Endings and Beginnings

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

You are my refuge and my shield; Your word is my source of hope. – (Psalm 119:114, NLT)

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

 

Though David often had need for the Lord to be his literal hiding place, there were times too, that he needed his heart to be covered and “hidden” by God. For me, that is more often the space that I find myself in. When the cares of my circumstances become overwhelming or seem far too heavy to bear, it is in that space that I need seek Christ to cover my heart with His, as He is my place of refuge and a shield about me. He renews my hope with the truth of His word and reminds me anew of who He is. Today, I am being granted the gift of time with my boys as they prepare to leave for a ten-day cruise with the Sea Scouts. I had hoped and prayed for a way to get home to help them pack and prepare and send them off, and God has been faithful to provide faithful friends for such a time as this, so that I could do exactly that and know that mom is in great hands and comfortable in my brief absence.

Yesterday was an incredible day to end mom’s therapies in Washington. As she met with Nick, her physical therapist, he had me guide mom through the paces of navigating her front steps with her hemi-walker. Giving her verbal cues and only keeping a hand touching her low back to remind her that I was present if there was a need, she was able to go down the steps, walk some steps in the grass, turn around, and then return up the stairs. It was the very first time since her stroke that mom had set foot on grass, and after Nick left, she could not stop the tears from falling. For her, it was yet another mile-marker that reminded her that hope is tangible and that she is truly making progress. A few hours later, mom had her final session with Susan, her speech therapist. The beautiful thing about speech therapy is that there is much opportunity to visit, as word recall is largely called forth through conversation. Time flew by, and goodbyes were difficult. Lastly, a bit later in the afternoon, was Larissa, mom’s occupational therapist. Larissa went to great lengths to make certain that we had a solid plan in place for ongoing exercises and stretches for mom to be doing daily during the gap time between now and when therapies begin in Oregon. She has been innovative and kind, and has gone above and beyond to help research and facilitate mom’s needs. As she was leaving, she refused to call it goodbye, but rather a “see you later.” Each of mom’s therapists parted ways with mom with hugs and words of well-wishes, encouraging her and letting her know how much they had loved working with her and how much they would miss her. Mom has a way of winning folks over quickly, and once she has, she is not forgotten. My hope and prayer now, is that she will find the same to be true of her new therapists in Oregon, and that she will discover a new community with which to connect during her season in that space. God has always been her refuge, and I trust that He will continue to provide her hope and tangible evidence of His faithfulness.

 

My refuge and shield, 08011905054602014993045993958.jpg

Where all hope is found;

The God of all grace,

Your word’s always sound.

You grant me safety,

And You cover me;

My heart is hidden,

In You, lovingly.

Hidden from the things,

That make me choose fear;

Blind to Your presence,

As You’re ever near.

Help us ever seek,

The light of Your grace;

For goodness is found,

Following Your ways.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our safety and our refuge, and that we can ever find hope in Your word. Thank You that You are present to help and protect and provide. Forgive us for our fearfulness in the unsteady or the unknown. Teach us to trust You more. Show us how to love those around us in a way that offers peace and grace and safety. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust and hope in You forever. Amen.

 

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

 

I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God in whom I trust.” – Psalm 91:2

Bloom Where You Are Planted

Therefore, since we are surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. – (Hebrews 12:1, NIV)

We have all these great people around us as examples. Their lives tell us what faith means. So we, too, should run the race that is before us and never quit. We should remove from our lives anything that would slow us down and the sin that so often makes us fall. – (Hebrews 12:1, ERV)

As for us, we have all of these great witnesses who encircle us like clouds. So we must let go of every would that has pierced us and the sin we so easily fall into. Then we will be able to run life’s marathon race with passion and determination, for the path has been already marked out before us. – (Hebrews 12:1, TPT)

 

This, this is why we are called to be in community. Though we can accomplish much through Christ on our own, we can do and be more when we are surrounded by others who walk alongside us as we navigate the journey to which we are called. Incredibly, everyone has a story to tell, and we each have encouragement to offer, based on our experiences and the person whom we have been created to be. Though the struggles and seasons of suffering stink, they often become the space where we find God has grown us the strongest. It is in such seasons that we learn perseverance and dependence on Christ, and have to let go of everything else that weighs us down if we wish to keep moving forward. One of the things that I have missed terribly throughout this trying season, is the consistent community and gathering together to worship and fellowship with friends who have become family at home. However, I know that their prayerful support has been a tremendous contribution to what has sustained us as we have navigated this new and unknown road. God has been faithful each step of the way, and we trust Him to continue as each of us prepare for the next season in mom’s journey to a full recovery.

For mom, yesterday began with some strong ongoing progress that took incredible strength and courage. What terrified mom a little over a week ago, still frightened her a bit, yet she did not hesitate to participate and do her best. Doing upper body work from a kneeling position on the floor is a scary space for mom. However, it is a position that forces her to utilize the right side of her upper body, that she desperately wants to regain. She knows that the reward is worth the risk, and willingly fended off fear to do the work required of her. Ever so slowly, mom is activating her shoulder and scapula. Each time she does the exercises to strengthen the muscles, she also is increasing the message pathways to movement. Later in the afternoon, following an errand outing for a few necessities, lunch and Dutch Bros, we returned home and mom was ready to do some walking. Normally, mom changes into her tennis shoes with an AFO (something foot orthotic that lifts her toes so they don’t drag or catch when she steps) in them, but she already had her crocs on and I suggested she give it a try. Much to her surprise, she was able to walk well in her crocs without the AFO. This is extraordinarily exciting news, as it means that she is actually lifting her right leg as she steps, and no longer just dragging it through. The more she lifts her right foot as she steps, the greater variety of terrain she will be able to take on. (She really wants to walk around her yard!) Mom’s great cloud of witnesses have been coming to see her, more and more. She recognizes the benefit of visitors, and is enjoying reconnecting with dear friends from church, Bible studies and the like. Her perseverance is an encouragement to us all. May we ever seek to surround ourselves in community, so that we may encourage one another to persevere on the path to which we have been called.

 

Seek be invested, img_2019-07-16_06-35-183702170351870846491.jpg

In community;

To learn and to grow,

Exponentially.

For each one planted,

Has something to give;

Wisdom to offer,

Strength from lessons lived.

Hearing from others,

Those far and those near;

Lifts up and strengthens,

Helps us persevere.

Reach out and grow roots,

Invest and make room;

Choose let others in,

Where you’re planted, bloom.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to be in community. Thank You that we can both gain and offer strength to those around us as we do life together in You. Forgive us for allowing ourselves to be isolated when the road is difficult. Thank You for those whom You place in our lives to keep community strong, even when we are not nearby. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would reach out to those around us, regardless of our circumstances, as You bring beauty from ashes and often use our own weakness as Your greatest strength through us. Show us how to love those around us well, so that they will be encouraged and built up; strengthened to persevere through all seasons. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we invest in the communities that You call us to, and praise You for the power to persevere that comes from You. Amen.

 

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

 

Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe. – Hebrews 12:28

 

Let Love Lead the Way

This is my command: Love each other. – (John 15:17, NIV)

But remember the root command: Love one another. – (John 15:17, MSG)

So this is My parting command: Love one another deeply! – (John 15:17, TPT)

 

These were the words of Jesus to all who chose to follow Him. Christ’s command for us has remained the same throughout the ages. Most of the time, this is a reasonable rule to follow. However, what I am discovering in my current existence, is that I am far more sensitive to “waves”, and have little tolerance for that “one more thing”. My fuse is short, and I go from “fine” to wanting to throat punch people in a matter of mere moments. No, I would not actually follow through, but my frustration level ignites far too quickly, and anger seems to rise, where normally patience and problem-solving reside. I imagine much of it is this space of feeling so unsettled, as I am being pulled back and forth between mom in Wenatchee, and home with my husband and children. (Even more so, as my husband is away this week while I am home.) Yesterday, I had two separate incidents that ignited the fire within, that really should not have ruffled my feathers as much as they did. Thankfully, those around me were gracious, and my recovery was quick, yet it is unnerving to find myself so easily frustrated by things that normally would be easily navigated.

Mom continues to persevere and put in the work to pursue a full recovery. Yesterday she had occupational therapy and a visit from the nurse, as well as a wonderful visit from one of her dearest friends and her husband. Much laughter is shared between Meg and mom, and it is a joy to hear them giggle as we check in with one another on the phone. We are blessed that mom has always modeled how to love one another deeply, and it has been taken to heart. May we ever seek the Lord to be our strength and peace, so that we may go forth in love, no matter what comes our way.

 

Called and commanded,

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Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

To go forth in love;

To love each other,

Like the Lord above.

Do so with a grace,

That wants nothing back;

Seeking to fill up,

Where there is a lack.

Love with a patience,

That passes on peace;

Fill one another,

Let kindness increase.

In all that we do,

And all that we say;

Fill our hearts O God,

So love leads the way.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You not only call us, but You command us to love. Thank You that You equip us for everything that You ask us to do. Thank You that You empower us to love, because You first loved us. Forgive us for our lack of love when things don’t go our way, or when our circumstances close in on us and begin to overwhelm us. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would continuously place all things in Your loving and capable hands. Show us how to love those around us in a way that best communicates to their hearts, the depth and breadth of Your love for each of them. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we receive Your love so that we may generously and abundantly give Your love away. Amen.

 

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

 

And now these three remain: faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love. – 1 Corinthians 13:13

The Mighty Power Within

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power. – (Ephesians 6:10, NIV)

Last of all I want to remind you that your strength must come from the Lord’s mighty power within you. – (Ephesians 6:10, TLB)

Finally, brothers and sisters, draw your strength and might from God. – (Ephesians 6:10, VOICE)

 

Though I am an individual who has been granted a generous portion of strength, it is not unflappable, and I am very aware of my own limitations. Human strength cannot be sustained 24/7 for weeks and weeks on end. Supernatural intervention is required, if we are to rise up and answer the call to do and be more than our humanity will allow. This space of being constantly dependent on Christ is an ongoing battle. I want to be enough, do enough, and have enough to spare, yet when I revert to attempting to power through, there is never enough on my own. However, when I lean into the Lord and depend on Him, He is enough, and I am able to navigate the raging waters around me as if they were still. Christ within me, is enough; yet it must come from Him and not from me. There is a delicate balance between self and spirit, and it requires patience and wisdom and waiting to discover the difference. Christ directs our steps and strengthens us for each next step we need to take. Self runs ahead and becomes weary, before there is even a plain path on which to tread.

Mom’s speech therapist accepted a different position, leaving the current in-home company that her therapies are through, without a speech therapist. This means that she has to switch in-home care companies entirely, as her insurance will only work with one company at a time. The loss of one, results in the loss of many, including: her wonderful physical therapist, occupational therapist, and in-home nursing care team. Progress under the current team has been phenomenal, so we are praying and trusting that the new organization is equally empowering for mom’s remarkable rehabilitation and recovery. May we ever seek the Lord to be our strength as He is our Source of power that moves mountains and marks milestones in mom’s healing.

 

Be strong in the Lord, Strong Heart

For He is our rock;

All strength comes from Him,

To rise up and walk.

Keep moving in faith,

Ever pressing on;

Answering His call,

When our strength is gone.

It is in that space,

Where our own strength ends;

That we discover,

On Whom to depend.

Forever faithful,

God will never leave;

His strength unending,

To Him, we must cleave.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that strength comes from You. Thank You that when we recognize that our own strength is gone, Yours is at the ready to carry us on. Forgive us for attempting to muscle our way through life’s trials, as we are not strong enough on our own. Teach us to trust and depend on You, for You have already placed Your strength within us through Your Spirit. Show us how to love those around us in a way that strengthens, encourages and builds up hearts that are depleted. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to be our strength, always. Amen.

 

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

 

For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline. – 2 Timothy 1:7

Anchor

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

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

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

 

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

 

Hope is the anchor, Anchor

When we’re tossed at sea;

Waves keep on crashing,

What will come of me?

Hope sets us steady,

Brings our hearts to peace;

Space of safe harbor,

As grace is released.

When the storm rages,

You are stronger still;

Bring us to safety,

And with Your love, fill.

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

Seeking Solace

I pray that out of His glorious riches He may strengthen you with power through His Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ. – (Ephesians 3:16-18, NIV)

I ask the Father with His great glory to give you the power to be strong in your spirits. He will give you the strength through His Spirit. I pray that Christ will live in your hearts because of your faith. I pray that your life will be strong in love and be built on love. And I pray that you and all God’s holy people will have the power to understand the greatness of Christ’s love – how wide, how long, how high, and how deep that love is. – (Ephesians 3:16-18, ERV)

And I pray that He would unveil within you the unlimited riches of His glory and favor until supernatural strength floods your innermost being with His divine might and explosive power. Then, by constantly using your faith, the life of Christ will be released deep inside you, and the resting place of His love will become the very source and root of your life. – (Ephesians 3:16-18, TPT)

 

Paul’s encouragement to the church in Ephesus is still an encouragement that is applicable and relevant to us today. In fact, I had to take pause and recognize my own need to receive his words, as I realized just how much I have been missing my husband, boys, and community at home. It is not that I resent nor regret what I am doing here, as I would not trade this time with my mom for anything. I am overwhelmingly blessed with time that could have been stolen, had things gone differently, and I am witnessing daily, the miracles that come with healing and recovery from a stroke. It is a strange sort of struggle to be pulled between two places. During mom’s waking hours, I am fully engaged and focused on whatever lies before us, and we enjoy our time together, celebrating victories and giggling and the small stuff that comes in the wake of exhaustion and recovery. It is in the quiet moments while mom is resting, or her attention is fixed on a movie, that I am torn and struggle being away from my husband and boys. We talk and text daily, but it is not the same, and all of my guys are loves who are generous with their affection for me. I miss the comfort of their nearness and the easy interactions that take place so often. I know it is just for a season, and the line in the TPT version “the resting place of His love will become the very source and root of your life”, is the space that I need to seek His solace.

As for mom’s progress from yesterday, she walked farther than she has walked (with a walker and slight assistance), since she had her stroke! For those who have been in mom’s house, she walked up and down her entire hallway. (The length of it is over 30 feet!) What I loved even more, was the recognition of hope that mom found through the process. After Victor, her physical therapist had gone, we sat down in the living room. She looked at me and said, “It really is possible, isn’t it?” I looked at her for a moment, studying her face, and realized that for the first time, she was recognizing that walking again was indeed possible for her. I let her know that we had seen and known the possibility all along, and after today, imagined that it would come even more quickly than we might have originally thought. Hope is a beautiful thing, and I am in awe realizing that despite her not really thinking it was possible to walk again, she was positive and hard-working, loving and kind. We reminded her all along that it was possible, however, I guess she had to physically experience the possibility for herself to understand. Mom was again open and receptive to short visits with a few friends, as she met with one dear one in the morning, and another prior to lunch. Both were wonderful boosts that brought much delight to the day.

I am so thankful that He does strengthen us with His power, out of His glorious riches through His Spirit in our inner being, and He dwells in our hearts through faith. As we are rooted and established in Him, may we together, grasp how great is His love.

 

Dear Father, I pray, Be strong and courageous

From Your vast supply;

You’ll give strength to those,

On You, choose rely.

And by Your Spirit,

Where in hearts Christ dwells;

Grow stronger our faith,

So we trust You well. dsc04451587116784.jpg

Each rooted in love,

Together by grace;

May we understand,

How great all Your ways.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are a loving and gracious God. Thank You that You know and see our need before we are aware of it ourselves. Thank You that You give us strength and grace, hope and love. Forgive us for allowing our fears or frustrations to find footing, rather than releasing all unto You. Teach us to trust You more, as You are our Provider and Place of Peace. Show us how to love those around us well, so that each may be strengthened, encouraged and find faith that is ready to nourish and grow. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You in all things and at all times, praising You for Your presence. Amen.

 

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

 

May Your unfailing love be my comfort, according to Your promise to Your servant. – Psalm 119:76

Holding Hidden Hope

Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for He who promised is faithful. – (Hebrews 10:23, NIV)

Let’s hold on to the confession of our hope without wavering, because the One who made the promises is reliable. – (Hebrews 10:23, CEB)

So we must cling tightly to the hope that lives within us, knowing that God always keeps His promises! – (Hebrews 10:23, TPT)

 

God sees, hears and knows the hopes that we are holding deep within our hearts, that feel so far reaching, that we give them little attention or thought. In this space of being present for my mom, my greatest hope and prayer is for her total and complete healing and restored independence in every way. My own desires have taken a back burner, as caring for mom is my top priority in this season. Yesterday, my sister let me know that she would be able to come and be with mom for the latter half of both next week and the following week. For me, this means that I will be heading home to teach the last two days of both next week and the following week, will be home with my husband and children for more than a quick overnight, and will be able to worship alongside dear ones at my own church two weeks in a row. Balance and normalcy after living in a strange sort of isolation for the last two weeks will return. I would not trade the time for anything, as I have had the incredible privilege of watching mom thrive and heal and grow by leaps and bounds in a very short span of time. This is a space of being torn, wanting desperately to be in two places at once. I know that my sister has struggled with the same. Thankfully, modern technology has made it a bit easier with the ability to send videos, Marco Polo, text messaging and phone calls on speaker. All of these things remind us there is hope, and that God is faithful to keep His promises. He will never leave us nor forsake us; EVER!

Mom had another fantastic day yesterday, and her right side is beginning to “wake up”. After a stroke, the muscles are still very much alive; it is the signals to the muscles that have to be reestablished. New pathways are finding connections, and there are new movements to celebrate daily. Interestingly, the messages start reconnecting first in the larger muscles, then work their way down to the smaller. She is able to move her right arm some from her shoulder, and her right leg some from her hip, quad and glute. Continue to pray for the pathways to reconnect every muscle, tendon and fiber within her being. We are ever holding close to the hope that He has rooted deep within us, trusting in His goodness and grace to bring forth His promises to fulfillment.

 

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His promises true;

Always beside us,

Our hope He renews.

Trust in His goodness,

Rely on His grace;

For He knows our needs,

And sets all in place.

Even with the hopes,

We dare not give voice;

He hears and honors,

Reason to rejoice.

So, hold onto hope,

God ever shall be;

Faithful to His word,

‘til eternity.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can cling to the hope that we profess, for we know that You are faithful to all that You have promised. Thank You that You show us again and again, evidence of Your goodness and grace; Your incredible love made tangible. Forgive us for our fears and doubts, or for allowing our circumstances to take our eyes off of the hope we know is true in You. Teach us to trust You more, for You are ALWAYS faithful. Show us how to love and encourage those around us in a way that demonstrates Your hope and faithfulness in practical and tangible ways. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we cling to the hope we know in You, for You are faithful forever. Amen.

 

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

 

Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. – Ephesians 4:32

 

 

Hope is the Anchor

We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. – (Hebrews 6:19a, NIV)

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

We have this certain hope like a strong, unbreakable anchor holding our souls to God Himself. – (Hebrews 6:19a, TPT)

 

One of the most critical elements to recovery that I am discovering along this journey with mom, is that hope has to be held in her heart. Incredibly, the faithful prayers of so many are being heard and answered, as she is beginning to see and embrace the steps of progress, she is making for herself. I watch in awe, as each new day, mom is able to say and do things that she was unable to accomplish or communicate the day prior. Hope is rising within her, before my own eyes. Mom is rooted and grounded in Christ, first and foremost, however, a blow like this to a very independent, self-sufficient, bright and extroverted woman, is extraordinarily troubling. Though we do not know what the outcome will be exactly, there is great hope as she is on a phenomenal track to recovery. Mom is finding hope in each day. She is strengthened and encouraged, and surrounded by the most positive, encouraging and wonderful team of people I could have ever hoped for. God hand-selected each one, just for her, to encourage, challenge, push, love, lead and care for her the way she needs most. God is good, and He is the hope that anchors our soul; strong and secure, with and unbreakable hold that will never let us go.

 

Hope is the anchor, Hope Anchors the Soul

That secures the soul;

It grounds and roots us,

In Christ, makes us whole.

Hope moves us forward,

To keep pressing on;

The spark that’s needed,

When our strength seems gone.

Sometimes hope enters,

With a quiet word;

Loving reminders,

Truth needing be heard.

Some days hope floods in,

Like a trumpet’s call;

Miracle moments,

Both the great and small.

No matter what comes,

The sun shall still rise;

God will not leave us,

His grace realized.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are the hope that is the anchor for our soul, firm and secure. Thank You that You are the same, yesterday, today and forever. Thank You that Your love and faithfulness know no end. Forgive us for our fearfulness and our distorted vision that loses sight of hope when difficulties make hope hard to see. Teach us to trust You more, so that we NEVER lose sight of hope in You. Show us how to love those around us in a way that encourages and shares Your hope that is held in our hearts. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we hold firmly to You, our anchor, through the storms and in safe harbor; for You are our security and hope forever. Amen.

 

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

 

For I have always been mindful of Your unfailing love and have lived in reliance of Your faithfulness. – Psalm 26:3

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

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