Just Pray

One day Jesus was praying in a certain place. When He finished, one of His disciples said to Him, “Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.” – (Luke 11:1, NIV)

One time Jesus was out praying, and when He finished, one of His followers said to Him, “John taught his followers how to pray. Lord, teach us how to pray too.” – (Luke 11:1, ERV)

One day, as Jesus was in prayer, one of His disciples came over to Him as He finished and said, “Would you teach us a model prayer that we can pray, just like John did for his disciples?” – (Luke 11:1, TPT)

 

Yesterday, after having been away last weekend, I finally had the opportunity to listen to the podcast from Sunday’s message. This week, Pastor Omar continued his DNA series (A review of our foundational values). The message was about prayer, and spring boarded from the passage in Luke 11, verses 1-13. First and foremost, Jesus lived and modeled a life of prayer. He set the example of what we were designed to do to be in communication with the Father. When asked by a disciple to teach them to pray, Jesus did not rattle off some eloquent prayer, nor give a formula to be repeated; rather what we have come to know as the Lord’s prayer, is really a reminder of things to keep in mind as we pray. We need to acknowledge and praise God for who He is, ask Him to meet our needs; seek forgiveness and His help forgiving others, and His protection from temptation. Jesus went on to tell a story of a person seeking their neighbor in need, and pointed out that the neighbor would get up and help the friend, not because of the friendship, but because of their boldness to ask when it was inconvenient.  The heart of God is so much more than that of our friends, neighbors and family members. He gives the Holy Spirit to help and guide us, and hears every word that is raised heavenward, as He meets the needs we know, and even those we may not be aware of yet. Most of us, if asked, would respond that our prayer life could use a lift. Pastor Omar gave some practical reminders of how exactly we can do just that.

To strengthen our prayer life:

– Ask Jesus to teach us how to pray.

– Walk with the Holy Spirit.

– Find a rhythm for prayer. (Discover when your best time to pray is, and use it!)

– Recognize that there are seasons in life, and as life ebbs and flows, what our prayer life looks like will too.

– Understand that we each have our own personality and relate to God individually. Just as children interact and relate to their parents uniquely, so too, do we with our Heavenly Father.

– Commit for the long haul. Change, habits, lifestyles all transform over time, not overnight.

– Be okay with silence. Sometimes, prayer is sitting silently before God and waiting, listening, or resting in His presence. All are good things to grow in Him.

– Lastly, just pray. To strengthen a prayer life requires praying.

May we remember that prayer is not just a thing that we do, but rather it is a place we go to be in the presence of God to communicate with Him.

 

As for mom, today is the day!!!! After two months and eight days, I will see mom tonight! The moment I arrive home from work, Mark and I will hop in the car and head south to my sister and family’s home in Oregon. Typically, due to traffic, it is a six-plus hour drive. We are praying for traveling mercies and lighter than usual traffic, but no matter what, we will have each other and a great destination awaiting our arrival. The anticipation of seeing Mom and witnessing her progress with my own eyes is making the thought of working a full day prior to our departure, a bit painful. I am praying that today is one of those days that flies by before you even feel like you can blink, sort of days. 😊

 

Jesus has taught us, img_2019-10-18_04-57-472496001443635161835.jpg

The power of prayer;

To touch and change lives,

And show that we care.

It’s crazy to think,

That each time we pray;

He who gave us life,

Hears each word we say.

Holy is the Lord,

Who hears all our needs;

Forgives us our sins,

And in His way, leads.

Make time to reach out,

Spend time with the King;

It’s how lives transform,

As His love He brings.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we have the privilege of prayer. Thank You that You, the Creator of the Universe, care and have time to hear the heart and prayers of each of Your created; individually. Forgive us for not making prayer a priority, as communication is key in any relationship. Teach us to pray in a way that is comfortable and natural and sustainable. Show us how to love those around us well, as we lift each up to You in prayer. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we come to You and pray to You, asking, seeking, and listening; for You are amazing and it is a gift to grow in relationship with You. Amen.

 

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

 

I call on You, my God, for You will answer me; turn Your ear to me and hear my prayer. – Psalm 17:7

Great Hope

“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 hope and a future.” – (Jeremiah 29:11, NIV)

“I say this because I know the plans I have for you.” This message is from the Lord. “I have good plans for you. I don’t plan to hurt you. I plan to give you hope and a good future.” – (Jeremiah 29:11, ERV)

For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Eternal, “plans for peace, not evil, to give you a future and a hope – never forget that.” – (Jeremiah 29:11, VOICE)

 

God is so kind. As I tiptoed into the kitchen at mom’s house this morning, practically holding my breath, as I took in the view and attempted to hold all the memories that accompany me in this space and sat down, I could not help but grieve that I am at mom’s house while she is not. When I opened my Bible app, as I always do, the verse that greeted me was Jeremiah 29:11. This morning, it felt like God’s reminder to me that His word is true for mom too. He knows her need and where she is currently in her recovery, and He has good plans for her. God’s intent is to continue to give her a future and a hope. Being in this space, I needed the reminder. I know how much mom longs for her “normal” life. My sister and her family are doing an incredible job of loving and supporting mom well. The challenge, I imagine, is mom missing her own home, community, and way of life when she was completely independent. The Lord knows the desires of her heart, and I see Him honoring her heart and hard work as she continues to trust in Him. Our greatest challenge comes in the waiting. May we ever remember that God knows the plans that He has for us all, and they include a future and a hope.

 

When the road seems long,

img_2019-10-13_08-21-148102481623353065065.jpg

Backyard views at mom’s.

And the path unclear;

Try never forget,

That still, God is near.

He has a good plan,

A future in mind;

Filled with His great hope,

For the Lord is kind.

Try not to dismay,

When the way’s unknown;

In God’s perfect time,

His best will be shown.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are gracious and kind and that You have a hope and a future that is good for each of us. Thank You that You remind us of Your love and care for us when we need it the most. Forgive us for our frustration, sorrow and discouragement in the waiting. Teach us to trust You more, even in the longest seasons. Show us how to love those around us in a way that extends Your hope and peace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust Your hope and future for all of us as we journey through this gift of life that we have been given. Amen.

 

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

 

I will remember the kind things the Lord has done, and I will remember to praise Him. – Isaiah 63:7a

 

 

Ongoing Peace

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

Lord, You have succeeded in doing everything we tried to do, so give us peace. – (Isaiah 26:12, ERV)

Lord, grant us peace; for all we have and are has come from You. – (Isaiah 26:12, TLB)

 

I so appreciate the way the various translations are phrased, as each utilizes a slightly different tense, reminding us that what God does, has done, and will do, continues. He is faithful to work in and through us, and to provide His peace. Our part is to seek Him and trust in Him, and allow the Lord to work in and through us. As we do, God accomplishes far more than we could ever hope or imagine on our own. His peace we find present, even in the most tumultuous of time. May we ever seek the Lord to establish His peace for us, and give Him praise for all He has done and will continue to do for us.

God has been faithful to accomplish much for Mom as well. He has provided ongoing time for her to continue along her recovery journey, as God is working through my sister and her family as they faithfully love and care for Mom. Communication has been a bit of a challenge, as life moves at a race pace in my sister’s world. Despite her insane schedule, she is loving Mom well, and she, my brother-in-love and Mom were able to get out last evening to one of their favorite places. It was wonderful to see a photo of their smiling faces, and recognize that peace was present as they were able to relax and enjoy each other’s company.

 

All peace established, Ongoing Peace

A gift from the Lord;

Grace made tangible,

As love is outpoured.

All that we have done,

The good we have shown;

Is by God’s great grace,

Lest His heart be known.

Rise up in kindness,

Choose go forth in peace;

Seek love as we’re loved,

So good may increase.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You establish peace for us and move mightily in and through us as we depend on You. Thank You that You can do so much more than we could ever hope or imagine on our own. Forgive us for attempting to power through on our own, or for seeking peace anywhere other than in Your presence. Teach us to trust and rely on You, as You work in mighty ways. Show us how to love all those whom we encounter, so that Your peace may be made known and Your amazing grace, shown. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You to move in and through us and to be our perfect peace. Amen.

 

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

 

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

Known with Purpose

He determines the number of the stars and calls them each by name. – (Psalm 147:4, NIV)

He counts the stars and knows each of them by name. – (Psalm 147:4, ERV)

He sets His stars in place, calling them all by their names. – (Psalm 147:4, TPT)

 

If God, the Creator of the heavens and earth and all that is, knows each star and calls it by name, how much more does He know us, His created? God is aware of even the seemingly most insignificant details; “And even the very hairs on your head are all numbered.” (Matthew 10:30) Love alone, drives such care and concern for who we are, and everything about us. He knows how we were knit together, and He has already called it “good”. Each one of us were born with a plan and a purpose – with gifts and talents to share with the world. Our charge is to seek Him to discover what we have been created for, and then to go forth, and do whatever it is, in love. As a teacher, especially as I wear my art teacher hat, I have the opportunity to help each student who enters my classroom discover that they are an artist. Some come in with a preconceived idea that they have zero artistic abilities, and I spend the entire semester working to help them discover that there are more mediums in art that drawing. Additionally, art is in the eye of the beholder. To one, Picasso is the most profound, whereas to another, Monet or Degas have been deemed the best. God set us all in place too, and He knows us each by name. His care goes far beyond the knowing; He loves so that we can become the very best version of ourselves. May we ever seek the Lord and His loving kindness, so that we can live life in our strengths and purpose with love.

On the way back from a grocery trip with one of my boys, I was able to reach mom on the phone. It was great to talk to her and hear her voice, and I know that it was a bonus for both she and Lucas to speak with one another. Eager to hear about the start of school, much of the conversation was spent answering questions posed by mom. She caught us up on her day, and was pleased to let us know that she had been working hard on walking and other therapy exercises. Her determination and strength are inspiring, and part of the gift of how she was intentionally designed. We continue to pray for the details to fall into place, as mom is still in limbo, waiting for in-home therapies with actual therapists.

 

The very same God, known-with-purpose.jpg

Who hung all the stars;

Made us with a plan,

Purpose that is ours.

Designed with intent,

Wonderfully made;

Fully we are known,

As His love’s displayed.

May we each go forth,

And pursue His plan;

Love with intention,

Each day as we can.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You know and love us so well. Thank You that all of creation has been designed intentionally, and is fully known by You. Forgive us for somehow forgetting just how vast the expanse of Your love and wisdom reaches. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would faithfully pursue You and all that You have for us. Show us how to love well, so that we may walk out our days with purpose in a way that lifts up and encourages those around us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to lead us to love and grow into all that You have for us. Amen.

 

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

 

For it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill His good purpose. – Philippians 2:13

 

* A song that comes to mind as a reminder of this truth, is Stars, by Skillet. ❤

 

 

Radically Rooted

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. – (Galatians 5:22-23, NIV)

But the fruit that the Spirit produces in a person’s life is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these kinds of things. – (Galatians 5:22-23, ERV)

But the fruit produced by the Holy Spirit within you is divine love in all its varied expressions: joy that overflows, peace that subdues, patience that endures, kindness in action, a life full of virtue, faith that prevails, gentleness of heart, and strength of spirit. Never set the law above these qualities, for they are meant to be limitless. – (Galatians 5:22-23, TPT)

 

Yesterday’s message at church was about living a “radical” life for Christ. Pastor Omar did not just present that term and continue forward, as if everyone had a shared understanding of the word and the way in which he intended its use, but rather he unpacked its Latin origin and the intent of what he was conveying. Radical, from its Latin origin, means to be rooted in. As people who are seeking to follow after Christ and do His will, it is critical that we are rooted in Him, in order to do His will and walk in His way. We are only able to walk forward in a willingness to experience discomfort when we know who we are in Christ, and who He is to us. As we surrender to Christ and continue to allow Him room to challenge and grow us, we begin to bear His fruit that lasts. The fruit that makes a heart after His known, is the very fruit that Galatians 5:22-23 unpacks. May we ever seek to deepen our roots and nurture our relationship with the Father, so that our lives may readily extend love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control towards all whom we encounter.

When I called to talk to mom yesterday, I was greeted by the voice of my eldest nephew. It was a treat to catch up with him, and know that the family was all enjoying time together with mom. Mom and the family had just returned from church for the second week in a row, and I know that the opportunity to do so, creates a bit more normalcy for her. In the evening, she and my sister and brother-in-love escaped for time out together, and appeared to have had a wonderful time. It is so good to see the smiles and know that mom is finding the courage to get out and go places. She is in great company, and good fruit is being extended between each of them, one to another.

 

Choose to be rooted, Radically Rooted

Established in Christ;

Surrendered to God,

Let Him lead our lives.

As we choose follow,

Willingly obey;

He stretches and grows,

Leads us in His way.

As we are willing,

He grows within us;

Fruit of the Spirit,

That mirror Jesus.

Love, peace and patience,

And gentleness too;

Kindness, faithfulness,

Care in all we do.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we invest our hearts, minds and time into relationship with You, we become rooted and established in a right relationship that bears fruit that lasts. Thank You that the fruit You have for us is good fruit to give away. Forgive us for the times that we have set aside our roots and operated in our own ugliness. Teach us to trust and rely on You more, so that we would bear Your fruit wherever we go and whatever we are doing. Show us how to love those around us in a way that demonstrates Your joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, faithfulness and self-control. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we ever pursue a heart after You, and choose to be willing to be uncomfortable so that we can grow. Amen.

 

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

 

The earth is filled with Your love, Lord; teach me Your decrees. – Psalm 119:64

 

 

Gratitude in All

And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him. – (Colossians 3:17, NIV)

Everything you say and everything you do should be done for Jesus your Lord. And in all you do, give thanks to God the Father through Jesus. – (Colossians 3:17, ERV)

Surely, no matter what you are doing (speaking, writing, or working), do it all in the name of Jesus our Master, sending thanks through Him to God our Father. – (Colossians 3:17, VOICE)

 

There is nothing quite so clear at reminding one of gratitude for the gifts they have been given, like an extended time away. For me, after such a long stretch away from my husband and children to care for my mom, I find myself appreciating and enjoying even the most mundane of tasks together. Yesterday, my Viking and I had several errands to run. It was a day off for him, and one of the days I have remaining before I have to be back in my classroom or on campus for back-to-school meetings and such. We were able to check off each of the items on our list, and ended with taking one of our vehicles to get an oil change. Though it was quite a wait, we were in it together, and it was far preferred over him having to do the work himself on his day off. Our day ended with dinner as a family together at home. I am beyond grateful for the blessings bestowed upon me both here in my home and through the ongoing care my mom is receiving with my sister. God is good, and to Him be all glory and praise.

Yesterday, I didn’t actually have the opportunity to speak with mom. I know that the day was going to be full, as she was going to have Terry (in-home care provider) with her during the day, and then a gal whom my sister and family have known for quite some time was going to spend the afternoon and evening with mom, as Meg and family were heading to their company picnic, and mom determined that she would prefer not attend.  I will be eager to catch up with her this morning to hear how it all went, and tomorrow is an especially significant day, as it will be mom’s 70th birthday. 😊

May we each do everything unto the Lord, giving Him thanks for all that He has done.

 

In everything,

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A bit of silliness at the oil change stop. ❤

May we choose give praise;

With a grateful heart,

Give thanks all our days.

For God in His grace,

Has given so much;

Strength in our weakness,

His powerful touch.

Lord, help us choose well,

In word, thought and deed;

May we love like You,

Help meet other’s needs.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for goodness and grace. Thank You for the love and blessings that You continue to bestow upon us with Your presence. Forgive us for the times that we neglect to honor You with our words, thoughts or deeds. Teach us to fix our minds and hearts on You, so that all that we do brings glory to You. Show us how to love those around us in a way that demonstrates Your love in tangible and practical ways. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we honor and praise You with all that we say and do. 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

Love Well

For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. – (Ephesians 2:10, NIV)

God has made us what we are. In Christ Jesus, God made us new people so that we would spend our lives doing the good things He had already planned for us to do. – (Ephesians 2:10, ERV)

For we are the product of His hand, heaven’s poetry etched on lives, created in the Anointed, Jesus, to accomplish the good works God arranged long ago. – (Ephesians 2:10, VOICE)

 

We have been designed to do good things. Incredibly, it is not about some master plan to accomplish an incredible feat (though some do as part of the plan) but rather it is to love well in each little thing, as to do so, adds up to a life lived well, according to His purposes. Above all, we are called to love. If everything we do is motivated by love, then we cannot help but do the good that God created and intended us to accomplish. Heartache, struggle, disappointment, grief, and weariness all provide us opportunity to look past ourselves and discover just how powerful love can be when we choose to dig deep and give it away. The good that comes from pouring out when we feel depleted, is a crazy filling up that does not even begin to make sense. There is something that happens when we do what we were designed to do – we grow. God multiplies where we can barely conceive the idea of addition. The more we trust Him and step out in faith to love well, the more He utilizes our obedience to touch and transform those around us. May we ever choose to do the good that He has called us to, as we opt to love others, as He first loved us.

As for mom, it sounds as if she had a successful first day in Albany. When I called, she actually answered her phone! That was a huge accomplishment in and of itself, as before, she had not interacted with her phone much at all. The first challenge in her new space, is that her chair does not fit in the bathroom. What this actually means, is that mom is getting more walking practice than before, and will likely lose the chair faster! Things happen the way they ought to, even when it seems a bit frustrating at first. Meg was able to come home at lunch to check and see how all was going, and it seems that all was well. My phone conversation was cut short, and I did not really have the opportunity for a second check-in, but will be eager to hear more about how mom is settling in. I know prayer points for mom need include expediting a visit to a general practitioner to establish care, so that mom is able to reestablish in-home care for physical, occupational and speech therapies that come to her during the day. The process has been started, but favor and prompt processing would be fantastic. We are praying for wonderful, loving people to work with mom as well, as each of the therapists that she had in Wenatchee were incredible individuals.

 

Lord, help us to love, Sowing Seeds of Peace

Do good in Your name;

To love as You love,

As peace is proclaimed.

Help us see others,

Through Your loving lens;

So we treat strangers,

With love, like our friends.

Grant us Your kindness,

Fill us with Your grace;

Teach us Your goodness,

So all we’ll embrace.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to do the good for which we were designed to do. Thank You that above all, we are called to love. Thank You that You have shown us what it is to love above all else through the example of Your Son. Forgive us for the times that we have not given good or not chosen love. Teach us to trust You more, so that we make the conscious choice to love, no matter the space we find ourselves in. Show us how to love those around us in a way that Your goodness and grace is made abundantly clear. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to equip us to do the good for which we have been designed to do. Amen.

 

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

 

Turn from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it. – Psalm 34:14

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

As He Loves

My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. – (John 15:12, NIV)

This is what I command you: Love each other as I have loved you. – (John 15:12, ERV)

So this is my command: Love each other deeply, as much as I have loved you. – (John 15:12, TPT)

 

I am beyond blessed to have so many people in my life who model this very sort of love toward me on a regular basis. This weekend, I have been reminded especially well, of just how much God loves me, as He has made His love tangible through the people whom He has intentionally placed in my life. Though this past year has not unfolded exactly as one might have hoped nor expected in the first year of marriage and as I roll into the start of my forty-eighth year of life, I can clearly see God’s hand in it, and have been held, strengthened, encouraged and carried, every step of the way. Many spouses would not be so fortunate to have the blessing of their husband of nine months, and their seventeen-year-old twins, to go and care for their mother after a stroke. Mine, however, said, “Go!” Each weekend, my husband has faithfully driven the three hours to come see me, and have made sure to speak with me and encourage me daily on the phone, (the boys join him as often as their schedules allow). This weekend was kicked off with my running bestie on Friday evening through Saturday morning, followed by my husband and boys on Saturday at midday, and as the fellas prepare to leave this afternoon, my best friend will arrive to stay a quick overnight as well. Not only am I blessed and encouraged by their visit and presence, but mom is too. It is only fitting, as she is the reason that I am here. As this week continues, Megan will return and I will head home to go on an escape for our first anniversary trip. God is good, and I have learned to love more deeply in the last three months than I ever knew possible prior.

As for mom and her progress yesterday, she accomplished another new milestone with her grandsons cheering her on! Mom walked the entire length of her hallway, twice! That is one-hundred and twenty feet, unassisted. I love watching the recognition of new progress on mom’s face each time she conquers new milestones. There is a visible flood of hope that fills not only her face, but her entire being. It is almost as if she could jump out of her chair and dance down the hallway with excitement. So much joy. Another accomplishment was tackled as we went out to dinner as a family. Being out in public is not her favorite, and I imagine the idea of sitting in a restaurant makes her feel especially vulnerable. Thankfully, the place we selected was fairly quiet, and we were at a table in a room where there were nearly no other patrons. We enjoyed our meal together and did not have any issues navigating the space. After dinner, we returned home and played several rounds of our family favorite game, Dirty Marbles. It is a sort of combination of Chinese Checkers and Sorry, and gets quite competitive. Each of us ended the day full, happy, and knowing how truly loved we are. I could not think of a better way to close out my 47th year. 😊

May we ever recognize how God loves us so well, and go forth and love as we are loved.

 

We are commanded, img_2019-07-14_07-32-527808805951401243208.jpg

To love as we’re loved;

Give as we’re given,

From the Lord above.

For all that God gives,

Within, multiplies;

So we might go forth,

And love with delight.

For each time we choose,

To love like the Lord;

We help others know,

How much they’re adored.

The Lord loves us all,

His most treasured ones;

May we trust in Him,

And love like His Son.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You only ask of us that which You already have shown us in countless ways. Thank You that Your love is tangible. Thank You for the treasured gift of family and friends whom You place in our lives to show us what Your love really means. Forgive us for the times that we have not loved according to Your plan. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would love without limits and allow Your light to burn brightly through us to the world. Show us how to love those around us, especially those who are difficult to love or do not know how to receive the love You have to offer. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love others in the same way that You selflessly and generously love each of us. 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

Rest in Hope

Yes, my soul find rest in God; my hope comes from Him. – (Psalm 62:5, NIV)

I must calm down and turn to God; He is my only hope. – (Psalm 62:5, ERV)

Oh, I must find rest in God only, because my hope comes from Him! – (Psalm 62:5, CEB)

 

Again, a timely reminder, as it was the second sleep-compromised night in a row. Though I am one who can function well on less sleep than most, it will very much be a God-thing to navigate this day on a two-day streak of five and six wake-ups per night. My longest consecutive stretch of sleep last evening was the first one, as I think I slept from nine to nearly eleven. After that, there was never a solid hour in between wake-ups, and finally after I was able to get mom settled back in bed after the 4:00 am restroom run, I decided to just stay up. Even now, an hour later, I already hear her beginning to stir. And, she’s up; ready for breakfast. Incredibly, as tired as I was yesterday, God provided the grace, strength and hope to navigate the day well. We were able to get showers, a visit in with a life-long friend of my sister’s, have lunch, and complete a few drive-thru errands in town, prior to mom’s neurology appointment and the crazy downpour that brought flash flood warnings with it. Our time in the room spent waiting for the neurologist was actually quite entertaining, as the pouring rain and electrical storm provided an incredible show. I opened the curtains from the third-floor room, and mom and I watched and listened to determine how far away the lightning strikes were hitting. (The nearest was likely three miles away) Dr. Seamans was fantastic, and took time to explain more about mom’s stroke and recovery to her. After her appointment, we braved the rain to make our way back home. Mom was able to take a reasonable rest before dinner, and we enjoyed a couple of movies after that, while she practiced her PT exercises on the commercial breaks. Today, she has physical therapy at 8:30 am, and a physiatry appointment at 2:15. I anticipate great things for both, as she is determined and motivated for PT, and her physiatrist is the same doctor who oversaw her care in the acute care rehabilitation center. May we ever hope in the One who grants our soul rest, and sees our every need.

 

Find rest in the Lord, img_2019-06-28_06-18-185883162956947359640.jpg

For hope comes from Him;

He won’t let us sink,

He’ll teach us to swim.

No matter the storm,

Or spaces of lack;

The Lord is faithful,

To keep us on track.

Continue forward,

To all that He’s called;

Always we can trust,

As grace is installed.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can trust You to be our hope and our help in all things and at all times. Thank You that You provide the rest that our soul needs, even when we fear our bodies are going to give. Thank You that there is always enough in You. Forgive us for our frustrations when things seem to be going the wrong direction. Teach us to trust in You, rather than what we see. Show us how You are growing us through the challenges. Equip us to love like You, in all things and at all times, so that those around us understand the greatness of Your grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You to be our hope and strength and rest. 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