Blessed in the Bittersweet

My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. – (Psalm 73:26, NIV)

Maybe my mind and body will become weak, but God is my source of strength. He is mine forever! – (Psalm 73:26, ERV)

Lord, so many times I fail; I fall into disgrace. But when I trust in You, I have a strong and glorious presence protecting and anointing me. Forever You’re all I need! – (Psalm 73:26, TPT)

 

Sundays are bittersweet. The sweet comes through the blessings found in gathering with my church family to worship and hear the word together. However, the challenging portion of Sundays are found in the reminder that my weekend has come to a close, and much of the day is spent preparing for the week ahead. Today is no exception, as I will have to go in to work to take care of things that must be ready for Monday afternoon, and require far more time and energy than my planning period permits. Sometimes, the need to go in on a weekend feels a bit like a failure, as I cannot wrap my head around how people are able to complete all that must be done during the week. I am worn out, and six days spent at work are more than I desire, even if only a few hours extra on a weekend. That being said, God provides what I need, as He grants me the strength and the help as I go. Always He is faithful to meet me in my weakness, and supplies the strength that I need. May we ever trust in the Lord, for His strength and His presence are the provisions we need to rise.

 

No matter the day, Daily Provision

Or how my heart cries;

God remains faithful,

And grants strength to rise.

Rise up from weakness,

Step out of despair;

Enduring presence,

Strengthens as He cares.

Faithful Provider,

Our God of all grace;

Our help and our hope,

For now, and always.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that though we fall short, You are always enough. Thank You that You are our strength and our portion forever. Thank You that You meet us in our weakness and provide the strength of heart required to press on in the direction that You are calling us to move. Forgive us for our frustrations and lack of faith. Teach us to trust in You in all things and at all times; for You are strength and hope and love and life. Show us how to love those around us in ways that encourage and strengthen in spaces where hope is hard to find. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we rely on You to be our strength and provision forever. Amen.

 

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

 

The Lord gives strength to His people; the Lord blesses His people with peace. – Psalm 29:11

How We Love

This is how God showed His love among us: He sent His one and only Son into the world that we might live through Him. – (1 John 4:9, NIV)

The light of God’s love shined within us when He sent His matchless Son into the world so that we might live through Him. – (1 John 4:9, TPT)

Because of this, the love of God is a reality among us: God sent His only Son into the world so that we could find true life through Him. – (1 John 4:9, VOICE)

 

We know love, because God first loved us. Jesus made the way for all who choose believe and receive, to access a love so great, that once it is known, it must be shared. The beauty of God’s love is that it is so all-encompassing that we are filled to overflowing and cannot help but give love as we have been given. Our challenge is to actually receive what is being extended. When we truly take the time to taste and see how good God is and how vast His love is for each one of us, it is impossible to not be overwhelmed with gratitude. It is in that space of grace, when we are fully aware, that we long to give that which we have been given. May we each take pause and allow God’s love to wash over us so that we may view others through His lens of love.

 

The love of the Lord,

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Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

Is granted to us;

Ready to receive,

Through His Son, Jesus.

In Him there is life,

Grace and lasting love;

Floods both heart and mind,

As we trust above.

And as we receive,

We expand and grow;

Equipped to love well,

So grace overflows.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for sending Your Son to show us love and to equip us with the capacity to love others as we are loved by You. Forgive us for the times that we have neglected to choose to love. Teach us to trust You more, so that we may view others through Your lens of love, and extend all of Your goodness and grace to each person we meet. Show us how to love those around us in ways that demonstrate Your light and love in ways that bless their hearts most. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we receive all that You have to give so that we may go forth and love like You. Amen.

 

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

 

But if anyone obeys His word, love for God is truly made complete in them. This is how we know we are in Him. – 1 John 2:5

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.

 

With bold confidence,0802180628b_hdr3555426807897751602.jpg

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

Restore to Me the Joy

Restore to me the joy of Your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me. – (Psalm 51:12, NIV)

Your help made me so happy. Give me that joy again. Make my spirit strong and ready to obey You. – (Psalm 51:12, ERV)

Give back to me the deep delight of being saved by You; let Your willing Spirit sustain me. – (Psalm 51:12, VOICE)

 

As I sat down to read my devotions this morning, the words that kept resonating in my heart and mind, were “restore to me the joy”, despite the lack of connection to the passages I was reading. For the last few days, I have been in a bit of a funk. I seemed to reach my breaking point yesterday, as I could not coax the normal joy from within, to make any sort of appearance externally. The weight on my heart and mind was just too heavy. Between sickness, disease, and pending death in family members, work, home, and numerous responsibilities and demands that go far beyond what one person is meant to bear alone, I was beginning to crumble on the inside. Kindness extended from colleagues made my eyes threaten to defy me, and it took everything in me to fend off tears. Isolation and work best suited my sullen state during lunch, and God granted me the strength to navigate the remainder of the day. Thankfully, gymnastics practice after school is a place that brings joy, as I delight in the doing that offers help and encouragement in an arena outside of the classroom, where I am not being assessed on every move that I make. Post practice I had the privilege of meeting up with my running buddy for a run, and that too, reminded me of the joy that is within me as I moved freely, pounding out the pain into the pavement. Upon arriving home, my amazing husband was set to love me well. He was aware of my struggle, and took care of dinner preparations, clean up, and then just sat with me, in silent support loving me all the while. This morning, I feel lighter somehow. God is faithful, and He is willing to restore His joy in us as we seek Him. His joy is not happiness with our circumstances, but rather a deep delight in Him, despite what we are walking through. The smile that is typically so readily seen on my face is not because life is always easy, but rather it is rooted in the joy granted through knowing who holds me in the hollow of His hands, every minute of every day. Perhaps yesterday I lost sight of that for a time, or my frail humanity reared its ugly head. Either way, sorrow and heavy took a spot not designated for them, and today, they are being placed back in the palms of He who can carry it all. May we ever seek the Lord to hold our heart and our hands in our heaviness, and pursue Him to restore the joy that comes in knowing our eternity is secure forever in Him.

 

O Lord God above, Restore to Me the Joy

May I ever seek;

Your joy in sorrow,

And strength when I’m weak.

For You are faithful,

You’re mighty to save;

You love us to life,

Through all of our days.

Help us to place all,

In Your mighty hands;

As Your love restores,

Faith we need to stand.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are the One who restores true joy within us. Thank You that You love us and take our burdens upon Yourself, when we are carrying more than we should. Forgive us for losing sight of where our true joy resides. Teach us to trust You more, so that Your light will shine through us, always. Show us how to love those around us in practical and tangible ways. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to restore our joy in You. Amen.

 

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

 

When Jesus spoke again to the people, He said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows Me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life. – John 8:12

Prepare

For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, in which God prepared in advance for us to do. – (Ephesians 2:10, NIV)

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)

 

As the calendar turns another page and we are now making our way into December, the word that keeps coming to my heart and mind, is “prepare”. I did a quick biblical word study, and discovered that the many mentions of preparing or preparation were for battles, arrivals, departures, deaths, feasts, sacrifices, celebrations and ceremonies. In each instance, those preparing were the ones whom had been called. The tenth verse of the second chapter of Ephesians, helps us recognize that we all have been called, created and prepared to do good works that God has planned for us. It is not difficult to find places where good is needed during this holy season, and we are each meant to step in and offer what we have to give – be it our time, our talents or our resources. Our heart is what requires preparation the most frequently, as the distractions all around us can dull our awareness to the places we have been prepared to extend good. May we slow down often in this sacred season, to prepare our hearts, so that we are ready and available to do the good things that God has for us to do.

 

This sacred season,Prepare

May we rise, prepare;

Set our hearts on good,

And how we can share.

For we’re created,

Each of us prepared;

With plan and purpose,

In God’s loving care.

Let us each choose seek,

So that we may find;

The good we can do,

In love for mankind.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that in the same way You prepared each one of us with a plan and a purpose, may we too, prepare our hearts this season, to walk out the good that You have for us to give. Thank You that we all have something to offer, be it our time, talent or resources. Forgive us for the times that we think we have nothing to give, or we neglect to slow down and look for ways to extend Your heart to others in this sacred season. Teach us to take time to listen to Your leading, and to be willing to walk out whatever You ask of us. Show us how to love those around us in tangible and practical ways this season, that make Your goodness and grace evident. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we prepare our hearts in the same way that You prepared each of us, to do good and represent You well. Amen.

 

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

 

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

Fit Our Feet With Peace

For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared. – (Ephesians 6:15, NLT)

On your feet wear the Good News of peace to help you stand strong. – (Ephesians 6:15, ERV)

Stand on your feet alert, then you’ll always be ready to share the blessings of peace. – (Ephesians 6:15, TPT)

 

This portion of Ephesians six is talking about the armor of God that each of us should wear as we go about our days. The idea of peace on your feet makes perfect sense, as it is a reminder that wherever we go, peace should be present and a foundation on which we stand. His peace is not just any peace, but is the perfect peace that brings blessings and strength, and is present, even when it seems like peace should not be possible. To put on the peace that comes from the Good News, we must know, trust and believe the truth of God. As we learn and grow our roots deeper in Christ, peace becomes more readily present; for we trust what we know. May we invest well in our relationship with the Lord, ever making ready our feet to go forth and share the blessings of peace.

 

May we make ready, fb_img_15335609939204632619799715819584.jpg

Our feet with God’s peace;

As we seek the Lord,

His grace He’ll release.

Strengthened for blessings,

With peace meant to share;

Feet readied to love,

Through ongoing prayer.

Rise up, be ready,

Shoe your feet with peace;

Bless in His goodness,

Surrendered release.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to ready our feet with peace so that wherever we go, peace may accompany us. Thank You that as we grow in You, Your peace is present within us, regardless of our circumstances. Forgive us for the times that we have neglected to allow the peace that is already within us, to pour out of us in the places it is needed most. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would be sensitive to Your leading and know how to best share Your peace in places it is absent. Show us how to love those around us well; especially those in need of peace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we fit our feet with Your peace, every step we take each day. Amen.

 

 

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

 

The Lord gives strength to His people; the Lord blesses His people with peace. – Psalm 29:11

Realigned for Gratitude

Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. – (Ephesians 5:19b-20, NIV)

And give thanks to God the Father every day through the name of our Lord Jesus the Anointed for all He has done. – (Ephesians 5:20, VOICE)

Always give thanks to Father God for every person He brings into your life in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. – (Ephesians 5:20, TPT)

 

Some days, a reminder to give thanks is well-timed, particularly when the “crud” is still lingering, and I wake up not quite ready to embrace the day. Regardless of how I feel, there are countless reasons for which I can give God thanks. This morning, the simple reminder in His word, helped realign my heart with gratitude. Each new day is a gift, and I am incredibly grateful for the people He has placed in my life. I have an incredibly loving and supportive husband, bright and kind children, loyal and caring friends, colleagues that are included in my circle of friends, extended family that is close despite the distance, a church in which we are firmly rooted, and a job that I enjoy, even on the difficult days. For each of these things and countless more, I give God praise, both today and always.

Mom is one of the greatest reasons to give praise. First and foremost, I am overwhelmingly grateful that she is with us and on the road to recovery. Though the road is long and painfully slow by human standards, she is here, and she is making positive progress. Mom embraces opportunities to work on growing stronger, and remains hopeful, ever trusting in He who is her strength. May we ever give thanks to God for all that He has done.

 

All thanks be to God,img_2019-10-03_05-05-362923133453325865323.jpg

Each day we draw breath;

For light, life and love,

Defeater of death.

Praise Him for the good,

The blessings that come;

Each beautiful soul,

That helps us become.

Become so much more,

Than we would alone;

Encouragement grows,

As people feel known.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for who You are and how You have surrounded me with an incredible community of support and encouragement. Thank You that even on days that I don’t feel great, I have so much to be thankful for and reasons to give You praise. Forgive us for the times that we allow our frustrations or challenges to overshadow the blessings that You bestow upon us. Teach us to see the good, even in the shadowy spaces. Show us how to love those around us in a way that offers encouragement and support in the way that it is needed most. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You thanks for all of the blessings that You bring into our lives. Amen.

 

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

 

Give thanks to the Lord for He is good; His love endures forever. – 1 Chronicles 16:34

Accepting Others Honors God

Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God. – (Romans 15:7, NIV)

Christ accepted you, so you should accept each other. This will bring honor to God. – (Romans 15:7, ERV)

So accept one another in the same way the Anointed has accepted you so that God will get the praise He is due. – (Romans 15:7, VOICE)

 

Christ accepts us just as we are, wherever we are at in our lives. We are called to do the same for others. In doing so, we are honoring God and bringing praise to Him. God does not ask us to clean ourselves up and get everything all together in order to come to Him, but rather He extends open arms toward us, and is ready to walk beside us as we learn to live and lead a life according to His good and perfect will. The Lord is so gracious with us, how can we help but extend the same to those around us? Furthermore, why wouldn’t we desire with all our hearts, to do the very things that honor He who loves us without limits? May we receive the acceptance that God has given us, so that we may in turn, go forth and accept others, extending kindness and love, grace and goodness, just as we have been shown by Him.

It was a full week for mom, as she reentered the rigor of both physical and speech therapists coming to the home to work with her to strengthen and create new pathways where there is still struggle. Mom’s initial take on the week is extremely positive, as she is encouraged to move forward and work hard toward her ultimate goal of regaining independence. She is strong and tenacious, and willing to persevere in her pursuit. Additionally, mom has a phenomenal support system surrounding her, as my sister, brother-in-love, and nephews, encourage, love and support her each day. I know the communication from her beloved friends and family near and far, makes a world of difference as well. She is accepted as she is, where she is at, and does the same for those around her. All honor and praise to God, for He is indeed so good.

 

We’re called to accept,

Peace Through Understanding

Each other in love;

Just as our Father,

Has done from above.

He does not require,

Qualifications;

But rather, accepts,

Our lot and stations.

The way that God loves,

Is how we are called;

To love and accept,

People, one and all.

For each time we choose,

To love with our days;

We honor the Lord,

And give our God praise.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for loving and accepting us as we are. Thank You that by doing so, You walk beside us and lead us into the life to which we are called. Thank You that You call us to love and accept others in the same way, and when we do, we are honoring You. Forgive us for the times that we have not been accepting of others. Show us where we have fallen short, and how to be better. Lead us to love and accept others in the same way that You accept us all. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we accept others in the same way that You accept us. Amen.

 

 

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

 

Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. – Ephesians 4:2

To Carry the Sweet Scent

For we are to God the pleasing aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. – (2 Corinthians 2:15, NIV)

Our offering to God is to be the perfume of Christ that goes out to those who are being saved and to those who are being lost. – (2 Corinthians 2:15, ERV)

In a turbulent world where people are either dying or being rescued, we are the sweet smell of the Anointed to God our Father. – (2 Corinthians 2:15, VOICE)

 

When we invite Christ to come and dwell within us, He covers us with His goodness and grace. No longer do we wreak of the stench of sin and death, but we are made new, filled with His scent of hope and light, life and love. Our charge is to go forth in His love and love others. As we do, we carry His aroma by association. To those who are in need of hope and ready to receive it, the scent is sweet; yet to those who have set their heart on the sin they are in, the scent we bear is pungent. Incredibly, each one of us had to be drawn to God in our own time, before we recognized how sweet the fragrance of our Heavenly Father. May we ever seek the Lord to listen and do His will, so that we may carry His sweet scent wherever we go and in all that we say and do.

 

We carry the scent, img_2019-07-16_06-35-183702170351870846491.jpg

Before God above;

Of Jesus, His Son,

Through how we choose love.

For as we love well,

The fragrance of life;

Shared with each other,

Brings an end to strife.

Yet, sometimes the smell,

Is not found so sweet;

Only the ready,

Come forth in receipt.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Christ brings the sweet scent of life and hope and love to all who are ready to receive Him. Thank You that as we do, we too may bear the favorable fragrance found in You. Forgive us for the times that we have been a bit pungent, as our words or actions did not clearly reflect who You have created us to become. Teach us to trust and rely on You more, so that we would bear Your beloved scent before all others. Show us how to love those around us well, so that they may embrace Your sweet fragrance of life. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to ever transform us, so that we may carry the blessed aroma of Your Son, that leads to everlasting life. Amen.

 

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

 

In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. – Matthew 5:16