Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. – (2 Corinthians 1:3-4, NIV)
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. He is the Father who is full of mercy, the God of all comfort. He comforts us every time we have trouble so that when others have trouble, we can comfort them with the same comfort God gives us. – (2 Corinthians 1:3-4, ERV)
All praise goes to God, Father of our Lord Jesus, the Anointed One. He is the Father of compassion, the God of all comfort. He consoles us as we endure the pain and hardship of life so that we may draw from His comfort and share it with others in their own struggles. – (2 Corinthians 1:3-4, VOICE)
God is faithful to be present and comfort us throughout all of our days. It matters not whether the need is great or small, His compassion is present and available to all. Days like today, when I wake weary and worn before the day even begins, I know that I need not worry, for He will meet me with the strength I need to navigate today. In the hardest seasons of life, He has been tangibly present to comfort me. Because I have known such goodness and grace, I seek to extend the same to those around me as I am able. Incredibly, the most compassionate and comforting people that I know, have endured some of the most pain and hardship. Perhaps it was out of their own experiences that they gained perspective as to what others need most. May we all praise God, our Provider, as He grants us compassion and comfort when we encounter challenges of any kind. Let our hearts draw from the comfort He provides, so that we too, may comfort those around us.
Praise the Lord our God,
For He’s always good;
Brings comfort in pain,
Makes grace understood.
The love that God gives,
Beyond what we’d hope;
Floods our hearts and minds,
‘til it overflows.
It’s His compassion,
That fills and renews;
Making us aware,
To do the same too.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are the God of compassion and comfort, whether our need is great or small. Thank You that You see, hear and know our needs, even better than we do, and You meet us where we are. Thank You that You fill us to overflowing so that we can go forth and extend comfort and compassion to those around us. Forgive us for the times that we have neglected to see the need, or have ignored the prompting in our hearts to reach out. Teach us to trust You more, as You are always faithful to provide whatever is needed where we are called. Show us how to love those around us with comfort and compassion, so that Your heart may be made tangible. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we with grateful hearts receive Your comfort and grace, and reach out to extend the same to those around us. Amen.
But You, Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness. – Psalm 86:15
Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good. His love endures forever. – (Psalm 136:1, NIV)
Praise the Lord because He is good. His faithful love will last forever. – (Psalm 136:1, ERV)
Thank God! He deserves your thanks. His love never quits. – (Psalm 136:1, MSG)
I am so thankful that there is time set aside to gather and give thanks together. The opportunity to spend quality time with loved ones is a tremendous blessing, and not one of us takes the privilege for granted. We are especially grateful this year, as we recognize that this season could have gone horribly different. God’s grace has been tangibly evident, as He spared mom’s life and walks us all along this journey of healing together. Though it is a long road, there is much joy in the journey. We laugh often, and appreciate every moment we have together, even more than we ever did before. There is a tender closeness now that runs far deeper than it did even last year at this time, and that is just one of the examples of beauty that God has brought from a difficult and devastating circumstance. Today, and always, we give thanks to God because He is good and His love never quits. May we ever look to the Lord with thanksgiving in our heart, recognizing that He is near, abounding in love.
As for mom specifically, she is very much looking forward to beginning more of her outpatient therapies on Monday. She is hopeful and determined, and it is good to see her gaining confidence in moving independently around the house with her walker. When we arrived late yesterday morning, it was mom who greeted us at the door! It was so good to see that she had been waiting nearby, at the ready to get up and walk to open the door upon our arrival! The family all enjoyed a wonderful meal together, time to visit and lounge, and then at last, our long-awaited tradition of family game night. After several rounds of a family favorite, we decided to mix it up, and Mark taught us all how to play Texas Hold ‘Em. It was an evening of much laughter and friendly competitions, as we have clearly raised a generation of intelligent young men, who seek to strategize and win. 😊 All thanks to God for His goodness that He has granted in the incredible gift of family, and the way that He makes His love tangible through each heart as we spend time together.
Give thanks to the Lord,
For He’s always good;
Love that shall endure,
Through time has withstood.
His love will not quit,
It ever remains;
Filling and blessing,
As this love sustains.
With hearts overwhelmed,
Such goodness and love;
All thanks be to God,
Our Lord up above.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the blessing of family and the time to gather together. Thank You for those who are with us, and those who gathered in other places. Be near us all. Forgive us for the times that we forget how very good You are, and how You love us through all things, no matter how they appear. Teach us to embrace every blessing and enjoy each precious gift that we are given in love. Show us how to love those around us in such a way that Your goodness and grace is made tangible. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You all of our thanks and praise for Your faithful love that lasts forever. Amen.
Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever. – 1 Chronicles 16:34
It is God who arms me with strength and keeps my way secure. – (2 Samuel 22:33, NIV)
God is my strong fortress. He clears the path I need to take. – (2 Samuel 22:33, ERV)
God is my strong fortress; He has made me safe. – (2 Samuel 22:33, TLB)
Returning home after a long leave away, launched me into a season of scheduled busy that keeps me moving from early morning until the time I lie down to sleep each night. Though I would not trade it, on days such as this, I have to pause and reflect, and recognize that I only reached Friday by God’s grace and strength, with His guidance. He has protected my boys as they have begun the venture of driving solo, and granted each of us strength to return to the routine of the school year. Currently, this also includes crazy, busy weekends for all of us. God is good, and He knows our needs and is generous and kind to meet them. He makes a way for us to navigate securely, and shows us what to prioritize to maintain peace. May we ever seek our Savior to be our strength and fortress, and to show us the way that He is leading us to go.
As for mom, I imagine she is seeking the Lord to be her strength and security too, as she adapts to the new schedule in Oregon at my sister’s. With my nephews back at school, and sister and brother-in-love back to work, she has a “Visiting Angel” spending time with her during the day in their absence, and is continuing to adjust to discovering a new routine with new care-givers during the day. Mom is resilient and kind, and I know will continue to work tirelessly toward recovering with her eyes on the prize; ever pursuing her total independence again.
The Lord is our strength,
Keeps the way secure;
Grants hope for today,
Help so we endure.
In all our trials,
And each victory;
God will be present,
All thanks be to God,
For His faithfulness;
As we are transformed,
By His graciousness.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our strength and that You make our path secure. Thank You that You provide and guide, even when we feel weary or wonder how the way will even be possible. Forgive us for the times that we allow the obstacles or heaviness to cloud our faith, rather than look to You. Teach us to trust You, for You are far greater than anything that lies before us or comes our way. Show us how to love those around us in a way that extends strength and hope and direction. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for Your guidance, strength and love that lead us well. Amen.
The Lord is my strength and my defense; He has become my salvation. He is my God, and I will praise Him, my father’s God, and I will exalt Him. – Exodus 15:2
May the favor of the Lord our God rest on us; establish the work of our hands for us – yes, establish the work of our hands. – (Psalm 90:17, NIV)
Lord, our God, be kind to us. Make everything we do successful. Yes, make it all successful. – (Psalm 90:17, ERV)
O Lord our God, let Your sweet beauty rest upon us and give us favor. Come work with us, and then our works will endure, and give us success in all we do. – (Psalm 90:17, TPT)
This is a fitting verse this morning, as I prepare to head back to my classroom to begin the process of preparing for the school year. My prayer is that I can create a space that is safe, comfortable and welcoming, and that as students enter my room, we are able to establish a caring community that fosters growth and learning, bringing out the best in each of us. Such a request is no small ask, and it will require God’s hand to be upon my heart, daily. God is so good, and He is able to do abundantly more than we can ever ask or imagine, and I am asking and imagining that an amazing space of peace be ever present in my classroom. I am trusting Him to establish the work of my hands both now, and in the days to come. Each investment sown in love, does not come back void, but rather finds way to fill in dark spaces with much needed light. May we ever seek our Savior to be our strength and source in all that we do, so that He may establish the good we hope to see.
As for mom, it sounds as if God’s beauty is resting upon her in her new space as well. Though the weariness from travel seemed to have caught up with her a bit yesterday, it was still a good day for mom. My sister arrived home from work to find Terry (mom’s in-home care provider) and Skyler (my nephew) playing Dirty Marbles (family favorite game – cross between Sorry and Chinese Checkers) at the kitchen table. Her new medical insurance card finally arrived in the mail yesterday, so the process of seeing a new physician and establishing in-home therapies should follow soon. It was wonderful to talk to mom and Megan on the phone last evening, as mom sounded good, and as if all is well within her. God continues to be so faithful in every step of the process in this journey for mom. We are trusting the same to be true as an appointment is set to see a new physician, and in-home therapies are sought after. God will continue to bring mom success on her road to recovery, as she models such faith and trust in Him.
May the Lord’s favor,
Be present with us;
As we pursue Him,
Seek love like Jesus.
Establish our work,
Lord, all that we do;
So, Your love’s made clear,
And Your heart shines through.
God, show us the way,
To best persevere;
And work unto You,
As You’re always near.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we seek You and place our trust in You, You establish the work of our hands that is intended to honor You. Thank You that You lead us and guide us and love us throughout each day. Forgive us for the times that we deceive ourselves and try to go our own way. Teach us to trust You and stay true to the truth we know. Show us how to establish all that we do in the love and grace that You intend. Lead us to love those around us well, so that they might come to understand what grace, goodness, hope, peace and love look like for themselves. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You to establish the work of our hands, so that we may honor You in all that we do. Amen.
Lord, You establish peace for us; all that we have accomplished You have done for us. – Isaiah 26:12
In You, Lord my God, I put my trust. – (Psalm 25:1, NIV)
Lord, I put my life in Your hands. – (Psalm 25:1, ERV)
Forever I will lift up my soul into Your presence, Lord. – (Psalm 25:1, TPT)
Today is a long-awaited day, as it will be the start of the first time that I have spent seven consecutive nights in the same room as my spouse since the end of April. During the day, as there is much to do with and for mom, I am typically occupied enough that I am able to be fully invested here, and present where I am planted. However, during the time that mom rests or when all is silent and still, my heart aches for my family and my home. This upcoming time of reprieve and refreshment is what my heart has been longing for. Each day, I continue to learn to place my life in the Lord’s hands, and trust Him with all that I am. Some days are far easier than others, yet He remains faithful, even when my faith wavers. It is my hope that both as I go and when I return, He may use me as His instrument of peace and shine His light of love through my words and actions.
Yesterday was a bit of a tired day for mom, as she woke twice in the night, and then rose to eat breakfast extra early. She didn’t really get the rest her body required, so by noon, she was dragging. During her occupational therapy appointment in the morning, mom overcame a giant obstacle. The exercises Larissa wanted her to do to strengthen the right side of her body, required mom to kneel on the floor. She was terrified to be on the ground, as the last time she was on the floor was when she had a frightening fall in the middle of the night, on one of her first nights back home. Thankfully, she was not harmed in any way at that point, but it was traumatic for her, and the very idea of being on the ground became a space of terror, rather than something that might actually be beneficial. Mom fought past the fear, and knelt to the ground to participate in the exercises. Her courage and strength astound and inspire me daily, and yesterday was no exception. After OT, we had a quick bite of lunch, followed by speech therapy. Though mom was weary, she rallied well, and did a great job. Her speech and word recall are remarkable, and have recovered and been restored the fastest. Most people would be unaware that she had ever even had a stroke, based on speaking with her. Today, mom has physical therapy and occupational therapy back-to-back. Both are fairly early this morning, then we have down time to wait for Megan’s arrival. My sister is driving this time, so we do not have an exact time to expect her. We anticipate late afternoon, but much is dependent on traffic and road work as she travels. Join us in praying for a safe journey, as it is typically a seven-hour drive.
In all things, and at all times, may we ever place our trust in the Lord.
In all things and times,
Choose trust in the Lord;
For He is faithful,
And true to His word.
His grace is enough,
And He does provide;
All that is needed,
In love, He supplies.
Be it time of rest,
Or strength to endure;
God is the giver,
Our hope held secure.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we place our lives in Your hands, You provide all that we need, as it is needed. Thank You that You love us best. Forgive us for our frustration and fears when we are at the end of our own strength and resolve. Teach us to trust You more, as it is in that very space of our own end, that Your strength and power are made most evident. Show us how to love, encourage and support those around us best, so that they may know Your love tangibly. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You will all. Amen.
But I trust in Your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in Your salvation. – Psalm 13:5
May the Lord direct your hearts into God’s love and Christ’s perseverance. – (2 Thessalonians 3:5, NIV)
We pray that the Lord will cause you to feel God’s love and remember Christ’s patient endurance. – (2 Thessalonians 3:5, ERV)
Now may the Lord move your hearts into a greater understanding of God’s pure love for you and into Christ’s steadfast endurance. – (2 Thessalonians 3:5, TPT)
Our ability to endure and patiently persevere is comprehensively connected to our understanding of God’s love and His heart for us. When we know and feel that He is for us, we are exceedingly more willing to press on and keep moving forward to the seemingly impossible. I have known and witnessed this to be true in my own life, and I am witnessing a glorious unfolding of such in both my mom, and in each member of our family/community that is impacted by this road that mom is currently navigating. Though not perfect, as we are all a work in progress, I see and feel the love of God being poured out beyond measure, and each of us rising up and patiently enduring with the strength that Christ provides. We are able to do immeasurably more than we could ever hope or imagine when we place our trust in God.
As for the specific updates on mom: Saturday, I neglected to mention that the new in-home care company made its debut. One of the physical therapists, Kari, came to the house and did an assessment to get the ball rolling. She was knowledgeable, professional, kind, thorough, and receptive to hear mom’s needs. Right away, she agreed to schedule mom for physical therapy three days per week, just as she had been doing before, (despite only having twice per week listed on her initial paperwork) and she made a point to be certain to let us know when each type of therapist should be contacting us for their assessment. Additionally, she said that she would follow up with Bellevue Healthcare, the company whom we ordered mom’s wheelchair through more than a month ago, to find out the status of her order. (Her loaner chair is not ideal) Based on what we observed through Kari, we are confident that God is continuing to hold mom and her care in His hands. Sunday, we enjoyed the morning with Mark before he had to head home to be with our boys. The remainder of the day was rather leisurely for mom and myself, as it consisted of movie-watching and laundry. After dinner, we were able to have another great visit with mom’s brother and his wife before bed, to close out our day well. Today will include physical therapy and a speech evaluation with the new speech therapist. May we continue to receive the love of the Lord as He directs our steps, and allow Him to be our strength to persevere in all things.
May the Love of God,
Direct heart and mind;
Our Source and our Strength,
In Whom hope aligns.
As we learn to trust,
In Christ we’re equipped,
To rise without fear.
Far greater is He,
The Lord above all;
Than trials we face,
He won’t let us fall.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You show us Your love and grant us the strength to persevere. Thank You that You do not ask us to do anything that You are not also willing to strengthen and empower us to do. Forgive us for somehow thinking that we have to do things on our own. Teach us to trust You more, for You are our strength and the love that holds us up when we are unsure of how we will keep moving forward. Show us how to love those around us in a way that walks alongside them through the struggles, supports and strengthens, and encourages and lifts up. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we receive Your love and trust You to be our strength and hope forever. Amen.
And as for you, brothers and sisters, never tire of doing what is good. – 2 Thessalonians 3:13
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,
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.
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
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose. – (Romans 8:28, NIV)
We know that in everything God works for the good of those who love Him. These are the people God chose, because that was His plan. – (Romans 8:28, ERV)
We are confident that God is able to orchestrate everything to work toward something good and beautiful when we love Him and accept His invitation to live according to His plan. – (Romans 8:28, VOICE)
This is an incredible promise to which we can hold secure. All things that we face, endure and walk through can be transformed and utilized for our good, and the good of those around us. He turns our tests into testimonies, our ashes into something beautiful, and our mourning leads to celebration, through the power of His presence and strength. I can look back at the darkest trials that I have had to walk through, and see clearly, how His light shone brightest for me, and ultimately through me, as He turned difficult things into triumphs that encouraged others in similar situations. God is good, and we can trust Him to use everything for good, in due time. May we ever seek the Lord to be our strength, and watch for His love to turn ashes into things of beauty.
Beauty from ashes,
Strength where we were weak;
Light where things were dark,
When the Lord we seek.
His presence, promised,
And His love assured;
Trust and reliance,
Faith that the Lord heard.
He hears our requests,
God’s faithful to bring;
Solutions and grace,
Praise to our wise King.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You work all things together for the good of those who love You and seek answer Your call. Thank You that You are faithful forever. Forgive us for our fears and doubts when we are in the midst of a mess. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would recognize Your strength and grace as we go, and the beauty that You bring from our former ashes. Show us how to love those around us in a way that they see Your hope and light and strength in the middle of their struggle. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust in Your transforming power to bring beauty from the ashes of our trials. Amen.
I say to the Lord, “You are my Lord; apart from You I have no good thing.” – Psalm 16:2