Grief Wanes in the Wake of Gratitude

So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in Him, rooted and built up in Him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness. – (Colossians 2:6-7, NIV)

You accepted Christ Jesus as Lord, so continue to live following Him. You must depend on Christ only, drawing life and strength from Him. Just as you were taught the truth, continue to grow stronger in your understanding of it. And never stop giving thanks to God. – (Colossians 2:6-7, ERV) 

Now that you have welcomed the Anointed One, Jesus the Lord, into your lives continue to journey with Him and allow Him to shape your lives. Let your roots grow down deeply in Him, and let Him build you up on a firm foundation. Be strong in the faith, just as you were taught, and always spill over with thankfulness. – (Colossians 2:6-7, VOICE)

 

Grief shows up in unexpected spaces, and seeks to sink the soul. Last night, as I attempted to fall asleep, I was flooded by sorrow as I longed to be with my family. I have never been separated from my boys for more than a week, and after nearly three months, this mama’s heart has found its limit. My heart simply grieved for the time lost. Missed concerts, activities, milestones, mornings, moments, and the joy of doing life together. It has always been my boys and me, and this space of occasional visits on a weekend that works, is simply not enough. I know it is a preview of adulthood, but we have not yet arrived at that point, and I do not want to miss out on the precious time that I am given. This morning, as I read and pondered these two verses from Colossians 2, I recognize how relevant this particular passage is for me right now. The best remedy for grief is gratitude. I cannot dwell on time lost, but rather must fix my eyes, heart and mind on the blessings that I have before me. My boys want me to be with my mom, as they know how important it is that she have her daughter with her to care and advocate on her behalf. Both boys have set aside their own desires, and are thinking of their grandmother first. As their mom, I am beyond grateful for their kind and generous hearts. Additionally, there is the obvious, as I cannot even begin to unpack my praise to God for sparing the life of my mom. She has been the most incredible example of selfless love throughout my entire life, so how could I not be present and invest all that I am in walking beside her on this road to recovery?

As for mom’s moving along, she had her first attempt at walking with a cane yesterday. There is a huge learning curve, and she was not a fan, due to the seeming unsteadiness in comparison to her walker, yet she persevered, and walked a good fifteen feet with it, before transitioning back to the walker to complete two lengths of the hallway and into the kitchen. Her interest in getting out of the house continued as well, as she advocated to go get coffee and spring rolls from our favorite takeout place. We enjoyed our drive into town and back, and then had a very relaxing afternoon and evening. I think that it was needed after the crazy, busy weekend of birthday fun, as it was the first time that there were no extra people in the house. Today mom has occupational and speech therapies on the agenda, and tomorrow, my sister will arrive back in town so that I may return home for a bit of a furlough.

May we be strong in faith and overflowing with gratitude, for it is in this space that we find peace.

 

When we live in Christ, img_2019-07-16_06-35-183702170351870846491.jpg

Strong rooted in Him;

Our faith is built up,

To graciously live.

As we are built up,

Strengthened we give praise;

Hearts overflowing,

With thanks all our days.

In everything,

Pursue gratitude;

Grace overpowers,

Heartache’s solitude.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we are strengthened in faith as we praise and give thanks. Thank You that gratitude helps overcome the weight of grief. Forgive us for sitting in our own heartache rather than seeking You to show us Your kindness and grace. Teach us to trust You more, as You are loving and kind, ready to hold us and lift us up, no matter how we come. Show us how to love those around us well, so that we may strengthen, encourage, help and hold others in their spaces of grief or lack. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to be our strength and our salvation forever. Amen.

 

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

 

Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever. – Psalm 107:1

Sweet Independence

Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” – (Matthew 4:4, NIV)

Jesus answered him, “The Scriptures say, ‘It is not just bread that keeps people alive. Their lives depend on what God says.’” – (Matthew 4:4, ERV)

Jesus answered by quoting Deuteronomy: “It takes more than bread to stay alive. It takes a steady stream of words from God’s mouth.” – (Matthew 4:4, MSG)

 

Independence Day has an entirely new meaning in my world this year. I am not speaking on a national level, but rather on a personal one. Independence, as it is defined, is the freedom from the control, influence, support, aid, or the like, of others. (dictionary.com)  Ironically, to be independent from the wiles of this world, we must be dependent on God. We have to know the Lord, trust His word to be true, and actually follow after Him with our whole heart, to avoid being sucked into a dependence on popular thought, regardless of how askew it has become. Personally, I am in a space where my formerly independent mom, is currently completely dependent on me (or my sister) for everything throughout her day. Aid and support are required to sustain her, as the right side of her body is still not cooperating as it used to, prior to her stroke. At times I find myself feeling like a prisoner in this space, as I am accustomed to the freedom to come and go as I choose. Not having the liberty to take off and go for a run or make a quick trip to the store as needed, is an odd sort of normal. That being said, even when I have those freedoms at home, I still depend on God. My thought life and ability to express myself is independent of anyone’s control, and any submitting that I do, is a personal choice unto the Lord.

Perhaps my point is to not take our independence for granted. Mom’s independence was taken in an unexpected instant. She had no prior health issues nor warning signs, yet a stroke happened, and here we are. God is gracious and mom is a fighter. He has given her strength and tenacity, and I believe she will work her way back to full function on her own again. However, there is much work and an undisclosed timeline in the in between. Yesterday was another good day, as mom walked the full length of her hallway by herself with the walker during physical therapy in the morning. A bit later, we went on a “field trip” into town to drive through Dutch Bros for coffee. Honestly, it is a way to get out of the house and take in a change of scenery. Upon our return, we sat on the deck and spent a few hours playing Uno and Dominos. Playing games is a great way to continue to connect pathways in her healing brain, and do not be fooled, as she is a ruthless competitor. 😊 The remainder of the day was fairly routine, as we did the usual sort of activities. Last night, she had a few wake-ups in a short span of time, but then slept until 5:30 this morning. There is absolutely nothing scheduled for today, so we shall see what the day holds. We are independent to choose, yet dependent on God for His goodness and grace as we go. May your day be free and blessed as You celebrate the gift of independence that is held in your hands.

 

Sweet independence,

Freedom to behold;

Where no one controls,

We choose what to hold.

Hold fast to the truth,

Grace rooted in love;

Trust in the Lord’s word,

All hope from above.

Only by God’s grace,

Do we truly know;

Freedom forever,

True peace to let go.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your goodness and grace. Thank You that true independence and freedom come when we learn to be dependent on You. Thank You for the nourishment found in Your word. Forgive us for our frustration found in our circumstances, somehow thinking that our independence has anything to do with our location or physical condition. Teach us to trust You more, understanding that Your word truly sets us free from all that holds us captive. Show us how to love those around us well, so that they too may come to understand freedom in Your love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we celebrate our independence because of our dependence on You. Amen.

 

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

 

My brothers and sisters, God chose you to be free. But don’t use your freedom as an excuse to do what pleases your sinful selves. Instead, serve each other with love. – Galatians 5:13

Help in Time

I will give rest and strength to those who are weak and tired. – (Jeremiah 31:25, ERV)

For I have given rest to the weary and joy to all the sorrowing. – (Jeremiah 31:25, TLB)

I’ll refresh tired bodies; I’ll restore tired souls. – (Jeremiah 31:25, MSG)

 

Each of the translations of this verse have proven true for me over the past week, and throughout this entire season since mom suffered her stroke. To go from twelve hours each day at a hospital, where we did not know or understand the prognosis; to twelve hours per day at an acute care rehabilitation facility, in which we gained insight and understanding, yet had to return home to mom’s empty house; and on to the present, in which life is on the clock, twenty-four hours per day. The joy has been granted in the witnessing of each new gain of strength and restoration, and seemingly, right at the times when I find myself the most exhausted, sleep is graced and I am gifted reprieve through a visit from my husband and children or a change of the guard with my sister. This is not to say that every moment of each day is exhausting nor draining, as it is not. There are many laughs, and there is much joy in the blessing of so much time spent with mom. We have always been close, and this season together has only proven to strengthen our bond further. The times that bring the sorrow and the weariness are the long nights and the down time when mom is resting. Lack of sleep and a longing for my husband, children, and dear ones back home, bring sorrow as I miss the regular routine that I am accustomed to during this time of year. God is full of grace, and I am amazed at how He has shown me the key to help mom sleep better at night. Additionally, as my body is more rested, my soul is better equipped to accept the restoration He offers each morning as I seek Him.

Yesterday was a wonderful day full of family. Mom and I had a quiet morning as we prepared for my husband and boys’ arrival, enjoying a leisurely morning with time for an early breakfast, showers, trimmed her hair a bit, relaxed, worked on some stretching for mom, and did a little wandering around outside in the sunshine on the paved parts of mom’s property. Once the fellas arrived, my Viking set to work, making certain that all was working as it should with mom’s sprinkler system. The boys, mom and I set straight to it, playing a family favorite game. Mark joined us about halfway through, and was tribute dealer for mom, as we finished our first game, then partook in a second game with all of us together. Late afternoon, mom advocated for herself and decided that she ought to take a rest. The boys did their thing, and I was able to spend some much needed and appreciated time with my spouse. My grill master kept up tradition, and prepared the protein, while I took care of the side dishes inside. We all enjoyed a wonderful dinner together on the deck. There was a short escape to pick cherries at a neighbor’s small orchard (who offers anyone pick whatever they’d like) while the boys hung with grandma. Two gallon-sized Ziplocks later, and the Viking and I returned with our loot. There was time for mom’s exercises and a great game of Dominoes before we all were ready to call it a day. For each of us, I think the was refreshment and joy in the company of one another.

May we ever seek the Lord who is faithful to provide rest and restoration when it is needed most.

 

When weary and worn, img_2019-06-30_06-14-354704547889236371471.jpg

He’s faithful and true;

God grants us real rest,

Refreshes, renews.

Where there is sorrow,

The Lord will bring joy;

Tender His blessings,

Reason to rejoice.

Let not life’s burdens,

Crush you with the weight;

Instead seek the Lord,

Whose help’s never late.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You give rest when we are weary and strength when we are depleted. Thank You that You meet us in our spaces of sorrow and bring joy. Forgive us for allowing the weight of life to overwhelm us. Teach us to place life’s heaviness in Your capable hands. Show us how to love those around us in a way that offers help and hope, strength and joy in spaces where they are lacking. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we thank You and praise You for holding us in Your hands and providing all that we need – body, heart, mind and soul. 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

Home is the Company You Keep

Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. – (Matthew 5:4, NIV)

Great blessings belong to those who are sad now. God will comfort them. – (Matthew 5:4, ERV)

You’re blessed when you feel you’ve lost what is most dear to you. Only then can you be embraced by the One most dear to you. – (Matthew 5:4, MSG)

 

A sense of mourning has been the overarching theme of my time at home. From the first moment I walked through the door, I began to feel waves of grief. Until yesterday, I could not completely identify the “why”. Yes, some of it is obvious, with the trauma of what has gone on with mom’s stroke, the loss of my grandmother, grieving the loss of closing out much of the end of the school year with my students, and of course, all of the time that I did not get to spend with my husband and children and close friends. However, there was something more that was weighing me down at home. The revelation that I had as I was walking and talking with my best friend last evening, was that being home was not home to me, without my husband here. For me, home is the company you keep, not so much the place where you sleep. Of course, I love my children and time with them, but they are typical teenagers, and spend much time in their own world, being independent young adults. I easily felt at home at mom’s, yet here, with Mark away, I have been unsettled and sorrowful. It is amazing how quickly comfort can come, once the source is identified. I was able to share my struggle with my spouse, and he listened and heard my heart. He also is rerouting his plans, and will be doing a quick turn-around on Friday so that he can be in Wenatchee with me for the weekend, rather than wait another week to spend time with one another.

As for adventures in Wenatchee… Mom and Megan had an “exciting” day yesterday. The morning began in quite the usual way, with breakfast, shower, and so on. However, when the two of them were seated in the living room, just relaxing and watching a movie, they suddenly heard a loud “boom” from mom’s room! Megan quickly ran back to investigate the noise, only to discover a disaster in the bathroom. A pipe had burst and there was about an inch of water on the floor already. She jumped into action immediately, laying down towels to keep the water from reaching the carpeted areas of mom’s room, darted out of the house to find the water main and shut it off, and reached a neighbor with a shop vac and industrial fan, and a dear local friend for a quality plumber recommendation. Additionally, she was able to contact mom’s insurance company. All the while, mom had a physical therapy appointment take place and was able to let Meg know the contact people for insurance, etc. Incredibly, all repairs were complete and the water was back on by evening. Hats off to my quick-thinking, fast-acting, superstar sister!

May we ever seek the Lord when we are struggling, for He is our Comforter and Keeper of peace.

 

Lord be our Comfort, img_2019-06-20_06-48-128110825988295564590.jpg

Wherever we roam;

May we always choose,

Make our heart Your home.

Show us Your kindness,

And grant us Your grace;

When sorrow’s burden,

Tries to overtake.

Thank You for people,

To know and be known;

Oh what a blessings,

To make house a home.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our Comforter when sorrows and struggles come our way. Thank You that You make Your heart for us tangible through the people whom You place in our lives. Thank You for the countless gifts that You have given me – my husband, children, mom and sister, dearest friends, colleagues whom are lifelong friends, and more. Thank You that You truly bless us, even in our most difficult seasons. Forgive us for feeling stuck in the struggle, as You refine us in the fire. Teach us to trust You more, as You never let go of our hearts or our hands. Show us how to love those around us in a way that lifts up and walks alongside through the hurts and brings comfort and peace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as You are our caring Comforter in all things and at all times. Amen.

 

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

 

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

Anchor

This hope is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls. It leads us through the curtain into God’s inner sanctuary. – (Hebrews 6:19, NLT)

This certain hope of being saved is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls, connecting us with God Himself behind the sacred curtains of heaven. – (Hebrews 6:19, TLB)

This hope is like an anchor for us. It is strong and sure and keeps us safe. It goes behind the curtain. – (Hebrews 6:19, ERV)

 

Hope is everything. Without it, we sink. As this journey has unfolded on the road to recovery following mom’s stroke, the image of an anchor with the word “hope” on the crossbar, seems to be etched in my mind. I am only beginning to realize how important the picture is to hold, as I feel like a ship, being tossed to and fro, desperately in need of anchoring in each port of call. When I am home, I need to set anchor here; allowing Him to lead and guide and grant me hope in my daily life as I attempt to reenter a world that has continued in my absence. At mom’s, it is a bit easier to feel anchored in hope in where I am, yet there are strong waves of doubt, fear, sorrow, and wonder, as to whether or not I am doing enough, or if I am doing a huge disservice to my family and loved ones at home.  This anchor of hope we hold in Christ is strong and secure, it allows us direct access to God. No more do we have to stand in the outer courts, but because of Christ, we can present our petitions directly to the heart and ears of God Himself. He hears and He knows; He answers and He loves. I know this is a seemingly odd post on Father’s Day, yet I can think of no better example of a father. The very best of fathers grant us safe harbor and teach us to set anchor so that we may weather life’s storms safely. God does this for us when we seek Him. May we ever trust our hope in He who is the anchor for our soul, who takes us behind the sacred curtains of heaven and hears our hearts, individually; personally.

 

Hope is the anchor, Anchor

When we’re tossed at sea;

Waves keep on crashing,

What will come of me?

Hope sets us steady,

Brings our hearts to peace;

Space of safe harbor,

As grace is released.

When the storm rages,

You are stronger still;

Bring us to safety,

And with Your love, fill.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our Anchor in whom we can hope forever. Thank You that You steady our soul and keep us safe through all of life’s storms. Thank You that You are strong when we are not. Forgive us for our fears, frustrations and doubts, as we attempt to depend on our own oars, rather than You, who anchors us to safety. Teach us to trust You more, even when we cannot see shore. Show us how to love those around us in a way that helps anchor hope into drifting hearts. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You to be the anchor of our hope, and praise You for being our good, good Father. Amen.

 

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

 

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

 

I heard this new song, Anchor, by Skillet (my favorite band) two days ago, and was flooded by the truth of the lyrics. You can click the link to listen. Blessings. ❤

Commit to Capable Hands

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. – (Romans 15:13, NIV)

I pray that the God who gives hope will fill you with much joy and peace as you trust in Him. Then you will have more and more hope, and it will flow out of you by the power of the Holy Spirit. – (Romans 15:13, ERV)

I pray that God, the Source of all hope, will infuse your lives with an abundance of joy and peace in the midst of your faith so that your hope will overflow through the power of the Holy Spirit. – (Romans 15:13, VOICE)

 

Though I likely have utilized this verse in the last six weeks, though I could not tell you for sure, it is a necessary reminder for me, as He is the hope that I must hold, no matter the frustrations, disappointments, or waves of sorrow that come my way. I say that not because there has been anything bad in the last 24 hours, as mom is well and we are continuing to navigate together with joy and hope; rather, it is a personal battle as I have to trust and be at peace for the things that I am missing at home while I am here. Saturday, I missed a memorial for an incredible woman whom I loved and worked with for many years. She and her family embraced me and my boys, and we did the same with she and hers. It hurt my heart to not be present for the family, yet I know they understood my absence, and fully support me in my own journey with my mom. Then, yesterday, I was unable to attend the graduation celebration of one of my best friend’s daughter’s, whom I have known since before she was born. I have watched her grow and thrive, blossom and evolve, into a beautiful, intelligent, compassionate, wonderful and warm young lady, with a bright future ahead of her. They too, were gracious about my absence, and would not want me to be in any other place than right here, right now. Though mom had a rough night and did not sleep well, as we were up together at least four times during the night, I know that I am meant to be here. This morning, as I sat at the kitchen table and took in the view, the sunrise was extra colorful. It lasted only a few moments, and then the bold colors faded to a bit more muted grey, yet I know what I had witnessed, was a moment for me to enjoy in awe and wonder, to remember His promises of faithfulness forever.

Today is a new day, and will be busy as we will take our first official outing together with only, she and I. Mom has physical therapy at home this morning at 8:30, followed by an appointment with her neurologist at 11:00 am. The neurology appointment is in town, so we will be getting out of the house and entering civilization. This is a prayer point for sure, as mom has had zero interest in going anywhere; she does not really want to see people unexpectedly nor unplanned. She is still learning to navigate all of this new, and is struggling with how to allow others to walk alongside her as she travels this long road of recovery and rehabilitation after a stroke. Slowly, she is allowing others in; but it is at her pace, in her time. Megan and I are fiercely protecting her wishes, so please do not push if she is not ready. Requests are welcome, but do not be offended if a “not yet” is the answer. May His hope fill us with all joy and peace as we trust in Him to the point of overflowing.

 

May the God of hope, Hope Anchors the Soul

Fill you once again;

With His joy and peace,

As You let Him in.

Disappointment comes,

As do sorrows too;

Yet ever the Lord,

Starts the next day new.

Let go of what was,

Choose live in today;

Trust for tomorrow,

God will make a way.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are the source of all hope, joy and peace as we trust in You. Forgive us for allowing the weight of what we want verses what we are meant to do to burden us. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would not carry what is not ours, and that we would place all in Your capable hands. Show us how to love those around us in a way that extends hope and joy and peace in a way that instills hope where it has been absent. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust all in Your hands and release all that is not ours to control. Amen.

 

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

 

The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make His face shine on you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn His face toward you and give you peace. – Numbers 6:24-26

 

 

 

 

Prepared Like a Bride

I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and He will dwell with them. They will be His people, and God Himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” – (Revelation 21:2-4, NIV)

And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God. It was prepared like a bride dressed for her husband. I heard a loud voice from the throne. It said, “Now God’s home is with people. He will live with them. They will be His people. God Himself will be with them and will be their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death, sadness, crying, or pain. All the old ways are gone.” – (Revelation 21:2-4, ERV)

 

God really is so good. Though I felt compelled to call this site Revelations in Writing, I have not spent much time dwelling in the book of Revelation. The content, quite honestly, makes me a bit anxious, rather than brings clarity. I don’t avoid it altogether, I just have not really dove deep into a dedicated study of that particular book. This morning, however, I was nearly moved to tears by the imagery found in the verses that appeared in my daily devotions. Being such a visual person, these verses struck a space in my heart that needed to imagine such incredible, beautiful hope.

It was a little less than a year ago, and I was the bride, dressing for my husband on our wedding day, right here at my mom’s house. Dear family and treasured friends joined us to celebrate our union before God in this gorgeous setting. As a girl who grew up caring far more about athletics and art than appearances, I have never been one to feel particularly “pretty” or “beautifully dressed”, but rather an artist who has fun with color and pattern and design. However, on my wedding day, I did feel like a bride who had been transformed for her groom – not because of my clothing or hair; it was the way I was viewed through the eyes of my groom.

Additionally, the hope that is held in these verses, offers a load far lighter than what I bore yesterday. Between the early morning’s fiasco, exhaustion, and then learning of the loss of my paternal grandmother, my heart was so heavy that it simply sat in my chest as a stone. I could not even feel because the weight was so great.

Mom struggled with word finding the first half of the day, as the lack of sleep had really taken a toll. We met her new in-home physical therapist, and were both very impressed and pleased. She will begin sessions three days per week, starting Monday. Speech therapy and occupational therapy are yet to be scheduled, but those should begin this coming week as well. She will have in-home nurse visits too, to be sure all is going as it should. So far, her care team is fantastic, and I am grateful that we have the opportunity to keep mom in her own home in Wenatchee.

All that to say, that the hope held in knowing that one day we will be with God, and He with us, where there will be no wheelchairs, monitors, bed rails, strokes, sickness, deaths, diseases, fears, frustration, tears, nor pain, is an incredible promise to hold in our hearts.

 

Imagine the bride,

dsc058528737239222190478544.jpg

Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

On her wedding day;

Eager and ready,

For all that awaits.

Two lives full of hope,

Placed in the Lord’s hands;

As loved ones witness,

His unfolding plan.

How much greater still,

Will it be one day;

When God comes to dwell,

Among us, to stay.

All sickness and pain,

Death, hurt and disease;

Will no longer be,

In Him, we’ll be free.

No weight nor sorrow,

Just wonder and awe;

Joy in His presence,

No more sinful flaw.

Fear not His coming,

Instead, let hope rise;

There’s beauty beyond,

Our dreams realized.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are so good. Thank You that You take our heaviness and exchange it with hope. Thank You that the weight of this world may feel heavy for a season, but the hope of eternity is well worth the weight we bear throughout the various seasons in life. Thank You that You strengthen and equip us to carry whatever load lies before us, and You bring others alongside us to share the weight. Forgive us for thinking that we are meant to carry things alone, or that this is somehow all there is, forgetting that there is so much more beyond what is before us in the right now. Teach us to trust You with our today, tomorrow and forever. Show us how to love those around us in a way that helps them see the hope that goes beyond today. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we embrace the hope that is held in eternity with You, and the help You supply in the “right now”. Thank You that You speak to us individually, in the way that penetrates the places in our hearts that feel heaviest and need Your light to shine the brightest. Amen.

 

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

 

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. – Hebrews 13:8

An Impossible Pairing

Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. – (Romans 12:12, NIV)

Be happy because of the hope you have. Be patient when you have troubles. Pray all the time. – (Romans 12:12, ERV)

Do not forget to rejoice, for hope is always just around the corner. Hold up through the hard times that are coming, and devote yourselves to prayer. – (Romans 12:12, VOICE)

 

Joy and patience seem like an impossible pairing, but if I have learned anything from our present circumstances of walking out this road to recovery with mom, following her stroke, it is that there is joy in hope, despite the struggle through what has been lost. Every day there are new celebrations of pathways that are rerouting, and awe at how the brain is healing. Restoration of movement to a side struck by a stroke is slow, yet there is joy each new day, as we see evidence of God’s faithful presence and His hand as mom’s strength is being rebuilt.

Yesterday was a day full of joyful hope. Even the weather seemed to mirror a sort of tangible weight that somehow was lifted. You see, the last several days here have been dark, gloomy, and on the cooler side, which is not typical for this time of year in Wenatchee. That being said, it was a blessing, as there was something wrong with the irrigation main for mom’s neighborhood, and the lawn would not have fared well if the weather had been warmer. As I woke and took my usual spot at the kitchen table in the early hours yesterday morning, I could tell the atmosphere outside was changing. The sky was lighter, and the seeming heaviness in the air had lifted. The thermometer just outside the window already read in the low 60s, so I knew we were on a much warmer trend for the day. When Meg and I left for the hospital to be with mom, I thought we were saying our goodbyes to my husband, as he had indicated that he was heading straight home from the house. My brother-in-love and nephews were planning to stop by to say goodbye to mom before heading out of town, so we knew we would see them on their way out. To my surprise, all four fellas (my hubby included) walked into the acute care center and mom was beaming. What a boost for all of us before her last full day in that place! Mom teared up a bit as the guys said their goodbyes, and I think there may have been a few misty-eyed fellas too, but they were happy tears of love and mutual appreciation, with eager anticipation for their return visit. Our day was a wonderful combination of therapies, rest, wandering outdoors, and loads of laughter. Mom, Meg and I laughed more yesterday than we have laughed in a very long time. There was a lightness in our hearts, as I think each one of us sensed that though we do not know what the road ahead will look like, we will be okay as we navigate the unknown together. It has always been the three of us, and it is not about to change now. God has us in His hands. He will never leave us nor forsake us, and He has a plan and a purpose; even in this. May we ever present our prayers before He who is abundantly able to answer, and allow His joy to abound, even in difficult circumstances.

 

Be joyful in hope, img_2019-05-28_06-27-205813260902501839238.jpg

For God never fails;

His purpose and plan,

Shall always prevail.

Patience in struggles,

For we’re in His hands;

He’ll lead and guide us,

Help us safely land.

Keep lifting in prayer,

Each dream, hope and care;

Of His direction,

He’ll make us aware.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are the reason that we have joy and hope, even in the midst of difficult circumstances. Thank You that You never leave us nor forsake us, and that You direct our every step, and hold us in the hollow of Your hands. Forgive us for our fears of the unknown, as our humanity fears what we cannot see. Teach us to trust You more in the spaces that seem unsteady, for You are our anchor in every storm. Show us how to love those around us in a way that offers joy, peace, hope and grace, no matter what surrounds. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You and listen to Your leading for every next step we are meant to take. Amen.

 

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

 

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

Yet to Come

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 cannot understand the path of the wind or the mystery of a tiny baby growing in its mother’s womb, so you cannot understand the activity of God, who does all things. – (Ecclesiastes 11:5, NLT)

 

God amazes me every single day. Last night, my sister, brother-in-love and I were on the phone, debriefing about the team meeting that had taken place earlier in the day, regarding the plan for mom’s care at her current acute care facility. Right now, they are predicting her transition date to be the 28th of May. To all of us, mom included, that seems awfully soon. The thought of leaving a space where she is thriving and growing, receiving the care and assistance needed to regain what was lost to the stroke, seems like a cruel insurance decision, based on the bottom line. In our own understanding, we cannot fathom how this would possibly work. Though she has made phenomenal gains, she still has a long road ahead to reach a point where independence is possible. God knows our need. He formed her body, and He knows how to heal her. He knows what exercises and therapies will reroute and reestablish the connections to bring forth the movements required to regain what her heart desires. I have watched in wonder as she has advanced level after level in a single session with memory and speech function. Mom’s ability to communicate the things that she desires to say, are coming far more rapidly, and she too, is noticing and celebrating the gains. Yes, modern science can track where the wind blows and watch how a baby grows, but ultimately, they still cannot control, nor determine the if and when at all. This is where trust and hope and faith must find footing. Yes, we will fight for mom, as we want her to have the very best care to regain everything she desires. That being said, we also will trust the One who can do exceedingly more than we could ever hope or imagine, as our ways are not necessarily His ways. We thought the best acute care facility for mom would be near one of us, out of town, but as it turns out, right here in Wenatchee is exactly where God intended her to be. God knows, and believe it or not, He loves our mom even more than we do. May we ever trust in Him who is exceedingly able to do more than we ever could hope or imagine, by His mighty hand.

 

Though we do not know, To Drive Out Darkness

Where our feet may land;

We can always trust,

That God has a plan.

For God’s plans are good,

To bless and to grow;

To prosper, not harm,

His mercies shall show.

So often the road,

Seems narrow and wrong;

Yet turns out to be,

Just where we belong.

And as we journey,

Through this life to home;

He’s also promised,

We’re never alone.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have promised that You will never leave us nor forsake us, and that Your plans are to prosper us and not harm us. Your plans are good, and Your ways are right. Forgive us for our doubts and fears when the road ahead does not make sense, based on what our eyes can see and our minds can comprehend. Teach us to view things through Your perspective rather than our own. Show us the miracles that are waiting in the wings, as we trust in Your goodness and grace. Grant us patience and strength as we wait. Lead us to love and encourage mom as You would, and may our heart for You be evident to all we encounter. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, in what is and what is yet to come. Amen.

 

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

 

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.” – Jeremiah 29:11

Wise with Words

When you talk, you should always be kind and wise. Then you will be able to answer everyone in the way you should. – (Colossians 4:6, ERV)

Let your conversations be gracious and attractive so that you will have the right response for everyone. – (Colossians 4:6, NLT)

Make the most of every opportunity. Be gracious in your speech. The goal is to bring out the best in others in a conversation, not to put them down, nor cut them out. – (Colossians 4:6, MSG)

 

First, in a season of so many unknowns, it is difficult to speak with any sort of wisdom about what lies ahead. That being said, kindness and grace must be intentional and come from Christ, or answers will not be the right response in the moment. Before I expand further on what I am learning about this through this whole ordeal, I know the update that so many are looking for ought to come first.

Yesterday, was another good day for mom. Her day was full of various therapy sessions, each one with intention and purpose to propel her to strength and independence. She was at the table in the dining area picking at breakfast when we arrived and handed her the “smuggled in” Frappuccino. From there we met with the social worker and case coordinator (whom I affectionately refer to as Thor and Llama, based on the collections in their office), as they reviewed mom’s rights and care information with mom, my sister and me. Next up was the OT extraordinaire, Stephanie (I think, so many names), who took her in to help her begin to relearn the whole showering process. Cleanliness is next to godliness, and she felt refreshed to have soaked in that warm water, rather than hospital shower wipes. Her least favorite rebuilding session so far was speech therapy. It had little to do with the who, and everything to do with the what. Due to where the stroke occurred in mom’s brain, she is experiencing some apraxia. For those non-medical folks like myself, the dictionary defines apraxia as a disorder of the nervous system, characterized by an inability to perform purposeful movements, but not accompanied by a loss of sensory functions or paralysis. To make it even simpler, based on observations, there has been a disruption in the connection between message sending and receiving for some words to actions, words to objects, and most certainly, thoughts to movements on the right side of her body. Speech is the space where she is made glaringly aware of the disconnect. It is difficult and frustrating, and an area where extra grace will be needed, for sure. Already the speech therapist will adjust the schedule to meet with her in two 30-minute sessions, rather than one longer sitting. As soon as we returned downstairs from speech, Sophie, the recreational therapist came in. Who even knew that was a thing?! Anyway, super sweet, and her job is to help mom get back to doing the recreational things she enjoys, so I made sure she was aware that the bar was extraordinarily high. Sophie was quite pleased. Next up was OT again to work on vision and upper body, then lunch, followed by PT. It was not Penny yesterday, but Kristen was equally lovely and encouraging, and PT is by far, mom’s favorite therapy session of the day. In fact, she was trying to negotiate trading speech time for more PT time. 🙂 We were able to go outside again after dinner, and enjoyed a movie together before I headed back home for the night. A few phone calls were made on speaker, which was huge for mom, as it was a start to regaining a connection to those not standing in front of us.

Anyway, back to the verse of the day. This whole situation is showing me more and more how critically important it is to seek the Lord and His grace to speak to others. We have now had two people in the last week, tell us (in front of my mom!) stories of their own family members who had strokes and died a few months later. Seriously? Not the encouragement, wisdom, nor words seasoned in the love of Christ that this girl’s heart needed to hear, nor the protector in me wanted ANYWHERE near my mom. I was gracious, but it took much self-control to not scream that I am not their therapist, I am fighting for MY MOM, and no nay-sayers allowed. I am well aware of the risks and reality of our circumstances. What we need is love and support, encouragement and most of all, covering in prayer. It is a strange place when I don’t know someone who cares deeply for mom, is super emotional, and I am an empath who refuses to emote. Too much weight. Additionally, mom doesn’t need to see others feeling sorry for her. She needs cheerleaders, encouragers, shoulders who are ready to rise up and walk beside her. It is biblical. It is right. There is an army that has risen, and for you, we are forever grateful. For those waiting in the wings, feeling uncertain of what to do; keep praying – Your prayers are fueling this fight!

 

O Lord let my words, img_2019-05-08_06-29-487932028719116438520.jpg

Be faithful and true;

Seasoned with kindness,

Reflections of You.

By Your loving grace,

May all that I say;

Encourage, build up,

Each day, Lord, I pray.

God grant me wisdom,

In each circumstance;

May Your truth be known,

Your kingdom advanced.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are the watcher of our words. Thank You that what is intended to harm, You use for good. Thank You that You guard our hearts, even though we may have moments of frustration of anger at what we hear, we can trust that You are greater and have us in Your hands. Forgive us for those moments when anger arises and our thoughts are less than godly toward others for the things that they say. Forgive us too, for the times that we have done the same. Not one of us is perfect and we all have fallen short and said the wrong thing at the wrong time, even with the best of intentions. Teach us how to lean on You to love and extend grace with wisdom through our words. Show us how to love like You to all those around us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to speak with wisdom and grace, ever extending kindness and grace to all those around us. Amen.

 

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

 

Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. – Colossians 4:2