Purposeful Words

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. – (Ephesians 4:29, NIV)

When you talk, don’t say anything bad. But say the good things that people need – whatever will help them grow stronger. Then what you say will be a blessing to those who hear you. – (Ephesians 4:29, ERV)

Watch the way you talk. Let nothing foul or dirty come out of your mouth. Say only what helps, each word a gift. – (Ephesians 4:29, MSG)

What we say matters. When we are negative or use ugly words, we are not building anyone up, and in reality, we are bringing ourselves and those around us down. It is better to say nothing than to be toxic with our words. We are called to build each other up and help strengthen them. Our words matter, and it is an intentional decision to be kind and encouraging or to remain quiet. May we ever seek the Lord to lead us so that our words are a gift that build others up and are beneficial to the hearers.

O Lord, let my words,

Bring encouragement;

Help me be silent,

When that’s not what’s meant.

Let each word be kind,

Purposeful, build up;

May goodness and grace,

Free what’s been bound up.

For strength can be found,

Through words of others;

When used to lift up,

And love each other.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the gift of Your words. Thank You that You, lead, encourage, guide, and reside within us, and use Your words to fill our hearts with Your goodness and grace. Forgive us for the times that we have used words to hurt, cut down, or complain, rather than to build up. Teach us to speak with grace and kindness, and to be silent when we cannot. Show us how to love those around us with our words in ways that encourage, strengthen and build up. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we use our words as You intended, to encourage and build others up. Amen.

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

May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in Your sight, Lord, my Rock and Redeemer. – Psalm 19:14

Look to the Heart

But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or his stature, because I have rejected him. Man does not see what the Lord sees, for man sees what is visible, but the Lord sees the heart.” – (1 Samuel 16:7, HCSB)

But the Lord said to Samuel, “Eliab is tall and handsome, but don’t judge by things like that. God doesn’t look at what people see. People judge by what is on the outside, but the Lord looks at the heart. Eliab is not the right man.” – (1 Samuel 16:7, ERV)

But God told Samuel, “Looks aren’t everything. Don’t be impressed with his looks and stature. I’ve already eliminated him. God judges persons differently than humans do. Men and women look at the face; God looks into the heart.” – (1 Samuel 16:7, MSG)

This passage is from when God called Samuel to go and anoint the one who was to succeed Saul as king. To the ordinary observer, David’s older brothers seemed to be far more appropriate candidates. However, God saw so much more. In David, God saw a man after His own heart. David had the heart of a warrior and a worshiper – both of which God used while David grew and learned the faithfulness of God as he faced a giant with a sling and a stone, and later led a nation as he sang and danced praising God for His faithfulness. Incredibly, what this shows us is that we never know who God is raising up for great things. Our task is to love and encourage all, and to look past appearances and instead see the heart. I know in relationships, the people I am most drawn to have beautiful hearts. The more I get to know them, the more I see who they are radiating through, and recognize what draws others in. As a teacher, this is critical. We never know who the next leaders, doctors, pastors, educators, community advocates, parents and more are in the ones seated in our classrooms. Each has been created with a purpose, and it is our job to help strengthen the heart so that they can see their own potential and pursue all that God has for them. May we ever seek the Lord to give us His eyes to see, so that we may encourage those around us in the strengths that they have been given, and glorify God for His goodness.

Look not at the face,

But rather the heart;

The true character,

Where seeing must start.

For we never know,

All that God has planned;

Purpose He has placed,

In women and men.

A mere shepherd boy,

Was anointed king;

Despite appearance,

Beyond what was seen.

God looks at our hearts,

The strengths found within;

His plan and purpose,

Waiting to begin.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You see beyond what others see. Thank You that You look to the heart to lead us into all that You have for us. Forgive us for selling others short based on what we see. Teach us to look through Your lens so that we see the potential and promise in everyone we meet. Lead us to love those around us in ways that encourage and strengthen each in the gifts and talents You have placed in them. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, and trust in You to lead them to walk out their purpose. Be glorified O God, as we look to You to help us see others as You do. Amen.

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

The One who chose you will do that for you. You can trust Him. – 1 Thessalonians 5:24

Our Present Strength

Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be afraid, for I am your God. I will strengthen you; I will help you; I will hold on to you with My righteous right hand. – (Isaiah 41:10, HCSB)

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)

No matter what comes against us, God is for us and with us. He is our help and our hope; He provides the strength that we need and people to walk beside us to encourage and uphold us. Regardless of how things seem, God is faithful to carry us through, and lead us to something new. May we ever seek the Lord to bring His perfect peace as we recognize His nearness and strength to uphold us and carry us through every challenge we face, and how to be present for those who are in the midst of trials.

In You, Lord, there’s light,

Full of good and grace;

You strengthen, uphold,

As we seek Your face.

Victory in You,

Will surely be found;

Where hope is restored,

For Your love is sound.

Lead us, Lord Jesus,

To trust well in You;

For You are our peace,

And all that is true.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we need not fear, for You are with us to uphold and strengthen us. Thank You that You see well beyond today, and make a way where there seems to be no way. Forgive us for our fears when we cannot see an end in sight. Teach us to trust You in all things and at all times. Show us how to walk beside those who are in the midst of struggle, and use us to be Your hands, heart and voice to bring peace, strength and encouragement. Lead us to love like You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust in You to strengthen and uphold us, and help us to ever look to You to lead us to walk alongside those in the midst of challenge. Amen.

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

But those who trust in the Lord will renew their strength; they will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary; they will walk and not faint. – Isaiah 40:31

Trust in His Love

The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in Him, and I am helped. Therefore my heart rejoices, and I praise Him with my song. – (Psalm 28:7, HCSB)

The Lord is my strength and shield. I trusted Him with all my heart. He helped me, so I am happy. I sing songs of praise to Him. – (Psalm 28:7, ERV)

The Eternal is the source of my strength and the shield that guards me. When I learn to rest and truly trust Him, He sends His help. This is why my heart is singing! I open my mouth to praise Him, and thankfulness rises as a song. – (Psalm 28:7, VOICE)

Yesterday, upon our return home, we discovered our eldest broke his tibia and fibula, and was in Seattle, about to go into surgery. This was not on our radar as we arrived home, but the details quickly unfolded when the vehicle was home and he was not. What does this verse have to do with all that? After the initial fear, frustration and beyond, God came close and reminded us of the good, even in this awful situation. For example, the circumstances surrounding his injuries could have been much worse or potentially even taken his life. Additionally, he has a place to stay to recover and rehabilitate his injured leg, and will have time to take care of his schooling that has long been set aside. We are grateful that God spared his life and that his brother was with him to get him to the hospital quickly. The Lord’s help was and continues to be present, even in the midst of unexpected challenges. May we ever seek Him to lead us and strengthen us to do what we need to do. All praise and thanks to God, for His love and mercy do not end.

The Lord is my strength,

And I trust in Him;

My shield and my help,

As love enters in.

My help and my hope,

God is ever near;

Our reason to sing,

He silences fear.

As we know His help,

Reminders to sing;

Grace overflowing,

All good His love brings.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are ever-present to help, and that You care about all things. Thank You that You strengthen and provide for us where we need it most. Forgive us for the times that we allow our vision to be clouded by the struggles before us rather than focus on Your help and strength that are present and available to us. Teach us to trust You in every circumstance and to seek You to lead and guide us. Flood our hearts with praise unto You. Show us how to love those around us in ways that point to You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for Your ongoing provision of help, strength and love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Amen.

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

The Lord will send His faithful love by day; His song will be with me in the night – a prayer to the God of my life. – Psalm 42:8

The Port of Peace

He stilled the storm to a murmur, and the waves of the sea were hushed. They rejoiced when the waves grew quiet. Then He guided them to the harbor they longed for. – (Psalm 107:29-30, HCSB)

He stopped the storm and calmed the waves. The sailors were happy that the sea became calm, and He led them safely to where they wanted to go. – (Psalm 107:29-30, ERV)

He commanded the storm to calm down, and it became still. A hush came over the waves of the sea, the sailors were delighted at the quiet, and He guided them to their port. – (Psalm 107:29-30, VOICE)

I feel like this is a perfect parallel to the end of the school year. The chaos and craziness of teaching through a pandemic, as the waves roared around us, are being silenced. At 10:30 today, teachers will be rejoicing as calm comes and we make our way into the peaceful harbor of summer. In the same way that educators have been carried through this crazy school year, God carries us through our most tumultuous storms. Challenge, heartache, illness, loss, and places we are lacking, God meets us where we are and walks beside us to the other side. There were days early on in the school year that I questioned my profession and purpose. Somehow, a way was made and things did improve. I have much hope that next year will be far better than this one. Kids will have become acclimated to being back at school, and two grade levels of students will have had a full school year on campus as they return. May we ever seek our Savior who is the calmer of the storms, and the One who is our safe harbor in whom we can delight.

With merely a word,

The storms had to cease;

Into safe harbor,

As calm is released.

Both throughout the storm,

And when the calm comes;

God will be with us,

The most Holy One.

Our anchor that holds,

No matter the waves;

Our Guide to safety,

Throughout all our days.

Now the safe harbor,

Is plainly in sight;

May we give Him praise,

Our strength and delight.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You can calm our chaos with merely a word, and lead us to safe harbor when the storms rage around us. Thank You that You strengthen and support us, and lead us through to places of peace. Forgive us for our fears and doubts when the storms last longer than we think they should. Teach us to ever trust in You. Show us how to love those around us in ways that provide safe harbor and extend Your perfect peace, even when storms rage around us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You to be our anchor and our Guide throughout all of our days. Amen.

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

I will both lie down and sleep in peace, for You alone, Lord, make me live in safety. – Psalm 4:8

Look to the Lord

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

Depend on the Lord for strength. Always go to Him for help. – (Psalm 105:4, ERV)

Seek the Eternal and His power; look to His face constantly. – (Psalm 105:4, VOICE)

Seek, look to, and depend on the Lord, for He is our source of strength. He is faithful to meet us wherever we are and ready to walk beside us, strengthening us, so that we may continue moving in the direction to which we have been called. We are in the home stretch of the school year, with only six more wake-ups remaining. Students are all over the map, as they are sad to leave, anxious about what lies ahead in high school, and equally restless and weary from the longest school year ever. It has been an incredibly challenging year, as students have had to adapt to being back in classrooms after nearly two years online. Our seventh graders never had the introduction to what it is to be in middle school on campus, as they transitioned from losing the spring of their fifth grade year, to sixth grade being nearly entirely online. Fast forward to this year, and there were two entire grades of kids who had never been on campus, and our eighth graders had only spent about three quarters of the year on site as sixth graders. It has been a year of intense transition, as expectations and routines had to be relearned after so much uncertainty. For many, it is still a season of recovery from loss. In all of this, our task has been to come alongside kids and help them reacclimate to school in classrooms, and navigate extreme restrictions and rules for safety that have gradually gone away as we have made our way to this point in the year. Sometimes, I have to remind myself of all that these kiddos have been dealing with as they have returned to us in-person. It is my hope that as we close out this year, we can look back and see the Lord’s faithful provision of His strength and help each step of the way. May we ever remember what He has brought us through, and continue to seek Him to provide all that we need for all that lies ahead.

We look to You Lord,

To lead us in love;

For strength and resolve,

To choose care enough.

Help us keep seeking,

Relying on You;

Always You’re faithful,

To strengthen, renew.

Lead us, Lord Jesus,

To rise, finish strong;

To give all we’ve got,

Throughout the day long.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can seek, look to, and depend on You to strengthen us for all that lies before us. Thank You that Your mercies are new every morning, and that Your faithfulness knows no end. Forgive us for allowing our weariness to determine our resolve. Teach us to lean into You, for You walk beside us and supply all that we need. Show us how to love well as we finish strong. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we ever seek You and depend on You to strengthen us and lead us in the ways in which we are meant to go. 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

All Through Him

For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen. – (Romans 11:36, HCSB)

Yes, God made all things. And everything continues through Him and for Him. To God be the glory forever! Amen. – (Romans 11:36, ERV)

Everything comes from Him; everything happens through Him; everything ends up in Him. Always glory! Always praise! Yes. Yes. Yes. – (Romans 11:36, MSG)

As we draw ever closer to the close of what has been the most challenging school year yet, I cannot help but give God praise for all He has done throughout every day. He has provided strength in our weariness, and hope in spaces of despair. Today, we begin the twenty-day countdown. Twenty more school-day wakeups and the year will be done. I don’t know about you, but when the days remaining are countable on our fingers and toes, it seems far more manageable. This morning, as I prepare for my day, not only do I present my requests for strength and peace and patience and love, but also, I give God praise for all He has done, is doing, and will continue to do. May we rise with purpose and make the most of each day that we draw breath.

Twenty days remain,

Home stretch…

Until we are through;

Year never-ending,

Almost done, it’s true.

God has been faithful,

To provide our needs;

His grace, sufficient,

And His love exceeds.

On the darkest days, 

In Him, was still light;

The song in our hearts,

Hope, love and delight.

Let us choose rise up,

With purpose, go forth;

Love one another,

And bask in God’s warmth.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that all things are in You, from You, with You and through You; for You lead, guide, sustain and strengthen us to do more than we ever hoped or imagined. Forgive us for losing sight of the truth of who You are and how You carry us when our strength is gone. Teach us to trust and praise You in all things and at all times. Show us how to love, encourage and support those around us, so that they may know glimpses of Your goodness and grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You forever for who You are and how You lovingly lead us through all things. Amen.

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

All things were created through Him, and apart from Him not one thing was created that has been created. – John 1:3

Rest in Hope

Rest in God alone, my soul, for my hope comes from Him. – (Psalm 62:5, HCSB)

I must calm down and turn to God; He is my only hope. – (Psalm 62:5, ERV)

My soul waits quietly for the True God alone because I hope in only Him. – (Psalm 62:5, VOICE)

Some mornings, the distractions around me make quiet rest seem impossible. However, as I choose to stay calm and pursue the space I need to seek Him, calm comes close and my heart can hear hope with each new breath. When we are intentional to rest in Him, we are reminded of who God is and how He loves, as He fills us with fresh hope again. In the chaos that spring days can bring, hope is needed to navigate. May we find rest in God, and embrace the grace that He provides to strengthen our hope in Him.

Lord, settle my soul,

As I turn to You;

In quiet, I wait,

As I read Your truth.

You show me that hope,

Is found in the space;

Where we choose to seek,

Your goodness and grace.

Our strength comes from You,

When we seek, we find;

Just how near You are,

And Your love is kind.

Help us find quiet,

Throughout each new day;

As hope is restored,

And love leads the way.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that rest and hope come from You. Thank You that You speak to our hearts in the stillness as we seek You, and You fill us with Your hope and love. Forgive us for the times that we allow the noise and distractions to keep us from pressing into You. Teach us to rest in You as You fill and restore hope within us. Lead us to love those around us well. May they find the hope that is held in You alone and enter into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we rest in You and hold fast to the hope we have in You. Amen.

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

I wake before the dawn and call for help; I hope in Your words. – Psalm 119:147

Needs to Navigate Each New Day

The Lord gives His people strength; the Lord blesses His people with peace. – (Psalm 29:11, HCSB)

May the Lord make His people strong. May the Lord bless His people with peace. – (Psalm 29:11, ERV)

God makes His people strong. God gives His people peace. – (Psalm 29:11, MSG)

Strength and peace are exactly the things that are needed to navigate this day. It has been an incredibly long week, and what I thought were my weekend plans, may or may not be. Part of God’s strength comes through the wisdom He provides, and then the power to pursue the path that He presents. Our plans are not always His plans, but His purpose for us remains constant. When things are uncertain, I have to choose trust. As I do, He grants strength and provides peace to keep moving forward. Right now, I am so grateful for the strength that He supplied to sustain me throughout the week, and can trust that He will continue to be faithful today. May we ever seek the Lord and trust in Him, for He provides His strength and peace each new day.

God grants us the strength,

To keep pressing on;

His peace and presence,

Are what make us strong.

He strengthens our hearts,

And makes sound our minds;

As His perfect peace,

Comes and dwells inside.

So, choose seek the Lord,

And all of His grace;

He’s our Provider,

To stay in the race.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our Source of strength and peace. Thank You that Your goodness and grace are not dependent on our circumstances. You know and understand weariness and exhaustion, and You know best how to provide what we need. Forgive us for our fears and frustrations that come when we do not fully trust. Teach us to cling to You, for You supply all that we need to navigate each new day. Show us how to strengthen and encourage those around us, and make Your peace present through our love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to be our strength and peace, as You sustain and uplift us each new day. Amen.

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

Don’t worry about anything, but in everything, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. – Philippians 4:6

Hope That Will Not Disappoint

This hope will not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us. – (Romans 5:5, HCSB)

And this hope will never disappoint us. We know this because God has poured out His love to fill our hearts through the Holy Spirit He gave us. – (Romans 5:5, ERV)

And hope will never fail to satisfy our deepest need because the Holy Spirit that was given to us has flooded our hearts with God’s love. – (Romans 5:5, VOICE)

The hope of God is what we have to hold onto. Over the past few months, I have learned of several friends from my formative years who have had difficult diagnoses that require lengthy treatment and follow ups. Each has some sort of cancer that has necessitated surgery and chemotherapy in the many months to come. Incredibly, each of these precious people have a strong faith that includes hope in He who is our Healer. Looking at the clouds and ocean this morning, the image I captured seems to provide a visual of what is going on. If you look only at the horizon, a storm is evident and the rain in the distance appears to be coming down. However, if you look up, the light is glowing above, around and from behind the clouds. To me, this is the perfect picture of hope. We traverse life’s storms, yet what is above us, behind us and surrounding us is full of life and light and hope. God is good, even in the midst of the awful, and is present to help and uphold us. May we ever turn to the Lord and trust in Him, for He will never fail to satisfy our deepest need as He overwhelms us with His love.

O Lord hold our heart,

When storms come our way;

Flood us with Your love,

True hope that will stay.

Provide what’s needed,

For those in the fight;

Strengthen, surround them,

With Your loving light.

Grace in the process,

As You hold us up;

Love overflowing,

As You fill our cup.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that hope in You never disappoints, for Your love is poured out to fill us, surround us, and hold us up in the hollow of Your hands. Forgive us for our fears when we see and hear diagnoses that seem discouraging. Thank You that You are bigger than anything and everything that comes against us. Please hold each of these dear ones in the hollow of Your hands, and bring miraculous healing as only You can. Strengthen and encourage each with the power of Your great love. Show us how to love those in the fight well, and practical ways to encourage and lift up. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, as they witness the power of Your great love and care for all. Be glorified O God, as we trust and hope in You, even when storms rage around us. 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