our lives it is an invitation to lead us, guide us, redirect and correct us so that we can walk in His way and do His will. God has given us a free will and allows us to make our own decisions as we navigate our days. However, He is available and willing to lead us and direct us as we allow Him access. David, the author of this Psalm, was known as “a man after God’s own heart.” He loved and followed the Lord, yet had seasons where he succumbed to sin and needed correction and redirection. I think the reason he was known as “a man after God’s own heart” was his willingness to give God access to all. Though David did not always enjoy the intervention that he invited, he knew that God was God and he was not. It requires a daily decision to release our own desires to seek God to lead and guide us in all things. His ways lead to eternal life; not only for us, but can impact the outcome of those around us too. When we seek Him to live and love as He does, others become aware of His goodness and grace. May we ever invite the Lord to search us, know us, correct, redirect and lead us so that we live out our days with eternity in mind.

O God, search my heart,

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Show me what is true;

Lead me in Your love,

In all that I do.

Show me where changes,

Are needing be made;

In love, You’ll guide me,

To walk in Your way.

Remove from my heart,

What is not of You;

Flood me with Your love,

Help me walk in truth.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You come near when we call, and that You lead, direct, correct and call us to walk in Your ways and do Your will when we seek You. Forgive us for all that we say and do that is not of You, and for allowing things to distract us from the course that You have called us to walk. Lead us to draw ever closer to You. Show us how to live out Your love with those around us, so that they may see Your heart through us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You and invite You to be Lord of all areas in our lives. Amen.

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

For You are my rock and my fortress; You lead and guide me because of Your name. – Psalm 31:3

Love Beyond What is Seen

For we walk by faith, not by sight. – (2 Corinthians 5:7, HCSB)

We live by what we believe will happen, not by what we can see. – (2 Corinthians 5:7, ERV)

The path we walk is charted by faith, not by what we see with our eyes. – (2 Corinthians 5:7, VOICE)

When we know God and trust in Him, we need not fear what we see with our eyes, but rather hold fast to the truth of all that He has promised. What we see is only a small part of the big picture; we only know in part what God knows in whole. He knows the outcome before things begin, and He holds us in the hollow of His hands. In Him, we can trust that He will lead us, guide us, and stay beside us, through every step of every day. So often, things have looked bleak or hopeless or impossible through my own eyes, yet with Christ, the bleak became beautiful; the hopeless, full of hope; the impossible was indeed possible and my perspective was persuaded to see beyond what my eyes could take in. Walking in faith is not blind, but rather it is seeing through His eyes rather than our own. May we ever walk in faith, trusting beyond what we cannot see, for God sees and knows all and has our very best in mind.

O Lord help us walk,

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By faith and not sight;

For we’ve but a glimpse,

Of all You make right.

Seasons of heartache,

And mountains we climb;

All with a purpose,

Holy and divine.

Each new obstacle,

You grant us the strength;

To keep on moving,

Through height, depth and length.

As our view changes,

And we have moved past;

You show us purpose,

Your love beyond our ask.

So, trust in the Lord,

Not in what we see;

For God’s always good,

In love He will lead.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that faith helps us to trust beyond what we can see, for we only see in part what You see in whole. Forgive us for our lack of faith when what we see seems far beyond what we are capable of navigating. Teach us to recognize that You can do far more than we could ever hope or imagine. Show us how to walk by faith and live out Your love for all those around us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust beyond what we can see, for You are good and far greater than anything that comes before us. Amen.

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

For you are saved by grace through faith, and this is not from yourselves; it is God’s gift. – Ephesians 2:8

Higher Thoughts and Ways

“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, and your ways are not My ways.” This is the Lord’s declaration. “For as heaven is higher than earth, so My ways are higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.” – (Isaiah 55:8-9, HCSB)

The Lord says, “My thoughts are not like yours. Your ways are not like Mine. Just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so My ways are higher than your ways, and My thoughts are higher than your thoughts.” – (Isaiah 55:8-9, ERV)

Eternal One: My intentions are not always yours, and I do not go about things as you do. My thoughts and My ways are above and beyond you, just as heaven is far from your reach here on earth. – (Isaiah 55:8-9, VOICE)

Though there are times that I wish God’s thoughts were the same as my own, He always has the best for us according to His will. He sees what we do not, there is purpose in all that we experience, and He knows the ultimate outcome. Sometimes, we are blessed in seeing and knowing why things have gone a certain way, yet other times, we have to wait and trust. No matter how things go in the here and now, we have hope in knowing that today is but the blink of an eye in comparison to eternity with Him. May we trust in the One who holds us all in the hollow of His hands, for He is good and has our best in mind.

The thoughts of the Lord,

Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography

Are greater than mine;

For He knows what’s best,

His plans are divine.

When things don’t make sense,

We are called to trust;

He purposes good,

He made us from dust.

Lead us, Lord Jesus,

To trust in Your ways;

For love, hope and life,

Come from You, always.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your thoughts and ways are far greater than ours. Thank You that You saw the outcome long before we even breathed our first breath. Forgive us for our fears and doubts when things simply do not make sense. Teach us to trust in the spaces of uncertainty and grant us Your strength to know that You have a purpose and a plan for all things. Show us how to love those around us through every season that we walk through. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You and Your ways throughout all of our days. Amen.

© Shannon Elizabeth 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 a hope and a future.” – Jeremiah 29:11

Joy in Hope

Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. – (Romans 12:12, NIV)

Be happy because of the hope you have. Be patient when you have troubles. Pray all the time. – (Romans 12:12, ERV)

Let this hope burst forth within you, releasing a continual joy. Don’t give up in a time of trouble, but commune with God at all times. – (Romans 12:12, TPT)

There is always joy when we are aware of hope. Hope anchors our hearts and helps us remember our reasons to give thanks. It is in that posture of praise that we are able to find joy. Additionally, hope grants us patience when troubles come our way. Even when we cannot see a solution, God is working on our behalf. Lastly, we have the privilege of communing with the living God. He hears our every prayer, and shows us His love and His presence each time we seek Him. May we ever invest in seeking the Lord, for He is our source of joy, hope, patience and perseverance. 

May hope be present,

No matter what comes;

Joy’s in the journey,

Not in the outcome.

Our God is faithful,

His strength overcomes;

Our times of trouble,

‘Til each day is done.

For we are all called,

To commune with Him;

Pray in His presence,

Allow His love in.

Let us hold to hope,

That God alone gives;

Be strengthened in Him,

As long as we live.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can always find joy, for You are our reason to have hope. Thank You that You strengthen us in times of trouble, and You meet us as we seek time with You. Forgive us for allowing circumstances to steal our joy. Teach us to trust You more, so that we may find joy in our hope that comes from You. Continue to show us how to seek You and spend time in Your presence. 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 Your presence, help, hope and joy that You grant all who seek You. Amen.

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

We wait in hope for the Lord; He is our help and our shield. – Psalm 33:20

Higher Than Ours

“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways,” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts.” – (Isaiah 55:7-8, NIV)

The Lord says, “My thoughts are not like yours. Your ways are not like Mine. Just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so My ways are higher than your ways, and My thoughts are higher than your thoughts.” – (Isaiah 55:7-8, ERV)

Eternal One: My intentions are not always yours, and I do not go about things as you do. My thoughts and My ways are above and beyond you, just as heaven is far from your reach here on earth. – (Isaiah 55:7-8, VOICE)

I don’t know about you, but I am so thankful that this is true. So often, I think things should go one way, or situations ought to be resolved as I imagine, yet God, in His infinite wisdom, brings far more beauty than I could have ever imagined. This is where we are challenged to trust the process. It is a bit easier to do each time we witness His faithfulness in our lives and the lives of our loved ones. That being said, it is a seemingly lifelong process to recognize and remember that God’s ways are for our ultimate best, even when we cannot see how good is possible. May we ever remember that God knows the outcome long before we have even begun, and that He is for us, not against us. 

Our thoughts and our ways,

May be good and bold;

Yet God’s are greater,

Our future He holds.

When we cannot see,

How things could resolve;

God is on the move,

So fears ought dissolve.

Let us turn in trust,

To the Lord above;

For His ways are best,

All is done in love.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your thoughts are higher than our thoughts, and Your ways, higher than ours. Thank You that You see the end before we have even begun, and You are ever available to lead us and guide us in the ways we are meant to go. Forgive us for our frustrations and fears when things do not go the way we had planned or imagined. Teach us to trust the process and to remember that You hold us in the hollow of Your hands. Lead us to love one another in ways that strengthen, encourage and convey Your faithfulness. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You and Your ways, for they are always best in the end. 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

Reign in Love

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)

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)

For many, this upcoming week creates much anxiety, worry and stress. No matter the outcome of the election, there will be people who are upset. What we must remember, no matter who is chosen, God is still on the throne. He cares for each of us, regardless of our party affiliation. Each of us is created and chosen by Him, with a plan and a purpose. No elected official nor governing body can get in the way of God’s care for each of us, individually and corporately. God is the God of miracles, and He can move mountains and change hearts so that His plans prevail and His love is made known. May we each give our cares, concerns and stress to Him, and allow His love to tenderly care for us. Let His love be made known in and through us.

O Lord, unto You,

We humbly come;

Bringing our worries,

Trusting Your outcome.

In all that we face,

We’re never alone;

The Lord always cares,

And makes His love known.

So, ever seek Him,

Hope in love and grace;

For God’s on the throne,

Let none take His place.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can bring our every worry, care, concern or stress to You, and You show us Your loving kindness and grace. Thank You that no matter who is elected, You are the One who rules heaven and earth. Forgive us for allowing anxiety or fear to dictate how we interact with others. Show us how to love above all else. Teach us how to give You our cares and concerns, and to receive Your tender mercies that are new every morning. Lead us to love all those around us as You do; for You always loved first. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we lift our every concern to You, and trust You to reign and rule in Your love. Amen.

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

Those who know Your Name trust in You, for You, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek You. – Psalm 9:10

How Long?

How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and day after day have sorrow in my heart? – (Psalm 13:2a, NIV)

My soul is weary with sorrow; strengthen me according to Your word. – (Psalm 119:28, NIV)

How much longer must I cling to this constant grief? I’ve endured this shaking of my soul. – (Psalm 13:2a, TPT)

My life’s strength melts away with grief and sadness; come and strengthen me and encourage me with Your words. – (Psalm 119:28, TPT)

 

I have set aside personal reflection for public view on the shift in schooling for quite some time, due largely in part to weight of my own sorrow. You see, not only is this the loss of concluding this school year with my students, but it is my own children’s senior year, and the second spring in a row that I have been absent from both. Last year, two weeks from now, our entire world came to a crashing halt. My mom suffered a massive stroke, and we were unsure of what the outcome would be. Immediately, my husband and I made the drive over the mountains to be with her, and I made arrangements to take a leave of absence to remain with mom, as Mark returned home to be with our kids. Mom is a fighter, and did remarkably well as my sister and I were able be with her around the clock, and after all of my years of teaching, I had plenty of leave to stay on through the majority of the remaining school year. Because mom was thriving and making gains, I did not give myself room to grieve. Now, nearly a year later, I am in an entirely different circumstance, yet in a similar space of loss. There have been moments of sorrow and grief, but I have given little time or space to ponder or process. Then, yesterday, as I returned to school for my designated twenty minutes to pick up any supplies I might need from my classroom, the weight of reality began to set in. Silent hallways and classrooms without kids running around, laughing, or talking to one another, left a hollow void in my heart.

My friend and colleague has a remarkable way with capturing in words, moments, so eloquently, and when I read what she posted on Facebook as a reflection of her twenty minutes in her classroom, I found myself fighting back the sting of tears. It took deep, intentional breaths to not fully succumb to the depth of sorrow I was feeling as I read what she had written. My own boys had been in her very first sixth grade class, and she recognized and grieved for those seniors too. There is just so much…

The beauty in the brokenness is that we are not stuck in it. God is faithful to pick us up, dust us off, and grant us fresh resolve. He does strengthen us, and today, my goal and focus is to be prepared for our launch of distance learning, come Monday morning. Additionally, today is my day to email a check-in to my art students, so that holds some hope and joy as well. In all things, God has a way of bringing beauty from ashes. I look forward to seeing how all of this season changes our neighborhood, schools, city, state, and nation for the better.

 

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That mirror my heart;

Loss of what should be,

This season apart.

Such sorrow in loss,

Of all that could be;

Lord help us rise up,

As Your hope sets free.

Even in losses,

You can bring gains;

Beauty from ashes,

For Your love remains.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You hold us as we wrestle through our sorrow and heaviness, and You strengthen us with resolve once again. Thank You that You truly do bring beauty from ashes, and hope from despair. Forgive us for allow ourselves to sit in our sorrow too long, or for ignoring it and allowing the weight to burden us. Teach us to place all in Your hands, so that You can walk us through it into the good that You have in store for us. Show us how to love those around us well, even though we cannot see people the way we want to right now. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, and know the comfort and peace that You alone offer. Be glorified O God, as we seek Your comfort and strength in our sorrow, and anticipate the good that lies ahead. Amen.

 

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

 

“…He will give a crown of beauty for ashes, a joyous blessing instead of mourning, festive praise instead of despair. In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks that the Lord has planted for His own glory.” – Isaiah 61:3

Filter the Flow

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

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

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

 

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

 

Our heart is the space, Enter With Thanksgiving

Where we all decide;

Which words and actions,

In life, be applied.

It is these choices,

Not things that surround;

That lift or corrupt,

As the truth is found.

May we all choose seek,

The Lord and His grace;

May our words and deeds,

Provide love’s embrace.

 

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

 

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

 

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

Lean Not On Your Own

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, NIV)

Trust the Lord completely, and don’t depend on your own knowledge. With every step you take, think about what He wants, and He will help you go the right way. – (Proverbs 3:5-6, ERV)

Place your trust in the Eternal; rely on Him completely; never depend upon your own ideas and inventions. Give Him the credit for everything you accomplish, and He will smooth out and straighten the road that lies ahead. – (Proverbs 3:5-6, VOICE)

 

Trusting God is far easier in some areas than in others. For me, it seems that when I have zero power to control the situation, I have no choice but to trust in Him. However, when I think that I can somehow maneuver and place myself in the best possible position to navigate a given situation, it does not necessarily go well. My ways are not His ways, and my plans are not God’s plans. No matter how well-intended my ideas are, God’s way is always better. Incredibly, God is gentle and kind, and He never forces His way in. He will wait, ever so patiently, for us to come to Him for His help. Currently, I find myself in a space where there seems to be no way, yet the direction appears a long-awaited answer to prayer. In this space, I have no choice but to trust and seek Him for answers and direction, every step of the way. Though I know not if what I see is what He is calling me to, I know His plans for me are good, and I will trust Him for all that lies ahead. May we ever place our trust in the Lord rather than our own understanding, for it is He who directs our steps and makes our way secure.

 

Choose trust in the Lord, Set Aside Distractions

In all things, always;

He hears each request,

To show us the way.

Decide not to lean,

On what our eyes see;

But rather seek God,

For what’s yet to be.

The Lord makes a way,

Where we never could;

And His way is best,

God’s plans, always good.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can trust in You, rather than our own understanding. Thank You that when we acknowledge You and depend on You, You prepare the way and make our paths straight. Thank You that Your ways are higher than ours, and You already know the outcome of what we desire. Forgive us for attempting to maneuver on our own, rather than seeking and depending on You. Teach us how to trust and rely on You in all thing and at all times to navigate our days according to Your perfect plan. Show us how to love those around us well, so that they may be encouraged and strengthened to seek You in all things too. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You in all things. 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

Confidently Heard

This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. – (1 John 5:14, NIV)

We can come to God with no doubts. This means that when we ask God for things (and those things agree with what God wants for us), God cares about what we say. – (1 John 5:14, ERV)

We live in bold confidence that God hears our voices when we ask for things that fit His plan. – (1 John 5:14, VOICE)

 

First and foremost, we can come to God confidently, as He hears our hearts whenever we seek Him. Just as a loving parent listens to their children when they come, so too, does our Heavenly Father, each time we bring our heart before Him. That being said, He is not a fairy godparent nor a genie that grants wishes; rather, God is loving and all-powerful, and has plans and purpose for each of our lives. When the things we bring before Him align with His will, He hears and responds accordingly. Likewise, when we are seeking something that is not in our best interest, He closes doors and places that check in our spirit that tells our heart that whatever it is, is not in our best interest. God’s ways are not our ways, nor His timing aligned with our own. Often, we seek and ask, and wait in wonder for what seems like forever, only to discover that God has been moving on our behalf all along, as there were things in us that needed preparing before the actual request could be fulfilled. God is good and faithful and worthy of our trust. May we ever live in bold confidence that He hears us when we ask of Him, things that align with His good and perfect plan.

As for Mom, she began more of her out-patient therapies this week. She was encouraged and determined when we spoke, and hopeful, as she recognized the new opportunities for growth to reestablish pathways that were lost. I love that one of the things that she said was that she wished she could go to therapies every day. Mom knows that the hard work is what is required of her, and she is ready to do exactly that. It will be a joy and a blessing to see the strides that she has made between Thanksgiving and Christmas, when we all gather together again.

 

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May we all choose come;

Before the Father,

The Most Holy One.

For as we seek Him,

He’s faithful to hear;

Honoring requests,

When His plan is clear.

The Lord, He knows best,

Despite what we see;

He knows the outcome,

And what is to be.

So, trust in the Lord,

Place all in His hands;

Seek follow His heart,

To walk out His plans.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can come before You boldly and bring our requests to You. Thank You that You listen and hear our hearts. Thank You that You move on our behalf in the way that is best for us, redirecting our hearts to the path You have placed before us when we don’t know the way. Forgive us for our doubts when we do not see the evidence of You moving. Teach us to trust You more, as Your timing is not ours, nor are Your ways our own. Thank You that You do exceedingly more than we could hope or imagine when we place things in Your mighty hands. Show us how to love those around us in ways that come alongside to strengthen and encourage those who need it most. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You and trust You, knowing that You hear us and move on our behalf when we ask things that follow the plan that You designed for us. 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. – Psalm 28:7a