Navigating the Unknown

As you do not know the path of the wind, or how the body is formed in a mother’s womb, so you cannot understand the work of God, the Maker of all things. – (Ecclesiastes 11:5, NIV)

You don’t know where the wind blows. And you don’t know how a baby grows in its mother’s womb. In the same way, you don’t know what God will do – and He makes everything happen. – (Ecclesiastes 11:5, ERV)

Just as you’ll never understand the mystery of life forming in a pregnant woman, so you’ll never understand the mystery at work in all that God does. – (Ecclesiastes 11:5, MSG)

God’s ways are not our ways, and His plans are not like ours. There are times that we cannot possibly see the purpose in what we go through, nor how the path we are on could lead to what He intended. Even so, God is good. His timing is not our own, and His ways are far higher. It is a matter of choosing to trust, even when we cannot see, for despite all things, He is good. The Lord cares about every detail of our lives. He knows how many hairs are on our heads, and the strengths and talents that He intentionally placed within us. Often, what we go through, provides the opportunity to discover strength we did not know was possible, and how to hold fast to hope. When I was young, I knew that I wanted to be a teacher. As I grew up, some of the class requirements steered me in a different direction. The one in particular, was a speech class. Rather than dig deep and suck it up, I chose to become an art major with an English minor. Graphic design was a delight, and I learned and grew in a variety of mediums. Once I graduated with my Bachelor’s Degree, I found my way to Montana as a YWAMer (Youth With A Mission), and ended up spending the next three years in and out of Asia. Ironically, (or as God designed) I ended up having to do much public speaking during that season. God called me back home to go back to school and fulfill my teaching credentials. Upon graduation from my Master’s program, I was hired to teach World Geography at my own former middle school. God had prepared my heart to have a passion for learning about new cultures, after I had experienced so much in the years prior. Additionally, I was granted the gift of coaching gymnastics, which I had done during high school and college, both as a job and joyful passion. Throughout my career thus far, I have had the opportunity to teach art and English as well. I know not where each new experience will lead, but I know that I can trust God to be with me. May we ever embrace each new path we are called to take and trust that God will lead us through. He is good, and He knows the desires of our hearts and the plan and purpose intended for each of us, individually.

No one truly knows,

Where the Lord will lead;

He grants us His strength,

As His will we heed.

Detours and trials,

And paths still unknown;

Each with a purpose,

As His grace is shown.

Even in heartache,

We grow and we learn;

He loves us through all,

To Him may we turn.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that though we cannot possibly know or understand all of Your ways, You are faithful to lead us and grow us through all. Thank You that as we depend on You, You use every experience for good. Forgive us for our fears and doubts in the spaces that we never thought we would be. Teach us to trust You completely, for Your plans are perfect. Show us how to love those around us in ways that offer strength, hope and peace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust in Your unfailing love to lead us as we navigate each step that You bring us to take. Amen.

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

Lord, You establish peace for us; all that we have accomplished You have done for us. – Isaiah 26:12

Strength for the Weary

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)

So don’t be afraid. I am here, with you; don’t be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, help you. I am here with My right hand to make right and to hold you up. – (Isaiah 41:10, VOICE)

For whatever reason, I have not slept well for the last few nights. Last night, I woke from a disturbing dream and felt very unsettled. Typically when that occurs, I try to clear my mind and go back to sleep. This time, all I could do was pray. Pray for protection, for peace, and for a covering over my family and friends. I know that God is always with me, and that I need not be afraid or anxious. It is He who strengthens and upholds us, and is faithful to be found each time we choose to seek Him. Yesterday, despite exhaustion, I was granted the strength and energy to accomplish all that was needed. Today, I will trust Him for the same. May we ever seek our Savior to help, strengthen and support us, for in Him, we have no reason to fear.

Choose not to worry,

And be not afraid;

The Lord is present,

He will make a way.

Faithful forever,

God grants what we need;

He knows and He sees,

Gives strength to succeed.

Hope for the weary,

Strength when ours is gone;

Peace in His presence,

So we may press on.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You grant us strength when we are weary and burdened. Thank You that we need not fear. Thank You that You see and know our needs. Thank You that as we seek You, You meet us and lead us in Your strength. Forgive us for staying stuck, even in the moment, as You are always available for us to seek You. Teach us to turn to You in trust, for You are faithful to be with us and to meet our needs. Show us how to love those around us in ways that offer strength, help and support where it is needed. Show us how to love well. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we set fears at Your feet and rely on You to be present to help in all things. Amen.

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

Splendor and majesty are before Him; strength and joy are in His dwelling place. – 1 Chronicles 16:27

Called to Be Kind

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)

We are called to be kind, compassionate and forgiving to each other, in the same way that God is unto us. Our decision to extend grace and goodness to those around us speaks the heart of God without words. Kindness and compassion are more easily extended when we recognize both how much has been given to us by God, and the incredible weight that is removed when we are fully aware of the forgiveness and grace that we are afforded by and through God. I know that I need all of these things every single day. Each morning, I set my heart on the Lord and seek Him, yet throughout the day, challenges and obstacles come that require dependence on God to navigate with kindness and compassion, and the strength to choose to forgive. There is a constant battle between human nature and the divine. God is gracious and full of love, and will supply all that we need to walk in His way if we choose to depend on Him. May we ever seek our Savior, who forgives and loves us beyond what we can comprehend, and allow Him to lead us and guide us in His everlasting love.

Let kindness and grace,

Help us choose forgive;

To love as God loves,

Each day that we live.

For it is by grace,

That the Lord does save;

Imagine the world,

If we gave the same.

We’ve been created,

To love like the Lord;

So His heart is seen,

As good is outpoured.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You flood our hearts with Your goodness and grace, and You forgive us each time that we ask. Thank You that Your love changes our hearts and empowers us to love like You. Forgive us for the times that we have reacted rather than sought to respond like You. Teach us to slow down, breathe deep, and allow Your love to flow through us to all. Show us how to extend forgiveness, kindness and compassion to all, so that Your love may be evident through our actions. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You and depend on You to soften our hearts and lead us in Your love. Amen.

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

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. – Colossians 3:12

To Whom Do We Anchor?

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

This hope is like an anchor for us. It is strong and sure and keeps us safe. – (Hebrews 6:19a, ERV)

We have this certain hope like a strong, unbreakable anchor holding our souls to God Himself. – (Hebrews 6:19a, TPT)

To whom do we anchor? When the wind howls and the waters rage, where do we turn? Over the past few years, I have weathered several storms. What I have discovered is that Christ does indeed anchor our soul, as He provides us with strength and safe harbor in the midst of the storms. Right now, the storm is a sick son in the hospital. Due to the nature of his illness, he is not permitted any visitors; not even me. This is, as a momma, one of the most difficult storms to weather. Not being able to be tangibly present to see and hear and advocate for my child is an agonizing space. That being said, God is faithful to provide peace, strength and comfort as each new day begins. He is providing hope anew as I talk and text with my son. Incredibly, the young man my boy has become is strong. His strength of heart and positive take on things is an encouragement to all. Rather than the “why me?” approach, he is recognizing the good that is coming from his experience. Despite the dance of the poking and prodding involved in his treatment, he is prioritizing his college coursework and communicating with family and friends. God knows what each of us need, and anchors our hearts to His to navigate all that comes our way. On my own, I would sink. With Christ, I can rest assured that He has us tethered to His safety and strength. May we ever seek the Lord and trust Him to be the anchor for our souls, for He is strong and secure and the One who provides our hearts with peace.

Hope is an anchor,

That tethers the soul;

Strength in our Savior,

His love makes us whole.

When storms come our way,

The Lord is our peace;

He steadies our hearts,

As grace is released.

Hope is the promise,

Presence that won’t end;

Hands that will hold us,

As each day begins.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are the hope that anchors our soul. Thank You that You provide peace and strength and safety in spaces where it seems impossible for such to exist. Forgive us for doubting the security of Your hands to hold us. Teach us to continue to anchor our hope in You. Lead us to love those around us in ways that encourage, strengthen and uplift. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we anchor our hope forever in You. Amen.

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

It is God who arms me with strength and keeps my way secure. – Psalm 18:32

Success in Our Savior

But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. – (1 Corinthians 15:57, NIV)

But we thank God who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ! – (1 Corinthians 15:57, ERV)

But we thank God for giving us the victory as conquerors through our Lord Jesus, the Anointed One. – (1 Corinthians 15:57, TPT)

There are times when we are moving forward, ever seeking to do what we are meant to do, and still obstacles come our way. It does not mean we are off course; often it is an indication that there is more that God wants to show or teach us as we press on. He does not cause frustrating things to stand in our way, but He does allow mountains and valleys before us to show His strength that equips us to overcome as we seek Him. One of my goals before my “big” birthday this summer is to run a marathon. About six weeks ago, I fractured all three bones in my little toe. This created a month-long hiatus from running, and some serious frustration. Over the last week or so, I had finally been able to get back to running and was working to rebuild endurance. On my first run back at it, we ended up running our usual pace (prior to the fracture) and I was encouraged and grateful for God’s grace and faithfulness. Fast forward to Friday evening, and out of nowhere I felt feverish and had a sore throat. I was supposed to get a long run in over the weekend, and at long last, return to teaching on campus. Sadly, neither took place, and I am again deterred by a setback. Thankfully, this race we are running is not a sprint, but is an ultra marathon. It requires ongoing forward momentum, even if our steps seem miniscule. God is faithful and grants us victory in Christ. This season may look nothing like I had hoped or imagined, but I know that He is good and will lead me forward according to His plan. He knows the desires of my heart and will not leave me or forsake me. I know not what victory in Him will look like in this season, but I know that God is good. Each new day, I will trust Him to lead me forward, and be my strength to keep moving in the right direction. May we ever thank the Lord for His goodness and faithfulness, for we have the ultimate victory in Him.

All thanks be to God,

Our true victory;

For He is our strength,

The One that we need.

No matter the course,

Our race seems to take;

God will be faithful,

With goodness and grace.

Setbacks and detours,

And bumps in the road;

He grants us His strength,

Helps carry the load.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that no matter what comes our way, You are faithful to be present and see us through. Thank You that even when obstacles lie before us, the road You have set us on remains the same. Forgive us for our frustration with setbacks and obstacles that come our way. Teach us to trust You to remain faithful as You lead us forward, despite how things appear. Show us how to love, encourage and support those around us as they run the race that You have set before them. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You to successfully lead us along the path You have placed before us; for victory is already ours in Christ. Amen.

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

Indeed our shield belongs to the Lord, our King to the Holy One of Israel. – Psalm 89:18

Seek for Strength

Look to the Lord and His strength; seek His face always. – (1 Chronicles 16:11, NIV)

Depend on the Lord for strength. Always go to Him for help. – (1 Chronicles 16:11, ERV)

Always follow the Eternal, His strength and His face. – (1 Chronicles 16:11, VOICE)

Our own strength is limited, however, God’s is not. He is the One we are meant to look to for help and strength. The Lord provides where we are lacking, if only we seek Him. This morning, I am seeking Him anew, as I need His strength to navigate all the new in this coming week. Though I am looking forward with eager anticipation to having kids back in my classroom, there is the unknown element of how to make the who live and online teaching work simultaneously. God is good, and He will provide the patience and endurance that is needed, and the strength to continue moving forward. May we ever seek the Lord and His strength, for He is our help and all that we need to navigate the road that lies ahead.

When my strength is gone,

I need never fear;

For the Lord provides,

And is ever near.

As I seek His face,

Resolve is made new;

With love and His grace,

His strength leads me through.

So, look to the Lord,

Ever seek His face;

For strength, hope and love,

Throughout all our days.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can come to You and seek Your face, and You strengthen us and lead us in the ways that we are meant to go. Forgive us for attempting to power through things rather than turning to You for help. Teach us to trust in You, so that we would place all in Your hands. Show us how to love those around us best. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek Your face for strength in all things and at all times. Amen.

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

But You, Lord, do not be far from me. You are my strength; come quickly to help me. – Psalm 22:19

Present in All

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go. – (Joshua 1:9, NIV)

Haven’t I commanded you? Strength! Courage! Don’t be timid; don’t get discouraged. God, your God, is with you every step you take. – (Joshua 1:9, MSG)

This is My command: be strong and courageous. Never be afraid or discouraged because I am your God, the Eternal One, and I will remain with you wherever you go. – (Joshua 1:9, VOICE)

This morning, this is a reminder to myself of what is true. A week and a half ago, we placed our puppies in the care of trainers for a three-week board and train program. Yesterday evening, we received a message that it might not work out for one of our dogs. The thing is, we trusted that the trainers were professionals and would be able to aid us in correcting some undesired behaviors, as well as guide us through additional obedience training. Now, after a sizable investment and emotional turmoil, we may be bringing our doggos home, requiring us to begin again with the search for how to best train our sweet puppies to peacefully coexist with each other and be mindful of what is being asked of them. Right now, after a reasonable night’s sleep, I cannot help but trust that God knows our needs and perhaps this was not the best fit or solution, and He will be with us as we walk out this process. Today, I will trust that He will provide the strength, courage and tenacity to do whatever we need to do that is best for our family. No matter the outcome, God will be with us. What matters most is that we listen to His leading and follow through. To some, this may seem trivial, however, for us, our dogs are a huge part of our family. God knows our needs and I will trust Him as we go today. May we ever choose strength, courage and resilience rather than fear or discouragement. For He will remain with us wherever we go.

Be not discouraged,

Choose faith over fear;

The Lord has promised,

He’ll always be near.

No matter what lies,

Ahead in our lives;

The Lord has His best,

True hope realized.

The things that matter,

That pull our heart strings;

Also God’s concern,

And answers He’ll bring.

Today I choose trust,

I know the Lord cares;

He’ll lead us in love,

Through answers He shares.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You remind us to be strong and courageous in You. Thank You that You love and care for all creatures that You created. Thank You that You are faithful to show us how to care best for all that You bless us with. Forgive us for our anger and frustration over something that may be for the best. Teach us to trust You more as we walk out each new day, seeking to follow after You and all that You have for us. Show us how to love in such a way that we extend Your goodness and grace in all that we do and say. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we continue to trust in You. 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

The Blessing of Confessing

If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. – (1 John 1:9, NIV)

But if we confess our sins, God will forgive us. We can trust God to do this. He always does what is right. He will make us clean from all the wrong things we have done. – (1 John 1:9, ERV)

But if we freely admit our sins when His light uncovers them, He will be faithful to forgive us every time. God is just to forgive us our sins because of Christ, and He will continue to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. – (1 John 1:9, TPT)

Confessing our sins is meant to be freeing and cleansing. Too often, we get caught up in presenting our laundry list of requests before God, and perhaps praising Him for who He is, but neglect the part of pausing to reflect on places where our thoughts, words or deeds were not pleasing to the Lord. This is not meant to be a space of shame, but rather of recognition of our wrongs and an active, intentional awareness of how we can do and be better, not in our own strength, but with the forgiveness and freedom that our Heavenly Father brings as we ask.  Incredibly, as we ask, He answers. God is faithful to forgive each time we ask, but it is our responsibility to request that He show us where we have fallen short. We all do, as we are all a work in progress. I am so thankful that though there is a long way to go, I am closer than I was before. May we ever come before Christ and confess our sins, for it is in this space that we are set free from the shame and guilt, and turned back to the One who leads us in the ways that He intended.     

O Lord, unto You,

We bring You our shame;

Ugly shortcomings,

Our spaces of blame.

In love, You shine light,

That removes the dark;

Turning hearts around,

Repentant trademark.

As we choose confess,

In love, we’re set free;

Propelled to better,

Intentionally.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You will show us our sin so that we may confess and be cleansed. Thank You that You receive us, cleanse us, and point us on the path that follows after You. Please forgive us for every word, thought and deed that has not represented Your heart well. Teach us to keep short accounts with You so that we may do and be better. Show us how to love with mercy and grace, granting glimpses of Your heart to all who come our way. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we confess our sin before You and follow Your leading to love as we were created to do. Amen.

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

For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. – Romans 3:23-24

Seek His Strength

Finally, be strong in the Lord and His mighty power. – (Ephesians 6:10, NIV)

To end my letter I tell you, be strong in the Lord and in His great power. – (Ephesians 6:10, ERV)

Now my beloved ones, I have saved these most important truths for last: Be supernaturally infused with strength through your life-union with the Lord Jesus. Stand victorious with the force of His explosive power flowing in and through you. – (Ephesians 6:10, TPT)

Paul’s encouragement to the church of Ephesus is still an encouragement for us today. We are not meant to be strong on our own, but rather by the strength He provides through His presence, both in and through us. Strength on our own is not sustainable, yet in Him, we are able to endure and overcome all things. This does not mean that all will be easy, but it does mean God will be present to supply what we need when we need it most. May we ever look to the Lord to be our strength, recognizing that His mighty power provides what is required to press on.

Let’s look to the Lord,

For He is the place;

We are granted strength,

To run well our race.

Power that endures,

Through the toughest days;

A love that surrounds,

And grace that remains.

The Lord is the One,

On whom to depend;

To rise, overcome,

As strength He extends.

So, look to the Lord,

For all that we need;

Seek His strength, not ours,

In Him we succeed.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our Source of strength as we learn to depend on You. Thank You that Your power is present and made evident in our weakness. Forgive us for the times that we attempt to power through on our own, rather than seeking our true Source of strength. Teach us to turn in trust to You, as You supply all we need. Show us how to love those around us in ways that offer strength and hope and grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to be our Source of strength in all things and at all times. Amen.

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

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go. – Joshua 1:9

Grow A Garden

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. – (Galatians 5:22-23, NIV)

But the fruit that the Spirit produces in a person’s life is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these kinds of things. – (Galatians 5:22-23, ERV)

But the fruit produced by the Holy Spirit within you is divine love in all its varied expressions: joy that overflows, peace that subdues, patience that endures, kindness in action, a life full of virtue, faith that prevails, gentleness of heart, and strength of spirit. Never set the law above these qualities, for they are meant to be limitless. – (Galatians 5:22-23, TPT)

When we know and love God and invite Him to dwell within us, His Spirit grows good fruit within that reaches outward. Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control are all indicators of His presence and the fruit that is produced through a life intent on loving God and loving people. These things are meant to be limitless, and against them, there is no law. Each of these attributes are admirable and appreciated in others. May we ever be a people who seek a heart after God, and allow Him to grow His good fruit within us.

God, grow a garden,

Inside of our hearts;

Full of Your good fruit,

In love, You impart.

Joy, peace and patience,

Kindness and Your good;

Gentle, self-controlled,

Ways love’s understood.

Help us be faithful,

Despite what we see;

In hope, let us trust,

You care faithfully.

In that space of trust,

Lead us in Your love;

To live fruitful lives,

Like You, Lord, above.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that in You we can grow in love and all of the fruit that Your love produces. Forgive us for allowing the things of the world to plant weeds in our hearts or stunt the growth of what You intended. Teach us to trust and rely on You to lead and grow us. Show us how to love those around us as we spread joy, produce peace, extend patience and kindness, demonstrate faithfulness, journey gently and exhibit self-control. May many come into a lasting and fruitful relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we invest our hearts and lives in growing in the goodness of Your abundant love. Amen.

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

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. – Deuteronomy 6:5