Reasons to Praise

I will praise You, Lord my God, with all my heart; I will glorify Your name forever. – (Psalm 86:12, NIV)

O Lord, my God! I praise You with all that I am. I will rightly honor Your great name forever. – (Psalm 86:12, VOICE)

With all my heart and passion, I will thank You, my God! I will give glory to Your name, always and forever! – (Psalm 86:12, TPT)

 

My heart is overflowing with reasons to praise. Yesterday, the day began with time seated on our couch, in our living room at home, with my husband beside me, as I did my devotions and writing. The morning followed with a joyful return to my church family after more than three months away, and the remainder of the day was spent thoroughly enjoying the ordinary errands that Sundays hold, along with a few bonus stops to celebrate Mark for his birthday. The day concluded with a great visit, seated around the fire pit at our best friends’ home.

Meanwhile, mom, Megan and Scott were making their way to Oregon. Each update that I received from my sister was excellent, as all of mom’s concerns about the long journey proved to be unnecessary. Mom did great, and took turns riding with each Megan and Scott. The trio safely arrived in Albany by mid-afternoon. I imagine the remainder of the day was spent enjoying time with my nephews, unpacking, and settling in. For all these things and so much more, we give glory to God forever.

 

Faithful is our God, img_2019-08-12_07-16-582256281050884293021.jpg

In everything;

He sees and He hears,

His goodness He brings.

Even in trials,

His presence is near;

His love evident,

And grace is made clear.

All praise unto God,

All glory, always;

Hope to ever trust,

For all of our days.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for loving us and meeting us where we are. Thank You that You lead us and take us the direction that You intend for us to go. Forgive us for our fears of the unknown that lie before us. Teach us to trust You more, as You are faithful forever. Show us how to love those around us in a way that grants hope, peace and trust in the good that lies ahead. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You with all that we are, forever. Amen.

 

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

 

I will sing the Lord’s praise, for He has been good to me. – Psalm 13:6

Seek in All Things

But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. – (Matthew 6:33, NIV)

What you should want most is God’s kingdom and doing what He wants you to do. Then He will give you all these other things you need. – (Matthew 6:33, ERV)

So above all, constantly chase after the realm of God’s kingdom and the righteousness that proceeds from Him. Then all these less important things will be given to you abundantly. – (Matthew 6:33, TPT)

 

The difference this makes in my life is remarkable. This morning, I did not have time to begin my day in the usual way, and I felt off and irritable. By rising early and spending time with God, my heart and mind are set on Him, rather on self, and His grace is grown greater within me. Today, that has not been my story. Mom had a rough night, and woke several times. Consequently, my sleep was quite compromised, and we did not get up for breakfast until 6:45. Normally, that would be okay, but today we needed to have mom’s car down to the dealership by 8:30 for an oil change and tire rotation. The morning felt hurried and my heart, unsettled. Small things that normally would not bother me at all, were bringing me near tears, and I could feel my patience running very thin. It took everything in me to not be short with mom, and I was not likely as patient or kind as I normally would have been. After our outing, we returned home and I needed to contact the company whom her wheelchair was ordered through two months ago. Every ounce of self-control was utilized to not unleash on the person on the other end of the line, as she claimed they were still waiting on a signature from a doctor to actually order the chair. By the end of the conversation, I could have utilized a heavy bag and some boxing gloves, or a nice, long run, but alas, neither are options right now. Thankfully, mom was ready to relax and I very much needed to get in the word and chill out with the One who holds my heart. Already, I can feel the tension subsiding, and peace beginning to return to the spaces where it was absent. For me, morning devotions are not about religion or ritual, they are connection and centering and setting my heart right for the day. With intentional time before my day begins, my head and heart are prepared to navigate whatever comes my way. Without it, ugh; my heart gets ugly quickly. May we ever seek His kingdom first, as it is in Him that we find all that we truly need to navigate this life well.

Yesterday, mom conquered more fears, as she had her first hair appointment since March. She had been anxious about going and sitting and worried about transferring from her chair to the one in the shop, but all went well and she felt fantastic after. Additionally, mom had a wonderful visit with two of her dearest friends at lunchtime. They blessed us with lunch and Dutch Bros delivery as well. After they left, mom was ready to relax, so we attempted to watch a movie. Mom was quite weary, but refused to go take a rest. She nodded off several times during the show, but insisted that she did not want to go nap. The remainder of the evening she continued to fight off sleepiness, and finally gave in at a normal bedtime. Whether it was the exhaustion or her mental list-making for the move that made sleep a challenge, her sleep was clearly not restful. Today, I am seeking our Savior specifically for peace and rest, so that mom gets a great night’s sleep tonight.

 

Seek first the kingdom,

The Lord above all;

He holds heart and hand,

And won’t let us fall.

He grants us the strength,

To love and be kind;

Choose patience and peace,

As He has designed.

In all things choose seek,

The Lord and His grace;

So we may love well,

For all of our days.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we seek You, You meet us, no matter how we come. Thank You that You love us through our grumpiness, brokenness, and ugliness. Thank You that You offer peace and patience, and fill us with love to extend to those around us as we trust in You. Forgive us for the times that we have neglected to turn to You for help, and instead focus on our lack. Teach us to trust You more, as You are our Provider and Comfort. Show us how to love those around us well, so that we may extend the peace and kindness that is lacking. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You first in all things. Amen.

 

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

 

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

 

 

 

 

Take Heart

“I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world!” – (John 16:33, NIV)

“I have told you these things so that you can have peace in Me. In this world you will have troubles. But be brave! I have defeated the world!” – (John 16:33, ERV)

“And everything I’ve taught you is so that the peace which is in Me will be in you and will give you great confidence as you rest in Me. For in this unbelieving world you will experience trouble and sorrows, but you must be courageous, for I have conquered the world!” – (John 16:33, TPT)

 

There is something extra encouraging about words that were specifically spoken by Jesus that build up the heart. I’m not sure if it is the weird weather, the isolation, my inability to get out and run, or the long stretches of time away from home, but this morning it was seeming to wear on me a little bit more than before. Feelings are temporary, and recognition is half the battle, but it is frustrating to discover the troubles of this world are beginning to get the best of me. Thankfully, once it is identified, it is short-lived. God is faithful to meet me however I come each morning, and show Himself faithful and kind. Not only was I reminded of where my peace and strength come from, but I received tangible evidence of His grace and love for me, as I received a sweet and timely text from my husband. Sometimes, all it takes is a momentary reminder that we are known and seen and loved. Other times, it is good to identify that this will not be a trouble-free life, yet we can have peace through the One who has overcome all.

I know it is not easy for my mom. A woman who was completely independent and always active, lost her independence overnight, as well as her ability to be active at the level she has known and enjoyed for as long as I can remember. Incredibly, she is walking this long road with courage and grace; trusting in He who is faithful. Each day, she greets the day with positivity and strength, ready to invest the energy required to continue on this road to recovery and healing. Yesterday was a slower day, with speech therapy as her only appointment. Susan is wonderful, and meets mom with kindness and grace; challenging her, yet interacting as would a friend.  Beyond that, it was a typical day of stretching, exercises, resting, meal preparation, tasks around the house, and movie watching. I imagine that sometimes, simply continuing the course is exactly what is needed to perpetuate the positive trend for recovery. Last night had a few wake-ups, but we also did not have as much social interaction as the days prior. She did have a good solid stretch of sleep from one to five, so I will gladly accept four-hour stretches where we get them. Today, mom’s only appointment is physical therapy this morning. It will be interesting to see how the remainder of the week unfolds, as there are no appointments for Thursday or Friday, due to the holiday.

May we all take heart when troubles come, for He who is in us, has already overcome all. Peace is ours for the taking, we simply must seek the Source.

 

Life is not about, 63a09efb-a46a-4c36-b1af-4a9f0cf4c2e04975274388445686015.jpg

Magic guarantees;

That all will be well,

Sweet and trouble-free.

Yet we have a hope,

An anchor secure;

God’s presence always,

Promise to be near.

God grants us the strength,

And all that we need;

To rise and press on,

Follow where He leads.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are loving and kind and full of grace. Thank You that You are our peace and our comfort through the storms. Thank You that though there are no promises that life will be easy, there is a promise that You will be present. Forgive us for thinking that we somehow need to navigate on our own. Teach us to trust You more, as You are our strength and our safe harbor where we can rest and find peace. Show us how to love those around us in a way that offers strength and hope, peace and rest where it is difficult to find. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we ever lean into You to be our peace and our strength. 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

Strength in Love

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

I love You, Lord! You are my strength. – (Psalm 18:1, ERV)

I love You, God – You make me strong. – (Psalm 18:1, MSG)

 

Everything about God is good. From sunrise to sunset, His wonders and provisions never cease to amaze me. He grants strength when we are weary, hope when we despair, and joy when sorrow seeks to sink our hearts. I am not certain of what has caused the shift, but there has been a fortification of sorts in my heart that was not present prior. Where I was anxious, I find that I have trust; where I was weary and exhausted, I have renewed strength and hope. It may be in part the new strides that mom is making with her walking, but honestly, I think that it is a work that God is doing within me. There is no magical timeline of healing and recovery that can indicate an end date to when mom will be restored and ready to be independent again, yet I find my heart in a space that is finding it easier to simply stay present and trust. I am embracing each day, each moment as they come, and celebrating the victories – great and small, appreciating the fact that I am overwhelmingly blessed to have all of this precious time with my mom. We laugh often, and there is little sweeter than our early morning wake-up routine of her surprise first call of the day, be it a song, a phrase, or something completely silly, we usually end up giggling about it as we waltz to the restroom before breakfast. Together, we sit in wonder and awe as we watch the sunrise together. Incredibly, the painting across the sky transforms rapidly, and may begin in shades of pink and blue, turn to gray, then reappear in a fiery orange glow. That was our gift from God this morning. 😊

Yesterday was quite busy in the morning, as mom had occupational therapy and physical therapy back-to-back, filling the late morning slot. During OT, Larissa, mom’s wonderful occupational therapist, devised a simple way to tape mom’s shoulder to provide a bit of extra support, as the right one is beginning to have a bit of twinge pain with some movements. The added support really seems to help. Physical therapy was a fantastic continuation of working to strengthen mom’s right leg and keep up her hallway walking. After the therapists had gone, mom was a little restless, and I talked her into a quick field trip into town to go through the Dutch Bros drive through. We both benefited from an escape, and it was a gorgeous sunny day. The remainder of our day was rather quiet, spent resting, stretching, doing laundry and the like. Mom slept very well, with only one wake-up in the night, so we are both rested and refreshed this morning. God is faithful, and He is always ready to supply the strength that we need.

 

O Lord, You are love, img_2019-07-02_06-33-255028693986524136181.jpg

Strength, power and grace;

Much more than enough,

To conquer each day.

Not in my own strength,

But only in Yours;

For it’s Your strong hand,

That opens locked doors.

Lord, show me the way,

You’d have me to go;

Each new direction,

By Your love, make known.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are the One who gives us strength to navigate this life according to Your purpose and plan. Thank You that You turn seemingly horrendous detours into beautiful routes we would have never known. Forgive us for our fears and doubts when trials and tribulations derail us. Show us how much strength You are willing to deposit within us, so that we can navigate the new that stands before us. Teach us how to love those around us in a way that offers strength and encouragement when theirs feels depleted. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, our strength, as we praise You for Your faithful provision. Amen.

 

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

 

It is God who arms me with strength and keeps my way secure. – 2 Samuel 22:33

 

Protection and Peace

But whoever listens to Me will live in safety and be at ease, without fear of harm. – (Proverbs 1:33, NIV) 

But those who listen to Me will live in safety and comfort. They will have nothing to fear. – (Proverbs 1:33, ERV) 

But those who listen to Me now will live under divine protection; they can rest knowing they are out of harm’s way. – (Proverbs 1:33, VOICE) 

 

God calls us to be in constant communion with Him. As we pray and seek the Lord for direction in all things – great and small, He answers and guides us in the ways that we are meant to go. When we listen, He keeps us safe and we need not fear. Years ago, when I was flying home from Hong Kong, one of the engines on our plane caught fire. The flames were visible to passengers through the windows, and many on our aircraft were terrified. I had just spent six months traveling all over Asia, serving in schools, churches and communities in response to His leading, and I had to believe that He was not finished with me yet. Silently, I prayed for peace and protection, and somehow, by His divine grace, was not afraid. Our plane emergency landed safely and smoothly in Taiwan, and my biggest concern was continuing my journey home. After several hours of waiting, I was able to catch another flight for the remainder of my trip. He was faithful to keep me safe, and I listened as He led me securely home. Though I am not forever fearless when I find myself in potentially harrowing situations, I am frequently reminded of His faithfulness in countless scenarios prior, and discover that if I slow down and listen, God quiets my heart and brings me His peace. May we ever seek the Lord and His leading, for He is the One to lead us and guide us and keep us safe. 

 

The God of all peace, protection and peace

Is forever near; 

Ready to lead us, 

He’s faithful to hear. 

The more we know Him, 

Trust is realized; 

Loving and gracious, 

God will be our guide. 

Let us ever seek, 

We will surely find; 

The Lord’s protection, 

All fear set aside. 

For there is no room, 

For fear in our heart; 

When we pursue God, 

His peace He’ll impart. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are faithful to provide Your peace and protection as we seek You and listen to You. Forgive us for the times that we allow our circumstances to lead us, rather than our trust in You. Teach us to trust You more, as we recall Your previous provision that kept us safe in Your goodness and grace. Show us how to love those around us in a way that offers peace and assurance in spaces of fear. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You in all things and at all times, knowing that You are faithful to protect us and keep us safe. Amen.

 

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

 

The Lord is with me; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me? – Psalm 118:6

Filled Each Morning

Satisfy us in the morning with Your unfailing love, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days. – (Psalm 90:14, NIV)

Fill us full every morning with Your faithful love so we can rejoice and celebrate our whole life long. – (Psalm 90:14, CEB)

With every sun’s rising, surprise us with Your love, satisfy us with Your kindness. Then we will sing with joy and celebrate every day we are alive. – (Psalm 90:14, VOICE)

 

How our days begin make all the difference in how we perceive the remainder of our waking hours. When we wake and are acutely aware of the faithful love that God has for us, there is a deep-rooted joy from within that rises up and remains present throughout the day, regardless of what comes our way. That is not to say that we will always be happy with our circumstances, yet we can continue to find joy, in spite of them, when we know the kindness of the Lord. God makes His unfailing love known to us in countless ways, if we are only willing to open our eyes to the wonder of all that He does. Each morning the sun rises, and we have a new day to take in His goodness and grace as we draw breath with purpose and can see the evidence of His love all around us. May we rise and rejoice, ever celebrating each new morning that we are granted, for His faithful love will be with us all the day long.

 

Fill us each morning, Filled Each Morning

With Your faithful love;

As joy and gladness,

Are given to us.

Let us choose to sing,

Celebrate Your ways;

Give thanks for the good,

Throughout all our days.

With each sun’s new rise,

Your grace satisfies;

May we opt rejoice,

Each day of our lives.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You fill us each morning with Your faithful love as we seek You with intention. Thank You that Your love is evident all around us, and Your goodness will never end. Forgive us for not opening our eyes to Your kindness in the midst of our messes. Teach us to turn to You in trust so that we may see and know Your faithful love that remains with us, no matter our circumstances. Show us how to love those around us in a way that extends Your kindness, spreads joy, and creates a sense of gratitude for each new day. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You each morning and recognize Your unfailing love so that we may sing for joy and be glad all of our days. Amen.

 

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

 

When times are good, be happy. – Ecclesiastes 7:14

Trust, for He is Good

But I trust in Your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in Your salvation. I will sing the Lord’s praise, for He has been good to me. – (Psalm 13:5-6, NIV)

But I trust in Your unfailing love. I will rejoice because You have rescued me. I will sing to the Lord because He is good to me. – (Psalm 13:5-6, NLT)

 

This morning, for whatever reason, I am just plain tired. The good news is that today is not an ordinary school day. It is an early dismissal day for the students, so the energy required on these days is different than on typical school days. Shortened classes go quickly, and after the students leave for the day, the remainder of the afternoon is spent collaborating with colleagues. In a sense, this is a bit of a rescue from my own exhaustion. Just knowing that I need only rise up until 12:40, is an encouragement in and of itself. At just the right time, there is a break in my ordinary routine, and I feel rescued from the weariness that is threatening. God knows what we can take, and provides precious rest in places where it is needed most. His love never fails, and I am so grateful that He cares about the smallest of details. May we ever trust in the unfailing love of the Lord, and rejoice in the salvation that He has provided. Let our hearts sing praise, for He is always good.

 

I trust in Your love,Be Transformed 1

My God and my King;

For You’re always good,

And rescue, You bring.

Salvation from death,

But also You give;

Love, strength, hope and life,

So we truly live.

Let our hearts choose sing,

All praise unto You;

For Your loving grace,

That carries us through.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your unfailing love that saves. Thank You that You rescue us when we lose our way, and You lead us with Your goodness and grace. Thank You that You are good and loving and kind, and that You meet us where we are but do not allow us to stay stuck in spaces we do not belong. Forgive us for not seeking You when we feel stuck, and help us to ever trust in Your grace and strength to be our help and our hope at all times. Show us how to rejoice and give praise to You, as to You alone, all praise is due. Help us to love those around us in tangible ways that help them to see how much You care. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust in Your unfailing love and sing praise to You forever. Amen.

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

And the Lord said, “I will cause all my goodness to pass in front of you.” – Exodus 33:19