Good To Be Near

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, NIV) 

As for me, all I need is to be close to God. I have made the Lord God my place of safety. And, God, I will tell about all that You have done. – (Psalm 73:28, ERV) 

But the closer I am to You, my God, the better because life with You is good. O Lord, the Eternal, You keep me safe – I will tell everyone what You have done. – (Psalm 73:28, VOICE) 

Being close to God does not mean that our lives will be easy or void of pain, but rather it is the assurance that His presence will be with us as He strengthens and upholds us with His mighty hands. No matter what we are going through, God is who we can run to and know that in Him, we are safe. The Lord is faithful to protect us body, heart, mind and soul, if we seek Him to be our refuge. To be close to God requires time invested in Him. The more we read His word, pray, and worship Him, the closer we feel and the more aware of His nearness we become. Trust and fear cannot coexist, for if we fully trust, there is no room for fear. Too often, our circumstances lead us to “I trust God, but…” scenarios. If there is a “but”, there is not full trust. Thankfully, it is process and God is full of goodness and grace. So often, in the midst of fear, I find myself turning to the Lord for help, only to discover that the more I seek and give the fear to Him, the greater my faith in His ability to carry me becomes. He is always good, even in our most difficult seasons. Joy, peace and hope are all possible, no matter what circumstances we find ourselves in. Last year, as my sister, myself, and our families navigated how to best care for and aid mom in recovery, we found ourselves with His joy, His peace, and hope in Him for all that was yet to come. Sadly, in this COVID season, we are separated not only by distance, but also by strict rules that we must adhere to in order to maintain health and safety within mom’s community. It stinks, and we all have long since grown weary of it, yet each of us knows the refuge that He provides as we run to Him. God is good; always. May we ever seek the Lord to be our refuge and retreat, and be quick to share of His goodness and faithfulness forever. 

The goodness of God, 

Is readily shown; 

As we choose seek Him, 

His love is made known. 

For when we draw near, 

He is our refuge; 

Comfort and safety, 

Our Source of good news. 

Trust in His goodness, 

Give praise for His grace; 

Seek Him forever, 

And follow His ways. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our refuge and safety as we draw near to You. Thank You that Your goodness and love are ever-present and lavishly granted. Forgive us for not trusting You in spaces that feel uncertain. Teach us to draw near to You, for in Your presence we know Your goodness, strength and security. Show us how to love others in such a way, that they too, may recognize Your goodness and love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we recognize and pursue the goodness that is found in being close to You. Amen. 

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

Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for He who promised is faithful. – Hebrews 10:23

Not Done Yet

Being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. – (Philippians 1:6, NIV) 

I am sure that the good work God began in you will continue until He completes it on the day when Jesus Christ comes again. – (Philippians 1:6, ERV) 

I pray with great faith for you, because I’m fully convinced that the He who began this glorious work in you will faithfully continue the process of maturing you and will put His finishing touches to it until the unveiling of our Lord Jesus Christ! – (Philippians 1:6, TPT) 

Today, as I begin my 49th trip around the sun, I am extraordinarily grateful that God is not finished with me yet. He is faithful to continue to refine and grow us until the day that we meet Him face-to-face. Being well aware of my flaws and shortcomings, I am reassured that He is not finished with me yet. Though I can see the good that He has done in me, I know that God has not completed all that needs to be done. This is true for all of us who seek and trust in Him. God will refine us so that we may live out our days how He designed us to live. There is much comfort in His promises, for He is faithful to do what He says He will do. The Lord’s care for us is physical, emotional, spiritual and tangible. He refines us body, heart, soul and mind. Additionally, this brings great comfort, as my mom is still in process of healing from a stroke, a bit more than a year ago. He has brought her far, but I know He is not finished with her yet. She is light and life, joy and peace to all whom she meets, and I trust that He will continue to strengthen and empower her to do all that He has created her to do. May we ever be confident in the promises of God, for we are a work-in-progress that He is refining to more clearly reflect His light to the world. 

For I am convinced, 

That God is not done; 

Working, refining, 

All that He’s begun. 

As His created, 

God’s own work of art; 

He’s always faithful, 

To complete each start. 

His love is perfect, 

Always it endures; 

Challenges, changes, 

All who choose come near. 

Let our hearts respond, 

With love and with praise; 

Trusting He’s faithful, 

For all of our days. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are not finished with us yet. Thank You that You love us as we are, yet love us so much that You do not leave us that way. Thank You that we are a work in progress until we meet You face-to-face. Forgive us for getting in the way of all that You want to do in and through us. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would embrace every bit of grace showered upon us to make us more like You. Show us how to love those around us in the way that You have designed us to love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for the work You have done, are doing, and will continue, all the days of our lives. 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

Praise for the Peace that is Present

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. – (Colossians 3:15, NIV) 

Let the peace that Christ gives control your thinking. It is for peace that you were chosen to be together in one body. And always be thankful. – (Colossians 3:15, ERV) 

Let your heart be always guided by the peace of the Anointed One, who called you to peace as part of His one body. And always be thankful. – (Colossians 3:15, TPT) 

There is nothing quite like time away as a family to refresh and renew one’s sense of gratitude and peace. I am beyond blessed to have been afforded time away with not only my immediate family (minus the bonus son who had to work 🙁), but with my sister and her family as well. There is something incredible that transpires when we escape together in nature, and have intentional time to just be together. This momma’s heart is overflowing with thanks, as I am enjoying time with my loved ones and was able to sink my toes in the sand and hear the sound of crashing waves before me. Added joy was watching our puppy’s delight at the exciting and new. Game night, adventures, and meals together, remind us of the call we have to His peace as His children. Though I am always thankful, for I know how truly blessed I am; I find my heart overflowing, as this quality time girl is being filled to the brim. May we allow the Lord to guide us by His peace as a body, and ever give thanks to He alone who is worthy. 

May our hearts allow, 

The Lord of all peace; 

To rule in our lives, 

Heaviness release. 

For He draws us near, 

To His heart of love; 

Fills us to the brim, 

Shows us He’s enough. 

All of creation, 

Reveals His great light; 

With our hearts open, 

In Him, we delight. 

All thanks be to God, 

For His love and grace; 

Overwhelming good, 

As we seek His face. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for family and time together. Thank You that You are our peace, and that You call us to be at peace with one another. Thank You that there are countless reasons to give You praise, always. Forgive us for allowing the weight of the world to get in the way of our gratitude. Teach us to take pause and recognize the beauty all around us, and the blessings that are ever-present. Show us how to love in such a way that we bless and extend peace to all of those around us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we are forever thankful for Your goodness, blessings and present peace. Amen. 

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

May the God of 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

Renewed Resolve

But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary; they will walk and not be faint. – (Isaiah 40:31, NIV) 

But those who trust in the Lord will become strong again. They will be like eagles that grow new feathers. They will run and not get weak. They will walk and not get tired. – (Isaiah 40:31, ERV) 

But those who wait upon God get fresh strength. They spread their wings and soar like eagles, they run and don’t get tired, they walk and don’t lag behind. – (Isaiah 40:31, MSG) 

We are in the midst of a long and heavy season. Staying home, not spending time with those we love outside of our immediate family, seeking to learn and grow, and trying to determine what is and is not safe and wise, all of these things and more, are exhausting. Thankfully, as we navigate each day as it arrives, we have a Savior who will renew our strength and resolve, and empower us to keep moving forward in faith. Our hope is not in any particular people, but rather it is in Christ alone. He is the One who leads us, loves us and shapes us to more clearly reflect His heart to the world. May we ever place our hope in the Lord, for He is willing and able to renew our strength and grant us all that we need to keep moving in the direction to which we are called. 

Choose wait on the Lord, 

For He is our strength; 

Ever making new, 

His path we’re to take. 

God’s power and grace, 

Are granted to us; 

As we seek the face, 

of the Lord Jesus. 

So, spread wide our wings, 

And take to the air; 

His grace is enough, 

to love anywhere. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You renew and strengthen us for all that You are calling us into, so that we may keep moving forward. Thank You for Your love and grace that fill where we are lacking. Forgive us for not turning to You for strength in our weariness. Teach us to hope in You. Show us how to love others as You so completely love each of us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we place our hope in You. Amen. 

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

The Lord is my strength and my defense; He has become my salvation. He is my God, and I will praise Him, my father’s God, and I will exalt Him. – Exodus 15:2

Showing Love

God is not unjust; He will not forget your work and the love you have shown Him as you have helped His people and continue to help them. – (Hebrews 6:10, NIV)

God is fair, and He will remember all the work you have done. He will remember that you showed your love to Him by helping His people and that you continue to help them. – (Hebrews 6:10, ERV)

For God is not unfair. How can He forget your hard work for Him, or forget the way you used to show your love for Him – and still do – by helping His children? – (Hebrews 6:10, TLB)

 

Everything points back to loving God and loving people. If we are loving people with the love that God has planted within us, we are loving Him as well. Love is an ongoing choice to care for others – body, heart, mind and soul. It is an intentional decision to see and meet needs, in the same way that God sees our needs and provides for us in love. Each time that we choose to love others, we are loving God’s creation. To love the created, we must also love the Creator. God sees and He knows each time that we choose to love. We are saved by grace, but it is certainly good and right to live according to His plan of love. May we rise up and put our faith in action, as we intentionally choose to love as God loves each of us.

 

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To love as we’re loved;

Love God and people,

With strength from above.

Love not just with words,

But with all we do;

Actions speak clearest,

To show love is true.

God will remember,

Our each act of grace;

In love and kindness,

How we run life’s race.

It is not a sprint,

We must persevere;

Each day choose to love,

And know He is near.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to love in the same way that You love each of us. Thank You that You see and know each time we willfully choose to love others in the same way that You call us to love. Forgive us for the times that we have not chosen to love as we ought to love. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would love You and others according to Your good and perfect will. Show us how to love those around us in tangible ways. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for who You are and how You love, and seek You to empower us to do the same. Amen.

 

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

 

Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart. – Proverbs 3:3

A Love Like No Other

Glorify the Lord with me; let us exalt His name together. – (Psalm 34:3, NIV)

Praise the Lord with me. Let us honor His name. – (Psalm 34:3, ERV)

Come and lift up the Eternal with me; let’s praise His name together! – (Psalm 34:3, VOICE)

 

A little over a year ago, we could have lost our mom. She suffered a massive stroke, and the circumstances surrounding her survival, are nothing short of miraculous. Mother’s Day last year was barely two weeks after her stroke, and though still a bit shell-shocked, we were overflowing with gratitude that we still had our mom. This year, there is even more to be thankful for on this Mother’s Day. Mom continues to gain strength and mobility, and is doing phenomenally well; she has come incredibly far over the last year. Additionally, I know that both my sister and I are so grateful to have not only our mom thriving, but our mother’s-in-love, and bonus (step) mom, doing well, also. We are full of gratitude to have healthy children, who are thriving, despite the frustration of our current circumstances. Even with three seniors between us, a freshman, and a nineteen-year-old, gratitude is in the forefront of our hearts and minds, as we know we have so many reasons to glorify God and give Him praise. Though I know not everyone shares the same story of blessing associated with Mother’s Day, I imagine we all know women who have had a powerfully positive influence in our lives. Whatever our experience, may we begin this day with praise for what He has done, is doing, and that which is yet to come.

 

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Love like no other;

I glorify God,

For my own mother.

I am beyond blessed,

Through her precious life;

As she models love,

And quickly ends strife.

Further the thanks goes,

For those brought along;

Women who love well,

Show how to love strong.

All praise to the Lord,

On this Mother’s Day;

For loving women,

Blessings on our way.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, I praise You this morning and every day for the overwhelming ways that You meet me and bless me with Your presence and Your provision. Thank You for the incredible gift of mothers. Thank You for the women that You place in our lives to show us how to love and seek You for strength as we navigate our journey with You. Forgive us for taking our mother’s for granted, even for a moment, for they are a blessing and a gift from You. Teach us to seek You and praise You all the more for who You are, daily. Show us how to love well, so that we might be people who demonstrate the sort of love that You intended each of us to give. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You and thank You for who You are and how You love us so well. Amen.

 

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

 

Give her credit for all she does. She deserves the respect of everyone. – Proverbs 31:31, GNT

Gratitude, Prayerfulness and Joy

Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. – (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, NIV)

Always be full of joy. Never stop praying. Whatever happens, always be thankful. This is how God wants you to live in Christ Jesus. – (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, ERV)

Celebrate always, pray constantly, and give thanks to God no matter what circumstances you find yourself in. (This is God’s will for all of you in Jesus the Anointed.) – (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, VOICE)

 

Gratitude, prayerfulness and joy, all come from a heart invested in relationship with Christ. Each of these things are not dependent on our circumstances, but rather are a result of our awareness of God in our lives. Joy is that deep-rooted hope that is held in the heart that bursts forth, even when life is hard, circumstances are maddening, or things just are not going the way that we had planned. To pray continually, is to be in ongoing communion with our Creator. In the same way that we readily have conversation with our spouse, friends, children and the like; we too, ought to be continually having conversations with Christ. When things are difficult; ask Him for help. When things are good; we ought to rejoice and praise Him for His provision and blessing. To give thanks in all circumstances is not a gratitude for what is happening, but rather for Who is walking beside us as we navigate whatever comes our way. Over the last year, I have had some incredibly difficult circumstances to navigate, yet by God’s grace, there has been joy, gratitude, and grace, as I have clung to Christ and He has carried the worst of the weight, when I could carry no more. I certainly do not have this down perfectly; for I am flawed and fallible and an ongoing work in progress, as Jesus gives me grace and grows me as I pursue His best for my life. May we be full of joy and thankfulness as we continue to prayerfully pursue our Provider.

 

With hearts full of praise,

May we choose rejoice;

No matter what comes,

With thanks, lift our voice.

For God’s always good,

Even when life’s not;

Keep seeking in prayer,

When blessed and distraught.

All thanks be to God,

Source of grace and joy;

Provider of hope,

Let praise be employed.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that joy is found in hope in You. Thank You that we can pray anytime and anywhere, for You hear our heart as we direct our thoughts to You. Thank You that there is always reason to give You thanks, regardless of our circumstances. Forgive us for confusing circumstantial happiness with true and lasting joy. Teach us to pray continually, ever seeking and praising You; for You love us and lead us through all things. Show us how to love those around us well, so that they may find lasting joy in You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we take joy in the hope we know, and praise You for who You are and how we can freely come before You in prayer. Amen.

 

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

 

Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will rest secure. – Psalm 16:9

Joyful, Patient, Faithful

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)

 

I imagine that these words are a timely reminder for many, as this season of waiting seems extraordinarily long. Yes, I know there have been many throughout history who have endured far worse for far longer, yet this is our season of waiting and staying and missing what we all knew before, and it is a challenge. Thankfully, we do have hope. Hope in God’s presence right now, which brings us joy and peace and strength, and hope in knowing that our current season and circumstances will not last forever; they have an end date. Knowing there is an end does help with patience, yet there are moments that I wonder if my capacity to be patient has come to an end. Of course, God, in His wisdom, reminds us to be faithful to pray – to commune with God at all times. In those moments when I am weary and worn and feeling like I might lose my mind, if I slow down, take a breath, and turn my attention to He who gives me all I need, patience comes as peace within me is restored. May we be intentional to commune with God, for He is our source of hope, joy and patience that helps us persevere, no matter what lies before us.

 

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Joy too, shall spring forth;

It comes from our trust,

In God, our true Source.

Patient endurance,

When life gets too hard;

Strength when we’re weary,

Our light and our guard.

In all things, choose pray,

Commune with the Lord;

In love, He’s present,

And grace He’ll afford.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our source of joy in hope, patience in trials, and the One in whom we can trust, always. Thank You that You hear us and love us through all things. Forgive us for our lack of dependence on You. Teach us to trust You more, for You are the One who gives us joy and hope, patience and strength; all that we need to persevere, even when things seem too much. Show us how to love those around us in practical and tangible ways, so that they may feel hope and joy and patience, as they are encouraged to persevere. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for the joy we have in knowing You, for You are our hope and strength and all that we need to keep pressing on. 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

Blessed in Wonder

The whole earth is filled with awe at Your wonders; where morning dawns, where evening fades, You call forth songs of joy. – (Psalm 65:8, NIV)

People all around the world are amazed at the wonderful things You do. You make all people, east and west, sing with joy. – (Psalm 65:8, ERV)

O God, to the farthest corners of the planet people will stand in awe, startled and stunned by your signs and wonders. Sunrise brilliance and sunset beauty both take turns singing their songs of joy to You. – (Psalm 65:8, TPT)

 

I am in awe as I take in all of the blessed new associated with our sweet new fur baby addition to our family. There is fresh wonder to watch a puppy discover all things new, as he explores the world around him. Thor is a little love, and a reminder that joy is present and new every morning. We are newbies with such a young puppy, so crate training on night one was a bust. I caved after a few minutes of agonizing cries, and moved to lie on the floor beside him, where I could talk to Thor and place a hand on him to calm him. It worked until I attempted to quietly and slowly crawl away from the crate and back onto the bed. The cries began again, all the louder and more agonizing, so I scooped him up and brought him into bed with us. Thor snuggled right in, and was sound asleep within minutes. He only woke twice in the night to go outside, so for us, it felt reasonably successful. This morning, he has eaten, played outside, run around inside, explored, and followed both Mark and I all around the house, even navigating the stairs. We are beyond grateful for our new little blessing, and feel a renewed sense joy in this season. God is so good, and there are wonders all around us to remind us of our reasons to sing for joy. May we pause and take notice of the good all around us, and give thanks to He who is so very good.

 

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May we know and see;

The blessings made new,

Each day, faithfully.

Such joy, the Lord brings,

As we seek His face;

Peace, hope and His love,

Never ending grace.

With fresh eyes to see,

His wonders anew;

May we give our praise,

And thanks unto You.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your wonders and blessings that are new every morning. Thank You that in You, we find joy in every season. Forgive us for not taking time to give You praise for all of the blessings You provide. Teach us to rise with hearts of praise, and to close each day with gratitude for the good given. Show us how to love those around us well, so that they too may be ever aware of Your goodness and grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we stand in awe of the wonders all around us, and give You glory for all of Your goodness. Amen.

 

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

 

He is the one you praise; He is your God, who performed for you those great and awesome wonders you saw with your own eyes. – Deuteronomy 10:21

Trust in Faithfulness

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

The Lord’s word is true, and He is faithful in everything He does. – (Psalm 33:4, ERV)

For God’s Word is something to sing about! He is true to His promises, His word can be trusted, and everything He does is reliable and right. – (Psalm 33:4, TPT)

 

Yesterday was a shining example of the faithfulness of God. As teachers across the state went live for day one, I imagine many shared the crazy roller coaster that carried us through ups and downs, highs and lows, and unexpected turns as we navigated the new. After several weeks of preparing, and the last-minute checking prior to activating everything to go live according to schedule, all seemed to be ready and running according to plan. Shortly after activating my webpages, I received a panicked email from one of my students who was unable to access her account. I followed protocol and forwarded her information to our tech guy who is wonderful about resetting passwords, and returned a message to her to let her know that she should be ready to access everything, shortly. There were more emails to answer and issues to trouble-shoot, yet all seemed to be going well. Then, I received a very kind email from the father of one of my fantastic students, letting me know that she was struggling to access the assignments on Canvas. I shifted gears and accessed the site, wracking my brain to discover why the assignment would not be visible to scholars. Not two minutes after I had sent a message to tech support, inquiring what minute detail I might be missing, did I discover the mystery click that had been missed. Though every page, assignment and task had been published, if the top “unit” bar did not have the circle clicked, assignments that appear below it are inaccessible. Who knew? Anyway, problem solved, Thank You Jesus, and I was able to email the father back and thank him for his help as I learn this new technology, and for his grace, as his kindness was appreciated more than words can express. Though my Zoom office hours were attended by only a few, it was so good to see and hear my kiddos, and I am encouraged that Thursday’s will go far better. The day flew by, far more quickly than days in the previous several weeks, especially now that there is ongoing interaction with students and families again. Though it is not the same as in the classroom, I am grateful for a way to make this work during this season of time away from one another. Human connection is essential in the classroom before learning can take place, and we now have tools to reconnect and engage, so that all of us can learn and grow together. Though things did not go as I anticipated, it was still a good day. God is faithful and we are moving forward in our present season, and I can already see the good that is coming.

 

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Is right and is true;

He’s faithful always,

His grace sees us through.

Through uncertain times,

Ever He is near;

To help and give hope,

And take away fear.

For God is faithful,

Through everything;

Our strength to press on,

And reason to sing.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are faithful forever. Thank You that You go before us, walk beside us, and remain with us; always. Thank You that You equip and strengthen us to do difficult things. Forgive us for our frustrations and doubts when we cannot see how things could possibly work out. Teach us to trust You more, for You are far greater than any situation or circumstance that could ever come our way. Show us how to persevere, even when things don’t make sense. Help us to love, encourage and support those around us, so that they may grow and thrive in every season. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust in the truth of Your word, as You are faithful forever. 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