Your Faithful Love

God, within Your temple, we contemplate Your faithful love. – (Psalm 48:9, HCSB)

God, in Your temple we remember Your loving kindness. – (Psalm 48:9, ERV)

We ponder Your love-in-action, God, waiting in Your temple. – (Psalm 48:9, MSG)

The incredible thing about this is that we no longer have to be in a physical structure to be in God’s presence; our body is the temple for His Spirit. God’s nearness is as close as our next heartbeat, and His love is tangible and ongoing. Yesterday was a strange day, as I was told my teaching assignment for next year. Sixth-grade math is not what I would have anticipated nor asked for, yet I can look back and see God’s faithfulness to carry me through each and every time that I have had to pivot in my career. As a teacher that has a K-8 generalist degree and only a specialized degree in Art, I have become the “jack-of-all subjects” (and grade levels), yet feel like a master of none. That being said, throughout each and every shift that I have had to make, I have been blessed with incredible teammates that aided in making the transitions doable. Looking ahead, the partner that I have been paired with for next year is fantastic, and I can trust that God’s loving kindness will again provide. Additionally, yesterday evening, we ran into an old friend that walked beside me in my most difficult season. Seeing her now was again a reminder of God’s love in action that is faithful and present always. To remember where I was and reflect on the here and now, I am overwhelmed with gratitude that God dwells within us. May we ever pause and ponder the goodness of God, and His faithfulness to be present always.

Lord God, as we go,

Help us be aware;

Of Your faithfulness,

And great loving care.

Teach us to trust You,

In everything;

Give thanks for the good,

And love that You bring.

Help us see clearly,

That You are within;

Wherever we go,

You also have been.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your goodness and kindness. Thank You that to be in Your temple, Your very presence, can take place wherever we are and whenever we look to You. Thank You that we can look back and see Your faithfulness and love, and look forward, anticipating Your hand moving on our behalf. Forgive us for our fears and doubts when we are facing things that seem like giants before us. Teach us to slow down and be intentional to reflect upon Your ongoing, unending faithfulness. Lead us to love those around us with the same passion and commitment You have for us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we ponder Your goodness and faithfulness in all things and at all times, as we have Your promised presence, always. 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

Answer Gently

A gentle answer makes anger disappear, but a rough answer makes it grow. – (Proverbs 15:1, ERV)

A gentle response defuses anger, but a sharp tongue kindles a temper-fire. – (Proverbs 15:1, MSG)

A tender answer turns away rage, but a prickly reply spikes anger. – (Proverbs 15:1, VOICE)

This is a timely reminder as the end of the school year draws ever nearer, and exhaustion is at an all-time high. Patience wanes when weariness is prevalent, and it is important to remember what matters. I have both seen and experienced the truth of this proverb, as I have both calmed and been calmed when a gentle response has been given in a moment of anger. Similarly, I have been both the provider and the recipient of a rough answer, and such is never well-received. If we are truly choosing love, our response to people must align. May we ever seek the Lord to lead us to respond gently in love, so that anger dissipates and kindness reigns.

Tender the answer,

Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography

That turns away wrath;

Kindness defuses,

As good we enact.

Gentle responses,

Lead us to calm down;

Extending God’s love,

To those all around.

Lead us, Lord Jesus,

To gently respond;

Take a breath, listen,

In love, correspond.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You show us Your faithfulness as we choose to respond gently to tempers inflamed. Thank You that the fruit of the Spirit are the things that keep relationships intact and communication open. Thank You that You call us to be gentle and kind, for each time we have received these things in a moment of anger or frustration, the fury melted away and calm came forth. Forgive us for the times that we return anger with anger. Teach us to slow down, take a deep breath, and listen to Your leading – for Your response in loving, patient and kind, and brings peace in the midst of frustration or fury. Show us how to love one another in all situations and circumstances so that we would answer each other gently and in love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to help us always answer gently and with love so that Your heart may be clearly seen. Amen.

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

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, gentleness, self-control… – Galatians 5:22-23a

Comfort That Conveys Joy

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

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

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

This weekend has been exactly what my husband and I have needed. The weight of the week had grown heavy, and time away together has been a space to relax and recharge. For me, I find joy being outside in God’s creation. There is nothing that makes me more aware of Him than fresh air and all of the colors that surround us. My husband is his best self when he gets to let go of the burdens and be himself. After much pondering about how to best discover a way for both of us to really relax and enjoy our time together, I ordered two e-scooters and helmets for us, prior to this weekend. My Viking and I scooted along miles of trails that run beside the bay, and run through lush green vegetation. We were further able to explore the town, and spent hours riding around, taking in all of the beauty of the area. I am not sure which brought me more joy – our surroundings or watching my mister play and enjoy himself in a childlike manner. I don’t think a smile ever left our faces. We will have time again this morning to explore a bit more before we need to pack up and head home. Already, I feel as if my soul has been lightened, and I am better equipped to navigate the week that lies ahead. God is good, and I am so grateful that He provides joy in ordinary spaces when we take time to get out and enjoy all that He has made.

When life feels heavy,

Take time and slow down;

Observe surroundings,

For peace will be found.

View all the beauty,

That His hands have made;

Joy rises within,

And worries will fade.

Place all in His hands,

For they’re strong enough;

He lightens our load,

Brings smooth to the rough.

Rise up each morning,

And look all around;

Joy is waiting,

In Christ it is found.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can bring our cares and burdens to You, and You soothe our souls and fill us with Your joy as we delight in You. Forgive us for allowing worries to overtake us instead of bringing all before You. Thank You that You call us unto Yourself and restore joy anew. Show us how to love those around us well, so they too, may be filled with Your joy and peace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we turn to You with our worries and cares, and recognize the joy that is within as we appreciate all that You have made. Amen.

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

May the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other and for everyone else, just as ours does for you. – 1 Thessalonians 3:12

Seek First the Faithful One

But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be provided for you. – (Matthew 6:33, HCSB)

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)

See first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and then all these things will be given to you too. – (Matthew 6:33, VOICE)

Despite how things appear, God is faithful to supply what we need to get through each new day as we seek Him. For months, it feels as if I have been going nonstop. There were small breaks on the weekends, but never a whole day to slow down and rest. Today, I will have an unexpected day off from work, as one of my kiddos needs me to drive him to an appointment out of town, and there is a terrific substitute available to cover. I anticipate the provision of a day today will be more than enough to carry me through tomorrow, as it will be the last day before spring break. Each morning I begin my day seeking God, and lifting up the cares and worries of the day ahead. His faithfulness never fails me and His mercies are new every morning. May we ever seek the Lord in His goodness and grace, for He is faithful to provide all that we need.

The Lord is so good,

Ever He is kind;

Faithful to provide,

He has us in mind.

God knows what we need,

And as we choose seek;

He hears and helps us,

Grants strength when we’re weak.

For in our pursuit,

Following the Lord;

He’s our provider,

All grace He affords.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are faithful as we seek You. Thank You that You see and hear and know what we need, and in love, You supply all in just the right time. Forgive us for struggling to trust Your timing, for You always have a purpose and a plan, despite what we see. Teach us to trust Your goodness and faithfulness in all things and at all times. Show us how to love those around us well, so that they may tangible see Your provision and faithful love for them too. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You and trust in Your faithfulness forever. Amen.

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

Search for the Lord and for His strength; seek His face always. – 1 Chronicles 16:11

Quick to Listen

My dearly loved brothers, understand this: Everyone must be quick to hear, and 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)

Imagine the conflicts that would be avoided if only we all followed these directions. When we are quick to listen, we hear the heart, hope and experience of the one before us, and it provides an opportunity to understand where another is coming from. Additionally, if we pause, listen and process before we respond, we are far more likely to speak out of love and not become frustrated or angry. Our charge is to be patient and not allow anger to fly out of control. God is faithful to provide the strength and self-control necessary to listen first and respond well. May we ever seek the Lord to lead us to listen intently and be slow to speak, so that anger is kept in check and our words and deeds are led by His love.

Help us to listen,

So we truly hear;

The heart of others,

All those who are near.

Show us to slow down,

To be slow to speak;

So ev’ry response,

Is kind and in peace.

Lord, help our anger,

Be under control;

So love is what leads,

And grace is our goal.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You listen to us with love every time we speak. Thank You that You respond to us in love and do not easily anger. Forgive us for the times that we have not slowed down enough to truly hear those around us, or have listened only to respond, rather than to truly hear. Please check our hearts when anger rises so that we would slow down and place all in Your hands to lead us. Show us how to listen in love well so that those around us may see Your heart for them. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to lead us to listen well and do all things in love and with self-control. Amen.

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

I call on You, God, because You will answer me; listen closely to me; hear what I say. – Psalm 17:6

To Intercede

And (if) My people who are called by My name humble themselves, pray and seek My face, and turn from their evil ways, then I will hear from heaven, forgive their sin, and heal their land. – (2 Chronicles 7:14, HCSB)

And if My people who are called by My name become humble and pray, and look for Me, and turn away from their evil ways, then I will hear them from heaven. I will forgive their sin and heal their land. – (2 Chronicles 7:14, ERV)

And (if) My people (who are known by My name) humbly pray, follow My commandments, and abandon any actions or thoughts that might lead to further sinning, then I shall hear their prayers from My house in heaven, I shall forgive their sins, and I shall save their land from the disasters. – (2 Chronicles 7:14, VOICE)

Not only are we called to be in community, but we are asked to pray for one another as well. When we are intentional to pray for those around us, we are interceding on their behalf. This can be individually, for a group, a city, state, nation or the world. Incredibly, because of Jesus, there is no specific way nor are there fancy words we need to say to intercede. God hears every utterance, petition and thought lifted to Him by those who earnestly seek Him. Right now, there is much need for intercession. The needs that surround us are many, and there is much longing for God to bring healing, health, hope and wholeness to all. May we ever seek the Lord and humbly pray, turning away from our sinful ways, and trust that God will be faithful to forgive and bring help as only He can do.

Called and commanded,

To seek God and pray;

To lift up others,

Ask Him show the way.

The way for healing,

For help and true hope;

Provision and peace,

Through Him we can cope.

Lead us Lord Jesus,

Humbly, to choose seek;

To pray for others,

When all seems quite bleak.

By faith, help us trust,

All that You will bring;

Hope, help and healing,

Our reasons to sing.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to intercede for those around us, both locally and globally. Thank You that when we slow down and look at what is going on, we notice places where Your presence is desperately needed. Forgive us for neglecting to turn to You to pray when we see needs that we don’t know how to meet. Teach us to turn to You in trust and ask for Your help and healing for our families, communities, nations and beyond. Show us how to help practically as well, so that we may be vessels that demonstrate the depth and breadth of Your love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to intercede for those around us. Amen.

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

All humanity will come to You, the One who hears prayer. – Psalm 65:2

Quiet Rest

“Come to Me, all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest”. – (Matthew 11:28, HCSB)

“Come to Me all of you who are tired from the heavy burden you have been forced to carry. I will give you rest.” – (Matthew 11:28, ERV)

Then Jesus said, “Come to Me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.” – (Matthew 11:28, NLT)

Sometimes, it feels as if we are blissfully unaware of just how weary and burdened we have become. There is nothing like a good winter snowstorm to bring a sort of quiet rest that would not have otherwise been present. Though I have a four-wheel drive vehicle and loads of experience driving in the snow, I still find that I am spending far more time at home than I normally would be. It is almost as though messy roads and peaceful settings provide a sort of permission to just be still. I know for many that is not necessarily so, as my husband is one who needs to be at work to help keep all of the emergency and snow-clearing vehicles running, and emergency service personnel do not get a break in inclement weather, but for me and many that I know, it is a space to slow down and find rest. Even in the busiest seasons, when we seek our Savior, He provides the help, strength and rest that we need to persevere. May we look to the Lord and seek Him first, for He is the One that bears the burdens that are too much for us, and grants us rest when we need it the most.

Jesus says to come,

To weary and worn;

He wants to grant rest,

Bring calm in the storm.

We need to seek Him,

And trust in His grace;

For He’s our comfort,

And most peaceful place.

Just as snow softens,

And silences things;

The love of the Lord,

Helps everything.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us unto Yourself to find rest from our weariness. Thank You that as we call on You, You carry what was not meant for us, and provide rest so that we can press on. Forgive us for not seeking You in our spaces of weariness. Teach us to turn to You in trust, for You help us and strengthen us, and show us what is not ours to carry. Show us how to love those around us well, so that all might see Your light and love through all that we say and do. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to find rest and equip us to love best. Amen.

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

He makes me lie down in green pastures, He leads me beside quiet waters, He refreshes my soul. – Psalm 23:2

To Stay Steadfast

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)

Perfect, absolute peace surrounds those whose imaginations are consumed with You; they confidently trust in You. – (Isaiah 26:3, TPT)

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)

As I read the first translation of this verse, I really paused to think about what it means to have a mind that is steadfast. I even went so far as to look it up, so that I might ponder the meaning further. According to dictionary.com, steadfast is to be fixed in direction, firm in purpose, and unwavering. To be fixed in direction and firm in purpose without wavering does indeed protect His perfect peace. It is in that space of knowing Who is leading us in the direction to which we are called, and Who has created us with purpose that we find His peace is present as we trust in Him. Our peace wavers when we trust what we see rather than who holds us in the hollow of His hands. Though my heart and mind are dedicated to Christ, my eyes deceive my heart when I allow my peace to be found in what I see. For the last couple of years, what has been seen has not pointed to peace. However, each time I slow down, fix my eyes and heart on Him, His perfect peace is present and my mind returns to the steadfast state to which I have been called. It is an ongoing battle, particularly when few things are as anticipated or hoped for. May we ever seek the Lord to show us how to be steadfast in Him, so that we may know His perfect and ongoing peace.

Lord, help us trust You,

To keep perfect peace;

In each steadfast heart,

That faithfully seeks.

You’re ever present,

To hear all we pray;

In love, You answer,

As peace comes to stay.

Help us fix our eyes,

Securely on You;

Let not what surrounds,

Take away the truth.

In You there is peace,

A hope that’s secure;

Future forever,

Knowing You’ll be near.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are good and that the peace You provide is not dependent on our circumstances. Thank You that You bring peace to us amidst chaos, and settle our weary hearts. Forgive us for allowing the trials of this world to steal the perfect peace that You offer. Teach us to continually, steadfastly fix our eyes and hearts on You, for in that space of trust, we find Your peace is present. Show us how to love those around us in ways that offer Your peace, even when it seems impossible to find. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we keep our minds steadfast on You because You are trustworthy, and Your promises true. Amen.

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

Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. – Psalm 51:10

Wisdom Points to Peace

Her ways are pleasant ways, and all her paths are peace. – (Proverbs 3:17, NIV)

Wisdom will lead you to a life of joy and peace. – (Proverbs 3:17, ERV)

The ways of wisdom are sweet, always drawing you into the place of wholeness. – (Proverbs 3:17, TPT)

Godly wisdom leads us on paths that lead to peace. His love brings us healing, wholeness, and the joy of knowing where hope is found.  He guides us and directs us in the ways in which we are meant to go, if only we seek and listen to Him. Though we may feel like we are in the midst of chaos, when we slow down and seek the Lord, He shows us His peace. May we ever pursue the Lord and His wisdom, so that we may know and walk out our days along His path of peace.

Wisdom will lead us,

To God’s joy and peace;

Neither dependent,

On what our eyes see.

For even in storms,

The Lord can bring calm;

He’ll settle our hearts,

‘Til our fears are gone.

The Lord, He will show,

Which paths to take;

And lead us in peace,

As He heals heartbreak.

So ever seek Him,

Where wisdom’s made known;

His peace will follow,

As the way is shown.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we seek You for wisdom, You guide us and bring us Your joy and peace. Forgive us for attempting to blaze our own trail, when You already have a path prepared for us. Teach us to seek and trust You and Your leading. Show us the ways in which we are meant to go, so that we grow and honor You. Lead us to love those around us well, and bring Your peace wherever we go. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek Your wisdom in all things and trust You to bring us joy and peace along the path You have prepared. 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

Peace to Anxious Spaces

Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. – (Psalm 139:23, NIV)

God, examine me and know my mind. Test me and know all my worries. – (Psalm 139:23, ERV)

God, I invite Your searching gaze into my heart. Examine me through and through; find out everything that may be hidden within me. Put me to the test and sift through all my anxious cares. – (Psalm 139:23, TPT)

This is a good reminder, especially during seasons that seem to spark anxiety. Normally, I would have written something about the eagerness for the first day of school. However, yesterday, all I could do was read and pray, as I was anxious to walk into the unknown after nearly eighteen months. Yes, I had returned to hybrid school in the spring, but there were only a handful of kids in class at any given time, so the idea of full classrooms and the chaos of the “normal” start of the school year was weighty. God knows our needs and meets us where we are. Despite a bit of a bumpy morning, the day went well. Kids were excited to be back at school, and the vast majority were fantastic about masks and social distancing. I know for many, there was much anxiety about the unknown. Two-thirds of the student body had never before set foot on campus. My classes are primarily eighth graders, so most had been away since their sixth grade year that was cut short and flipped upside down. God knows each heart and what it needs. When we slow down and quiet our hearts, He whispers the words that bring peace. I can’t pretend to understand why we are in the midst of a pandemic that is still our reality, but I can trust that He has placed us all together for this season. May we ever give God the reins and ask Him to search our hearts, for He is the One who uncovers and soothes our anxiousness and brings peace to places of uneasiness.

O God, bring us peace,

In space of unrest;

You know well each heart,

And how to love best.

Lead us in Your love,

With goodness and grace;

Teach us to love well,

So peace finds a place.

A place in our schools,

Each classroom and hall;

Let kindness give room,

To one and to all.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are with us and that You know our every anxious thought. Thank You that You hear and answer us every time we call on You. Forgive us for holding on to anxious thoughts and not giving You room to bring Your peace. Teach us to trust You in all things and at all times, even when things don’t make sense. Show us how to love well and bring peace to all those whom we encounter. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You our cares and trust Your love to lead us in Your goodness and peace. 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