Sweet Independence

Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” – (Matthew 4:4, NIV)

Jesus answered him, “The Scriptures say, ‘It is not just bread that keeps people alive. Their lives depend on what God says.’” – (Matthew 4:4, ERV)

Jesus answered by quoting Deuteronomy: “It takes more than bread to stay alive. It takes a steady stream of words from God’s mouth.” – (Matthew 4:4, MSG)

 

Independence Day has an entirely new meaning in my world this year. I am not speaking on a national level, but rather on a personal one. Independence, as it is defined, is the freedom from the control, influence, support, aid, or the like, of others. (dictionary.com)  Ironically, to be independent from the wiles of this world, we must be dependent on God. We have to know the Lord, trust His word to be true, and actually follow after Him with our whole heart, to avoid being sucked into a dependence on popular thought, regardless of how askew it has become. Personally, I am in a space where my formerly independent mom, is currently completely dependent on me (or my sister) for everything throughout her day. Aid and support are required to sustain her, as the right side of her body is still not cooperating as it used to, prior to her stroke. At times I find myself feeling like a prisoner in this space, as I am accustomed to the freedom to come and go as I choose. Not having the liberty to take off and go for a run or make a quick trip to the store as needed, is an odd sort of normal. That being said, even when I have those freedoms at home, I still depend on God. My thought life and ability to express myself is independent of anyone’s control, and any submitting that I do, is a personal choice unto the Lord.

Perhaps my point is to not take our independence for granted. Mom’s independence was taken in an unexpected instant. She had no prior health issues nor warning signs, yet a stroke happened, and here we are. God is gracious and mom is a fighter. He has given her strength and tenacity, and I believe she will work her way back to full function on her own again. However, there is much work and an undisclosed timeline in the in between. Yesterday was another good day, as mom walked the full length of her hallway by herself with the walker during physical therapy in the morning. A bit later, we went on a “field trip” into town to drive through Dutch Bros for coffee. Honestly, it is a way to get out of the house and take in a change of scenery. Upon our return, we sat on the deck and spent a few hours playing Uno and Dominos. Playing games is a great way to continue to connect pathways in her healing brain, and do not be fooled, as she is a ruthless competitor. 😊 The remainder of the day was fairly routine, as we did the usual sort of activities. Last night, she had a few wake-ups in a short span of time, but then slept until 5:30 this morning. There is absolutely nothing scheduled for today, so we shall see what the day holds. We are independent to choose, yet dependent on God for His goodness and grace as we go. May your day be free and blessed as You celebrate the gift of independence that is held in your hands.

 

Sweet independence,

Freedom to behold;

Where no one controls,

We choose what to hold.

Hold fast to the truth,

Grace rooted in love;

Trust in the Lord’s word,

All hope from above.

Only by God’s grace,

Do we truly know;

Freedom forever,

True peace to let go.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your goodness and grace. Thank You that true independence and freedom come when we learn to be dependent on You. Thank You for the nourishment found in Your word. Forgive us for our frustration found in our circumstances, somehow thinking that our independence has anything to do with our location or physical condition. Teach us to trust You more, understanding that Your word truly sets us free from all that holds us captive. Show us how to love those around us well, so that they too may come to understand freedom in Your love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we celebrate our independence because of our dependence on You. Amen.

 

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

 

My brothers and sisters, God chose you to be free. But don’t use your freedom as an excuse to do what pleases your sinful selves. Instead, serve each other with love. – Galatians 5:13

Strength in Love

I love You, Lord, my strength. – (Psalm 18:1, NIV)

I love You, Lord! You are my strength. – (Psalm 18:1, ERV)

I love You, God – You make me strong. – (Psalm 18:1, MSG)

 

Everything about God is good. From sunrise to sunset, His wonders and provisions never cease to amaze me. He grants strength when we are weary, hope when we despair, and joy when sorrow seeks to sink our hearts. I am not certain of what has caused the shift, but there has been a fortification of sorts in my heart that was not present prior. Where I was anxious, I find that I have trust; where I was weary and exhausted, I have renewed strength and hope. It may be in part the new strides that mom is making with her walking, but honestly, I think that it is a work that God is doing within me. There is no magical timeline of healing and recovery that can indicate an end date to when mom will be restored and ready to be independent again, yet I find my heart in a space that is finding it easier to simply stay present and trust. I am embracing each day, each moment as they come, and celebrating the victories – great and small, appreciating the fact that I am overwhelmingly blessed to have all of this precious time with my mom. We laugh often, and there is little sweeter than our early morning wake-up routine of her surprise first call of the day, be it a song, a phrase, or something completely silly, we usually end up giggling about it as we waltz to the restroom before breakfast. Together, we sit in wonder and awe as we watch the sunrise together. Incredibly, the painting across the sky transforms rapidly, and may begin in shades of pink and blue, turn to gray, then reappear in a fiery orange glow. That was our gift from God this morning. 😊

Yesterday was quite busy in the morning, as mom had occupational therapy and physical therapy back-to-back, filling the late morning slot. During OT, Larissa, mom’s wonderful occupational therapist, devised a simple way to tape mom’s shoulder to provide a bit of extra support, as the right one is beginning to have a bit of twinge pain with some movements. The added support really seems to help. Physical therapy was a fantastic continuation of working to strengthen mom’s right leg and keep up her hallway walking. After the therapists had gone, mom was a little restless, and I talked her into a quick field trip into town to go through the Dutch Bros drive through. We both benefited from an escape, and it was a gorgeous sunny day. The remainder of our day was rather quiet, spent resting, stretching, doing laundry and the like. Mom slept very well, with only one wake-up in the night, so we are both rested and refreshed this morning. God is faithful, and He is always ready to supply the strength that we need.

 

O Lord, You are love, img_2019-07-02_06-33-255028693986524136181.jpg

Strength, power and grace;

Much more than enough,

To conquer each day.

Not in my own strength,

But only in Yours;

For it’s Your strong hand,

That opens locked doors.

Lord, show me the way,

You’d have me to go;

Each new direction,

By Your love, make known.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are the One who gives us strength to navigate this life according to Your purpose and plan. Thank You that You turn seemingly horrendous detours into beautiful routes we would have never known. Forgive us for our fears and doubts when trials and tribulations derail us. Show us how much strength You are willing to deposit within us, so that we can navigate the new that stands before us. Teach us how to love those around us in a way that offers strength and encouragement when theirs feels depleted. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, our strength, as we praise You for Your faithful provision. Amen.

 

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

 

It is God who arms me with strength and keeps my way secure. – 2 Samuel 22:33

 

Home is the Company You Keep

Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. – (Matthew 5:4, NIV)

Great blessings belong to those who are sad now. God will comfort them. – (Matthew 5:4, ERV)

You’re blessed when you feel you’ve lost what is most dear to you. Only then can you be embraced by the One most dear to you. – (Matthew 5:4, MSG)

 

A sense of mourning has been the overarching theme of my time at home. From the first moment I walked through the door, I began to feel waves of grief. Until yesterday, I could not completely identify the “why”. Yes, some of it is obvious, with the trauma of what has gone on with mom’s stroke, the loss of my grandmother, grieving the loss of closing out much of the end of the school year with my students, and of course, all of the time that I did not get to spend with my husband and children and close friends. However, there was something more that was weighing me down at home. The revelation that I had as I was walking and talking with my best friend last evening, was that being home was not home to me, without my husband here. For me, home is the company you keep, not so much the place where you sleep. Of course, I love my children and time with them, but they are typical teenagers, and spend much time in their own world, being independent young adults. I easily felt at home at mom’s, yet here, with Mark away, I have been unsettled and sorrowful. It is amazing how quickly comfort can come, once the source is identified. I was able to share my struggle with my spouse, and he listened and heard my heart. He also is rerouting his plans, and will be doing a quick turn-around on Friday so that he can be in Wenatchee with me for the weekend, rather than wait another week to spend time with one another.

As for adventures in Wenatchee… Mom and Megan had an “exciting” day yesterday. The morning began in quite the usual way, with breakfast, shower, and so on. However, when the two of them were seated in the living room, just relaxing and watching a movie, they suddenly heard a loud “boom” from mom’s room! Megan quickly ran back to investigate the noise, only to discover a disaster in the bathroom. A pipe had burst and there was about an inch of water on the floor already. She jumped into action immediately, laying down towels to keep the water from reaching the carpeted areas of mom’s room, darted out of the house to find the water main and shut it off, and reached a neighbor with a shop vac and industrial fan, and a dear local friend for a quality plumber recommendation. Additionally, she was able to contact mom’s insurance company. All the while, mom had a physical therapy appointment take place and was able to let Meg know the contact people for insurance, etc. Incredibly, all repairs were complete and the water was back on by evening. Hats off to my quick-thinking, fast-acting, superstar sister!

May we ever seek the Lord when we are struggling, for He is our Comforter and Keeper of peace.

 

Lord be our Comfort, img_2019-06-20_06-48-128110825988295564590.jpg

Wherever we roam;

May we always choose,

Make our heart Your home.

Show us Your kindness,

And grant us Your grace;

When sorrow’s burden,

Tries to overtake.

Thank You for people,

To know and be known;

Oh what a blessings,

To make house a home.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our Comforter when sorrows and struggles come our way. Thank You that You make Your heart for us tangible through the people whom You place in our lives. Thank You for the countless gifts that You have given me – my husband, children, mom and sister, dearest friends, colleagues whom are lifelong friends, and more. Thank You that You truly bless us, even in our most difficult seasons. Forgive us for feeling stuck in the struggle, as You refine us in the fire. Teach us to trust You more, as You never let go of our hearts or our hands. Show us how to love those around us in a way that lifts up and walks alongside through the hurts and brings comfort and peace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as You are our caring Comforter in all things and at all times. Amen.

 

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

 

Now comfort me with Your faithful love, as You promised. – Psalm 119:76

Hope is the Anchor

We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. – (Hebrews 6:19a, NIV)

This hope is like an anchor for us. It is strong and sure and keeps us safe. – (Hebrews 6:19a, ERV)

We have this certain hope like a strong, unbreakable anchor holding our souls to God Himself. – (Hebrews 6:19a, TPT)

 

One of the most critical elements to recovery that I am discovering along this journey with mom, is that hope has to be held in her heart. Incredibly, the faithful prayers of so many are being heard and answered, as she is beginning to see and embrace the steps of progress, she is making for herself. I watch in awe, as each new day, mom is able to say and do things that she was unable to accomplish or communicate the day prior. Hope is rising within her, before my own eyes. Mom is rooted and grounded in Christ, first and foremost, however, a blow like this to a very independent, self-sufficient, bright and extroverted woman, is extraordinarily troubling. Though we do not know what the outcome will be exactly, there is great hope as she is on a phenomenal track to recovery. Mom is finding hope in each day. She is strengthened and encouraged, and surrounded by the most positive, encouraging and wonderful team of people I could have ever hoped for. God hand-selected each one, just for her, to encourage, challenge, push, love, lead and care for her the way she needs most. God is good, and He is the hope that anchors our soul; strong and secure, with and unbreakable hold that will never let us go.

 

Hope is the anchor, Hope Anchors the Soul

That secures the soul;

It grounds and roots us,

In Christ, makes us whole.

Hope moves us forward,

To keep pressing on;

The spark that’s needed,

When our strength seems gone.

Sometimes hope enters,

With a quiet word;

Loving reminders,

Truth needing be heard.

Some days hope floods in,

Like a trumpet’s call;

Miracle moments,

Both the great and small.

No matter what comes,

The sun shall still rise;

God will not leave us,

His grace realized.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are the hope that is the anchor for our soul, firm and secure. Thank You that You are the same, yesterday, today and forever. Thank You that Your love and faithfulness know no end. Forgive us for our fearfulness and our distorted vision that loses sight of hope when difficulties make hope hard to see. Teach us to trust You more, so that we NEVER lose sight of hope in You. Show us how to love those around us in a way that encourages and shares Your hope that is held in our hearts. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we hold firmly to You, our anchor, through the storms and in safe harbor; for You are our security and hope forever. Amen.

 

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

 

For I have always been mindful of Your unfailing love and have lived in reliance of Your faithfulness. – Psalm 26:3

Coming to a Crossroad

Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and He will establish your plans. – (Proverbs 16:3, NIV)

Turn to the Lord for help in everything you do, and you will be successful. – (Proverbs 16:3, ERV)

Whatever you do, do it as service to Him, and He will guarantee your success. – (Proverbs 16:3, VOICE)

 

Yesterday, we came to a crossroad. Mom’s insurance company was adamantly denying her move to Good Sam’s Acute Rehab Facility in Puyallup. After have spent the previous two days attempting two appeals, we reached a point of recognizing that time was far more important than location. Additionally, we had been praying that God would open the doors we were meant to walk through, and close the ones we were not. Though Good Sam welcomed her, insurance slammed that door shut. At first, it did not make sense. Anger gave way to acceptance. Mom has lived in Wenatchee for nearly twenty years. She has an incredible community here. She is loved deeply, and her home will accommodate those I am comfortable sharing space with from home, who have known her since I was very young. As it turns out, between FMLA and twenty-two years of teaching in the same school, I have plenty of leave to be in Wenatchee as long as I am needed. Megan too, has FMLA benefits, flexibility of working remotely, and a dear friend who can aid in ease of travel on occasion. We are surrounded and loved in the Wenatchee Valley. No, this is not what we thought things would look like, but then again, this whole nightmare is nothing we ever envisioned for our mom; EVER. Just as we are grieving, so too is she. Mom is fully aware of her current circumstances, and she recognizes the road ahead. It is discouraging when people place expectations on her to “get to her old self in no time”, as no one knows what the future holds. By faith, her body will be fully restored and she will regain EVERYTHING. However, we do not know when. She may not be independent for quite a while, and consequently, may not be ready for visitors for just as long. Yesterday was the first day that she expressed any interest in seeing her phone. I will take it to her and all of her cards. The outpouring of cards, texts and calls has been incredible, as we know her family, friends and church community love her very well.

The what next is that she will be moved on Monday to an acute care facility in Wenatchee. Right now, we are not wanting people to take the liberty to just “drop by” to say “hi” and see her, even though that was normal for her before. Acute care will be extremely intense, and she will likely be exhausted and needing far more rest than she has ever needed before. An important part of healing from a stroke is sleep, so we do not want anything to hinder the process. We do not yet know what it all will look like, nor how she will feel, until we arrive and go through the paces. As she settles in, I will continue to update and let people know. I imagine there will come a point where some sort of visiting schedule could be established. However, that is a stay tuned situation. In the meantime, please, please, continue to pray. Your prayers are felt and we do have light-hearted moments in the midst of the difficult. We smile and laugh, talk and remember, share and listen, and pray. God is good, even when life is hard. May we turn to Him to lead us in all things.

 

When a door opens, 0503192119a6743790846154114741.jpg

Then slams in your face;

Do not stop running,

Rather adjust pace.

Keep moving forward,

Ever seeking Him;

He’ll show the right way,

And usher us in.

Give all to the Lord,

Allow Him to lead;

For He knows the way,

And will meet each need.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we commit our plans to You, You lead us in the way that we are meant to go, even if it is not the way that we thought it was supposed to be. Thank You that You already know the outcome and what is the very best place for our mom to thrive and heal. Forgive us for our fears and frustrations as we navigate all of this uncharted territory. Teach us to trust You more, as trust is all that we have. Show us Your ongoing miracles through the healing of our mom, as we are already seeing small steps of Your faithful forward momentum. Show us how to love and encourage mom and all who help care for and work with her. May those who do not know You yet, see Jesus through us and come into a lasting relationship with You. Be our light and strength and love that leads us every minute of every day, Lord God, so that You may be glorified. 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

The Process of Good Growth

Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. – (James 1:4, NIV) 

If you let that patience work in you, the end result will be good. You will be mature and complete. You will be all that God wants you to be. – (James 1:4, ERV) 

So, let it grow, and don’t try to squirm out of your problems. For when your patience is finally in full bloom, then you will be ready for anything, strong in character, full and complete. – (James 1:4, TLB) 

 

Growth is a process. Just as children often experience growing pains as their bodies mature, so too do people, as we learn and insight is expanded. The challenges in maturing, both physically and spiritually, are often difficult and at times, painful. There is a letting go of what was and growing into what is meant to be. As a parent, this is alarmingly obvious as we watch our children mature. When our kids are young, they are dependent on us for nearly everything, yet as they age, new learning and growth takes place, and they are expected to do more and more for themselves. Ideally, we will raise them up in the ways they should go, and ultimately, they will become adults who are independent, strong in character, and able to spread their wings and soar. Yesterday, we celebrated the seventeenth birthday of my boys. I am in awe of both how they have grown and who they are becoming as young men. Though it is still a process, even painful at times, they are learning responsibility, chivalry, kindness, patience, faithfulness, self-control, and the attributes that most admire in sweet, young men. Had there been a folding of expectations any time things became difficult, they would not know or understand how to persevere. Because they had to keep moving forward, even when things became difficult, they know that though things may be tough, they can overcome with persistence and faith. May we each seek the Lord to be our strength in the trials, rather than attempt escape that which we are intended to walk through. For each time we persevere and overcome, we mature further in our faith. 

 

Growth is a process, img_2019-01-20_06-13-146032963583724101848.jpg

We all travel through; 

Learning to spread wings, 

And how we’re meant to. 

For we all are called, 

To seek so we find; 

The way God prepared, 

With us each in mind. 

As we move forward, 

Trials surely come; 

We need persevere, 

So His work is done. 

Both that within us, 

And things He has planned; 

Let’s keep pressing on, 

Follow His commands. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to patiently persevere, even when the road before us seems rough. Thank You that You never leave us or forsake us when we place our trust in You. Thank You that each time we keep pressing forward through trials and difficulty, You grow us and show us You strength and grace. Forgive us for our desire to escape challenges. Teach us to run to You for all that we need, so that we would ever persevere and grow stronger in You. Show us how to love those around us in a way that promotes patient perseverance that leads to gracious growth. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek Your strength for patience to persevere, even when our way is more challenging that we would like, for You are faithful to see us through. All glory to You, now and forever. Amen.

 

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

 

Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it. – Proverbs 22:6

Redemption for the Repentant

Rend your heart and not your garments. Return to the Lord your God, for He is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and He relents from sending calamity. – (Joel 2:13, NIV)

 

Tear your hearts, not your clothes. Come back to the Lord your God. He is kind and merciful. He does not become angry quickly. He has great love. Maybe He will change His mind about the bad punishment He planned. – (Joel 2:13, ERV)

 

God is indeed merciful; slow to anger, abounding in love. However, we must make a choice. We either elect to turn from our selfish and independent ways and choose to trust Him, or we continue on our self-made road to ruin. Jesus made the way so that all who call on His Name, may be saved. All of our sin and shame has been covered at the cross; we need only be willing to repent and receive what He is offering. Each of us have a finite time on earth. Not one of us know the number of our days. Sitting idly by, saving the decision for “someday“, is playing roulette with our eternity. There is no better time than now. He has been waiting since the moment He knit you together in your mother’s womb. He knows your name, and everything you’ve ever done – yet He still love you and is ready to call you His own. Yet to all who received Him, to those who believed in His Name, He gave the right to become children of God. – (John 1:12) Repent, receive, and believe, for we are meant to be His.

 

Today is the day,Redemption for the Repentant

to turn to the Lord;

don’t let it slip by,

seek in one accord.

For He is waiting,

with arms open wide;

to call you His own,

to stay by your side.

No matter your past,

the sin you have done;

covered at the cross,

that battle’s been won.

All that still remains,

is you choose receive;

to trust in His word,

have faith and believe.

There’s no greater choice,

to ever be made;

O child of the King,

embrace Him today.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love. Thank You that You receive us into Your kingdom when we call on Your Name and repent from our sinful ways. Forgive us for overcomplicating Your love or Your grace, and help us to both receive and extend all that You are offering. May we be living examples of lives transformed by You. Let those who are looking, find their way to a lasting relationship with You. Help us to hold fast to Your truth, and live and love as You love us. Be exalted, O God, as we share of the goodness and grace You grant all who seek Your face. Amen.

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

Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life,

and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.  – Psalm 23:6