Be Devoted in Love

Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. – (Romans 12:10, NIV)

Love each other in a way that makes you feel close like brothers and sisters. And give each other more honor than you give yourself. – (Romans 12:10, ERV)

Live in true devotion to one another, loving each other as sisters and brothers. Be first to honor others by putting them first. – (Romans 12:10, VOICE)

Be devoted to tenderly loving your fellow believers as members of one family. Try to outdo yourselves in respect and honor of one another. – (Romans 12:10, TPT)

 

This is a timely reminder this morning, as last night, I hit a breaking point. I was frustrated with my sixth-grade students’ seeming lack of buy-in or concern about what we needed to review while I was present in the classroom, there was some sort of flying ant infestation in the backroom off of my classroom, leaving me with stragglers randomly buzzing about the room and landing wherever they chose, my scheduled run – cancelled, a stack of tests that I worked on tirelessly, yet felt as if I barely made a dent in, and then, after I had thrown in the towel and gone to bed, received a phone call from the hospital where mom is, asking if so-and-so could go in and visit mom at 8:30 pm. I nearly snapped. Mom is exhausted by 5:00 pm, and is in bed, ready to sleep, long before 8:30. Though I imagine the individual had the very best of intentions, we have requested NO VISITORS, except our immediate family and the very few friends who already know who they are (whom my sister and I know VERY well). It simply would cause a setback rather than be beneficial, as she must get her rest. I promise we will let everyone know WHEN she is ready and available for visitors. That being said, there were many wonderful things that took place yesterday to report. My art classes were terrific, I had a great time running a few errands with one of my boys, we were able to sit down together as a family for dinner, and I was on the phone with my sister and mom when mom spontaneously decided to lift her right leg in the air and then bend her knee. Megan asked her to repeat it, and she did! This means that her quad is now cooperating as well, and she is that much closer to having regained control in her right leg of the muscles required to walk again!

Our fierce protection of mom’s rest and space is out of devotion and love. She wants to be restored, and restoration comes through both hard work and rest. We are learning that we are willing to do whatever we are able to do, to give mom every opportunity to heal. Each leap of faith that we have taken, God has met us and held us up in His hands. As we continue to press forward toward moving mom home next week, the rigor of her therapies continues to increase, in order to best prepare for all that lies ahead. Once home, the therapy sessions will come to mom, rather than her to them. Her days will likely be just as rigorous; yet, the switch to the comfort and familiarity of her own home ought to provide more automatic responses and far more room to rest.

Please join us in praying for continued miracles in her healing, preparation of her home and heart for transition, and for all that is needed – body, heart, mind and soul, to thrive in her own space. May we ever depend on the Lord to help us be devoted to one another in love; honoring others above ourselves.

 

Ever devoted,

img_2019-05-24_04-42-326003441757431962292.jpg

The three of us a few years ago. ❤

A way to choose love;

Close familial bond,

Place others above.

Look past our own wants,

To what others need;

Choose give out of love,

As the Lord does lead.

For He loves us all,

Grace like no other;

Tenderly we’re loved,

Mercy discovered.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You show us what it is to be devoted to one another in love. For You loved so much that You sent Your one and only Son. Forgive us for the times that we worry only about ourselves, rather than those around us. Teach us to see others through Your eyes, so that we may have a proper perspective to love according to Your will. Show us how to be devoted in love, and to prefer others in a way that honors You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we serve and honor You by loving those around us in a way that honors them and considers their needs. Amen.

 

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

 

Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God. – Romans 4:20

Modeled Love

You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. – (Galatians 5:13, NIV)

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, ERV)

Brothers and sisters, God has called you to freedom! Hear the call, and do not spoil this gift by using your liberty to engage in what your flesh desires; instead, use it to serve each other as Jesus taught through love. – (Galatians 5:13, VOICE)

 

Yesterday, we reached an impasse, and recognized that we had to make the final decision as to where mom would land next, as her stay at the acute rehabilitation facility comes to a close near the end of this month. After asking mom what she most wanted, watching how the familiarity of home made such a dramatic difference in her ability to recall information through an activity during speech therapy, and hearing from various therapists how often patients’ recovery accelerates by leaps and bounds in their own familiar settings, it became evident that her home was where she needed to be next. This is where the choosing to serve one another humbly in love comes in; for it is neither an easy nor convenient choice for either my sister or me. Megan has the obstacle of a seven-hour journey if she drives, a crazy, busy schedule at home with work and family, and the heartache of being away from mom whenever she needs to be home. For myself, I am still in my first year of a new marriage, raising two teenage sons, finishing their junior year, attempting to coordinate sub plans and grading from three hours from home, and seeking to maintain balance and normalcy in both spaces. Both Meg and I would not have it any other way. The words penned by Paul the Apostle, were modeled by mom throughout our entire lives. It is a simple decision to make, despite the logistical challenges. Additionally, we are overwhelmingly blessed and supported by our spouses, children, families, friends, and our extended communities – both near and far. The outpouring of love and support, both prayerfully and through notes and messages, has been an incredible blessing, and often just what was needed at the moment it was needed most.

As for mom specifically, she is continuing to make great gains. Her speech and language retrieval is phenomenally fast, but is more difficult by day’s end when she is tired. Physically, she is building more strength every day, and more and more movement is coming along. It is a painfully slow process, but it is happening. She would love to just jump up and take off running, but even as babies, we must first learn to crawl, then stand, then wobble and scoot, before we ever take steps. For a growing infant, the process takes the entire first year. Mom is making tremendous strides toward walking again, and it has not quite been a month yet. So often it is a matter of keeping it all in perspective.

For those who are walking alongside us in prayer, these are our present petitions before our Savior: for a smooth transition home, for protection from fear, protection physically, emotionally, and spiritually, against discouragement, for total and complete healing, for strength, for patience, for calendars and schedules to align easily, for grace, balance and wisdom, for her incredible community to continue to be patient about visiting until she is ready, as it needs to be in her time.

 

Jesus set us free, dsc090724766454540718468749.jpg

And gave us a choice;

To choose for ourselves,

Use heart, mind and voice.

Our purpose is more,

Than our own desire;

But rather to love,

Sacrifice, inspire.

Just as we are loved,

By He who gave all;

So we ought to give,

As we heed His call.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for sending Your Son and showing us what it means to choose to love and serve freely. Thank You for the treasured gift of our mom, who has modeled the same for us throughout our entire lives. Forgive us for the times that we have chosen to indulge our own selfish desires, rather than love like You. Teach us to trust You more, so that we choose to love and serve in the same way that You have always done for us. Show us how to love those around us as You would. Especially direct our steps as we prepare to bring mom back to her own home. May those around us who do not know You yet, come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose to serve in love, just as You have modeled for us through Your Son and those that You have strategically placed in our lives. Amen.

 

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

 

“Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet My unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor My covenant of peace be removed,” says the Lord, who has compassion on you. – Isaiah 54:10

 

The Illuminated 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)

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

 

Sitting at mom’s kitchen table before sunrise, I take in the familiar view I love. Something that has always struck me as significant, is how even in the dark of night, the few streetlights that are strategically placed on the highway near the turnoff to drive to mom’s house, seem to illuminate the darkness, with a sort of light that glows far greater than ordinary streetlights. It is almost as if at night, the moon shines upon the spot to point the way as well. I included a photo, but it hardly does the actual scene before me justice, as the camera allowed in far too much surrounding light. It was actually far darker outside, and the light at the turnoff, is more pronounced.  God shows us the way that we are meant to go. Sometimes it is subtle and we have to listen for the whisper or be ever alert to see the signs along the route; however, there are times that He illuminates the turnoff with such intensity, that there is no denying that it is the direction we must go. As we prepare for the next steps for mom, we desire the illuminated path to be made plain before us.

Yesterday, mom had a great and exhausting day of work that left her weary by the day’s end. She continued to work on upper body mobility and strengthening in occupational therapy, lower body movement and strengthening in physical therapy, and vocal strengthening and word recall in speech therapy. One of the many exciting things that took place yesterday, occurred during PT. Mom was trying to lift her right leg from fully extended (while lying down) up to the bent position. She pulled and struggled, worked and strained. With a small bit of assist, she did several, until her leg was fatigued and she needed to rest that leg. While her leg was extended straight, we all were chatting about something or another, and mom spontaneously pulled her leg right up to bent to adjust her pants, because she didn’t like the way that they were bunched up. Stephanie and I just stared at her. We exchanged looks of awe, looked at her, and then giggled in amazement, as she too, realized what she had just done, without thinking about it. Clearly it had made an impact on mom, as she was pleased to retell the story to my sister when we spoke on the phone later last evening.

May we continue to trust in the One who makes plain the path before us, as He lights the way that we are meant to go.

 

Lord, Your holy word, img_2019-05-21_05-05-29920261958759057627.jpg

I’ll keep in my heart;

For it is a lamp,

To lead, set apart.

For You have great plans,

For us, one and all;

If we choose listen,

And answer Your call.

God, help us hear You,

Show us the right way;

Lead us and guide us,

Near You, help us stay.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are a light unto our path and a lamp unto our feet. Thank You that You not only show us the way, but You guide each step. Forgive us for our fear and doubts when we know the route but cannot yet see the steps to reach the destination. Teach us to trust You more. Show us how to love those around us in a way that spreads Your light and life and hope in all whom we encounter. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You and Your word to lead us and guide us, all the days of our lives. 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

He Hears

In the morning, Lord, You hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before You and wait expectantly. – (Psalm 5:3, NIV)

Every morning, Lord, I lay my gifts before You and look to You for help. And every morning You hear my prayers. – (Psalm 5:3, ERV)

In the morning, O Eternal One, listen for my voice; in the day’s first light, I will offer my prayer to You and watch expectantly for Your answer. – (Psalm 5:3, VOICE)

 

This is yet another reason why I rise so early each day. In the morning, before the world wakes, I read and reflect on God’s promises and present my requests before Him. He listens to us whenever we pray, but for me, it sets my heart right for the day. Yesterday, His grace was abundant, as my humanity and frustration flared up a bit as I first walked into my classroom after being away for a few weeks. It was in a state of disarray, and at first, I felt quite disrespected. The still small voice reminded me that the kids can’t really see past the revolving door of strangers, and they act out accordingly, rather than think about where they are and the possible reason for my absence. After I had the tables scrubbed and garbage off of the floors and bookshelves, I was better able to regain perspective and hold hope and positive anticipation for the day. I found a few sweet notes left by students on my desk, and my demeanor softened further. My colleagues were extraordinarily kind and welcoming, and by the time the bell rang for kids to head to class, I felt prepared and eager to see my students. After greeting them at the door, listening to announcements and taking care of attendance, I filled them in as to why I had been away for the past few weeks. The somber quiet in the room showed me that they understood the weight of my circumstances, and many of them were imagining themselves in my shoes. They were wonderful the remainder of the morning; even my students who often struggle to focus. I know they love their moms deeply, and I think it hit home for them too. Unfortunately, halfway through my second class with my kiddos, I received a strange text from one of my sons. He was quite concerned about an odd symptom, that he feared was asthma related. We did a bit of problem-solving and back-and-forth, but by the time my lunch was nearly over, I knew I was going to need to take him in to Urgent Care. Thankfully, a guest teacher was available for the second half of the day, and I was able to leave for the afternoon. As I arrived on my sons’ campus, there were three ambulances in the bus loop. All I could do was pray, “Dear Jesus, please don’t let that be for my son!”

Thankfully, the ambulances were not for my boy, and I was able to pick him up and get him checked at Urgent Care without incident. The symptoms were wise to get checked, as he continues to near adulthood and must learn to listen to when things seem “off” with his health. Everything came back as clear, and they chalked it up to something muscular/skeletal. For me, it had become a blessing of some bonus time with my boy that I would not have otherwise had, so I teased him about the lengths he went to, to get solo time with me. 🙂

As for mom, she is continuing to do the difficult work. After a stroke, it is common for the large muscle groups to “wake up” first, and then the signals to continue to make their way down to the smaller. For mom, her glutes and hip flexor have been cooperating for several days, and it seems that her quad is not joining the party! In her right arm, her shoulder has begun to awaken, and her right tricep is also starting to receive signals. Each new movement is a huge celebration, as the ability to regain movement that was lost is a miracle in the making. Speaking to she and my sister on the phone last evening, I was able to hear more strength in her voice than I have heard before.

May we ever begin our days with the Lord, presenting our requests to He who is abundantly able to do all things.

 

Early each morning,

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Mom in OT, working on standing, balance, and utilizing her left hand for day-to-day tasks.

This is why I rise;

In silent stillness,

Hope is realized.

Placed on the altar,

Each hope and my needs;

The Lord is faithful,

His love far exceeds.

All grace for today,

Hope for tomorrow;

His peace in chaos,

Comfort in sorrow.

Ever seek the Lord,

He’s faithful to hear;

All that we ask Him,

As He remains near.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your overwhelming, never ending loving kindness and grace. Thank You that You hear our every prayer. Thank You that You never leave us nor forsake us, even in the moments when we question “why”. Forgive us for our fears and frustrations with the frailty of our humanity. Teach us to trust You more, and to see the blessings that You provide, even in the seemingly awful or inconvenient situations and circumstances that we find ourselves in. Show us how to love and bless those around us in ways that help them to see the good, even when circumstances are not. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love You and trust You, and place our prayers before You anew every morning. Amen.

 

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

 

Because He bends down to listen, I will pray as long as I have breath! – Psalm 116:2 

Hope in the Unseen

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about we do not see. – (Hebrews 11:1, NIV)

Faith is what makes real the things we hope for. It is proof of what we cannot see. – (Hebrews 11:1, ERV)

What is faith? It is the confident assurance that something we want is going to happen. It is the certainty that what we hope for is waiting for us, even though we cannot see it up ahead. – (Hebrews 11:1, TLB)

 

This is an interesting verse to land on for Mother’s Day. I knew on Friday, the direction I was to take for the weekend, however, only the verses, not the actual unpacking. As I read Hebrews 11:1 several times, and then read it again in a variety of translations, my mind was flooded with the connection between faith, hope, being a mother, and our current journey with mom. You see, the very process of becoming a mom is crazy connection to this very verse. For nine months, or in my case, a bit less, a woman has to be confident in hope and assured about the growing child(ren) within her. There is no guarantee, nor sneak preview with an instruction manual (though the ultrasounds they have now are amazing!), and despite tests and precautions, there is no one that can determine everything, rather it is a walk of faith, trusting and hoping in that which we do not see. Because I was carrying twins, and one was smaller than the other, I had to walk by faith and be assured in Who I knew, not the potential theories of why. As many of you know, I have two giant, incredible young men, that are now seventeen, and nearly finished with their junior year of high school. They are tender and kind, smart, funny, talented, super sensitive to the needs of others, and wise beyond their years.

With mom, each day is a new walk of faith. We have the confident assurance that God is her healer and that He is, and will continue to bring complete and total healing. The challenge is being patient in the waiting, and holding hope in that which we do not see yet. In the quiet moments, mom and I have had a few conversations about this very thing. She will ask about what comes next; after rehabilitation. I look at her with all of the love in my heart, and answer honestly, saying, “I don’t know yet, but God does.” I remind her of how He has brought her this far in such a short time, so we cannot even fathom what He has in store for her in both the time remaining at the current facility, and in the months to come. We talk about how He knows the desires of her heart, and He honors those who love Him. Oh how she loves Him…

Though some days are easier than others to trust and hope in that which is unseen, when we do, we discover blessings and strength, help and hope, that go far beyond what we could have come up with on our own. May we lean into the Lord with confident hope, trusting Him for that which we cannot yet see.

 

Faith is confidence, img_2019-05-12_07-18-297605007519689366231.jpg

Where our hope may dwell;

Complete assurance,

As fear He dispels.

Though we may not see,

Things hoped for, quite yet;

We’re in the Lord’s hands,

We mustn’t forget.

Our God is greater,

Than all that is seen;

He hears our heart cry,

And shows what hope means.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are greater than any obstacle that comes our way, and that though “unseen”, You are more tangible than our next breath. Forgive us for not taking pause to remember Your faithfulness so many times before, great and small, to inspire the faith within us to rise again when it grows weary. Teach us to trust You more, especially in the areas where so little is known or seen. Take our hands and lead us, as You have done so many times before. Show us how to love those around us as we walk with You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we have confident faith in You, our Heavenly Father, and hope for, with assurance, that which we cannot yet see. Amen.

 

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

 

For great is Your love, reaching to the heavens; Your faithfulness reaches to the skies. – Psalm 57:10

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

A Very Good Day

Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. – (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, NIV)

Always be full of joy. Never stop praying. Whatever happens, always be thankful. This is how God wants you to live in Christ Jesus. – (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, ERV)

Be cheerful no matter what; pray all the time; thank God no matter what happens. This is the way God wants you who belong to Christ Jesus to live. – (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, MSG)

 

Thankfully, joy is not circumstantial, but rather something that is deep-rooted in our souls. Praying continually is far easier to remember, especially in times of crisis, and giving thanks is not about being grateful for our circumstances, but rather giving thanks for Who is with us through them.

Yesterday was a very good day. God showed us His faithfulness in countless ways. First thing in the morning, as Megan and I were preparing to make our way to the hospital for the day, we received the call from Sheila, the case manager (whom we adore), that the cabulance would be at the hospital at 10 am to move mom to the acute care facility. Her call hustled us out the door even faster than we would have normally exited, and we were on our way. Upon arrival, mom was seated in a chair and smiling, fully aware of the fact that it was moving day. Additional blessings that immediately came prior to leaving the hospital were: the removal of her IV, removal of the heart monitor stickers, leads and the five-pound accessory box that sat in a pocket on her chest, hospital gowns, as well as the standard hospital required practices of waking patients every four hours to ask a series of questions that may or may not inspire intelligible answers in the midst of a fog of sleepiness. The hospital crew was kind in their sendoff, and the cabulance drivers were incredible. In fact, one driver had been one of the EMTs on the scene when mom had been found in her home by the police, and one of the officers was her husband. (God is so cool!) Anyway, I knew they were in great hands as Megan rode with mom to the new place and I drove over with her belongings in my vehicle. As we arrived, though a whirlwind, we were overwhelmed with kindness and grace. God’s hand was abundantly evident. From the attending doctor, to the lead RN, to the superb social worker; everyone was hand-picked for mom and our family. God knew what we would need. After a sort of orientation with the doctor and nurse, mom met with the speech therapist for nearly an hour. That gave Meg and myself time to explore a bit, and I was able to speak with the social worker about paperwork. After eating lunch with mom in her room, (the only time that will happen, as they have a family-style dining area), we met Penny, her physical therapist, and they got to work. Penny began with some seemingly simple things, to evaluate where the disconnect lies. She asked mom to do something specific, did not see results, then begin making notes and mom did it! Megan and I sat watching in awe. I imagine someone could have come along and pushed our chins to close our mouths, and we would not have noticed… Even more amazing, Penny was so in tune with mom’s needs. She ordered a wheelchair that was the right size for her, an armrest for her uncooperative arm (to keep it safe and from swelling), and she had mom moving herself with her good foot and good arm, down the hallway, by herself! At first, mom wasn’t sure how to make the chair move, so Penny grabbed another wheelchair and sat in it beside her and showed her. It was then that the sweet game of chase began. Though slow, it was on. Mom is a fighter and a competitor. When she became tired, Penny knew to shift gears rather than stop. She helped mom get herself to a hallway that had a railing on her good side, stood her up out of her chair, and assisted her with walking several steps down that hall. I think both Megan and I were doing everything within us not to cartwheel down that hall in celebration! After PT was OT, but primarily a get-to-know-you session, followed by dinner, then we watched a movie, and the piece de resistance, was the freedom to take mom outside. The sun was low enough that it was not bright nor beating on us, the wind was still, and the air was a perfect warm hug, as we sat together in the little park by the tree surrounded by flowers, where bees were buzzing, and the green grass cooled our feet. Though all these things have happened, there was this beautiful, perfect peace. The little smiling angel figurine in the flower bed was a sweet reminder of His faithful army watching over us. We walked out of the acute care center yesterday, far lighter than we had gone in. God truly is so good.

And, for those who appreciate comic relief, we walked to my Jeep, hopped in, and were ready to zip away. Only, I turned the key, and nothing… Seriously? Ugh! It only took a moment, as it is a stick, and we are two, fairly strong-willed, stubborn, redheads. We started out with Meg pushing me and I tried popping the clutch, but could not quite get enough speed. We had it turned far enough around, so we switched spots. A young man and his wife were walking to their car, and he jumped in and joined me in the pushing. The added boost helped get the car to the speed we needed to pop the clutch, and all was well. Plus, I think Megan was eager for an opportunity to drive the Jeep, and this way she had to zip around the big parking lot several times prior to picking me up, just to make sure the charge was up enough. Add the kindness of a stranger to our list of reasons to be thankful for yesterday.

 

Each day we draw breath,

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Mid-giggle as we attempted several selfies together. So, so good. ❤

Let us choose rejoice;

Despite what we face,

We still have a choice.

Joy’s not a feeling,

Based on circumstance;

It’s deep in the soul,

And not there by chance.

Through a thankful heart,

That knows and believes;

That God is for us,

His joy is received.

All thanks we choose give,

To God, our great King;

May He shine through us,

Our praise offering.

 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your overwhelming goodness and grace. Thank You that You love us more than we could ever hope or imagine. Thank You that You make that love tangible. Forgive us for allowing circumstances to temporarily steal our joy. Fear is a liar and a thief. Protect us from such things. Thank You that You continue to show us the power of a smile, an encouraging word, a gesture; all things done in love. Show us how to love and encourage mom and all those who are touched by her both far and near. May her light spark a flame in the hearts of those who do not know You yet. Lead many into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we rejoice in You and give thanks for Your hand in all things and Your presence, always. Amen.

 

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

 

Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever. – 1 Chronicles 16:34

Sing Praise

I will praise God’s Name in song and glorify Him with thanksgiving. – (Psalm 69:30, NIV)

I will praise God’s Name in song. I will honor Him by giving Him thanks. – (Psalm 69:30, ERV)

Then I will praise God with my singing! My thanks will be His praise. – (Psalm 69:30, TLB)

 

During my quick turn-around at home, I was able to spend time with my boys and attend early service at my church prior to driving back to Wenatchee yesterday. During worship, there were moments that the words would be stuck behind the lump in my throat, yet my heart was still singing His praise. Fast-forward to my drive, and I had plenty of time to reflect on my own. Anyone in my close circle who has road-tripped with me, knows that I actually enjoy blasting a variety of music and singing at the top of my lungs. At first, the heaviness in my heart needed a little… hmm… let’s just say Skillet fit the bill best. (They also happen to be my favorite jam for running) Anyway, the heaviness began to give way to hope, and I switched gears and began to listen to worship music. There was something powerful about singing praise. A calm came over me, and all I could think about was how different this drive to Wenatchee was than my drive had been one week prior. One week ago, Mark was driving me into the unknown. We had received devastating news after investigating the prompting within us, and did not have any idea of the condition mom would be in when we arrived. This time, I had so much to be thankful for: we are so grateful to still have mom (we know that so often people in similar circumstances do not have such a fortunate fate), she is able to understand everything, she can communicate clearly, she has feeling in her right side (which is hopeful, even with the current paralysis of the right arm and leg), we have an incredible army supporting us all – in Wenatchee, Federal Way, Albany, across the country, and around the world (we are overwhelmed in the very best way by the outpouring of love and support!), and we, above all else, have a God in heaven who loves and heals, holds and moves, and has us all in the palm of His hands.

Last evening, after I had returned and spent several hours at the hospital with Meg and Mom, my sister and I went to the acute care facility on a scouting mission. We managed to talk our way in, and were very pleased with both the people that we met and the facility and how it is set up. Our biggest prayer now is that the move actually occurs today, as scheduled, and that there are no insurance or medical obstacles to prevent the move. Mom is more than ready to get out of the hospital and begin being far more active than the hospital setting allows. She is still not ready to have visitors outside of family or those we consider “framily” (friends so close that they have become an extension of the family). For those who love her dearly and are eager to visit, please be patient and know that waiting is best for her healing. In the meantime, you are welcome to download Marco Polo and send her a video message, send a card, a text message, etc. She still is not interested in her phone, but we will take it each day to show videos or read messages that are encouraging.

May we praise Him with songs of thanksgiving, for He is worthy of all of our thanks and praise.

 

When I’m lost for words,

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View from Mom’s back deck. ❤

Or sound won’t give way;

My hearts still shall sing,

Lord, ever I’ll praise.

No matter what comes,

You always are good;

When my world’s shattered,

Beside me, You’ve stood.

You never leave me,

Ever You stay near;

You point me to hope,

And silence my fear.

Each morning I rise,

And greet the new day;

I give all to You,

O Lord, lead the way.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your goodness and faithfulness to us, even in this. Thank You that You love us in tangible ways, as You have surrounded us with an army of warriors, ready to serve. Thank You for making Your presence and Your blessings so abundantly clear, even in the midst of the hardest circumstances. Forgive us for our spaces of fear and doubt. Teach us to trust You more, as You are far greater than anything that stands in the way of Your will being done. Remind our hearts to sing when our voices cannot find the words. Continue to place Your song in our hearts, as Your song is truth and life and light. Show us how to love those around us in a way that shares Your tune. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as our lives sing Your song of praise each day that we draw breath. Amen.

 

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

 

Sing to Him, sing praise to Him; tell of all His wonderful acts. – 1 Chronicles 16:9

 

 

 

 

 

Ask and See

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. – (Philippians 4:6-7, NIV)

Don’t worry about anything, but pray and ask God for everything you need, always giving thanks for what you have. And because you belong to Christ Jesus, God’s peace will stand guard over all your thoughts and feelings. His peace can do this far better than our human minds. – (Philippians 4:6-7, ERV)

Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life. – (Philippians 4:6-7, MSG)

 

Because my sister is not returning home to Oregon until Tuesday, we determined that it would be good for me to make a quick trip home to see my boys overnight, as I will be staying in Wenatchee with mom at least for the next week and beyond. At first, I was a bit anxious. It reminded me of when my boys were preemies in the NICU, and I was taken home for one night, away from my babies. I am not an outward “emoter” at all, but I cried the entire time, and vowed then and there that I would not be leaving the hospital again until my boys came with me. Thankfully, this did not feel the same. My sister was staying with mom, and my mom is able to speak for herself. Mark and I went to the hospital with Megan before we left town, and were able to witness some really remarkable milestones in her progress thus far. With the help of the occupational therapist and an aid, mom took her very first heavily assisted steps since her stroke. They moved her right side for her, as she focused on the left. Each movement was slow, frustrating, and very labor intensive; yet they were movement forward, upright, and progress in a very positive direction. The next petition that was answered prior to our departure, was getting her out of her room. Anyone who knows mom, knows that she is constantly on the go. Her sitting in bed or the chair in her room for hours and hours on end was quite concerning to us all. We got to wheel her out in a wheelchair to the waiting area on her floor that is full of windows with a spectacular view. The room was flooded with warm rays of sun, and she basked in the warmth as she happily sucked down a Coffee Frappuccino we smuggled in for her (with the medical team’s permission of course). Lastly, though mom has not had a problem with chewing or swallowing (praise God), she just has not had an appetite. No food has had any appeal, and even her favorites she has only been willing to take a bite or two. Yesterday, that too, changed. Breakfast was extraordinarily late to come, and her sweet nurse got after the kitchen to make it happen when we inquired. For whatever reason, the simplicity of the sourdough toast with her Frappuccino hit the spot, and she had taken in more in one sitting than she had since arriving last Sunday. Better still, at lunch, she ate all but the crust of a grilled cheese sandwich. This may sound trivial, but these are milestones that are critical for strength building as she moves to acute care on Monday. Once there, she will be working actively in therapies for at least three hours each day. Her determination, faith and work ethic with be invaluable. God is faithful as we cast our cares upon Him. When worry comes, it is our reminder to pray. May we ever be prayerful in all things, giving God room to move in places we need Him the most.

 

Do not let worry,

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The mountain in the background is Mt. St. Helen’s, so prior to 1980…

Be what takes control;

For we have a God,

Who heals broken souls. 

When we give to Him,

The weight that we bear;

He exchanges all,

With His loving care.

So, lift up in prayer,

All that your heart needs;

The Lord always hears,

And His grace succeeds.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your incredible faithfulness to us as we give our anxiousness and worries to You in prayer. Thank You that You surround us with the right people at the right time, to encourage and love us well, as an extension of Your arms, heart and love for us, individually. Thank You for the outpouring of support that You have graced my mom, sister and me with over the past week. Forgive us for our moments of fear and anxiousness about the unknowns that lie ahead. Teach us to trust and continue to give it all to You, again and again and again. We lay it all in Your hands, as we see so clearly how You have held and are still holding our mom in Your loving arms. Show us how to love and support mom the best way for her, and how to love those who are around her so that they may see You in us. Lead many into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, even in this we pray. 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

Hope When it Feels Like Hell

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)

 

This morning, this is the very reminder that I needed the most. I know there are stages of grief, particularly when something so traumatic takes place with a parent, especially a parent who has filled the role of both mother and father, coach and teacher, friend and confidant, leader, example, pastor, sole grandparent to my children, and so much more. Anger seems to be the stage in this process that both my sister and I are in. Between the frustration of the questions of why her, the outrage at the details and the seeming disclosure violations, the paperwork battle to place her near family (which is far less costly than the dang hospital), to simply being just plain mad that it happened to OUR mom. We would never wish this on another, but why her? I know no one has the answers, and quite frankly, I would probably throat punch anyone who tried to give me answers. In fact, I woke myself in the night saying “throat punch”, as my left arm shot forward with a balled fist. Thankfully, I was facing the opposite direction of my Viking, and he was soundly sleeping. Finding joy in the hope is particularly difficult when we feel like we are on hold. Patience in static spots is not a strength of mom’s, Meg’s nor mine. Prayer, we can do, as I know so many of you are too. Perhaps that is the point of this post. Please pray for joy in hope, patience in all of this, and ever be faithful to continue to contend for mom’s complete and total healing.

 

Find joy in the hope, 05031906408349317511433862260.jpg

Of what lies ahead;

For fear’s a liar,

No matter what’s said.

God is far greater,

Than all that we face;

We must be patient,

It’s His, not our pace.

In everything,

Choose seek God and pray;

no matter what’s seen,

God will make a way.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are bigger than our frustration and anger and grief. Thank You that You hold us in Your hands and ride out our rage, waiting lovingly to embrace us with Your joy, peace and comfort. Forgive us for allowing fear a foothold based on our limited understanding. Teach us to trust You more. Show us how to find joy in the hope of all that lies ahead, patience in the here and now, and to pray without ceasing. Lead us to love well, all those around us, so that they may recognize Your heart for them through us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, even in this, for we know that You alone can bring beauty from ashes and hope from despair. Amen.

 

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

 

To all who mourn in Israel He will give: beauty for ashes; joy instead of mourning; praise instead of heaviness. For God has planted them like strong and graceful oaks for His own glory. – Isaiah 61:3