Desires Fulfilled Through Delight in Him

Take delight in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart. – (Psalm 37:4, NIV)

Take great joy in the Eternal! His gifts are coming, and they are all your heart desires! – (Psalm 37:4, VOICE)

Make God the utmost delight and pleasure of your life, and He will provide for you what you desire most. – (Psalm 37:4, TPT)

 

The caveat to this verse is to be mindful of the first half, prior to fixating on the second. It is only when we delight in the Lord and take pleasure in that which pleases Him, that our heart’s desires transpire, as they are aligned with His good and perfect will for us. This is a great reminder on days that life doesn’t seem to go our way, as one day does not define our eternity. Yesterday, I had one of those days that required me to dig deep and choose to delight in God, as various circumstances sprinkled throughout my day, challenged my heart. God is faithful, and He provided good in the midst of the trying. Sweet reminders of His goodness and faithfulness were made evident through the people He has placed around me. Lovely colleagues and sweet students were mingled in between a migraine and a handful of students who were struggling behaviorally. At last, once the school day was done, my love and I were able to load the car and begin our journey to mom in Oregon. Traffic was terrible, yet I was able to take joy in the beauty along the way, and behold the blessing of the company I was keeping. What I desired most was to see Mom, and by 9:00 pm, we arrived and were greeted with such joy, my heart could hardly contain it. God is so good, and He blesses our hearts as we earnestly seek Him.

 

Delight in the Lord, img_2019-10-19_09-09-587156151120664397351.jpg

In Him, seek true joy;

Ever He’s faithful,

Blessings He employs.

As we seek the Lord,

Our hearts shall align;

With His pleasing will,

His goodness we find.

For all things give thanks,

Each day we draw breath;

The Lord is so good,

By grace we are blessed.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we delight in You and seek to find joy in You, we discover the desires of our heart are met in You. Forgive us for fixing our eyes on the obstacles that attempt to steal our joy. Teach us to recognize the blessings, even in the trials; for You are always good. Show us how to love those around us with Your goodness and grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we take delight in You and give Your praise for the blessings You pour upon us. Amen.

 

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

 

The Lord makes firm the steps of the one who delights in Him. – Psalm 37:23

Faith Not Sight

For we live by faith, not by sight. – (2 Corinthians 5:7, NIV)

We live by what we believe will happen, not by what we can see. – (2 Corinthians 5:7, ERV)

The path we walk is charted by faith, not by what we see with our eyes. – (2 Corinthians 5:7, VOICE)

 

Life is full of opportunities to walk by faith; for few of us have a path that is made plain enough to see our every next step. Faith is trusting that God will take us where we are meant to go, even when we cannot see a clear path, nor do we have our footing established. Often, we know where we are meant to go, but then only know how to take the first step. The steps to follow come with faith as we forge forward, and trust as we go. This evening, my husband, bonus son and I will be flying more than half-way across the country, to pay a final visit to his father. His health is failing, but we are trusting in faith, that our timing is right, and that we are doing what we ought to do. No matter what we see, we can trust that God can move mountains in the hearts of men, and we are going, trusting in His goodness and grace.

As for my Mom, I know that this road she walks is all about faith. I imagine there are days that it feels as if there is no end in sight as she longs to regain all that she has lost, yet by faith, she perseveres. Yesterday, I was thrilled to receive a text from her that her bible study ladies had called her while they met, and included her in their conversation. Her whole day was made by being remembered and included, as I know how hard it is for her to be away from her beloved friends. When I spoke with her after work, the joy and excitement was still present in her voice. Christy, Sandy, and the rest of you ladies – thank you!

 

Faith is a strong heart, Trust in the Unseen

Trusts when it can’t see;

Possibilities,

Allow the Lord lead.

This journey of life,

Is an unknown road;

Requiring faith,

Space for trust be sown.

Each time we choose faith,

The Lord’s faithfulness;

Meets us in our trust,

By grace, He does bless.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to trust, even when we cannot see. Thank You that You fortify our faith as You move on our behalf. Thank You that You never leave us or forsake us, and that You are our strength and our peace. Forgive us for our lack of faith when we cannot see what we hope to see. Teach us to trust You more, as You already know the outcome, far beyond what we can see or imagine. Thank You that Your plans for us are good. Show us how to love those around us in ways that build faith and express the depth of Your goodness and love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust in You, even in the spaces where we cannot see a solution. Amen.

 

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

 

For the word of the Lord is right and true; He is faithful in all He does. – Psalm 33:4

Sing for Joy

Come, let us sing for joy to the Lord; let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation. – (Psalm 95:1, NIV)

Come, let us sing praise to the Lord! Let us shout praises to the Rock who saves us. – (Psalm 95:1, ERV)

Oh, come, let us sing to the Lord! Give a joyous shout in honor of the Rock of our salvation! – (Psalm 95:1, TLB)

 

There is something about singing that elevates our entire being. It is no wonder that throughout God’s word, there are numerous references to singing and giving praise, from Genesis to Revelation. Likewise, it is only fitting that the songs we sing and the praise we offer, are to the very One who places songs in our heart and grants us words to express all that dwells within us. Recently, one of the new songs released by my favorite band, seems to be on repeat in my heart and mind. I find myself humming the tune or singing the lyrics as I move around, even in the most mundane of tasks. Each time I think of the song that celebrates who God is to me, I am encouraged and filled with gratitude. May we ever choose to sing praise to God with joy, honoring He who is our salvation.

This morning, for the first time since mom’s stroke, I received a text message from her. For me, this was a reason to sing for joy to the Lord, as I know how labor-intensive texting is with only her left hand. The fact that she chose to invest the time and energy to do so, was very much a labor of love, and spoke volumes beyond the content of the message. I was able to text her back while in line at Dutch Bros after my run, and let her know that I would call as soon as I was through the line. It is always comforting to actually hear her voice, and I think that we are both feeling the weight of separation, after having spent all of our time together for three and a half months. She is doing well, and she and my sister were enjoying the ordinary of a Saturday morning together. We continue to pray for healing and provision as mom perseveres on the journey to restoration.

 

May we sing for joy, Give Rise to the Songs

To the Lord above;

All thanks unto Him,

For His endless love.

With all that we are,

Throughout creation;

Let us give God praise,

For our salvation.

Always He is good,

In all things, always;

Let us sing to Him,

With joy, lift our praise.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the gift of music and song and the way that the combination of the two can so beautifully capture our heart of gratitude for You. Forgive us for the times that we neglect to sing the songs our hearts are holding. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would find the joy and reason to praise You, in all times and circumstances. Show us how to love those around us well, so that we may spread joy in a way that shines Your light to the world. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we sing with joy to You, our Rock and our Redeemer. Amen.

 

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

 

Sing to Him, sing praise to Him; tell of all His wonderful acts. – 1 Chronicles 16:9

Faith Over Fear

The Lord Himself goes before you and will be with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. – (Deuteronomy 31:8, NIV)

The Lord will lead you. He Himself is with you. He will not fail you or leave you. Don’t worry. Don’t be afraid! – (Deuteronomy 31:8, ERV)

And He will be leading you. He’ll be with you, and He’ll never fail you or abandon you. So don’t be afraid. – (Deuteronomy 31:8, VOICE)

 

Just as Moses spoke these words to Joshua, to encourage him as he stepped into his new leadership role, the words still apply to us today, any time that we are moving forward in the direction to which we are being called. Currently, my heart and mind are with my mom. This morning, she will have her first appointment with her new primary care physician, and I know that can be a bit unsettling. After all that she has been through following her stroke in late April, everything that brings change and new, is difficult. Though all for good, and to further excel mom’s rehabilitation and recovery, the challenge of more change takes courage, strength and trust; much of which is being placed in people whom she has not even met yet. Ultimately, however, it is a matter of trusting that God, Himself, will go before her and will never leave her. He will not fail her nor abandon her. My hope this morning, is that fact alone, will fend off fear and instill faith, as mom moves forward to this next step of her journey. May we ever trust in the Lord and His faithful leading, for He is worthy of all of our trust.

 

If God is with us, Faith Over Fear

We need never fear;

He goes before us,

And will remain near.

He’ll not abandon,

If things become tough;

He’s our provision,

God’s always enough.

Choose trust in the Lord,

His grace shall remain;

Our anchor through storms,

Sunshine after rain.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You never leave us nor forsake us, and that You go before us and remain with us, wherever life takes us. Thank You for Your protection and faithfulness forever. Forgive us for our fearfulness of the unknown and the new. Show us again, how trustworthy You are. Help us to love those around us in ways that extend grace, peace and goodness wherever we go. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust in You to go before us and remain with us, through every step of our journey. Amen.

 

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

 

Who is like You, Lord God Almighty? You, Lord, are mighty, and Your faithfulness surrounds You. – Psalm 89:8

Finish the Work

Now finish the work, so that your eager willingness to do it may be matched by your completion of it according to your means. – (2 Corinthians 8:11, NIV)

So now finish the work you started. They your “doing” will be equal to your “wanting to do”. Give from what you have. – (2 Corinthians 8:11, ERV)

So now finish this, so that your eagerness in desiring it may be equaled by your completion of it, according to your ability. – (2 Corinthians 8:11, AMP)

 

This particular passage in context is talking about collecting for and supporting the Lord’s people in their work, as a church, yet I feel it is a bit of an encouragement and a reminder for me, to stay the course and focus on that which I have started until it is finished. It is extra challenging for me as I return to my classroom to prepare for the new school year, as I get caught up in the tug-o-war between wanting everything to look and feel just so, and needing to be certain that my plans are established and in place to create an environment that is conducive to learning and growing. Add to the mix my desire to try to fit in a summer’s worth of activities and visiting/catching up with friends in a matter of a few weeks, and I am challenged in my finishing of the work. God has given me the time, resources and desire to do the work, it is up to me to follow through. My plan is to dedicate a few hours each day to the task, so that I do not burn out and become overwhelmed, but rather remain eager to accomplish all that has been held in my heart. So far, this strategy has been working, and all of the touch up painting in my classroom is complete. I have purchased the main supplies that I need to start the year, and my next tasks will be ones of organizing and sorting. If I manage to tackle all things in my classroom, then the backroom will follow. I have ideas for that space as well, but it may require more than just me to conquer all that resides in that area. Either way, I am encouraged and challenged to finish what I have begun. He is good and will strengthen me to see all through until it is complete.

As for mom, she is continuing to do the work each day as well. Her day begins with walking and exercises to stretch and strengthen, and carries through as she engages in games and activities to further sharpen and hone her word recall and vocal strength. It is a joy to talk to mom at the day’s end, as I can hear the strength in her voice and the delay that used to be present as she searched for words, is no longer. God’s faithfulness is clearly evident as she continues to navigate this leg of her recovery journey.

 

We each have been called, Weighing the Why

To rise and do good;

The things we begin,

Finish as we should.

For He gives us strength,

And all that we need;

To complete things well,

In Him, we succeed.

So, do not give up,

Instead, persevere;

God will make a way,

As He’s always near.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to finish the things that we begin. Thank You that the things which we desire to do, You also equip and strengthen us to complete for Your glory. Forgive us for the times that we allow ourselves to get too “busy” or distracted to see the things we are called to complete all the way through to the end. Teach us to stay the course, so that we may honor You in all that we do. Show us how to love those around us well, as the good we do is for the benefit of those whom need the blessings. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we work unto You and finish what we start. Amen.

 

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

 

Being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. – Philippians 1:6

Joy and Peace Through Hope

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. – (Romans 15:13, NIV)

I pray that the God who gives hope will fill you with much joy and peace as you trust in Him. Then you will have more and more hope, and it will flow out of you by the power of the Holy Spirit. – (Romans 15:13, ERV)

I pray that God, the Source of all hope, will infuse your lives with an abundance of joy and peace in the midst of your faith so that your hope will overflow through the power of the Holy Spirit. – (Romans 15:13, VOICE)

 

Hope is where it all begins. When we have hope, we have all that is required to live an abundant life. Hope is that knowing deep within us, that there is more than what we are experiencing in the here and now. The hope that comes from God is eternal, and grants peace and joy, even in the parts of our journey where such things do not make sense. In fact, hope in Him, fills us to overflowing, so much so, that the peace and joy present within us, begin to spill over into the lives of those around us. My mom is an incredible example of this. Despite having suffered a massive stroke that left the right side of her body uncooperative, she has hope for healing, and the peace and joy that she holds in her heart, overflow to those around her as she navigates this journey to her recovery. Yes, she is human and has tough moments, but truly, she has joy and peace and is filled with hope for a full recovery as she perseveres in this battle. Her willingness to do the work has already aided in her regaining much of what was lost. She is walking with a walker, and her speech is back to normal. Though waiting and working on the right arm, she is trusting in the hope that she already knows. May we all be filled with His hope, so that peace and joy are abundant and hope overflows by His Spirit within us.

The greatest update about mom for yesterday was that her medical insurance card finally arrived. With that, appointments can be scheduled and in-home therapies can begin soon. I imagine much of the day was quite routine, with walking and stretching, some games and perhaps a movie or two. At day’s end, I received a Marco Polo video from mom and my sister as I was about to go to sleep. It was a sweet close to my day, and a blessed encouragement, assuring me that all is well.

 

May the God of hope, 70a6c53c-3c22-4bb8-9875-9ad6b1e524c18631709261054991580.jpg

Come fill you today;

With peace and His joy,

And flood you with grace.

For God’s tenderness,

Meets our hearts and minds;

Brings calm in chaos,

His presence, divine.

So, trust in the Lord,

Lean full into Him;

His hold is steady,

As we let love in.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your hope fills us with joy and peace to overflowing. Thank You that as we hope in You, our faith grows, and we see You move mountains that stand before us. Forgive us for our fears and doubts. Teach us to trust You more, no matter what we see standing in our way. Show us how to love, support and encourage those around us in a way that offers peace, joy and hope where it is lacking. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust in You. Amen.

 

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

 

We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain. – Hebrews 6:19

Establish the Work

May the favor of the Lord our God rest on us; establish the work of our hands for us – yes, establish the work of our hands. – (Psalm 90:17, NIV)

Lord, our God, be kind to us. Make everything we do successful. Yes, make it all successful. – (Psalm 90:17, ERV)

O Lord our God, let Your sweet beauty rest upon us and give us favor. Come work with us, and then our works will endure, and give us success in all we do. – (Psalm 90:17, TPT)

 

This is a fitting verse this morning, as I prepare to head back to my classroom to begin the process of preparing for the school year. My prayer is that I can create a space that is safe, comfortable and welcoming, and that as students enter my room, we are able to establish a caring community that fosters growth and learning, bringing out the best in each of us. Such a request is no small ask, and it will require God’s hand to be upon my heart, daily. God is so good, and He is able to do abundantly more than we can ever ask or imagine, and I am asking and imagining that an amazing space of peace be ever present in my classroom. I am trusting Him to establish the work of my hands both now, and in the days to come. Each investment sown in love, does not come back void, but rather finds way to fill in dark spaces with much needed light. May we ever seek our Savior to be our strength and source in all that we do, so that He may establish the good we hope to see.

As for mom, it sounds as if God’s beauty is resting upon her in her new space as well. Though the weariness from travel seemed to have caught up with her a bit yesterday, it was still a good day for mom. My sister arrived home from work to find Terry (mom’s in-home care provider) and Skyler (my nephew) playing Dirty Marbles (family favorite game – cross between Sorry and Chinese Checkers) at the kitchen table. Her new medical insurance card finally arrived in the mail yesterday, so the process of seeing a new physician and establishing in-home therapies should follow soon. It was wonderful to talk to mom and Megan on the phone last evening, as mom sounded good, and as if all is well within her. God continues to be so faithful in every step of the process in this journey for mom. We are trusting the same to be true as an appointment is set to see a new physician, and in-home therapies are sought after.  God will continue to bring mom success on her road to recovery, as she models such faith and trust in Him.

 

May the Lord’s favor, 10221815182971527373307308191.jpg

Be present with us;

As we pursue Him,

Seek love like Jesus.

Establish our work,

Lord, all that we do;

So, Your love’s made clear,

And Your heart shines through.

God, show us the way,

To best persevere;

And work unto You,

As You’re always near.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we seek You and place our trust in You, You establish the work of our hands that is intended to honor You. Thank You that You lead us and guide us and love us throughout each day. Forgive us for the times that we deceive ourselves and try to go our own way. Teach us to trust You and stay true to the truth we know. Show us how to establish all that we do in the love and grace that You intend. Lead us to love those around us well, so that they might come to understand what grace, goodness, hope, peace and love look like for themselves. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You to establish the work of our hands, so that we may honor You in all that we do. Amen.

 

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

 

Lord, You establish peace for us; all that we have accomplished You have done for us. – Isaiah 26:12

Ponder the Wonderful Things

I will consider all Your works and meditate on all Your mighty deeds. – (Psalm 77:12, NIV)

I’ll ponder all the things You’ve accomplished, and give a long, loving look at Your acts. – (Psalm 77:12, MSG)

I ponder all You’ve done, Lord, musing on all Your miracles. – (Psalm 77:12, TPT)

 

Though I have spent much time pondering the things that God has done, especially over the last three and a half months, today is a perfect day to really recognize the mighty miracles of God, as mom and I spend our last full day together. Tomorrow, I return home to Federal Way, and mom will begin her journey in Albany, Oregon. It will be a strange separation for both of us, yet a well-timed return to my family and an opportunity for mom to spend time with my sister and her family as well.

First, the greatest gift and mightiest miracle is that mom is still here with us. The circumstances surrounding her stroke were a bit horrifying, as she was alone for three days before she was found. God, in His faithfulness, held and sustained her, protecting her life and quickening our hearts to call emergency services to do a wellness check. Already, mom has regained much of what was initially lost following the stroke. When we first arrived, her voice was so soft, it was barely audible, and words were very difficult for her to find. She had no control of the right side of her body, and was restricted in swallowing and positioning, as well as in a space of needing a bit of oxygen at night, due to the damage done. Since that time, her dietary restrictions were quickly lifted, as any swallowing concerns dissipated rapidly, and likewise did the need for oxygen. I have had the incredible blessing of watching her healing unfold. Mom has gone from no movement on her right side, to now being able to walk up and down her hallway with a platform walker, and navigate her front porch steps and into the grass with a hemi-walker. Her healing has come not all at once, but in small victories, one day at a time. Though seemingly painfully slow, to look back, it is a wonder to ponder all that He has accomplished. The thing that I remind her of most often when she becomes discouraged with the pace, is that it takes a baby a year to learn to walk, and here she is, a bit more than three months post-stroke, walking with a walker and tackling stairs! Way ahead of the curve. 😊 Additionally, God has blessed my relationship with my mom. Though we have always been close, He has orchestrated an opportunity for a tenderness that has not been present since I was small. My mom is an inspiration, and one of my reasons to live this life well.

Tomorrow will be a travel day for all of us, with me leaving in the early morning to head home, unload the car, then drive with my husband another hundred-plus miles to Anacortes to pick up my boys from their long cruise. Meanwhile, mom, Megan and Scott will be traveling the seven-plus hours to Albany, after loading and doing all of the final preparations for closing mom’s home for the season. Please join us in praying for traveling mercies, especially for mom, as she is a bit nervous to ride in a car for so many hours.

May we all take pause and ponder all of the wonderful things that God has done, for He is for us, and He ultimately uses all things for good.

 

The Lord, He is good, img_2019-08-09_07-20-292830600631577744291.jpg

In all of His ways;

He blesses, protects,

Throughout all our days.

God moves the mountains,

That stand in our way;

Or shows us the route,

The path, He’ll display.

Mighty miracles,

We cannot repay;

Instead we give thanks,

And ponder His grace.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the countless ways that You love us, bless us and protect us. Thank You for all that we have to remember and ponder because You are so loving and kind. Forgive us for the times that we get caught up in the chaos of what lies before us, and do not take pause to ponder Your faithfulness that has always been with us prior. Teach us to remember so that we trust You more. Show us how to love those around us in a way that extends grace and faithfulness, and inspires faith in Your goodness. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we ponder the many miracles that You have done, and all that is yet to come. Amen.

 

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

 

I remember the days of long ago; I meditate on all Your works and consider what Your hands have done. – Psalm 143:5

Trust Him to Bless

Lord Almighty, blessed is the one who trusts in You. – (Psalm 84:12, NIV)

Lord All-Powerful, great blessings belong to those who trust in You! – (Psalm 84:12, ERV)

O Lord of the armies of heaven, blessed are those who trust in You. – (Psalm 84:12, TLB)

 

As the end date of this season in Wenatchee draws ever nearer still, trust is a very necessary thing. Though my heart has ached and grieved being away from my husband and children, there is also a grieving in leaving my mom. After spending nearly three and a half months with her, twenty-four hours a day, it will be a strange sort of separation to be away from one another. It is good, as I know mom with be in great hands with my sister and family, and equally good for me to be back with my own family. It is a space of each of us desperately needing to rely on the Lord and trust in Him to provide and order our days according to His purposes where we are meant to be. I trust that God has not brought us this far, to only bring us this far. Our prayer is for mom’s complete and total healing, and we are trusting that a full recovery will come to fruition as she continues the hard work in this next leg of her journey. I look forward to watching and hearing about the new blessings that unfold, as mom continues to patiently persevere.

Yesterday, was a bit of a rough start, as we had not slept well and had to take mom’s car to the dealership for an oil change and tire rotation by 8:30 am. We managed, and made it home with time to relax and recharge, prior to a lovely visit with a fantastic pair of mom’s neighbors. Their company was wonderful, and gave mom an encouraging boost. We were able to take it easy the remainder of the day, accomplishing a few of the necessary items on mom’s checklist to prepare for her move, yet still keep a pace that didn’t push our sleep-deprived brains beyond what they could take. Thankfully, last night was a far better night. Though there were two wake-ups, they were spread out enough that there were some good, solid stretches of sleep that were had by both of us. Coffee and breakfast have been consumed, and mom is relaxing as I sit here and write. Today, we have two separate visits scheduled with friends, so the day will likely pass quickly.

May we ever continue to trust in the Lord, as He blesses and keeps us, every step of our journey.

 

The Lord of heaven, img_2019-08-07_07-10-246180370277970431451.jpg

He sees and He knows;

All that our hearts need,

And in us, He grows.

As we choose to trust,

He grows faith and love;

Grants us strength of heart,

As His own beloved.

Let us ever trust,

The God of all grace;

For He’s ever near,

As we seek His face.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You bless those who trust in You. Thank You that Your blessing comes through Your faithfulness and love forever. Thank You that we never need fear or doubt, for You are always with us. Forgive us for our fears and doubts when obstacles or unknowns lie before us. Teach us to trust in You. Show us how to love those around us in ways that offer hope and strength, grace and goodness. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust in You, the One from whom all blessings flow. 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

Bloom Where You Are Planted

Therefore, since we are surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. – (Hebrews 12:1, NIV)

We have all these great people around us as examples. Their lives tell us what faith means. So we, too, should run the race that is before us and never quit. We should remove from our lives anything that would slow us down and the sin that so often makes us fall. – (Hebrews 12:1, ERV)

As for us, we have all of these great witnesses who encircle us like clouds. So we must let go of every would that has pierced us and the sin we so easily fall into. Then we will be able to run life’s marathon race with passion and determination, for the path has been already marked out before us. – (Hebrews 12:1, TPT)

 

This, this is why we are called to be in community. Though we can accomplish much through Christ on our own, we can do and be more when we are surrounded by others who walk alongside us as we navigate the journey to which we are called. Incredibly, everyone has a story to tell, and we each have encouragement to offer, based on our experiences and the person whom we have been created to be. Though the struggles and seasons of suffering stink, they often become the space where we find God has grown us the strongest. It is in such seasons that we learn perseverance and dependence on Christ, and have to let go of everything else that weighs us down if we wish to keep moving forward. One of the things that I have missed terribly throughout this trying season, is the consistent community and gathering together to worship and fellowship with friends who have become family at home. However, I know that their prayerful support has been a tremendous contribution to what has sustained us as we have navigated this new and unknown road. God has been faithful each step of the way, and we trust Him to continue as each of us prepare for the next season in mom’s journey to a full recovery.

For mom, yesterday began with some strong ongoing progress that took incredible strength and courage. What terrified mom a little over a week ago, still frightened her a bit, yet she did not hesitate to participate and do her best. Doing upper body work from a kneeling position on the floor is a scary space for mom. However, it is a position that forces her to utilize the right side of her upper body, that she desperately wants to regain. She knows that the reward is worth the risk, and willingly fended off fear to do the work required of her. Ever so slowly, mom is activating her shoulder and scapula. Each time she does the exercises to strengthen the muscles, she also is increasing the message pathways to movement. Later in the afternoon, following an errand outing for a few necessities, lunch and Dutch Bros, we returned home and mom was ready to do some walking. Normally, mom changes into her tennis shoes with an AFO (something foot orthotic that lifts her toes so they don’t drag or catch when she steps) in them, but she already had her crocs on and I suggested she give it a try. Much to her surprise, she was able to walk well in her crocs without the AFO. This is extraordinarily exciting news, as it means that she is actually lifting her right leg as she steps, and no longer just dragging it through. The more she lifts her right foot as she steps, the greater variety of terrain she will be able to take on. (She really wants to walk around her yard!) Mom’s great cloud of witnesses have been coming to see her, more and more. She recognizes the benefit of visitors, and is enjoying reconnecting with dear friends from church, Bible studies and the like. Her perseverance is an encouragement to us all. May we ever seek to surround ourselves in community, so that we may encourage one another to persevere on the path to which we have been called.

 

Seek be invested, img_2019-07-16_06-35-183702170351870846491.jpg

In community;

To learn and to grow,

Exponentially.

For each one planted,

Has something to give;

Wisdom to offer,

Strength from lessons lived.

Hearing from others,

Those far and those near;

Lifts up and strengthens,

Helps us persevere.

Reach out and grow roots,

Invest and make room;

Choose let others in,

Where you’re planted, bloom.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to be in community. Thank You that we can both gain and offer strength to those around us as we do life together in You. Forgive us for allowing ourselves to be isolated when the road is difficult. Thank You for those whom You place in our lives to keep community strong, even when we are not nearby. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would reach out to those around us, regardless of our circumstances, as You bring beauty from ashes and often use our own weakness as Your greatest strength through us. Show us how to love those around us well, so that they will be encouraged and built up; strengthened to persevere through all seasons. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we invest in the communities that You call us to, and praise You for the power to persevere that comes from You. Amen.

 

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

 

Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe. – Hebrews 12:28