Steadfast Solitude

At daybreak, Jesus went out to a solitary place. – (Luke 4:42a, NIV)

The next day Jesus went to a place to be alone. – (Luke 4:42a, ERV)

Early the next morning Jesus went out to an isolated place. – (Luke 4:42a, NLT)

 

The fourth chapter of Luke begins with Jesus being led through the wilderness on His own, where He was tempted by the devil after forty days of fasting. Each time Jesus is tempted, He refutes the temptation with the truth of God’s word. The next portion of chapter four speaks of the various synagogues where Jesus spoke and taught and healed. By the time we reach verse forty-two, it only makes sense that Jesus would get away to pray and recharge, as people were constantly seeking to be in His presence. If Jesus, who is God in flesh, prioritized making time and finding space to be alone and pray, shouldn’t we? As an educator, coach, mom and a wife, I love hard, yet often feel spent by the end of the day. For me, creating space early each morning to rise, refresh and reset with my Redeemer, makes all of the difference. My day begins new, as I am recharged and reminded of what matters most before I actually encounter other humans. I know early mornings are not for everyone, but time and space to reset with God, ought to be. He is always available and willing to meet us where we are, and leads us to become more of who He has created us to become. His love fills us and His light shines through us, if only we choose to find time and space to be in His presence. May we be intentional to find solitude with God, so that we may reset and be refreshed, ever becoming more of who He has created us to be, so that we might love Him and love people well.

 

A time to reset, Hope in Discouragement

In the Lord’s presence;

Sets our hearts and minds,

With grace and reverence.

To be at our best,

We need solitude;

Time alone with God,

Align attitudes.

May we choose find time,

And create a space;

Be in God’s presence,

So we show His grace.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Jesus showed us that it ought to be a priority to seek time alone with You. Thank You that as we do, You meet us where we are and change us from the inside out. Thank You that Your heart for us is full of love and grace, and You fill us so that we may extend the same to those around us as we see Your face. Forgive us for not being intentional to seek time with You. Help us to discover the value of intentional solitude in Your presence. Show us how to love those around us in ways that clearly demonstrate Your goodness and grace, tangibly. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we look to You anew this morning, and praise You for Your faithfulness to meet us each time we seek. Amen.

 

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

 

But if from there you seek the Lord your God, you will find Him if you seek Him with all your heart and with all your soul. – Deuteronomy 4:29

Use the Gifts

Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. – (1 Peter 4:10, NIV)

God has shown you His grace in many different ways. So be good servants and use whatever gift He has given you in a way that will best serve each other. – (1 Peter 4:10, ERV)

Use whatever gift you’ve received for the good of one another so that you can show yourselves to be good stewards of God’s grace in all its varieties. – (1 Peter 4:10, VOICE)

 

One of the reasons that I love to coach is because I was blessed with coaches who encouraged and inspired me to be the best version of myself, both on and off of the playing field/gym floor. A gift that I feel God has birthed and grown in me, is one of encouragement. This is an asset for a coach, and one of the things that I enjoy immensely about the job that I have partaken in for the majority of my life. There is great reward in encouraging and helping young athletes grow, and such joy in watching them discover the fruit of their labor. This morning, I have an interview for a high school assistant gymnastics coaching position at our local high school. My experience has been coaching recreational and middle school gymnastics since I was sixteen, yet the high school arena is entirely new, barring my own experience as a gymnast. As a middle school head coach, this would be an incredible opportunity to learn the sport at an entirely new level. For me, the hope is to grow that which is already within, so that I may become better equipped to lead well, and to extend what I have to offer to this group as we grow together. God is good, and He is faithful. I am embracing the opportunity to learn, and will serve in this season, whether I am hired for the paid spot or not.

 

We’re all given gifts, img_2019-11-21_04-33-541632839495721985461.jpg

In various forms;

Intended to serve,

Blessings God affords.

Whatever we have,

We are meant to use;

To extend God’s grace,

Purposeful pursuit.

May we each go forth,

And serve as we’re called;

Operate in strength,

Through God’s love installed.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You create each one of us with strengths, gifts and purpose. Thank You that You provide new opportunities for us to grow and utilize that which we have been given. Forgive us for the times that we neglect to navigate in the strength that we have been granted, or attempt to be someone or something other than who we are created to be. Teach us to lean into You so that we would be confident in that which we are called and created to do. Show us how to love those around us in exactly the way that it is needed most. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we walk out our purpose in the gifts that You have planted and purposed in each of us. Amen.

 

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

 

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. – James 1:17

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