Endings and Beginnings

You are my refuge and my shield; I have put my hope in Your word. – (Psalm 119:114, NIV)

You are my refuge and my shield; Your word is my source of hope. – (Psalm 119:114, NLT)

You are my hiding place and my shield of protection; I hope in Your word. – (Psalm 119:114, VOICE)

 

Though David often had need for the Lord to be his literal hiding place, there were times too, that he needed his heart to be covered and “hidden” by God. For me, that is more often the space that I find myself in. When the cares of my circumstances become overwhelming or seem far too heavy to bear, it is in that space that I need seek Christ to cover my heart with His, as He is my place of refuge and a shield about me. He renews my hope with the truth of His word and reminds me anew of who He is. Today, I am being granted the gift of time with my boys as they prepare to leave for a ten-day cruise with the Sea Scouts. I had hoped and prayed for a way to get home to help them pack and prepare and send them off, and God has been faithful to provide faithful friends for such a time as this, so that I could do exactly that and know that mom is in great hands and comfortable in my brief absence.

Yesterday was an incredible day to end mom’s therapies in Washington. As she met with Nick, her physical therapist, he had me guide mom through the paces of navigating her front steps with her hemi-walker. Giving her verbal cues and only keeping a hand touching her low back to remind her that I was present if there was a need, she was able to go down the steps, walk some steps in the grass, turn around, and then return up the stairs. It was the very first time since her stroke that mom had set foot on grass, and after Nick left, she could not stop the tears from falling. For her, it was yet another mile-marker that reminded her that hope is tangible and that she is truly making progress. A few hours later, mom had her final session with Susan, her speech therapist. The beautiful thing about speech therapy is that there is much opportunity to visit, as word recall is largely called forth through conversation. Time flew by, and goodbyes were difficult. Lastly, a bit later in the afternoon, was Larissa, mom’s occupational therapist. Larissa went to great lengths to make certain that we had a solid plan in place for ongoing exercises and stretches for mom to be doing daily during the gap time between now and when therapies begin in Oregon. She has been innovative and kind, and has gone above and beyond to help research and facilitate mom’s needs. As she was leaving, she refused to call it goodbye, but rather a “see you later.” Each of mom’s therapists parted ways with mom with hugs and words of well-wishes, encouraging her and letting her know how much they had loved working with her and how much they would miss her. Mom has a way of winning folks over quickly, and once she has, she is not forgotten. My hope and prayer now, is that she will find the same to be true of her new therapists in Oregon, and that she will discover a new community with which to connect during her season in that space. God has always been her refuge, and I trust that He will continue to provide her hope and tangible evidence of His faithfulness.

 

My refuge and shield, 08011905054602014993045993958.jpg

Where all hope is found;

The God of all grace,

Your word’s always sound.

You grant me safety,

And You cover me;

My heart is hidden,

In You, lovingly.

Hidden from the things,

That make me choose fear;

Blind to Your presence,

As You’re ever near.

Help us ever seek,

The light of Your grace;

For goodness is found,

Following Your ways.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our safety and our refuge, and that we can ever find hope in Your word. Thank You that You are present to help and protect and provide. Forgive us for our fearfulness in the unsteady or the unknown. Teach us to trust You more. Show us how to love those around us in a way that offers peace and grace and safety. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust and hope in You forever. Amen.

 

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

 

I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God in whom I trust.” – Psalm 91:2

New Feathers

But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. – (Isaiah 40:31, NIV)

But those who trust in the Lord will become strong again. They will be like eagles that grow new feathers. They will run and not get weak. They will walk and not get tired. – (Isaiah 40:31, ERV)

But those who trust in the Eternal One will regain their strength. They will soar on wings as eagles. They will run – never winded, never weary. They will walk – never tired, never faint. – (Isaiah 40:31, VOICE)

 

This morning, this verse has extra meaning for me. A few weeks ago, as I was getting mom ready for bed and she was very tired, she randomly said something about her feathers. I looked at her a little funny, and asked about her plumage. We both giggled, and she shook her head and said it was not what she was trying to say. However, looking at the ERV translation, perhaps she knew exactly what she was saying in her exhausted state. As she is healing and new neurological pathways are rebuilding, it is as if she is growing new feathers to fly. Her “feathers” are the key to restored strength to walk and move and reengage in the activities she longs to do once again. God is faithful, and I think He has a great sense of humor. We laugh often, even in the challenges of all of this. Each day I witness new strength and resolve, where new “feathers” are sprouting.

Yesterday was a wonderful day in every way. My Viking is here, and rather than just relax and visit, he worked tirelessly to assure that mom’s sprinkler system was back up and in working order. He trouble-shot and discovered issues we were not even aware existed. Incredibly, had he not, there could have been major issues with the hillside. Additionally, mom’s middle older brother and his wife came for a visit. We all shared dinner together, and a couple of rounds of a family favorite game. It was wonderful to watch the hearts of each of the two siblings soar in the presence of one another. Each one needed the reassurance of the other, to see that the other was okay, and was going to press on and persevere in faith. The two are in town a few more days, so we anticipate another visit or two prior to their return trip home. (I think being surrounded by the love of family encourages feather growth as well.) May we ever trust in the One who is our Source of strength, as He gives us feathers to fly; endurance to run without growing weary and perseverance to walk and not grow faint.

 

Lord, You are our strength, New Feathers

When weariness comes;

You form new feathers,

With each rising sun.

You help us to run,

Without growing tired;

To keep pressing on,

Ever inspired.

You are strength to walk,

When steps seem too much;

You hold out Your hand,

Grant Your loving touch.

Lord, help us rise up,

In the strength You give;

With new-found feathers,

Fly free and choose live.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we trust in You, we become strong again. Thank You that You renew our strength, granting fresh endurance and resolve to rise up and press on to all that You call us to do. Forgive us for our frustration and lack of perseverance when things don’t go the way we think they ought to go. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would ever seek You for strength, direction, and peace. Show us how to embrace the new “feathers” You are growing in us so that we may rise up and soar. Lead us to love those around us in a way that encourages, strengthens and supports others as they press on toward the prize to which You have called them. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust in You to be our strength forever. Amen.

 

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

 

Those who know Your Name trust in You, for You, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek You. – Psalm 9:10