Hope in the Unseen

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

Where our hope may dwell;

Complete assurance,

As fear He dispels.

Though we may not see,

Things hoped for, quite yet;

We’re in the Lord’s hands,

We mustn’t forget.

Our God is greater,

Than all that is seen;

He hears our heart cry,

And shows what hope means.

 

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

 

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

 

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

Wise with Words

When you talk, you should always be kind and wise. Then you will be able to answer everyone in the way you should. – (Colossians 4:6, ERV)

Let your conversations be gracious and attractive so that you will have the right response for everyone. – (Colossians 4:6, NLT)

Make the most of every opportunity. Be gracious in your speech. The goal is to bring out the best in others in a conversation, not to put them down, nor cut them out. – (Colossians 4:6, MSG)

 

First, in a season of so many unknowns, it is difficult to speak with any sort of wisdom about what lies ahead. That being said, kindness and grace must be intentional and come from Christ, or answers will not be the right response in the moment. Before I expand further on what I am learning about this through this whole ordeal, I know the update that so many are looking for ought to come first.

Yesterday, was another good day for mom. Her day was full of various therapy sessions, each one with intention and purpose to propel her to strength and independence. She was at the table in the dining area picking at breakfast when we arrived and handed her the “smuggled in” Frappuccino. From there we met with the social worker and case coordinator (whom I affectionately refer to as Thor and Llama, based on the collections in their office), as they reviewed mom’s rights and care information with mom, my sister and me. Next up was the OT extraordinaire, Stephanie (I think, so many names), who took her in to help her begin to relearn the whole showering process. Cleanliness is next to godliness, and she felt refreshed to have soaked in that warm water, rather than hospital shower wipes. Her least favorite rebuilding session so far was speech therapy. It had little to do with the who, and everything to do with the what. Due to where the stroke occurred in mom’s brain, she is experiencing some apraxia. For those non-medical folks like myself, the dictionary defines apraxia as a disorder of the nervous system, characterized by an inability to perform purposeful movements, but not accompanied by a loss of sensory functions or paralysis. To make it even simpler, based on observations, there has been a disruption in the connection between message sending and receiving for some words to actions, words to objects, and most certainly, thoughts to movements on the right side of her body. Speech is the space where she is made glaringly aware of the disconnect. It is difficult and frustrating, and an area where extra grace will be needed, for sure. Already the speech therapist will adjust the schedule to meet with her in two 30-minute sessions, rather than one longer sitting. As soon as we returned downstairs from speech, Sophie, the recreational therapist came in. Who even knew that was a thing?! Anyway, super sweet, and her job is to help mom get back to doing the recreational things she enjoys, so I made sure she was aware that the bar was extraordinarily high. Sophie was quite pleased. Next up was OT again to work on vision and upper body, then lunch, followed by PT. It was not Penny yesterday, but Kristen was equally lovely and encouraging, and PT is by far, mom’s favorite therapy session of the day. In fact, she was trying to negotiate trading speech time for more PT time. 🙂 We were able to go outside again after dinner, and enjoyed a movie together before I headed back home for the night. A few phone calls were made on speaker, which was huge for mom, as it was a start to regaining a connection to those not standing in front of us.

Anyway, back to the verse of the day. This whole situation is showing me more and more how critically important it is to seek the Lord and His grace to speak to others. We have now had two people in the last week, tell us (in front of my mom!) stories of their own family members who had strokes and died a few months later. Seriously? Not the encouragement, wisdom, nor words seasoned in the love of Christ that this girl’s heart needed to hear, nor the protector in me wanted ANYWHERE near my mom. I was gracious, but it took much self-control to not scream that I am not their therapist, I am fighting for MY MOM, and no nay-sayers allowed. I am well aware of the risks and reality of our circumstances. What we need is love and support, encouragement and most of all, covering in prayer. It is a strange place when I don’t know someone who cares deeply for mom, is super emotional, and I am an empath who refuses to emote. Too much weight. Additionally, mom doesn’t need to see others feeling sorry for her. She needs cheerleaders, encouragers, shoulders who are ready to rise up and walk beside her. It is biblical. It is right. There is an army that has risen, and for you, we are forever grateful. For those waiting in the wings, feeling uncertain of what to do; keep praying – Your prayers are fueling this fight!

 

O Lord let my words, img_2019-05-08_06-29-487932028719116438520.jpg

Be faithful and true;

Seasoned with kindness,

Reflections of You.

By Your loving grace,

May all that I say;

Encourage, build up,

Each day, Lord, I pray.

God grant me wisdom,

In each circumstance;

May Your truth be known,

Your kingdom advanced.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are the watcher of our words. Thank You that what is intended to harm, You use for good. Thank You that You guard our hearts, even though we may have moments of frustration of anger at what we hear, we can trust that You are greater and have us in Your hands. Forgive us for those moments when anger arises and our thoughts are less than godly toward others for the things that they say. Forgive us too, for the times that we have done the same. Not one of us is perfect and we all have fallen short and said the wrong thing at the wrong time, even with the best of intentions. Teach us how to lean on You to love and extend grace with wisdom through our words. Show us how to love like You to all those around us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to speak with wisdom and grace, ever extending kindness and grace to all those around us. Amen.

 

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

 

Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. – Colossians 4:2

Even in This

The Lord Himself goes before you and will be with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. – (Deuteronomy 31:8, NIV)

The Lord will lead you. He Himself is with you. He will not fail you or leave you. Don’t worry. Don’t be afraid. – (Deuteronomy 31:8, ERV)

And He will be leading you. He’ll be with you, and He’ll never fail you or abandon you. So don’t be afraid. – (Deuteronomy 31:8, VOICE)

 

Last weekend, Mom spent Easter with us. She let me know when she arrived safely home as promised on Tuesday, but I had not been able to reach her since. At first, I thought nothing of it, as she is a busy, social, love of a lady, who easily gets caught up in her wonderful community at home. On Saturday, my nephew, her grandson, had prom. My sister posted great photos, and normally, no matter how busy, Mom would be first to jump in and rave about how fantastic they were. However, we did not see nor hear a single response. By Sunday, both my sister and I were becoming a bit frantic, and I contacted some of her friends who live nearby. The most recent contact any of them had made, was Thursday. My sister contacted the police to make a non-emergent wellness check. To our horror, they found our mom, unresponsive. Thankfully, they had her sitting up and speaking a little before they had paramedics rushing her to the emergency room. What is known, is that she had a stroke. She is currently unable to move her right arm and right leg. Speaking is possible, but slow and difficult. Mom knows the answers to important questions, but after yesterday’s ordeal, was completely exhausted. This verse is what I will cling to, as we don’t know what this week, month or coming year will hold. What we do know, is that God is with us and will not abandon us, just as we will not be leaving Wenatchee while our mom is in the hospital. Fear is a liar, be it a loud one. Please pray with us for miraculous healing and full and complete recovery for our mom. She is more than any description I could write, and the only consistent grandparent that my boys know. To know her is to love her, as she loves with all that she is. As we were leaving the hospital so she could sleep last evening, she was listing food in the fridge that we might enjoy for dinner…

 

The Lord will lead us, img_2019-04-29_06-56-462555965120756472194.jpg

Despite how things look;

When storms come our way,

And our world is shook.

He’ll steady our hearts,

And show us the way;

To trust He is good,

And get through today.

When we’re feeling lost,

God will take our hand;

He’ll show us the way,

To walk out His plan.

And when we’ve no strength,

His is all the more;

Our God lifts us up,

As hope He restores.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are the Great Physician and that You love our Mom even more than we do. Thank You that You knit her together in her mother’s womb, and You know how ever synapse and connection works best. Thank You that You are a God who heals and restores, strengthens and leads. Father, we are trusting You. Forgive us for allowing fear to creep in. Show us Your strength and power and provision in ways we have never known before. Turn this trial into an incredible testimony, and bring beauty from these ashes as only You can do. Show us how to love Mom and all who are caring for her in the ways that bless and encourage best. May those who do not know You yet, come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, even in this. Amen.

 

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

 

Praise the Lord, my soul, and forget not all His benefits – who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases. – Psalm 103:2-3

Refreshment for My Soul

He refreshes my soul… – (Psalm 23:3a, NIV)

He restores my strength… – (Psalm 23:3a, ERV)

You let me catch my breath… – (Psalm 23:3a, MSG)

He makes me whole again… – (Psalm 23:3a, VOICE)

 

As I have been provided the opportunity to gather with dear friends this weekend, my heart holds onto the promise that He refreshes our souls. This particular group of gals and I have been dear friends for twenty-five years. We met in Montana as each of us was following the call to participate in Discipleship Training School with YWAM. Our time together back then was an intense six months, as we prepared and then traveled to our determined destination in Southeast Asia. Three of us landed together in Thailand, while the other two spent their outreach experience in Japan. That connection so long ago has held fast, and we are each blessed and refreshed as we try to make time to get together at least once a year for a weekend. Though each of our lives have gone different directions, there are common threads and shared experiences that bring our bond even closer. This weekend grants us each room to catch our breath, as we find time to laugh and simply enjoy the presence of one another as we share what has been happening in our lives. I love how God uses the people that He has placed in our lives to refresh, restore and encourage us as we navigate the path that He is leading us along. May we ever seek Him to restore our strength and refresh our soul, as He is the One who will make us whole again.

 

Be still, O my soul,

YWAM Girls

From the last time we gathered…<3

For there shall be rest;

He knows what we need,

And He loves us best.

He restores our strength,

When it’s all but gone;

Helps us catch our breath,

To end the day strong.

Our soul is refreshed,

Through His loving grace;

He grants what’s needed,

As we seek His face.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are loving and kind, and that You refresh, restore and make us whole again when we feel completely depleted. Thank You that it is not something that we need muster the strength to do, but rather it is in the seeking that You provide. Thank You for the gift of long-standing friendships that last. Forgive us for attempting to muscle our way through difficulties rather than seek You for strength. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would slow down and trust You to restore what is broken and refresh us in our weariness. Show us how to love those around us in a way that extends Your refreshment and restoration so that they might catch their breath and find strength in You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, Lord. Be exalted O God, as we seek Your refreshment and strength, as You alone, make us whole. Amen.

 

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

 

Father, I thank You that You have heard me. – John 11:41

What We Can Do

Never walk away from someone who deserves help; your hand is God’s hand for that person. – (Proverbs 3:27, MSG)

Do not withhold good from those who deserve it when it’s in your power to help them. – (Proverbs 3:27, NLT)

Do everything you possibly can for those who need help. – (Proverbs 3:27, ERV)

 

To love well, we must see the need around us and do what we can with what we have. Christ came and modeled what it is to not withhold good when it is within one’s power to help. His willingness to be present in the midst of people’s pain, is the very thing that helped them most. If healing was needed, He not only touched the physical ailment, but He heard their need and brought a love that truly listened, and healed hearts as well. Where there was hunger and seemingly not enough, Christ had the disciples share what they did have, and it was multiplied before their eyes. The very same power that was working in Jesus, is at work in us today. In the spaces where we think we don’t have enough time, talent, or resource, the Lord meets us and provides as we reach out and share what we have to help another in need. Often, the greatest need around us in others, is to be heard and known, as humans are designed to crave connection. May we navigate our days with our eyes open to see the need all around us, so that we might do what we can to be extensions of God’s hands and heart to a hurting world.

 

In our call to love,The Power of the Tongue

May we clearly see;

Help where it’s needed,

Give kindness; it’s free.

Do not withhold good,

But rather, choose give;

Whatever we can,

To better lives lived.

Whatever we do,

When love’s our command;

Is light to the world,

As God’s heart and hand.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You love us so well. Thank You for the people whom You have placed in our paths to show us Your hands and heart for us. Thank You that You call us to do what we can for those around us, just as You have done for us. Forgive us for neglecting the needs we see, or for allowing our hearts to become overwhelmed rather than seek You for direction. Teach us how to trust You more, so that we would seek You and Your guidance as to how we are meant to meet the needs we see. Show us how to love others as we are so lavishly loved by You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we do all that we can for those who need help around us. Amen.

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

And the Lord said, “I will cause all My goodness to pass in front of you.” – Exodus 33:19

For Our Freedom

Today, many of us are blessed with an extra day off.  The intent of this day is that we might honor veterans, both those whom have served, and those who are still serving.  An automatic response of mine, anytime there is such a day, is to make some sort of personal connection so that the day is more meaningful.  My mind instantly drifts to images of my late grandfather.  Though he is no longer with us, he was an incredible example of one who was willing to lay down his life for the good of his country, family, and friends.  He retired as a Lieutenant Colonel from the U.S. Army, and then went on to serve as a prison guard at one of the toughest penitentiaries on the West Coast.  Despite his ability to command the respect of men, he was tender, gentle and kind with his grandkids and loved ones.

Several of my former students have also gone on to serve in our armed forces.  I am so grateful for the sacrifices that so many men and women are willing to make, in order to preserve the freedoms we know and love.  As I read in I Corinthians this morning, the following verse is lived out daily, by those who serve: “Nobody should seek his own good, but the good of others.” – (I Corinthians 10:24)  May we listen for His voice, so that we too, may know how He would have us seek the good of others.

For freedom they fight,

so we may enjoy;

all that we now know,

our rights to employ.

This freedom’s not free,

cost much sacrifice;

time, blood, sweat and tears,

oft ultimate price.

Take not for granted,

these freedoms we know;

remember the cost,

and gratitude show.

Thank you all soldiers,

and those who support;

today we honor,

come close and consort.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the men and women who have answered the call to protect our country, near and far.  Please protect every service member, and help them to know how very near You are.  May each veteran and serving soldier feel honored today, and may we as a nation, be more supportive of our troops.  Forgive us for taking our freedoms for granted, and help us to do whatever You call us to, to honor and support those who are serving our country, and their families that are left behind.  Teach us how to trust You more, so that we may love like You in all things and at all times.  May the love that we show lead many to a lasting relationship with You.  Above all, be glorified through our every action.  Amen.

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

Unity in the Body

Unity is a necessary component for any group to grow.  In order to be unified, time and energy must be invested and mutual respect extended, or an organization will never truly become united.

As a department, the Language Arts team at my school was able to block out a few hours to meet together for a previously determined purpose.  We always begin with a time of connections, recognizing the importance of opportunity to simply air where each of us are coming from.  This tremendous team has inadvertently tapped into the importance of unity in a body.  Safety and confidentiality have been established (TRUST), and each of us are available to help one another as we are able.  Though we may not have accomplished as much of the task as we had intended, our team walked away from our time together, feeling more united and supported than before.

Paul was encouraging the people in Corinth to do the same, as he wrote the following: “I appeal to you, brothers, in the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another so that there may be no division among you and that you may be perfectly united in mind and thought.” – (I Corinthians 1:10) I don’t think that he meant that they had to agree about inconsequential things, but rather that they were to be united in purpose, and were to follow the ways of Christ, steering clear from the immorality that was widely accepted in society.  I am amazed that the very same appeal, still applies today.  The immorality that is widely accepted runs rampant, yet we are called to stand firm in our faith, staying true to our Father in heaven.  He is our Judge, not our neighbor nor our friends.  Ultimately, our decisions must be made by referring back to His word, and asking Him.

Together as one,Surrendered to See

in purpose and plea;

become the body,

through true unity.

Called to follow Christ,

stay true to His word;

let the Spirit lead,

not just what is heard.

Honor each other,

don’t argue and fight;

prefer each in love,

in purpose unite.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to be united together as a body in You.  Thank You that we are not meant to live out this life alone, but rather we are meant to walk together, learning and growing, side-by-side, so that we may strengthen and encourage each other.  Forgive us for any attitudes that can cause division among the body, and help us bring unity where it has been lacking.  Teach us how to come together as one in purpose, in You and for You, and may lives be changed on Your behalf.  Let our ability to be united appeal to those who are standing alone, and help all who come near, feel welcomed in.  May we love and welcome others in as You do.  Let lives be changed and hearts be healed.  Amen.

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