Growing Love

And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight. – (Philippians 1:9, NIV)

This is my prayer for you: that your love will grow more and more; that you will have knowledge and understanding with your love. – (Philippians 1:9, ERV)

I continue to pray for your love to grow and increase beyond measure, bringing you into the rich revelation of spiritual insight in all things. – (Philippians 1:9, TPT)

 

Isn’t this honestly what we all need? As I return home later this morning and my sister takes the reigns here at mom’s, knowledge, understanding, revelation and insight are needed to best love those we are called to love, where we are called to love them. Though it is a bit easier to love our family members well, after long periods of separation there are likely to be challenges, hurts and misunderstandings. We need insight and a heart like Jesus, to love well, regardless of how our “re-entry” goes. Yes, I am eagerly anticipating time with my husband, boys, dear friends, and students, however, I do not expect it all to be a “bed of roses”. I anticipate hiccups and frustrations, especially after such a long-awaited return. My sister will likely endure similar struggles, as she has been eager to get back to mom, yet had to leave her husband and boys at home. There is new territory to navigate and a rhythm to discover, and it will not look nor feel the same as the one that mom and I have established. The time together will grant them each opportunity to grow even closer; as just yesterday, mom and I were discussing the blessing in this whole crazy catastrophe is that we have had more intentional quality time together over the last six weeks, than we have had in ages. We can communicate with looks and gestures, just as easily as with words. Laughter abounds in the house, and there is much joy, despite the challenges and frustrations in the long and arduous task of rehabilitation and recovery from a stroke.

Yesterday was a wonderful, busy day. The first order of business was occupational therapy. Elizabeth, her therapist, is working tirelessly to come up with ways to help mom regain movement and mobility in her right arm. Though the gains are slow and seemingly insignificant, Elizabeth’s enthusiasm and encouragement keep mom uplifted and ready to do the work for the long haul. Soon after her appointment, one of mom’s dearest friends from childhood and his wife came for a visit. The two of them are treasured friends, and mom was engaged and uplifted from time together. We had a mellow afternoon, full of movie watching and down time, as I think mom was too excited for Megan’s return to actually sleep, yet knew she needed to rest a bit. After dinner, we caught up with some sweet neighbors of mom’s, and again, mom was lifted up at the blessing of being together with dear ones. Shortly after they had gone, Megan at last, arrived. We had decided to go outside to see if we could catch her upon arrival, and just reached the garage door as the car had pulled up the driveway to welcome her in. Mom was over-the-moon to have both of her girls home at once, and we thoroughly enjoyed catching up with one another, visiting and laughing together, until we all were ready to call it a day. I know the bond between each of us has grown stronger through all of this as well: my sister and me, mom and my sister, mom and me. God is good, and He brings beautiful things from the ugliest of circumstances. May we ever seek Him to grow our love more and more, in knowledge and depth of insight.

 

God, grow our love more, img_20190613_213857_7235691910451312632394.jpg

In knowledge of You;

Grant us Your insight,

Show us what to do.

Help us understand,

How deep and how wide;

How vastly You love,

As we choose abide.

Show us Your mercy,

Wrap us in Your grace;

Teach us to give love,

That honors Your Name.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we ask, Your love abounds in us more and more, and that You grow us in knowledge and understanding of who You are and how You love. Thank You that we can spend a lifetime pursuing You, and still never fully grasp the depth and breadth of Your incredible love. Forgive us for the times that we somehow think that it is not enough. Teach us to trust You more. Show us how to receive all that You have to offer, so that we may in turn, give out of the abundance that You give to us. Lead us to love those around us with wisdom and insight, so that they too, may see Your heart through our love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we pursue You, and seek to grow in the knowledge and understanding of Your overwhelming love for us all. 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

Yet to Come

As you do not know the path of the wind, or how the body is formed in a mother’s womb, so you cannot understand the work of God, the Maker of all things. – (Ecclesiastes 11:5, NIV)

You don’t know where the wind blows. And you don’t know how a baby grows in its mother’s womb. In the same way, you don’t know what God will do – and He makes everything happen. – (Ecclesiastes 11:5, ERV)

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

 

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

 

Though we do not know, To Drive Out Darkness

Where our feet may land;

We can always trust,

That God has a plan.

For God’s plans are good,

To bless and to grow;

To prosper, not harm,

His mercies shall show.

So often the road,

Seems narrow and wrong;

Yet turns out to be,

Just where we belong.

And as we journey,

Through this life to home;

He’s also promised,

We’re never alone.

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

Lead with Listening

My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry. – (James 1:19, NIV)

My dear brothers and sisters, always be more willing to listen than to speak. Keep control of your anger. – (James 1:19, ERV)

Post this at all the intersections, dear friends: Lead with your ears, follow up with your tongue, and let anger straggle along in the rear. – (James 1:19, MSG)

 

Listening is an art form that can prevent misunderstanding and bring people closer together. Too often we speak to respond, rather than listen to understand and reply only if necessary. Anger flares and brash words are spoken when we communicate to make our own point, opinion or agenda heard, without taking pause to listen to others around us. I find that the majority of the time, my anger ignites when I jump to conclusions or explain a scenario in my own mind, rather than seeking to listen to whomever did, whatever it was, that incited my frustration to the point of anger. Each time I slow down, take a deep breath, and remind myself to listen with the intent to understand, I discover that there is a reason for the words or actions that transpired. By hearing the heart behind the person, anger or frustration fade, and compassion and kindness begin to rise. May we ever seek the Lord for strength and willingness to listen first, so that our response is a reflection of His heart, rather than a rash reaction that is not necessary to bring resolution.

 

Let us each choose first,

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Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

To listen in love;

Seek to understand,

With grace from above.

If we’re slow to speak,

There’s less to regret;

Peace has a true chance,

God’s love, our asset.

Allow not anger,

To rise and release;

Instead, choose listen,

Discernment brings peace.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to be people who seek listen to understand, speak with intention and grace, and to keep anger in check to prevent words or deeds that cannot be taken back. Forgive us for the times that we have allowed our ego or agenda to cause us to assume ill intent in anger, rather than listening with intention to understand all that is involved in what has transpired before us. Teach us to listen first, seeking to understand, so that if and when we respond, it may be done with love and grace. Show us how to love well through listening to those who need to be heard. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, as You are the God who always hears our heart, regardless of what our words or deeds seem to indicate. Be glorified O God, through our decision to listen first and speak with godly intent, only when we understand, keeping anger in check and love abundant. Amen.

 

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

 

Let the wise listen and add to their learning, and let the discerning get guidance. – Proverbs 1:5

Draw Near with True Hearts

Let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. – (Hebrews 10:22, NIV)

Sprinkled with the blood of Christ, our hearts have been made free from a guilty conscience, and our bodies have been washed with pure water. So, come near to God with a sincere heart, full of confidence because of our faith in Christ. – (Hebrews 10:22, ERV)

Let us draw near with true hearts full of faith, with hearts rinsed clean of any evil conscience, and with bodies cleansed with pure water. – (Hebrews 10:22, VOICE)

Christ made coming to God possible. Through His sacrifice, once and for all, we have full assurance that the price has already been paid for our sins. Because we have been washed clean from the inside out, when we draw near to God and receive what He freely offers, we can confidently enter into His presence and communicate with the nearness of a loving Father and friend. May we readily receive what Christ gives by His glorious grace, and draw near to the Lord with faith, as we are fully known.

 

One great sacrifice,

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Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

Made way for us all;

To become washed clean,

Be heard when we call.

What Christ did for us,

Is ours to receive;

By faith, to lay hold,

All hope we believe.

So, let us draw near,

With hearts that embrace;

The gift of new life,

Through God’s lavish grace.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son as the ultimate sacrifice for us all. Jesus, thank You for taking on all of our sin and shame, so that we could be made clean and worthy to approach the throne of God. Forgive us for taking Your sacrifice for granted, or for somehow thinking it could not possibly cover the weight of our own ugliness. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would receive the grace that You have so generously given, and never forget the ultimate price that You paid on our behalf. Show us how to love those around us well, so that they might recognize Your grace and love through our words and deeds. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we receive the incredible gift of grace that You freely give, and continue to come close to You so that we will know how to best walk according to Your will. Amen.

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

For the law made nothing perfect, and a better hope is introduced, by which we draw near to God. – Hebrews 7:19

 

To Keep the Peace

They must not slander anyone and must avoid quarreling. Instead, they should be gentle and show true humility to everyone. – (Titus 3:2, NLT)

They shouldn’t speak disrespectfully about anyone, but they should be peaceful, kind, and show complete courtesy toward everyone. – (Titus 3:2, CEB)

Don’t tear down another person with your words. Instead, keep the peace, and be considerate. Be truly humble toward everyone. – (Titus 3:2, VOICE)

 

These words are still completely applicable to us all. Can you imagine our schools, our work places, our cities, and our nation, if people chose to be considerate and humble toward everyone, refusing to tear others down with their words? If we treated each other the way God intended, peace would reign, and we would no longer witness wars of words as a “that’s just how they communicate” situation. Though the high road takes more work, it always leads to a more worthwhile destination. The result of peace, patience, kindness, humility and self-control, far outweigh the momentary satisfaction of a curt reply. May we seek the Lord and His grace so that we may respond to others according to His ways.

 

 

A gentle answer, Made With Purpose

Can turn away wrath;

Bring peace in chaos,

Point to the right path.

For where we choose love,

God’s grace is made plain;

Through humility,

Our life is our claim.

So, let us choose love,

Kindness and His grace;

Ways that point people,

To seek the Lord’s face.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to be peaceful and considerate, so that we might choose to walk humbly in love, just as You love each of us. Forgive us for the times that we have been less than loving in our response to people. Teach us to trust You to give us the grace to be humble and kind, acting in love to all people at all times. Show us how to love like You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust in You and Your unfailing love to lead us well. Amen.

 

 

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

 

Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. – Philippians 4:5

Called to Communicate

Devote yourselves to prayer with an alert mind and a thankful heart. – (Colossians 4:2, NLT)

Keep on praying and guard your prayers with thanksgiving. – (Colossians 4:2, CEB)

Pray diligently. Stay alert, with your eyes wide open in gratitude. – (Colossians 4:2, MSG)

 

Prayer is our petition and praise presented to our Provider. We are called to be in constant communication with our Creator. God designed us with relationship in mind. Like any relationship, if there is not ongoing communication of some sort, a divide of distance, time and disconnect begins to grow. Being devoted to prayer is an ongoing commitment to communicate with Christ. As we choose to be intentional to pray, we become more aware of reasons to give thanks and come to value our ability to speak to the living God whenever and however we wish. He is good and He hears our every prayer. Each word whispered in the hollows of our heart to those which we cry out aloud. May we keep on praying, ever aware of the One to whom we pray, with our hearts overflowing with praise.

 

Help us keep praying,

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Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

Guard our heart and mind;

May we ever seek,

For in You, we find.

Reason to give praise,

For Your faithfulness;

The more we know You,

More we know we’re blessed.

Blessed with Your courage,

Presence as You stay;

Wisdom to choose well,

And walk in Your way.

Faithful forever,

Unending, Your grace;

Peace ever present,

Throughout all our days.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to pray, and to protect our prayer with praise. Thank You that there is always reason to give You praise, even on our darkest days. Forgive us for our lack of communication with You. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would bring all things before You first, being mindful that You are God and we are not. Show us how to love those around us in a way that demonstrates our gratitude that springs forth from our constant communication with You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we pray and give You praise, protecting the power that we find in Your presence as we are faithful to be in an ongoing, invested relationship with You. Amen.

 

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

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. – Philippians 4:6

Rejoice in Confident Hope

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

Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying. – (Romans 12:12, NLT)

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

Be happy in your hope, stand your ground when you’re in trouble, and devote yourselves to prayer. – (Romans 12:12, CEB)

 

Though the same verse, I appreciate the verbiage of the different translations. In our hope, we can be happy, joyful, confident and have reason to rejoice. Our faith in Christ gives us the strength and grace to have patience and stand our ground when trials and trouble come our way. Finally, prayer must be a priority. When we are faithful – devoted to communicate with our Creator, we are best able to recognize our hope which grants us the joy and patience we need to persevere in all things and at all times. May we be ever joyful in the hope we hold in Christ, trusting Him in our trials and continuing to present our prayers of both petition and praise before Him.

 

Be joyful in hope,

Hold Hope He is Faithful

image from quotespictures.com

let confidence reign;

not in our own strength,

but in truth we claim.

In midst of trials,

patience can be ours;

through trust in the Lord,

His grace empowers.

And in all that comes,

let‘s faithfully pray;

for Christ’s the answer,

He’ll show us the way.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we have reason to rejoice and be confident in the hope we hold in You. Thank You that You grant us patience through our times of trial, as You show us that You are present and moving on our behalf. Thank You that You made the way for us to come before You to pray, personally – as You know us and call us by name. Forgive us for forgetting the grace and strength that You provide, if only we choose to seek You. Teach us to trust You more, in all things and at all times. Lead us to love others in such a way, that they may see the joy and hope that is held in You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be exalted O God, as we choose to rejoice in our confident hope, have patience in times of trouble, and keep on praying in all things and at all times. Amen.

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

I thank You and praise you, O God of my fathers: You have given me wisdom and power. – Daniel 2:23

Prayer and Praise

Is anyone among you in trouble? Let them pray. Is anyone happy? Let them sing songs of praise. – (James 5:13)

 

Be it times of trial or times of joy, our hearts ought to turn toward Christ. To communicate with our Creator is the way we were designed to respond in all things and at all times. Because of Christ’s sacrifice on the cross, we can come to Him in all things and at all times, knowing that we will be heard. For He bore the weight of all of our trials and troubles, and rose to be seated beside the Father as our High Priest, listening in love to our every request and praise. Thanks be to God, that He hears our every prayer and praise!

 

Are troubles present?A God of Peace

Lift your heart to pray.

For Christ, He hears us,

each word that we say.

Is life now happy,

you’re bursting with joy?

Then sing songs of praise,

to our God employ.

The Lord, He listens,

to each word we raise;

He’s true forever,

hope for all our days.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can come to You and pray to You and praise You, no matter what is going on. Thank You that in our times of need, You hear our requests presented before You. Thank You too, that when we are overwhelmed by the goodness and blessings in our lives, You receive our songs of praise, as a fragrant offering before You. Forgive us for not seeking You in all things and at all times. Help us to trust You more, so that when trials come, we seek You; and when joy abounds, we praise You. May we love people well, just as You so wonderfully love each of us. Lead many to a lasting relationship with You in this season of celebrating Your arrival. Be glorified O God, as we pray to You and praise You in all things. Amen.

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

God has brought me laughter, and everyone who hears about this will laugh with me. – Genesis 21:6

Breaking Free from Barriers

For Christ did not enter a man-made sanctuary that was only a copy of the true one; He entered Heaven itself, now to appear for us in God’s presence. – (Hebrews 9:24, NIV)

 

Christ went into the Most Holy Place. But it was not the man-made one, which is only a copy of the real one. He went into Heaven, and He is there now before God to help us. – (Hebrews 9:24, ERV)

 

Before Christ came and sacrificed Himself on the cross, the high priest was only allowed to enter the Most Holy Place once a year to make atonement for the sins of the people with a blood offering. When Jesus came and suffered on our behalf, He broke down the barriers that limited our access to the presence of our great High Priest. When Christ sacrificed Himself, the price was paid – once and for all. No longer do we have need for an earthly mediator to communicate with God. Jesus is seated at the right hand of the Father, continually contending for us. We are seen through the veil of His righteousness, and received as coheirs with Christ. Let us boldly approach the throne of mercy and grace, as we seek to serve Him all of our days.

 

No barrier,Breaking Free from Barriers

exists between;

a longing heart,

and Christ unseen.

Each honest cry,

by Heaven’s heard;

our great High Priest,

values each word.

Look to the Lord,

in suffering;

let gratitude,

from our lips, sing.

Direct access,

to His mercy;

let love and grace,

set our hearts free.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your one and only Son to make the way for us to have direct access to You. Thank You Jesus, for enduring our sin and shame on the cross. Thank You for conquering the grave and returning to the right hand of the Father, so that You can advocate for us. Forgive us for our foolishness that thinks that we have to do or be enough to somehow earn what You freely give. Teach us to embrace Your mercy and grace, and to go forth in gratitude to serve. May we extend Your love and light to all those whom we encounter, and may many come to know You, personally, as a result. Be magnified as we move past every barrier that might hinder us. Amen.

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

Your righteousness reaches to the skies, O God, You who have done great things.  Who, O God, is like You? – Psalm 71:19