Grateful for the Gifts

We ought to always thank God for you, brothers and sisters, and rightly so, because your faith is growing more and more, and the love all of you have for one another is increasing. – (2 Thessalonians 1:3, NIV)

We thank God for you always. And that’s what we should do, because you give us good reason to be thankful: Your faith is growing more and more. And the love that every one of you has for each other is growing. – (2 Thessalonians 1:3, ERV)

Brothers and sisters, we cannot help but thank God for you, which is only appropriate because your faith is growing and expanding and because the love demonstrated by each and every one of you is overflowing for one another. – (2 Thessalonians 1:3, VOICE)

 

This morning, this is a sweet reminder to give thanks for the people whom God has placed in my life, who show me His love in tangible ways. Yesterday, I was at our league championship gymnastics meet from mid-morning until after eight in the evening. My best friend drove all the way to where the meet was located, only to have to turn around and go home, due to the cash-only entry fee. I did not realize that the admission was cash only to let her know, and she, much like myself and so many, does not make it a habit to carry cash. Despite the mishap, I was beyond blessed that the effort had been made, and am extremely grateful for the gift of a friend who loves in such a tangible way. She knows how much coaching and the meet mattered to me, and thus, made the time and extended the effort to be present to support me and the team. When we are loved well, we are further equipped to do the same for others. God, in His great love for us, surrounds us with those whom He intended, who have hearts that are growing in faith and overflowing in love, that bless and challenge us to do the same. May we ever thank God for those He has placed in our lives that grow our faith and love to overflowing.

 

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For He’s always good;

He grants us people,

Who love as they should.

They love with their time,

Heart, soul, mind and strength;

Increasing our faith,

Going to great lengths.

May we choose love too,

In ways that make clear;

The heart of the Lord,

And how He is near.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the people that You place in our lives to show us more of Your love and care. Thank You that Your heart for us is made tangible through the kindness and care of those who love well. Thank You that we too, have the opportunity to love in the same way. Forgive us for the times that we have not chosen love. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would receive all that You have to offer, so that Your love, kindness and grace, overflow through us. Show us how to love those around us best. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You thanks for the sisters and brothers that we are blessed to know, and help us extend Your love to each of them as You call us to do. 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

Safety and Strength

But let all who take refuge in You be glad; let them sing for joy. Spread Your protection over them, that those who love Your Name may rejoice in You. – (Psalm 5:11, NIV)

But let those who trust in You be happy forever. Protect and strengthen those who love Your Name. – (Psalm 5:11, ERV)

But let those who run to You for safety be glad they did; let them break out in joyful song. May You keep them safe – their love for You resounding in their hearts. – (Psalm 5:11, VOICE)

 

Having a refuge, a space of safety, grants us reason to rejoice and be glad. Just as there is nothing quite so sweet at the end of a long day as going home and relaxing in the comfort of one’s own space with the people who love them best, there is peace that comes when we run to our Redeemer to be our Comforter, Protector and Provider. He protects and strengthens those who seek Him, and His loving kindness grants reason to rejoice. May we ever take refuge in the Lord, for He is our strength and our salvation; and as we seek Him, we are filled with gladness by His love.

 

Mom is still working hard at her new outpatient therapies. Her favorite is when she has all three therapies (physical, occupational and speech), on the same day. When that trifecta of tough is on her day’s schedule, she tends to sleep really well at night. The most challenging therapy for mom is speech, as they have narrowed down the area most affected by the stroke, and are specifically focused on such. She is embracing the challenge, and we are all looking forward to gathering to celebrate Christmas together soon. It is a joy to pick up on the little things, as when I called yesterday morning, mom was walking around the house, opening window shades, and was able to pause and answer the phone. I was incredibly impressed, as that is a bit of a juggling act with a walker and one uncooperative arm. Yet another testament to her resilience and determination as she keeps working to regain her strength.

 

Seek safety in God, Our Help and Defense

For He is our strength;

A refuge in storms,

Who’ll go to great lengths.

For there is no place,

That God cannot go;

To bring peace and joy,

Make His great grace known.

Sing of His goodness,

With thanks, let us raise;

Joyful thanksgiving,

Throughout all our days.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our refuge and our strength. Thank You that You are our joy and reason to praise. Forgive us for not seeking You in the storms, or for not giving praise where praise is due. Teach us to run to You, always. Show us how to love those around us in ways that extend Your safety, peace, strength, and blessing. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for Your loving kindness that loves, protects and blesses us throughout all our days. Amen.

 

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

 

Keep me safe, my God, for in You I take refuge. – Psalm 16:1

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.

 

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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