Joy in Every Season

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! – (Philippians 4:4, NIV)

Always be filled with joy in the Lord. I will say it again. Be filled with joy. – (Philippians 4:4, ERV)

Be cheerful with joyous celebration in every season of life. Let joy overflow, for you are united with the Anointed One! – (Philippians 4:4, TPT)

 

This weekend is turning out to be a wonderful blessing, that I had not anticipated. As my husband and my anniversary draws ever nearer, and we have a planned getaway late next week, I did not imagine that not only he and my boys would come this weekend, but my running bestie arrived last evening and stays through late morning, and then as my guys leave on Sunday, my best friend will roll in for an overnight as well. The great thing is that the one who gave me life reaps the blessings, as well as the one whom they come to celebrate. It is a win-win, and yet another reason to rejoice.  The thing is, rejoicing in the Lord is not actually about our circumstances, but rather about our hope that is held in Him. My mom is an incredible model of this each day, as her joy is unwavering and her strength and determination are clearly grounded in God.

Yesterday, Mom had physical therapy and occupational therapy back-to-back, early in the day. During PT, mom walked the length of her hallway with a hemi-walker for the first time, which is incredible, as it is a one-handed walker and the step prior to transitioning to a cane. In fact, at the end of her session, Nick, her physical therapist, recommended that we find a cane for her before Monday. Occupational therapy was equally great, as the brace for mom’s shoulder that we had ordered had arrived, and Larissa adjusted and educated us both as to how it is to be placed and worn. Mom did a great job with her exercises for OT as well, and did some walking with her shoulder brace and hemi-walker, just to see what it would feel like to not need someone help hold her arm to keep it from hanging painfully. It was fantastic! After lunch, mom wisely took a rest, knowing that the afternoon and evening would be busy. Two of her sweet neighbors stopped by to visit and check in, while another neighbor from next door, was reinforcing brackets on some of mom’s sprinkler lines (just because he is kind). Shortly after the neighbors had gone, by dear friend, Ashley arrived. Mom was just as excited as I was, and we all shared dinner together, followed by a fun evening of teaching her our favorite game. Apparently, we taught her too well, as she won the last round. 😉 Mom had another good night of sleep, and we are hoping to sneak mom down to the paved path by the river so that we can at least get a good walk in, since mom’s chair will not allow a jog pace. We will see what mom is up for, but either way, the visit is great for all of us. May we ever rejoice in the Lord, for He has given us life and breath, hope and love; to Him be the glory forever.

 

Rejoice in the Lord,

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This morning’s view… ❤

As each season comes;

For He is faithful,

His will shall be done.

Despite what we see,

He’s working within;

Making a new way,

As we choose trust Him.

Find joy in trials,

And joy in success;

For God is in both,

His heart is to bless.

Look to the heavens,

Ever seek His face;

For there you’ll find joy,

And unending grace.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we always have joy in You, no matter our circumstances. Forgive us for losing sight of that joy when troubles or trials cloud our view. Teach us to fix our eyes on You above all else, so that we never lose sight of the joy we have forever. Show us how to love those around us in a way that spreads joy in all circumstances, and extends grace to those needing it the most. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love You and find joy in our hope in You forever. Amen.

 

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

 

Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength. – Nehemiah 8:10b

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

Worry’s Weight

Worry weighs us down; a cheerful word picks us up. – (Proverbs 12:25, MSG)

 

The weight of worry can become crippling if we allow it to take root in our heart. Though worry can be explained away as common concern caused by everything around us, our peace does not need to be determined by our circumstances. As we are invested in the community to which we have been called, God graciously utilizes another to offer a cheerful or encouraging word in the midst of one’s worry, completely disarming the weight that’s attempting to drag us down. Let us cast our cares on Him, for He cares for us. (1 Peter 5:7) His word for us is good, and His promises never end. May we be mindful of where worry dwells, and be quick to offer cheerful words to those around us.

 

When worry finds weight,

Small boy with heavy load.

image by Gisle

Let not our hearts hold;

Burdens too heavy,

To remain untold.

We’re called to release,

All that is too much;

To trust in the Lord,

Let Him be enough.

May all of our words,

That we give a voice;

Be cheerful and kind,

A Spirit-led choice.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You do not intend for worry to weigh us down. Thank You too, that You place in us Your words for one another that build and lift up. Forgive us for dwelling on the weight of this world, and allowing it to suck us in. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would give our every worry unto You, and allow You to show us the hope and help that You have for us. Lead us to love others well, just as You love us. May we offer cheerful words that bring light and life to all whom we encounter. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be exalted O God, as we give You all of our worries and take words of encouragement to share with those around us. Amen.

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

They will celebrate Your abundant goodness and joyfully sing of Your righteousness. – Psalm 145:7

 

 

Pouring of Plenty

“God can pour on the blessings in astonishing ways so that you’re ready for anything and everything, more than just ready to do what needs to be done.” – (2 Corinthians 9:8, The Message)

 

Paul was speaking to the people of Corinth about being generous with what God had given them. He asked them not to give out of obligation, but cheerfully, from a heart that had determined to give, because God had so graciously given unto them. We are meant to give what we determine in our hearts, cheerfully. This is not just of our wealth, but of our time and our talents – the very gifts of God that He has placed in us for His purposes, to bless others for His glory. What is such a divine mystery to me, is that each time we step out in faith and offer our time, talents and/or resources, we seem to be the recipients of His blessing. The joy in knowing His pleasure, is beyond a reward one could measure. Additionally, I find that when I give anyway, my own needs somehow are met, regardless of the seeming lack of time, energy or resources. God has a way of multiplying the miniscule, when we are faithful with what we do have.

 

God pours out His grace,Pouring of Plenty

abundant to us;

when we call on Him,

our Savior, Jesus.

As we choose to give,

from all that is ours;

God uses our gifts,

to reach near and far.

When others are blessed,

we become blessed too;

for we see Him work,

as lives are made new.

Generously give,

as He’s given us;

all unto the Lord,

our Savior, Jesus.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have given us the ultimate gift – Your Son, so that we may have eternal life with You. Thank You that You are generous and kind, never withholding anything from us, as You supply our every need. Forgive us for our reluctance to give – be it of our time, talents or resources. Please show us how we are meant to give unto You, and help us to do so with cheerful hearts. May many be moved toward a relationship with You, as a result of the giving unto which we are called. Help us to love others as You so generously love us. Be glorified through our generosity today. Amen.

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

The Lord is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love. – Psalm 145:8