The Work of Wisdom

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

Teach us how short our lives are so that we can become wise. – (Psalm 90:12, ERV)

Teach us to number our days so that we may truly live and achieve wisdom. – (Psalm 90:12, VOICE)

The older I get, the more aware I become of just how short life truly is. Each day is a gift, and we either learn and grow as we go, or life passes us by. Wisdom is the work of God in us as we seek Him to teach us more of who He is and how He calls us to love. To gain a heart of wisdom, we must be intentional to seek the Lord in all things and to trust Him as He walks beside us and leads us in the directions we are meant to go. This does not transpire overnight, but rather is a lifelong process. God has gifted me with access to wise women who have a few years more life experience than me to bless, encourage, challenge and model what it is to ever grow in wisdom. Each are acutely aware that every single day is a gift to be treasured, and their faithfulness models what an ongoing pursuit of wisdom in Him looks like. My hope for the coming year is to ever seek the Lord to grow in His wisdom so that I may walk out my days according to His purpose.

Please teach me, O Lord,

To number my days;

To grow in wisdom,

And walk in Your ways.

I need Your guidance,

Each day that I wake;

To love as You love,

And learn from mistakes.

Thank You, Lord Jesus,

That all that life brings;

Can be used for good,

Because You’re the King.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we grow and trust You more, we gain wisdom and insight in You. Thank You that You are faithful to show us how You can work all things together for our good, even when our circumstances are not. Forgive us for being flippant with our time and for the times that we have delayed in seeking You. Show us how to turn to You first in all things, and to listen to Your leading. Help us to love those around us as You do, so that all might gain glimpses of Your goodness and love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we recognize the gift that each new day brings and choose to seek You with intention so that we may continue to grow in wisdom as we go. Amen.

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

Reverence for the Eternal is the first step toward wisdom. All those who worship Him have a good understanding. His praise will echo through eternity! – Psalm 111:10

A New Thing

“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)

Of course, it is important to look back, reflect, and remember God’s goodness in the days gone by, yet we do not want to dwell in it and not look forward with anticipation for all that lies ahead. God is ever making things new, as He has a plan and a purpose for each of us. Our purpose is not used up or merely a thing of the past. Each day we draw breath, God has purpose for our lives. He opens doors, levels paths, and helps us navigate obstacles to continue to walk in His ways. I know for many of us, 2022 was not a year that we have any desire to repeat. However, even so, we can look back at His faithfulness and carry that with us as we look forward to the coming year. No matter what comes, God is good, and He is for us. We need not worry about the future, but rather ought to view what is yet to come as opportunity for God to show up and demonstrate His goodness and love. It is fascinating, as the older I get, the more I recognize that I am present in the moments, rather than worrying about taking photos. I put together a year in review collage of some highlights, only to discover there were many moments missed in pictures that left a lasting imprint on my heart. God is so good, and I can look forward with eager anticipation for all the new that He will do. May we ever seek the Lord and wait on Him, for He prepares the way, walks beside us, and never leaves us as we journey this life with Him.

Look ahead in faith,

Choose trust in the Lord;

He’s paving the way,

As we walk forward.

As we look to Him,

No matter what comes;

Trust is made certain,

May His will be done.

Always God is good,

And He remains near;

Our help and our hope,

Remover of fear.

Look back with all thanks,

For His faithfulness;

With eyes fixed forward,

On coming newness.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can look back and see how You walked beside us to help us know that You will always be present in all that lies ahead. Thank You that in You, we have a hope and a future. Forgive us for the times that we have fixated on the past rather than looked forward to what You will do in and through us. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would gaze into the coming year with gladness, knowing that You will make a way and do new things. Lead us to love those around us in ways that demonstrate Your love and faithfulness. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we look forward to all that You will do in the coming year. Amen.

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

To be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. – Ephesians 4:23-24

Provider of Peace

Peace I leave with you; My peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. – (John 14:27, NIV)

I leave you peace. It is My own peace I give you. I give you peace in a different way than the world does. So don’t be troubled. Don’t be afraid. – (John 14:27, ERV)

My peace is the legacy I leave to you. I don’t give gifts like those of this world. Do not let your heart be troubled or fearful. – (John 14:27, VOICE)

In our broken humanity, we become troubled and fearful and anxious. However, when we bring all to Jesus, He exchanges His peace for our fears. He soothes the spaces that are anxious, walks beside us through every trial that comes our way, and shows us that in Him, there is no reason to fear, for He has overcome all. As we approach a new year, after a year of many trials, challenges, and obstacles to overcome, we can look forward with peace in Jesus. No matter what comes our way, we have the assurance that God will be with us, will walk beside us, and will never leave us to navigate alone. It is up to us to turn to Him and place our trust in Him, and trust that He hears and is faithful to answer as we ask. May we anticipate the coming year with the peace of Jesus in our hearts, for He will continue to be faithful forever.

The peace of Jesus,

Cannot be compared;

No matter what comes,

His grace will be there.

Each time we seek Him,

He’s faithful to hear;

Christ floods us with peace,

As He’s ever near.

The peace of Jesus,

Goes far beyond calm;

It surrounds our hearts,

His sweet healing balm.

Courage in chaos,

Strength throughout each storm;

Blessed Redeemer,

Where hope is transformed.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that in You, there is perfect peace. Thank You that even in the midst of challenge, trial, chaos or crisis, You hear and are near, providing Your peace. Forgive us for the times that we have allowed our circumstances to drown out the truth. Teach us to trust You more, so that our first response to all is to seek You. Show us how to rely on You in all things, so that we may know and understand Your perfect peace in all things. Lead us to love those around us in ways that perpetuate Your perfect peace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for Your ongoing provision of peace throughout all of our days. Amen.

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

You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in You. – Isaiah 26:3

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

Rest for the Weary

Come to Me, all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. – (Matthew 11:28, HCSB)

Come to Me all of you who are tired from the heavy burden you have been forced to carry. I will give you rest. – (Matthew 11:28, ERV)

Are you having a real struggle? Come to Me! Are you carrying a big load on your back? Come to Me – I’ll give you a rest! – (Matthew 11:28, NTE)

This morning, despite being a day off, I was up at the usual time. However, knowing that I do not have to work today brings a different sort of rest. The ability to have a leisurely morning doing devotions with a second cup of coffee, followed by a long walk with the pups, provides rest for my soul. Rest looks different for everyone, yet God knows what we need. When we seek Him and hand Him the weight of our burdens, He gives us rest – body, heart, soul and mind. May we all seek the Lord to lay down our burdens this long weekend, and allow Him to show us His perfect rest.

All who are weary,

We are not alone;

To God up above,

Our burdens are known.

He walks beside us,

And shoulders the weight;

He renews our strength,

His love’s never late.

He knows what we need,

In love, He provides;

A space to recharge,

As we choose abide.

Lean into Jesus,

His strength is enough;

To carry the weight,

Of our heavy stuff.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can come to You in our weariness and find Your rest. Thank You that You lovingly walk beside us and carry the weight that we cannot. Forgive us for not slowing down with intention to seek You in our spaces of need. Teach us to come to You to be our strength, rest and resolve in all things and at all times. Show us how to love and bless those around us in ways that bring rest to weary spaces. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we come to You in our weariness and find true rest in the light of Your perfect love. Amen.

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

But when the kindness of God our Savior and His love for mankind appeared, He saved us – not by works of righteousness that we had done, but according to His mercy through the washing of regeneration and renewal by the Holy Spirit. – Titus 3:4-5

Rising Up

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 song. – (Psalm 28:7, VOICE)

This morning, I am trusting God anew to do these things. I am so thankful that everyday is new. With Christ, each day we can find new strength and new joy; for yesterday is gone and today is full of new possibilities and hope for better. I know that God works in mysterious ways and that we go through trials to develop perseverance and character, yet He does not leave us to our own devices to navigate the struggle. He walks beside us and grants us the strength that we need so that we may find joy and gratitude even when our circumstances feel impossible. May we depend on God to be our strength and shield and rejoice in song for His faithfulness and love.

Sometimes, a song comes to mind and that is what fills my heart and mind. This morning, it is this one. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You bring songs to mind to strengthen and encourage us. Thank You for making all things new. Forgive us for our fears, frustrations and doubts, for in the natural, things can seem impossible. Teach us to ever rely on You to be our strength and our song. Show us how to love and encourage those around us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to be our strength and shield and praise You with the songs that rise up in our heart. Amen.

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

Rise up! Help us! Redeem us because of Your faithful love. – Psalm 44:26

Measured By Our Maker

There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. – (1 John 4:18, NIV)

Where God’s love is, there is no fear, because God’s perfect love takes away fear. It is His punishment that makes a person fear. So His love is not made perfect in the one who has fear. – (1 John 4:18, ERV)

There is no room in love for fear. Well-formed love banishes fear. Since fear is crippling, a fearful life – fear of death, fear of judgment – is one not yet fully formed in love. – (1 John 4:18, MSG)

 

I’m not sure why my heart held onto this particular verse this morning as I read through today’s passages, but for whatever reason, it did. Perhaps it is to remind my own heart that above all, I am loved perfectly by God. I am not particularly fearful, yet when I feel overloaded by life, there are things that make me feel anxious, which is really a form of fear. In my case, it is one of “not enough”.  As an educator, mom, wife, daughter, sister, coach, friend, and more, it is easy to place pressure on myself to “measure up” to a certain standard, as there are goals I desire to accomplish, hopes I hold, and dreams that I am pursuing. That being said, I have to remember that we are all on a journey and life is a process. God, in His perfect love, walks beside us, strengthens us, encourages us, and equips us for each next step. The only standard we need worry about “measuring up” to, is His. Just like a loving parent, the Lord asks for obedience, and our best; not perfection. There is no fear in a child who knows that they have done their best to do as their parent has asked of them; it is no different with God. We are loved perfectly because we are His. We are enough because He created us in His image. We need not fear, because His love is for us, and He is far greater than anything that could ever come against us. May we ever rest in God’s perfect love as we press on in all that He has called us to be and do, for in all things, His strength and grace will see us through.

 

No need be afraid, Measured By Our Maker

When doubt dares come near;

For God’s perfect love,

Casts away all fear.

There’s no punishment,

In faithful pursuit;

Instead there is grace,

That none can dispute.

In all things, always,

Seek God and His love;

He’s love perfected,

Strength to rise above.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that there is no fear in love. Thank You that Your love drives fear away, and grants us the strength and resolve to press on and rise up into all that You are calling us to become. Forgive us for our fear, worry and anxiousness about measuring up to the world’s standards, rather than giving our best unto You. Teach us to give all to You in everything we do, so that our trust is in You alone. Show us how to love those around us in a way that extends grace, strength, resolve and encouragement where they are needed most. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we receive Your perfect love and fix our eyes on how You view us, rather than any other standard set in our sight line. Amen.

 

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

 

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