Undeterred Hope in the Unseen

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. – (Hebrews 11:1, NIV)

Faith is what makes real the things we hope for. It is proof of what we cannot see. – (Hebrews 11:1, ERV)

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

 

I am not sure if it was the fact that I was able to sleep through the night with zero wake-ups, or that I rose in time to watch the sunrise, but whatever the combination of factors, I feel a renewed sense of faith in my hope for what I cannot yet see. My faith in God’s goodness has not wavered, yet discouragement has been a struggle, as I am simply at a place of longing to be home with my family. By day, God provides all that I need to be fully present, engaged and focused with mom, yet in the quiet moments and when I try to sleep, I struggle with the absence and distance from my husband and children. Though I have not actually received definitive plans nor a specific date for mom’s move to Oregon, I have the assurance that it will transpire, and the confidence that this next step with be exactly what she needs to continue on her road to a full recovery. God is good, and He has good things in store for us all. He has the very best in mind for my mom, my sister and her family, and for me and my family as well.

Yesterday, mom and I had a leisurely morning, as nothing was scheduled until noon. Her speech appointment ended up starting a little behind schedule, but went very well. Immediately after, two friends of hers from church came for a visit. It was a wonderful time of reconnecting for all three of them, and a pleasure for me to witness. After their visit, mom was a bit worn, but determined that a Dutch Bros run was in order, not a nap. Who can argue with that logic? 😊 As usual, we soaked in the sunshine and scenery as we drove the back way into town, and stopped for a car wash on the way. Our outing brought us home in time to prepare dinner, watch a movie, and call it a day. A bonus blessing was that mom slept through the entire night! This was the first time she has done that in all of the time that I have been here, so I think that I am better rested than I have been in quite some time. Again, thank you so much to those of you praying for her sleep.

May we continue to have faith in the things hoped for, and trust, even when we cannot yet see how God will bring all to fruition.

 

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The things yet unseen;

Holding onto hope,

Through time in between.

It is confidence,

That God’s in control;

He’ll work things for good,

Make broken things whole.

He knows what we need,

Each cry of our heart;

He loves and blesses,

As grace He imparts.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your goodness and grace as You build our faith and confidence in You, even when we cannot see that which we hope for. Forgive us for the times that our faith wavers or our hope grows dim, based on what we see. Teach us to trust You more, as Your plans are perfect and You have good things in store for those who love You. Show us how to love those around us well, especially those stuck in the waiting for long awaited hopes to be realized. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You with confident hope, knowing that You are moving on our behalf, even when we cannot see evidence of Your hand. Amen.

 

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

 

Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the Lord. – Psalm 31:24

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.

 

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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

To Lead in Love

Direct your children onto the right path, and when they are older, they will not leave it. – (Proverbs 22:6, NLT)

Teach children in a way that fits their needs, and even when they are old, they will not leave the right path. – (Proverbs 22:6, ERV)

Point your kids in the right direction – when they’re old they won’t be lost. – (Proverbs 22:6, MSG)

 

As we draw ever nearer to the first day of school, this verse hits home even harder. Not only am I charged with teaching, directing and pointing my children in the right direction, but all those who enter my classroom as well. Though my capacity to impact students is different than my own children, how I make them feel each day is equally important. If they enter my class and feel safe and cared for, then, and only then, will they be engaged and interested in learning. Direction can be difficult at any age. What kept me from becoming lost along the way in my own life, were those who taught, directed and pointed me in the way I was meant to go. It was not through telling nor commanding, but rather through loving, supporting and encouraging, with redirection in love as needed. May we each seek the Lord to be our guide as we teach, direct and point children in the ways that they are meant to go.

 

Let us choose to lead,

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Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

All children in love;

Show them their value,

They matter above.

For as we are known,

Then too, are we heard;

What speaks to the heart,

Love beyond mere words.

For when we choose show,

Safety and true care;

Kids rise and flourish,

Find goodness to share.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the blessing that children are to us all. Thank You for the role to which You call and entrust us to fill in the lives of those around us. Forgive us for our failures, as we lose our cool and forget the impact that our words and actions have on kids. Teach us to seek You to be our example and our strength, so that we would teach, direct and point kids with goodness and grace. Show us how to love kids well, so that they would know that they are safe and cared for, and will glean the good that we have to offer. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek and trust in You to equip and strengthen us to teach kids well. Amen.

 

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

 

Love never gives up on people. It never stops trusting, never loses hope, and never quits. – 1 Corinthians 13:7

No Room for Them

So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped Him in cloths and placed Him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them. – (Luke 2:4-7, NIV)

 

This portion of the Christmas story seemed to strike a new chord within my heart this past week, as my pastor pointed out the scandal and outrage that would have been associated with an unwed woman expecting a child who was engaged to a man with whom she had no intimate relations. Joseph came from the house of David. His heritage was quite significant, and his family name was likely known. Everyone was expected to return to the place of their familial ties for the census, so it is quite conceivable that Joseph had numerous relatives who were also traveling to Bethlehem at the same time. Under normal circumstances, a family would have traveled and stayed together, yet Mary and Joseph made the journey alone. Their isolation leads me to believe that they were being shunned by the family, and left to their own devices to survive. Upon their arrival in Bethlehem, they were unable to find a proper place to stay. What I found intriguing is that each version of scripture that I read, says that “there was no room for them. This leads me to believe that perhaps there was room, but they were turned away because of societal standards, and left stranded and a bit desperate. Who was the inn keeper who did at last show some compassion, and at least allow the pair shelter as the time drew near for Mary to give birth? It is both incredible and admirable to think of Mary and Joseph and all that they must have gone though, just to get to the stable birth. Additionally, the thought of the two of them having to deliver the Son of God in their surroundings is overwhelming. She was quite young and he was a carpenter; nothing in their life experience had likely prepared them for what they endured, other than the very presence of God with them. May we continue to ponder with awe and wonder, the miracle of God with us, this most holy season.

 

Hard was the journey, No Room for Them

To travel alone;

This chosen couple,

So far from their home.

Upon arrival,

No room granted them;

Just a small stable,

In old Bethlehem.

The time had arrived,

For the babe be born;

Courage delivered,

Wrapped Him in cloths torn.

No isolation,

Could stand in God’s way;

Strength to them granted,

Right there in the hay.

Though they’d been alone,

It did not last long;

For angelic hosts,

Announced this with song.

The shepherds they came,

They followed the light;

In awe and wonder,

On that holy night.

The baby swaddled,

God’s very own Son;

The faith of this pair,

God’s will had been done.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the miracle and wonder that surrounds the story of You sending Your Son to us as a baby, in humble beginnings, to make Him approachable to all. Thank You for showing us Your faithfulness through the hearts of the people that were part of Your story, and modeled what it is to trust in You. Forgive us for forgetting the depth of Your love that sent Your Only Son to us so that we could have life in You. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would pause and ponder in wonder, the miracle and the majesty of all that You have done. Show us how to love those around us in a way that gives insight and understanding to Your goodness and grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we allow Your story to fill our hearts and minds this Christmas. Amen.

 

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

 

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort. – 2 Corinthians 1:3