Jesus is Our Refuge in Suffering

Truly my soul finds rest in God; my salvation comes from Him. Truly He is my rock and my salvation; He is my fortress, I will never be shaken. – (Psalm 62:1-2, NIV)

I must calm down and turn to God; only He can rescue me. He is my Rock, the only one who can save me. He is my high place of safety, where no army can defeat me. – (Psalm 62:1-2, ERV)

God, the One and only – I’ll wait as long as He says. Everything I need comes from Him, so why not? He’s solid rock under my feet, breathing room for my soul, an impregnable castle: I’m set for life. – (Psalm 62:1-2, MSG)

Though I have not been suffering, I have been navigating uncharted territory through this whole skin cancer ordeal. From biopsy of the unknown to a bigger biopsy to determine nature of what had become known, to the confirmation that my new normal will include a medical team to watch diligently, to make certain that what was surgically removed, will not return. In the coming weeks, I have two appointments with two different oncologists, and an appointment with a dermatologist. Again, I am not in a space of suffering, but I am in a space of uncertainty of the unknown. God has been faithful to be ever near as I have walked through two biopsies and two surgeries that followed. I can trust Him to be faithful to remain near as we navigate all that lies ahead. Thankfully, His peace has been present and He is helping keep fear at bay. Yes, the not knowing makes me uneasy, but the certainty in knowing that He will be with me grants the courage to keep pressing forward without allowing the unknowns to monopolize my thoughts. Also, He has provided financially, as being double-covered with medical insurance has kept the bills that have come to a minimum. The Message says it well, as it states, “He’s the solid rock under my feet, and breathing room for my soul…” May we ever seek the Lord in our uncertainty, suffering or sorrows, for He is our refuge and the One on whom we can depend.

Present through trials,

God is ever near;

Foundation to stand,

As He calms each fear.

Forever our hope,

Our place of refuge;

Comfort Provider,

Love that each day’s new.

Help us rise up, Lord,

Our strength comes from You;

All thanks and our praise,

Are unto You, due.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our help and our hope, and that You are our refuge in suffering. Thank You that You promise to be present through every trial as we call on You to be near. Forgive us for our fears and doubts, for in all things, the ultimate outcome is forever with You. Teach us to have an eternal perspective and to trust in You to be our strength and peace. Lead us to love those around us in ways that promote peace, pray for healing and wholeness, and bring hope to spaces that hope is lacking. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to be our comfort and praise You for Your unending faithfulness that we know is true. Amen.

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

But I will sing of Your strength, in the morning I will sing of Your love; for You are my fortress, my refuge in times of trouble. – Psalm 59:16

Love and Comfort

May Your unfailing love be my comfort, according to Your promise to Your servant. – (Psalm 119:76, NIV)

Now comfort me with Your faithful love, as You promised. – (Psalm 119:76, ERV)

Now let Your unfailing love be my comfort, in keeping with Your promise to Your servant. – (Psalm 119:76, VOICE)

Yesterday, God was so faithful to be near me as I had my first surgical procedure done. What could have been many steps, layers, and hours, was instead completed in one deep cut and an hour and a half. His peace was with me, even in discomfort, and last night, I slept well. As I am up this morning before surgery number two, I am amazed that I have no pain at all; granted, I am merely sitting and unable to have my usual coffee, but in the just sitting with Thor beside me, I am good. I am grateful that today’s process involves sedation, as I should not remember nor feel anything. My hope and prayers are that the healing process is quick and tolerable, as we will be traveling in a few days to spend a bit of time with my mom, sister, and family. I am holding to the promise that God will continue to be my comfort and grant me strength and peace to be able to enjoy the time together. His promises are true, and His faithfulness knows no end, so I am holding closely all that He says in my heart and mind. May we ever seek the Lord to be our comfort, for His unfailing love remains present with us.

O God, You are good,

No matter what comes;

Your promises true,

The Most Holy One.

You are our comfort,

Our true place of peace;

Most generously,

Your love is released.

You are the goodness,

Throughout all our days;

The hope we can hold,

Both now and always.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your unfailing love is our comfort and peace. Thank You that You are faithful to go before us, remain with us, and make Your nearness known. Forgive us for allowing our fears to find a foothold rather than trust You completely. Teach us to cling to You, our anchor, through all that comes our way. Show us how to love those around us like You do, so that we may share the same comfort and love that we are given. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we hold fast to Your promises and receive Your overwhelming love. Amen.

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

I will be glad and rejoice in Your love, for You saw my affliction and knew the anguish of my soul. – Psalm 31:7

Courage Through Unknowns

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” – (Joshua 1:9, NIV)

“Remember, I commanded you to be strong and brave. Don’t be afraid, because the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” – (Joshua 1:9, ERV)

“Haven’t I commanded you? Strength! Courage! Don’t be timid; don’t get discouraged. God, your God, is with you every step you take.” – (Joshua 1:9, MSG)

Today is the day that I need to keep this verse in the forefront of my mind, as I walk into the unknown. I know that there are many who have gone before me who have endured the same procedure that I will and have come through well with great success. I am still nervous, as having only local anesthesia for a many-hour procedure is not very comforting when I am one who is a struggle to keep numb. Additionally, not having any idea as to how extensive a procedure is going to be is a fear-producing space as well. This is where I must trust in the professionals to do their job well, and even more so, trust that God has gone before me, will be with me, and will carry me through the unknowns. Right now, I will choose to trust through the unknowns, and praise Him for His faithfulness to me thus far. I am so grateful that God is the same yesterday, today and forever. The same God who has been faithful to me throughout all my days so far, is the same One who will be with me as I go and will remain present through the stages of recovery and healing. He knows not only the number of hairs on my head, but He knows the exact location of the carcinoma cells on my face and is the One who will guide the surgeon’s hands.  Tomorrow morning will be part two, as a plastic surgeon will close the wound in a way to maintain function in my upper lip and to minimize the scarring from the procedure. Initially, I was stressed about having the two parts on different days, but ultimately, it might be better as there will be a pause to rest in between. God knew during the scheduling what would be best for me, and He holds me in the hollow of His hands. May we ever seek the Lord to be our strength and courage, for He is faithful to be present each time we ask.

O Lord, be my strength,

Today as I go;

In uncertainty,

You already know.

Provider of peace,

You have gone before;

Made way through unknowns,

Courage, You outpour.

Settle the spaces,

In me that still fear;

This space of unknown,

As You remain near.

Take my hand, Jesus,

Today as I go;

Grant courage and strength,

As Your love’s made known.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our courage and strength and the One who tells us to not be afraid nor discouraged. Thank You that You tell us these things because You have gone before us and promise to remain with us. Forgive us for our fears in spaces of unknown. Teach us to trust You more and to place all of our worries in Your strong and capable hands. Show us how to shine Your light wherever we go and in all that we do. Lead us to love big, even when we are facing things that cause fear. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to strengthen us and supply us with courage that comes from knowing that You are in control. Amen.

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

“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you.” – Deuteronomy 31:6

Compassion and Comfort

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father compassion and the God of all comfort. – (2 Corinthians 1:3, NIV)

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. He is the Father who is full of mercy, the God of all comfort. – (2 Corinthians 1:3, ERV)

All praise goes to God, Father of our Lord Jesus, the Anointed One. He is the Father of compassion, the God of all comfort. – (2 Corinthians 1:3, VOICE)

Most nights, I wake and have little or no recollection as to what I dreamed about. This morning, however, I woke after having dreamed all throughout the night about the surgery that was just scheduled yesterday. It was neither bad nor good, but rather felt like an abundance of waiting. I imagine that it was sparked by the concern that has been weighing on me since I was told the appointment schedule, and it carried over into my dreams. It is no mystery that I am anxious about what lies ahead, yet I know I am in a space where I must simply trust and go through the process. Though I have never experienced anything quite like this before, I have experienced the unfailing faithfulness of God. God is compassionate and is our comfort, and time and time again, I can share His heart for these things in our lives. He has been with me, provided for me, and comforted me through some of life’s lowest valleys. God stayed beside me, held me up, and provided all that I needed to keep moving forward. In fifteen days, the process will have begun, and in sixteen, it will be complete. Right now, that seems like a very long wait. However, when I look back, it does not feel like gymnastics season is nearly a month in. Even when days drag on, the weeks have flown much more rapidly than realized. Time is tricky, as it goes quickly when we want it to slow down, and it seems to stand still when we desire time to speed up. God is faithful through it all, and when my focus is on praising Him and His goodness, time does not matter. May we ever seek God in all things and at all times, for He is compassionate and provides comfort as each is needed.

Praise be to the Lord,

In all things, always;

For He’s our comfort,

Throughout all our days.

When we are anxious,

We need not give fear;

A foot to stand on,

For God is so near.

His great compassion,

Comfort for the soul;

Soothes us in stillness,

As He makes us whole.

So, trust in the Lord,

Ever give Him praise;

Our hope forever,

The Ancient of Days.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You know our hearts and our needs far better than we do. Thank You that You are our Comforter, and You are full of compassion for us all. Forgive us for our fearfulness as we face unknowns. Teach us to trust and rely on You more, for You are faithful to go before us, stay beside us, and hold us up when we are unable to move forward without Your strength. Show us how to navigate the unknowns with faith in Your nearness, and grant us wisdom to know how to encourage and walk beside those who are in such spaces. Let Your love be evident to all. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we place our every fear and concern in Your capable and compassionate hands, for You are with us and will not leave us. Amen.

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

Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. – Psalm 23:4

Fear is a Liar

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

Fear can be a trap, but if you trust in the Lord, you will be safe. – (Proverbs 29:25, ERV)

The fear of human opinion disables; trusting in God protects you from that. – (Proverbs 29:25, MSG)

Fear is a liar. It creeps in and tells us that we are not enough, and that we will never accomplish what we have been called and created to do. When we choose to trust in the Lord, we discover peace, provision and safety. The things that once brought fear can become sources of joy. In Him, we need not be afraid, but rather we can move confidently forward in all that He calls us to do and become. May we choose to listen to the voice of truth, and allow Him to show us how to overcome fears and persevere.

Choose let not the fear,

Of people and things;

Keep us from doing,

What is our calling.

Instead trust the Lord,

Who arms and protects;

Equips success,

As He knows what’s best.

Rise up in freedom,

Choose His strength and song;

Keep pressing forward,

In Christ, carry on.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we need not fear people and their opinions, but rather we need to trust in You. Thank You that we have been created and called with purpose. Forgive us for allowing the opinions of others to give fear a foothold. Show us how to listen to Your voice and trust in the truth of Your word. Teach us to love those around us in a way that encourages trust and chases away fear so that all might persevere. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we recognize the truth of who You are and silence the fears that are not founded in truth. Amen.

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

The Lord is with me; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me? – Psalm 118:6

He Leads in Love

This is what the Lord says – your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: “I am the Lord your God, who teaches you what is best for you, who directs you in the way you should go.” – (Isaiah 48:17, NIV)

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)

The Eternal One, who rescued you, the Holy One of Israel declares, “I am the Eternal One your God. I have given you instruction for living well and right, leading you in how you should be and do.” – (Isaiah 48:17, VOICE)

God is faithful to lead us and instruct us in the ways in which we are meant to go, if only we are willing to seek Him and listen to Him. Sometimes, when we are uncertain about which way to go, He makes clear the path we are to take; other times, He places the decision in our hands and promises to be with us. Recently, I was in just such a space, and felt that He was leaving the decision up to me, but assured me that He would be with me and protect me, either direction I chose. Though I ended up going the direction that was not my first choice, I truly feel that God has been with me, has protected me, and will continue to do so. What I have learned time and time again, is that God is good and loves us well. May we ever seek and depend on Him, listen to His leading, and trust that He holds us in His strong and loving hands.

The Lord is so good,

He’s faithful and true;

As we choose seek Him,

He will lead us through.

Through things uncertain,

Each choice that we make;

The Lord is with us,

On each path we take.

God, grant us wisdom,

By faith, help us choose;

What we’re called to do,

With trust, lead us through.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we seek You for answers, You show us the way we are meant to go, or You give us a choice that You assure us You will be present, whichever way we go. Forgive us for our fears and frustrations when decisions before us seem dismal. Thank You that You work in and through all things. Teach us to trust You more, so that we will listen to Your leading and ever choose to love. Show us how to love those around us best, so that they too, may know Your peace and faithfulness. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You and trust You in all things and at all times. Amen.

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

You will seek Me and find Me when you seek Me with all your heart. – Jeremiah 29:13

Navigating the Unknown

As you do not know the path of the wind, or how the body is formed in a mother’s womb, so you cannot understand the work of God, the Maker of all things. – (Ecclesiastes 11:5, NIV)

You don’t know where the wind blows. And you don’t know how a baby grows in its mother’s womb. In the same way, you don’t know what God will do – and He makes everything happen. – (Ecclesiastes 11:5, ERV)

Just as you’ll never understand the mystery of life forming in a pregnant woman, so you’ll never understand the mystery at work in all that God does. – (Ecclesiastes 11:5, MSG)

God’s ways are not our ways, and His plans are not like ours. There are times that we cannot possibly see the purpose in what we go through, nor how the path we are on could lead to what He intended. Even so, God is good. His timing is not our own, and His ways are far higher. It is a matter of choosing to trust, even when we cannot see, for despite all things, He is good. The Lord cares about every detail of our lives. He knows how many hairs are on our heads, and the strengths and talents that He intentionally placed within us. Often, what we go through, provides the opportunity to discover strength we did not know was possible, and how to hold fast to hope. When I was young, I knew that I wanted to be a teacher. As I grew up, some of the class requirements steered me in a different direction. The one in particular, was a speech class. Rather than dig deep and suck it up, I chose to become an art major with an English minor. Graphic design was a delight, and I learned and grew in a variety of mediums. Once I graduated with my Bachelor’s Degree, I found my way to Montana as a YWAMer (Youth With A Mission), and ended up spending the next three years in and out of Asia. Ironically, (or as God designed) I ended up having to do much public speaking during that season. God called me back home to go back to school and fulfill my teaching credentials. Upon graduation from my Master’s program, I was hired to teach World Geography at my own former middle school. God had prepared my heart to have a passion for learning about new cultures, after I had experienced so much in the years prior. Additionally, I was granted the gift of coaching gymnastics, which I had done during high school and college, both as a job and joyful passion. Throughout my career thus far, I have had the opportunity to teach art and English as well. I know not where each new experience will lead, but I know that I can trust God to be with me. May we ever embrace each new path we are called to take and trust that God will lead us through. He is good, and He knows the desires of our hearts and the plan and purpose intended for each of us, individually.

No one truly knows,

Where the Lord will lead;

He grants us His strength,

As His will we heed.

Detours and trials,

And paths still unknown;

Each with a purpose,

As His grace is shown.

Even in heartache,

We grow and we learn;

He loves us through all,

To Him may we turn.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that though we cannot possibly know or understand all of Your ways, You are faithful to lead us and grow us through all. Thank You that as we depend on You, You use every experience for good. Forgive us for our fears and doubts in the spaces that we never thought we would be. Teach us to trust You completely, for Your plans are perfect. Show us how to love those around us in ways that offer strength, hope and peace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust in Your unfailing love to lead us as we navigate each step that You bring us to take. Amen.

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

Lord, You establish peace for us; all that we have accomplished You have done for us. – Isaiah 26:12

Be Not Discouraged

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord you God will be with you wherever you go.” – (Joshua 1:9, NIV)

“Remember, I commanded you to be strong and brave. Don’t be afraid, because the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” – (Joshua 1:9, ERV)

This is My command: be strong and courageous. Never be afraid or discouraged because I am your God, the Eternal One, and I will remain with you wherever you go. – (Joshua 1:9, VOICE)

Today, this is the perfect reminder for me, especially the “do not be discouraged” part. One of my bucket list goals is to run a marathon before my 50th birthday. For a bit more than a month, I have been training to move toward my goal. My friend and I found a marathon that will be held in June, so we were on track to be ready to run. Last evening, when I took one of our pups downstairs to get ready for bed, she began running down the last few steps and pulled into our room. Sadly, I was ill-prepared for the pulling, and somehow slammed my little toe into the doorframe at full speed. I knew immediately it was not good, and iced it right away. Unfortunately, this morning, it is still agonizing to bear weight. Frustration and discouragement were flooding my mind as I attempted to do the normal things I do each morning. Thankfully, as I sat down to do my devotions, I was again reminded that God is with me and will remain with me. He is our healer and provider, and I need not be discouraged. If I have to take a few days off to heal and recover, so be it. God knows the desires of our hearts, and makes a way when there seems to be no way. May we ever take courage and be strong in the Lord, for He will be with us wherever we go.

Be strong and take heart,

Do not be afraid;

The Lord is present,

He’s promised to stay.

Don’t be discouraged,

God will make a way;

He’ll lead and guide us,

For all of our days.

Trust in His goodness,

Command to take heart;

Faithful He will stay,

From finish to start.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our courage and strength, and that we need not be discouraged when obstacles come our way. Thank You that You promise to be with us as You lead us through each new day. Forgive us for allowing obstacles and challenges to challenge our trust. Teach us how to lean into You in all circumstances. Show us how to love and encourage those around us in ways that give strength and courage and chase away doubt and fear. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we take courage in You and Your presence, always. Amen.

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

Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong. – 1 Corinthians 16:13

Love That Will Not Cease

By day the Lord directs His love, at night His song is with me – a prayer to the God of my life. – (Psalm 42:8, NIV) 

By day the Lord shows His faithful love, and at night I have a song for Him – a prayer for the God of my life. – (Psalm 42:8, ERV) 

Yet all day long God’s promises of love pour over me. Through the night I sing His songs, for my prayer to God has become my life. – (Psalm 42:8, TPT) 

No matter what is going on, it never ceases to amaze me how God makes His love tangible. He provides His peace, His comfort, His strength and His grace to navigate whatever comes our way. It is in this space at the end of the day, that I cannot help but give Him praise for His loving ways. As I pray, the peace that settles is like a song for the soul; His song. May we ever seek the God of all comfort and lift our prayers unto Him, for He shows us His faithful love each day. 

Each day the Lord’s near, 

With His faithful love; 

His presence surrounds, 

With songs from above. 

The God of my life, 

Gives comfort and peace; 

Faithful forever, 

His love will not cease. 

So, lift up a song, 

To Him give all praise; 

Life, love and prayer, 

For all of our days. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your loving kindness that surrounds us each day. Thank You that You are our strength and our song, as You are faithful forever. Forgive us for our fears and lack of faith, for You remain the same, always. Teach us to trust You and sing praise to You, as Your love surrounds us each day. Show us how to love one another as You would have us love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we become increasingly aware of Your loving presence, and give You praise for who You are. Amen. 

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

Your love, Lord, reaches to the heavens, Your faithfulness to the skies. – Psalm 36:5

Equipped to Comfort

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. – (2 Corinthians 1:3-4, NIV)

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. He is the Father who is full of mercy, the God of all comfort. He comforts us every time we have trouble so that when others have trouble, we can comfort them with the same comfort God gives us. – (2 Corinthians 1:3-4, ERV)

All praises belong to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. For He is the Father of tender mercy and the God of endless comfort. He always comes alongside us to comfort us in every suffering so that we can come alongside those who are in any painful trial. We can bring them this same comfort that God has poured out upon us. – (2 Corinthians 1:3-4, TPT)

 

It really is true, that God, in His great love, comforts us in all of our troubles. The amazing thing that I so often discover, is the very things that I have known God’s comfort in, He uses me to offer comfort to those around me in a space similar to that which He brought me through. His comfort, kindness and compassion granted to us, expands our heart and capacity to do the same for those around us. Experience creates a sort of knowing that only one who has walked through a similar space can truly understand what another is going through. Our ability to be compassionate and extend the sort of comfort needed are heightened, when we know the road a person is walking. God is good and He is kind, He knows what we need in the midst of our struggles; He brings beauty from ashes and hope from despair. One of the ways that God does this is when He allows us to walk beside another who needs comfort in a space that we, ourselves, have been. There is peace and joy as we give what was given, and watch another press on and get through the difficulty. May we ever give God our praise for being our Comforter and for equipping us to comfort those around us.

 

All praise unto God,Equipped to Comfort

Who comforts us all;

He lifts head and heart,

Each time that we fall.

Because of His grace,

Comfort we receive;

We too can offer,

Love to those in need.

The very same grace,

The comfort we knew;

Is what we can give,

To help others through.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are the God of all comfort and that the comfort You give to us, You raise up in us to give to those around us. Thank You that the struggles and trials we walk through can always be used for good if we trust in You. Forgive us for our fears and resentment when we are in scary spaces. Teach us to trust You more, so that we may know Your wisdom as to how to navigate, and know Your strength to persevere. Show us how to love those around us in ways that comfort and encourage in ways that bless the recipients best. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for who You are and how You love, and trust You to help us go forth and do the same. Amen.

 

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

 

Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. – Psalm 23:4