Be Glad, Lovely Sky

Shout for joy, you heavens; rejoice, you earth; burst into song, you mountains! For the Lord comforts His people and will have compassion on His afflicted ones. – (Isaiah 49:13, NIV)

Heavens and earth, be happy! Mountains, shout with joy! The Lord comforts His people. He is good to His poor people. – (Isaiah 49:13, ERV)

Oh joy! Be glad – sky! Take joy – earth! Burst into song – mountains! For the Eternal, moved to compassion, has comforted and consoled His people. – (Isaiah 49:13, VOICE)

 

Though we may not feel it in the midst of our struggles, God is moving with compassion and supplying His comfort. Perhaps that is the “why” to rejoice, for when we do, it further comforts us, despite our circumstances. Additionally, even if we do not choose to rejoice and be glad, “…the very rocks would start to shout!” (Luke 19:40, VOICE) The truth of who God is will be made known, with or without us. We are in a unique position to demonstrate joy, despite our circumstances; rejoice in the truth that we know, and hold fast to the hope of all that is yet to come. It does not mean that we will be “Miss Susie Sunshine” all the time, but what it does mean is that there is an underlying joy and hope, deep-rooted within us, that shines forth somehow, even on the most difficult of days. May we set our sights on He who is good to His people and has compassion and comfort for those in need. Let us take joy in the truth that we know and be glad in ways that spread goodness to those around us.

 

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Take joy, all the earth;

For God sees us each,

With infinite worth.

In His holy love,

Comfort He does bring;

Full of compassion,

Our reason to sing.

So, sing out with praise,

All the earth rejoice;

Lift praise to the Lord,

One heart and one voice.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that all of heaven and earth has reason to rejoice and be glad, as You bring comfort and compassion to the afflicted and those in need. Thank You that You hear every prayer and see every need. Forgive us for our lack of praise in spaces of struggle. Show us how to rejoice and hold hope in tangible ways that spread joy to those around us. Help us to love all those whom we have contact with in ways that encourage and strengthen them with joy and hope. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You with grateful hearts, full of hope, as You are our Comforter, full of compassion in every season of our lives. Amen.

 

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

 

“I tell you,” He replied, “if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.” – Luke 19:40

Peace in His Protection

But let all who take refuge in You be glad; let them ever sing for joy. Spread Your protection over them, that those who love Your Name may rejoice in You. – (Psalm 5:11, NIV)

But let those who trust in You be happy forever. Protect and strengthen those who love Your Name. – (Psalm 5:11, ERV)

But make everyone rejoice who puts his trust in You. Keep them shouting for joy because You are defending them. Fill all who love You with Your happiness. – (Psalm 5:11, TLB)

 

This morning, I am able to rejoice and be glad, for I know that God protected me. That being said, it was sadly, not my first response, as I discovered my flight to Reno was cancelled last evening. Though my husband had called me and given me a heads up that the city was experiencing high winds, and the landing would likely be quite turbulent, somehow, the severity of the weather did not really register in my mind. Then, after patiently sitting at my gate for over an hour, as I had breezed through security in five minutes, I received a text from my airline, notifying me that my flight had been cancelled and that I had been booked on another flight. At first, I merely thought I needed to find a new gate, but upon closer investigation, I had the revelation that the new flight had not been scheduled until twelve hours later. My initial reaction was frustration, as I was uncertain as to how I would get home and back to the airport again in the morning, and questioned why my flight was cancelled in the first place. After speaking with a kind ticket agent, who helped make certain I was all set for my flight this morning, it slowly dawned on me that not only my flight, but all the flights that evening, were cancelled into Reno, due to the high winds. Turbulence is not my friend, and staying safe while flying is of critical importance. After a good night’s sleep in my own bed, I am grateful that I was protected and kept safe, and am still happily anticipating the time I will have to spend with family for the remainder of the weekend with my husband, who is already in Reno. May we ever rejoice and place our trust in God, for He protects us and strengthens us with His goodness and love.

 

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Take refuge in God;

Our safe hiding place,

Where peace is installed.

Even when events,

Makes no sense at all;

His purpose for us,

To love, it’s our call.

As we choose to trust,

It’s quite plain to see;

How He protects us,

Ever lovingly.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can always trust in You. Thank You that as we do, You are protecting and strengthening us, even when we have no idea how or why. Thank You that You see and know the entire story, not just the portion that our limited sights can see. Forgive us for our frustration when things don’t seem to go according to our own plans. Teach us to trust You and Your plans, as often the disruptions are simply for our protection. Show us how to love those around us as we navigate uncharted territory. Help us to live and love generously. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You and praise You for Your protection, strength and love that never leaves us and always has our best in mind. Amen.

 

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

 

Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe. – Proverbs 29:25

Better Ways

“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways,” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts higher than your thoughts.” – (Isaiah 55:8-9, NIV)

The Lord says, “My thoughts are not like yours. Your ways are not like mine. Just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so My ways are higher than your ways, and My thoughts higher than your thoughts.” – (Isaiah 55:8-9, ERV)

“I don’t think the way you think. The way you work isn’t the way I work.” God’s Decree. “For as the sky soars high above the earth, so the way I work surpasses the way you work, and the way I think is beyond the way you think.” – (Isaiah 55:8-9, MSG)

 

I am so grateful that this is the truth. God is not limited to human insight and understanding; for He sees and knows far beyond what we can even begin to imagine. Though we often think we know what would be best, when we give it to God, He reveals that there is so much more. His ways are far greater than ours, and He knows the best way to take us from where we are to where He planned and purposed for us to end up. This is particularly comforting when things do not seem to make sense. When we are caught in the space of “Why?” and need Him to lead, guide, strengthen and equip us to press on to the space that He is bringing us into, and we are not there yet. May we seek the Lord for His thoughts and His ways, for they are far greater than anything that we could ever hope or imagine.

 

The thoughts of the Lord, Statements of Praise

Are higher than mine;

His love so much more,

He’s holy, divine.

So too are His ways,

Far above my own;

His plan is greater,

Beyond what I’ve known.

Let us seek the Lord,

In all and always;

For His plans are good,

To bless and give grace.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your thoughts are so much higher than mine, and Your plans, beyond what my mind can fathom. Forgive us for doubting the goodness that You have in store for us when we are in a season of struggle. Thank You that Your love is not limited by our circumstances. Teach us to trust You in all things and at all times. Show us how to love those around us in the ways that they need love most. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek Your thoughts and Your ways in all things, for they are so much greater than our own. Amen.

 

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

 

Answer me, Lord, out of the goodness of Your love; in Your great mercy turn to me. – Psalm 69:16

Blessed in the Bittersweet

My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. – (Psalm 73:26, NIV)

Maybe my mind and body will become weak, but God is my source of strength. He is mine forever! – (Psalm 73:26, ERV)

Lord, so many times I fail; I fall into disgrace. But when I trust in You, I have a strong and glorious presence protecting and anointing me. Forever You’re all I need! – (Psalm 73:26, TPT)

 

Sundays are bittersweet. The sweet comes through the blessings found in gathering with my church family to worship and hear the word together. However, the challenging portion of Sundays are found in the reminder that my weekend has come to a close, and much of the day is spent preparing for the week ahead. Today is no exception, as I will have to go in to work to take care of things that must be ready for Monday afternoon, and require far more time and energy than my planning period permits. Sometimes, the need to go in on a weekend feels a bit like a failure, as I cannot wrap my head around how people are able to complete all that must be done during the week. I am worn out, and six days spent at work are more than I desire, even if only a few hours extra on a weekend. That being said, God provides what I need, as He grants me the strength and the help as I go. Always He is faithful to meet me in my weakness, and supplies the strength that I need. May we ever trust in the Lord, for His strength and His presence are the provisions we need to rise.

 

No matter the day, Daily Provision

Or how my heart cries;

God remains faithful,

And grants strength to rise.

Rise up from weakness,

Step out of despair;

Enduring presence,

Strengthens as He cares.

Faithful Provider,

Our God of all grace;

Our help and our hope,

For now, and always.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that though we fall short, You are always enough. Thank You that You are our strength and our portion forever. Thank You that You meet us in our weakness and provide the strength of heart required to press on in the direction that You are calling us to move. Forgive us for our frustrations and lack of faith. Teach us to trust in You in all things and at all times; for You are strength and hope and love and life. Show us how to love those around us in ways that encourage and strengthen in spaces where hope is hard to find. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we rely on You to be our strength and provision forever. 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

He Answers

I call on the Lord in my distress, and He answers me. – (Psalm 120:1, NIV)

I was in trouble. I called to the Lord for help, and He answered me! – (Psalm 120:1, ERV)

I took my troubles to the Lord; I cried out to Him, and He answered my prayers. – (Psalm 120:1, NLT)

 

After waking from a disturbing dream about school, there is comfort in the reminder to call on the Lord; He is faithful to help and answer our prayers. I know that God’s plans are far greater than my own, and He is faithful to lead me in the direction that I am meant to go. That being said, I am also in my current space for such a time as this. Though I know not why the year has unfolded into such a battle, there is good to see in each and every day. One of the ways that God has answered, has been through the opportunity that I was given to take on a new coaching role at the high school. No matter how my school day had gone, walking into the gym brought joy and hope, excitement and strength, as we worked together toward a common goal. Now, a week post-high school, I just enjoyed the first meet of our middle school season, yesterday afternoon. The very same blessings that were bestowed upon me as I walked into the high school gym, I find in the gym at the middle school where I teach and coach as well. One of my answers currently, is the joy in helping girls discover what they are capable of doing when they are determined to work hard and stick with it. I do have the same moments of blessing in the classroom, but they are often tainted by poor behavior choices that demand my attention, in order to keep the classroom safe. In the gym, that is not the case. As I wait and trust, I will continue to call on the Lord, knowing that He has answers that will lead me to a space of peace. May we ever seek the Lord and place our troubles in His hands, for He hears and answers our prayers.

 

Choose call on the Lord,

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Photo courtesy of Pictured Memories

He’s faithful to hear;

When there is trouble,

His help’s ever near.

The Lord’s plans are good,

His heart is to bless;

To strengthen, lift up,

Remove our distress.

He leads us places,

Beyond what we’ve known;

To show us His strength,

As our faith is grown.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we call on You in our troubles and distress, You hear our prayers and answer us. Thank You that Your answers are far greater than what we could ask or imagine. Forgive us for losing perspective in the midst of our struggles, as You never leave us nor forsake us. Teach us to trust that You are always moving on our behalf, even when we are unaware. Show us how to love those around us who are struggling, so that they may be strengthened and encouraged in the wait for Your new. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You in all things and thank You for the blessings that You bring, even in the midst of our trials. Amen.

 

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

 

The Lord is near to all who call on Him, to all who call on Him in truth. – Psalm 145:18

Forgive in Love and Let Go

Love prospers when a fault is forgiven, but dwelling on it separates close friends. – (Proverbs 17:9, NLT)

Forgive someone, and you will strengthen your friendship. Keep reminding them, and you will destroy it. – (Proverbs 17:9, ERV)

Love overlooks the mistakes of others, but dwelling on the failures of others devastates friendships. – (Proverbs 17:9, TPT)

 

Love and friendship thrive when we walk in forgiveness, but fail when we hold grudges and choose not to move on. Not one of us are perfect, and we all are in need of grace. God, in His goodness and perfect love, grants us grace and forgiveness as we ask, and remembers our sins no more. He does not remind us of our failures or past mistakes, but rather extends encouragement and builds us up. We too, are called to do the same. Faults and mistakes are not the same as intentional harm. Though we are always called to forgive, we must be wise as we move forward in love. Sometimes love has to part ways and take a different path to stay safe; body, heart, mind and soul. Most often, our relationships prosper as we forgive faults and failures, moving forward in love as we are called to do. We all fall short and desperately need grace. What a treasure when we have love and friendship that forgive faults and love us where we are, as we are. May we choose to forgive in love, letting go of the past and moving forward, allowing each new day to be a fresh start.

 

To love is a choice, Confidence in Christ

It chooses forgive;

Looks past others faults,

Loves well and lets live.

Love does not hold on,

To mistakes gone by;

Instead looks forward,

Brings grace into life.

The strongest of bonds,

Are formed by His grace;

Forgiving in love,

Completely embraced.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You forgive our faults and failures and do not remind us of them over and over again. Thank You that when You forgive, it is finished. Thank You that You show us what it means to do the same for those around us. Forgive us for the times that we have lacked forgiveness, or have brought things back up that needed to be left in the past. Teach us how to forgive and move forward, releasing what was into Your hands. Show us how to love those around us well, so that they too, come to know and understand Your forgiveness and grace in a tangible way. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we rely on You to forgive in love and let go. Amen.

 

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

 

It (love) does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. – 1 Corinthians 13:5

 

Made Possible

Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God.” – (Mark 10:27, NIV)

Jesus looked at them and said, “That is something people cannot do, but God can. He can do anything.” – (Mark 10:27, ERV)

Jesus was blunt: “No chance at all if you think you can pull it off by yourself. Every chance in the world if you let God do it.” – (Mark 10:27, MSG)

 

I am so grateful to God, as there are many impossibilities that He makes possible, regularly. Today is no exception. For whatever reason, I struggled to sleep after our final regular season gymnastics meet last night. I tossed and turned and found myself with eyes open, seemingly as often as they were closed. That being said, I know that somehow, He will grant me all that I need to navigate this day. For one, it is an early release day, so I am granted a bit of reprieve as far as hours of formal instruction go today. It is somehow less daunting knowing that classes are 45 minutes each, rather than sixty. Additionally, the professional learning community that I am a part of is a fantastic group of colleagues, whom I call friends, and it is never a burden to spend time planning together, tired or not. Beyond that, practice this afternoon was cancelled to give the girls time to rest and catch up on homework, which will provide the same opportunity for me. A day that might have been a bit overwhelming, has been made manageable by His grace, already. He is good, and I know He will grant me what I need to navigate whatever comes my way, and I am giving Him praise for His faithful ways. May we look to the Lord in faith, trusting that He can do exceedingly more than we could ever hope or imagine, as we trust in Him.

 

The God of all grace, Made Possible

Makes all things that seem;

So impossible,

A reachable dream.

He moves in His strength,

Grants us what we lack;

Floods us with His love,

He does not hold back.

Choose trust in the Lord,

No matter what’s seen;

For God can do more,

Each need He’s foreseen.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are the One who makes all things possible in You. What seems impossible to us in our own strength, is achievable in You. Forgive us for our fears and doubts when we rely on only what we can see. Teach us to trust You, for You move far beyond what we can observe with our eyes. Show us how to love those around us in ways that strengthen and extend grace, granting hope for impossibilities to be made possible in You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust in You and all that You provide to help us navigate all that we are called to do. Amen.

 

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

 

In You, Lord my God, I put my trust. – Psalm 25:1

For Beautiful New

“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.” – (Isaiah 43:18-19, NIV)

So don’t remember what happened in earlier times. Don’t think about what happened a long time ago, because I am doing something new! Now you will grow like a new plant. Surely you know this is true. I will even make a road in the desert and rivers will flow through that dry land. – (Isaiah 43:18-19, ERV)

Eternal One: Don’t revel only in the past, or spend all your time recounting the victories of days gone by. Watch closely: I am preparing something new; it’s happening now, even as I speak, and you’re about to see it. I am preparing a way through the desert; Waters will flow where there has been none. – (Isaiah 43:18-19, VOICE)

 

I am not big on resolutions nor bandwagon ideas for the coming year. However, as I sat down to prepare to do my devotions this morning, I pondered the overarching word that could capture the heart of this past year. Right away, the word that came to mind was hope. Hope has been the anchor for my soul through some seriously stormy seas that I never thought I’d need to navigate. God’s grace has been abundant, and His hope – overwhelmingly present. Looking forward, I paused, for only a moment, and prayed, asking what word might be one to look for in the coming year. Right away, the word “new” came to mind. For most, I know that new would make sense for a new year, but as a teacher, the new year falls only halfway through the school year, so it really never feels “new”. It is simply a return, rested and recharged for part two. That being said, as I opened my Bible app to go to the day’s reading, and immediately I was greeted by the verses listed above. I do not think that the verse and the word that came to mind and heart are a coincidence. God is doing something new, and I am going to eagerly anticipate all that awaits in the new year. Growth is always good, and possible where things seem impossible – excellent! May we ever watch closely and take notice, for God is doing new things – making a way where there seems no way, and providing beyond what we thought possible.

Yesterday, I had the privilege of accompanying Mom to her therapy appointments. It was incredible to watch all of the “new” that she is doing in occupational, speech and physical therapies. Additionally, Saturday morning, Mom determined to try out her new cane, rather than her walker. Since then, she has not looked back, and is now only using the cane to walk! That includes going out for appointments, quick errands, and even when we went out to dinner last evening. God continues to do the “new” in Mom, and we are anticipating an incredible year ahead for her as well.

 

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That is yet to come;

God’s making a way,

He’s only begun.

Where impossible,

Was how it all seemed;

God’s making the way,

Realizing dreams.

We know not the way,

He’s working for us;

But He’s full of love,

And faithful to bless.

So, rise up in trust,

Have faith His word’s true;

God’s making a way,

For beautiful new.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are good and faithful and full of love. Thank You that You make a way where there seems to be no way, and grow us beyond what we ever imagined possible. Thank You that You are always doing something new on our behalf. Forgive us for our fears and doubts that question the possibility of anything more than where we are right now. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would view life through Your lens rather than our own. Show us how to love those around us in ways that support, encourage, and strengthen all whom we meet with reason to believe there is more in store. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You in all the new that is yet to come in 2020. Amen.

 

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

 

I will give them an undivided heart and put a new spirit in them; I will remove from them their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh. – Ezekiel 11:19

Strength and Peace

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

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)

 

This is exactly the sort of day where I need to be reminded of such promises from God. I am on the verge of being sick, and I have a very full and demanding day ahead of me. Additionally, I did something to my back over the weekend, and find myself especially grateful for His promise to strengthen and bless with peace. God always makes a way, where there seems to be no way; the challenge comes in remembering that in the moments when what lies before us seems overwhelming. As for me, this is why I rise early and set my heart on Him. The mountains that are standing before me when I first wake, appear more manageable by the time I have spent time intentionally with God. He reminds me of who He is, and who I am in Him. May we ever turn to the Lord for strength and peace, for He meets us as we seek Him.

 

The Lord grants His strength, Grow to Overflowing

To all those who seek;

And fills up with peace,

Hearts troubled and weak.

Faithful to meet us, 

The Lord always hears;

Each prayer we lift up,

In love, He draws near.

He knows our trials,

The mountains we face;

Meets us with His strength,

Love, hope and great grace.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You give us strength and peace when it is lacking. Thank You that You are faithful forever to all who seek You. Forgive us for our fears and doubts when we fix our gaze on the size of the mountains before us, rather than the greatness of You. Teach us to trust You to be our strength and peace in all things and at all times. Show us how to love those around us in ways that extend Your peace and strength in practical and tangible ways where it is lacking. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to be our strength and peace, and praise You for Your faithfulness. Amen.

 

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

 

The Lord turn His face toward you and give you peace. – Numbers 6:26

Confidently Heard

This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. – (1 John 5:14, NIV)

We can come to God with no doubts. This means that when we ask God for things (and those things agree with what God wants for us), God cares about what we say. – (1 John 5:14, ERV)

We live in bold confidence that God hears our voices when we ask for things that fit His plan. – (1 John 5:14, VOICE)

 

First and foremost, we can come to God confidently, as He hears our hearts whenever we seek Him. Just as a loving parent listens to their children when they come, so too, does our Heavenly Father, each time we bring our heart before Him. That being said, He is not a fairy godparent nor a genie that grants wishes; rather, God is loving and all-powerful, and has plans and purpose for each of our lives. When the things we bring before Him align with His will, He hears and responds accordingly. Likewise, when we are seeking something that is not in our best interest, He closes doors and places that check in our spirit that tells our heart that whatever it is, is not in our best interest. God’s ways are not our ways, nor His timing aligned with our own. Often, we seek and ask, and wait in wonder for what seems like forever, only to discover that God has been moving on our behalf all along, as there were things in us that needed preparing before the actual request could be fulfilled. God is good and faithful and worthy of our trust. May we ever live in bold confidence that He hears us when we ask of Him, things that align with His good and perfect plan.

As for Mom, she began more of her out-patient therapies this week. She was encouraged and determined when we spoke, and hopeful, as she recognized the new opportunities for growth to reestablish pathways that were lost. I love that one of the things that she said was that she wished she could go to therapies every day. Mom knows that the hard work is what is required of her, and she is ready to do exactly that. It will be a joy and a blessing to see the strides that she has made between Thanksgiving and Christmas, when we all gather together again.

 

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May we all choose come;

Before the Father,

The Most Holy One.

For as we seek Him,

He’s faithful to hear;

Honoring requests,

When His plan is clear.

The Lord, He knows best,

Despite what we see;

He knows the outcome,

And what is to be.

So, trust in the Lord,

Place all in His hands;

Seek follow His heart,

To walk out His plans.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can come before You boldly and bring our requests to You. Thank You that You listen and hear our hearts. Thank You that You move on our behalf in the way that is best for us, redirecting our hearts to the path You have placed before us when we don’t know the way. Forgive us for our doubts when we do not see the evidence of You moving. Teach us to trust You more, as Your timing is not ours, nor are Your ways our own. Thank You that You do exceedingly more than we could hope or imagine when we place things in Your mighty hands. Show us how to love those around us in ways that come alongside to strengthen and encourage those who need it most. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You and trust You, knowing that You hear us and move on our behalf when we ask things that follow the plan that You designed for us. Amen.

 

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

 

The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in Him, and He helps me. – Psalm 28:7a