Piecing Together

For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. – (Romans 12:4-5, NIV)

Each one of us has one body, and that body has many parts. These parts don’t all do the same thing. In the same way, we are many people. But in Christ we are all one body. We are the parts of that body, and each part belongs to all the others. – (Romans 12:4-5, ERV)

In the human body there are many parts and organs, each with a unique function. And so it is in the body of Christ. For though we are many, we’ve all been mingled into one body in Christ. This means that we are all vitally joined to one another, with each contributing to the others.

As we prepare to welcome kids back to school in person, a huge focus on the forefront of everyone’s minds is to find ways to make connections and help kids engage and feel safe and welcome in our school and classroom communities. God created us for community. If we were not made to be with others and work together, we would all be experts and self-sufficient. Instead, He gifted us each with unique skills, talents and strengths that we have to offer the community that we are placed within. Just as a school would not work without staff with different strengths, a classroom is no different. Our task and challenge is to find ways to help kids see their unique values and strengths, and help them realize how important they are to the class as a whole. It is my hope and prayer that each student and staff member is able to see the value in others and in themselves, as we rejoin to meet in person after so much time apart. May we seek the Lord to show us ways to both participate and facilitate best in building community together.

Though we are many,

Together we’re one;

United purpose,

As each day’s begun.

Show us the pieces,

And how we each fit;

Together in strength,

Let our hearts be knit.

The unique colors,

Sizes and the shapes;

When fit together,

Each piece has a place.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have created us for community. Thank You that we have different strengths to offer, and each of us has a place and purpose in the communities to which we are placed. Forgive us for not seeing the beauty and blessing held in each member. Teach us to recognize and encourage the unique blessing found in each individual, and show us how the best way to help the parts work as a whole. Lead us to love and value everyone the way that You do. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for the part that each of us plays in the communities in which we have been placed. Amen.

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

The purposes of a person’s heart are deep waters, but one who has insight draws them out. – Proverbs 20:5

Present in All

By day the Lord directs His love, at night His song is with me – a prayer to the God of my life. – (Psalm 42:8, NIV)

By day the Lord shows His faithful love, and at night I have a song for Him – a prayer for the God of my life. – (Psalm 42:8, ERV)

Yet in the light of day, the Eternal shows me His love. When night settles in and all is dark, He keeps me company – His soothing song, a prayerful melody to the True God of my life. – (Psalm 42:8, VOICE)

The reminder in this verse is that God is with us all of the time; when it is light and when things are going well, also, He remains present in darkness and through challenging times. His faithfulness is not dependent on circumstance nor timing. God is greater than all. Our song to Him flows out of our response to His nearness. As we look to the Lord with thanks or to be our help in time of need, He makes His nearness known. There is something that rises up within us when we are aware that God is present and moving on our behalf. No matter what lies before us, God is within us. The wisdom, strength and fortitude needed to persevere are available to us all. It is through our seeking that we find the Lord’s help and nearness, and reason to give Him praise. In this ever-changing, seemingly endless season of uncertainty, the Lord is the certainty that we can always count on. May we ever seek the Lord to be our Rock and the love that surrounds us, no matter what lies ahead.

With each new sunrise,

God’s love is made known;

His grace and goodness,

Clearly they are shown.

When the darkness falls,

God will remain near;

His strength and comfort,

In love, He makes clear.

In uncertainty,

His presence remains;

God’s love that comforts,

And makes our paths plain.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your nearness and goodness are not dependent on timing or circumstances. Thank You that You are present, night and day, and ready to hear us, be it praise or petitions. Forgive us for making You too small, for You are greater than all. Teach us to trust and praise You in all seasons, for Your goodness does not change. Show us how to love those around us well, so that they too might understand the goodness of Your love and faithfulness of Your presence. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You and praise You in all things and at all times. Amen.

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

Know therefore that the Lord your God is God; He is the faithful God, keeping His covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love Him and keep His commandments. – Deuteronomy 7:9

Finding Perfect Peace

You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in You. – (Isaiah 26:3, NIV)

God, You give true peace to people who depend on You, to those who trust in You. – (Isaiah 26:3, ERV)

You will keep the peace, a perfect peace, for all who trust in You, for those who dedicate their hearts and minds to You. – (Isaiah 26:3, VOICE)

I try not to watch nor read too much of the news, but rather just enough to have an idea of what is going on in the world. Over the last several days, it has been a challenge to get my heart to settle with so much unrest and disaster in the world around us. God’s peace does not mean that all chaos ceases, but rather it is His presence despite the chaos that grants us His perfect peace. Each time my heart becomes unsettled, I must give it to Him and choose to trust. Ultimately, He is in control and will remain with me no matter what comes. Today, as I start my day, my prayer is for all those who are in the spaces of disaster and in the midst of wars. May help and peace, safety and security come to all who are in the middle of such turmoil.

O God, You are good,

Despite what we see;

Our beacon of hope,

The peace that we need.

Lord may Your presence,

Love, help, hope and grace;

Be made tangible,

In unsettled space.

Grant safety to all,

In spaces of fear;

Give strength and escape,

Lord, be ever near.

May each new concern,

Compel us to pray;

Please grant miracles,

Throughout each new day.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You give true peace to those who depend on You. Lord, I place every concern in Your mighty hands and ask You to work as only You can. Forgive us for our fears, doubts, and unbelief in the face of disasters. Teach us to trust and depend on You, for You alone are greater than anything we face. Show us how to love those around us, so that Your peace may be made known through kindness and grace. Be glorified O God, as we rely on You to be our peace, and seek Your wisdom to show us how to extend Your peace to those around us. Amen.

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

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. – John 14:27

Prayer and Pursuit

Teach me Your way, Lord, that I may rely on Your faithfulness; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear Your Name. – (Psalm 86:11, NIV)

Lord, teach me Your ways, and I will live and obey Your truths. Help me make worshiping Your Name the most important thing in my life. – (Psalm 86:11, ERV)

Teach me more about You, how You work and how You move, so that I can walk onward in Your truth until everything within me brings honor to Your Name. – (Psalm 86:11, TPT)

This is an ongoing prayer and pursuit. The more I learn, the more I recognize how much more I need the Lord and His faithful love to grow in me an undivided heart. In our fast-paced world, it is far too easy to become distracted by all that surrounds us. It requires intentional time set apart to fix our eyes on Him, and to invest in reading and understanding His word. As we do, we become more aware of the Lord’s hand in everything. May we ever set our eyes and hearts on the Lord as we seek Him, so that we might learn to have undivided hearts and bring honor to His Name in all that we say and do.

O Lord, please teach me,

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To walk in Your way;

Heart undivided,

So I seek and pray.

Show me more and more,

The way I’m to live;

To honor Your Name,

Through love that I give.

May all that I am,

And all that I do;

Seek You to guide me,

So I might love true.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are faithful to meet us as we seek You. Thank You that You show us the way that we are meant to live and love, so that we may glorify You. Forgive us for our lack of seeking. Teach us to have an undivided heart, free from all that competes for our attention. Show us how to fix our eyes and hearts on You, so that we may honor You and love well. Lead us to love those around us the way that You intended. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we pursue a life focused on You and seek to love others well. Amen.

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

Glory in His holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice. – 1 Chronicles 16:10

Rejoice, Pray, and Give Thanks

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)

This morning, at 2:45, as I heard my dog making retching sounds, joy was not exactly what came to mind; sadly, neither was prayer nor thankfulness. As I jumped out of bed and threw on some extra layers to take him outside, I groggily checked to be sure he was okay. He took care of business outside, and returned to his crate to rest. Again, rest did not come. Whining began and would not relent. Finally, after a good fifteen minutes of trying, I gave in and brought my giant pup upstairs. Again, he went outside and then returned ravenous. After he ate, he settled in a bit as I attempted to doze on the couch. When the time was nearing my scheduled wake up, I took Thor back downstairs and returned upstairs to begin my day. My celebration was that I have a roof over my head and that there is coffee in our house to brew. I am thankful that it is Friday, and that I do not need to rise as early tomorrow. God is kind, and shortly after I returned to resume my regular morning routine, my love came upstairs too. In the calm stillness of the morning, I am so grateful to God for another human that can rise early, and find joy and contentment in the silence. Early mornings are something to be celebrated, even when they come far sooner than anticipated. Before long, I will witness the early morning light, as the sun makes its appearance on the horizon. God is faithful to meet us, even in the wee hours of the early morning. He hears our heart’s cry, despite the momentary frustrations when our schedules are disrupted. Today, my heart will rejoice, for I have countless reasons to give God thanks, as I have His light, and life, and hope. May we ever celebrate the goodness of God, giving Him thanks as we are intentional to spend time seeking Him.

May our hearts give praise,

In Christ we rejoice;

Let’s prayerfully seek,

Give thanks with our voice.

No matter what comes,

We’ve reason for joy;

The Lord’s always good,

To thank is a choice.

Today I will choose,

To celebrate Christ;

For goodness and grace,

And loving advice.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the countless reasons You grant us to have joy in You. Thank You that You hear our prayers and You supply what we need to navigate each new day. Thank You that You remain present, no matter what comes our way or how our day begins. Forgive us for our frustrations and delay in seeking You when things are thrown off course. Teach us to lean into You and listen to Your heart. Show us how to love those around us in all things, and grant us patience when it is lacking. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we rejoice in You and pray to You, ever giving You thanks for who You are and how You love. Amen.

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

I will be glad and rejoice in You; I will sing the praises of Your Name, O Most High. – Psalm 9:2

It’s All About Love

Jesus replied: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.” – (Matthew 22:37-39, NIV)

Jesus answered, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and most important command. And the second command is like the first: ‘Love your neighbor the same as you love yourself.” – (Matthew 22:37-39, ERV)

Jesus said, “Love the Lord your God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence.’ This is the most important, the first on any list. But there is a second to set alongside it: ‘Love others as well as you love yourself.” – (Matthew 22:37-39, MSG)

If we love God and love people in a way that truly honors and obeys His commands, ALL people will feel valued, seen, heard and known. Sadly, everywhere I look, I see evidence that we are far from this. It is devastating to hear reports of people’s brilliance being overlooked, or of individuals being treated harshly or in a way that is in no way warranted. If I read too much, or look too hard, the heaviness is overwhelming. That being said, what can one human do? The answer is Jesus. If I seek Him to lead me in love, I can be part of the change I long to see. My role is to recognize, listen to, celebrate, encourage, educate, empower, value and honor the next generation. At times, this whole remote teaching gig makes it feel like an impossible task. The kiddos whom I never “see,” I struggle to get to know. Each opportunity I have, I attempt to encourage and care well for each faceless black box, and recognize that I have no idea what their environment is truly like. My hope is that kindness and encouragement will help them feel valued, and that at the end of the day, each is aware that someone cares. Lord, help us to love You and love one another as You intended.

Lord, will You lead us,

To love as You do;

Care for each other,

Let Your light shine through.

Help us be vessels,

Afloat in Your love;

May kindness give hope,

Care that You’re proud of.

Show us the spaces,

For encouragement;

Teach us to listen,

Hear discouragement.

Lead us all in love,

So kindness may reign;

May all voices be heard,

And Your love made plain.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to love You and love each other. Thank You that You have shown us what it is to truly love one another. Forgive us for the times that we have not acted or spoken in ways that demonstrate Your love to those around us. Teach us to do and be better. Help us to recognize, value, encourage and love well, all those around us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose to love You and those around us as You first loved us. Amen.

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

The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love. – Psalm 103:8

Ask in Faith

If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer. – (Matthew 21:22, NIV)

If you believe, you will get anything you ask for in prayer. – (Matthew 21:22, ERV)

Everything you pray for with the fullness of faith you will receive! – (Matthew 21:22, TPT)

These words were spoken by Jesus to the disciples after He had commanded a fig tree to never bear fruit again, and they watched the tree wither before them. His words were not to create a culture of wishes being granted, but more to prove the power of prayer, when spoken in faith. The challenge in this is that there are always prayers that seem to go unanswered. In our limited understanding, that is how things appear. If we could see things through the lens of Christ, we would recognize that our prayers are answered His way, not ours. He hears every prayer that we pray, and is ever moving on our behalf. However, God is just and kind, and our prayers must align with His heart and His plans. I have prayed in faith, believing that God would bring healing on many occasions. Sometimes, healing is immediate, other times it is gradual, and still other times, the healing happens in heaven. What I do know, is that God is faithful to meet us in our need and provide His presence that moves mountains – both in our hearts and in our circumstances. May we ever turn to Him and lift our prayers, believing in faith that He will move either the mountains before us, or lead us over or around all that seems to stand in our way.

Call on the Lord,

In faith, seek His Name;

Pray believing,

The truth we proclaim.

We know He’s good,

He hears each request;

His love holds us,

His grace does what’s best.

Let us choose ask,

Make our requests known;

God is faithful,

And His love is shown.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You hear every prayer spoken in faith. Thank You that answers don’t always look the way that we anticipate, but You are always good and have eternity in mind. Forgive us for our frustration and impatience when it seems that answers are not present. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would recognize You moving on our behalf, and trust that You have our ultimate good in mind. Show us how to love those around us, as we lift up prayers of faith, believing that You will answer all that we ask. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we lift up our prayers to You in faith, trusting that You will move mightily on our behalf. Amen.

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

Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. – Matthew 7:7

Open My Eyes

Open my eyes to see the wonderful truths in Your instruction. – (Psalm 119:18, NLT)

Open my eyes so that I can see all the wonderful things in Your teachings. – (Psalm 119:18, ERV)

Open my eyes to see the miracle wonders hidden in Your word. – (Psalm 119:18, TPT)

In order for our eyes to be opened, we must be intentional to spend time in His word. As we seek the Lord with purpose and in prayer, He reveals more and more of who He is and how He loves. The Lord gives wisdom that leads and guides us to walk in His way.

Lord, lead us to seek,

The truth in Your word;

Reveal unto us,

Beyond what we’ve heard.

Plant Your loving truth,

Deep within our hearts;

Help us see and know,

How to do our part.

Each is created,

With purposeful plan;

We must keep seeking,

So we understand.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are faithful to meet us and reveal more of Yourself, each time  we choose to earnestly seek You. Forgive us for the times that we neglect investing time with You. Teach us to be intentional with our time, as You are loving and kind, ever longing for us to draw near. Show us Your truth and instruct us as to how we might live and love well, so that our lives are an ongoing beacon of light and love to all those we encounter. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You and spend time in Your word. May our every word and deed demonstrate the goodness of Your love to the world. Amen.

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

Show me Your ways, Lord, teach me Your paths. – Psalm 25:4

Be Transformed

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – His good, pleasing and perfect will. – (Romans 12:2, NIV) 

Don’t change yourselves to be like the people of this world, but let God change you inside with a new way of thinking. Then you will be able to understand and accept what God wants for you. You will be able to know what is good and pleasing to Him and what is perfect. – (Romans 12:2, ERV) 

Stop imitating the ideals and opinions of the culture around you, but be inwardly transformed by the Holy Spirit through a total reformation of how you think. This will empower you to discern God’s will as you live a beautiful life, satisfying and perfect in His eyes. – (Romans 12:2, TPT) 

Last night, my husband and I began watching “The Social Dilemma”. As we took in the ugly truth that was made all the clearer, we sat there exchanging looks of both horror and agreement, as we see, all too clearly, the evidence of the effectiveness of the algorithms. One of the patterns of this world is the constant need to be connected on our devices. At one point, someone in the documentary said something to the effect of, “it is not a matter whether a person will wake up and check their phone, but rather they either check it before they use the bathroom, or while they use the bathroom.” That struck a chord, and I made a conscious effort to not begin my day with social media apps. I was intentional to begin only with my own devotional time, rather than detour with various social check-ins. As the day wore on, and I was stuck staring at a computer screen for hours on end for remote teaching and meetings, the last thing I wanted to do was spend more time looking at a screen. My life feels the most beautiful and satisfying when I am able to fully engage in whatever I am doing, especially when it is time spent with beloved family and friends. I do not want divided time, shared with a screen in someone’s hands, but rather I want face-to-face or side-by-side conversation and companionship. Honestly, I am certain this is what we were designed for – to be in relationship with God and those around us in a way that leads us to see and know and love completely. Perhaps that is why my best days are simple escapes or spontaneous visits with loved ones, as the time feels filled with goodness and grace, much in the same way my time in the word, worship or prayer feels with God. Our mind is only renewed when we seek He who renews us, and we are only able to know God’s perfect and pleasing will if we ask Him. May we ever pursue the heart of God and His will for our lives, so that we may live lives that are transformed and renewed to live out our days in a way that is good and pleasing to the very One who grants us breath. 

Choose not to fall prey, 

To the things of earth; 

Instead look to God, 

Where we find our worth. 

Let not the common, 

Lead you on your path; 

Instead seek the good, 

And love’s aftermath. 

For in God we find, 

Transforming power; 

Beauty from ashes, 

Through our Strong Tower. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that in You our hearts and lives are transformed and our minds are renewed. Thank You that we are able to know and walk out the good You have for us when we seek You first. Forgive us for the ways that we get caught up in popular culture, rather that pursuing that which You have for us. Teach us to seek You first, so that we may lead lives that are good and pleasing before You. Show us how to love those around us in ways that honor You and spread light and life to all. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we ever seek You first to lead us and guide us in the way that is pleasing and perfect before You, as You intended. Amen. 

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

And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into His image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit. – 2 Corinthians 3:17

Counsel and Correction

Listen to advice and accept discipline, and at the end you will be counted among the wise. – (Proverbs 19:20, NIV) 

Listen to advice and accept discipline; then you, too, will become wise. – (Proverbs 19:20, ERV) 

Take good counsel and accept correction – that’s the way to live wisely and well. – (Proverbs 19:20, MSG) 

Not one of us has it so together that we do not have room to grow. Advice and correction are ways that we have the opportunity to do better and be better. The challenge is that we must be willing to listen and apply the wisdom that is passed on to us, as we ever pursue more of God and His will for our lives. It is important to invest time in the word and in prayer, as well as finding wise and trustworthy people, whom we can go to when we need advice and allow room for correction in spaces where we are off-course. This is where community is so important. We must know others and be known in order to both give and receive good counsel as we ever pursue all that God has for us. I am blessed to be long-invested in a church community that is rich in wise people who have more life experience than I do. They have navigated the road before me, and have successfully traversed treacherous and trying times. I have a few trusted individuals that are my go-to people when I have a question or concern, or simply need to hear a voice of reason. Always we ought to go to God first, however, it is no accident that we discover people around us who are willing and equipped to give sound advice. May we ever seek the Lord for wisdom, correction and redirection, and allow trusted voices the opportunity to speak truth into our lives. 

We all need advice, 

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To live this life well; 

Graciously given, 

For truth good compels. 

The word of the Lord, 

And seeking His face; 

Are ways to improve, 

How we run our race. 

For it’s not a sprint, 

But a marathon; 

Keep moving forward, 

Let wisdom lead on. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You do not expect us to have it all together, nor navigate this life alone. Thank You that wise counsel and direction are found in Your word and through the people that You intentionally place in our lives. Forgive us for the times that we have either attempted to run our race alone, or have neglected to listen to the correction or direction that we need to keep pressing on well. Teach us to trust You and trust those around us who are intentional in their pursuit of You. Show us how to love those around us as You do. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to lead, correct and direct us, and allow others to speak truth into our lives. Amen. 

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

Since You are my rock and my fortress, for the sake of Your Name lead and guide me. – Psalm 31:3