Finish the Work

Now finish the work, so that your eager willingness to do it may be matched by your completion of it according to your means. – (2 Corinthians 8:11, NIV)

So now finish the work you started. They your “doing” will be equal to your “wanting to do”. Give from what you have. – (2 Corinthians 8:11, ERV)

So now finish this, so that your eagerness in desiring it may be equaled by your completion of it, according to your ability. – (2 Corinthians 8:11, AMP)

 

This particular passage in context is talking about collecting for and supporting the Lord’s people in their work, as a church, yet I feel it is a bit of an encouragement and a reminder for me, to stay the course and focus on that which I have started until it is finished. It is extra challenging for me as I return to my classroom to prepare for the new school year, as I get caught up in the tug-o-war between wanting everything to look and feel just so, and needing to be certain that my plans are established and in place to create an environment that is conducive to learning and growing. Add to the mix my desire to try to fit in a summer’s worth of activities and visiting/catching up with friends in a matter of a few weeks, and I am challenged in my finishing of the work. God has given me the time, resources and desire to do the work, it is up to me to follow through. My plan is to dedicate a few hours each day to the task, so that I do not burn out and become overwhelmed, but rather remain eager to accomplish all that has been held in my heart. So far, this strategy has been working, and all of the touch up painting in my classroom is complete. I have purchased the main supplies that I need to start the year, and my next tasks will be ones of organizing and sorting. If I manage to tackle all things in my classroom, then the backroom will follow. I have ideas for that space as well, but it may require more than just me to conquer all that resides in that area. Either way, I am encouraged and challenged to finish what I have begun. He is good and will strengthen me to see all through until it is complete.

As for mom, she is continuing to do the work each day as well. Her day begins with walking and exercises to stretch and strengthen, and carries through as she engages in games and activities to further sharpen and hone her word recall and vocal strength. It is a joy to talk to mom at the day’s end, as I can hear the strength in her voice and the delay that used to be present as she searched for words, is no longer. God’s faithfulness is clearly evident as she continues to navigate this leg of her recovery journey.

 

We each have been called, Weighing the Why

To rise and do good;

The things we begin,

Finish as we should.

For He gives us strength,

And all that we need;

To complete things well,

In Him, we succeed.

So, do not give up,

Instead, persevere;

God will make a way,

As He’s always near.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to finish the things that we begin. Thank You that the things which we desire to do, You also equip and strengthen us to complete for Your glory. Forgive us for the times that we allow ourselves to get too “busy” or distracted to see the things we are called to complete all the way through to the end. Teach us to stay the course, so that we may honor You in all that we do. Show us how to love those around us well, as the good we do is for the benefit of those whom need the blessings. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we work unto You and finish what we start. Amen.

 

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

 

Being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. – Philippians 1:6

Ask for Answers

Call to Me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know. – (Jeremiah 33:3, NIV)

Call to Me, and I will answer you. I will tell you of great things, things beyond what you can imagine, things you could never have known. – (Jeremiah 33:3, VOICE)

Call to Me and I will answer you. I’ll tell you marvelous and wondrous things that you could never figure out on your own. – (Jeremiah 33:3, MSG)

 

I am not sure if it is the result of rest and a better night’s sleep, the reality of how short the time remaining in Wenatchee truly is, or if it is the enormity of my own gratitude for the safety and improving health of my loved ones. I know that is not everyone’s story, and I know that there are far too many grieving today in the wake of unnecessary tragedies across our nation. Though I know not the solution, God does. What I do know, is that we are called to love. Not just our family, friends and neighbors, but everyone. If we choose love, then perhaps we will recognize the hurt in others before it becomes too late. The call is daunting for sure, but if we choose kindness with one person at a time, it is far more manageable. Perhaps it is a matter of asking God to show us His heart for people. He sees and knows the heart. There is always a reason for words and actions that bring harm, and maybe, just maybe, the change we long to see in the world begins with us. In my own present circumstances, when I grow weary and frustrated, I ask God to show me what I need to know to be patient and kind. Usually, what comes the fastest, is the reminder of what it would be like for me if I suddenly lost my ability to do all of the things that I loved most, and had to rely on someone else for everything. The quick heart-check softens the edges of exhaustion quickly, and my love and resolve are renewed. May we continue to call on the Lord and ask Him for help, for He is faithful to show us what we need to know to navigate each day well.

As for mom, yesterday was a good day. Sleep wasn’t great, but we were able to rally anyway. After breakfast, showering, and some physical and occupational therapy exercises, mom determined that she was up for an outing. With a face-filling grin, my response was, “as you wish.” Driving along, following her directions, led us to the east side of town. A bit further along, she declared that she wanted to go to Macy’s. I was both pleased and shocked, as she has avoided stores, and really could use a few things that fit better. We ventured into the store and began looking around. She found a few things she liked downstairs, held them, and we took the elevator upstairs to search for an item or two more. The experience upstairs went well, and the fitting room had ample space for mom’s chair and the two of us so that she could actually try items on. Mom successfully found a few things that she really liked, and we headed to the checkout. It was such an encouragement to watch mom realize that she was okay getting out and participating in “normal” life again. From there, we of course went through Dutch Bros and then grabbed lunch at the Taco Time drive thru. All of the activity was a bit wearying, but mom did well and stayed up until bedtime. She did nod a little when we watched a movie in the afternoon, but had no desire to go lay down to rest. Hmmm… Wonder where I got that trait from?  Despite the hesitations and reservations about the unknowns that are yet to come for mom, I think the opportunity for her to part-take in and realize how much more she is able to do, are all part of what God is showing her to continue to prepare her heart for this next season.

May we ever seek the Lord, who is faithful to answer, to show us the things that we do not know or understand on our own.

 

O Lord God of love, fb_img_15572013665455142348901490916085.jpg

May we ever seek;

Your heart to show us,

Truth, when all seems bleak.

Out of the darkness,

Your love light can shine;

Transforming ashes,

To beauty, divine.

Show us the unknown,

The things we can’t grasp;

So we may love well,

Honor all You ask.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You show us the things that we do not know when we ask You. Thank You that You give us wisdom and insight so that we may love the way that we have been created to love. Forgive us for neglecting to seek You in the spaces where we lack understanding. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would always ask You for wisdom and guidance and insight. Above all, show us how to love those around us well. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You for understanding, as You already have the answers we need ask. Amen.

 

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

 

A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. – John 13:34

God Guides and Provides

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

Your word is like a lamp that guides my steps, a light that shows the path I should take. – (Psalm 119:105, ERV)

By Your words I can see where I’m going; they throw a beam of light on my dark path. – (Psalm 119:105, MSG)

 

The word of God is alive and active. It is not just some book of words recorded long ago, but rather it is a source of encouragement and wisdom as we traverse life’s journey. So often, when the road is bleak or unclear, I find comfort and peace as I await next steps. Right now, we are in a space of tying up loose ends here and making final preparations there, prior to mom’s move to the next leg of her healing journey. This week, she will have her final in-home appointments with physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech therapy, as her insurance has to end in Washington in July, in order to begin in Oregon in August. This creates a strange sort of gap in the in-between, but God has been opening doors and showing us ways to keep mom moving forward with her various exercises during the week she will be in Washington without any appointments, prior to moving. Additionally, the whole swimming option has added a beautiful new element of therapy that not even the professionals have been able to offer. God guides and provides every step of the way.

Yesterday was a day of visiting, as the day began with our final hours together with my love before he had to drive home, followed by dear pastoral friends of mom’s at mid-day, and a wonderful evening together with mom’s best friend and her husband, as we shared dinner, much laughter, and taught them our family favorite game. Our fantastic full day led to a solid night’s sleep, with only one wake-up. We both rose at a reasonable hour, rested, and are ready for a full day, as mom has both physical therapy and speech therapy, as well as a visit with friends, late this afternoon. May we trust in God and the goodness of His word, as He lights our path and makes our way clear.

 

The word of the Lord, The Word of God

In love, lights the way;

To walk in His truth,

Grants grace each new day.

No matter how rough,

Or bleak the road seems;

The Lord’s love light shines,

All things, He redeems.

The God of all grace,

Can do so much more;

Beauty from ashes,

And broken, restored.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your word is the lamp unto our feet and the light unto our path. Thank You that Your word is timeless and relevant. Thank You that You see us and know us, and You hear our every need. Forgive our fearfulness when we cannot see the path You prepare before us. Teach us to trust You more so that we would seek You and spend time in Your word to discover the path You are calling us to travel. Show us how to love those around us in a way that extends grace and kindness and peace, so that broken hearts and lives may come to know restoration and wholeness. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love You and thank You for Your word that guides us. Amen.

 

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

 

For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. – Hebrews 4:12

 

 

Strength in Love

I love You, Lord, my strength. – (Psalm 18:1, NIV)

I love You, Lord! You are my strength. – (Psalm 18:1, ERV)

I love You, God – You make me strong. – (Psalm 18:1, MSG)

 

Everything about God is good. From sunrise to sunset, His wonders and provisions never cease to amaze me. He grants strength when we are weary, hope when we despair, and joy when sorrow seeks to sink our hearts. I am not certain of what has caused the shift, but there has been a fortification of sorts in my heart that was not present prior. Where I was anxious, I find that I have trust; where I was weary and exhausted, I have renewed strength and hope. It may be in part the new strides that mom is making with her walking, but honestly, I think that it is a work that God is doing within me. There is no magical timeline of healing and recovery that can indicate an end date to when mom will be restored and ready to be independent again, yet I find my heart in a space that is finding it easier to simply stay present and trust. I am embracing each day, each moment as they come, and celebrating the victories – great and small, appreciating the fact that I am overwhelmingly blessed to have all of this precious time with my mom. We laugh often, and there is little sweeter than our early morning wake-up routine of her surprise first call of the day, be it a song, a phrase, or something completely silly, we usually end up giggling about it as we waltz to the restroom before breakfast. Together, we sit in wonder and awe as we watch the sunrise together. Incredibly, the painting across the sky transforms rapidly, and may begin in shades of pink and blue, turn to gray, then reappear in a fiery orange glow. That was our gift from God this morning. 😊

Yesterday was quite busy in the morning, as mom had occupational therapy and physical therapy back-to-back, filling the late morning slot. During OT, Larissa, mom’s wonderful occupational therapist, devised a simple way to tape mom’s shoulder to provide a bit of extra support, as the right one is beginning to have a bit of twinge pain with some movements. The added support really seems to help. Physical therapy was a fantastic continuation of working to strengthen mom’s right leg and keep up her hallway walking. After the therapists had gone, mom was a little restless, and I talked her into a quick field trip into town to go through the Dutch Bros drive through. We both benefited from an escape, and it was a gorgeous sunny day. The remainder of our day was rather quiet, spent resting, stretching, doing laundry and the like. Mom slept very well, with only one wake-up in the night, so we are both rested and refreshed this morning. God is faithful, and He is always ready to supply the strength that we need.

 

O Lord, You are love, img_2019-07-02_06-33-255028693986524136181.jpg

Strength, power and grace;

Much more than enough,

To conquer each day.

Not in my own strength,

But only in Yours;

For it’s Your strong hand,

That opens locked doors.

Lord, show me the way,

You’d have me to go;

Each new direction,

By Your love, make known.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are the One who gives us strength to navigate this life according to Your purpose and plan. Thank You that You turn seemingly horrendous detours into beautiful routes we would have never known. Forgive us for our fears and doubts when trials and tribulations derail us. Show us how much strength You are willing to deposit within us, so that we can navigate the new that stands before us. Teach us how to love those around us in a way that offers strength and encouragement when theirs feels depleted. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, our strength, as we praise You for Your faithful provision. 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

 

Growing Love

And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight. – (Philippians 1:9, NIV)

This is my prayer for you: that your love will grow more and more; that you will have knowledge and understanding with your love. – (Philippians 1:9, ERV)

I continue to pray for your love to grow and increase beyond measure, bringing you into the rich revelation of spiritual insight in all things. – (Philippians 1:9, TPT)

 

Isn’t this honestly what we all need? As I return home later this morning and my sister takes the reigns here at mom’s, knowledge, understanding, revelation and insight are needed to best love those we are called to love, where we are called to love them. Though it is a bit easier to love our family members well, after long periods of separation there are likely to be challenges, hurts and misunderstandings. We need insight and a heart like Jesus, to love well, regardless of how our “re-entry” goes. Yes, I am eagerly anticipating time with my husband, boys, dear friends, and students, however, I do not expect it all to be a “bed of roses”. I anticipate hiccups and frustrations, especially after such a long-awaited return. My sister will likely endure similar struggles, as she has been eager to get back to mom, yet had to leave her husband and boys at home. There is new territory to navigate and a rhythm to discover, and it will not look nor feel the same as the one that mom and I have established. The time together will grant them each opportunity to grow even closer; as just yesterday, mom and I were discussing the blessing in this whole crazy catastrophe is that we have had more intentional quality time together over the last six weeks, than we have had in ages. We can communicate with looks and gestures, just as easily as with words. Laughter abounds in the house, and there is much joy, despite the challenges and frustrations in the long and arduous task of rehabilitation and recovery from a stroke.

Yesterday was a wonderful, busy day. The first order of business was occupational therapy. Elizabeth, her therapist, is working tirelessly to come up with ways to help mom regain movement and mobility in her right arm. Though the gains are slow and seemingly insignificant, Elizabeth’s enthusiasm and encouragement keep mom uplifted and ready to do the work for the long haul. Soon after her appointment, one of mom’s dearest friends from childhood and his wife came for a visit. The two of them are treasured friends, and mom was engaged and uplifted from time together. We had a mellow afternoon, full of movie watching and down time, as I think mom was too excited for Megan’s return to actually sleep, yet knew she needed to rest a bit. After dinner, we caught up with some sweet neighbors of mom’s, and again, mom was lifted up at the blessing of being together with dear ones. Shortly after they had gone, Megan at last, arrived. We had decided to go outside to see if we could catch her upon arrival, and just reached the garage door as the car had pulled up the driveway to welcome her in. Mom was over-the-moon to have both of her girls home at once, and we thoroughly enjoyed catching up with one another, visiting and laughing together, until we all were ready to call it a day. I know the bond between each of us has grown stronger through all of this as well: my sister and me, mom and my sister, mom and me. God is good, and He brings beautiful things from the ugliest of circumstances. May we ever seek Him to grow our love more and more, in knowledge and depth of insight.

 

God, grow our love more, img_20190613_213857_7235691910451312632394.jpg

In knowledge of You;

Grant us Your insight,

Show us what to do.

Help us understand,

How deep and how wide;

How vastly You love,

As we choose abide.

Show us Your mercy,

Wrap us in Your grace;

Teach us to give love,

That honors Your Name.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we ask, Your love abounds in us more and more, and that You grow us in knowledge and understanding of who You are and how You love. Thank You that we can spend a lifetime pursuing You, and still never fully grasp the depth and breadth of Your incredible love. Forgive us for the times that we somehow think that it is not enough. Teach us to trust You more. Show us how to receive all that You have to offer, so that we may in turn, give out of the abundance that You give to us. Lead us to love those around us with wisdom and insight, so that they too, may see Your heart through our love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we pursue You, and seek to grow in the knowledge and understanding of Your overwhelming love for us all. 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

Seeking Solace

I pray that out of His glorious riches He may strengthen you with power through His Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ. – (Ephesians 3:16-18, NIV)

I ask the Father with His great glory to give you the power to be strong in your spirits. He will give you the strength through His Spirit. I pray that Christ will live in your hearts because of your faith. I pray that your life will be strong in love and be built on love. And I pray that you and all God’s holy people will have the power to understand the greatness of Christ’s love – how wide, how long, how high, and how deep that love is. – (Ephesians 3:16-18, ERV)

And I pray that He would unveil within you the unlimited riches of His glory and favor until supernatural strength floods your innermost being with His divine might and explosive power. Then, by constantly using your faith, the life of Christ will be released deep inside you, and the resting place of His love will become the very source and root of your life. – (Ephesians 3:16-18, TPT)

 

Paul’s encouragement to the church in Ephesus is still an encouragement that is applicable and relevant to us today. In fact, I had to take pause and recognize my own need to receive his words, as I realized just how much I have been missing my husband, boys, and community at home. It is not that I resent nor regret what I am doing here, as I would not trade this time with my mom for anything. I am overwhelmingly blessed with time that could have been stolen, had things gone differently, and I am witnessing daily, the miracles that come with healing and recovery from a stroke. It is a strange sort of struggle to be pulled between two places. During mom’s waking hours, I am fully engaged and focused on whatever lies before us, and we enjoy our time together, celebrating victories and giggling and the small stuff that comes in the wake of exhaustion and recovery. It is in the quiet moments while mom is resting, or her attention is fixed on a movie, that I am torn and struggle being away from my husband and boys. We talk and text daily, but it is not the same, and all of my guys are loves who are generous with their affection for me. I miss the comfort of their nearness and the easy interactions that take place so often. I know it is just for a season, and the line in the TPT version “the resting place of His love will become the very source and root of your life”, is the space that I need to seek His solace.

As for mom’s progress from yesterday, she walked farther than she has walked (with a walker and slight assistance), since she had her stroke! For those who have been in mom’s house, she walked up and down her entire hallway. (The length of it is over 30 feet!) What I loved even more, was the recognition of hope that mom found through the process. After Victor, her physical therapist had gone, we sat down in the living room. She looked at me and said, “It really is possible, isn’t it?” I looked at her for a moment, studying her face, and realized that for the first time, she was recognizing that walking again was indeed possible for her. I let her know that we had seen and known the possibility all along, and after today, imagined that it would come even more quickly than we might have originally thought. Hope is a beautiful thing, and I am in awe realizing that despite her not really thinking it was possible to walk again, she was positive and hard-working, loving and kind. We reminded her all along that it was possible, however, I guess she had to physically experience the possibility for herself to understand. Mom was again open and receptive to short visits with a few friends, as she met with one dear one in the morning, and another prior to lunch. Both were wonderful boosts that brought much delight to the day.

I am so thankful that He does strengthen us with His power, out of His glorious riches through His Spirit in our inner being, and He dwells in our hearts through faith. As we are rooted and established in Him, may we together, grasp how great is His love.

 

Dear Father, I pray, Be strong and courageous

From Your vast supply;

You’ll give strength to those,

On You, choose rely.

And by Your Spirit,

Where in hearts Christ dwells;

Grow stronger our faith,

So we trust You well. dsc04451587116784.jpg

Each rooted in love,

Together by grace;

May we understand,

How great all Your ways.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are a loving and gracious God. Thank You that You know and see our need before we are aware of it ourselves. Thank You that You give us strength and grace, hope and love. Forgive us for allowing our fears or frustrations to find footing, rather than releasing all unto You. Teach us to trust You more, as You are our Provider and Place of Peace. Show us how to love those around us well, so that each may be strengthened, encouraged and find faith that is ready to nourish and grow. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You in all things and at all times, praising You for Your presence. Amen.

 

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

 

May Your unfailing love be my comfort, according to Your promise to Your servant. – Psalm 119:76

To Build Up and Encourage

Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing. – (1 Thessalonians 5:11, NIV)

So encourage each other and help each other grow stronger in faith, just as you are already doing. – (1 Thessalonians 5:11, ERV)

So support one another. Keep building each other up as you have been doing. – (1 Thessalonians 5:11, VOICE)

 

Though I know not their heart after God, it is as if each one of my mom’s in-home care team has chosen to live this verse out as their life’s ambition. It takes a special sort of person to do in-home care, as I imagine one is never sure what they will encounter when they approach a home for the very first time. Each and every one of the care providers who has entered mom’s home has been an incredible source of encouragement for mom. Their positivity about mom’s progress thus far, and their excitement and motivation to walk this road of healing beside her, is faith-building as she continues to do the difficult work each day. Yesterday, as I asked mom if there was anything she would like to do or anyone she wished to see, she actually took me up on the offer for the first time and named the names of three of her dearest friends. I immediately sent out messages to them, and they responded promptly with enthusiasm. My heart lightened too, as I sat with the four of them and enjoyed the familiar banter among dear sister-friends. The sharing of life together was a needed boost for all of them, and each seemed to walk away encouraged and built up. After the ladies had been visiting for a while, mom’s in-home nurses arrived to do their check-in. They encouraged the girls to keep visiting while they checked in with me about particulars, and made sure to let all of them know how wonderful such visits were for mom and her rehabilitation and recovery. Pathways and progress multiply in the familiar, and in the last 24-48 hours, I have noticed a significant increase in the strength of her voice.

Beyond just yesterday, there has been an outpouring of encouragement and support for not only mom, but for my sister and me as we walk this road to recovery together. Mom’s living room and kitchen are lined with cards that have been sent over the last month by family and friends, far and near. Dear ones have been taking my boys to school in the mornings, and I know the same has been true for my sister when she is here as well. Our communities have rallied around us and covered us in prayer. We have been built up and encouraged, and are encouraged to do likewise. May we ever reach out and support one another; for we were indeed created to be in a community.

 

Build up each other,

img_2019-06-05_06-47-096960588294766447506.jpg

A sweet photo of mom and some of her besties from last year. ❤

Encourage, reach out;

Help one another,

It’s what love’s about.

For God created,

People to all need;

Sense of belonging,

A community.

Family and friends,

The gifts whom God gives;

To walk alongside,

To thrive as we live.

Let’s choose encourage,

Love well and build up;

Bless one another,

Fill up empty cups.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to encourage and build each other up. Thank You that You place people in our lives that do so when we need it the most. Forgive us for the missed opportunities to offer a word of encouragement or to come alongside another who needed a boost. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would listen to Your leading and encourage and build others up in the same way that You encourage and build us up. Show us how to love those around us in a way that strengthens and builds up where they are depleted. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for the encouragement that we have received and seek Your heart to extend the same to others around us. Amen.

 

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

 

You, Lord, hear the desire of the afflicted; You encourage them, and You listen to their cry. – Psalm 10:17

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

Automatic Responses

May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Jesus had. – (Romans 15:5, NIV)

All patience and encouragement comes from God. And I pray that God will help you all agree with each other, as Christ Jesus wants. – (Romans 15:5, ERV)

I pray that our God, who calls you and gives you perseverance and encouragement, will join all of you together to share one mind according to Jesus the Anointed. – (Romans 15:5, VOICE)

 

This road we are walking alongside mom, as she journeys to recovery from her stroke, is certainly the epitome of an example of needing to walk forward in all patience, endurance and encouragement that comes from God. It has been by His grace, that we have been able to make decisions in agreement in love, with mom’s input and her very best in mind. Incredibly, one month to the day from when she was admitted to the ER for her stroke, she will transition to her home to begin the in-home care portion of her recovery and healing. Though the idea of moving mom to her house in less than a week is rather intimidating to all of us, the hope held in the potential benefits far outweigh our fears of the unknown. Additionally, both Meg and I will be able to be present for the transition time, as we discover and establish a new routine and figure out how to best navigate mom living back at home. Her mobility is still limited, and she will be moving home with the aid of a wheelchair. She is working on walking with assistance, but she is not yet walking without help. Mom is stable to stand, and does a fantastic job with transferring from chair to other seated spaces. Research indicates that most grow and thrive at a much more rapid rate in their own familiar surroundings. Based on the automatic responses we have seen from her; I believe this wholeheartedly.

Last evening was a perfect example. It was clear that mom is getting more and more back to herself, as she asked me to call her to let her know when I had arrived safely home last evening. I made certain that I had all of the correct information to reach her in her room, prior to my drive home. After a bit of orchestrating, I was able to get through. It was the most incredible thing – my mom sounded like herself on the phone! You see, the stroke has affected her voice, as the message to her vocal cords has somehow been compromised, so she is very soft-spoken right now. However, normally (pre-stroke) anytime that my mom, sister or I speak with each other on the phone, we are accused of speaking rather loudly. (I think we are just extremely excited to share with each other 😊Anyway, the voice that answered the line when I called (knowing it was me, as the nurse had let her know because I had to contact the nurse’s station first) was the loud, animated mom voice that I know so well. We were talking and laughing and my sweet husband was sitting beside me, shaking his head, grinning from ear-to-ear, in recognition of the incredible voice that was coming through the phone. We did not talk too long, and her voice did quiet down a bit, but she heard and felt the strength she had projected as well.

These are the sort of automatic responses that seem to happen when her mind is relaxed and fixed on home. We are praying and trusting that God will continue to move mountains on mom’s behalf, as He provides and heals and leads us each step of the way on this wild and wonderful road to recovery.

 

The God of all hope,

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Always an automatic smile with the grandsons. ❤

Grants love that’s secure;

Peace, love and patience,

The strength to endure.

Likewise, He will give,

Us both heart and mind;

To walk united,

Be gracious and kind.

Let us ever give,

All into His hands;

For not our own will,

But Your faithful plan.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your ways are higher than our ways, and You know the outcome before we even begin. Thank You that You give endurance and encouragement, peace and unity, as we lean into You. Forgive us for our fears in the unknown that lies before us. Teach us to trust You more. Show us Your power again, as You have done so many times before. Lead us to love those around us in a way that grants encouragement to the weary and peace and unity, where it is lacking. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we place all that lies ahead in Your hands. Amen.

 

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

 

The end of a matter is better than its beginning, and patience is better than pride. – Ecclesiastes 7:8