Strength for the Soul

As soon as I pray, You answer me; You encourage me by giving me strength. – (Psalm 138:3, NLT)

When I called to You for help, You answered me and gave me strength. – (Psalm 138:3, ERV)

On the day I needed You, I called, and You responded and infused my soul with strength. – (Psalm 138:3, VOICE)

 

Every single day, whether with mom or on a brief furlough home, God is faithful to meet me when I pray. Sometimes, who am I kidding, most often, the prayers of my heart are simply, “Oh God, please help!” He is faithful to come and bring clarity in chaos, and calm in moments of distress. Last night, when mom woke for the third time in a matter of four or five hours, I knew there had to be something waking her. I slowed down, asked for help, then gently asked mom if she was okay. She said she was, but I noticed she kept touching her right shoulder. I asked if it was bothering her, and she replied, “yes.” When I offered to grab her some ibuprofen, she accepted. After that, she slept soundly until a reasonable time to rise. Sometimes, strength comes through a few solid hours of consecutive sleep. Other times, it rises up as the soul is infused with the strength of our Savior at work in our hearts. Either way, He is good.

As for yesterday, it was transition day, as I arrived back in Wenatchee late morning. It was a fantastic reunion, and as always, wonderful for mom to have both of her girls at the same time, even if only for a few hours. To celebrate, she determined she was willing to venture out so that we could all have lunch together. For me, this was a joyful first experience with mom since her stroke, and wonderful to watch her willing to spread her wings, be it ever so hesitantly. We decided to try The South, down at Pybus Market, as we were getting an early start and should likely beat the typical Sunday lunch crowd. Our estimation was correct, and there were only two other tables occupied in the whole establishment. We had a wonderful lunch together, and enjoyed the view near the river in the company of each other. After lunch we returned home, and before we knew it, it was time for Megan to leave for the airport to fly back home. Mom and I had a mellow evening of movies and exercises, as we were updated with Meg’s travel status as she went. Today, we return to a more typical week, kicking off the day with physical therapy at 8:15 this morning.

My prayer is for strength to continue to abound all the more in mom as she rebuilds, and for healing and recovery of her right arm that seems so painstakingly slow. May you know the faithful strength of the Lord as you seek Him.

 

God faithfully gives, 0707191208_hdr2314193726958669817.jpg

His strength as we ask;

He hears all our prayers,

Equips us to task.

So much more than that,

His love knows no bounds;

Our heart in His hands,

In Him, we are found.

Choose call on the Lord,

And earnestly pray;

He hears and answers,

With strength each new day.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we pray to You, You give us the strength that we need. Thank You that You are loving and kind, faithful and true. Forgive us for the times that we neglect to trust in You. Show us again, how very faithful You are. Help us to love those around us with Your strength and faithfulness, so that they too, may be encouraged and lifted up in You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we pray to You and depend on You to be our strength. 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

An Impossible Pairing

Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. – (Romans 12:12, NIV)

Be happy because of the hope you have. Be patient when you have troubles. Pray all the time. – (Romans 12:12, ERV)

Do not forget to rejoice, for hope is always just around the corner. Hold up through the hard times that are coming, and devote yourselves to prayer. – (Romans 12:12, VOICE)

 

Joy and patience seem like an impossible pairing, but if I have learned anything from our present circumstances of walking out this road to recovery with mom, following her stroke, it is that there is joy in hope, despite the struggle through what has been lost. Every day there are new celebrations of pathways that are rerouting, and awe at how the brain is healing. Restoration of movement to a side struck by a stroke is slow, yet there is joy each new day, as we see evidence of God’s faithful presence and His hand as mom’s strength is being rebuilt.

Yesterday was a day full of joyful hope. Even the weather seemed to mirror a sort of tangible weight that somehow was lifted. You see, the last several days here have been dark, gloomy, and on the cooler side, which is not typical for this time of year in Wenatchee. That being said, it was a blessing, as there was something wrong with the irrigation main for mom’s neighborhood, and the lawn would not have fared well if the weather had been warmer. As I woke and took my usual spot at the kitchen table in the early hours yesterday morning, I could tell the atmosphere outside was changing. The sky was lighter, and the seeming heaviness in the air had lifted. The thermometer just outside the window already read in the low 60s, so I knew we were on a much warmer trend for the day. When Meg and I left for the hospital to be with mom, I thought we were saying our goodbyes to my husband, as he had indicated that he was heading straight home from the house. My brother-in-love and nephews were planning to stop by to say goodbye to mom before heading out of town, so we knew we would see them on their way out. To my surprise, all four fellas (my hubby included) walked into the acute care center and mom was beaming. What a boost for all of us before her last full day in that place! Mom teared up a bit as the guys said their goodbyes, and I think there may have been a few misty-eyed fellas too, but they were happy tears of love and mutual appreciation, with eager anticipation for their return visit. Our day was a wonderful combination of therapies, rest, wandering outdoors, and loads of laughter. Mom, Meg and I laughed more yesterday than we have laughed in a very long time. There was a lightness in our hearts, as I think each one of us sensed that though we do not know what the road ahead will look like, we will be okay as we navigate the unknown together. It has always been the three of us, and it is not about to change now. God has us in His hands. He will never leave us nor forsake us, and He has a plan and a purpose; even in this. May we ever present our prayers before He who is abundantly able to answer, and allow His joy to abound, even in difficult circumstances.

 

Be joyful in hope, img_2019-05-28_06-27-205813260902501839238.jpg

For God never fails;

His purpose and plan,

Shall always prevail.

Patience in struggles,

For we’re in His hands;

He’ll lead and guide us,

Help us safely land.

Keep lifting in prayer,

Each dream, hope and care;

Of His direction,

He’ll make us aware.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are the reason that we have joy and hope, even in the midst of difficult circumstances. Thank You that You never leave us nor forsake us, and that You direct our every step, and hold us in the hollow of Your hands. Forgive us for our fears of the unknown, as our humanity fears what we cannot see. Teach us to trust You more in the spaces that seem unsteady, for You are our anchor in every storm. Show us how to love those around us in a way that offers joy, peace, hope and grace, no matter what surrounds. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You and listen to Your leading for every next step we are meant to take. Amen.

 

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

 

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight. – Proverbs 3:5-6

Hope When it Feels Like Hell

Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. – (Romans 12:12, NIV)

Be happy because of the hope you have. Be patient when you have troubles. Pray all the time. – (Romans 12:12, ERV)

Do not forget to rejoice, for hope is always just around the corner. Hold up through the hard times that are coming, and devote yourselves to prayer. – (Romans 12:12, VOICE)

 

This morning, this is the very reminder that I needed the most. I know there are stages of grief, particularly when something so traumatic takes place with a parent, especially a parent who has filled the role of both mother and father, coach and teacher, friend and confidant, leader, example, pastor, sole grandparent to my children, and so much more. Anger seems to be the stage in this process that both my sister and I are in. Between the frustration of the questions of why her, the outrage at the details and the seeming disclosure violations, the paperwork battle to place her near family (which is far less costly than the dang hospital), to simply being just plain mad that it happened to OUR mom. We would never wish this on another, but why her? I know no one has the answers, and quite frankly, I would probably throat punch anyone who tried to give me answers. In fact, I woke myself in the night saying “throat punch”, as my left arm shot forward with a balled fist. Thankfully, I was facing the opposite direction of my Viking, and he was soundly sleeping. Finding joy in the hope is particularly difficult when we feel like we are on hold. Patience in static spots is not a strength of mom’s, Meg’s nor mine. Prayer, we can do, as I know so many of you are too. Perhaps that is the point of this post. Please pray for joy in hope, patience in all of this, and ever be faithful to continue to contend for mom’s complete and total healing.

 

Find joy in the hope, 05031906408349317511433862260.jpg

Of what lies ahead;

For fear’s a liar,

No matter what’s said.

God is far greater,

Than all that we face;

We must be patient,

It’s His, not our pace.

In everything,

Choose seek God and pray;

no matter what’s seen,

God will make a way.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are bigger than our frustration and anger and grief. Thank You that You hold us in Your hands and ride out our rage, waiting lovingly to embrace us with Your joy, peace and comfort. Forgive us for allowing fear a foothold based on our limited understanding. Teach us to trust You more. Show us how to find joy in the hope of all that lies ahead, patience in the here and now, and to pray without ceasing. Lead us to love well, all those around us, so that they may recognize Your heart for them through us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, even in this, for we know that You alone can bring beauty from ashes and hope from despair. Amen.

 

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

 

To all who mourn in Israel He will give: beauty for ashes; joy instead of mourning; praise instead of heaviness. For God has planted them like strong and graceful oaks for His own glory. – Isaiah 61:3

 

Hope and Patience in Prayer

Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. – (Romans 12:12, NIV)

Be happy because of the hope you have. Be patient when you have troubles. Pray all the time. – (Romans 12:12, ERV)

Let this hope burst forth within you, releasing a continual joy. Don’t give up in a time of trouble, but commune with God at all times. – (Romans 12:12, TPT)

 

These three things are not in isolation of one another, but rather they are an ongoing, interwoven team that work together for the good of all who choose to participate. As we are faithful to pray, we find patience in our affliction and discover joy in the hope that we know, regardless of our circumstances. Just yesterday, I both witnessed this in the lives of two friends as they worked out a misunderstanding that I am certain both had approached prayerfully, and in my own life as a burden was lifted that was a specific answer to prayer. Both situations reminded me of the joy that is found when we continue to hold hope in Him. May we ever choose to be joyful in the hope we have, be patient in the troubles that lie before us, and remember to be prayerful, always.

 

In hope there is joy, Hope Makes All the Difference

Despite what we see;

For this is where God,

Points to what shall be.

As we are faithful,

To trust and to pray;

He grants us patience,

In all of our ways.

There is no trouble,

He can’t overcome;

So seek Him and hope,

Trust His will be done.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can have joy despite our circumstances because of the hope that we have in You. Thank You that as we come to You in prayer, You meet us and grant us patience and perseverance to press on when things are difficult. Forgive us for attempting to navigate trials on our own rather than turning to You. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would come to You in all things and at all times, as our hope, patience, strength and joy all are gifts granted by You. Show us how to love those around us in a way that offers hope in times of trouble and extend joy, always. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we are faithful to pray at all times, choosing joy in the hope we have in You. Amen.

 

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

 

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort. – 2 Corinthians 1:3

Be Full of Joy

Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus. – (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, NLT)

Always be full of joy. Never stop praying. Whatever happens, always be thankful. This is how God wants you to live in Christ Jesus. – (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, ERV)

Let joy be your continual feast. Make your life a prayer. And in the midst of everything be always giving thanks, for this is God’s perfect plan for you in Christ Jesus. – (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, TPT)

 

Despite what we go through or the struggles we face, we always have reason to give thanks. Joy is not dependent on our circumstances, but rather it is found in the hope that we know in Christ. As we walk this out tangibly, with His grace, our very lives become a prayer of praise in recognition of God’s goodness for all of our days. This is not to say that our days will be easy or free from trials, but rather as we continue to move in the direction to which we are called, we find faith and trust in knowing where our strength, help and hope come from. God is good, and the more we give Him thanks in all things, the more we discover His joy is present, even when life is difficult. May we never stop praying nor giving praise, for this is the life to which we have been called for all of our days.

 

Never stop praying,Be Full of Joy

Let joy lead the way;

All thanks be to God,

For help, strength and grace.

No matter what comes,

There’s reason to praise;

For God is our hope,

The Ancient of Days.

Despite what we see,

He has a great plan;

His love, unending,

Grace to firmly stand.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that in You, we always have joy deep within us through the hope we have in You. Thank You that as we pray and give You all gratitude, our very life is like a prayer before You as You lead us to walk out Your will. Forgive us for allowing our circumstances to steal our joy, or for looking for answers anywhere other than You. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would hold fast to the truth we know, and would seek You in all things and at all times. Show us how to love others and spread the joy that You have given to us, so that they too, may come to know the hope that is held in You alone. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose joy and make our very lives a prayer as we give You all praise. Amen.

 

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

 

As you know, we consider blessed those who have persevered. – James 5:11

 

 

Rejoice in Our Refuge

But let all who take refuge in You rejoice; let them sing joyful praises forever. Spread Your protection over them, that all who love Your Name may be filled with joy. – (Psalm 5:11, NLT)

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)

 

David reminds us that when we chose to trust in God, He is our source of safety, strength and joy. As we recognize the Lord’s protection, His love for us becomes increasingly evident. When we know we are loved, we cannot help but be filled with joy. Just as there is great joy and security in knowing we are loved by another person, how much more does this hold true when the love and protection come from the Creator of all that is and was and ever will be? May we take refuge and rejoice in our Redeemer, as He alone is worthy of our praise as our Protector and Provider of joy.

 

Let us run to God, Quiet Hope

For safety and joy;

It is by His love,

His strength is employed.

He is our refuge,

Protection and peace;

He loves forever,

In Him, joy’s complete.

So trust in the Lord,

Rejoice in His Name;

He’s faithful always,

In Him, there’s great gain.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that all who take refuge in You have reason to rejoice, as You are our strength and protection. Thank You that Your love fills us with joy. Forgive us for not running to You when we are fearful or uncertain of what stands before us. Teach us to trust You in all things at all times, as You are our refuge and reason for joy. Show us how to love others in a way that strengthens, encourages and shares the joy that we’ve come to know in You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we take refuge in You and rejoice in Your faithfulness forever. Amen.

 

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

 

For it is commendable if a man bears up under the pain of unjust suffering because he is conscious of God. – 1 Peter 2:19

Because Peace is Present

Dear brothers and sisters, I close my letter with these last words; Be joyful. Grow to maturity. Encourage each other. Live in harmony and peace. Then the God of love and peace will be with you. – (2 Corinthians 13:11, NLT)

Now brothers and sisters, be filled with joy. Try to make everything right, and do what I have asked you to do. Agree with each other, and live in peace. Then the God of love and peace will be with you. – (2 Corinthians 13:11, ERV)

And that’s about it, friends. Be cheerful. Keep things in good repair. Keep your spirits up. Think in harmony. Be agreeable. Do all that, and the God of love and peace will be with you for sure. – (2 Corinthians 13:11, MSG)

 

Paul’s exhortation to the church of Corinth applies to us today as well. When we choose joy, seek to grow, encourage others, and do what we can to live in harmony and peace with those around us, the love and peace of God seem to be ever-present. Each of the things that Paul mentioned are choices that we are able to make, despite our circumstances. Joy, growth, encouragement, peace, and harmony can be given and gained, even in the midst of personal difficulties. So often, when we choose these, our challenges become less and our strength and resolve become more. This is not to discredit the overwhelming obstacles that at times, lie directly before us; yet it is to remind us that our God is far greater, and when we choose to operate in the things of Him, that which is before us is less that He who is in us. May we choose joy and growth, encouraging one another in love. Let us live in harmony and peace with each other according to His will, and may we be ever aware of the love and peace found in the Lord’s presence, as He is faithful to be present with us for all of our days.

 

Brothers and sisters, Forgiveness is Free

Be joyful always;

Seek to ever grow,

For all of our days.

Encourage others,

Live in harmony;

For as we follow,

God’s peace is released.

He will be present,

To show us the way;

To do what is right,

Throughout all our days.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You give us instruction as to how we ought to live well. Thank You that joy, growth, encouragement, harmony and peace are all choices that we can make, despite our circumstances. Thank You that in You, all are possible, regardless of what we are going through. Forgive us for choosing to fix our focus on what lies before us rather than You who dwells within us and give us strength. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would be joyful, seek to grow, encourage others and live in harmony and peace. Show us how to love others well so that we can do each of these things according to Your good and perfect will. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we recognize the love and peace that is found in Your presence, so that we may go forth extending peace to all. Amen.

 

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

 

Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad. – 1 Chronicles 16:31

Rejoice in the Rain

Rejoice in the Lord your God! For the rain He sends demonstrates His faithfulness. Once more the autumn rains will come… – (Joel 2:23, NLT)

Be joyful in the Lord your God. He is good and will give you rain. He will send the early rains and the late rains as before. – (Joel 2:23, ERV)

…Shout with joy and happiness in the Eternal, your God; the drought is over; He has sent the early autumn rain as a sign of His faithfulness… – (Joel 2:23, VOICE)

 

It is always a bit bittersweet when the first rains of fall arrive. We have had a long and lovely summer, and I am an outdoor enthusiast. Because the Pacific Northwest is notorious for wet and rainy weather, I cannot help but feel a tug of loss when the rain arrives, as I know that the sweet summer days have come to a close. This verse in Joel is a great reminder for me to celebrate the rain with gratitude, as it has also been a terrible fire season for much of the region. The rain has already helped clear the air of the smoke that hung heavy, and I imagine it will provide much needed aid in ending the fires that have been raging across our corner of the country. In every season there is reason to rejoice in the faithfulness of God, and autumn rains and their cleansing nature are certainly one of them. May we rise up with joy and give thanks to God, for He is faithful in every season, and the autumn rains are another reminder of how He demonstrates His faithfulness to us.

 

Rejoice in the rain, No Matter What Comes

That God sends our way;

With joy, give Him thanks,

For each brand-new day.

The Lord’s faithfulness,

Comes in autumn rain;

It washes things clean,

Makes all new again.

And where there’s been drought,

He brings to an end;

As the Lord in love,

His rain He does send.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your faithfulness in each new season. Thank You for the autumn rains that bring refreshing, cleansing and water that is much needed for so many. Forgive us for our lack of gratitude for Your provision. Teach us to see new seasons through Your eyes, so that we would recognize the blessing and faithfulness that You are bestowing upon us. Show us how to love those around us in a way that showers them with blessings to end the drought in their thirsty hearts. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we rejoice in Your faithful provision of the autumn rains, and recognize the refreshment and healing that they provide. Amen.

 

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

 

The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. – Galatians 5:22-23

Always…

Always be full of joy. Never stop praying. Whatever happens, always be thankful. This is how God wants you to live in Christ Jesus. – (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, ERV)

Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus. – (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, NLT)

 

My heart is full, and there is joy despite the sorrow of loss. After hearing more stories of the incredible life that my Gram led, I am even more convinced than I was before that she did exactly what we are called to do in the verses above. Her heart was lined with joy that poured out to all who had the blessing to be near. Gram prayed unwaveringly for each of us, and the words that left her lips were laced with gratitude. Even in the final few months of her life, when she was ill and in agony, she found joy in the nearness of family and friends, and would still love and live and laugh in spite of the pain. Though I will miss her terribly, the lilt of her laughter, the warmth of her smile, the kindness of her encouraging words – the essence of who she was in Christ, will forever live in my heart and mind until we again embrace in eternity. Her example is one that continues to challenge me to seek the Lord in all things. In all circumstances, I can find His joy and express gratitude for who He is, simply because I am loved well. May we never stop praying, as it is in our space of communing with Christ that we find joy and gratitude rises up within us.

 

Such fullness of joy,Always

Shall rise and find way;

When we seek the Lord,

In all things, choose pray.

No matter what comes,

Let thanks leave our lips;

For God who is love,

He strengthens, equips.

To pray and be full,

Of thanks and His joy;

God’s own will for us,

Through grace He’ll employ.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we seek You and pray to You, we always have reason to be thankful and full of joy. Thank You that this is Your will for us, as You have designed us to have Your joy dwelling within us all of our days. Forgive us for allowing our circumstances to steal our joy or to keep us from giving thanks for the good that exists in spite of the difficult. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would never stop praying and praising You. Thank You for the incredible example of my Grandmother, who prayed without ceasing and was overflowing with thankfulness and joy. Show us how to love others in a way that demonstrates our gratitude and allows the joy that You give to overflow and bless every life we are near. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we are filled with Your joy, pray always, and give thanks in all things. Amen.

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

The Lord is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love. – Psalm 145:8

Joyful in Hope

But joyful are those who have the God of Israel as their helper, whose hope is in the Lord their God. He made heaven and earth, the sea, and everything in them. He keeps every promise forever. – (Psalm 146:5-6, NLT)

 

When we know God and place our hope in He who is faithful forever, there is an undeniable joy that wells up within us; not because everything around us is always amazing, but He who is in us, is trustworthy and proves faithful. In Christ, we have hope and help, regardless of what surrounds us. He who made the heavens and the earth, knows our needs and is willing and able to meet us in our lack and provide the help and the strength that is required to continue moving forward. All that the Lord has promised, He is faithful to fulfill. May we trust in the Lord who keeps His promises forever, and gives us hope to navigate each new day.

 

The Lord, our great God,Aquiring Armor

Maker of all things;

Is our hope and help,

And why our hearts sing.

He keeps each promise,

Today and always;

He’s why joy shall rise,

Even on bad days.

Because He is good,

Forever faithful;

We’re able to trust,

From hearts made joyful.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our help and our hope. Thank You that You who created the earth, the sea, and everything in them, are concerned about us, individually. Thank You that You keep Your every promise forever. Thank You for the joy that is found in knowing that You are for us. Forgive us for allowing the weight of that which comes against us or surrounds us to determine our outlook, rather than trust You with all of our days. Teach us to trust You in all things and at all times, so that we would be aware of the hope and joy that we have in You, regardless of what comes against us. Show us how to love those around us in such a way, that they might see Your joy and faithfulness through our words and actions. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we hope in You; for You are faithful forever. 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