Give Praise

Praise the Lord, my soul; all my inmost being, praise His Holy Name. Praise the Lord, my soul, and forget not all His benefits. – (Psalm 103:1-2, NIV)

My soul, praise the Lord! Every part of me, praise His Holy Name! My soul, praise the Lord and never forget how kind He is! – (Psalm 103:1-2, ERV)

O my soul, bless God. From head to toe, I’ll bless His Holy Name! O my soul, bless God, don’t forget a single blessing! – (Psalm 103:1-2, MSG)

So far, it has been a strange winter break. My love and I spent Christmas morning driving south to my sister and brother-in-law’s home to enjoy time together with their family and my mom. My kids were unable to go, as they were recovering from a virus and did not want to share it with mom. Yesterday, we spent a few hours helping organize and set up mom’s new place near my sister. Change can be overwhelming yet being close to family in a space that is equipped to help and support mom well, is a positive change, as she was alone far too often. It is a tremendous blessing that mom was able to get in, as there is a long wait list to move into her new place. I mention these things because though not typical, I can see and celebrate God’s blessings through it all. For my kids, they had down time to rest and relax, and for us, we were able to visit and help, even with a quick turn-around. This morning, my love is back to work, and I am back to running practice for my gymnasts. I still have another week off from teaching, but coaching continues throughout. There is joy in this as well. Another praise is that my surgeries went well, and I am on the mend. The specialist was confident that she removed all the cancerous cells, and the reconstructive surgery of the site is healing nicely. For all these things and more, I am truly grateful to God and cannot help but give Him thanks and praise. May we ever bless the Lord and give Him thanks, for every good and perfect gift comes from Him.

All praise be to God,

I lift up His Name;

For all that is good,

His grace to proclaim.

Through all things that come,

On this road we take;

God will be faithful,

For a way He’ll make.

Faithful through valleys,

And on mountain tops;

He will never leave,

Our struggles He swaps.

He exchanges dark,

With glorious light;

Grants peace with presence,

In Him we delight.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we have so much to be grateful for in You. Forgive us for the times that we forget our blessings and focus on what we cannot control. Teach us to trust You more, as You are faithful to respond each time we call on Your Name. Show us how to praise You in all things, especially through how we choose to love like You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for the countless blessings that You bring into our lives and for the love that You show. Amen.

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

Praise be to the Lord, who has given rest to His people Israel just as He promised. Not one word has failed of all the good promises He gave through His servant Moses. – 1 Kings 8:56

In All Things Praise

And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him. – (Colossians 3:17, NIV)

Everything you say and everything you do should be done for Jesus your Lord. And in all you do, give thanks to God the Father through Jesus. – (Colossians 3:17, ERV)

Surely, no matter what you are doing (speaking, writing or working), do it all in the name of Jesus our Master, sending thanks through Him to God our Father. – (Colossians 3:17, VOICE)

This verse, paired with what I know and love about the Psalms, remind me that it is okay to struggle with and lament what is going on, yet we must ultimately fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith. David was a man after God’s own heart, and he questioned, lamented and cried out to God, yet ever kept perspective on who God is and gave Him the thanks that belongs to God alone. Right now, I am still reeling a bit from the prognosis I received from the specialist on Wednesday. I am still grateful that the carcinoma was discovered sooner than later, yet I am very much dreading the process of the prescribed procedure. It is not the pain I fear, but rather my body’s reaction to the process. God is good, and He will supply all that I need, however, my humanity is not looking forward to any of it, and the specialist’s insistence that I be fast-tracked to have the surgery sooner than later, adds a bit of angst as well. This is the space that I can pause and remember God’s incredible faithfulness in my life thus far, and His kindness to provide a long weekend to process and prepare my heart before heading back into the work week. Additionally, there is just enough activity sprinkled in, that I will not have too much time to dwell on what lies ahead. There is time to rest, to spend time with my loved ones, to cuddle my dogs extra often, to coach my gymnasts as they are working on building routines, and to celebrate the retirement of one of our dearest friends. I am missing my mom and sister terribly this holiday weekend, but know that I can joyfully anticipate time together at Christmas. May we ever fix our eyes on Jesus, our Help and our Hope in all things, and give Him all of our praise for His faithfulness throughout all of our days.

O Lord, in all things,

Will You help me praise;

Your great faithfulness,

Throughout all my days.

Each day You are good,

Even when life’s not;

You share our burdens,

Each time that You’re sought.

Thank You for kindness,

For goodness and grace;

For hope and Your help,

On difficult days.

Thank You, Lord Jesus,

That You’re good always;

And Your faithfulness,

Is reason to praise.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are good, faithful, loving and kind, and the Provider of all that we need each day. Thank You that no matter what lies ahead, we have You to walk beside us and to carry us when we can walk no further. Forgive us for our fears of the unknown, for You are known in all, even when what lies ahead is not. Teach us to trust You more each day, and lead us to live out each day trusting in Your unfailing love that never leaves us. Show us how to love, encourage and support those around us in ways that make Your love tangible and Your goodness evident. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose to praise You throughout all of our days. Amen.

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

I will sing the Lord’s praise, for He has been good to me. – Psalm 13:6

Bloom Under Pressure

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. – (James 1:2-3, NIV)

My brothers and sisters, you will have many kinds of trouble. But this gives you reason to be very happy. You know that when your faith is tested, you learn to be patient in suffering. – (James 1:2-3, ERV)

Don’t run from tests and hardships, brothers and sisters. As difficult as they are, you will ultimately find joy in them; if you embrace them, your faith will blossom under pressure and teach you true patience as you endure. – (James 1:2-3, VOICE)

I most appreciate the Voice translation of this particular passage, as it is far easier to relate to finding joy in the midst of our trials, rather than considering them joy. The older I get, the more I both witness and experience this truth. Between the progression of aging in both us and our parents, the frequency of trials and health challenges in our lives and those of dear family and friends around us seem to be on the rise. What I continue to witness is faith rising up, and joy found in the midst of unpleasant circumstances as patience and endurance are provided. God is faithful to meet us every step we take, be it through the deepest valleys or on the highest peaks. One of the greatest things that I am continuing to learn is that God provides people that lighten our loads – be it physically, emotionally, or financially in the center of our storms. Throughout the early days and weeks following my mom’s stroke, people sent notes, called, encouraged and lifted up, which strengthened us and brought joy in the midst of the fearful unknown. On Thursday, I was supposed to have a consultation with a surgeon about a procedure to remove cancerous cells from my upper lip. The appointment turned into a bigger biopsy than I had previously had, and resulted in a couple of stitches, with further surgery still looming ahead. Incredibly, I feel total peace about the ultimate outcome of all this. My trepidation lies in the process. Even with the unanticipated procedure, God provided a kind staff that blended humor and compassion perfectly for me. Despite the unpleasantness of the process, their demeanor set my heart at ease and I left the appointment with much gratitude for those charged with my care. Additionally, I had a conversation with a colleague and friend whose father had undergone something similar to what is in store for me, and she was able to share great encouragement as he had minimal scarring and complete success. God is good and He uses our circumstances to grow and encourage us as He strengthens us with His overwhelming love. May you be encouraged by His goodness and kindness, even in the midst of challenges, today and always.

In heartache and joy,

Challenges and peace;

The Lord is near us,

And strength He’ll increase.

Through each new trial,

Faith He will increase;

As we choose to trust,

His power’s released.

In the dark spaces,

Keep seeking His light;

Endurance will bloom,

To joy and delight.

Delight in moments,

Where His love is clear;

Trust in the process,

God is always near.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You use our trials and challenges to grow us in strength and endurance. Thank You that You provide joy, even in the most difficult circumstances. Forgive us for our fears and frustrations in the midst of the unexpected trials that we face. Teach us how to lean into You for strength and endurance as we navigate whatever comes our way. Show us how to encourage and support those around us well, so that they may see tangible evidence of Your goodness and love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we rely on You to be our strength in the struggles, and praise You for Your provision of joy despite our circumstances. 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. My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise Him. – Psalm 28:7

Way Maker

“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)

Though this was written centuries ago, it is a relevant encouragement to me this morning. Being an educator is an adventure for sure, yet there have been experiences that have impacted the way that I view things today. This year, I am teaching a subject in a grade level that I have never taught, with a completely new curriculum, and I have to let go of my former experiences in said subject, (my previous experience in such nearly had me walk away from teaching), as I can see that God can do something new both in me and through me. This hope is so helpful, as I do, at times, feel as though I am wandering through a desert without water. God is good, and He provides all that we need to navigate the new. He leads us, guides us, and grants us the strength, wisdom and resources we need as we seek and trust in Him. Additionally, He brings the right people alongside us to help us navigate the new. I never cease to be amazed at how He cares about the seemingly insignificant things, just as much as He is concerned with the big things. May we ever seek the Lord as we keep moving forward in faith, for He is doing something new, and continually pouring new life into us.

Like streams through dry land,

The Lord’s bringing new;

Forget the former,

God’s faithful and true.

The past is not now,

New things will arise;

Possibilities,

To yet realize.

In faith, let us seek,

Choose to trust the Lord;

He will make a way,

And keep us on course.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we need not dwell on the past, but instead, ought to look forward in faith to You. Thank You that You provide strength, refreshment, support, growth, wisdom and encouragement as we navigate the new You call us into. Forgive us for our fears and anxieties that prevent us from fully recognizing Your goodness and faithfulness. Teach us to trust You more, as we seek You and praise You for the support that You provide. Show us how to love those around us in ways that feel like water where souls are parched, and hope where it has been absent. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we look ahead with eager anticipation, to see how You will move mountains on our behalf. Amen.

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

Do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God. – Romans 12:2

All Thanks and Praise

Always give thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. – (Ephesians 5:20, NIV)

Sing praises over everything, any excuse for a song to God the Father in the name of our Master, Jesus Christ. – (Ephesians 5:20, MSG)

And give thanks to God the Father every day through the name of our Lord Jesus the Anointed for all He has done. – (Ephesians 5:20, VOICE)

Gratitude is what sets our hearts right. No matter what is going on in our lives, around us, or in the world, there are always reasons to give thanks to God. As I watch our puppies play in the living room as I write, I am thankful to God for our home and for the joy that these two pups bring to our family. It is easy to expand from there, as I am overwhelmed with gratitude for my family – both in our home and beyond. Additionally, I am grateful for the friends that surround us, and for the communities to which I belong. God is intentional in the people whom He places beside us and around us, as He knows what we each need and how to help us each navigate as He intended. May we ever be intentional to stop and give thanks to God for all that is good in our lives, for as we do, we recognize how good He is and how loved we truly are.

All thanks be to God,

For all that is good;

His loving kindness,

And grace understood.

Family and friends,

Each community;

In which we’ve been placed,

Opportunity.

A chance to be kind,

Encourage and love;

To help each other,

Like the Lord above.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the countless ways that You love, encourage, support and provide for us each day we draw breath. Thank You for the people whom You have placed in our lives. Forgive us for neglecting to give Your praise for all that You provide. Teach us to recognize the overwhelming goodness and love that You have for us, and how You care for us individually. Show us how to love those around us in ways that make Your goodness evident. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You and give You thanks for who You are and how You love us all. Amen.

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

Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift. – 2 Corinthians 9:15

Speak Truth

Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to your neighbor, for we are all members of one body. – (Ephesians 4:25, NIV)

So you must stop telling lies. You must always speak the truth to each other, because we all belong to each other in the same body. – (Ephesians 4:25, ERV)

What this adds up to, then, is this: no more lies, no more pretense. Tell your neighbor the truth. In Christ’s body we’re all connected to each other, after all. When you lie to others, you end up lying to yourself. – (Ephesians 4:25, MSG)

Initially, my thought was that I do speak truthfully to people. However, upon deeper reflection, sometimes not speaking up is not being honest. Telling others that everything is fine when it is not, is a sort of pretense that puts others off who would otherwise be ready and available to help. What I have discovered this week through one of my worst experiences as an educator, is that my neighbors, my fellow teachers and staff members, as well as many students, are ready to stand up for me, walk beside me, and extend kindness and support where it is needed most. Our connection to each other provides strength and support, for there is far more strength when we are connected than when we stand alone. I have been blessed to teach with incredible humans throughout the twenty-six years of my teaching career thus far. Numerous staff and students have come through our school community and left their beautiful imprints on my heart. Perhaps this is why I have stayed so long. Even on the toughest days, there are people who are near, who come alongside, and stand together, united in purpose. God is so gracious and kind. He shows us more of who He is and how He loves through the people He places alongside us. May we ever seek the Lord to lead us to speak truth, and to be honest about how we are and what we need. He is good, and He provides as we abide.

Choose to speak the truth,

What lies before us, and what lies behind us, are not nearly as important as who is beside us…

For love shows the way;

God’s help is present,

Throughout each new day.

With purpose, we’re placed,

In community;

To help each other,

Stand up strong and free.

Free to keep moving,

In all that we’re called;

With purpose and grace,

Goodness is installed.

Moving together,

Supporting in love;

United in strength,

That’s sent from above.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You place us in communities that have the capacity to work together, support each other, and thrive, rather than merely survive. Forgive us for the times that we have not been honest about how we are doing or what we truly need. Teach us to bring our burdens to You, and to share our struggles and triumphs with those whom You have placed beside us. Show us how to support, strengthen and encourage those around us in Your unwavering love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for the people whom You have placed in the communities we are in, and for the ways that we can stand together, united in purpose and in love. Amen.

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

Summon Your power, God; show us Your strength, our God, as You have done before. – Psalm 68:28

The Power in Partnerships

Two are better than one because they have a good reward for their efforts. – (Ecclesiastes 4:9, HCSB)

Two people are better than one. When two people work together, they get more work done. – (Ecclesiastes 4:9, ERV)

It is better to have a partner than go it alone. Share the work, share the wealth. – (Ecclesiastes 4:9, MSG)

I love how practical these words are to all. I know this to be true, and can attest to the rewards of working together in a partnership. At work, being on a grade level team for the subject I teach makes a world of difference. Together, we can make meaning of the curriculum and plan together the small steps to reach the end goal. In doing so, the load is shared and the burden is lessened. In marriage, we each bring different strengths to the partnership, and together, we can accomplish far more than we could alone. One simple example is when we need to do yard work. For one person to complete the job, it would take several hours. However, when my Viking and I share the work, we often can complete the task within an hour. Additionally, as we both work and contribute to expenses and savings, we are afforded the blessing of being able to take vacation. God is good, and when we seek Him to lead us to spaces where we can work together and share the load, we discover strength is multiplied and there are great blessings that come from partnering with people to accomplish necessary tasks. May we ever seek the Lord to lead us to connect with those whom we are given to work beside, and may the pairing and sharing be a blessing to all.

Together we rise,

Accomplish great things;

Working together,

More strengths we can bring.

For work divided,

Is better a task;

When shared together,

We give and get back.

Lord, lead us to work,

Alongside others;

To share with the load,

As overcomers.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You created us to be in community. Thank You that as we pair up with those around us to accomplish tasks, the work is divided and the reward is blessings. Forgive us for the times that we attempt to do things alone that You intended to be shared. Show us who and where we can walk alongside to work together and get things done. Lead us to love like You, so that we support, encourage, and challenge each other to do what You have for us to do and become who You have created us to be. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we work together with those whom You have placed in our lives to do what we are called to do. Amen.

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

But as for you, be strong; don’t be discouraged, for your work has a reward. – 2 Chronicles 15:7

The Beauty of Intentional Design

I look at the heavens You made with Your hands. I see the moon and stars You created. And I wonder, “Why are people so important to You? Why do you even think about them? Why do You care so much about humans? Why do You even notice them?” – (Psalm 8:3-4, ERV)

I look up at Your macro-skies, dark and enormous, Your handmade sky-jewelry, moon and stars mounted in their settings. Then I look at my micro-self and wonder, why do You bother with us? Why take a second look our way? – (Psalm 8:3-4, MSG)

When I gaze to the skies and meditate on Your creation – on the moon, stars, and all You have made, I can’t help but wonder why You care about mortals – sons and daughters of men – specks of dust floating about the cosmos. – (Psalm 8:3-4, VOICE)

Between living in the Pacific Northwest, and having been blessed with numerous opportunities to see new locations around the world, I share David’s sentiment of awe and wonder at how people are considered the priority to God, who created so much magnificent beauty. We are but a speck of dust in comparison to the entire universe. The glory that surrounds us in His creation is clear evidence of God’s existence. As humans, we are still learning and discovering just how vast God’s creation actually is, and I imagine the discoveries will not end. God, who is timeless and endless, created more than our minds can conceive, yet intentionally hand-crafted each one of us to be unique with strengths, talents, personalities and more. We all were created with purpose and possibilities, accompanied with a free will to determine just how we might use what we have been given. The more I learn, the more I desire to honor and serve the Lord. His goodness and love are as vast as the universe, and His capacity to care for us knows no end. May we ever seek the Lord to reveal more and more of who He is and all that He has done so that we might recognize and honor God as we should.

May we choose look up,

No filter, Sunrise in Belize taken on my phone…<3

Survey all we see;

All that surrounds us,

God’s own majesty.

The stars in the sky,

Created and known;

The mountains and seas,

The Lord’s power shown.

Each work of His hand,

Intentionally;

Formed with a purpose,

Beyond what we see.

Each human on earth,

Is by God’s design;

Made with a purpose,

His love intertwined.

May we stand in awe,

Of all that He’s made;

Give all thanks to Him,

The Ancient of Days.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the incredible gift of all that You have created! Thank You for so much beauty all around us. Forgive us for making You too small, for the God who created everything and everyone is able to do abundantly more than we could hope or imagine. Teach us to trust You in all things and at all times, even when things around us seem crazy or impossible. Show us how to love, encourage and support those around us well, so that they may recognize Your heart for all. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we stand in awe of how You love and care for us. Amen.

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

The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky proclaims the work of His hands. – Psalm 19:1

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

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