Hope to Hold

Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us hold on to grace. By it, we may serve God acceptably, with reverence and awe. – (Hebrews 12:28, HCSB)

So we should be thankful because we have a kingdom that cannot be shaken. And because we are thankful, we should worship God in a way that will please Him. We should do this with respect and fear. – (Hebrews 12:28, ERV)

Since we are receiving our rights to an unshakable kingdom we should be extremely thankful and offer God the purest worship that delights His heart as we lay down our lives in absolute surrender, filled with awe. – (Hebrews 12:28, TPT)

I am so thankful for a well-timed break and for the gift of family and friends. Each time we gather and recognize our blessings, we gain glimpses of the hope we hold in Christ. His Kingdom cannot be shaken and is our hope both now and forevermore. Though yesterday did not look like our usual Thanksgiving gatherings, it was good and we are blessed to have each other. Our tradition for the last many years has been to gather at my sister and brother-in-love’s home with our mom. Sadly, with our kids working, logistics to coordinate with mom on such a long drive, and my nephew’s short time home from Bemidji, we all had to opt to stay home. Our dear, life-long friends and former neighbors from our entire childhood, hosted and welcomed mom to their gathering. They are family, and blessed all of us in knowing that mom would be with loved ones. Today, my love and I will make a quick trip to see mom too. Though it is not the same as our traditional whole family gathering, it is time together. Incredibly, that which is yet to come will not require us to choose and coordinate, but rather we will all be together in the presence of the One who gives us all. That hope is reason to give thanks. In the waiting, all praise belongs to Him who sits on the throne, for it is in Him and through Him that we can live and love a life that honors Him with all that we are. May our hearts be overflowing with love and gratitude as we recognize and honor the One who gives every good and perfect gift.

Give thanks to the Lord,

Thanksgiving past… ❤

For His loving grace;

The hope we now hold,

Throughout all our days.

Glimpses of goodness,

His blessings outpoured;

Not what we pictured,

Yet in Him, it’s more.

The love of the Lord,

Our hope forever;

Help, strength, love and life,

Goodness, so tender.

May we choose give thanks,

Today and always;

God’s love does not end,

So let us sing praise.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are always good and our hope in You never ends. Thank You that no matter what happens in the here and now, Your kingdom cannot be shaken. Our hope is secure and Your love knows no end. Forgive us for our frustrations and sorrow when things do not work out the way we had hoped. Teach us to trust and praise You in all things and at all times, for You are always good. Show us how to love those around us best, for it is You who grant us kindness, peace, patience and love to pass on. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give all thanks and praise to You for the hope we have in You. Amen.

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

Be strong and courageous, all you who put your hope in the Lord. – Psalm 31:24

Called to Hope

I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which He has called you, the riches of His glorious inheritance in His holy people. – (Ephesians 1:18, NIV)

I pray that God will open your minds to see His truth. Then you will know the hope that He has chosen us to have. You will know that the blessings God has promised His holy people are rich and glorious. – (Ephesians 1:18, ERV)

Open the eyes of their hearts, and let the light of Your truth flood in. Shine Your light on the hope You are calling them to embrace. Reveal to them the glorious riches You are preparing as their inheritance. – (Ephesians 1:18, VOICE)

The reality is that we all could use more hope. When things are good, there is great joy in knowing that what is yet to come is even better. When in the midst of sorrow or trials or strife, hope is what propels us forward to persevere. As we invest time with intention to seek to know the Lord better, we grow in our understanding of all that He has for us, both in the here and now, and forever. His blessings are present, even in the midst of pain. It is up to us to truly see all that is around us, for He shows us again and again how vast His love is and how faithful He is to His promises. May we ever seek the Lord, for it is in the seeking that we find and discover the blessings and hope that are held in His hands.

Lord, open our eyes,

So that all may see;

The light of Your truth,

Hope’s reality.

For in Your strong hands,

We shall be upheld;

Grace for each new day,

As You love so well.

Help every heart,

So truth may be seen;

For that’s how hope grows,

In this time between.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You love us and provide blessings and hope both now and forever. Forgive us for losing sight of Your goodness and grace on our toughest days. Teach us to ever look to You to show us who You are and how You love so that hope will be securely held in our hearts. Lead us to love each other like You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, so that they too may know hope, help, peace and love in the way that only You provide. Be glorified O God, as we look to the light of Your truth and purposefully pursue the path that You have set before us. Amen.

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

We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure… – Hebrews 6:19a

Held Up in Heaviness

I will turn their mourning into gladness; I will give them comfort and joy instead of sorrow. – (Jeremiah 31:13b, NIV)

I will change their sadness into happiness. I will comfort my people, making them happy instead of sad. – (Jeremiah 31:13b, ERV)

I’ll convert their weeping into laughter, lavishing comfort, invading their grief with joy. – (Jeremiah 31:13b, MSG)

This is a promise to hold when grief is great. Today, many will gather to celebrate a life well lived that ended way too soon. My heart is heavy for each life that she touched, for to know her, was to love her. I am hopeful that as we gather, the beauty of her life will bring joy and laughter that soothes the tears. The greatest comfort that I cling to in our loss, is knowing that she is home with Jesus. May God continue to bring gladness from the spaces of mourning, and comfort and joy in the throes of sorrow.

In sorrowful space,

May God’s love shine in;

Filling heavy hearts,

With joy, once again.

He is our comfort,

In spaces of grief;

His love surrounds us,

And grants us relief.

Lord, take the heavy,

Replace it with joy;

Blessings in knowing,

Hope that You employ.

God, lift up our eyes,

To truly see You;

Our help and our hope,

Your love leads us through.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You hold us up in our heaviness and bring us comfort in our grief. Thank You that You can bring joy in the midst of mourning, and hope in the heart of great loss. Forgive us for trying to carry the weight on our own rather than placing our hearts and our heaviness into Your loving hands. Teach us to lean into You in our losses, and to see the joy that You are placing before us. Show us how to love well, so that Your hope and heart are made known. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek and depend on You to bring gladness from our mourning and comfort and joy where sorrow is weighty. Amen.

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

Now comfort me with Your faithful love, as You promised. – Psalm 119:76 (ERV)

Blessings in Mourning

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)

One of the hardest things we face in life is loss. Though we all know that not one of us will live forever, there is always sorrow in the passing of those whom we love, especially when the loss comes far sooner than anticipated. Mourning is a challenging space for me, as I am not an external emoter. I feel deeply, yet seldom allow myself to give room for tears to escape. It is not intentional, but rather is a well-developed defense mechanism. As only God does, He has placed me in communities with loving, tender hearts, that create safe space to process however my heart needs to do so. For me, there is comfort in simply writing things down. In fact, that is often how I discover how I am actually feeling. Words in writing seem to bypass the filter in my mind and simply land on the page as they are. That being said, I guess my point is that despite my grieving in this space of loss, I am grateful for the comfort and kindness that I am blessed to have surrounding me. Additionally, the one whom my heart aches for the most, is clearly surrounded in community too. Even when life is hard, God is so good. May we ever seek the Lord in our spaces of loss and of blessing, for He loves us and provides safe space to process whatever our heart is holding.

In spaces of loss,

Where our hearts need mourn;

The Lord’s ever near,

To mend what is torn.

He blesses our hearts,

Surrounds us with peace;

Makes love tangible,

As our hearts release.

Release the heartache,

Place all in His hands;

His grace holds us up,

As we trust His plans.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that in our spaces of loss and mourning, You come near and bless us with Your comfort. Forgive us for the times we delay in turning to You in our grief. Teach us to trust and lean on You, for You bless us with Your comfort and love in all things. Show us how to love, support and comfort those around us in the same way that You support and comfort us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we thank You for Your blessings in our spaces of mourning, and for the communities that You place us in. 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 Weight of Loss

My soul is weary with sorrow; strengthen me according to Your word. – (Psalm 119:28, NIV)

I am sad and tired. Say the word, and make me strong again. – (Psalm 119:28, ERV)

I weep with grief; my heart is heavy with sorrow; encourage and cheer me with Your words. – (Psalm 119:28, TLB)

Loss is heavy, and when it is seemingly out of the blue, it is even heavier. Yesterday, as our professional development day was about to begin, I received news that a dear friend and fellow coach in our league had died. The thing is, she, her twin sister, and several others of us, all grew up doing gymnastics together. A few evenings each week, we would learn, grow, laugh, and be challenged together. As adults, our paths began to intersect again through the world of coaching. Just last spring, we had several of our meets together, so we had enjoyed some quality catch up time. Hearing the news of her death hit hard. She was life and love, joy and kindness to all whom she encountered, and had a way of drawing everyone in with her infectious laughter. As a twin mom, my heart is extra heavy for her twin, as I know the incredible bond that twins have. I can’t help but feel weary from the weight of the loss, yet must cling to the hope that we will see one another again. Her love for the Lord was clear, and she never minced words when speaking the truth in love. To know her was to love her, and I cannot fully wrap my head around her passing. My prayer is that God will be our comfort, especially for her amazing twin sister. May we love a little harder, and be a bit kinder in honor of one who lived love out loud.

You were light and life,

Truth speaker with joy;

Contagious laughter,

Wisdom, loving voice.

Each life that you touched,

Made better by you;

Loved and encouraged,

Your faith proven true.

Lord, be our comfort,

As in loss, we grieve;

Renew our resolve,

To trust and believe.

The comfort I know,

Is found in the space;

Picturing entry,

As Your arms embrace.

Dear Heavenly Father, I cannot even begin to pretend I understand why such an incredible life was cut short, yet I know that she lived out each day with purpose and love. Thank You for the gift of knowing Kimmie, and for the imprint that she forever left on my heart. Hold us up in the weight of the heaviness of loss. Forgive us for allowing opportunities to love pass us by. Show us how to live and love each day, so that no matter how many days we are given, each and every one of them counts. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, for You are where true hope and comfort are found. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to live out each day with the purpose You intended, and give You thanks for the incredible gift that You gave us in our friend. Amen.

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

You who are my Comforter in sorrow, my heart is faint within me. – Jeremiah 8:18

Hope Nourishes Joy

But may all who seek You rejoice and be glad in You; may those who long for Your saving help always say, “The Lord is great!” – (Psalm 40:16, NIV)

But may those who come to You be happy and rejoice. May those who love being saved by You always be able to say, “Praise the Lord!” – (Psalm 40:16, ERV)

But may all who look for You discover true joy and happiness in You; may those who cherish how You save them always say, “O Eternal One, You are great and are first in our hearts.” – (Psalm 40:16, VOICE)

The rejoicing and gladness comes from the seeking and finding. Each time we seek the Lord, He is faithful to be found. He waits for us, patiently, and is faithful to help restore the joy that gets stolen by our circumstances, or hidden by our hurts. Joy is not dependent on that which is going on around us, but rather it is planted deep within us as we learn and lean into the Lord. It is in the recognition that we are not alone and that we have a faithful friend and father to walk beside us and lead us until He calls us home. Joy is rooted in hope, and hope is held as we choose to trust in Him. In this seemingly never-ending season of Covid and of national and international crisis, there is still joy because God is our hope. May we seek the Lord new every morning, and praise Him for the joy that He places in our hearts.

Choose cherish the Lord,

He’s where joy is found;

It’s all about hope,

In Christ, it abounds.

Give Him the sorrow,

The stress and the fear;

Allow the Lord in,

He always is near.

Let us discover,

Our hope held in Him;

That’s where joy rises,

Shines out from within.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are where our hope is held, and that because of the hope we have in You, joy rises within us. Thank You that joy is not dependent on our circumstances nor station in life, but rather is held in knowing how deeply we are loved by You. Forgive us for losing sight of the hope we have in You. Teach us to lean into You, no matter what comes. Show us how to allow the joy within us to rise up and overflow as we love those around us well. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we place our hope in You, for You bring us joy and are the one deserving all of our praise. Amen.

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

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

All for Us

He who did not spare His own Son, but gave Him up for us all – how will He not also, along with Him, graciously give us all things? – (Romans 8:32, NIV)

He even let His own Son suffer for us. God gave His Son for all of us. So now with Jesus, God will surely give us all things. – (Romans 8:32, ERV)

For God has proved His love by giving us His greatest treasure, the gift of His Son. And since God freely offered Him up as the sacrifice for us all, He certainly won’t withhold from us anything else He has to give. – (Romans 8:32, TPT)

Whenever things seem too much, or I just do not know what to do, I have to slow down, breathe, and turn in trust to God. He sacrificed all in my place so that I would have to suffer what I deserved. Instead, Jesus came near so that I could have life, and life abundantly. He grants me strength, endurance, wisdom and resolve when I seek Him. It is imperative that I turn to Him in my spaces of confusion, frustration, sorrow and celebration. God is so good that He will show us what we are to do, and will provide all that we need to do so. May we ever seek the Lord who gave all unto us, so that we may give our all back to Him by His grace.

The love only God,

Can give unto us;

Through sending His Son,

Our Savior, Jesus.

The God who gave all,

Will hold nothing back;

He’ll lead us forward,

Meet us where we’re at.

In good times and bad,

The Lord will be near;

To lead us in love,

Press on without fear.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You hold nothing back, as You have given all unto us. Thank You that Your love, goodness and grace will meet us and lead us, each time that we seek Your face. Thank You that we can trust and depend on You. Forgive us for the times that we fail to remember the magnitude of Your sacrifice of love for us all. Teach us to turn to You in trust, that we may receive all that You freely and lovingly offer. Show us how to love those around us well, so that they too, may understand the goodness of Your loving kindness. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You in all things and rely on Your remarkable love and grace. Amen.

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

For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. – John 3:16

Two Ears and Only One Mouth

My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry. – (James 1:19, NIV)

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

Post this at all the intersections, dear friends: Lead with your ears, follow up with your tongue, and let anger straggle along in the rear. – (James 1:19, MSG)

My dearest brothers and sisters, take this to heart: Be quick to listen, but slow to speak. And be slow to become angry. – (James 1:19, TPT)

As always, this is a timely reminder. Yesterday, my husband received the video footage that was submitted to animal control by kind citizens who had caught horrendous footage of the abuse of our dog by the trainers in whom we had entrusted him. My initial reaction to the entire situation was both anger and sorrow. I was enraged at the betrayal of our trust by the trainers, and absolutely gutted knowing what my poor puppy had endured. God was very specific with me in how I ought to respond to the whole situation, and by placing all of my focus on the care of Thor, I was able to release the anger and love on my pup. The news that my husband had the video in his possession brought my initial reaction back to the surface. Knowing that I was not called to allow my anger to get the best of me, I had to work through it all over again. Sometimes, what we listen to is not beneficial. However, remembering to be slow to speak will always serve us well. Once words have left our lips, we cannot take them back. I know that there is righteous anger, yet it is still not something that I am meant to hold. Feeling and acting are two very different things. What we feel cannot dictate what we do. There are times that we simply must trust that justice will be served and place our attention on caring well for the wounded. Even now, as Thor sits beside me as I try to write, his continuous reaching out with his paws reminds me to focus on loving and caring well for him. May we ever seek the Lord to help us to listen first, be slow to speak, and to keep our anger in check. He is faithful to help us walk in His way and do His will as we earnestly seek Him.

Lord, help us to lead,

With listening ears;

A heart set to love,

As we choose to hear.

Then help us to tame,

Our tongues in replies;

Grant wisdom with words,

As grace You supply.

And as for anger,

Let’s give it to You;

As we choose to seek,

We’re shown what to do.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You see and You know all things. Thank You for giving us two ears and only one mouth. Help us to use them accordingly. Forgive us for the times that we neglect to listen, speak without weighing our words, and allow anger to flow instead of placing all in Your hands. Teach us to be quick to listen and slow to speak, and to slow our roll when anger rises. Show us how to love those around us in a way that makes all feel valued and heard. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we are intentional to truly listen, slow to speak, and slow to allow anger find a foothold. Amen.

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

Look to the Lord and His strength; seek His face always. – Psalm 105:4

Hope in the Waiting

It was Preparation Day, and the Sabbath was about to begin. The women who had come with Jesus from Galilee followed Joseph and saw the tomb and how His body was laid in it. Then they went home and prepared spices and perfumes. But they rested on the Sabbath in obedience to the commandment. – (Luke 23:54-56, NIV)

It was late on Preparation Day. When the sun went down, the Sabbath day would begin. The women who had come from Galilee with Jesus followed Joseph. They saw the tomb. Inside they saw where he put Jesus’ body. Then they left to prepare some sweet-smelling spices to put on the body. On the Sabbath day they rested, as commanded in the Law of Moses. – (Luke 23:54-56, ERV)

It was Preparation Day – the day before the holy Sabbath – and it was about to begin at sundown. The women who had accompanied Jesus from the beginning in Galilee now came, took note of where the tomb was and how His body had been prepared, then left to prepare spices and ointments for His proper burial. They ceased their work on the Sabbath so they could rest as the Hebrew Scriptures required. – (Luke 23:54-56, VOICE)

When I ponder the day in between Good Friday and Easter Sunday, I imagine a sense of mourning and anticipation. The women who had been with Jesus from the beginning, had just witnessed the death of their Savior. Rather than running off in their sorrow, they waited and watched to see what they might do next to honor Him. In anticipation, they followed Joseph, the upright man from the Council, who had gone to Pilate and asked for Jesus’ body so that he might properly place Jesus in a tomb. When the ladies knew where Jesus was laid, they went home to prepare spices to give the Savior a proper burial. However, as soon as the sun went down it was the Sabbath, and the time of rest and waiting began. It is in that space of rest, that I cannot help but imagine what it all was like. Grief, anticipation, remembering… The women had walked beside Jesus and lived and learned what a sinless life could be, only to see it cut short by the cross. Despite their anguish, they arrived at the conclusion that there was purpose for them to fulfill. Preparation Day was full of preparing for so much more than they could have ever imagined. Today, this day between the crucifixion and the resurrection, we have time to purposefully ponder all that Jesus did for us. Our sin and shame were buried with Him in that tomb, waiting to burst forth with new life, intended for all. May we look to the cross with thanksgiving for all that was placed upon Him, and look ahead with anticipation, to all that tomorrow brings. New life and eternal hope are ours to behold, if only we seek the Savior.

His death on the cross,

And all they had seen;

Lost, seeking purpose,

What did it all mean?

The women in wait,

Watched, followed to see;

Where was their Savior,

What might the Lord need?

Laid in a new tomb,

His location known;

Christ’s body broken,

Somber and alone.

A day to prepare,

To honor the Lord;

They did what they knew,

All time would afford.

Then came the waiting,

Such sorrow unknown;

Grief and a purpose,

Their hope felt postponed.

Soon to discover,

All hope was not lost;

The Savior would rise,

From death on that cross.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for sending Your Son to make the way for new life in us. Jesus, thank You that though we lose sight of hope in the waiting, it is simply a time to pause and anticipate the new that is coming. Forgive us for forgetting the power You have. The very One who defeated death is always working on our behalf, and will never leave us nor forsake us. Teach us to trust You more, even in the spaces that seem like we are waiting in darkness. Show us how to love those around us in such a way that hope may rise, even in the darkest tombs in our hearts. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we thank You for how You endured the cross for our sake, and praise You for the power in You that overcame death to rise again. Amen.

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

Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord. – Psalm 27:14

All Can Be For Good

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose. – (Romans 8:28, NIV)

We know that in everything God works for the good of those who love Him. These are the people God chose, because that was His plan. – (Romans 8:28, ERV)

We are confident that God is able to orchestrate everything to work toward something good and beautiful when we love Him and accept His invitation to live according to His plan. – (Romans 8:28, VOICE)

Though at times this is seemingly impossible, I have seen it again and again in my own life. My greatest trials, hardships and heartaches have been used to grow me, encourage others, and have led to something beautiful. Incredibly, God is always able to work ALL things for our good, if only we are willing to place them in God’s hands. He takes our hurts and creates opportunities to help; He takes our trials and turns them into victories; and He takes our heartaches and brings us to something far more wonderful than we could have hoped or imagined. Additionally, this is available for all who accept His invitation and choose to follow after Him. May we ever seek the Lord and trust in Him, for He brings beauty from our ashes and joy from our sorrows.

The Lord can work all,

For our ultimate good;

Beauty from ashes,

True grace is understood.

During our trials,

The Lord’s present to help;

God’s great faithfulness,

Is our story to tell.

May we ever seek,

For always we shall find;

His help to hold us,

Ever loving and kind.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are able to work ALL things for good for those who love and trust You. Forgive us for our lack of faith when all we can see is the struggle. Teach us to trust in You and to hold fast to the hope of Your promises. Show us how to love those around us in ways that grant hope. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust and watch for You to work all things for good. Amen.

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

“…God has sent me to give them a beautiful crown in exchange for ashes, to anoint them with gladness instead of sorrow…” – Isaiah 61:3