Our Hearts Are Heard

This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. – (1 John 5:14, NIV)

We can come to God with no doubts. This means that when we ask God for things (and those things agree with what God wants for us), God cares about what we say. – (1 John 5:14, ERV)

Since we have this confidence, we can also have great boldness before Him, for if we present any request agreeable to His will, He will hear us. – (1 John 5:14, TPT)

 

God amazes me with how He hears us, both audibly, and the very cries of our hearts. For me, since I have been home, there have been prayers met that were actually lifted, and then there have been those that were merely hidden hopes in my heart, that have been heard and honored by my Heavenly Father. One of the ways that my heart is filled best is through quality time with the people I love. After such an extended time away from home, it has been especially important to me to find time to spend with my family and friends before the school year begins again. Last week, I was able to take each of my boys back-to-school shopping, individually, and enjoy their company, one-on-one. I have been able to get some running in with my running bestie, and visits, walks and yes, even a run in, with my best friend too, as well as wonderful, ordinary, everyday life with my husband. Time together is such a blessing, and last evening, he took me back to the place where we had our very first date, three years ago. We sat at the same table, at nearly the same time of day. What a difference three years makes! Back then, I was so nervous, that I could not even lift my water glass without my hand shaking. That being said, Mark was able to set my heart and mind at ease, and made our first encounter light and enjoyable, as we began to learn more about one another. After he walked me out to my car and asked permission to call me to see me again, the nervousness had completely subsided, and I knew that there was something worth getting to know about this gentle giant. Nearly two years later we were married, and now, three years later, we have our first year of marriage under our belt with a lifetime to look forward to with joy. He too, was an answer to a prayer that I didn’t quite know how to pray. I knew that when the time came, I would need someone who could love me well, and that would appreciate being loved by me as well. God knew what we both needed, and fit us together perfectly. God hears and He answers when we ask Him according to His good and perfect will.

Yesterday, mom had a wonderful day of being celebrated well. The day began with my sister and her family taking mom to brunch, followed by a walk down by the river at a park nearby. The plan was to attend church after, but I did not catch whether or not that transpired or not, in our conversation last evening. Mom enjoyed the afternoon with the family, and was set up with some new technology to aid in the use of her tablet and cell phone. (Meg and family found holders for each that attach to mom’s chair so that she can use them while seated, one-handed) Their evening continued with my brother-in-love’s fantastic barbecue work for dinner, and a relaxing time enjoying one another. Our ask of the Lord this week is that God continues to settle mom’s heart and help all of them to find a routine so that each feels at ease and able to do what needs to be done. Change is challenging for all, but the grace of God is greater. We are trusting Him to be their peace and their Provider, as He leads them through each of the new that need be navigated this week.

 

Approach the Lord God, img_2019-08-19_05-40-231040012414498634990.jpg

In confidence, come;

All asked in His will,

Are heard and welcome.

For God knows our needs,

What blesses our hearts;

Place all in His hands,

As grace He imparts.

His goodness abounds,

As His love shall lead;

We will discover,

He’ll meet all our needs.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that because of Jesus, we can approach You with confidence, trusting that You hear our every prayer. Thank You that Your ways are higher than ours, and Your will is the only way we should go. Forgive us for the times that we find ourselves frustrated for the seemingly unanswered prayers, as You patiently wait for us to listen for Your will and way, or to recognize what the right answer really is. Thank You for loving us through our wandering. Teach us to seek and trust You more. Show us how to love those around us in ways that make Your goodness and grace tangible. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love You and approach You with confidence, knowing that You will hear our every prayer that aligns with Your will. Amen.

 

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

 

I call on You, my God, for You will answer me; turn Your ear to me and hear my prayer. – Psalm 17:6

Helped in Him

Surely God is my help; the Lord is the one who sustains me. – (Psalm 54:4, NIV)

But see now! God comes to rescue me; the Lord is my valiant supporter. – (Psalm 54:4, VOICE)

But the Lord God has become my divine helper. He leans into my heart and lays His hands upon me! – (Psalm 54:4, TPT)

 

Truer words have never been spoken, as David is remarkable at capturing the sentiment of my own heart. Daily, I see and feel the evidence of God’s hands and heart at work in sustaining, supporting and helping me, as I navigate this long and challenging road. He grants joy in the journey, and strength when I feel as I have none. His peace comes when concerns and sorrow seek to sink my soul.

Yesterday began with an encouraging occupational therapy appointment for mom. With the entire appointment focused on moving her right arm through the use of her shoulder and scapula, we were extremely encouraged to see the gains mom is making, as she was able to do more than ever before. In the early afternoon, two of mom’s dearest friends stopped by for a visit. Their encouragement and loving support are tangible evidence of His help and His heart for her, and I know that mom is refreshed and renewed, each time she has enjoyed the company of her close friends. We had a bit of down time in the afternoon, which was perfect, as I needed to take care of some follow up calls with the medical insurance company for Oregon, and mom was eager to enjoy a movie and relax. God’s grace and favor was with us, as the leg work that my sister had initiated and research she had sent over, made navigating the finalization of mom’s switch to Oregon coverage, fairly simple. It is a tremendous blessing to work together as a team and be able to share information with one another so well. All went exactly as we needed it to, as it was essential that mom be enrolled in Oregon insurance as of August 1st, otherwise, she would not qualify to do so until September 1st. Again, by His grace, all went smoothly and each prayer extended regarding this portion of the transition, has been faithfully answered. After all of the insurance orchestrating, another sweet friend of mom’s came for a visit. We invited her to stay and join us for dinner, and to our delight, she did so. It was wonderful to watch the two ladies enjoy one another’s company, and it provided me the opportunity to make dinner and communicate with my family at home. Additionally, Sharon, (the same friend that has the pool) continued with her gift of stretching mom’s fingers and hands, and helped facilitate extra work that is so helpful for her right arm recovery. The evening closed well, and mom only woke once in the night. Today is her final day of therapies in Washington, as coverage here ends once Oregon coverage begins. She will meet with all three therapists today, so it will be quite busy on the home front. Each one has been a tremendous blessing, and goodbyes will be difficult. Please pray for mom as this will be one of the challenging portions of her transition.

May we ever seek the Lord to be our help, as He is our support and the One who sustains us in all things.

 

O Lord God, our Help, fb_img_15637309176878339909102890478638.jpg

You’re all that we need;

You strengthen, protect,

Our hopes You exceed.

Help our hearts to trust,

Each step of the way;

No matter what comes,

You’re our help and grace.

Show us green pastures,

Where strength’s realized;

Beautiful blessings,

As in You, we rise.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our help and our hope. Thank You that You strengthen and sustain us in all things and at all times. Thank You that You support us and remain ever near. Forgive us for our fearfulness and unrest when we are uncertain of what lies ahead. Teach us to trust You more, as You have already gone before us and prepared the way. Show us how to love those around us in a way that supports, encourages and extends the grace that is needed to supply strength and hope to keep moving forward. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You to rescue us and be our strength. Amen.

 

© Shannon Elizabeth Grabrick 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

Hands that Uphold

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)

So don’t be afraid. I am here, with you; don’t be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, help you. I am here with My right hand to make right and to hold you up. – (Isaiah 41:10, VOICE)

 

As my mom, sister and I have navigated the last three months, we have had to do so with no previous experience nor understanding, but rather it has been a matter of having to work together and trust big. God has been with us and provided the strength that we have needed to take each new step along the way. As we all are preparing for the next leg of mom’s journey, I know there is a natural inclination to worry and perhaps be a bit fearful. This morning’s verse is quite timely, as last evening when I spoke to my mom and sister, I could hear the underlying anxiousness in their voices as we spoke of details of mom’s move to Megan’s. I too, share their fears, especially being away right now. However, I have to look at the journey thus far, and recognize how God has held us up and provided the perfect people and plan each step of the way. If God has been with us and for us since day one, why would that change now? His perfect love casts out fear and grants us the strength to do all that is required. May we look to Him and set aside fear, trusting that He will be our strength and guide, every step of our journey.

Yesterday, mom had an appointment at the anti-coagulation clinic and speech therapy. Her appointment at the clinic was great, as it was only twenty minutes and her specialist is fantastic. Speech was shorter than usual in the afternoon, but the work accomplished was equal to that of a regular session. On the home front for me, I was able to run in the morning, get to a hair appointment mid-day, and then meet with our tax guy to finally take care of some paperwork that was long needing my attention. We were able to go to dinner as a family, and then return home to pack, relax and get to bed early, as my Viking and I are off to the airport in a few short hours for our anniversary adventure.

May we all place our concerns in the hands that are great enough to hold them, and trust Him to be our strength as we enjoy the blessings of each brand-new day.

 

Because God’s with us, img_2019-07-19_04-21-22145971198397462065.jpg

We need not choose fear;

Do not be dismayed,

For the Lord is near.

He will be our strength,

In our time of need;

Uphold and guide us,

In love, He will lead.

So, trust in the Lord,

Always He is near;

To lead us in love,

And calm all our fear.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You love us and lead us and never leave us on our own. Thank You that You are always near. Thank You that we can always trust our lives in Your hands. Forgive us for our fears and worries when the weight of the world seems to close in. Teach us to places all in Your hands, as You are ready to carry the weight and strengthen our hearts so that we are able to do abundantly more than we ever thought possible. Show us how to love those around us in a way that strengthens and supports where fear and worry wants to overwhelm. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust all in Your mighty hands. Amen.

 

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

 

But I trust in Your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in Your salvation. – Psalm 13:5

 

Wait Expectantly

In the morning, Lord, You hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before You and wait expectantly. – (Psalm 5:3, NIV)

Every morning, Lord, I lay my gifts before You and look to You for help. And every morning You hear my prayers. – (Psalm 5:3, ERV)

In the morning, O Eternal One, listen for my voice; in the day’s first light, I will offer my prayer to You and watch expectantly for Your answer. – (Psalm 5:3, VOICE)

 

The Psalms are the space where my heart most closely relates, as so often David’s words capture the echo of my own thoughts. This morning is no exception. I know that God hears our prayers whenever we present our requests before Him, however, for me, there is something significant about starting my day with Him. Rising before the sun has made its full debut, provides the opportunity to watch the Master Artist paint the sky new every morning. Each day, I am reminded again, of just how powerful He is. He hears each word uttered, and those that remain hidden in my heart, loving me all the while. As I gaze in awe and wonder at the way that He transforms the sky differently each morning, I cannot help but know that I am heard. If I, an imperfect parent who loves her children with my whole being will seek to answer all that is reasonably asked, how much more will a perfect and all-powerful Heavenly Father present answers to our inquiries?

Though God’s answers seldom look like I would envision, they are faithful, and far better than I could have pictured on my own. I know that His plans for mom are no different. Already, He is faithfully providing answers when we need them the most. Last night, mom only woke once, and is still sleeping now! This is the farthest I have been able to get in the writing process with her still sleeping, as typically, we share breakfast together, then she meanders while I attempt to focus. We both enjoy the sunrise together, yet I am a creature who longs for my solitude first thing in the morning, and today is a tremendous blessing. Not to mention, mom desperately needed a really great night’s sleep. Yesterday, mom’s only appointment was speech, and it went remarkably well. Susan is wonderful, and we enjoy the time with her, each visit. There was a bit of down time after speech for lunch and relaxing, so that is exactly what we did. Later in the afternoon, two of mom’s dearest friends came for a visit after having been out of the country for a few weeks, and thoroughly adored the opportunity to share with one another, all that had taken place. Mom and I made a quick run into town for the Dutch Bros drive thru, and a scenic wander before dinner, followed by dinner and a movie with stretching and exercises during the commercials. It was a good day, and I am especially grateful for a great night’s sleep. May we ever continue to present our petitions before our Provider each morning, for He hears and He answers all that we ask.

 

O Lord, each morning, img_2019-07-12_07-32-3950737445691531947.jpg

I start the day new;

My hope is restored,

As I look to You.

Father, I lay down,

My hopes and my prayers;

Placing in Your hands,

Each burden I bear.

I wait on You, Lord,

In expectancy;

Knowing You’re faithful,

You give graciously.

Though undeserving,

You love us so well;

You hear and answer,

As doubt You expel.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we come and pray to You, You hear our prayers each morning, and we can wait expectantly, trusting that You will answer. Thank You that You are faithful forever. Forgive us for our fears and frustrations when answers seem slow or do not look the way we anticipated they would. Teach us to trust You more, for Your ways are higher than our ways and Your thoughts, far higher than ours. Show us how to love those around us in a way that offers hope and strength and grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we present our prayers to You anew every morning, trusting that You will hear and anticipating Your faithful answer. Amen.

 

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

 

Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness. – Lamentations 3:22-23

Keep Singing

O my Strength, to You I sing praises, for You, O God, are my refuge, the God who shows me unfailing love. – (Psalm 59:17, NLT)

I will sing praises to You, my source of strength. You, God, are my place of safety. You are the God who loves me! – (Psalm 59:17, ERV)

I will lift my voice to sing Your praise, O my Strength – for You came to my defense. O God, You have shown me Your loving mercy. – (Psalm 59:17, VOICE)

 

As I prepare to head home for a quick visit until Sunday morning, I have much to be grateful for as I go. God is doing a new thing in mom, as He is granting her courage and desire to actually get out of the house and enjoy a change of scenery. For me, this has been a huge answer to prayer, especially with no appointments scheduled over the long holiday weekend. Mom desperately needed something to break up the long hours, and I needed a change of scenery and an escape. Wednesday, she willingly obliged to go into town for a quick coffee run, and consequently, we picked up lunch at a favorite take out place. Yesterday, what began as another quick coffee run, turned into a glorious adventure in scenic driving, as mom directed me on amazing back roads that I had never been. We both were all smiles as we soaked in the sun and the scenery along the river, nestled between the surrounding mountains. For a few hours, life did not seem like we were in this post-stroke limbo space, but rather we were simply out on an adventure together. Dare I say, all felt gloriously normal. The outing challenged her enough to leave her needing a rest, and helped break up the day so that what could have been a long and dull day, actually flowed and was an enjoyable and relaxing one. Sleep last night was decent, and the sunrise this morning was an exceptional orange glow. As I drive home late this afternoon, I know that my way will be accompanied by a loud sing-along to my favorite songs of praise. God is loving and merciful, and He provides all that we need, just as it is needed. May we ever praise Him for His goodness and grace.

 

Forever faithful, img_2019-07-05_06-48-18148229039848643710.jpg

God of strength and grace;

Our space of refuge,

For all of our days.

You show us Your love,

As it never fails;

Kindness unending,

Your goodness prevails.

May we ever sing,

Give unending praise;

To You, our Savior,

Hope of all our days.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are goodness and kindness, strength and love. Thank You that You are our refuge forever. Thank You that You teach our hearts to sing, so that we may ever praise You. Forgive us for forgetting the tune that You have planted in our heart when things feel too heavy. Teach us to trust You more, so that we will place all in Your hands and praise You through life’s storms. Show us how to love those around us in a way that helps lighten the load that others are bearing, so that they too, may find the song within. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You, our strength and refuge, for Your unfailing love. Amen.

 

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

 

Sing to Him; yes, sing His praises. Tell everyone about His wonderful deeds. – 1 Chronicles 16:9

People With Purpose

A friend is always loyal, and a brother is born to help in time of need. – (Proverbs 17:17, NLT)

Friends love through all kinds of weather, and families stick together in all kinds of trouble. – (Proverbs 17:17, MSG)

A dear friend will love you no matter what, and a family sticks together through all kinds of trouble. – (Proverbs 17:17, TPT)

 

No truer words have ever been penned, as I have been overwhelmingly blessed and surrounded, each and every day since our whole world as we knew it, changed. Yesterday, as I drove home for the first time in three weeks, I was flooded with emotions that I could not quite identify. I was disgusted by the overgrowth of weeds in the yard, angered that I could not get my Jeep in the garage, and then stuck in an ugly emptiness I cannot quite describe, as I walked into the silent, uninhabited house. My husband was working, my boys at school, and my bonus son, upstairs sleeping soundly. There was no greeting; nothing to make me feel glad to be home, only stuck in a sorrowful space for having left my mom. My best friend sent a text, a quite timely one, asking me to go for a walk with she and her pups. She knew what I needed, better than I did, and I hesitantly agreed. After a good, long walk and talk with two happy dogs leading the way, I was in a much better space to return home and meet up with my boys, who were heading home from school, and ready to see me as well. The three of us enjoyed a late lunch together at a favorite local spot, then we returned home where the two of them retreated for a nap, as the end of the school year had caught up with them. Sadly, the silence again got to me, and I was left with my own angst. Determined to put the excess energy to good use, I went out front and began to tackle the weeds. By the time Mark made his way home from work, I had spent a few hours weeding, showered, changed, and was in a far better space; ready to enjoy our time together. Our evening flew by, as we ran a few errands together, and then ended up at the home of our besties on their deck for a visit, before heading home for the night. Up early this morning to share coffee together, he is running around now, making final preparations before leaving for his week-long motorcycle trip. The boys are preparing for a day at Sea Scouts, and I will spend the day with my best friend. Though things home are not how I might have hoped during my first trip home in so long, I am blessed with wonderful friends and family who love and support me faithfully through this most difficult season.

As for mom, yesterday was a far fuller day than originally anticipated. With an early start, mom was at the table for breakfast with me while I did my devotions and writing, hung out and visited and saw me off as I headed home, prepared for the day with Meg, had a visit from the nurse, went to an anti-coagulation specialist in town, returned home for speech therapy, had lunch, then finished off the string of appointments with physical therapy. Though long and busy, all appointments went extremely well. Speech therapy was especially encouraging, as it seems to be the fastest area of her recovery. It is incredible that each time the speech therapist comes, there is obvious improvement from the session prior. I imagine her visits with dear friends are contributing to the acceleration of her progress.

May we seek the Lord to give us strength to be the loyal, close friends and family to those around us who need our support.

 

Friends who are loyal, img_2019-06-15_07-54-322354392329068873074.jpg

And family close;

Oh what a treasure,

To be blessed with both.

As life ebbs and flows,

And trials do come;

Support’s a treasure,

From the Holy One.

A wondrous gift,

To be truly known;

And loved anyway,

It’s how God’s heart’s shown.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the gift of friends and family that You give to us. Thank You that You strengthen and equip them to be Your hands, heart and voice to us when we need it most. Thank You that Your love is made tangible through the people whom You place in our lives. Forgive us for allowing our circumstances to overwhelm us to the point of isolation, rather than allowing those whom You bring to walk beside us, by Your grace. Teach us to trust You more, and to receive all that You lovingly offer. Show us how to love those around us in a way that listens, helps, holds, encourages, and supports best, in the same way that You do for us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for the gift of the people whom You have placed in our lives with purpose. May we too, be such people for others. Amen.

 

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

 

Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. – Romans 12:10

Far More than Satisfied

Satisfy us in the morning with Your unfailing love, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days. – (Psalm 90:14, NIV)

Fill us with Your love every morning. Let us be happy and enjoy our lives. – (Psalm 90:14, ERV)

With every sun’s rising, surprise us with Your love, satisfy us with Your kindness. Then we will celebrate every day we are alive. – (Psalm 90:14, VOICE)

 

Being an early riser and one who loves the outdoors, the setting I am in serves me well. Mom’s home is secured on a hill, overlooking the river, surrounded by foothills, with orchards below. The sunrise each morning glows on the hills across from us, and daily, I am reminded of new hope and a fresh start that come with the unfailing love of the Lord. With every sun’s rising, I am surprised with God’s handiwork; as no two sunrises are the same. He varies the cloud formations and color patterns, mixing His palette and providing my eyes and heart with fresh delight daily. In the same way that each new sunrise brings delight, so too does each new day on this journey with mom in her recovery and rehabilitation. The kindness of God grants of reason to celebrate each new day of life that we are given. There is joy in the journey, and new gains each step that we take. Yesterday, mom learned some new exercises in occupational therapy that she can do on her own (which she is thrilled about) and during her speech therapy session, she could do things yesterday that she was unable to do two days earlier! My heart is satisfied with His kindness, even in the moments when I struggle. He reminds me that I am not alone, and that He has us in His hands. Mom is a living miracle, and I have the privilege of watching her miraculous awakening each day.  Additionally, we laugh often, as there are some seriously silly statements that occur when exhaustion hits, and words become difficult to recall. Because I know mom so well, I typically know what she is trying to say, and we just giggle together about the “substitute” word and continue moving forward.

May we recognize Your love with every new rising of the sun, and be satisfied with Your kindness. Help us to celebrate with joy, every day that we are alive.

 

May the break of dawn,0607190510a_hdr6867141396644053477.jpg

The first light of morn;

Remind us of grace,

Hope when we’re forlorn.

With each brand-new day,

The rise of the sun;

Shows God’s faithfulness,

Before we’ve begun.

His kindness endures,

As we make our way;

Sweet satisfaction,

When covered by grace.

There’s no greater joy,

Love held in His hands;

Our lives a great gift,

To walk out His plan.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You bless us and renew us each morning with Your unfailing love, and that You are our reason to be glad for all of our days. Forgive us for allowing circumstances to steal our joy or hide our hope, as both hope and joy are found in You alone. Teach us to turn to You in all things and at all times, so that we never miss a sunrise or a miraculous moment that You intend for us to see, that is meant to remind us of Your incredible, infallible love. Show us how to love those around us in a way that celebrates the gift of each new day, and marvels at each minute miracle that You place before us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we sing for joy at the wonders of Your love, and marvel at the miraculous ways in which You move. Amen.

 

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

 

In the morning, Lord, You hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before You and wait expectantly. – Psalm 5:3

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

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,

295835825870096043076989.jpeg

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

Wise with Words

When you talk, you should always be kind and wise. Then you will be able to answer everyone in the way you should. – (Colossians 4:6, ERV)

Let your conversations be gracious and attractive so that you will have the right response for everyone. – (Colossians 4:6, NLT)

Make the most of every opportunity. Be gracious in your speech. The goal is to bring out the best in others in a conversation, not to put them down, nor cut them out. – (Colossians 4:6, MSG)

 

First, in a season of so many unknowns, it is difficult to speak with any sort of wisdom about what lies ahead. That being said, kindness and grace must be intentional and come from Christ, or answers will not be the right response in the moment. Before I expand further on what I am learning about this through this whole ordeal, I know the update that so many are looking for ought to come first.

Yesterday, was another good day for mom. Her day was full of various therapy sessions, each one with intention and purpose to propel her to strength and independence. She was at the table in the dining area picking at breakfast when we arrived and handed her the “smuggled in” Frappuccino. From there we met with the social worker and case coordinator (whom I affectionately refer to as Thor and Llama, based on the collections in their office), as they reviewed mom’s rights and care information with mom, my sister and me. Next up was the OT extraordinaire, Stephanie (I think, so many names), who took her in to help her begin to relearn the whole showering process. Cleanliness is next to godliness, and she felt refreshed to have soaked in that warm water, rather than hospital shower wipes. Her least favorite rebuilding session so far was speech therapy. It had little to do with the who, and everything to do with the what. Due to where the stroke occurred in mom’s brain, she is experiencing some apraxia. For those non-medical folks like myself, the dictionary defines apraxia as a disorder of the nervous system, characterized by an inability to perform purposeful movements, but not accompanied by a loss of sensory functions or paralysis. To make it even simpler, based on observations, there has been a disruption in the connection between message sending and receiving for some words to actions, words to objects, and most certainly, thoughts to movements on the right side of her body. Speech is the space where she is made glaringly aware of the disconnect. It is difficult and frustrating, and an area where extra grace will be needed, for sure. Already the speech therapist will adjust the schedule to meet with her in two 30-minute sessions, rather than one longer sitting. As soon as we returned downstairs from speech, Sophie, the recreational therapist came in. Who even knew that was a thing?! Anyway, super sweet, and her job is to help mom get back to doing the recreational things she enjoys, so I made sure she was aware that the bar was extraordinarily high. Sophie was quite pleased. Next up was OT again to work on vision and upper body, then lunch, followed by PT. It was not Penny yesterday, but Kristen was equally lovely and encouraging, and PT is by far, mom’s favorite therapy session of the day. In fact, she was trying to negotiate trading speech time for more PT time. 🙂 We were able to go outside again after dinner, and enjoyed a movie together before I headed back home for the night. A few phone calls were made on speaker, which was huge for mom, as it was a start to regaining a connection to those not standing in front of us.

Anyway, back to the verse of the day. This whole situation is showing me more and more how critically important it is to seek the Lord and His grace to speak to others. We have now had two people in the last week, tell us (in front of my mom!) stories of their own family members who had strokes and died a few months later. Seriously? Not the encouragement, wisdom, nor words seasoned in the love of Christ that this girl’s heart needed to hear, nor the protector in me wanted ANYWHERE near my mom. I was gracious, but it took much self-control to not scream that I am not their therapist, I am fighting for MY MOM, and no nay-sayers allowed. I am well aware of the risks and reality of our circumstances. What we need is love and support, encouragement and most of all, covering in prayer. It is a strange place when I don’t know someone who cares deeply for mom, is super emotional, and I am an empath who refuses to emote. Too much weight. Additionally, mom doesn’t need to see others feeling sorry for her. She needs cheerleaders, encouragers, shoulders who are ready to rise up and walk beside her. It is biblical. It is right. There is an army that has risen, and for you, we are forever grateful. For those waiting in the wings, feeling uncertain of what to do; keep praying – Your prayers are fueling this fight!

 

O Lord let my words, img_2019-05-08_06-29-487932028719116438520.jpg

Be faithful and true;

Seasoned with kindness,

Reflections of You.

By Your loving grace,

May all that I say;

Encourage, build up,

Each day, Lord, I pray.

God grant me wisdom,

In each circumstance;

May Your truth be known,

Your kingdom advanced.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are the watcher of our words. Thank You that what is intended to harm, You use for good. Thank You that You guard our hearts, even though we may have moments of frustration of anger at what we hear, we can trust that You are greater and have us in Your hands. Forgive us for those moments when anger arises and our thoughts are less than godly toward others for the things that they say. Forgive us too, for the times that we have done the same. Not one of us is perfect and we all have fallen short and said the wrong thing at the wrong time, even with the best of intentions. Teach us how to lean on You to love and extend grace with wisdom through our words. Show us how to love like You to all those around us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to speak with wisdom and grace, ever extending kindness and grace to all those around us. Amen.

 

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

 

Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. – Colossians 4:2