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

Where Help Comes From

I lift my eyes toward the mountains. Where will my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. – (Psalm 121:1-2, HCSB)

I look up to the hills, but where will my help really come from? My help will come from the Lord, the Creator of heaven and earth. – (Psalm 121:1-2, ERV)

I look up to the mountains; does my strength come from mountains? No, my strength comes from God, who made heaven, and earth, and mountains. – (Psalm 121:1-2, MSG)

Lifting our eyes is a way to take our gaze off of what lies directly before us, and to look beyond to what could be. Each time I see the majestic mountains, I am reminded of the power and goodness of God. The same God who formed the mountains, is the One who comes and dwells within us as we invite Him in. He is our help and our hope, and the One in whom our future rests. To look to the mountains is to gaze upon the tangible evidence of God. For me, when I look upon the beauty of creation, I am reminded of the One who made it all. He is so much more than we see, yet the tangible evidence of His goodness makes the unseen easier to grasp. May we ever look to the Lord to be our strength, help and hope, and readily receive the reminders all around us as we gaze upon the beauty of all that He has made.

When we choose look up,

Our eyes truly see;

All of creation,

Made purposefully.

Our help and our hope,

Come from God above;

He sees and He hears,

And answers in love.

Majestic mountains,

And sparkling seas;

Glimpses of the Lord,

And His majesty.

His power and grace,

Are visibly seen;

To show us His love,

As He meets our needs.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have shown us Your power through the beauty of creation all around us. Thank You for such incredible reminders of Your power and strength that are available to all who seek You. Forgive us for the times that we have looked to anything other than You to be our strength, and for the times that we have somehow made You too small. Teach us to look to You in all things and at all times, for You are greater than all. Show us how to love those around us in ways that lift up and encourage everyone. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to be our strength, and praise You for the tangible reminders of Your power and grace. 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 I am helped. Therefore my heart rejoices and I praise Him with my song. – Psalm 28:7

Splendor and Majesty

Splendor and majesty are before Him; strength and beauty are in His sanctuary. – (Psalm 96:6, HCSB)

He lives in the presence of glory and honor. His Temple is a place of power and beauty. – (Psalm 96:6, ERV)

Honor and majesty precede Him; strength and beauty infuse His holy sanctuary. – (Psalm 96:6, VOICE)

When I think of the splendor and majesty of God, I cannot help but look to the beauty and strength found in His creation. Currently, my Viking and I are on a little anniversary getaway in Westport, Washington. It is a coastal town that is known for its great fishing, and we have settled into a wooded oasis in our travel trailer. The lush green around us, and the sound of foghorns on the water nearby, all point to the creativity and power of God. I am so grateful for the reminders all around us, for if there is this much beauty and power here on earth, how much more in heaven in His presence? Amazingly, His Temple is no longer a structure that we have to go to in order to be in God’s presence. We are His Temple in which He dwells. That means that the power and beauty that made all things resides in all who invite Him in. For me, this is a reminder that our prayers are powerful, and that we are gaining glimpses of Him through all that His hands have made that surround us. May we ever seek Him and praise Him for all that He has made, and give thanks for how present and available He is within us.

The Lord is so great,

Worthy of all praise;

His strength and beauty,

And His loving ways.

His hands created,

All that we can see;

He dwells within us,

Leads purposefully.

Open our eyes Lord,

Remind us anew;

Of all that You are,

And all that You do.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we are given glimpses of Your splendor and majesty, strength and beauty, through all that surrounds us. Thank You that we are the temple of Your Holy Spirit, so the same power that has created, cared, and covered us all can live within us. Forgive us for not recognizing the magnitude of Your majesty. Teach us to recognize the beauty and power in all that You have created, and show us how to appreciate and take in all that You have made. Show us how to love those around us in ways that honor You, for each of us has been created with a plan and a purpose. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we witness the glory of You in all that surrounds us and give You praise for who You are. Amen.

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

Lord, who is like You among the gods? Who is like You, glorious in holiness, revered with praises, performing wonders? – Exodus 15:11

Thankful for Faithful Love

Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His faithful love endures forever. – (Psalm 106:1, HCSB)

Give thanks to the Lord because He is good! His faithful love will last forever! – (Psalm 106:1, ERV)

Praise the Eternal! Thank Him because He is good and His loyal love will never end. – (Psalm 106:1, VOICE)

One of the things that I am most grateful to God for is family. Today, as my sister celebrates another trip around the sun, I am overwhelmed with gratitude for the gift God gave me in my sister. Growing up, I had a built in best friend, and as an adult, I have a confidant and someone to be totally transparent with, without fear of judgment. Together, we have navigated some of the greatest celebrations and most trying circumstances that life can offer. When I ponder the loyal love of God, my sister (and our mom) are reminders of how He intended it to be.  May we ever give thanks to the Lord for His goodness and His faithful love that knows no end, and for the tangible examples of this love that He has given us in our lives.

All praise to the Lord,

For He is so good;

Loyal in His love,

Our hope understood.

Praise for the blessings,

Bestowed unto us;

Family, loved ones,

That love like Jesus.

Today, I give thanks,

For sister and friend;

A lifetime of love,

Good that knows no end.

Lord, bless my sister,

My favorite gift;

Keep her in Your care,

With blessings, uplift.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your goodness and Your faithful love. Thank You for the gift that You give us through friends and family that demonstrate Your love in tangible ways. Forgive us for taking these blessings for granted. Teach us to treasure the people whom You have placed in our lives to show us more of Your heart for us. Show us how to love well, all those around us, and may we uplift and encourage each with the faithful love that You give to us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for Your love and faithfulness, and for the beautiful blessings that You bestow upon us through family and friends. Amen.

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

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

Hope is Reborn

Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. – (Matthew 5:4, NIV)

Great blessings belong to those who are sad now. God will comfort them. – (Matthew 5:4, ERV)

You’re blessed when you feel you’ve lost what is most dear to you. Only then can you be embraced by the One most dear to you. – (Matthew 5:4, MSG)

Grief is in the forefront of my mind this morning, as I received news of a friend’s great loss. I never know what to say in the space of such suffering, as I know the despair and devastation created by loss, and we each respond differently in the depths of our own pain. For me, reminders of God’s goodness and ability to comfort, along with the recognition and recall that Jesus grieved in loss as well, seem to help my heart in such spaces. The shortest, yet most powerfully significant verse that I know in such a space is, “Jesus wept.” (John 11:35) Jesus weeping in the face of loss with His dear friends is a reminder to us that we are not meant to “keep it all together” or “be strong” when we face grief. It is good and necessary to grieve so that our hearts can heal. God takes the broken pieces of our hearts and puts them back together in such a wondrous way that beauty springs forth from our ashes. Incredibly, what I have found after a period of mourning, is that God brings along opportunities for me to offer comfort to others walking through something similar, and great hope as I can see so clearly how I was held through the pain. My hope and prayer this morning is that those in the midst of loss can find comfort and peace in the arms of the One who is able to heal us, and feel the freedom to grieve however it is needed so that release and relief may come.

When tragedy strikes,

Or great loss is known;

God be our comfort,

As Your love is shown.

Teach our hearts to grieve,

In spaces of loss;

So healing can come,

Let’s look to the cross.

For in such anguish,

You bore all our pain;

So that we might know,

That joy comes again.

For after the grave,

You breathed life anew;

Our forever hope,

That proves Your love’s true.

A time for weeping,

To grieve and to mourn;

So joy may return,

And hope is reborn.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have known and experienced loss and devastation, and You too, wept. Thank You that because You have lived it, You can relate to our suffering and bring comfort and healing and hope. Forgive us for our fears and doubts when all that we can feel is loss. Teach us to turn to You in our despair, for Your arms are big enough to hold our every heaviness. Show us how to love, support, encourage and walk beside those around us in their seasons of loss. May comfort be found and Your heart made known in new and tangible ways. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God as we give You room and freedom to bring beauty from our ashes and hope from our despair. Amen.

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

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens… – Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

Faith Makes Possible

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. – (Hebrews 11:1, NIV)

Faith is what makes real the things we hope for. It is proof of what we cannot see. – (Hebrews 11:1, ERV)

Now faith brings our hopes into reality and becomes the foundation needed to acquire the things we long for. It is all the evidence required to prove what is still unseen. – (Hebrews 11:1, TPT)

Confident hope comes as we trust in He who is able to bring all things into being. Though no one has seen God, evidence of His existence is everywhere. Our faith cannot be dependent on our circumstances, but rather in He who is present with us through them all. The inexplicable peace that is made present in chaos, the light that shines on the darkest days, the strength and help to persevere when weariness is overwhelming – all remind me that God is with us and that faith is what grows hope in what is yet to be. May we ever have faith in He who grants us hope and hold fast to the promises of what is yet to be.

Faith makes possible,

What is yet to be;

Helps us to hold hope,

In what we can’t see.

What God has promised,

Is trusted and true;

All that is needed,

Is what God will do.

Strength in the struggle,

Peace when it is hard;

His love forever,

Right here where we are.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our hope and You grow faith within us. Thank You that faith fuels the hope within us that trusts in what is unseen and yet to be. Forgive us for our fears and doubts. Teach us to trust You more as You grow our faith in You. Show us how to love those around us in ways that increase faith and offer hope where it is lacking. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we have faith in all that is hoped for and all that is yet to be seen. Amen.

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

And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him. – Hebrews 11:6

Evidence of Present Help

I lift my eyes to the mountains – where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. – (Psalm 121:1-2, NIV) 

I look up to the hills, but where will my help come from? My help will come from the Lord, the Creator of heaven and earth. – (Psalm 121:1-2, ERV) 

I look up at the vast size of the mountains – from where will my help come in times of trouble? The Eternal Creator of heaven and earth and these mountains will send the help I need. – (Psalm 121:1-2, VOICE) 

The sun is shining, the birds are singing, and my sweet puppy is sleeping soundly. All around me are reminders that God is present to help. It is amazing how well we can become aware of God and His help, if only we pause and take in the beauty that surrounds us. The very same God who created such vast artistry is willing and available to be our help and our hope. Today, may we look to the mountains, the ocean, or simply the sky overhead, and be reminded of the One who is our help as we seek Him. 

God’s given us eyes, 

So that we may see; 

All of creation, 

Hand-crafted beauty. 

It’s not just our eyes, 

But our hearts that know; 

All we experience, 

God’s love to behold. 

Each of our senses, 

Truly testify; 

Of all that is good, 

Proof that God’s nearby. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we look around and take in the beauty of all that Your hands have made, we cannot help but remember that You are our help and our hope. Forgive us for the times that we have allowed our circumstances to blind us to Your nearness and willingness to help. Teach us to trust You more, as we learn to lean into You. Show us how to love those around us in ways that make Your power and presence tangible. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we look up and out to see the evidence of Your hand. Amen. 

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

Look up to the heavens and see; gaze at the clouds so high above you. – Job 35:5

Gaze at the Glory

The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of His hands. – (Psalm 19:1, NIV) 

The heavens tell about the glory of God. The skies announce what His hands have made. – (Psalm 19:1, ERV) 

God’s splendor is a tale that is told; His testament is written in the stars. Space itself speaks of His story every day through the marvels of the heavens. His truth is on tour in the starry vault of the sky, showing His skill in creation’s craftsmanship. – (Psalm 19:1, TPT) 

Even in the midst of all that is going on in the world, the evidence of God remains. All it takes is a glimpse of a sunrise or sunset, or to gaze at the moon and stars in all of their splendor, to be reminded of God’s glory. The same hands that paint the glorious array of colors and hung the stars in their place, holds each of us in the hollow of His hand. God, in His great love for us, created beauty for us to see. He knows us each by name, and designed each person with intention. There is a plan and a purpose for all of us; and as we seek Him, He is faithful to make His plans known.  

Today, as I prepare for my last day of work for the school year, and ready myself for my boys’ graduation, I am ever aware of God’s faithfulness to carry us through. His splendor is told through His presence that has carried us throughout the years, and brought us to this important milestone. Many times, over the last few years, I have watched the sunrise, and have been shown His goodness and faithfulness through the glorious array of colors awakening the sky. Tomorrow, following the broadcast version of the boys’ graduation, (recording of each student walking in cap and gown, as well as the recorded speakers), we will be driving to see my mom, for the first time since the shutdown began. Though we will not be able to embrace and interact as we normally would, we are grateful that we can go and lay eyes on her for ourselves, and visit, masked and physically distanced. One of the things that stood out to me, is one of my boys made a point to tell me that he wanted to wake up early enough to watch the sunrise while we are there, as he has fond memories of sitting together with mom in her living room, watching together in awe. He too, knows of the faithfulness of God, and His goodness that greets us anew every morning. It has not been an easy road, particularly during this pandemic with school closed, yet we have seen and known God’s goodness throughout. The work of God’s hands are tangible reminders that He is good and He is faithful. May we gaze at the glory of God’s creation, and know His faithfulness and love. 

We look to the sky, 

And God’s love is clear; 

Such beauty beheld, 

As we know He’s near. 

The very same hands, 

That painted the sky; 

Made us with purpose, 

Gave us wings to fly. 

Created, equipped, 

To go forth and rise; 

To love and be loved, 

It’s how we’re designed. 

Lay hold of the gifts, 

Birthed deep within you; 

Boldly walk forward, 

Embrace each step new. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we need only look up to be reminded of who You are and how You love. Thank You for the tangible evidence of Your goodness and grace. Forgive us for the times that we have made You too small. Teach us to pause and look up, making us ever aware of Your goodness, faithfulness and love. Show us how to love one another in the way that You intended; valuing, celebrating, encouraging and lifting each other up, so that Your love would be evident to all. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for the beauty that surrounds us and reminds us of Your unending love for all. Amen. 

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

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.” – Jeremiah 29:11

Perfect Faithfulness

Lord, You are my God; I will exalt You and praise Your Name, for in perfect faithfulness You have done wonderful things, things planned long ago. – (Isaiah 25:1, NIV)

Eternal One, You are my God. I will lift You up and praise Your Name. Because You have made wonders marvelous and beautiful – the most ancient designs holding strong and sure. – (Isaiah 25:1, VOICE)

O Lord, I will honor and praise Your Name, for You are my God; You do such wonderful things! You planned them long ago, and now You have accomplished them, just as You said! – (Isaiah 25:1, TLB)

 

In perfect faithfulness is such a powerful description of the truth of how God moves. There are so many wonderful things – marvelous and beautiful, that He has done, that bless, encourage and uphold us in ways that only God can do. Incredibly, the Lord moves through things, great and small, that remind us again and again that He is our God who is worthy of all of our praise. Sometimes, it is a matter of arriving at the end of a long week and looking back, in order to see how He has been faithful to bring us through the days that felt impossible. And in the midst of the long, there have been blessings to behold, that God brought forth. Time with my family, conversations with mom, working with wonderful colleagues, coaching great girls in a sport I love, and actual sightings of sunshine, have all been reminders of His faithfulness and reason to give Him praise. For the faithfulness of God, and the power of His plans that are steadily accomplished, may we honor and praise His Name.

 

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Faithful for all times;

He plans in advance,

The blessings we find.

He’s true to His word,

God knows what we need;

He hears each request,

As with love He leads.

Such beautiful things,

Through love and His grace;

Endowed unto us,

Let us give God praise.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for loving us so well. Thank You that You do wonderful and marvelous things that You planned long ago, to bless us and show us Your faithfulness. Thank You that in all things, You are present. Forgive us for our fears and frustrations in the wait between what we know is promised and the fulfillment. Teach us to be patient and full of praise as we wait and trust in You. Show us how to love those around us best, so that all may know Your goodness and grace through our love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for who You are and how You love. Amen.

 

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

 

Sing to Him, sing praise to Him; tell of all His wonderful acts. – 1 Chronicles 16:9

Be Strong and Take Heart

Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the Lord. – (Psalm 31:24, NIV)

Be strong and brave, all of you who are waiting on the Lord’s help. – (Psalm 31:24, ERV)

So cheer up! Take courage all you who love Him. Wait for Him to break through for you, all who trust in Him! – (Psalm 31:24, TPT)

 

God’s timing is always perfect, even though we often desire a different timeline. Yesterday was an amazing day for hope, as Mom took a giant leap of faith, that took tremendous courage and strength, as she continues to persevere and wait for full healing and restoration to come. In the morning, prior to my guys arrival, Mom determined that she wanted to give the new cane we had purchased on Friday (per the physical therapist’s request), a try. Not only did she “try”, but she opted to utilize the cane as her only assisting tool for walking for the entire day! She did multiple laps around the house, was in and out of various rooms, and later we ventured into Corvallis to a favorite shop and then to dinner together. Mom navigated beautifully, and did not relent, as she joyfully joined us all for family game night when we returned home. She is a bit sore this morning, as muscles were utilized differently than they have been, yet she continues to be determined, and insisted on using the cane from the moment she woke up. Post-stroke, progress is slow by human standards, yet God knows what we need and we are placing our hope and trust in Him. He is good, and He continues to grant us beautiful reminders of His faithfulness and grace, and show us how He is working in and through Mom to strengthen and heal her. May we choose to be strong and take heart in He who is our hope forever.

 

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For He makes us brave;

Grants us what we need,

To float through the waves.

The Lord is our hope,

He hears each heart cry;

He moves far beyond,

What’s seen with our eyes.

God strengthens each heart,

And builds up resolve;

Helps us keep moving,

As grace is installed.

Choose trust in the Lord,

Take courage, be strong;

He’s ever moving,

Our Hope and our Song.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can be strong and courageous in You, as You are our hope. Thank You that You move on our behalf, even when we cannot see what You are doing. Forgive us for our impatience and lack of faith that grows weary when things do not move according to our desired timeline. Teach us to trust You more, as Your timing is perfect and You have good in store for those who love You. Show us how to love those around us in ways that encourage strength, courage and hope in all things. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we hope in You in all things. Amen.

 

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

 

We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain. – Hebrews 6:19