To Travel With Grace

So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee, to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. – (Luke 2:4-5, NIV)

So Joseph left Nazareth, a town in Galilee, and went to the town of Bethlehem in Judea. It was known as the town of David. Joseph went there because he was from the family of David. Joseph registered with Mary because she was engaged to marry him. (She was now pregnant.) – (Luke 2:4-5, ERV)

Mary’s fiancé Joseph, from Nazareth in Galilee, had to participate in the census in the same way everyone else did. Because he was a descendant of King David, his ancestral city was Bethlehem, David’s birthplace. Mary, who was now late in her pregnancy that the messenger Gabriel had predicted, accompanied Joseph. – (Luke 2:4-5, VOICE)

 

Yesterday was our travel day from Seattle, Washington to Minneapolis, Minnesota. Thanks to modern inventions, our travel time, including the drive to the airport, parking, taking the shuttle, making our way through security, waiting out our flight delay, and actually arriving to our destination, took a grand total of seven actual hours, but nine with the time change. It is pretty incredible, however, that we were able to travel some 1,350 miles in one day. For Mary and Joseph, their 90-mile trek was all on foot, and perhaps donkey. There were no Quickie Marts or hotels to utilize to recharge and rest along the way, nor was there GPS or any other modern convenience that makes travel far simpler today. Additionally, Mary was very pregnant. I consider how exhausting travel can be with all of the conveniences we have now; but imagine having to travel back then, on foot and donkey, mere days prior to giving birth? As I ponder their trip and think of young Mary, I am in awe of her faithfulness and trust in God. Her role in Jesus’ story is not one for the faint of heart. She was present for each joy and heartache, and watched in awe and wonder as our Savior grew, and ultimately sacrificed all so that we might have life everlasting in Him. Perhaps as the season marches on, and we begin to feel the weariness of travel and preparations and our own set of expectations, may we take pause and reflect on the reason for the season, and give thanks to God for the perseverance and faithful obedience modeled for us as Jesus made His human entry into the world. Let us not stop there, for He did not remain a tiny baby in a manger, but He grew into a man, took all our sin upon Himself on the cross, and is seated at the right hand of the Father, ever loving us and moving on our behalf.

 

To travel with grace, To Travel With Grace

Both far and quite near;

Takes a choice of trust,

Setting aside fear.

Fear of the unknown,

What will or won’t be;

God’s always faithful,

His love won’t retreat.

He walks beside us,

Ahead, makes a way;

Guides and protects us,

Our hope to display.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your traveling mercies, as You go before us, walk beside us, and remain with us, each step of our journey. Forgive us for the times that we doubt Your nearness, as things seem more challenging than they ought to be. Thank You that You use every challenge to grow us stronger in You. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would bring every fear and doubt to You from the start. Show us how to love those around us well, so that they too, may know the power of Your presence as we press forward along the path to which we are called. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You and rely on You for all. Amen.

 

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

 

Who is like You, Lord God Almighty? You, Lord, are mighty, and Your faithfulness surrounds You. – Psalm 89:8

Faithfully and Tangibly Good

Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in Him. – (Psalm 34:8, NIV)

Give the Lord a chance to show you how good He is. Great blessings belong to those who depend on Him! – (Psalm 34:8, ERV)

Taste of His goodness; see how wonderful the Eternal truly is. Anyone who puts trust in Him will be blessed and comforted. – (Psalm 34:8, VOICE)

 

He really, truly is good. Despite loss, frustration, trials and exhaustion, there are blessings and goodness, and above all, there is love. The Lord is faithful to show His kindness and grace as we take refuge in Him and seek His face. In this season, I have been blessed with new opportunities, as I am taking on a new role as a high school assistant gymnastics coach at my alma mater. Before this season, I have only coached recreational gymnastics since age sixteen, and middle school gymnastics for the last twenty-three years. This sort of new learning is a wonderful joy, and includes the added bonus of working not only with fantastic coaches, but great girls, some of which who were my gymnasts when they were in middle school. Additionally, God has blessed us with the means and time from our jobs to travel across the country next week for my father-in-law’s memorial. Though there is sorrow in the loss, I know there will be joy in the remembering, and peace in the blessing of time together for closure. In all things, God is good. It is up to us to open our eyes, minds and hearts to notice His willingness to meet us when we seek Him, and witness how He moves on our behalf. May we ever look to the Lord to be our refuge, and be quick to notice the goodness and blessings that God bestows upon us all.

 

Taste of His goodness, fb_img_15572013665455142348901490916085.jpg

For God is so kind;

Our refuge and strength,

Where grace is designed.

In Him, there’s blessing,

To know and be known;

He loves us to life,

And calls us His own.

In good and trial,

The Lord’s ever near;

We need choose seek Him,

For His love is clear.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your goodness and grace. Thank You that when we seek You, we come to know that You are our refuge, as You love us through all things well. Thank You that You make Your loving kindness tangible through those whom You place in our lives. Forgive us for the times that we have not sought You in our sorrow, or withheld the good that You have for us to offer those around us. Teach us to seek You in all things, so that we may receive all that You have to offer, and in turn, extend the same to those around us. Show us how to love those around us well, in ways that make Your goodness tangible. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we taste and see just how very good You truly are. Amen.

 

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

 

But as for me, it is good to be near God. I have made the Sovereign Lord my refuge; I will tell of all Your deeds. – Psalm 73:28

Love Forgoes Faults

Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sin. – (1 Peter 4:8, NIV)

Most important of all, love each other deeply, because love makes you willing to forgive many sins. – (1 Peter 4:8, ERV)

Most of all, love each other steadily and unselfishly, because love makes up for many faults. – (1 Peter 4:8, VOICE)

 

There is a strange tension that can accompany the holidays, as families travel and gather together after extended time apart. I know in our own household, there was a tangible funk, as we are in a season of navigating how to cope with serious health issues in loved ones, and the end of life in another. Thankfully, there was a conscious choice to love, unselfishly, as we each have faults, and need the forgiveness of one another. As we prepare for and anticipate the coming days of travel and time with loved ones we hold dear, we must choose to love deeply and steadily, rather than allowing faults to fog our fondness for one another. May we each, above all, choose to love one another; be it on long road trips, in close quarters, or in one another’s space, let steady and unselfish love lead the way.

As for mom, we are eagerly anticipating being reunited tomorrow! It has been more than a month since Mark and I have seen her, and since summer, for the boys. There is something so wonderful about tradition and routine and familiarity, as all of us gathering at my sister and Scott’s has been our family custom for the last many years. I know for each of us, there is deep love, that looks forward to competitive board games, meals seated together, relaxing conversations on comfortable couches, and time adventuring out in the community to get some fresh air and sunshine. Twenty-four hours from now, we will begin our whirlwind weekend of wonderful!

 

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Choose to deeply love;

For love that runs deep,

In Christ, is enough.

For God’s love is kind,

He’s faithful and true;

Oversees our faults,

Forgives and renews.

May we choose to love,

In much the same way;

Forgive and give grace,

God’s goodness displayed.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You love us more deeply than we can comprehend, and You forgive our faults and failures when we falter and sin. Thank You that You pick us up, dust us off, and love us back to life. Forgive us for the times that we do not extend the same goodness and grace to those around us. Teach us to depend on You to supply all that is needed to love in the way in which we are called to love. Show us how to love those around us best, so that they may see and know Your heart through how we love in tangible and practical ways. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for Your lavish love, and depend on You as we go forth and gather in love, with those whom You have gifted us with as family. Amen.

 

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

 

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” – John 13:34

The Pattern of Wisdom

Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. – (James 3:13, NIV)

Are there any among you who are really wise and understanding? Then you should show your wisdom by living right. You should do what is good with humility. A wise person does not boast. – (James 3:13, ERV)

Do you want to be counted wise, to build a reputation for wisdom? Here’s what you do: Live well, live wisely, live humbly. It’s the way you live, not the way you talk, that counts. – (James 3:13, MSG)

 

Wisdom and understanding come from living right and setting a pattern for choosing to do the next right thing. Our reputations are built on that which we choose to do, and the things that we forego. Both done in humility, speak volumes beyond anything we say with words. May we build a reputation for wisdom through living wisely and humbly, according to God’s perfect will. Let wisdom be shown through how we live.

Yesterday, we spent the first half of our day enjoying the company of Mark’s aunt and cousin, did a bit of running around, returned to his aunt’s house, and then began our journey home. Unfortunately, with all the travel, I did not have the opportunity to check in with mom. However, I do know that today is an important day, with the assessment for in-home therapies taking place before day’s end. Please pray for mom’s needs to be met, and for the perfect, hand-picked people to be placed on her path to work with her toward her ongoing recovery and restoration. Mom is ready to get to work, and I am hopeful for a great fit in personalities and expertise to accelerate mom’s progress.

 

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In humility;

With grace and kindness,

Let your actions lead.

Wisdom is not words,

Spoken on their own;

But rather our deeds,

Over time, we’ve shown.

For talk by itself,

Cannot truly show;

How powerfully,

Acts of His love grow.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your goodness and grace that calls us to action, rather than mere talk. Thank You that wisdom comes as we walk in humility, grace and obedience to You. Forgive us for the times that we have not chosen well, or have not followed through where Your loving kindness was needed most. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would seek You to live well, pursing the path that You have placed before us in wisdom and grace. Show us how to love those around us well, as we seek to show Your heart through our actions, rather than mere talk. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek Your heart to guide our every action. Amen.

 

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

 

Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom. – Psalm 90:12

God Guides and Provides

Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path. – (Psalm 119:105, NIV)

Your word is like a lamp that guides my steps, a light that shows the path I should take. – (Psalm 119:105, ERV)

By Your words I can see where I’m going; they throw a beam of light on my dark path. – (Psalm 119:105, MSG)

 

The word of God is alive and active. It is not just some book of words recorded long ago, but rather it is a source of encouragement and wisdom as we traverse life’s journey. So often, when the road is bleak or unclear, I find comfort and peace as I await next steps. Right now, we are in a space of tying up loose ends here and making final preparations there, prior to mom’s move to the next leg of her healing journey. This week, she will have her final in-home appointments with physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech therapy, as her insurance has to end in Washington in July, in order to begin in Oregon in August. This creates a strange sort of gap in the in-between, but God has been opening doors and showing us ways to keep mom moving forward with her various exercises during the week she will be in Washington without any appointments, prior to moving. Additionally, the whole swimming option has added a beautiful new element of therapy that not even the professionals have been able to offer. God guides and provides every step of the way.

Yesterday was a day of visiting, as the day began with our final hours together with my love before he had to drive home, followed by dear pastoral friends of mom’s at mid-day, and a wonderful evening together with mom’s best friend and her husband, as we shared dinner, much laughter, and taught them our family favorite game. Our fantastic full day led to a solid night’s sleep, with only one wake-up. We both rose at a reasonable hour, rested, and are ready for a full day, as mom has both physical therapy and speech therapy, as well as a visit with friends, late this afternoon. May we trust in God and the goodness of His word, as He lights our path and makes our way clear.

 

The word of the Lord, The Word of God

In love, lights the way;

To walk in His truth,

Grants grace each new day.

No matter how rough,

Or bleak the road seems;

The Lord’s love light shines,

All things, He redeems.

The God of all grace,

Can do so much more;

Beauty from ashes,

And broken, restored.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your word is the lamp unto our feet and the light unto our path. Thank You that Your word is timeless and relevant. Thank You that You see us and know us, and You hear our every need. Forgive our fearfulness when we cannot see the path You prepare before us. Teach us to trust You more so that we would seek You and spend time in Your word to discover the path You are calling us to travel. Show us how to love those around us in a way that extends grace and kindness and peace, so that broken hearts and lives may come to know restoration and wholeness. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love You and thank You for Your word that guides us. Amen.

 

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

 

For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. – Hebrews 4:12

 

 

The Mountains We Are Called to Climb

The Sovereign Lord is my strength; He makes my feet like the feet of a deer, He enables me to tread on the heights. – (Habakkuk 3:19, NIV)

The Lord gives me my strength. He helps me run fast like a deer. He leads me safely on the mountains. – (Habakkuk 3:19, ERV)

The Lord God is my strength; He will give me the speed of a deer and bring me safely over the mountains. – (Habakkuk 3:19, TLB)

 

Each translation of this verse speaks to my heart on a different level to encourage and reassure, reminding me of God’s faithfulness forever. Yesterday, was a powerful and uplifting boost for both mom and me. We each were blessed with a visit from our besties. Incredibly, I was able to coordinate with both ladies, a visit at the same time, so that each of us could benefit from the boost that a best friend visit brings. While mom and June were talking and laughing, Robin and I stole away for a walk-and-talk. For me, this was two-fold, as I am a creature who needs to get outside and move, and I was desperately needing time to connect and process with my bestie. Walking and talking in this gorgeous setting fulfilled both needs, and strengthened my soul. Interestingly, as we walked, we were joined by a sweet pup, who clearly was in need of companionship to enjoy a wander as well. Our escort dog acted a bit as a guardian, as she would run ahead, seemingly check out the area, and then return to us, as if to say that all was safe for us to continue on. We actually wondered if she was part deer or mountain goat, as the sweet pup was extraordinarily sure-footed on the hillside and steep terrain that surrounded us. As I pondered the verse above, there are so many parallels between this road we are “walking” and how God works to keep our footing secure and give us strength. Though it is clear that mom’s journey to recovery and rehabilitation after the stroke is similar to climbing a mountain, she also lives in a home, nestled in the foothills. Safety is paramount along this journey, and God has been faithful to continue to protect and strengthen us each as we travel this unknown path. Our day ended early yesterday, as both mom and I fell asleep in the comfy living room chairs, as we attempted to watch a movie. We determined that she ought to watch in her bed instead, as I finished up a quick load of laundry and took care of my phone calls home. We both slept well, with a two-hour stretch, followed by a five-hour stretch, from which she is sleeping still. God is good, as He grants us strength and makes our footing secure on this mountain to which we have been called to climb.

 

The Lord is our strength,img_20190607_161828_5992541206184016162390.jpg

Makes our path secure;

Enables our feet,

To tread without fear.

He brings us safely,

To the other side;

Where pastures are green,

And rivers run wide.

All that we shall need,

The Lord does supply;

We simply need trust,

On God, choose rely.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You do not leave us when we reach mountains that we are meant to climb. Thank You that You are the One who provides all of the gear, the guidance, the strength and security we need to safely travel the path You provide. Forgive us for the times that we only see a sheer face, rather than the path and provisions that You supply to make the difficult possible. Teach us to trust You more; for when we pause and look back from when we have come, we are able to marvel at the view. Show us how to love those around us in a way that encourages, strengthens and comes alongside those around us in a way that helps each person persevere on the path You have placed before them. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to be our strength and security as we climb life’s mountains with You. Amen.

 

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

 

Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path. – Psalm 119:105

Presence, Help and Rest

The Lord replied, ”My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” – (Exodus 33:14, NIV)

The Lord replied, “I’ll go Myself, and I’ll help you.” – (Exodus 33:14, CEB)

Eternal One: My presence will travel with you, and I will give you rest.” – (Exodus 33:14, VOICE)

 

These words were spoken to Moses by the Lord, when he was called to lead the Israelites. Moses was concerned about all of the particulars about what God was asking him to do, and told God that he needed to truly know Him and find His favor to follow through. God responded with a promise of His presence, His help, and His rest. The promises of God to Moses are still true assurance for us today. As we seek the Lord, He will be with us, will help us, and will grant us rest. This past week has been a perfect example of such. It has been the final week of the semester, the week prior to my coaching season, and I have been fighting some sort of virus. This has not been a week that I could have afforded to miss work, and the amount of work that I needed to accomplish was overwhelming. Despite having had a fever Wednesday night, and likely off and on yesterday, I was able to finish all that needed to be completed so that today, our semester break, I could rest. God knows what we need and is ready to provide. Though I had my doubts about how I was going to get through yesterday, I prayed and trusted Him to go before me, be with me, and lead me through. The Lord is faithful and His word is true. May we ever seek the Lord and invite His presence into every area of our lives. He is faithful to go with us, help us, and bring us into a space of rest.

 

Our God is faithful, Searched and Known

To that which we ask;

His presence, promised,

His help for each task.

He knows what we need,

And by His great grace;

Provides strength and help,

His rest through our days.

Lead us, Lord Jesus,

Where we’re meant to go;

Ever be with us,

For our needs, You know.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your presence, help and rest is available to us today, just as it was back in the time of Moses. Thank You that You are the same yesterday, today and forever. Forgive us for our fears and doubts when we are called to do that which seems beyond our capacity. Teach us to trust You more, taking comfort in Your promises to be present to help, and ultimately grant us the rest we need. Show us how to love those around us in a way that offers presence, help and rest. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You and trust You to be true to Your word, as You bring us through all things and lead us to rest. Amen.

 

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

 

Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. – Hebrews 4:16

 

 

Considering a Couple’s Calling

In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. So, Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. – (Luke 2:1, 4-5, NIV) 

During those days, the Roman emperor, Caesar Augustus, ordered that the first census be taken throughout his empire. So, Joseph and his fiancé, Mary, left Nazareth, a village in Galilee, and journeyed to their hometown in Judea, to the village of Bethlehem, King David’s ancient home. They were required to register there, since they were both direct descendants of David. Mary was pregnant and nearly ready to give birth. – (Luke 2:1, 4-5, TPT) 

 

At the time of Caesar Augustus, if a decree was issued, the people followed. Though a seemingly chaos inducing order, I imagine a four-day, eighty-some mile journey on foot, would likely be a better option than dealing with the Roman guard. Furthermore, Mary was nearing the time that Jesus was due. There was probably some honor in being connected to the lineage of David, yet this young couple was about to enter town, unwed and very obviously expecting. Back then, such a predicament would be scandalous, and may have been the cause of their difficulty in finding a place to stay upon arrival in Bethlehem. Being that it was the town both Mary and Joseph were expected to register, it is odd that there were no family members that could offer them room. And, what about each of their families? These are my ponderings as I read through this particular passage this morning and picture their journey and struggles as they traveled. Did they travel alone as a couple, or were they part of a caravan? Did they have family that turned them away, or had their living ancestors all moved to Nazareth too? What I do know is that God was with them. Though it was a long and arduous journey, they were faithful to that which they had been called. At times, we too find ourselves in strange and seemingly desolate spaces, yet when we persevere in that which we have been asked to do, we discover that God uses our circumstances to grow, equip and transform us for that which lies ahead. Perhaps the four-day walk was an opportunity for Mary and Joseph to get to know one another and share their joys and fears about what had been spoken. Whatever transpired on their journey, God was with them, and He provided what they needed when it was needed most. May we seek and trust the Lord, even when we find ourselves on paths that have not yet been made plain. God is faithful and will remain with us, no matter our circumstances. 

 

No matter the road, Considering a Couples Calling

We find we need trod; 

The Lord is faithful, 

Ever-present God. 

Through trials and joys, 

No matter what comes; 

He grants what we need, 

The Most Holy One. 

So, seek the Lord’s grace, 

Choose trust in His Name; 

He grants strength and peace, 

Does what the word claims. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son into the world to walk among us and experience the same sort of struggles and joys that we do. Thank You for the faithfulness of Mary and Joseph, as they demonstrate what it is to truly trust You with all. Forgive us for our faltering faith when things do not make sense. Teach us to trust You in all things and at all times, no matter what we see. Show us how to love those around us in tangible ways that make Your grace, peace and presence known. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You rather than what we see or think we know, for You are the answer to our every need. Amen.

 

 

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

 

For I have always been mindful of Your unfailing love and have lived in reliance on Your faithfulness. – Psalm 26:3

Trust to be Led

This is what the Lord says – your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: “I am the Lord your God, who teaches you what is good for you and leads you along the paths you should follow.” – (Isaiah 48:17, NLT)

The Lord, the Savior, the Holy One of Israel, says, “I am the Lord your God. I teach you for your own good. I lead you in the way you should go.” – (Isaiah 48:17, ERV)

“I am God, your God, who teaches you how to live right and well. I show you what to do, where to go.” – (Isaiah 48:17, MSG)

 

God is and was and will always be the One who is ready to teach us and lead us the direction that we are meant to go. At times, we cannot see how the direction we are being led could possibly lead to good, and then, at just the right time, we begin to discover the purpose. Often the journey leads to discoveries about who God is and how He loves, that we would not have otherwise known. There are times that we do not understand the good until we reach the other side of the mountain that He led us to climb. Despite the struggle on the way up, the view when we reach the other side is even more glorious than we could have dreamed or imagined. He is good, and He will lead us the way we are meant to go, if only we are willing to seek Him for direction. May we ever listen to the Lord’s leading, for He is good and takes us to places we would never attempt to traverse on our own.

 

The Lord, He is good,

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Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

He’ll show us the way;

The paths we’re to take,

And when we’re to stay.

He grants us the strength,

To go where He leads;

And shows us the way,

In Him, to succeed.

So, seek to live right,

Follow the Lord’s will;

He’ll take us places,

Where hopes are fulfilled.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are a good and loving God. Thank You that You lead us and teach us the ways in which we are meant to go. Thank You that You have good in store for us, no matter how things appear along the way. Forgive us for our doubts when the road becomes rough. Teach us to trust You more, no matter the condition of the path we are called to travel, as You are faithful to go before us, beside us, and behind us, and equip us to get where we’re meant to go. Show us how to love, encourage and strengthen those around us, so that they would stay the course to which they are called. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You and trust You to lead and teach us the ways we are meant to go forth. Amen.

 

 

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

 

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight. – Proverbs 3:5-6