As He Loves

My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. – (John 15:12, NIV)

This is what I command you: Love each other as I have loved you. – (John 15:12, ERV)

So this is my command: Love each other deeply, as much as I have loved you. – (John 15:12, TPT)

 

I am beyond blessed to have so many people in my life who model this very sort of love toward me on a regular basis. This weekend, I have been reminded especially well, of just how much God loves me, as He has made His love tangible through the people whom He has intentionally placed in my life. Though this past year has not unfolded exactly as one might have hoped nor expected in the first year of marriage and as I roll into the start of my forty-eighth year of life, I can clearly see God’s hand in it, and have been held, strengthened, encouraged and carried, every step of the way. Many spouses would not be so fortunate to have the blessing of their husband of nine months, and their seventeen-year-old twins, to go and care for their mother after a stroke. Mine, however, said, “Go!” Each weekend, my husband has faithfully driven the three hours to come see me, and have made sure to speak with me and encourage me daily on the phone, (the boys join him as often as their schedules allow). This weekend was kicked off with my running bestie on Friday evening through Saturday morning, followed by my husband and boys on Saturday at midday, and as the fellas prepare to leave this afternoon, my best friend will arrive to stay a quick overnight as well. Not only am I blessed and encouraged by their visit and presence, but mom is too. It is only fitting, as she is the reason that I am here. As this week continues, Megan will return and I will head home to go on an escape for our first anniversary trip. God is good, and I have learned to love more deeply in the last three months than I ever knew possible prior.

As for mom and her progress yesterday, she accomplished another new milestone with her grandsons cheering her on! Mom walked the entire length of her hallway, twice! That is one-hundred and twenty feet, unassisted. I love watching the recognition of new progress on mom’s face each time she conquers new milestones. There is a visible flood of hope that fills not only her face, but her entire being. It is almost as if she could jump out of her chair and dance down the hallway with excitement. So much joy. Another accomplishment was tackled as we went out to dinner as a family. Being out in public is not her favorite, and I imagine the idea of sitting in a restaurant makes her feel especially vulnerable. Thankfully, the place we selected was fairly quiet, and we were at a table in a room where there were nearly no other patrons. We enjoyed our meal together and did not have any issues navigating the space. After dinner, we returned home and played several rounds of our family favorite game, Dirty Marbles. It is a sort of combination of Chinese Checkers and Sorry, and gets quite competitive. Each of us ended the day full, happy, and knowing how truly loved we are. I could not think of a better way to close out my 47th year. 😊

May we ever recognize how God loves us so well, and go forth and love as we are loved.

 

We are commanded, img_2019-07-14_07-32-527808805951401243208.jpg

To love as we’re loved;

Give as we’re given,

From the Lord above.

For all that God gives,

Within, multiplies;

So we might go forth,

And love with delight.

For each time we choose,

To love like the Lord;

We help others know,

How much they’re adored.

The Lord loves us all,

His most treasured ones;

May we trust in Him,

And love like His Son.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You only ask of us that which You already have shown us in countless ways. Thank You that Your love is tangible. Thank You for the treasured gift of family and friends whom You place in our lives to show us what Your love really means. Forgive us for the times that we have not loved according to Your plan. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would love without limits and allow Your light to burn brightly through us to the world. Show us how to love those around us, especially those who are difficult to love or do not know how to receive the love You have to offer. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love others in the same way that You selflessly and generously love each of us. Amen.

 

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

 

Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever. – 1 Chronicles 16:34

New Feathers

But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. – (Isaiah 40:31, NIV)

But those who trust in the Lord will become strong again. They will be like eagles that grow new feathers. They will run and not get weak. They will walk and not get tired. – (Isaiah 40:31, ERV)

But those who trust in the Eternal One will regain their strength. They will soar on wings as eagles. They will run – never winded, never weary. They will walk – never tired, never faint. – (Isaiah 40:31, VOICE)

 

This morning, this verse has extra meaning for me. A few weeks ago, as I was getting mom ready for bed and she was very tired, she randomly said something about her feathers. I looked at her a little funny, and asked about her plumage. We both giggled, and she shook her head and said it was not what she was trying to say. However, looking at the ERV translation, perhaps she knew exactly what she was saying in her exhausted state. As she is healing and new neurological pathways are rebuilding, it is as if she is growing new feathers to fly. Her “feathers” are the key to restored strength to walk and move and reengage in the activities she longs to do once again. God is faithful, and I think He has a great sense of humor. We laugh often, even in the challenges of all of this. Each day I witness new strength and resolve, where new “feathers” are sprouting.

Yesterday was a wonderful day in every way. My Viking is here, and rather than just relax and visit, he worked tirelessly to assure that mom’s sprinkler system was back up and in working order. He trouble-shot and discovered issues we were not even aware existed. Incredibly, had he not, there could have been major issues with the hillside. Additionally, mom’s middle older brother and his wife came for a visit. We all shared dinner together, and a couple of rounds of a family favorite game. It was wonderful to watch the hearts of each of the two siblings soar in the presence of one another. Each one needed the reassurance of the other, to see that the other was okay, and was going to press on and persevere in faith. The two are in town a few more days, so we anticipate another visit or two prior to their return trip home. (I think being surrounded by the love of family encourages feather growth as well.) May we ever trust in the One who is our Source of strength, as He gives us feathers to fly; endurance to run without growing weary and perseverance to walk and not grow faint.

 

Lord, You are our strength, New Feathers

When weariness comes;

You form new feathers,

With each rising sun.

You help us to run,

Without growing tired;

To keep pressing on,

Ever inspired.

You are strength to walk,

When steps seem too much;

You hold out Your hand,

Grant Your loving touch.

Lord, help us rise up,

In the strength You give;

With new-found feathers,

Fly free and choose live.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we trust in You, we become strong again. Thank You that You renew our strength, granting fresh endurance and resolve to rise up and press on to all that You call us to do. Forgive us for our frustration and lack of perseverance when things don’t go the way we think they ought to go. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would ever seek You for strength, direction, and peace. Show us how to embrace the new “feathers” You are growing in us so that we may rise up and soar. Lead us to love those around us in a way that encourages, strengthens and supports others as they press on toward the prize to which You have called them. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust in You to be our strength forever. Amen.

 

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

 

Those who know Your Name trust in You, for You, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek You. – Psalm 9:10

Over Everything

Yours, O Lord, is the greatness, the power, the glory, the victory, and the majesty. Everything in the heavens and on earth is Yours, O Lord, and this is Your kingdom. We adore You as the One who is over all things. – (1 Chronicles 29:11, NLT)

Greatness, power, glory, victory, and honor belong to You, because everything in heaven and on earth belongs to You! The kingdom belongs to You, Lord! You are the head, the Ruler over everything. – (1 Chronicles 29:11, ERV)

All that is great and powerful and glorious and victorious and majestic is Yours, O Eternal One. Indeed, everything that is in the heavens and the earth belongs to You. The kingdom belongs to You, O Eternal One, and You are the head of it all. – (1 Chronicles 29:11, VOICE)

 

Everything is His. Sometimes, it is challenging to remember that. Yesterday began on very little sleep. Mom needed to get up a few times in the night, and my own heightened awareness seemed to get the better of me, stealing the precious time afforded between “get-ups”, and when she was ready to be up for breakfast a few short minutes after I gave in and got up to do my devotions, that was the end of any possible rest opportunities for me for the morning. Our day was filled with a good sort of busy, as dear “framily” whom we have known for nearly my entire life, stopped by for a quick hug and “hello”, on their way through to Leavenworth. Their visit was a wonderful boost for mom, and a great encouragement for all. The day unfolded with far more appointments than anticipated, as we ended up with a quick meeting with her case manager, a physical therapy appointment (that was indeed scheduled), and met the speech therapist for an entry assessment to determine a starting point for the work that will be done for recovery. During physical therapy, Victor had mom doing new and more challenging exercises than she had ever done before. We were all excited and encouraged by her strength and resolve to do the hard work, and discover new things that she is capable of doing right now. Her speech assessment went equally well, as Jim was thrilled with her starting point, and extremely positive about the outlook for her rehabilitation potential. Impressed with the connections she has already reestablished; he was grinning ear-to-ear as he entered his notes in preparation for what is yet to come. Once the dust had settled and everyone had gone, we had thoughts of watching a movie before dinner. Barely five minutes in,  mom recognized her own need for rest, and let me know she needed to go lay down. Rather than rest myself, I hopped online to determine whether or not Instacart is available in mom’s area. To my relief, it is, and I did some grocery shopping online, to be delivered within a few short hours. Upon completion, exhaustion set in. I spoke with my sweet spouse, and was in nearly meltdown mode. Thankfully, he is patient and kind, and simply offered words of love and encouragement in my depleted state. After a few hours, the delivery of our groceries, and a quick call to my sister, I woke mom for dinner. I’m not sure if it was dinner, the delivery, the check-in with my sister, seeing mom rested, my conversation with my Viking, or purely the grace of God, but I had a second wind that carried me through the remainder of the evening.

Everything belongs to God. My need for rest, mom’s sleep patterns, and the grace needed to get through. Last night, mom slept all the way until 3 am, which is huge, and not that far from my normal waking hours on a work day. I am far more rested this morning, and refreshed in the hope of a new day. God is good, and the victory is His as we navigate each step of this journey.

 

Yours is the greatness,

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This morning’s waking view. ❤

All power and praise;

Lord of the heavens,

And King of our days.

All of existence,

Is because of You;

Grace for the journey,

Your love sees us through.

Forever our hearts,

In awe, we shall stand;

As You hold us up,

In Your mighty hands.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that all greatness, power, glory, majesty and splendor are Yours, as everything in heaven and earth belong to You. Thank You that You are head over all, and that nothing is beyond Your reach. Thank You that You see us, hear us, and know our needs – great and small. Forgive us for forgetting how faithful You are, even in the little things. Teach us to trust You more, even for the things that seem insignificant. Show us how to love those around us in a way that helps others grasp Your glory. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You and trust all in Your hands. Amen.

 

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

 

The Father loves the Son and has placed everything in His hands. – John 3:35

Praises Rise in Trust

In God, whose word I praise – in God I trust and am not afraid. What can mere mortals do to me? – (Psalm 56:4, NIV)

I trust God, so I am not afraid of what people can do to me! I praise God for His promise to me. – (Psalm 56:4, ERV)

What harm could a man bring to me? With God on my side I will not be afraid of what comes. The roaring praises of God fill my heart, and I will always triumph as I trust His promises. – (Psalm 56:4, TPT)

 

As I sat at the kitchen table and watched the sun rise over the hills that surround us, I pondered the application of this verse. It goes far beyond “what can mere mortals do to me,” and really leaves us with our own space for filling in the blank. What can sickness, disease, fear, unknown, heartache, disappointment, obstacles, strokes, etc., do to me with God on my side? God is greater. I must allow His praises to fill my heart so that I allow trust to fill me, for His promises are “yes” and “amen”. He is good and His word endures forever. No mountain is too high, nor a valley too low, that His hand cannot reach to rescue, and hold us up.

Yesterday, there was a space of uncertainty as we navigated our first full day home with mom. After a bit of a startling beginning, as mentioned in yesterday’s post, we smoothed out the wrinkles a bit and began to learn a new sort of normal in her space. We knew we wanted to get mom outside, and Meg had work that had to be done. Mom was easily convinced to “supervise” me pulling weeds and shaping shrubs in the backyard from the deck, as I have limited experience in the finer art of gardening. (I was the heavy-hitting job girl growing up, as I preferred to mow the lawn and continued that track into adulthood) Any way, mom was an excellent tutor, patiently pointing out what were weeds and what were not, as I pulled and dug and collected and shaped. She was all smiles as she soaked in the warm rays of the morning sunshine and breathed in the familiar fresh air. A short while after lunch, mom had a follow up appointment with her new primary care physician. We had to make a change, as she needed a physician who specializes in working with stroke patients. This was a nervous unknown, and we were a little leery of the new. Her fabulous new physician set us all at ease from the moment she walked in. It was clear from the start that her purpose and intent for mom is the same as ours, and she got to work orchestrating all of the necessary hoop jumping and paperwork to set mom’s in-home care and therapies in motion. The appointment was not drawn out, but thorough enough to make sure that every question was answered, and we all left feeling as if we could breathe a bit more easily. We detoured to the grocery store on the way home so that one of us could run in for a few things for dinner, while the other of us waited in the car with mom. This time, Meg went in and I waited. Mom was exhausted after all of the anticipation, transportation, transfers and the new. By the time we arrived home, she was ready for a rest. We shared a wonderful dinner together, followed by a sweet movie before we all retired for the night.

Praises rise as we continue to trust, regardless of the unknown that lies ahead.

 

It is in the Lord, 0530190535_hdr7684487105677418242.jpg

Whose word I will praise;

Who I choose to trust,

And not be afraid.

No person or thing,

That comes against me; 

Is greater than God,

For in Him, I’m free.

Each new day I’ll choose,

Place all in His hands;

Trust Him to be God,

And His righteous plan.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your faithfulness, even when we feel fearful. Thank You that Your goodness and love know no end. Forgive us for fearing anything that stands before us that seems beyond our own abilities. Teach us to trust You more, as the end of our own strength is the very space where Yours begins. Show us how to love those around us in ways that exhibit Your faithfulness and grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust in You and give praise to You forever. Amen.

 

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

 

Those who know Your Name trust in You, for You, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek You. – Psalm 9:10

Knowing Our Own Need

In Luke 7:36-50, the story of Jesus being anointed by the sinful woman is unpacked. I love the scene that my mind’s eye imagines, as the Pharisee, who has invited Jesus to dinner, likely to show Him how “great” he was, was quite put out when this immoral woman showed up and began hanging out at the feet of Jesus. It even went so far as to record what Simon (the Pharisee) said to himself, “If this Man were a prophet, He would know what kind of woman is touching Him. She’s a sinner!” (Luke 7:39, NLT)

The sinful woman was fully aware of her sin. She was repentant as she knelt at the feet of Jesus and washed them with her tears and dried them with her hair. Additionally, she anointed his feet with perfume and continued to cover them with kisses.

Simon just did not get it. Jesus wanted to be sure that he did. He stopped Simon in his tracks, and told him a story of two men being forgiven their debts. One was forgiven a small debt, the other, a much larger debt. When Jesus asked Simon which man would love more, Simon was able to reply, “The one who had been forgiven more.”

It does not appear that Simon had some sort of great revelation for himself and his own need for forgiveness, but at least it seems he gained a glimpse of why the woman’s weeping and washing of Jesus’ feet with her hair was an act of worship.

This story has many points, but the two that stand out the most are that we need to recognize our own necessity to repent, and that it is not our position to determine a person’s heart when they come before the Lord. We all have a past, and those who have been forgiven much, love much. May we ever seek the Lord and His forgiveness, so that we may go forth and love as He loves.

 

There’s no “good enough”,

caught-in-awe-sylvia-carlton

Artwork by Sylvia Carlton

Nor penance required;

Instead, we can come,

Presence is desired.

Jesus says draw near,

Despite where we’ve been;

He longs to forgive,

Wash away our sin.

As we choose take pause,

Truly recognize;

His mercy granted,

Great love realized.

As we’re forgiven,

Let us likewise love;

So others too know,

Hope in Christ above.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You show us such beautiful examples of forgiveness and gratitude for Your mercy and grace. Thank You that You call us to be gracious and merciful as You are full of mercy and grace toward us all. Forgive us for the times that we either viewed others as less than, or ourselves as more than we should. Teach us to see ourselves and others through Your lens – as loved and in need of a Savior. Help us to love well, all those around us, so that they may see Your heart through our mercy and grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love without limits, and forgive as we have been forgiven. Amen.

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

The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. – Galatians 5:22-23