The Weight of Loss

My soul is weary with sorrow; strengthen me according to Your word. – (Psalm 119:28, NIV)

I am sad and tired. Say the word, and make me strong again. – (Psalm 119:28, ERV)

I weep with grief; my heart is heavy with sorrow; encourage and cheer me with Your words. – (Psalm 119:28, TLB)

Loss is heavy, and when it is seemingly out of the blue, it is even heavier. Yesterday, as our professional development day was about to begin, I received news that a dear friend and fellow coach in our league had died. The thing is, she, her twin sister, and several others of us, all grew up doing gymnastics together. A few evenings each week, we would learn, grow, laugh, and be challenged together. As adults, our paths began to intersect again through the world of coaching. Just last spring, we had several of our meets together, so we had enjoyed some quality catch up time. Hearing the news of her death hit hard. She was life and love, joy and kindness to all whom she encountered, and had a way of drawing everyone in with her infectious laughter. As a twin mom, my heart is extra heavy for her twin, as I know the incredible bond that twins have. I can’t help but feel weary from the weight of the loss, yet must cling to the hope that we will see one another again. Her love for the Lord was clear, and she never minced words when speaking the truth in love. To know her was to love her, and I cannot fully wrap my head around her passing. My prayer is that God will be our comfort, especially for her amazing twin sister. May we love a little harder, and be a bit kinder in honor of one who lived love out loud.

You were light and life,

Truth speaker with joy;

Contagious laughter,

Wisdom, loving voice.

Each life that you touched,

Made better by you;

Loved and encouraged,

Your faith proven true.

Lord, be our comfort,

As in loss, we grieve;

Renew our resolve,

To trust and believe.

The comfort I know,

Is found in the space;

Picturing entry,

As Your arms embrace.

Dear Heavenly Father, I cannot even begin to pretend I understand why such an incredible life was cut short, yet I know that she lived out each day with purpose and love. Thank You for the gift of knowing Kimmie, and for the imprint that she forever left on my heart. Hold us up in the weight of the heaviness of loss. Forgive us for allowing opportunities to love pass us by. Show us how to live and love each day, so that no matter how many days we are given, each and every one of them counts. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, for You are where true hope and comfort are found. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to live out each day with the purpose You intended, and give You thanks for the incredible gift that You gave us in our friend. Amen.

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

You who are my Comforter in sorrow, my heart is faint within me. – Jeremiah 8:18

Our Quiet Retreat

You are my refuge and my shield; I have put my hope in Your word. – (Psalm 119:114, NIV)

You’re my place of quiet retreat; I wait for Your Word to renew me. – (Psalm 119:114, MSG)

You’re my place of quiet retreat, and Your wraparound presence becomes my shield as I wrap myself in Your Word! – (Psalm 119:114, TPT)

A place of quiet retreat is essential to start my day well. Any place that we intentionally choose to be in His presence can become a quiet retreat. At home, I am able to find a quiet retreat in the early morning on our couch in the living room. When I am away from home, the early morning hours still seem to be the best space for me to find quiet retreat and spend time in His Word. It is through time in His Word that hope is renewed and I again feel surrounded by His presence. In this crazy world, holding onto the promised hope and truth of His Word is everything. There are countless verses that remind us of His love, protection, peace, plans, and promises that grant us hope to hold. May we ever find a quiet retreat in God’s presence as we invest time in His Word, allowing the truth to settle into the spaces within us that need to be reminded again of the goodness of God.

In a quiet space,

My heart finds retreat;

Reminders of truth,

With each new heartbeat.

My refuge and shield,

Where true hope is found;

Place in Your presence,

As all grace abounds.

Your Word is the lamp,

That shows us the way;

Through our time with You,

Peace and presence stay.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our quiet space of retreat and Your Word reminds us of who You are and how You love. Thank You that You surround us with Your presence and fill us with Your peace. Forgive us for allowing life to wear us down, rather than pursue spaces of Your refreshing presence. Show us how to find spaces of peace in Your presence where we can be reminded of the truth of Your Word that grants us all hope. Lead us to love those around us in ways that provide safety and peace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we are intentional to seek spaces of quiet retreat to spend time in Your Word as You surround us with Your peace. Amen.

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

The Lord gives strength to His people; the Lord blesses His people with peace. – Psalm 29:11

Trust in the Simple and Strange

Simon (Peter) answered, “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because You say so, I will let down the nets.” – (Luke 5:5, NIV)

Simon (Peter) answered, “Master, we worked hard all night trying to catch fish and caught nothing. But You say I should put the nets in the water, so I will.” – (Luke 5:5, ERV)

“Master,” Peter replied, “we’ve just come back from fishing all night and didn’t catch a thing. But if You insist, we’ll go out again and let down our nets because of Your word.” – (Luke 5:5, TPT)

There is so much loaded in this one particular verse. Jesus went to career fishermen who had just had a fruitless night of fishing, and told them to let down their nets. I imagine in their minds, they thought that it was a pointless task, yet they were intrigued enough to try, after having just listened to Jesus teach to those along the shore from their boat. What happened next was a pivotal teaching point, as the nets of those fishermen filled to overflowing. In fact, it says that the nets were so full that the boats began to take on water. Jesus used the men’s own area of expertise to illustrate what it would be like to join Him and become “fishers of men”. This miraculous catch reached the hearts of the fishermen, and further showed them that they could trust Jesus at His word. Those fishermen became the first of those Jesus called to be His disciples. 

This reminds me that though the things that Jesus calls us to might seem useless or ridiculous, we must trust Him, as He can turn the ordinary into extraordinary when we are willing to do as He asks. May we ever seek to hear the heart of heaven as we go about our days, for we never know the impact our obedience might have.

No matter the ask, 

That comes from the Lord;

Our obedience,

Will not be ignored.

God takes willing hearts,

Blesses from above;

Makes light and hope known,

And pours out His love.

Lord, help us to see,

Be willing to hear;

To answer Your call,

Show You’re always near.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You love us and call us to partner with You to make Your love known. Forgive us for the times that we have neglected to do that which we felt called to do, or for the times that we hesitated or questioned something that seemed small or bizarre. Teach us to trust You and to hear Your voice clearly. Grant us Your strength to move forward in love. Show us how to love those around us best, be it through small or great things. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose to step out in faithful obedience to all that You call us to do. Amen.

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

In You, Lord my God, I put my trust. – Psalm 25:1

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

Open My Eyes

Open my eyes to see the wonderful truths in Your instruction. – (Psalm 119:18, NLT)

Open my eyes so that I can see all the wonderful things in Your teachings. – (Psalm 119:18, ERV)

Open my eyes to see the miracle wonders hidden in Your word. – (Psalm 119:18, TPT)

In order for our eyes to be opened, we must be intentional to spend time in His word. As we seek the Lord with purpose and in prayer, He reveals more and more of who He is and how He loves. The Lord gives wisdom that leads and guides us to walk in His way.

Lord, lead us to seek,

The truth in Your word;

Reveal unto us,

Beyond what we’ve heard.

Plant Your loving truth,

Deep within our hearts;

Help us see and know,

How to do our part.

Each is created,

With purposeful plan;

We must keep seeking,

So we understand.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are faithful to meet us and reveal more of Yourself, each time  we choose to earnestly seek You. Forgive us for the times that we neglect investing time with You. Teach us to be intentional with our time, as You are loving and kind, ever longing for us to draw near. Show us Your truth and instruct us as to how we might live and love well, so that our lives are an ongoing beacon of light and love to all those 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. May our every word and deed demonstrate the goodness of Your love to the world. Amen.

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

Show me Your ways, Lord, teach me Your paths. – Psalm 25:4

Pray and Pursue Understanding

May my cry come before You, Lord; give me understanding according to Your word. – (Psalm 119:169, NIV) 

Please, Lord, hear my prayer and give me the understanding that comes from Your word. – (Psalm 119:169, CEV) 

Lord, listen to my prayer. It’s like a sacrifice I bring to You; I must have more revelation of Your word! – (Psalm 119:169, TPT) 

In this ever-changing world, there is tremendous comfort in knowing God, for He remains the same forever. No matter what goes on around us, He who dwells within us, is constant. The better we know God and understand His word, the greater we are prepared to navigate whatever comes our way. As we call out to God, pray, and read His word, He grants us greater understanding of how to see people and situations through His lens of love. May we constantly pursue the Lord in prayer, and invest time in His word so that we may live and love well, in ways that are pleasing to Him. 

O Lord, hear my cry, 

As I come to You; 

Grant understanding, 

So that I’ll love true. 

As I read Your word, 

Help me understand; 

How to apply it, 

And walk out Your plan. 

Please give me insight, 

To live and love well; 

So words aren’t needed, 

As loving acts tell. 

Tell of Your goodness, 

Display well, Your grace; 

Let all that we do, 

Show Your loving ways. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we cry out to You and invest time in Your word, You grant us insight and understanding so that we may be a clearer reflection of Your lavish love. Forgive us for the times that we have not sought You and have acted upon our own selfish tendencies. Teach us to seek You in all things for the insight and understanding that is needed to love well. Show us how to love all those whom we encounter, so that Your love may be evident through our every word and deed. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we cry out to You for understanding, and gain new revelation through Your word. Amen. 

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

Flee the evil desires of youth and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart. – 2 Timothy 2:23

Prepare, Guide and Direct

Direct my footsteps according to Your word; let no sin rule over me. – (Psalm 119:133, NIV) 

Guide me, as You promised. Don’t let evil rule over me. – (Psalm 119:133, ERV) 

Prepare before me a path filled with Your promises, and don’t allow even one sin to have dominion over me. – (Psalm 119:133, TPT) 

Prepare, direct and guide are all necessary components to walk in God’s will and live according to His word. The thing that prevents us from fully walking in His way and following His path, is sin. When we allow ourselves to get caught up in the moment or movement, and do not look to the Lord for His leading, sin can creep in and find a foothold in our heart. Our culture, today, makes this blaringly evident. Rather than having civilized discussions when differing or opposing opinions present themselves, many are choosing to engage in arguing, name-calling, or worse, rather than listening in love. Sin creeps in when we allow our thoughts to determine what is best, instead of seeking the Lord and asking Him. Angry arguing and belittling commentary are not ways to share the love that the Lord intended us to give. The ugliness is not what He is asking. Absolutely we are to speak up when wrongs are being done, but it ought to be about the sin and what God actually wants, not the person who is walking the wrong way. “…God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance.” (Romans 2:4) Kind, civilized, and loving words and modeling go much farther to show the way, than demeaning and destructive verbiage. Our intentions matter not if our words and deeds are tainted by sin. May we ever seek the Lord to prepare us, guide us and direct our steps, so that no sin finds a foothold in our hearts. 

O Lord, prepare me, 

Please show me Your heart; 

Cleanse me and lead me, 

And Your grace impart.  

Direct ev’ry step, 

Keep sin far away; 

So Your love is shown, 

And I love Your way. 

Guide me on Your path, 

Make each next step clear; 

Let each word and deed, 

Show love perseveres. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your word prepares, guides and directs us so that sin may not find a foothold in our hearts. Forgive us for the times that we allow our own will to overrule Yours, and end up thinking, speaking or doing things contrary to Your ways. Teach us to seek and follow You, allowing You room to transform our hearts and make us acutely aware of what is Your good and perfect will. Show us how to love those around us as You would. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to direct our every step and keep us free from being trapped into the ugliness of sin. Amen. 

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

Or do you show contempt for the riches of His kindness, forbearance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance? – Romans 2:4

Quiet Retreat

You are my refuge and my shield; I have put my hope in Your word. – (Psalm 119:114, NIV) 

You’re my place of quiet retreat, and Your wrap-around presence becomes my shield as I wrap myself in Your word! – (Psalm 119:114, TPT) 

You are my hiding place and my shield of protection; I hope in Your word. – (Psalm 119:114, VOICE) 

I have been in the habit of seeking a quiet retreat with God every morning for several years now, however, in this seemingly long season of COVID, I find that there has been far more down time than I am a fan of having. That being said, it has forced me to either rest in the truth of His word, and appreciate the quiet retreat, or allow my heart and mind in a frenzy of what I could and should be doing. Thor, our yellow lab puppy, grants me glimpses of how God must see me. Sometimes, he is bouncing all over the place and struggles to settle down, even after food, play and his basic needs have been met. At times, he will settle himself down and rest in the safety of home. There are times though, where redirection and correction are needed to help him find a space of quiet retreat, where he will simply settle in and rest. I know that I am the same. In the early morning, it is easy for me to seek quiet retreat with God, and rest in His presence as I soak in His word. When the days grow long, and I desperately desire to go out and be active and busy, He will correct, redirect and help me to settle into His safety and trust Him to show me what to do next. God is good, and is our refuge and place of hope. May we ever seek Him to protect, direct and show us what is best. 

Our quiet retreat, 

Safety where there’s rest; 

The Lord is our hope, 

As He loves us best. 

Brings calm in the storm, 

The truth in His word; 

Grace in our chaos, 

Love that’s seen and heard. 

He offers us space, 

To rest in His grace; 

And trust in His truth, 

For all of our days. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our safety and shelter, and offer us truth and direction in Your word. Thank You that when we seek You, we find You. Forgive us for not seeking You in our own unrest. Teach us to turn to You for peace, direction and rest, as You lead us best. Show us how to love those around us well, so that Your loving kindness may be made known. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You and spend time in Your word to learn and rest in You. Amen. 

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

Guide me in Your truth and teach me, for You are God my Savior, and my hope is in You all day long. – Psalm 25:5

Purposeful Precepts

I will never forget Your precepts, for by them You have preserved my life. – (Psalm 119:93, NIV) 

But I’ll never forget the advice You gave me; You saved my life with those wise words. – (Psalm 119:93, MSG) 

I will never forget Your commands, because through them You gave me new life. – (Psalm 119:93, ERV) 

Upon first read, I pondered “precepts” and then referred to the dictionary for further clarification. A precept, according to my online dictionary, is a commandment or direction given as a rule of action or conduct. It goes on further to list a precept as an injunction to moral conduct. As we invest in learning and understanding the word of God, we discover directions given that show us how to live the way that God intended. Not only that, but His word reminds us that we are forgiven and set free, so that we may live a new life in Him. The greatest commands that He has given us, tells us to love God and love one another. If we do both of these, we fulfill the law as He intended. Love must direct our every word, thought, and action. God is faithful to guide and direct us in the way that is best, if we are willing to seek Him and follow His leading. May we ever be intentional to seek the Lord and His will for all things, for it is by His love that we have new life in Him. 

The word of the Lord, 

Is advice to seek; 

To live our lives well, 

And of His love, speak. 

The more we invest, 

The better we know; 

How to choose love well, 

As His precepts show. 

So, let us rise up, 

Be rooted in love; 

May our lives display, 

Our Father above. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You give us direct access to how we are meant to live, through Your word, prayer and worship. Forgive us for the times that we either neglected to heed Your direction, or simply chose to go our own way. Teach us to trust You to lead and guide us in the love You created us to give. Show us how to love those around us best. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, as they discover the beautiful new life that is found in You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You, trust You, and follow Your leading for every day of our lives. Amen. 

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

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these. – Mark 12:30-31 

Seek to Know

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

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

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

When we are at a loss or do not know what we should do, God is faithful to lead and guide us in the direction that is best. He will reveal His will to light our way as we earnestly seek Him. The more we are intentional to spend time in His word and in prayer, the more readily we are equipped to know and discern His voice and His direction. God is our light in the darkness, and He will show us which way to go, and what is best. We need not fear, even on the darkest days, as He is light, life, hope and help. May we ever be intentional to invest in His word and seek Him in prayer, for He is the lamp for our feet and the light on our path. 

When all that’s ahead, 

Seems dark and unclear; 

Seek and trust the Lord, 

For He’s ever near. 

Near us as the light, 

That lovingly shows; 

What we ought avoid, 

And where we need go. 

God’s word is the lamp, 

That will light the way; 

Let us ever seek, 

His best for each day. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are ever-present and ready to show us the way in which we are meant to go, both in small things and great things. Thank You that You always have our ultimate best in mind. Forgive us for our independent stubbornness that attempts to power through, rather than seek and listen to You. Teach us to trust and seek You in all things. Show us how to love those around us according to Your perfect will. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we invest time in Your word and in prayer so that we may understand Your will for our lives. 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