Hope is Rising

Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the Lord. – (Psalm 31:24, NIV)

Be brave. Be strong. Don’t give up. Expect God to get here soon. – (Psalm 31:24, MSG)

Be strong, and live courageously, all of you who set your hope in the Eternal! – (Psalm 31:24, VOICE)

As I was doing my lesson planning yesterday, I did more research on the work of Amanda Gorman, the poet laureate who spoke at the Inauguration. Both when she shared her poem then, and while I discovered a recent poem of hers, “The Miracle of Morning”, I was in awe of her ability to tackle current events and convey hope through poetry. My sixth graders have been studying the poem, “If”, by Rudyard Kipling, and the opportunity to spend some time studying the works of a modern-day poet seemed a perfect pairing. For me, as I listen to and read Miss Gorman’s words, I cannot help but think her message is one of choosing to be brave and strong, and to not give up. The words call upon hope to rise within us, much like God’s word, for He is where our hope is held, and our Source of courage, strength and resolve. May we seek the Lord to find the strength and courage to see His love that is all around us, and the resolve to love as we are loved by Him.

Take heart, dear ones,

For hope is rising;

Light found in darkness,

There’s no disguising.

The chaos that is,

Will not always be;

For hope is rising,

As love is released.

A choice to honor,

Sisters and brothers;

To stand hand-in-hand,

Supporting each other.

Stand up, dear young ones,

Please take it from me;

The future is yours,

Rise up and shine, so all may see.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are good and You are our Source of courage, strength and resolve. Thank You that as we seek and learn to depend on You, hope rises within us. Forgive us for not being light and life in the midst of darkness. Teach us to seek You to ignite Your fire within us. Show us how to love those around us in ways that spread Your light that chases away the darkness. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust in You to raise us up as light-bearers and love givers. Amen.

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

For you have been my hope, Sovereign Lord, my confidence since my youth. – Psalm 71:5

Seeking Solitude for Strength

When Jesus heard what had happened, He withdrew by boat privately to a solitary place. – (Matthew 14:13a, NIV)

When Jesus heard what happened to John, He left in a boat. He went alone to a place where no one lived. – (Matthew 14:13a, ERV)

When Jesus got the news, He slipped away by boat to an out-of-the-way place by Himself. – (Matthew 14:13a, MSG)

This passage in Matthew 14 is an account of when John the Baptist (the cousin of Jesus) was beheaded by Herod and Jesus had just received news of it. Jesus, in His grief, sought some solitary space to grieve. However, soon after His retreat, crowds of people caught wind of His whereabouts and followed Him. Though Jesus was likely attempting to process and pray, when He saw the large crowd of people in need, “…He had compassion on them and healed their sick.” (vs. 14)

Jesus was the Son of God, yet on earth, He was also fully man. The grief, suffering, sorrow, and struggles that we all experience, He experienced too. Much like us, He desired room to grieve and pray. That being said, in His perfect love, Jesus recognized the needs in front of Him and set aside His own desires, in order to help. How do we navigate spaces of suffering, sorrow, and struggle like Jesus? He sought the Father, and then He saw the need before Him. Only Jesus is able to provide what we need to do both – to navigate our own trials and simultaneously reach out to those around us who are in need. We cannot allow the challenges of life to keep us from loving people the way we were created to love. Incredibly, when we do choose to look and reach out, the weight of our own burdens become lighter. May we ever seek the Lord to lead us in love and compassion, so that we may walk out our purpose, even when the road is rough.

Lord, teach us to pray,

To ever seek You;

Please lead us in love,

Grant us hope anew.

When challenges come,

For they always do;

Give us compassion,

To keep loving true.

It is by Your strength,

That we are made new;

Equipped to answer,

How we’re called by You.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the example that Jesus set before us to remind us that even in our darkness, we are called and equipped to be Your light. Forgive us for staying in our space of withdrawal when struggles come, rather than turning to You, then continuing to look forward. Teach us to trust You completely, for You bring comfort and compassion to the weariest of souls, and empower us to love all the more. Lead us to love those around us in ways that soothe the struggles and calm the chaos. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to pick us up, dust us off, and keep moving forward into all that You have created us for. Amen.

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

Look to the Lord and His strength; seek His face always. – 1 Chronicles 16:11

Light My Path

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)

Truth’s shining light guides me in my choices and decisions; the revelation of Your word makes my pathway clear. – (Psalm 119:105, TPT)

The more that we spend time in God’s word, the brighter the light within us, and the clearer His path for us becomes. God is ready and willing to guide our every step on the path He has set before us, however, we must seek Him and spend time in His word to clearly know the ways we are meant to go. Often, what we see seems good through our own lens, yet through His, there may be reason and purpose that we are called in a different direction. For me, His wisdom and grace make all the difference as I run my own race. When I am in tune with Him and His will, I am acutely aware of His nearness and have peace on the path I am taking. It does not mean that the way is always smooth or simple, but it does mean that I am aware of His presence, even when the terrain becomes more than I can navigate with my own skill set. He is good, and He lead and equips us where He calls us. May we ever seek the Lord and spend time in His word, for He is the lamp that guides our steps and the light that illuminates which way we are to go.

O Lord, we seek You,

And study Your word;

For Your voice is clear,

As Your truth is heard.

Please show us the ways,

You want us to go;

Lead us in the truth,

So Your light may show.

Illuminate well,

The paths we’re to take;

Equip and lead us,

Keep love wide awake.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your word is a lamp unto our feet and a light unto our path. Thank You that as we seek You and spend time in Your word, You show us the ways we are meant to go. Thank You that even when the road is rough or the terrain is beyond what we can navigate on our own, You are with us and equip us so that we may continue in the direction You are leading. Forgive us for the times that we have allowed fear or doubt to keep us from moving forward where You are leading. Teach us to trust and seek You for clear direction. Show us how to love those around us well, so that Your light shines before all whom we encounter. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You and spend time in Your word to gain clear direction for our every step. Amen.

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

Let the morning bring me word of Your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in You. Show me the way I should go, for to You I entrust my life. – Psalm 143:8

Every Good Gift

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. – (James 1:17, NIV)

Everything good comes from God. Every perfect gift is from Him. These good gifts come down from the Father who made all the lights in the sky. But God never changes like the shadows from those lights. He is always the same. – (James 1:17, ERV)

Every good gift bestowed, every perfect gift received comes to us from above, courtesy of the Father of lights. He is consistent. He won’t change His mind or play tricks in the shadows. – (James 1:17, VOICE)

 

God is always good. Though life takes twists and turns that are not; He forever remains the same. In the darkness, we can trust in His light. There is no place that we can go to depart from God’s presence, and there is nothing that we can do that will take away His love for us. Such consistency is reassuring in seasons of uncertainty. It matters not what we face, for God remains good, and present, and for us. He gives good gifts and brings light to the darkness; His love is always the same. May we trust in the Lord in all things and at all times, and recognize every good and perfect gift that comes from our Father above, for He is faithful and true and remains the same forever.

Today will be mom’s first day of out-patient occupational therapy, which is the therapy she is most eager to get started on, as O.T. focuses on upper body, and for mom, that is especially significant for her right arm. We are praying that new pathways begin firing to her right arm, and that movement and mobility begin to be reestablished where it has been lacking the most. Mom is hopeful and ready to work hard, and we are trusting in faith beside her.

 

All good that exists, The Holiday of Hope

Comes down from above;

Gifted from the Lord,

Full of His great love.

Light in the darkness,

Hope when there’s despair;

Love in low spaces,

His grace, everywhere.

All thanks be to God,

For each good gift known;

It’s given in love,

As His heart is shown.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that every good and perfect gift comes from You. Thank You that in You there are no shadows and that You do not change. Thank You that Your love and faithfulness remain the same forever, so we can always trust in You. Forgive us for our fears and doubts when life takes unanticipated turns. Teach us to trust You more, for You bless us with Your presence and Your peace as You love us through all things. Show us how to love those around us at all times, so that they may know the beauty of Your light, hope and love in all things. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You and praise You for every good and perfect gift that comes from You, and for Your unchanging nature. Amen.

 

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

 

So if you, who are sinful, know how to give your children good gifts, how much more so does your Father in heaven, who is perfect, know how to give great gifts to His children! – Matthew 7:11

Praise in the Process

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)

Let every detail in your lives – words, actions, whatever – be done in the name of the Master, Jesus, thanking God the Father every step of the way. – (Colossians 3:17, MSG)

 

Our purpose is to honor God in all that we say and do, and praise Him in the process. Everything we are, all that we have, and our capacity to do all things, is courtesy of Christ and all that He gave on our behalf. Because of God’s great love for us, it is only fitting and right that every word, thought and deed of ours is with the intent to honor the Lord. Without Him, there would be no life, no love, and no hope. In Christ, we have all these things and so much more. May we ever seek to honor the Lord in all that we do and say, giving thanks to God every step of each new day.

Today, I am extraordinarily grateful for a short work week, as I can hardly stand the wait to go and see my mom and sister and family for Thanksgiving. The short week is quite full, so I anticipate the days moving rather quickly, with Thursday being upon us before we know it. Our family has a list of favorites together, and mom reminded me last evening of the preparations being made, and how ready my sister and brother-in-love’s household are for our arrival. May we honor the Lord in the wait, and give Him thanks as we navigate our time between now and when we gather.

 

May all of my life, Be Full of Joy

Each word, thought and deed;

Give honor to God,

And follow His lead.

May each step I take,

Remind me to praise;

To thank God above,

For life all my days.

All that I can do,

In this life given;

May the Lord’s light shine,

Through each decision.

With thanks I choose rise,

And begin this day;

Place all in His hands,

Seek walk in His way.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we seek You, we find You, and You remain God with us. Thank You that You will lead us and guide us in our every word, thought and deed as we seek Your will. Forgive us for the times that we have not, and have spoken or acted in ways that are not pleasing to You. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would rely on You to lead and guide us to walk in Your light. Show us how to love those around us in ways that demonstrate Your goodness and grace through our words and actions. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for who You are, and give thanks for Your goodness and grace that leads us and guides us in the ways we are meant to go. Amen.

 

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

 

Surely Your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. – Psalm 23:6

Let Love Have a Voice

Words from the mouth of the wise are gracious, but fools are consumed by their own lips. – (Ecclesiastes 10:12, NIV)

Words from the wise bring praise, but words from a fool bring destruction. – (Ecclesiastes 10:12, ERV)

The words of a wise person are gracious. The talk of a fool self-destructs. – (Ecclesiastes 10:12, MSG)

 

As today’s passage continues to point to the power that is packed in our words, again I am reminded of how much we need wisdom to guide each word that we make audible. Words spoken in wisdom are heard and received as a gift, yet those that are not, bring destruction to our reputation. May we ever seek the Lord for wisdom, so that we may have a filter that weeds out foolish thoughts before we speak them, and insight to communicate gracious words in love.

 

Lord help us to speak, Weighing the Why

Wise words, full of grace;

Spoken in Your love,

Throughout all our days.

Please seal our lips,

When foolish thoughts come;

Protect us, we pray,

So Your will be done.

Grow us in wisdom,

Let love have a voice;

Lead us in Your light,

So all may rejoice.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to speak in Your wisdom and truth. Thank You that as we do, Your love and light and life are shared with those around us. Forgive us for the times we have allowed the foolishness of our own selfishness to have a voice and wound those around us. Teach us to trust and rely on You to guard our hearts and help filter our words, so that what we say offers wisdom and grace. Show us how to love those around us well with our words. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to guard our hearts and guide our words, so that each word we speak is a reflection of You. Amen.

 

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

 

If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen. – 1 Peter 4:11

To Drive Out Darkness

You, Lord, are my lamp; the Lord turns my darkness into light. – (2 Samuel 22:29, NIV)

O Lord, You are my light! You make my darkness bright. – (2 Samuel 22:29, TLB)

Suddenly, God, Your light floods my path, God drives out the darkness. – (2 Samuel 22:29, MSG)

 

These were the words of David, as he reflected on God’s faithfulness to him. David had faced countless enemies and exhaustion, and God continued to rescue, redeem, and hear his prayers. The same God who provided for David on his most difficult days, is alive and active, ever-ready to overcome the darkness before us. May we turn in trust to the Lord, always seeking Him to light our path and show us the ways we are meant to go.

 

The Lord is my lamp, To Drive Out Darkness

Emitting His light;

Makes plain all our paths,

And which choice is right.

In spaces of dark,

His love light shines through;

As we choose to seek,

Faithfully pursue.

Pursue God’s wisdom,

Direction to know;

What we are to do,

And where we should go.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are loving and kind, faithful and true. Thank You that You are the light that shows us what to do. Forgive us for not seeking You for light in spaces of darkness. Teach us to trust You more, as You make the path plain when we look to Your light. Show us how to love those around us in ways that illuminate Your faithfulness forever. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we pursue the path You light before us. Amen.

 

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

 

You, Lord, keep my lamp burning; my God turns my darkness into light. – Psalm 18:28

A Fountain of Life and Light

For with You is the fountain of life; in Your light we see light. – (Psalm 36:9, NIV) 

The fountain of life flows from You. Your light lets us see light. – (Psalm 36:9, ERV) 

You have the fountain of life that quenches our thirst. Your light has opened our eyes and awakened our souls. – (Psalm 36:9, VOICE) 

 

Spending time in a major city seems to open my eyes to where there is light and where it is lacking. Though that may be an alarmingly obvious statement, given the sizable homeless population that tends to reside in the downtown area of all major cities, I am actually speaking of the individuals with whom I had direct interaction – be it a cashier or a server or concierge, not just a smile, nod or “hello” on the street. Incidentally, I had several different conversations with a variety of folks, many of which were students from the nearby university. One seemed to be a bit distraught, as I asked her how her day was going. Between a late arrival to work, upcoming finals, and concern about making it home for the holidays, she was stressed and short on hope. I extended encouragement and wished her well throughout our brief conversation, and I now pray for the peace of God to be present as she navigates the next few weeks. When the light of the Lord is lacking, we are called to be His light, as His light within us, is made to illuminate the darkness. May we ever seek and depend on the Lord, who is the fountain of life that quenches our thirst and the light that opens our eyes and awakens our souls. 

 

God is a fountain, A Fountain of Life and Light

For each thirsty soul; 

He’ll fill and refresh, 

Restore and make whole. 

The light of the Lord, 

Opens eyes to see; 

Awakens the soul, 

To grace that sets free. 

Where there is no hope, 

God’s light makes hope known; 

Run to the Fountain, 

Where true love is shown. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our Source of light and life and hope. Thank You that we can come to You and be filled, so that we can truly see. Forgive us for our tunnel vision that keeps us from seeing what surrounds us. Teach us to see the world through Your eyes, so that we would be ever aware of where Your light is lacking and shine Your love in such spaces. Show us how to love those around us who are hopeless or hurting or stuck in dark spots. Help us to extend light and life and hope in tangible ways. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we rely on You to be our fountain of life and light, and seek You to show us life through the light of Your loving lens. Amen.

 

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

 

In Him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. – John 1:5

Choosing to Live in Love

Love means doing what God has commanded us, and He has commanded us to love one another, just as you heard from the beginning. – (2 John 1:6, NLT)

And loving means living the way He commanded us to live. And God’s command is this: that you live a life of love. You heard this command from the beginning. – (2 John 1:6, ERV)

If we love God, we will do whatever He tells us to. And He has told us from the very first to love each other. – (2 John 1:6, TLB)

 

It is easy to love those who love us well, yet it is quite another thing to actively choose love again and again, those who do not display behaviors that reflect anything that has to do with love.  I find myself in a very disenchanted space with one of my classes at school. There is an especially large group of students that act out in the most unloving of ways, that exhaust my patience and desire to persevere, daily. Each day is new, yet the same struggles and trials continue to present themselves over and over again. Love is patient and love is kind, and love keeps no record of wrongs. My patience and kindness have been extended day in and day out, granting a new start each day, however, we have come to a place where something has to give. I guess this is a space where I simply throw up my hands and say to the Lord, “Show me how to love in a way that makes a difference.” God is good and He is faithful to meet us in our space of need. May we ever seek Him with our requests, as He longs to help us love as we are called to love.

 

Show me how to love, Enter With Thanksgiving

As Your word commands;

Lead me in this life,

To follow Your plans.

Despite what I get,

Help me choose to give;

Love that is like Yours,

By grace, help me live.

Help me to extend,

Your love to others;

So Your light is seen,

One to another.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are good and loving and kind, and that You command us to love because You first loved us. Forgive us for growing weary in extending love to those who are less loveable. Teach us to trust and rely on You more, as You are our Source of strength and light and life, and You refresh, renew and refill us again and again as we actively call on Your Name. Show us how to love those around us well, especially those who are difficult to love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we do what You have commanded us by choosing to live in love. Amen.

 

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

 

Listen… be wise, and keep your heart on the right path. – Proverbs 23:19

 

 

My Sons, This I Pray

My son(s), if you accept my words and store up my commands within you, turning your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding – indeed, if you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding, and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure, then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God. For the Lord gives wisdom; from His mouth come knowledge and understanding. He holds success in store for the upright, He is a shield to those whose walk is blameless, for He guards the course of the just and protects the way of His faithful ones. Then you will understand what is right and just and fair – every good path. For wisdom will enter your heart, and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul. Discretion will protect you, and understanding will guard you. – (Proverbs 2:1-11, NIV)

 

It is difficult to believe that today, sixteen years ago, my life was forever changed for the better. Thoug0119180406679500301.jpgh I knew what it was to love and be loved, I could not fully grasp the human heart’s capacity to love, cherish and protect, until my precious baby boys were born. There has been no greater joy than to watch them grow into the young men that they are becoming. Today’s reading is quite timely, as it is my prayer for them, as they continue to grow in faith and pursue wisdom and walk in His ways. The older this delightful duo becomes, the more I have to let go and trust them to follow and seek and choose wisely. May we all continue the pursuit of understanding the Lord and seeking His wisdom, and may His protection be ever present as we pursue the path He places before us.

 

 

My sons, this I pray, 12141718251901389040.jpg

That you seek to know;

The wisdom of God,

Each day, may it grow.

For where you choose seek,

And ask of the Lord;

He will grant insight,

You’ll not be ignored.

He’s always faithful,

As we trust each day;

Seek Him for answers,

He’ll show you the way.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the incredible gift of my precious progeny. Not only was I blessed with one son, but with two! Thank You for the tender hearts and loving ways that You have instilled in each of them. May they ever pursue the path that You have placed before them. Protect them each and every moment of every day, I pray. Forgive us for not seeking You for wisdom and understanding, as You are always faithful to answer when we seek You. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would understand what is just and fair, and follow Your good path. Lead us to love those around us in a way that shines Your light in dark places. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we ever seek You for wisdom and understanding all of the days of our lives. Amen.

 

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

 

He who refreshes others will himself be refreshed. – Proverbs 11:25