Hope Through The Heartache

Rejoice in hope; be patient in affliction; be persistent in prayer. – (Romans 12:12, HCSB)

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

Do not forget to rejoice, for hope is always just around the corner. Hold up through the hard times that are coming, and devote yourselves to prayer. – (Romans 12:12, VOICE)

This morning, as I perused my Facebook feed, I was met by the devastating news of a friend, former classmate and fellow coach, who lost the love of her life with no warning. Her immediate response was to get the information out there (for there would be far too many calls to make) and to ask for prayer for her and their five children as they navigate this horrendous loss. The hope to rejoice in is that one day, there will be no more death and no more pain. In the meantime, our patience and peace in the process is found as we pray. God hears and sees and knows. He provides strength, comfort, wisdom and peace in our spaces of greatest need. May we seek the Lord in all things and at all times, and ever be persistent in prayer.

Lord, help us rejoice,

In hope that is true;

Through ev’ry season,

We can trust in You.

Help us be patient,

When we see such pain;

Help us keep praying,

Throughout all our days.

Bring comfort and peace,

Where there is great pain;

Lead us in Your love,

You’re where good is gained.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our hope, comfort, strength and peace, no matter what life brings our way. I lift up my friend and her family in the midst of their great loss, and pray for You to provide for their every need – physically, emotionally, spiritually, and financially, Lord be tangibly present. Forgive us for the times that pain and circumstances overshadow the hope we know. Show us how to hold fast to hope through all things with patience and perseverance, and to continually seek You in prayer. Lead us to love those around us through every trial and heartache, so that they may know the hope in You that does not waver. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for the hope that we have forever in You, and for the love that You give that carries us through. Amen.

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

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

The Greatest Love Story

“For God loved the world in this way: He gave His One and Only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.” – (John 3:16, HCSB)

Yes, God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him would not be lost but have eternal life. – (John 3:16, ERV)

For God expressed His love for the world in this way: He gave His only Son so that whoever believes in Him will not face everlasting destruction, but will have everlasting life. – (John 3:16, VOICE)

In this season of fixation on love, it seems only appropriate to recognize and celebrate the greatest love of all. God loved creation so much that He gave His Son to restore what had been lost, and to make the way for all who receive it, to have life everlasting with Him. We have all been hand-crafted, designed to love and be loved. The unique design placed within each of us grants us the capacity to love well. This love is not limited to romantic love, but rather it equips and empowers us to love all. From our parents, to siblings, to children, family, friends and a significant other, God gives us all that we need to love well. It is up to us to receive all that He offers so that we might truly know His love and then go and love likewise, all those whom He has placed in our lives. May we ever seek the Lord to lead us to love well, and give Him all praise for His loving ways each day that we draw breath.

The greatest love story,

That’s ever been told;

The gift of a Savior,

To have and to hold.

It is through the knowing,

Receiving of grace;

That we too can love well,

As we seek His face.

God places in our lives,

People we’re to love;

All whom He created,

Purposed from above.

So seek Him to love well,

Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography

Receive all He gives;

In Christ we’re empowered,

To love as we live.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your One and only Son to make the way for us to be in a loving relationship with You and equipped to love others as You do. Thank You that Your love gives us hope and help, life and love that last forever. Forgive us for the times that we have not loved as You intended, and for when we neglect to receive what You freely and lovingly offer. Teach us to trust in Your everlasting goodness and grace as You continually show us Your loving ways. Lead us to love all those around us as You intended. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we receive the incredible gift of Your love and trust You to lead us to love all those around us well. Amen.

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

But let all who take refuge in you be glad; let them ever sing for joy. Spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may rejoice in you. – Psalm 5:11

Sing of His Strength

But I will sing of Your strength and will joyfully proclaim Your faithful love in the morning. For You have been a stronghold for me, a refuge in my day of trouble. – (Psalm 59:16, HCSB)

But I will sing about Your strength. I will rejoice in Your love every morning. You have been my place of safety, the place I can run to when troubles come. – (Psalm 59:16, ERV)

But me? I will sing of Your strength. I will awake with the sun to sing of Your loving mercy because in my most troubled hour, You defended me. You were my shelter. – (Psalm 59:16, VOICE)

This verse is a well-timed reminder, as I had a late night and very little sleep. Though I am exhausted, I know God will provide the strength that I need, for His faithful love greeted me with a new day. He is my place of rest and my refuge at all times and through every circumstance. My heart sings knowing that God will go before me and remain with me throughout each day. May we ever seek the Lord to be our strength and our song, and run to Him to be our refuge throughout all our days.

O Lord, I will sing,

Of strength You provide;

Ever You meet us,

With arms open wide.

Arms to embrace us,

Provide strength we need;

To navigate all,

The grace to succeed.

Hope to persevere,

When life becomes tough;

Goodness and kindness,

Your love is enough.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You are our reason to sing as we rise each new day. Thank You are our shelter and safety in times of trouble. Forgive us for trying to power through without You. Teach us to trust and rely on You, for You provide all that we need to press on. Lead us to love those around us in practical ways that demonstrate the hope and help that is found in You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we sing praise to You, and give You glory for who You are and how You love. Amen.

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

The Lord is my strength and my song. He has become my salvation. – Psalm 118:14

Worth the Wait

Simeon took Him up in his arms, praised God, and said: Now, Master, You can dismiss Your slave in peace, as You promised. For my eyes have seen Your salvation. You have prepared it in the presence of all peoples – a light for revelation to the Gentiles and glory to Your people Israel. – (Luke 2:28-32, HCSB)

Simeon took the baby in his arms and thanked God: “Now, Lord, You can let me, Your servant, die in peace as You said. I have seen with my own eyes how You will save Your people. Now all people can see Your plan. He is a light to show Your way to the other nations. And He will bring honor to Your people Israel.” – (Luke 2:28-32, ERV)

Simeon cradled the baby in his arms and praised God and prophesied: “Lord and Master, I am Your loving servant, and now I can die content, for You have fulfilled Your promise to me. With my own eyes I have seen Your Word, the Savior You sent into the world. He will be glory for Your people Israel, and the Revelation-Light for all people everywhere!” – (Luke 2:28-32, TPT)

Imagine the joy, wonder and awe that Simeon must have felt as he took Jesus into his arms to bless Him, only to have God reveal to him that the baby he was holding was the Savior of the world. God had promised Simeon that he would not die before seeing the Savior with his own eyes. At this point, Simeon was an old man who had faithfully served, waited and trusted that God would do what He’d said He would do. What a joy in the fulfillment, and what a wonder to behold the promised Messiah in his own arms. The faithfulness of God has not changed. What He has promised, He will fulfill to those who trust and wait on Him. Sometimes, the promises are fulfilled quickly, yet other times, we may wait much of our lives to see the fulfillment of something that God has promised. For all of us, God has given each of us a plan and a purpose, a hope and a future. Our charge is to listen, wait and trust as we move forward each day in all that God has called us to do. If it is to serve, serve with all your heart; if it is to love, love with all your heart; whatever it is, do all as unto the Lord. May we ever seek the Lord with trust and anticipation, knowing that He is faithful to fulfill each promise that He makes, no matter how long it takes.

The blessing that comes,

Through trust in the Lord;

Promises fulfilled,

All grace He affords.

The Lord is faithful,

What He says, He’ll do;

His answers will come,

He will follow through.

Sometimes it’s quickly,

Other times seem slow;

God’s time is perfect,

For the best, He knows.

God, help us to trust,

To wait with Your grace;

For all that You say,

Will fall into place.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have shown us again and again that You are faithful to fulfill Your promises. Thank You that what seems slow to us, is actually Your perfectly planned time. Forgive us for our lack of patience when answers seem slow or promises seem far from fulfilled. Teach us to trust You and wait with faith like Simeon’s. Lead us to love those around us faithfully, for that is one thing that You have purposed for us all. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You in the waiting and remain faithful to do all that You call us to do each new day. Amen.

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

On that day it will be said, “Look, this is our God; we have waited for Him, and He has saved us. This is the Lord; we have waited for Him. Let us rejoice and be glad in His salvation.” – Isaiah 25:9

Extraordinary Through the Ordinary

And the angel came to her and said, “Rejoice, favored woman! The Lord is with you.” – (Luke 1:28, HCSB)

The angel came to her and said, “Greetings! The Lord is with you; you are very special to Him.” – (Luke 1:28, ERV)

Gabriel appeared to her and said, “Rejoice, beloved young woman, for the Lord is with you and you are anointed with great favor.” – (Luke 1:28, TPT)

I imagine this whole experience was a bit surreal to Mary. A visit from a messenger of God, followed by words that called you favored and anointed. She was a young girl, likely in her mid-teens, and engaged to be married. Was she an ordinary girl with extraordinary faith? Or perhaps there was something in her heart of worship that demonstrated her faithful and willing heart that was ready to respond with her very best yes? Either way, of all the women of child-bearing age in the world, God saw and chose her to carry His Son. As we gain further glimpses of her heart through the conception, development in the womb, time of arrival, and throughout the life, death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus, her character is revealed as one who is ever faithful to the Lord. She had extraordinary insight into who God is through a seemingly ordinary life. Mary witnessed God in everyday circumstances as she raised Jesus, who was without sin. There were many reasons to rejoice throughout her entire experience, yet there were times of great grief as well. Ultimately, she came to know and understand the plan and purpose of the promised baby that would become the Savior of the world. May we reflect with awe and wonder at the amazing ways that God came near to ordinary people to show us His great love.

Called highly favored,

Chosen to be blessed;

A holy calling,

That might cause a mess.

A virgin promised,

To Joseph to wed;

Yet called to be more,

As the angel said.

God knew the people,

Who’d answer the call;

Despite how things looked,

To one and to all.

Ever He’s faithful,

The Lord God above;

Who sent us His Son,

To show us His love.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You do extraordinary things through ordinary people who are willing to say yes to You and the plans You have. Thank You that You sent Your Son through ordinary people with extraordinary faith. Forgive us for our fear and lack of faith when things we know we ought to do seem inconceivable. Teach us to trust You to lead us in all that You have for us, and to trust that Your plans are for good. Show us how to love and honor You in all that we say and do, and help 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 the amazing things You do through ordinary people who trust You well. Amen.

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

Mary said, “I am the Lord’s servant. Let this thing you have said happen to me!” Then the angel went away. – Luke 1:38

My Strength and Shield

The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in Him, and I am helped. Therefore my heart rejoices, and I praise Him with my song. – (Psalm 28:7, HCSB)

The Lord is my strength and shield. I trusted Him with all my heart. He helped me, so I am happy. I sing songs of praise to Him. – (Psalm 28:7, ERV)

The Eternal is the source of my strength and the shield that guards me. When I learn to rest and truly trust Him, He sends His help. This is why my heart is singing! I open my mouth to praise Him, and thankfulness rises as songs. – (Psalm 28:7, VOICE)

Some days, it takes everything in me to simply utter, “God, please help.” Incredibly, even in the difficult, He makes His heart and His help known. At the end of the day my heart can rejoice and praise Him, as He has been with me through another day. Each morning as I rise and look to Him, I am reminded anew of His goodness and my reasons to give thanks. May we ever fix our eyes on God and look to Him to be our strength and protections. He is faithful, and provides help to navigate each new day.

O Lord, fix my eyes,

Securely on You;

For You are my strength,

And where hope’s made new.

God, You are my shield,

Safety through the storms;

My reason to praise,

As Your love transforms.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You go before us, walk beside us, and remain present, no matter where life leads. Thank You that You see and know every challenge and heartache, and You faithfully provide peace and reason to praise. Forgive us for our struggle with trust when we are in the throes of life’s storms. Teach us to trust You in all things and at all times, for You supply all that we need. Show us how to love, support and encourage those around us well, so that Your love is tangible in places it is hard to see. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You to be our strength and shield, and praise You for Your unending faithfulness and love. Amen.

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

But I trust in You, Lord; I say, “You are my God.” – Psalm 31:14

Joy in the Wait

Take delight in the Lord, and He will give you your heart’s desires. – (Psalm 37:4, HCSB)

Take delight in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart. – (Psalm 37:4, NIV)

Take great joy in the Eternal! His gifts are coming, and they are all your heart desires! – (Psalm 37:4, VOICE)

As we delight in the Lord, we begin to recognize the blessings that He has poured out upon us. The desires that dwell deep in our heart are the dreams He planted within. In our ongoing pursuit of a life lived with Him, He makes our hopes and dreams a reality. Often, the wait feels long, yet even when we do not see it, He is moving on our behalf. When we are seeking after Him with all of our heart, our desires align with His. It is in that alignment that He brings change, resolve and new things. Currently, I am in a space of waiting. My charge in the wait is to take joy in Him. This is not an easy task when it feels as if the weight of the world is pressing down, yet the more I press into Him, the more I feel the weight lifting. Too often, we carry what is not ours to carry. One of the gifts that He gives is His strong hands that are willing and able to bear our burdens and hold the heaviness within us. Jesus is gentle and kind, and He never forces His way in nor takes what we do not freely give Him. May we ever take joy in the Lord, for His promises are good and He is the One who grants the desires of our heart.

Great joy in the Lord,

Is where hope is found;

For all that is good,

In Christ, does abound.

What our heart desires,

Manifests in Him;

He’s our Provider,

Who ushers good in.

Timing’s the challenge,

We all want it now;

Yet it’s in waiting,

That He works somehow.

He makes plain a path,

For us to choose take;

Each step requires faith,

Trust the way He makes.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can always find joy in You. Thank You that joy in You is not dependent on our circumstances, but rather is dependent on You. When we recognize Your goodness, kindness and grace, we cannot help but rejoice in who You are and how You love. Thank You that our dreams and desires that dwell deep within our hearts are gifts from You. Forgive us for losing sight of the joy we have in You, or for losing hope in the dreams not yet realized. Show us how to trust You in the waiting and to find joy in the hope we have in You. Lead us to love those around us in a way that offers joy, peace and hope. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we take joy in who You are and give thanks for the good things that You have planned for us all. Amen.

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

You reveal the path of life to me; in Your presence is abundant joy; in Your right hand are eternal pleasures. – Psalm 16:11

Rejoice in the Rain

…Rejoice in the Lord your God, for He has given you the autumn rains because He is faithful. He sends you abundant showers, both autumn and spring rains as before. – (Joel 2:23, NIV)

…Be joyful in the Lord your God. He is good and will give you rain. He will send the early rains and the late rains as before. – (Joel 2:23, ERV)

…Shout with joy and happiness in the Eternal, your God; the drought is over; He has sent the early autumn rain as a sign of His faithfulness. He has poured down heavy rain, autumn and spring as before. – (Joel 2:23, VOICE)

After a blustery weekend, it is good to be reminded that the rains are actually evidence of God’s faithfulness. I know in our area, the rains were needed as our reservoirs have dropped quite low after an unusually warm and dry summer. Though I prefer sunny days, it is good to see the grass turning green again as the leaves show off their lovely fall transformation. So often what we need is not necessarily what we think we want. However, God knows. He has His very best in mind for us. Often our circumstances, schedules and pauses are exactly what we need to grow and thrive as He intended. May we ever embrace the rains that come, and rejoice in the faithfulness of our Heavenly Father.

May we choose rejoice,

No matter what comes;

For after the rain,

Again comes the sun.

All has a purpose,

To nourish and grow;

God shows faithfulness,

Makes His goodness known.

In rainy seasons,

Choose soak in His love;

He replenishes,

Leads our hearts above.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your goodness and grace. Thank You that You bring various seasons to nourish and soften the soil of our hearts. Thank You that all can be used for good as we place it in Your hands. Forgive us for our frustration and grumbling with the seemingly dreary days. Show us the beauty that comes from the darker days. Lead us to love those around us well, so that the goodness of Your love is evident to all. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise Your for the growth and new life that comes from the rainy days and for the strength and new growth that You place in us. Amen.

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

Rejoice always. – 1 Thessalonians 5:16

Reason to Rejoice

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! – (Philippians 4:4, NIV)

Always be filled with joy in the Lord. I will say it again. Be filled with joy. – (Philippians 4:4, ERV)

Be cheerful with joyous celebration in every season of life. Let your joy overflow! – (Philippians 4:4, TPT)

The key to this is Whom we rejoice in, not our circumstances. To rejoice is to be glad and take delight in, which is how our hearts feel when we understand who God is, and how He loves. Joy and rejoicing are not dependent on our circumstances, but rather are present despite our circumstances as we look to and lean on the Lord. True joy is found in Him, and is not swayed by what goes on around us. Though rejoicing is not dependent nor determined by our circumstances, I think He often uses the people in our lives to remind us of His goodness, grace and loving ways. Yesterday, I was in need of a reminder of the joy found in every season. It was a long week, and the opportunity to spend one-on-one time with my youngest, blessed my heart and reminded me of my reasons to rejoice in He who has provided me with my family. Though each day and season presents its own set of challenges, there is always reason to rejoice in the Lord. May we ever seek to know Him more, for the more we know Him, the better our heart holds onto the joy provided through His love.

Rejoice in the Lord,

Be glad for His grace;

Give thanks unto Him,

Throughout all our days.

For blessings we know,

All come from the Lord;

Our reasons to praise,

Him who we adore.

His gift of children,

A love that delights;

Each season given,

Wonder in plain sight.

Let all that’s in me,

Rejoice and give praise;

For love unending,

That lasts for all days.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our reason to rejoice in every season. Thank You for the tangible blessings that point our hearts back to You with gratitude. Forgive us for allowing our circumstances to overshadow our hope that is held in You. Teach us to continue to trust and pursue You, as You are our Source of strength and hope, love and light. Show us how to love those around us well, so that they may understand the delight that is held in Your nearness. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we delight in the goodness of Your love, and praise You for the hope we have in You forever. 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. – Psalm 105:3

Strength and Song

But I will sing of Your strength, in the morning I will sing of Your love, for You are my fortress, my refuge in times of trouble. – (Psalm 59:16, NIV)

But I will sing about Your strength. I will rejoice in Your love every morning. You have been my place of safety, the place I can run to when troubles come. – (Psalm 59:16, ERV)

But as for me, Your strength shall be my song of joy. At each and every sunrise, my lyrics of Your love will fill the air! For You have been my glory-fortress, a stronghold in my day of distress. – (Psalm 59:16, TPT)

I am so grateful that all is new every morning. No matter what took place yesterday, last week, last month or last year, we have a fresh start each new day. Sometimes, it takes a simple change of scenery to remind us of all the good that God has provided. God knows our hearts, and blesses us with the things that remind us of His care and concern for us, individually. For me, I am very much a quality time person that craves time outdoors near water. On Saturday afternoon, my Viking and I went for a drive. We ended up in Gig Harbor, driving in sunshine and salt air, with the wind whipping through our vehicle. There is something about seeing the water, green trees, blue skies and Mount Rainier in the background that reminds me of the goodness of God. Yesterday, between church, a scooter ride, dog walking and visiting with our besties, my heart feels renewed and recharged. It is this goodness that God gives that inspires the new each morning and grants songs of praise to rise from my heart. He knows our worries, heartaches, and hopes, and provides safe space to navigate. May we ever seek the Lord, anew every morning, for He is our strength, song and space of safety.

Each morning I rise,

Photo by Lukas Rodriguez on Pexels.com

And find new again;

Your strength and Your song,

Fresh grace to begin.

You know well my heart,

How to bless, lift up;

With goodness in love,

You choose fill my cup.

For from a full heart,

I’m equipped to pour;

Your goodness and love,

To those who need more.

Lord, help me to walk,

In strength and resolve;

So I might love well,

As I have been called.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your strength and song are our sources of joy. Thank You that You bless and renew our hearts as we seek You. Forgive us for allowing the weight of the world to steal the joy that You have deeply rooted within us. Teach us to trust in You and lean into You, no matter what comes our way. Show us how to rejoice in the goodness of Your loving kindness, and to give generously the love that You have overwhelmingly given to us to share with all those around us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You and depend on You to be our strength and song as each new day begins. Amen.

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

I love You, Lord, my strength. – Psalm 18:1