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

Generously and Faithfully

“They don’t need to go away,” Jesus told them. “You give them something to eat.” “But we only have five loaves and two fish here,” they said to Him. “Bring them here to Me,” He said. – (Matthew 14:16-18, HCSB)

Jesus said, “The people don’t need to go away. You give them some food to eat.” The followers answered, “But we only have five loaves of bread and two fish.” Jesus said, “Bring the bread and fish to Me.” – (Matthew 14:16-18, ERV)

Jesus: They don’t need to go back to the villages in order to eat supper. Give them something to eat here.

Disciples: But we don’t have enough food. We only have five rounds of flatbread and two fish.

Jesus: Bring the bread and fish to Me. 

So the disciples brought Him the five rounds of flatbread and the two fish. – (Matthew 14:16-18, VOICE)

This passage is an excellent reminder of how God can supply all that we need and more when we trust Him with what we do have, especially when we seek to be generous. Though I have not personally witnessed five loaves and two fish feeding thousands, I have seen God do immeasurably more than I could have hoped or imagined when I placed what I had to offer in His hands. He takes what we have and makes it enough. This is true with our time, talent and resources. We are called to love and give, and as we do, God supplies for both the giver and the recipient. May we ever seek the Lord to be our supply, for He is generous and kind, and faithful to meet us as we stand in faith.

In Christ there’s enough,

Our Source and Supply;

He takes what we bring,

And then multiplies.

The Lord is the One,

Who sees ev’ry need;

Then takes what’s offered,

And makes it exceed.

Exceed what is seen,

Go beyond what’s known;

The Multiplier,

Of each seed that’s sown.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have shown us how You can take the little that we have to offer and use it to bless many. Thank You that You see every offering and hear every prayer. Forgive us for our fears and doubts, for You are always enough. Teach us to trust You with all so that we might give generously and live faithfully. Show us how to love in tangible ways so that those around us might come to know the goodness of Your love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we place all that we have and all that we are into Your hands, for in You, there is enough. Amen.

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

God gave us this command: If we love God, we must also love each other as brothers and sisters. – 1 John 4:21

Extend Love

God is not unjust; He will not forget your work and the love you have shown Him as you have helped His people and continue to help them. – (Hebrews 6:10, NIV)

God is fair, and He will remember all the work you have done. He will remember that you showed your love to Him by helping His people and that you continue to help them. – (Hebrews 6:10, ERV)

For God, the Faithful One, is not unfair. How can He forget the beautiful work you have done for Him? He remembers the love you demonstrate as you continually serve His beloved ones for the glory of His Name. – (Hebrews 6:10, TPT)

We are called to love God and love people. God, in His great love, remembers the love, kindness and help that we extend to those around us. When we love people well, it is an extension of our love for Him. Throughout this entire pandemic, there has not been a lack of need for help. Help can be expressed in the form of reaching out to a neighbor in need, checking in on those who are isolated, and extending patience and kindness to all. We know not the story that those around us are walking in. If we choose to meet each person we encounter with kindness and grace, we are loving as we have been called to love. God sees and knows our heart and is willing to make it more like His. Our charge is to seek and depend on Him, for it is in that space of reliance that we are transformed to love, help and extend grace in the same way that He does for us. May we ever pursue the heart of God to love those around us well, for He sees and remembers a heart that is faithful to love.

The God of justice,

He sees and is pleased;

When we extend love,

Perpetuate peace.

Kindness and goodness,

With love and God’s grace;

A faithful service,

To walk in His ways.

So, rise up in love,

In all of our ways;

Let the Lord’s love lead,

Throughout each new day.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are the God who sees and knows our hearts. Thank You that You are willing to transform us to more clearly reflect You if only we walk in Your ways and do Your will. Forgive us for the times that we have neglected to live and love as You intended. Teach us to see the need around us and to act on it. Show us how to love in practical and tangible ways. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to show us how to love, help and extend grace to all those around us. Amen.

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

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. – Galatians 6:9

Time Leads to Hope

That is why we labor and strive, because we have put our hope in the living God, who is the Savior of all people, and especially of those who believe. – (1 Timothy 4:10, NIV)

We hope in the living God, the Savior of all people. In particular, He is the Savior of all those who believe in Him. This is why we work and struggle. – (1 Timothy 4:10, ERV)

This is what we work so hard for! This is why we are constantly struggling: because we have an assured hope fixed upon a living God who is the Savior of all humankind – especially all of us who believe. – (1 Timothy 4:10, VOICE)

To invest in any relationship, it takes effort. We must be intentional to invest time and energy to maintain what has been established. It is no different with God. Deepening our understanding and growing in His grace only takes place when we consistently spend time with Him. As we do, our hope is firmly secured in the Savior. God is for all people, yet He does not force His way in. We all have a free will and are given the choice as to whether we receive all that He offers or not. This is not an easy road, but it is one that is well worth the while. God is faithful, no matter what comes our way, and He is present to help, hold and see us through all things. I am so grateful for who God is and how He loves, as it is in the ever-increasing knowledge of Him that my hope is securely held. May we ever be intentional to invest our love and lives in the living God, for He is our hope forever.

Let us seek the Lord,

Our true living hope;

The more we invest,

The more we feel known.

Creator of all,

Is waiting for us;

To spend time with Him,

Our Savior, Jesus.

Always worth the while,

The time we invest;

His love overwhelms,

Our peace and our rest.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You invite us to be in relationship with You. Thank You that You meet us as we seek You. Thank You for Your goodness and grace that carries us through every challenge that comes our way. Forgive us for not investing as we should in the most important relationship of all. Show us how to be intentional with our time, so that we may grow in Your goodness and grace as we deepen our walk with You. Teach us to love those around us as You love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose to invest our hearts and lives into our relationship with You. Amen.

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

But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and forever! Amen. – 2 Peter 3:18

Done to Others is Done Unto You

“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of Mine, you did for Me.’” – (Matthew 25:40, NIV)

“Then the King will answer, ‘The truth is, anything you did for my people here, you also did for Me.’” – (Matthew 25:40, ERV)

“And the King will answer them, ‘Don’t you know? When you cared for one of the least important of these, My little ones, My true brothers and sisters, you demonstrated love for Me.’” – (Matthew 25:40, TPT)

This ought to be our motivation. Whenever we love others, we are also demonstrating our love for God. Every single time we love, help, encourage, lift up, show kindness, give grace – God sees it as if we were doing these very things unto Him. What this shows us is how deeply God loves all of His creation. Our closest comparison is how we feel when others extend kindness, grace, generosity, encouragement, and more to one whom we love deeply. I know for me, when someone does these things for one of my children, I am blessed as well. My heart swells with gratitude, simply knowing that another sees and values my child like I do. Imagine the depth of what God feels in comparison. God who loved so deeply that He sent His Son to reestablish a right relationship with us, recognizes every act of kindness and extension of love as words and deeds given directly to Him. For me, that both defines and dictates how I ought to treat everyone I meet. Do I have it down to a science? Of course not. I fall short and fail daily, yet can always seek to do and be better. God, in His loving kindness, hears our petitions presented before Him, and honors our desire to love well. May we ever seek the Lord to lead and equip us to love as He loves us.

Whatever we do,

In word, thought or deed;

We do unto God,

Let’s follow His lead.

The God of all grace,

Does all things in love;

May we love like Him,

Give good from above.

For each time we choose,

To help each other;

We live with purpose,

Sisters and brothers.

The times that we fail,

Neglect or ignore;

It too is to God,

Things that He abhors.

Lord, help us rise up,

Love well, each other;

Choose extend Your love,

One to another.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to love one another as You love us. Thank You that as we do, You recognize our love extended to those around us as love for You. Forgive us for the times that we have been unloving or callous or have neglected to reach out where we knew You called us to love. Teach us to trust and follow Your lead as we aspire to love like You. Show us how to love those around us in ways that exhibit the width, depth and breadth of Your everlasting love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we reach out to love like You. Amen.

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

So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets. – Matthew 7:12

Kind, Loving and Forgiving

Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. – (Ephesians 4:32, NIV)

Be kind and loving to each other. Forgive each other the same as God forgave you through Christ. – (Ephesians 4:32, ERV)

But instead be kind and affectionate toward one another. Has God graciously forgiven you? Then graciously forgive one another in the depths of Christ’s love. – (Ephesians 4:32, TPT)

 

Typically, I am quite even tempered, as I seldom get overly upset or worked up about things; usually, I choose to take a deep breath, and keep pressing forward. However, like anyone, I do have my breaking point. When I reach a space where no matter how hard I work, and how much I try, I still feel grossly inadequate, it is then that I begin to withdraw, and the sarcasm spews out as an ugly coping mechanism. Thankfully, my Viking is kind and compassionate to me. He sees me wherever I am, and grants grace and extends love, with some humor, in a way that helps pull me out of my place of frustration and back into a space of depending on God’s abundant grace. Somehow, I am blessed with tremendous friends that do the same as well. In this season of adjusting and adapting to staying at home and working remotely, we all need to be kind, compassionate and forgiving. It is easy to extend these things to others, but much more difficult to offer the same to ourselves. God, in His outrageous grace, sent His Son for us, so that we might truly know and understand the depth of His forgiveness and love. My hope is that as we set our sights toward Easter, we might look to the cross and recognize that the forgiveness and redemption extended to all is a gift that we are meant to embrace, and then extend to those around us. May we each look for ways to be loving and kind to one another; graciously forgiving each other in love, just as we have been loved and forgiven by God.

 

Kindness, compassion,

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Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

Extended in grace;

The Lord’s forgiveness,

New, every day.

We all are chosen,

To love the same way;

Give love and forgive,

God’s grace on display.

As we extend love,

God’s love and light’s shown;

Forgiveness and grace,

In kindness, made known.

So, keep reaching out,

Choose love and forgive;

In kindness grant grace,

Where hope truly lives.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are kind and compassionate toward us, forgiving us in love. Thank You that You call us and empower us to do the same. Thank You for the people whom You have placed in our lives who show us these things in tangible ways. Forgive us for the times that we have lacked compassion, kindness or forgiveness toward those around us. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would extend the very things that You have so lavishly granted to us, to those around us. Show us how to best love those around us with kindness and compassion. Point out the places where we need to walk in forgiveness with one another. Grant us Your grace and strength to love like You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose to be kind and compassionate, and forgive one another as You have forgiven us. Amen.

 

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

 

Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. – Romans 12:10

He Hears

I call on You, my God, for You will answer me; turn Your ear to me and hear my prayer. – (Psalm 17:6, NIV)

I am praying to You because I know You will answer, O God. Bend down and listen as I pray. – (Psalm 17:6, NLT)

You will answer me, God; I know You always will, like You always do as You listen with love to my every prayer. – (Psalm 17:6, TPT)

 

God in His amazing grace, hears our every prayer. He is faithful to answer as we ask, if only we seek Him. Yesterday was a day abounding in new, to the point of being a bit overwhelming before it even began. In His grace, God met me each step of the way, and the day went fairly well. New classes, new season and a new semester were each met with new strength, wisdom and resolve. All are a work in progress, but the tangible reminder that He answers what we ask of Him is an ongoing motivation to continue to depend on Him. May we call on the Lord, for He will answer, each time we pray to Him.

 

As we call on God, Compassion in Confrontations

He hears what we say;

Both spoken aloud,

And what our hearts pray.

Faithful to answer,

The God of all grace;

He knows what we need,

Throughout all our days.

So, seek Him and ask,

In faith, choose to pray;

God sees and answers,

In the best of ways.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we call on You and pray to You, You hear and answer us. Thank You that You are faithful forever. Forgive us for our fears and doubts that keep us from asking, or questioning when answers come differently than we would have imagined. Teach us to trust You and Your timing, as Your ways are best and You love to bless Your children. Show us how to love those around us well, in ways that extend Your heart and hope in spaces they are lacking. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we pray to You and know that You hear all that we lift before You. Amen.

 

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

 

Then you will call on Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. – Jeremiah 29:12

Everything. Everyone. Every Day.

And give thanks for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. – (Ephesians 5:20, NLT)

And give thanks to God the Father every day through the name of our Lord Jesus the Anointed for all He has done. – (Ephesians 5:20, VOICE)

Always give thanks to Father God for every person He brings into your life in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. – (Ephesians 5:20, TPT)

 

I love that these three various translations place the emphasis on three distinct things. The first, reminds us to give thanks for everything, the second, to be thankful for all that God has done, every day, and lastly, to give thanks for every person that the Lord brings into our lives. Each of these interpretations of the original text provide plentiful prose to promote praise. If we were to sit down and begin listing EVERYTHING we are thankful for, the list ought to continue for days… The second and third translations remind us to give thanks daily to God for the people He provides, and all that He has done. When I take pause and consider either of those, again, my list grows exponentially. God is so good and He is faithful and worthy of our gratitude forever. Though my life has not gone the way I might have imagined, I am blessed beyond what I could have hoped for, and loved lavishly. God has done immeasurably more than I ever hoped or dreamed, and to be real, even prayed. He sees and knows the desires of our heart and hears even the prayers that are but a mere whisper. He is so, so good. All thanks to God the Father every day for everything and all that He has done, and for every person that He has brought into our lives.

 

Always be thankful,

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I am thankful for this sweet moment captured by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography during by boys’ senior photo shoot.

For everything;

For all that God’s done,

The countless blessings.

For people He’s placed,

Throughout all our days;

To navigate life,

And share well His grace.

For those who have taught,

And those who have cared;

Each who has chosen,

To love and to share.

For so many things,

To the Lord, we praise;

All thanks be to God,

Throughout all our days.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the countless ways that You bless us and give us reason to lift our thanks and praise to You. Thank You for everything and everyone that You have done and brought into our lives. Forgive us for forgetting just how gracious and generous You are. Teach us to recognize Your kindness and grace, so that we choose to daily, give You all of our praise. Show us how to love those around us well, so that they too, may feel reason to give You gratitude. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You thanks for everything and everyone, every day. Amen.

 

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

 

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

The Why for Worship

Ascribe to the Lord the glory due His Name; worship the Lord in the splendor of His holiness. – (Psalm 29:2, NIV)

Praise the Lord and honor His Name! Worship the Lord in all His holy beauty. – (Psalm 29:2, ERV)

Honor the Lord for the glory of His Name. Worship the Lord in the splendor of His holiness. – (Psalm 29:2, NLT)

 

On Sunday, our worship pastor, Kristi, spoke on one of our foundational beliefs, as she concluded our current Sunday series, “DNA” (the core beliefs that define who we are). Her message was packed with purpose and the biblical evidence as to why worship matters. One of the most important reasons that we worship God is because He is worthy. For me, Psalm 29:2 is two-fold in how it is phrased. First, it reminds us that we are to praise God because He deserves our worship. Second, David speaks of the splendor of God’s holiness; His holy beauty. I don’t know about you, but for me, there are certain things that I do that remind me of His beauty and holiness far better than others. That was another point mentioned on Sunday, as worship can take place whenever, wherever, and however we are drawn into His presence. Sometimes, it is on a long run outside, as I admire the beauty of creation all around me and appreciate a strong and healthy body that is able to participate in an activity that some are unable to do. At other times, it is while I am driving my car, listening to and singing along with worship music. As I go, God brings to mind His goodness and the blessings He has betrothed unto me. Still other times, there is worship in the intentional gathering together with fellow believers on a Sunday morning to praise Him corporately. This too, this intentional time each morning to spend time in His word and record what He is speaking to my heart, is also an act of worship. May we each continue into this week with a heart to worship, finding ways to turn our attention to God and honor Him for who He is, in the splendor of His holiness.

 

Ascribe to the Lord,

Glory due His Name;

He alone is worthy,

All praise we proclaim.

The splendor of God,

Holiness indeed;

Who sees and hears us,

Cares about our need.

Because the Lord loves,

In infinite ways;

May we seek honor,

With our lives, give praise.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your goodness and kindness and grace. Thank You that You alone are worthy of all of our worship and praise. Thank You for making the beauty of Your holiness tangible through all that You have created, so that we would begin to understand our countless reasons to worship You. Forgive us for neglecting to give glory and honor where it is due, as all praise and worship belong to You alone. Teach us to be intentional in our worship, and to recognize how we can honor You in ways that You have created us to be. Show us how to love others well, so that they too may see Your heart in the blessings they behold. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose to worship You and the splendor of Your holiness in all that we do by giving our best, unto You. Amen.

 

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

 

Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe. – Hebrews 12:28

Light in Darkness

Even the darkness will not be dark to You; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to You. – (Psalm 139:12, NIV)

Even the darkness is not dark to You. The night is as bright as the day. Darkness and light are the same. – (Psalm 139:12, ERV)

You can see in the dark, for it is not dark to Your eyes. For You the night is just as bright as the day. Darkness and light are the same to Your eyes. – (Psalm 139:12, VOICE)

 

There is such power in being reminded of the truth of God. It matters not what season we are in, be it one of joy or sorrow; God is present and He sees and knows our need. The people in my life are in a variety of spaces and seasons. For some, they are enjoying a time of blessing and peace, whereas others are in a space of struggle or sorrow or trial. Incredibly, the Lord is near for all, no matter the state we find ourselves in. He is faithful and kind, loving and full of grace. Peace is possible, even in the eye of the storm, and He light can illuminate the darkest of circumstances. May we ever seek the Lord and trust in His love to light the way.

For mom, the light that God is using to demonstrate His nearness, is the connection of her best friend in Wenatchee. She is so faithful to call and be intentional to contact mom, that every time mom mentions that she has spoken with June, her heart sounds lighter and more encouraged. I know there are others as well, she just happens to be the one that has been the most consistent and already had such a closely established friendship with mom.

 

Whatever season,

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More poster-making fun for my classroom.

We find ourselves in;

God will be present,

If we welcome Him.

Even our darkness,

Is not out of reach;

Of His loving light,

That provides peace.

So, turn to the Lord,

Whose love is complete;

In His perfect light,

We find safe retreat.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You see us the same, no matter what season we are in, and that darkness and light are the same to You. There is nothing nor any place too dark for You to see. Thank You that Your love illuminates dark spaces. Forgive us for forgetting that Your light dwells within us, even on our darkest days. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would seek You to strengthen and carry us through the storms. Show us how to love those around us, so that we may bring light and life to places that have become dark. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love You and invest in our relationship with You, as that is what fuels our light within. Amen.

 

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

 

In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. – Matthew 5:16