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

Courage to Do the Work

“Be strong and courageous, and do the work. Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord God, my God is with you.” –  (1 Chronicles 28:20a, NIV)

“Be strong and brave and finish this work. Don’t be afraid, because the Lord God, my God, is with you.” – (1 Chronicles 28:20a, ERV)

“Be strong, courageous, and effective. Do not fear or be dismayed. I know that the Eternal God, who is my God, is with you.” – (1 Chronicles 28:20a, VOICE)

 

In the same way that David extended these words of encouragement to his son, Solomon, as he was tasked to build the temple for the ark of the covenant, so too, does God extend the same to us, every time we step forward in faith to answer His call. These words feel a bit like a battle cry this morning, as Friday was probably my last “true academic teaching day” of the school year, and this morning, my last morning at home for several weeks. I am called and chosen to go and be with my mom, and I would not have it any other way; however, I am human, and there are elements of the unknown that cause me to constantly have to fend off fear, as well as a sort of grieving for the loss of the close of this school year with my students and time with my family and friends at home. God is good, and I know that He has called, chosen and prepared my sister and me for such a time as this. He has orchestrated time off and supplied for our every need. We are surrounded, supported and loved; tangibly. Our spouses, children, family and friends have only encouragement and love to offer, and we are eternally grateful. We are strengthened and encouraged to be effective in the work that lies ahead, because of the warriors that are battling on our behalf, behind the scenes. God is with us, and with Him, we need not fear.

As for mom, the busy days continue with her transition day drawing nearer still. Yesterday, between her morning of therapy sessions and the excitement of my brother-in-love and nephews arriving and spending time with she and my sister, she was completely exhausted and ready to call it a day, shortly after dinner. There are two wonderful things about this, as I pause to ponder what took place. First, mom advocated for herself, and let it be known that she was tired and ready to rest. (Of utmost importance, as the brain continues to heal and repair itself during rest) Second, I imagine some of her decision was the hostess in her, that desperately desired Meg to spend some time with her fellas. That too, is another indicator of her healing, as more and more of her usual ways become evident in all that she says and does. Selfless and loving, preferring others above herself, I imagine she wanted desperately for her girl to have time with her husband and boys, and she figured the rest would do her some good as well. Win. Win.

 

Be strong, take courage,

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An early morning view from Mom’s deck. ❤

For we’re not alone;

We’re called and chosen,

And completely known.

We’ve nothing to fear,

With God by our side;

No mountain’s too great,

Nor valley too wide.

Do not be dismayed,

When things seem go wrong;

For God is present,

And He’ll make us strong.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You never leave us nor forsake us, even when the road ahead seems intimidating in the unknown. Thank You that we’ve nothing to fear, for You are always with us. Forgive us for allowing the unknowns to intimidate us into fearfulness. Teach us to depend on You to be our strength and resolve, trusting You to lead us and guide us, every step of each new day. Show us how to love those around us well, so that they may be strengthened and encouraged and shown Your love in tangible ways. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust in You to be our strength and resolve in all things. Amen.

 

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

 

We also pray that you will be strengthened with all His glorious power so you will have all the endurance and patience you need. May you be filled with joy. – Colossians 1:11

Strength and Help Supplied

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with My righteous right hand. – (Isaiah 41:10, NIV)

Don’t worry – I am with you. Don’t be afraid – I am your God. I will make you strong and help you. I will support you with My right hand that brings victory. – (Isaiah 41:10, ERV)

Don’t panic. I’m with you. There’s no need to fear for I’m your God. I’ll give you strength. I’ll help you. I’ll hold you steady, keeping a firm grip on you. – (Isaiah 41:10, MSG)

 

The saga of moving and cleaning the old house was met with grace and strength. All five of us, (my Viking, my bonus-son-to-be, my boys and me) worked tirelessly yesterday to finish all that needed to be done. By mid-afternoon, everything was a wrap. After everyone had time to shower, pack and load up, we were on our way. God kept our tired crew safe as we traveled east over the pass to my mom’s house to begin preparations for Saturday. The weather was cooler than it has been, which was a huge blessing for preventing our older motorhome from overheating too often. Each of us was comfortable and content as we drove to our destination. As I sip my coffee and enjoy the quiet of the morning while the fellas all still sleep, I find that I have no worries and no fear. I know God is with us, and that He will uphold and help us with all that is yet to come. May we ever place our trust in the Lord, who holds us steady and will never let us go.

 

No matter what comes, wp-15320047487975195601837310296282.jpg

I’ve no need to fear;

I am in His hands,

And I know He’s near.

All strength and His help,

Are granted to us;

As we trust in Him,

Our Savior, Jesus.

So be not afraid,

And trust in the Lord;

He’s faithful always,

All grace He affords.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your goodness and grace that strengthens and helps us as You hold us by Your righteous right hand. Thank You that we need not fear, for You are with us; always. Forgive us for our times of doubt and teach us to trust You more. Show us how to love those around us with Your strength and help, as You supply all that we need to walk in Your ways. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we fear not and trust You to be our strength and help in all things and at all times. Amen.

 

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

 

The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in Him, and He helps me. My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise Him. – Psalm 28:7

Nearness Fends Off Fear

You came near when I called You, and You said, “Do not fear.” – (Lamentations 3:57)

Why is our default fear or panic, despite the ongoing faithfulness of God? Every time I call on the Lord, He is faithful to answer, and reminds me that I need not fear. His presence is tangible, and His heart for me is made evident. Though His answers are rarely what we expect, and His timing is not our own, the Lord listens to every whisper of our heart, and every prayer raised in faith before Him. Each time fear, anxiousness or panic begins to press in, I have to remember that His words to us are, “Do not fear.” Greater is He that is in us, than anything that is in the world. That includes every struggle, situation and circumstance that we find ourselves in, as He knows the outcome before we even face the challenge. Our charge is to call on Him and to trust. He will meet us every moment, and carry us when we are no longer able to keep moving. He is good, and His heart is always for us, no matter how things appear. May we draw near to our faithful Father, as He holds our hands and hearts, and says to us, “Do not fear.”

When we call on Christ,ç€À

He hears every word;

faithful to answer,

as our voice is heard.

From our heart to His,

He’s faithful and kind;

worthy of our trust,

Most Holy, Divine.

He says, “Do not fear,”

for He is enough;

no challenge too great,

nor trial too tough.

Greater is the One,

dwelling within me;

than all that we face,

or ever will be.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You come near when we call on You, and that You remind us to fear not. Thank You that no matter what comes our way, You are greater than anything that attempts to come against us. Forgive us for forgetting how near and powerful You are. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would not fear when storms rage around us, but rather would cling to You, the anchor of our soul. Lead us to love others in such a way, that they too might see the strength and nearness found in You, and recognize that with You, there is no need to fear. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we call on You and trust Your presence to keep fear far from us. Amen.

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

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

His Hand is Our Help

For I am the Lord, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you. – (Isaiah 41:13)

 

Have you ever been in a scary space of waiting? That place of uncertainty where desperation is beginning to creep in, and as you cry out to Christ, you cannot help but feel afraid? Currently, I am in a holding pattern that could be quite costly if Christ does not move in a mighty way, and quickly. I know He is far greater than my circumstances, but in my humanity, I cannot help but fight the fear. His presence is very real. I have known Christ in a tangible way since I was quite small. His faithfulness has been shown to me over and over again, throughout my entire life, yet I still find that fear creeps in. This morning, I needed this concrete reminder of Who exactly is in charge. The Lord, my God, will take hold of my hand, and He tells me to not be afraid, and that He will help me. This, this is reassurance. No matter what I see, or what I feel, He is in control. My job is to trust. Sometimes, the hardest part is actually extending my hand to reach for His, for fear that His hand will not be ready to take mine. That being said, He is always there waiting. Never will He leave us, nor forsake us. On Him alone, can we depend. may we reach out our right hand, past the point of fear, and allow the Lord to lead us and help us through our every circumstance.

 

In uncertainty,Compassion in Confrontations

when I am afraid;

I’ll reach out to You,

where all fears must fade.

For You take my hand,

and say, “Do not fear;”

and You are my help,

my hope that stays near.

No matter what’s seen,

Your truth shall remain;

You are far greater,

and make my path plain.

Lead me, Lord Jesus,

no matter what comes;

hold fast to my hand,

let Your will be done.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are the Lord, my God, who takes hold of my right hand and tells me to not be afraid, because You will help me. Thank You that You are greater than any circumstance that comes our way, and that You are more than enough. Forgive us for our fears and lack of faith when trials come our way, and teach us to trust You more. Lead us to reach out our right hand with an unwavering faith, knowing that You are already there, waiting to take hold of us and lead us on the path that You have prepared for us to go. Show us how to love others with Your love, so that many may come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we take Your hand and walk forward without fear, trusting You to be our help. Amen.

For a song that brings great reminders of His reassurance: Your Promises by Elevation Worship.

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

Show me Your ways, O Lord, teach me Your paths; …my hope is in You all day long. – Psalm 25:4-5

Hold My Hand

Just as many of us were blessed with mothers who took us by the hand when we were afraid as little children and walked us into the new and the unknown that was frightening, so too, will God do for us now.

 

For I am the Lord your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you. – (Isaiah 41:13)

 

Though my mom is a mighty woman in whom Christ dwells, my God is far greater. He sees me as His daughter, and will not hesitate to take hold of my hand and lead me through the scary spaces that I am called to walk.

 

When I am afraid, I will trust in You. – (Psalm 56:3)

 

The Lord is our help and our hope, and His intent for us is not to stay stuck in fear. He calls us to look to Him, and allow Him to hold our hand and lead us in His strength into the trials where terror once reigned. God is greater than anything that we face, and His strength is mightier than any weapons formed against us. We need not be afraid, when we place our trust in Christ. May we go forth this day celebrating the strength that God has placed in His daughters; as birth mothers, adoptive mothers, spiritual mothers, and those ladies who love others well, as they have released fear, and simply chosen to love, just as the Lord has called them to do.

 

Take me by the hand,mother and child

when I am afraid;

for You are my help,

I’ll not be dismayed.

I will choose to trust,

in Your strength, not mine;

for You are the Lord,

most holy, divine.

Thank You for the ones,

whom You’ve given us;

the mothers who’ve shown,

the heart of Jesus.

Help me too, to walk,

with a heart like Yours;

so fear melts away,

and Your strength endures.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our God who takes hold of our hand and tells us to not be afraid. Thank You that You are our help and our hope. Thank You that when we trust in You, we need not fear. Thank You for the precious gift of mothers, grandmothers, aunts, sisters, and wonderful women that You have blessed us with to demonstrate Your strength in action. Forgive us for allowing our hearts to stay stuck in fear, and help us to extend our hearts and hands to You, as You are our help and our hope. Teach us to trust You more, so that our immediate response is to reach for You. Lead us to love others well, just as You call us to do. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, Lord. Be glorified O God, as we take hold of Your hand and trust Your help to walk us through the fearful places, in Your strength. Amen.

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

Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God. – 2 Corinthians 3:5

Upheld By His Hand

Change is inevitable. At times, change is a choice that we embrace and make with enthusiasm, yet there are other times that change must occur in response to our present circumstances. During the latter, we seldom are responding with enthusiasm, and often it is instead a space of fear or dread. There is sorrow in such seeking, and a desperate need to know that the Lord is present in the catalyst of change that we feel called to make. Our difficult decisions for change that Christ calls us to, He also strengthens and upholds us as we move forward in faith.

 

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with My righteous right hand. – (Isaiah 41:10)

 

Despite how things appear in the here and now, when Christ calls us to change, it is for our ultimate good. Though there may be a season of mourning, His joy does come again. We need not fear, for His presence is promised. We need not dismay, for we know Who is with us. He will strengthen, help and uphold us with His hand, not our own. It is not up to us to power through, rather we are meant to move in obedience; dependent on Him, each step of the way. May we release every fear to He who is our strength and our help, and trust Him to uphold us in His righteous right hand.

 

Lord help me embrace,Generous Giving

what You call me to;

though changes are hard,

I have help in You.

Even when sorrow,

accompanies change;

help me to trust You,

and call on Your Name.

Lord, help me not fear,

keep me from dismay;

be my strength and hope,

as I choose obey.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we need not fear, because You are with us. Thank You that we need not be dismayed, for You are our God. Thank You that You strengthen and help us; and that You hold us up in Your righteous right hand. Forgive us for our fearfulness, in spite of Your faithfulness. Teach us to trust You more, so that we will be certain of all that You have promised and walk in obedience accordingly. Lead us to love others fearlessly and relentlessly, even if they are afraid to receive the love that You are providing. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, Lord. Be glorified O God, as we surrender our fears and our fretting, and choose to embrace the strength and help that you provide as You hold us up in Your righteous right hand. Amen.

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

The joy of the Lord is your strength. – Nehemiah 8:10