Quick to Listen and Slow to Speak

My dearly loved brothers, understand this: Everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak, and slow to anger. – (James 1:19, HCSB)

My dear brothers and sisters, always be more willing to listen than to speak. Keep control of your anger. – (James 1:19, ERV)

Listen, open your ears, harness your desire to speak, and don’t get worked up into a rage so easily, my brothers and sisters. – (James 1:19, VOICE)

Again, we stand at a crossroads. A friend posted something that truly made me cringe at the brutal honesty of it: the only significant change that we have made since Sandy Hook is that we now have active shooter drills. This hit hard. I cannot begin to pretend to know the answer, but I do know that we must be more willing to listen to potential solutions that do not include: run, hide, fight, kid, and good luck. As an educator, I have seen a significant increase in the depth of kids’ struggles. Health, safety and belonging are at an all-time low. There are many talking heads that get angered at the mere suggestion of changes that might actually help. We must start listening far more than we speak, and set anger aside so that we can come together, hear each other, and seek to bring change that makes a difference. O God help us, for we all need to listen with intention.

Dear Jesus, please come,

Show us what to do;

Protect our children,

May purpose be true.

Lead us and guide us,

To bring needed change;

Make schools a safe place,

Of peaceful exchange.

Help fears dissipate,

Let answers be found;

To protect each child,

Keep hearts and minds sound.

Lead us in Your love,

To listen and learn;

Please safeguard our schools,

As to You, we turn.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You instruct us to be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to anger. Jesus, we need Your help to do these things to bring true change that lasts. Forgive us for allowing politics and sides of the aisle to distract us from how to find solutions that keep our kids safe. Show us how to hear one another, and to be slow to speak with purpose, keeping anger in check so that hearts can be heard. Lead us to love well, as students and staff alike will be shaken at the news. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, for in You we come to know peace, safety, comfort and care. Be glorified O God, as we seek Your wisdom to listen and pursue true change to keep our babies safe. Amen.

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

But the wisdom that comes from God is like this: First, it is pure. It is also peaceful, gentle, and easy to please. This wisdom is always ready to help people who have trouble and do good for others. This wisdom is always fair and honest. – James 3:17

Our Present Refuge

But as for me, God’s presence is my good. I have made the Lord God my refuge, so I can tell about all You do. – (Psalm 73:28, HCSB)

As for me, all I need is to be close to God. I have made the Lord God my place of safety. And, God, I will tell about all that You have done. – (Psalm 73:28, ERV)

But the closer I am to You, my God, the better because life with You is good. O Lord, the Eternal, You keep me safe – I will tell everyone what You have done. – (Psalm 73:28, VOICE)

This Psalm is a reminder of the faithfulness of God, no matter what is going on around us. His goodness is not dependent on our circumstances. In God, we can place our trust, for He is our refuge and the good we can hold onto. May we speak of the goodness and faithfulness that God has shown us, for it is a reminder of who He is and how deeply He loves.

The presence of God,

Is forever good;

Our place of safety,

Where love’s understood.

Faithful forever,

The reason to praise;

May our words speak out,

Of His faithful ways.

Love is ongoing,

In Him, hope remains;

Grace for each new day,

Forever He reigns.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your presence is the goodness that our hearts long for. Thank You that You are faithful to meet us and be our safe place whenever we call on You. Forgive us for forgetting just how good You are when our circumstances are not. Teach us to turn to You, and to share about Your faithfulness in our lives. Lead us to love those around us as You do. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to be our safe space and tell of Your ongoing faithfulness. Amen.

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

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

Fear is a Liar

Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe. – (Proverbs 29:25, NIV)

Fear can be a trap, but if you trust in the Lord, you will be safe. – (Proverbs 29:25, ERV)

The fear of human opinion disables; trusting in God protects you from that. – (Proverbs 29:25, MSG)

Fear is a liar. It creeps in and tells us that we are not enough, and that we will never accomplish what we have been called and created to do. When we choose to trust in the Lord, we discover peace, provision and safety. The things that once brought fear can become sources of joy. In Him, we need not be afraid, but rather we can move confidently forward in all that He calls us to do and become. May we choose to listen to the voice of truth, and allow Him to show us how to overcome fears and persevere.

Choose let not the fear,

Of people and things;

Keep us from doing,

What is our calling.

Instead trust the Lord,

Who arms and protects;

Equips success,

As He knows what’s best.

Rise up in freedom,

Choose His strength and song;

Keep pressing forward,

In Christ, carry on.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we need not fear people and their opinions, but rather we need to trust in You. Thank You that we have been created and called with purpose. Forgive us for allowing the opinions of others to give fear a foothold. Show us how to listen to Your voice and trust in the truth of Your word. Teach us to love those around us in a way that encourages trust and chases away fear so that all might persevere. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we recognize the truth of who You are and silence the fears that are not founded in truth. 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

Finding Perfect Peace

You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in You. – (Isaiah 26:3, NIV)

God, You give true peace to people who depend on You, to those who trust in You. – (Isaiah 26:3, ERV)

You will keep the peace, a perfect peace, for all who trust in You, for those who dedicate their hearts and minds to You. – (Isaiah 26:3, VOICE)

I try not to watch nor read too much of the news, but rather just enough to have an idea of what is going on in the world. Over the last several days, it has been a challenge to get my heart to settle with so much unrest and disaster in the world around us. God’s peace does not mean that all chaos ceases, but rather it is His presence despite the chaos that grants us His perfect peace. Each time my heart becomes unsettled, I must give it to Him and choose to trust. Ultimately, He is in control and will remain with me no matter what comes. Today, as I start my day, my prayer is for all those who are in the spaces of disaster and in the midst of wars. May help and peace, safety and security come to all who are in the middle of such turmoil.

O God, You are good,

Despite what we see;

Our beacon of hope,

The peace that we need.

Lord may Your presence,

Love, help, hope and grace;

Be made tangible,

In unsettled space.

Grant safety to all,

In spaces of fear;

Give strength and escape,

Lord, be ever near.

May each new concern,

Compel us to pray;

Please grant miracles,

Throughout each new day.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You give true peace to those who depend on You. Lord, I place every concern in Your mighty hands and ask You to work as only You can. Forgive us for our fears, doubts, and unbelief in the face of disasters. Teach us to trust and depend on You, for You alone are greater than anything we face. Show us how to love those around us, so that Your peace may be made known through kindness and grace. Be glorified O God, as we rely on You to be our peace, and seek Your wisdom to show us how to extend Your peace to those around us. Amen.

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

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. – John 14:27

Let Go of Fear

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. – (Isaiah 41:10, NIV)

Don’t worry – I am with you. Don’t be afraid – I am your God. I will make you strong and help you. I will support you with my right hand that brings victory. – (Isaiah 41:10, ERV)

Don’t panic. I’m with you. There’s no need to fear for I’m your God. I’ll give you strength. I’ll help you. I’ll hold you steady, keep a firm grip on you. – (Isaiah 41:10, MSG)

Fear is a funny thing, for fear does not simply involve being scared for your life or safety, as there are times that it can be a subtle anxiousness about the unknown that sneaks up on us. For me, the subtle anxiousness about the new or unknown is far more common than the other. It seems that I cannot avoid this ongoing walking into seasons of new. Some are announced, yet others come out of nowhere. I imagine that for the last year and a half, we all have had some sort of fear creep in. Not knowing how to navigate promotes anxiousness within me. This is the space where I must lean into God and trust that He will provide the support and help that I need to keep moving forward. In my experience, He has always shown up. He has provided peace, direction and help to lead me through whatever obstacle has been set before me. It is in this space of remembering His faithfulness that I find the fortitude to release fear and choose to trust in the One who helps and holds us up. May we ever seek the Lord as we stand in the face of fear, and remember Who is holding us securely in His hands.

Let go of the fear,

That holds a heart back;

Creates anxiousness,

Highlights what we lack.

For though on our own,

We’ve reason to fear;

Yet as we trust God,

We know He is near.

Our strength and supply,

The Lord remains near;

He grants us His peace,

In Him, there’s no fear.

Ever He’s holding,

Us up in His hands;

To walk in His strength,

Follow His commands.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that in You, we’ve no reason to worry or be fearful, for You hold us in the hollow of Your hands. Forgive us for allowing what we see and perceive to give fear a foothold. Teach us to trust in You and Your strength to supply us with all that we need to navigate the new and uncertain spaces. Show us how to love and encourage those around us, so that they too, may come to know Your faithful love that never leaves us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we let go of fear and anxiousness and trust in Your strong hands. Amen.

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

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with My righteous right hand. – Isaiah 41:10

Protection Wherever We Go

The Lord will keep you from all harm – He will watch over your life; the Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore. – (Psalm 121:7-8, NIV)

The Lord will protect you from every danger. He will protect your soul. The Lord will protect you as you come and go, both now and forever! – (Psalm 121:7-8, ERV)

The Eternal will keep you safe from all of life’s evils, from your first breath to the last breath you breathe, from this day and forever. – (Psalm 121:7-8, VOICE)

This week, my husband is preparing to leave for a week-long bike trip with a few of the fellas. They will spend long days riding through twisty roads and mountain passes, taking in the sights and enjoying the open air. It is an annual tradition that he has taken part in for years, but each year I worry about his safety; not because of his ability or experience, but rather my concern is for the decisions that other drivers make as he rides. God is faithful, and the Psalms remind me of His ongoing protection and love. May we ever trust in the Lord to keep us from harm and to watch over our lives wherever we go.

Wherever we go,

Whatever we do;

God remains faithful,

I know this is true.

Trust in His goodness,

Protection and grace;

Faithful forever,

Throughout all our days.

Help us remember,

What You say is true;

Love beyond measure,

In all that we do.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our Protector. Thank You that You are faithful forever, and are present with us, every breath we take. Forgive us for our fearfulness that causes us to worry. Thank You that Your concern and covering for us is far greater than we can grasp. Teach us to trust You as we come and go, and to protect our loved ones throughout each new day. Show us how to love those around us well. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, as they too discover the goodness of Your love and the covering of Your grace. Be glorified O God, as we trust all in Your hands. 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

Promised Presence

Even to your old age and gray hairs I am He, I am He who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you. – (Isaiah 46:4, NIV) 

And I will still be carrying you when you are old. Your hair will turn gray, and I will still carry you. I made you, and I will carry you to safety. – (Isaiah 46:4, ERV) 

And when you are old, I will still be there, carrying you. When your limbs grow tired, your eyes are weak, and your hair a silvery gray, I will carry you as I always have. I will carry you and save you. – (Isaiah 46:4, VOICE) 

God’s promises are not just for today, but they remain forever. His promise to sustain and carry us is true throughout our entire life. I have known God’s faithfulness to carry and sustain me – from childhood to adulthood, and now as I move ever closer to the white hairs of years flying by. It is good to be reminded of His ongoing faithfulness, especially when in the midst of so much new and uncertain. God’s faithfulness and ability to sustain and carry us is not dependent on our circumstances, nor the status of the world around us. Even on days where what lies before us seems insurmountable, He is faithful to see us through. Today, I am placing all in His hands, and trusting Him to lead, strengthen and carry me through all that awaits. The Lord is good, and He is worthy of our trust. May we choose to seek Him and place all in His hands. 

The Lord is faithful, 

For all of our days; 

From when we are young, 

Today, and always. 

He calms all our fears, 

When we are afraid; 

And grants us His strength, 

When ours goes away. 

He is our safety, 

In uncertainty; 

Our help and our hope, 

To eternity. 

So, trust in the Lord, 

Choose rely on Him; 

He’ll help us press on, 

Even when hope’s dim. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our help and our hope, as You sustain, strengthen, and carry us throughout our whole life. Thank You that Your promises are true in both our youth and into our older years. Forgive us for our frustrations and fears with the things that seem too much. Teach us to trust You in all things and at all times. Show us how to love those around us in ways that make Your faithfulness tangible. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek and depend on You, all the days of our lives. Amen. 

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

The Lord Himself goes before you and will be with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. – Deuteronomy 31:8

Where Trust Belongs

It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in humans. – (Psalm 118:8, NIV) 

It is better to trust in the Lord than to trust in people. – (Psalm 118:8, ERV) 

Lord, it is so much better to trust in You to save me than to put my confidence in someone else. – (Psalm 118:8, TPT) 

Surrounding ourselves with people whom we love and trust is good, but ultimately, our trust must be in God alone. He is our refuge and strength; perfect and infallible. Humans, though wonderfully made, are imperfect and subject to sin. God does not get too busy, nor distracted, and He is always present to be our help and our hope. I am blessed to have incredible humans in my corner, yet, I cannot transfer my trust from God to them. He has to come first. Too often, when our trust is misplaced, we discover disappointment, sorrow and frustration. Humans are fallible. It is not to say that there ought not be people whom we trust, but rather we must trust God first. May we ever place our trust and confidence in the Lord, for His love never fails us. 

Far better it is, 

To trust in the Lord; 

For He’s ever near, 

Faith’s promised reward. 

Though people are good, 

And we need to trust; 

Our ultimate faith, 

In God is a must. 

His love never fails, 

As He is the One; 

Our safety, shelter, 

Faithful, risen Son. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are the One in whom we can place our trust. Thank You that Your love is unending and will never fail us. Thank You that Your trustworthiness is not dependent upon our capacity to trust. Forgive us for the times that we have placed our faith in anyone or anything other than You. Teach us to seek You first as the One in whom we trust. Show us how to love others in ways that demonstrate Your faithfulness. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we place our trust in You and Your unfailing love. Amen. 

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

Lord Almighty, blessed is the one who trusts in You. – Psalm 84:12

Good To Be Near

But as for me, it is good to be near God. I have made the Sovereign Lord my refuge; I will tell of all Your deeds. – (Psalm 73:28, NIV) 

As for me, all I need is to be close to God. I have made the Lord God my place of safety. And, God, I will tell about all that You have done. – (Psalm 73:28, ERV) 

But the closer I am to You, my God, the better because life with You is good. O Lord, the Eternal, You keep me safe – I will tell everyone what You have done. – (Psalm 73:28, VOICE) 

Being close to God does not mean that our lives will be easy or void of pain, but rather it is the assurance that His presence will be with us as He strengthens and upholds us with His mighty hands. No matter what we are going through, God is who we can run to and know that in Him, we are safe. The Lord is faithful to protect us body, heart, mind and soul, if we seek Him to be our refuge. To be close to God requires time invested in Him. The more we read His word, pray, and worship Him, the closer we feel and the more aware of His nearness we become. Trust and fear cannot coexist, for if we fully trust, there is no room for fear. Too often, our circumstances lead us to “I trust God, but…” scenarios. If there is a “but”, there is not full trust. Thankfully, it is process and God is full of goodness and grace. So often, in the midst of fear, I find myself turning to the Lord for help, only to discover that the more I seek and give the fear to Him, the greater my faith in His ability to carry me becomes. He is always good, even in our most difficult seasons. Joy, peace and hope are all possible, no matter what circumstances we find ourselves in. Last year, as my sister, myself, and our families navigated how to best care for and aid mom in recovery, we found ourselves with His joy, His peace, and hope in Him for all that was yet to come. Sadly, in this COVID season, we are separated not only by distance, but also by strict rules that we must adhere to in order to maintain health and safety within mom’s community. It stinks, and we all have long since grown weary of it, yet each of us knows the refuge that He provides as we run to Him. God is good; always. May we ever seek the Lord to be our refuge and retreat, and be quick to share of His goodness and faithfulness forever. 

The goodness of God, 

Is readily shown; 

As we choose seek Him, 

His love is made known. 

For when we draw near, 

He is our refuge; 

Comfort and safety, 

Our Source of good news. 

Trust in His goodness, 

Give praise for His grace; 

Seek Him forever, 

And follow His ways. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our refuge and safety as we draw near to You. Thank You that Your goodness and love are ever-present and lavishly granted. Forgive us for not trusting You in spaces that feel uncertain. Teach us to draw near to You, for in Your presence we know Your goodness, strength and security. Show us how to love others in such a way, that they too, may recognize Your goodness and love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we recognize and pursue the goodness that is found in being close to You. Amen. 

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

Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for He who promised is faithful. – Hebrews 10:23

Quiet Retreat

You are my refuge and my shield; I have put my hope in Your word. – (Psalm 119:114, NIV) 

You’re my place of quiet retreat, and Your wrap-around presence becomes my shield as I wrap myself in Your word! – (Psalm 119:114, TPT) 

You are my hiding place and my shield of protection; I hope in Your word. – (Psalm 119:114, VOICE) 

I have been in the habit of seeking a quiet retreat with God every morning for several years now, however, in this seemingly long season of COVID, I find that there has been far more down time than I am a fan of having. That being said, it has forced me to either rest in the truth of His word, and appreciate the quiet retreat, or allow my heart and mind in a frenzy of what I could and should be doing. Thor, our yellow lab puppy, grants me glimpses of how God must see me. Sometimes, he is bouncing all over the place and struggles to settle down, even after food, play and his basic needs have been met. At times, he will settle himself down and rest in the safety of home. There are times though, where redirection and correction are needed to help him find a space of quiet retreat, where he will simply settle in and rest. I know that I am the same. In the early morning, it is easy for me to seek quiet retreat with God, and rest in His presence as I soak in His word. When the days grow long, and I desperately desire to go out and be active and busy, He will correct, redirect and help me to settle into His safety and trust Him to show me what to do next. God is good, and is our refuge and place of hope. May we ever seek Him to protect, direct and show us what is best. 

Our quiet retreat, 

Safety where there’s rest; 

The Lord is our hope, 

As He loves us best. 

Brings calm in the storm, 

The truth in His word; 

Grace in our chaos, 

Love that’s seen and heard. 

He offers us space, 

To rest in His grace; 

And trust in His truth, 

For all of our days. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our safety and shelter, and offer us truth and direction in Your word. Thank You that when we seek You, we find You. Forgive us for not seeking You in our own unrest. Teach us to turn to You for peace, direction and rest, as You lead us best. Show us how to love those around us well, so that Your loving kindness may be made known. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You and spend time in Your word to learn and rest in You. Amen. 

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

Guide me in Your truth and teach me, for You are God my Savior, and my hope is in You all day long. – Psalm 25:5