Shifting Seasons

Children of Zion, rejoice and be glad in the Lord your God, because He gives you the autumn rain for your vindication. He sends showers for you, both autumn and spring rain as before. – (Joel 2:23, HCSB)

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

People of Zion, 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)

Living in the Pacific Northwest, these words resonate with me. Right now, we are enjoying a typically extended summer. Though summer did not begin until after the 4th of July, it usually continues until the close of September. That being said, the chill of fall is in the air in the mornings. For those of us who love summer, there is a bit of mourning as the seasons shift. This passage is a great reminder that the rain that though it will come, for it always does, is a gift from God. Seldom has our area had issues with water shortage. The rains that come truly are a gift, for they are what keep our area so green throughout the year. My takeaway is simply to recognize and appreciate the shift in seasons as a gift, for it is a reminder that God is faithful.

As autumn rains come,

For they always do;

Know that God’s faithful,

As His grace shines through.

The rains have purpose,

Blessings from above;

In season, water,

That shows us His love.

The lush of the green,

Ev’rywhere surrounds;

Reminders of God,

Where true hope is found.

So, let us give thanks,

As the seasons shift;

For God’s faithfulness,

As our praise we lift.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are faithful to supply what we need in every season. Thank You that You grant us rain in the fall and springtime to help things grow and thrive. Help us to remember that You do the same for our hearts as we seek You. Forgive us for begrudgingly trudging through seasonal shifts, for we would not fully appreciate the glory of summer without the gray, rainy days. Teach us to love those around us in ways that bring refreshment and new life. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for Your faithful provision in each new season. Amen.

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

He made the moon to mark the seasons, and the sun knows when to go down. – Psalm 104:19

Comfort and Joy

When I am filled with cares, Your comfort brings me joy. – (Psalm 94:19, HCSB)

I was very worried and upset, but You comforted me and made me happy! – (Psalm 94:19, ERV)

When I was upset and beside myself, You calmed me down and cheered me up. – (Psalm 94:19, MSG)

When anxiety overtakes me and worries are many, Your comfort lightens my soul. – (Psalm 94:19, VOICE)

The psalmist who penned this Psalm knew and understood the nature of God, individually; personally. Throughout time, this has remained true. Whenever we worry, find ourselves anxious or upset, or become overwhelmed with cares, as we slow down and seek the Lord, He brings us comfort and joy, even in the midst of circumstances that are not ideal. God is good and loving and kind, and He provides comfort in our cares and peace in our spaces of unrest. His love has brought joy in the midst of horrible situations. 

A few years ago, my mom suffered a massive stroke. The circumstances and situation surrounding it were devastating. However, God made a way for me to be with her and to spend the first few months following the incident with her. He brought joy and laughter to us both, even in the most challenging of circumstances. We were able to delight in simple things, and His goodness and grace were overwhelmingly apparent. It has been a roller coaster of a road to recovery ever since, but all the while, God has brought comfort and joy to us all each step of the way. 

May we ever look to the Lord when we feel our cares compounding, for He is faithful to meet us in our moments, as He shows us His goodness and love, and comforts us with true joy that comes from Him alone.

The Lord brings comfort,

Sunset on Oahu. ❤

When chaos surrounds;

He’s peace that’s present,

And love that astounds.

God grants us His joy,

In the midst of pain;

He lightens our load,

And shows us He reigns.

When worry creeps in,

And peace slips away;

Seek the Lord Jesus,

For He is the way.

The way to know joy,

When it seems so far;

His love overwhelms,

Wherever we are.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You meet us in our chaos and anxiety and bring us comfort and joy. Thank You that You are our peace in all things and at all times. Forgive us for allowing our circumstances to flood our hearts with anxiousness and fear. Teach us to turn to You in all things, and to trust You to lead us through with Your goodness and strength. Show us how to love those around us well, so that we might be bearers of joy and comfort in challenging times. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You in all things and at all times, knowing that You alone are our source of comfort and joy. Amen.

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

Shout for joy, you heavens; rejoice, you earth; burst into song, you mountains! For the Lord comforts His people and will have compassion on His afflicted ones. – Isaiah 49:13

Pleasing Words and Thoughts

May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable to You, Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer. – (Psalm 19:14, HCSB)

May my words and thoughts please You. Lord, You are my Rock – the One who rescues me. – (Psalm 19:14, ERV)

May the words that come out of my mouth and the musings of my heart meet with Your gracious approval, O Eternal, my Rock, O Eternal, my Redeemer. – (Psalm 19:14, VOICE)

Our thoughts and words matter to God. The musings of the heart are directly linked to what we take in. For me, this means that in order to keep my thoughts from wandering down a road I need not travel, I have to be cautious about what I consume. If I set my heart on God to begin each day, I am in a better position to choose my words and direct my thoughts wisely. However, if I listen to or watch something violent or full of angst, even if my words do not reflect what I have taken in, my thoughts struggle to turn away from the unpleasant. I know some folks have a filter that simply sifts out such stuff, but as a very visual individual, it is too difficult to not keep reliving what I do not want to relive. Everyone is different, but it is important to know how we can best keep our words and thoughts turned toward God, so that what we say, think and do is a reflection of His love. May we ever seek the Lord to help set our hearts on Him so that our words and the musings of our hearts will be pleasing to God.

O Lord, let Your love,

Lead my thoughts and words;

So goodness is stored,

And grace is what’s heard.

Keep my heart upheld,

In Your loving light;

By grace filter out,

All that is not right.

Show me through Your lens,

That which needs to go;

Flood me with Your thoughts,

So Your love is shown.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we seek You, You show us what it is to meditate on Your love and share it with others through all that we do and say. Forgive us for every word and thought that has not been pleasing to You. Teach us how to clear our minds of that which does not build up, and to set our sights on You and Your love. Show us how to love those around us as You intended. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to help keep our words and thoughts on that which is pleasing to You. Amen.

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

May my meditation be pleasing to Him; I will rejoice in the Lord. – Psalm 104:34

The Goodness of God

For You have made me rejoice, Lord, by what You have done; I will shout for joy because of the work of Your hands. – (Psalm 92:4, HCSB)

Lord, You make us very happy because of what You did. I gladly sing about it. Lord, You did such great things. Your thoughts are too hard for us to understand. – (Psalm 92:4, ERV)

Because You, O Eternal One, thrill me with the things You have done, I will sing with joy in light of Your deeds. – (Psalm 92:4, VOICE)

God is always good. It is important to pause and take inventory of His faithfulness in our lives. When we look back, we can see how God has been present throughout all our days. There is evidence of His loving kindness and the work of His hands, as we remember what He has brought us through. I am in awe of how He provides and moves when we seek Him. After a crazy school year, it is incredible how in a mere four days, I am feeling rested and refreshed. My heart sings in response to the joy that rises as I reflect on His goodness. May we ever recognize God’s presence and help throughout our days, and sing for joy in thanksgiving for His goodness.

The goodness of God,

Is beyond compare;

In love, He meets us,

Shows us tender care.

His strength upholds us,

As He leads us on;

Kindness unending,

By grace we’re made strong.

Strong to keep moving,

In love and with grace;

May we give God praise,

Throughout all our days.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You love us and do great things in our lives as You remind us of Your faithfulness and goodness. Forgive us for the times that we neglect to praise You for Your presence and love. Teach us to recognize Your nearness in all things and at all times. Show us how to love those around us in ways that make Your heart evident. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You and praise You for who You are and how You love. Amen.

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

They will give a testimony of Your great goodness and will joyfully sing of Your righteousness. – Psalm 145:7

Rest and Be Refreshed

Rest in God alone, my soul, for my hope comes from Him. – (Psalm 62:5, HCSB)

I must calm down and turn to God; He is my only hope. – (Psalm 62:5, ERV)

My soul quietly waits in the True God alone because I hope only in Him. – (Psalm 62:5, VOICE)

This is a great reminder to continue to prioritize my time during summer break. Rest is not simply a stopping of doing, but rather is an intentional turn to God to be our peace and our hope. He provides rest where we need it most, and is where our hope is found. There is a quiet waiting in the seeking of our Savior. In the silent stillness, we are reminded of Who our hope is, and peace that surpasses our understanding grants us rest. May we ever turn to the Lord to provide rest and hope, for He is the source of each.

I trust in the Lord,

My sweet space of rest;

He grants us His hope,

And loves us the best.

In Him, there is peace,

Comfort and great calm;

There’s healing in hope,

His love’s soothing balm.

So turn to the Lord,

Seek Him for true rest;

Hope everlasting,

How life is lived best.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can find quiet rest in You in every season. Thank You that You provide times of extra rest to refresh us and remind us of where hope is found. Forgive us for losing sight of You when chaos crowds us. Lead us to be intentional in our time with You. Show us how to love those around us in ways that offer peace and rest and refreshment. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we invest time in seeking You to find rest and be reminded of the hope that is held forever in You. Amen.

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

Therefore my heart is glad and my spirit rejoices; my body also rests securely. – Psalm 16:9

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