It is Well With My Soul

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what 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)

Now faith brings our hopes into reality and becomes the foundation needed to acquire the things we long for. It is all the evidence required to prove what is still unseen. – (Hebrews 11:1, TPT)

 

Faith trusts that what we hope will actually come to pass. Both faith and hope are required to navigate this season of life, as I walk so closely beside mom, in these months following her stroke. We hope for a full recovery, and have faith that she will attain independence and regain what was lost. In the beginning, we did not see much at all; it was completely a matter of believing in that which we could not yet see. Now, as we are a few months into her rehabilitation and recovery, there are mile markers along the way that encourage hope and fortify our faith, though we still do not see fully, that which we are hoping for. God is good and He is faithful, as He shows us what we need, as it is needed. Progress seems painfully slow by human standards, but when we pause and reflect, it is actually miraculous that mom is able to walk the full length of her hallway twice, by herself with her walker, when nearly three months ago, she could not even move her right side at all. Furthermore, there is proof found in the hearts of those most closely impacted by mom and how she is navigating this ordeal. I know that for myself, my spouse, my sister, my children, and her dearest friends, we have all learned to love more deeply and hope more firmly in faith, as we have walked beside her and have witnessed in wonder, her perseverance and positivity, even when the road has seemed impossibly long and difficult to navigate. Faith in what we hope for is exactly what brings reality into existence.

The milestones overcome yesterday were not so much physical feats, as much as fears conquered for mom. She knows how much I desire to move and be outdoors, and for the last nearly three months, I have had little time to do either. I had mentioned that it might be nice if we all went down to the river walk together for a little stroll, but did not push nor place much weight on it, as I needed it to be her decision. Incredibly, she threw caution to the wind, and determined that we ought to go down by the river for a wander. My husband, children, mom and myself, walked (pushing mom in her chair) for over an hour! Mom had given me the gift of movement, and herself the realization that she was indeed safe to go beyond the barriers of a drive-thru or a small restaurant. Her smile, as evidenced in the photo below, shows that it fueled her heart as much as it did mine. My love of the outdoors was nurtured from an early age by her, and she too, needs to be out and moving. I think getting out was a wonderful reminder of just how much it benefits us both. After the riverfront, we came home and enjoyed visiting together until after lunch. Upon our return, we were greeted by my best friend, who had driven over to stay a night to celebrate my birthday too. As we said our goodbyes to Mark and the boys, the ladies and I began to visit a while. The second milestone of the day came when a dear friend called to see if she was up for a visit with another mutual friend, whom my mom had not seen in twenty-five plus years. At first, mom said, “no”. When I told her it would be in a few hours, she softened, and said okay. I was both pleased and amazed. The three ladies had a wonderful visit together, and I was able to visit with my bestie. After they had gone, the three of us had an amazing dinner and we taught Robin our favorite game. The day drew to a close, and each of us could confidently say, “It is well with my soul.”

 

Hope is the anchor, img_2019-07-15_08-15-465369529854207780981.jpg

That faith holds onto;

Trusting in the Lord,

That His word is true.

Hope for the unseen,

Below raging seas;

Calm in the chaos,

Peace He brings to me.

Faith to rest assured,

That He’s ever near;

Making our path plain,

As His love is clear.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the faith and hope that You grow in us when we turn to You in trust. Thank You that You will take faith as small as a mustard seed, and grow it into something great. Forgive us for allowing our fears and failures to stand in the way of Your goodness and grace. Teach us to trust You more, as You are able to do immeasurably more than we could ever hope or imagine. Show us how to love those around us in a way that encourages hope and strengthens faith. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust in that which we cannot see and have faith in that which we know we can hold hope forever. Amen.

 

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

 

For the word of the Lord is right and true; He is faithful in all He does. – Psalm 33:4

Strength for the Soul

As soon as I pray, You answer me; You encourage me by giving me strength. – (Psalm 138:3, NLT)

When I called to You for help, You answered me and gave me strength. – (Psalm 138:3, ERV)

On the day I needed You, I called, and You responded and infused my soul with strength. – (Psalm 138:3, VOICE)

 

Every single day, whether with mom or on a brief furlough home, God is faithful to meet me when I pray. Sometimes, who am I kidding, most often, the prayers of my heart are simply, “Oh God, please help!” He is faithful to come and bring clarity in chaos, and calm in moments of distress. Last night, when mom woke for the third time in a matter of four or five hours, I knew there had to be something waking her. I slowed down, asked for help, then gently asked mom if she was okay. She said she was, but I noticed she kept touching her right shoulder. I asked if it was bothering her, and she replied, “yes.” When I offered to grab her some ibuprofen, she accepted. After that, she slept soundly until a reasonable time to rise. Sometimes, strength comes through a few solid hours of consecutive sleep. Other times, it rises up as the soul is infused with the strength of our Savior at work in our hearts. Either way, He is good.

As for yesterday, it was transition day, as I arrived back in Wenatchee late morning. It was a fantastic reunion, and as always, wonderful for mom to have both of her girls at the same time, even if only for a few hours. To celebrate, she determined she was willing to venture out so that we could all have lunch together. For me, this was a joyful first experience with mom since her stroke, and wonderful to watch her willing to spread her wings, be it ever so hesitantly. We decided to try The South, down at Pybus Market, as we were getting an early start and should likely beat the typical Sunday lunch crowd. Our estimation was correct, and there were only two other tables occupied in the whole establishment. We had a wonderful lunch together, and enjoyed the view near the river in the company of each other. After lunch we returned home, and before we knew it, it was time for Megan to leave for the airport to fly back home. Mom and I had a mellow evening of movies and exercises, as we were updated with Meg’s travel status as she went. Today, we return to a more typical week, kicking off the day with physical therapy at 8:15 this morning.

My prayer is for strength to continue to abound all the more in mom as she rebuilds, and for healing and recovery of her right arm that seems so painstakingly slow. May you know the faithful strength of the Lord as you seek Him.

 

God faithfully gives, 0707191208_hdr2314193726958669817.jpg

His strength as we ask;

He hears all our prayers,

Equips us to task.

So much more than that,

His love knows no bounds;

Our heart in His hands,

In Him, we are found.

Choose call on the Lord,

And earnestly pray;

He hears and answers,

With strength each new day.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we pray to You, You give us the strength that we need. Thank You that You are loving and kind, faithful and true. Forgive us for the times that we neglect to trust in You. Show us again, how very faithful You are. Help us to love those around us with Your strength and faithfulness, so that they too, may be encouraged and lifted up in You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we pray to You and depend on You to be our strength. Amen.

 

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

 

It is God who arms me with strength and keeps my way secure. – 2 Samuel 22:33

Devoted and Delighted

Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourself. – (Romans 12:10, NIV)

Love each other in a way that makes you feel close like brothers and sisters. And give each other more honor than you give yourself. (Romans 12:10, ERV)

Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other. – (Romans 12:10, NLT)

 

Devoted love is a love that willingly chooses the other, regardless of how the recipient appears before them. To love with devotion is to be committed to caring and seeing the other person through, no matter what comes their way. Throughout my life, I have had such devotion in love modeled for me well, through both my grandmother, and my mom. My gram was a natural encourager and lifter of souls, as she loved with her whole heart and was committed to make sure that we all knew her heart for us, individually. Not only was I the recipient of her devoted love, but I was witness to the power it provided in the lives of those around me. Mom, her only daughter, has followed closely in her footsteps, as my sister and I still marvel at how she, as a single mom, managed to attend every game, concert, banquet, ceremony, etc., work full-time, manage a household, keep our home and yard beautiful, and always welcome our friends into our home with open heart and arms. Even as we have grown, married and had children of our own, mom has managed to be present at nearly all of the significant events in the lives of our children. She has driven hundreds of miles to be sure that each of her grandsons knows how proud she is of them, and she honors each of them and loves them lavishly.  With that as our model, how could my sister and I possibly choose do anything differently? With mom in a time of need, our only choice is to love with all that we are, and to delight in doing all that we can to honor whatever her heart desires. My favorite response to mom these days is, “As you wish.” She giggles every time I answer that way, but I know it delights her heart to know that she is loved as deeply as she loves others.

As for the practical application and fruit of devotion, yesterday was an incredible day for mom before my guys left to drive home! She determined that she would show them how she was doing with her walking in the hallway with her walker, and I had Mark stand and video so that we could send documentation to my sister. One of my guys followed behind us with the wheelchair in case she grew weary, and the other stood back to watch what would transpire. Incredibly, mom shocked us all, herself included, as she walked the ENTIRE length of the hallway! Prior to yesterday, she had only gone halfway unassisted. Happy tears were shared by all as we celebrated this incredible and hope-filled milestone. If she could double her distance in a matter of two days, imagine what will transpire in a matter of a few weeks?! We were beaming ear-to-ear as we sent off my guys to drive home. It had been a wonderful weekend together, and had ended perfectly. The remainder of the day was rather relaxing, as it was spent resting, doing a variety of mom’s PT and OT exercises, and movie watching. Sleep again went well last night, as there were only two wake-ups. We slept in longer than usual this morning, as our early breakfast time was nearly an hour later than we are accustomed. Today, mom has both physical therapy and occupational therapy, so I anticipate a great day ahead.

May we ever seek the Lord to equip us to be devoted to one another in love, and to delight in honoring each other above ourselves.

 

Devoted in love, img_20190630_100257_3922772888685512407775.jpg

Is love’s true design;

To prefer others,

And choose to be kind.

Honor each other,

Choose lift and build up;

Love through the trials,

And never give up.

Set down our own wants,

And see other’s need;

Love with our whole lives,

By God’s grace, proceed.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have shown us what it is to be devoted to one another in love and to honor others above oneself through the life of Your Son, Jesus. Thank You that You equip us to do the same. Forgive us for the times that we have set aside devotion or honor for our own agenda. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would be devoted in love and honor others, as You love and honor us. Show us how to love those around us in a way that makes Your love tangible. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose to be devoted in love and help us delight in honoring others above ourselves. Amen.

 

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

 

Protect me, for I am devoted to You. Save me, for I serve You and trust You. You are my God. – Psalm 86:2

Rest in Hope

Yes, my soul find rest in God; my hope comes from Him. – (Psalm 62:5, NIV)

I must calm down and turn to God; He is my only hope. – (Psalm 62:5, ERV)

Oh, I must find rest in God only, because my hope comes from Him! – (Psalm 62:5, CEB)

 

Again, a timely reminder, as it was the second sleep-compromised night in a row. Though I am one who can function well on less sleep than most, it will very much be a God-thing to navigate this day on a two-day streak of five and six wake-ups per night. My longest consecutive stretch of sleep last evening was the first one, as I think I slept from nine to nearly eleven. After that, there was never a solid hour in between wake-ups, and finally after I was able to get mom settled back in bed after the 4:00 am restroom run, I decided to just stay up. Even now, an hour later, I already hear her beginning to stir. And, she’s up; ready for breakfast. Incredibly, as tired as I was yesterday, God provided the grace, strength and hope to navigate the day well. We were able to get showers, a visit in with a life-long friend of my sister’s, have lunch, and complete a few drive-thru errands in town, prior to mom’s neurology appointment and the crazy downpour that brought flash flood warnings with it. Our time in the room spent waiting for the neurologist was actually quite entertaining, as the pouring rain and electrical storm provided an incredible show. I opened the curtains from the third-floor room, and mom and I watched and listened to determine how far away the lightning strikes were hitting. (The nearest was likely three miles away) Dr. Seamans was fantastic, and took time to explain more about mom’s stroke and recovery to her. After her appointment, we braved the rain to make our way back home. Mom was able to take a reasonable rest before dinner, and we enjoyed a couple of movies after that, while she practiced her PT exercises on the commercial breaks. Today, she has physical therapy at 8:30 am, and a physiatry appointment at 2:15. I anticipate great things for both, as she is determined and motivated for PT, and her physiatrist is the same doctor who oversaw her care in the acute care rehabilitation center. May we ever hope in the One who grants our soul rest, and sees our every need.

 

Find rest in the Lord, img_2019-06-28_06-18-185883162956947359640.jpg

For hope comes from Him;

He won’t let us sink,

He’ll teach us to swim.

No matter the storm,

Or spaces of lack;

The Lord is faithful,

To keep us on track.

Continue forward,

To all that He’s called;

Always we can trust,

As grace is installed.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can trust You to be our hope and our help in all things and at all times. Thank You that You provide the rest that our soul needs, even when we fear our bodies are going to give. Thank You that there is always enough in You. Forgive us for our frustrations when things seem to be going the wrong direction. Teach us to trust in You, rather than what we see. Show us how You are growing us through the challenges. Equip us to love like You, in all things and at all times, so that those around us understand the greatness of Your grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You to be our hope and strength and rest. 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

People With Purpose

A friend is always loyal, and a brother is born to help in time of need. – (Proverbs 17:17, NLT)

Friends love through all kinds of weather, and families stick together in all kinds of trouble. – (Proverbs 17:17, MSG)

A dear friend will love you no matter what, and a family sticks together through all kinds of trouble. – (Proverbs 17:17, TPT)

 

No truer words have ever been penned, as I have been overwhelmingly blessed and surrounded, each and every day since our whole world as we knew it, changed. Yesterday, as I drove home for the first time in three weeks, I was flooded with emotions that I could not quite identify. I was disgusted by the overgrowth of weeds in the yard, angered that I could not get my Jeep in the garage, and then stuck in an ugly emptiness I cannot quite describe, as I walked into the silent, uninhabited house. My husband was working, my boys at school, and my bonus son, upstairs sleeping soundly. There was no greeting; nothing to make me feel glad to be home, only stuck in a sorrowful space for having left my mom. My best friend sent a text, a quite timely one, asking me to go for a walk with she and her pups. She knew what I needed, better than I did, and I hesitantly agreed. After a good, long walk and talk with two happy dogs leading the way, I was in a much better space to return home and meet up with my boys, who were heading home from school, and ready to see me as well. The three of us enjoyed a late lunch together at a favorite local spot, then we returned home where the two of them retreated for a nap, as the end of the school year had caught up with them. Sadly, the silence again got to me, and I was left with my own angst. Determined to put the excess energy to good use, I went out front and began to tackle the weeds. By the time Mark made his way home from work, I had spent a few hours weeding, showered, changed, and was in a far better space; ready to enjoy our time together. Our evening flew by, as we ran a few errands together, and then ended up at the home of our besties on their deck for a visit, before heading home for the night. Up early this morning to share coffee together, he is running around now, making final preparations before leaving for his week-long motorcycle trip. The boys are preparing for a day at Sea Scouts, and I will spend the day with my best friend. Though things home are not how I might have hoped during my first trip home in so long, I am blessed with wonderful friends and family who love and support me faithfully through this most difficult season.

As for mom, yesterday was a far fuller day than originally anticipated. With an early start, mom was at the table for breakfast with me while I did my devotions and writing, hung out and visited and saw me off as I headed home, prepared for the day with Meg, had a visit from the nurse, went to an anti-coagulation specialist in town, returned home for speech therapy, had lunch, then finished off the string of appointments with physical therapy. Though long and busy, all appointments went extremely well. Speech therapy was especially encouraging, as it seems to be the fastest area of her recovery. It is incredible that each time the speech therapist comes, there is obvious improvement from the session prior. I imagine her visits with dear friends are contributing to the acceleration of her progress.

May we seek the Lord to give us strength to be the loyal, close friends and family to those around us who need our support.

 

Friends who are loyal, img_2019-06-15_07-54-322354392329068873074.jpg

And family close;

Oh what a treasure,

To be blessed with both.

As life ebbs and flows,

And trials do come;

Support’s a treasure,

From the Holy One.

A wondrous gift,

To be truly known;

And loved anyway,

It’s how God’s heart’s shown.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the gift of friends and family that You give to us. Thank You that You strengthen and equip them to be Your hands, heart and voice to us when we need it most. Thank You that Your love is made tangible through the people whom You place in our lives. Forgive us for allowing our circumstances to overwhelm us to the point of isolation, rather than allowing those whom You bring to walk beside us, by Your grace. Teach us to trust You more, and to receive all that You lovingly offer. Show us how to love those around us in a way that listens, helps, holds, encourages, and supports best, in the same way that You do for us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for the gift of the people whom You have placed in our lives with purpose. May we too, be such people for others. Amen.

 

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

 

Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. – Romans 12:10

The Mountains We Are Called to Climb

The Sovereign Lord is my strength; He makes my feet like the feet of a deer, He enables me to tread on the heights. – (Habakkuk 3:19, NIV)

The Lord gives me my strength. He helps me run fast like a deer. He leads me safely on the mountains. – (Habakkuk 3:19, ERV)

The Lord God is my strength; He will give me the speed of a deer and bring me safely over the mountains. – (Habakkuk 3:19, TLB)

 

Each translation of this verse speaks to my heart on a different level to encourage and reassure, reminding me of God’s faithfulness forever. Yesterday, was a powerful and uplifting boost for both mom and me. We each were blessed with a visit from our besties. Incredibly, I was able to coordinate with both ladies, a visit at the same time, so that each of us could benefit from the boost that a best friend visit brings. While mom and June were talking and laughing, Robin and I stole away for a walk-and-talk. For me, this was two-fold, as I am a creature who needs to get outside and move, and I was desperately needing time to connect and process with my bestie. Walking and talking in this gorgeous setting fulfilled both needs, and strengthened my soul. Interestingly, as we walked, we were joined by a sweet pup, who clearly was in need of companionship to enjoy a wander as well. Our escort dog acted a bit as a guardian, as she would run ahead, seemingly check out the area, and then return to us, as if to say that all was safe for us to continue on. We actually wondered if she was part deer or mountain goat, as the sweet pup was extraordinarily sure-footed on the hillside and steep terrain that surrounded us. As I pondered the verse above, there are so many parallels between this road we are “walking” and how God works to keep our footing secure and give us strength. Though it is clear that mom’s journey to recovery and rehabilitation after the stroke is similar to climbing a mountain, she also lives in a home, nestled in the foothills. Safety is paramount along this journey, and God has been faithful to continue to protect and strengthen us each as we travel this unknown path. Our day ended early yesterday, as both mom and I fell asleep in the comfy living room chairs, as we attempted to watch a movie. We determined that she ought to watch in her bed instead, as I finished up a quick load of laundry and took care of my phone calls home. We both slept well, with a two-hour stretch, followed by a five-hour stretch, from which she is sleeping still. God is good, as He grants us strength and makes our footing secure on this mountain to which we have been called to climb.

 

The Lord is our strength,img_20190607_161828_5992541206184016162390.jpg

Makes our path secure;

Enables our feet,

To tread without fear.

He brings us safely,

To the other side;

Where pastures are green,

And rivers run wide.

All that we shall need,

The Lord does supply;

We simply need trust,

On God, choose rely.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You do not leave us when we reach mountains that we are meant to climb. Thank You that You are the One who provides all of the gear, the guidance, the strength and security we need to safely travel the path You provide. Forgive us for the times that we only see a sheer face, rather than the path and provisions that You supply to make the difficult possible. Teach us to trust You more; for when we pause and look back from when we have come, we are able to marvel at the view. Show us how to love those around us in a way that encourages, strengthens and comes alongside those around us in a way that helps each person persevere on the path You have placed before them. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to be our strength and security as we climb life’s mountains with You. Amen.

 

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

 

Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path. – Psalm 119:105

Surrounded

“You will not have to fight this battle. Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the Lord will give you, Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Go out and face them tomorrow, and the Lord will be with you.” – (2 Chronicles 20:17, NIV)

“You will not have to fight this battle. Just stand there and watch the Lord save you. Judah and Jerusalem, don’t be afraid. Don’t worry, because the Lord is with you. So go out to stand against those people tomorrow.” – (2 Chronicles 20:17, ERV)

“Stand and watch, but do not fight the battle. There, you will watch the Eternal save you, Judah and Jerusalem. Do not fear or worry. Tomorrow, face the army and trust that the Eternal is with you.” – (2 Chronicles 20:17, VOICE)

 

After waking up and preparing my coffee, and settling to begin my devotions, I heard mom stirring in her room. Her movement is my cue to go check and see if she is ready to get up for a restroom run. Of course, she gladly took me up on the early morning offer, and after all was said and done, she determined that she would try to go back to bed and sleep a while longer. When I returned to my spot at the kitchen table with a view, the lyrics from a simple worship song kept playing on repeat in my head and heart:

This is how I fight my battles

This is how I fight my battles (repeats)

It may look like I’m surrounded 

But I’m surrounded by You (repeats)

(To listen, click here. )

As I looked in the word for similar, I found the story in 2 Chronicles, chapter 20. The gist is about God’s faithfulness in fighting on behalf of Judah and Jerusalem when they were surrounded on all sides. Reading verse seventeen, it was as if Jesus was saying to me: You will not have to fight this battle(alone). Just stand there and watch Me work. Shannon and Megan, don’t be afraid. Don’t worry, I am with You. Go out and take each tomorrow as it comes, for I will be with you. Now, I am not trying to twist scripture, nor change the meaning of a passage, but rather, I am attempting to share the encouragement gained from reading about God’s faithfulness to Judah and Jerusalem when they likely felt completely overwhelmed. For my sister and me, we too have had such “surrounded” moments as we navigate this road to recovery with mom. Just as the song came in like a flood and surrounded my heart and mind, so too has God’s faithful provision for mom, Megan and myself, when we needed it most. He knows our need and is full of goodness and grace, ready to move on our behalf. Personally, after my sister had to return home Thursday, I was a bit intimidated to take on the care giver role alone. I want to bless, protect, help and encourage mom every step of this journey as I love her well, and I feel completely inadequate and ill-equipped to do all that needs to be done. None of us are ever fully equipped nor prepared for the things to which we are called. I imagine that is part of God’s wise design. It keeps us dependent on Him to be our help, hope and strength, and helps us recognize His grace and provisions, both great and small.

Yesterday, mom and I were surrounded well by my husband and boys. It was so good to share meals together, visit together, and enjoy a family favorite game before bed. Watching the delight on mom’s face as she interacted with my guys, and the same look, mirrored on their faces, filled the places in my heart that were feeling a bit depleted. We have a bit more time altogether today before they head home, so I know that our cups will be fuller still, before the day’s end. May we ever seek the Lord to fight our battles, and know that we are surrounded by Him.

 

When life overwhelms,

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Surrounded by family. ❤ (Christmas 2018)

And battles rage on;

Turn in trust to God,

Whose help makes us strong.

Strong for the battles,

We’re chosen to fight;

Wisdom to listen,

Gain the Lord’s insight.

The courage to wait,

And trust in His plan;

Soak in surrender,

As for us, He’ll stand.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You fight on our behalf, even when we are unaware of how You are moving. Thank You that You are faithful to strengthen and equip us for each new day, and that You supply all that we need as the need arises. Forgive us for our fearfulness when we appear to be surrounded by more than we can bear. Teach us to recognize that we are actually surrounded by You. Show us how to walk by faith and not by sight, as You fight for us and through us. Lead us to love those around us well, so that they too may come to know and understand Your strength and grace and love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we fight our battles by surrendering to Your surrounding of us all. Amen.

 

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

 

For we live by faith, not by sight. – 2 Corinthians 5:7

To 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)

 

Who would have known how necessary and true these words would be in our present circumstances? Though I know that anger can be a stage of grief, the flashes of anger that I have experienced have been out of fierce protection, as people have not understood mom’s need for space and rest as she heals. Countless times, I have had to take deep breaths, listen to His still small voice, and speak with kindness to explain that mom is not able to have guests visit when she is tired or resting or simply not ready to see visitors at this time. I imagine it is extraordinarily difficult as one of mom’s friends, as she loves and is loved well by so many. As she transitions to her home this coming week, mom will need time to adjust to being back in her own environment and find her “footing” in her own space, before she is ever ready to receive visitors. Please do not just “drop by” or “come say hi”, or you will be met by one of her girls who is doing everything they can to listen before speaking and keep anger in check, but push too much, and you may see a ginger, snap.

Mom is continuing to work tirelessly in her therapies, as she is determined and focused. Her desire is set on regaining full movement in her right side, and each day she regains a little more strength and control of what was lost. Mom will be released to home in a wheelchair, as she continues to work on relearning how to walk and regain her strength and mobility. We are extremely grateful that her home is a rambler, so little needs to be done to prepare for her return. Additionally, because my sister or I will be with mom at all times, there is room to recognize anything that may need to be done in the future to make mom’s mobility more approachable for her on her own. Time and experience will be our best teachers. Please continue to pray with us for mom’s ongoing healing, for a smooth transition home, for ears to listen, mouths that are slow to speak, and anger to be kept in check as grace abounds so much more.

 

Lord, help us listen,img_2019-05-25_07-57-12278632563012603228.jpg

To be slow to speak;

To hear with our heart,

Let Your love repeat.

Keep anger at bay,

As it tries to rise;

The need to protect,

Fear’s ugly disguise.

God grant us wisdom,

Show us what to do;

To protect and love,

Bring honor to You.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to listen first, as I imagine that is why we have two ears and only one mouth. Forgive us for speaking without listening to Your still small voice first, or for allowing our anger to get the best of us. Teach us to slow down and breathe; to set all before You and allow You to show us what is righteous anger and what is not; what we are meant to do, and what we are not. Show us how to love people well, even when they do not understand the circumstances or expectations and frustrate us to the point of anger. May our choosing to love point they to a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we bring all things before You and choose to listen first and take our time before talking. Amen.

 

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

 

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. – Galatians 5:22-23

 

 

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,

0503192124_hdr5780951510696600713.jpg

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

Wrestling for Blessing

Then the man said, “Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel, because you have struggled with God and with humans and have overcome.”  – (Genesis 32:28, NIV) 

Then the man said, “Your name will not be Jacob. Your name will now be Israel. I give you this name because you have fought with God and men, and you have won.” – (Genesis 32:28, ERV) 

You will no longer go by the name Jacob. From now on your name will be Israel because you have wrestled with God and humanity, and you have prevailed. – (Genesis 32:28, VOICE) 

 

After twenty years of hard physical labor and dealing with a father-in-law who had repeatedly changed Jacob’s wages and the agreement that the two had made, Jacob determined to take his wives, children and livestock back to the land from which he had come. After a week of traveling with the massive group of folks and flocks, Leban, his father-in-law, caught up to the caravan and had a discussion with Jacob. After the tension subsided, the two men reached an agreement, and parted ways. As the journey continued, they group neared the land of Jacob’s father. Jacob was afraid of how his brother, Esau, would respond to his return. He selected a large number of his livestock to gift to him, and sent servants with groups of animals ahead, in hope of pacifying his brother. Once everyone had gone on ahead of him, Jacob met a Man, with whom he wrestled all night. The One with whom he struggled, told him to stop, but Jacob insisted that they continue until he was blessed by Him. Verse twenty-eight is the response given by the One with whom Jacob wrestled. Jacob had struggled with man and God, and now was receiving the blessing for which he was asking. Both commentaries that I read surrounding this passage, pointed out that with the change of name, came also, a change of heart. A personal encounter with God changed Jacob forever. Likewise, an encounter with God changes us forever too. Our persistence to persevere, even in the struggle, results in the Lord’s presence and His help. Though it is unlikely that any of us with physically wrestle with God Himself, (or an angel messenger, as different commentaries suggest that it was either God Himself, or one of His messengers) we will however, struggle with our circumstances and our faith. The more we seek Him, the stronger our trust becomes, fueling faith for every future endeavor. May we fearlessly wrestle with the struggles that come our way, as we depend on God to strengthen and sustain us, in all things and at all times. 

 

Though we may wrestle, f9d3a1df-a6ed-4149-9c89-54ddf9a6f9788443963905273144234.jpg

With our circumstance; 

Lord God, Almighty, 

Will help us advance. 

For as we seek God, 

He hears our heart cry; 

Strengthens our resolve, 

And hope to choose try. 

The blessings do come, 

As we choose persist; 

Hope, strength and His love, 

Things that prayer enlist. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You hear us as we call out to You. Thank You that though we may wrestle with our circumstances and our faith, You never falter, and hear our heart’s cry. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would run to You and lay our need before You, knowing that You hear and help those who seek You. Show us how to love those around us in a way that displays Your faithfulness, strength and grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we press on and pursue You in all things and at all times. Amen.

 

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

 

Blessed are those who keep His statutes and seek Him with all their heart. – Psalm 119:2