As He Loves

My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. – (John 15:12, NIV)

This is what I command you: Love each other as I have loved you. – (John 15:12, ERV)

So this is my command: Love each other deeply, as much as I have loved you. – (John 15:12, TPT)

 

I am beyond blessed to have so many people in my life who model this very sort of love toward me on a regular basis. This weekend, I have been reminded especially well, of just how much God loves me, as He has made His love tangible through the people whom He has intentionally placed in my life. Though this past year has not unfolded exactly as one might have hoped nor expected in the first year of marriage and as I roll into the start of my forty-eighth year of life, I can clearly see God’s hand in it, and have been held, strengthened, encouraged and carried, every step of the way. Many spouses would not be so fortunate to have the blessing of their husband of nine months, and their seventeen-year-old twins, to go and care for their mother after a stroke. Mine, however, said, “Go!” Each weekend, my husband has faithfully driven the three hours to come see me, and have made sure to speak with me and encourage me daily on the phone, (the boys join him as often as their schedules allow). This weekend was kicked off with my running bestie on Friday evening through Saturday morning, followed by my husband and boys on Saturday at midday, and as the fellas prepare to leave this afternoon, my best friend will arrive to stay a quick overnight as well. Not only am I blessed and encouraged by their visit and presence, but mom is too. It is only fitting, as she is the reason that I am here. As this week continues, Megan will return and I will head home to go on an escape for our first anniversary trip. God is good, and I have learned to love more deeply in the last three months than I ever knew possible prior.

As for mom and her progress yesterday, she accomplished another new milestone with her grandsons cheering her on! Mom walked the entire length of her hallway, twice! That is one-hundred and twenty feet, unassisted. I love watching the recognition of new progress on mom’s face each time she conquers new milestones. There is a visible flood of hope that fills not only her face, but her entire being. It is almost as if she could jump out of her chair and dance down the hallway with excitement. So much joy. Another accomplishment was tackled as we went out to dinner as a family. Being out in public is not her favorite, and I imagine the idea of sitting in a restaurant makes her feel especially vulnerable. Thankfully, the place we selected was fairly quiet, and we were at a table in a room where there were nearly no other patrons. We enjoyed our meal together and did not have any issues navigating the space. After dinner, we returned home and played several rounds of our family favorite game, Dirty Marbles. It is a sort of combination of Chinese Checkers and Sorry, and gets quite competitive. Each of us ended the day full, happy, and knowing how truly loved we are. I could not think of a better way to close out my 47th year. 😊

May we ever recognize how God loves us so well, and go forth and love as we are loved.

 

We are commanded, img_2019-07-14_07-32-527808805951401243208.jpg

To love as we’re loved;

Give as we’re given,

From the Lord above.

For all that God gives,

Within, multiplies;

So we might go forth,

And love with delight.

For each time we choose,

To love like the Lord;

We help others know,

How much they’re adored.

The Lord loves us all,

His most treasured ones;

May we trust in Him,

And love like His Son.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You only ask of us that which You already have shown us in countless ways. Thank You that Your love is tangible. Thank You for the treasured gift of family and friends whom You place in our lives to show us what Your love really means. Forgive us for the times that we have not loved according to Your plan. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would love without limits and allow Your light to burn brightly through us to the world. Show us how to love those around us, especially those who are difficult to love or do not know how to receive the love You have to offer. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love others in the same way that You selflessly and generously love each of us. Amen.

 

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

 

Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever. – 1 Chronicles 16:34

Wait Expectantly

In the morning, Lord, You hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before You and wait expectantly. – (Psalm 5:3, NIV)

Every morning, Lord, I lay my gifts before You and look to You for help. And every morning You hear my prayers. – (Psalm 5:3, ERV)

In the morning, O Eternal One, listen for my voice; in the day’s first light, I will offer my prayer to You and watch expectantly for Your answer. – (Psalm 5:3, VOICE)

 

The Psalms are the space where my heart most closely relates, as so often David’s words capture the echo of my own thoughts. This morning is no exception. I know that God hears our prayers whenever we present our requests before Him, however, for me, there is something significant about starting my day with Him. Rising before the sun has made its full debut, provides the opportunity to watch the Master Artist paint the sky new every morning. Each day, I am reminded again, of just how powerful He is. He hears each word uttered, and those that remain hidden in my heart, loving me all the while. As I gaze in awe and wonder at the way that He transforms the sky differently each morning, I cannot help but know that I am heard. If I, an imperfect parent who loves her children with my whole being will seek to answer all that is reasonably asked, how much more will a perfect and all-powerful Heavenly Father present answers to our inquiries?

Though God’s answers seldom look like I would envision, they are faithful, and far better than I could have pictured on my own. I know that His plans for mom are no different. Already, He is faithfully providing answers when we need them the most. Last night, mom only woke once, and is still sleeping now! This is the farthest I have been able to get in the writing process with her still sleeping, as typically, we share breakfast together, then she meanders while I attempt to focus. We both enjoy the sunrise together, yet I am a creature who longs for my solitude first thing in the morning, and today is a tremendous blessing. Not to mention, mom desperately needed a really great night’s sleep. Yesterday, mom’s only appointment was speech, and it went remarkably well. Susan is wonderful, and we enjoy the time with her, each visit. There was a bit of down time after speech for lunch and relaxing, so that is exactly what we did. Later in the afternoon, two of mom’s dearest friends came for a visit after having been out of the country for a few weeks, and thoroughly adored the opportunity to share with one another, all that had taken place. Mom and I made a quick run into town for the Dutch Bros drive thru, and a scenic wander before dinner, followed by dinner and a movie with stretching and exercises during the commercials. It was a good day, and I am especially grateful for a great night’s sleep. May we ever continue to present our petitions before our Provider each morning, for He hears and He answers all that we ask.

 

O Lord, each morning, img_2019-07-12_07-32-3950737445691531947.jpg

I start the day new;

My hope is restored,

As I look to You.

Father, I lay down,

My hopes and my prayers;

Placing in Your hands,

Each burden I bear.

I wait on You, Lord,

In expectancy;

Knowing You’re faithful,

You give graciously.

Though undeserving,

You love us so well;

You hear and answer,

As doubt You expel.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we come and pray to You, You hear our prayers each morning, and we can wait expectantly, trusting that You will answer. Thank You that You are faithful forever. Forgive us for our fears and frustrations when answers seem slow or do not look the way we anticipated they would. Teach us to trust You more, for Your ways are higher than our ways and Your thoughts, far higher than ours. Show us how to love those around us in a way that offers hope and strength and grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we present our prayers to You anew every morning, trusting that You will hear and anticipating Your faithful answer. Amen.

 

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

 

Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness. – Lamentations 3:22-23

Trust for Peace

You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in You. – (Isaiah 26:3, NIV)

God, You give true peace to people who depend on You, to those who trust in You. – (Isaiah 26:3, ERV)

You will keep the peace, a perfect peace, for all who trust in You, for those who dedicate their hearts and minds to You. – (Isaiah 26:3, VOICE)

 

God does exactly what He says He will do, when we do our part. That does not mean that we have to perform at a certain level, or achieve a specific status, but rather we must trust Him and rely on Him to be God, in order for there to be room in our hearts and lives for Him to move. Yes, I believe in God with all of my heart, mind, soul and strength, however, there are times that I know my trust wavers. It is in those moments of troubled trust, that perfect peace escapes me. Sadly, I don’t think the peace is gone, as much as I cannot feel nor find it in my stirred-up state of being. When I slow down and recognize that I am trying to control circumstances that are out of my control, and give the reigns back to the One who is a far better driver than I, it is then that I find the peace that I have needed all along. There is a large learning curve for this for me in my current season. As a wife, still in her first year of a new marriage, the mother of twin seventeen-year-old boys who have always been in my direct care, a daughter, a sister, a friend, an invested member of my church community, a runner, and so on, I have had many moments that I have desperately wanted to be in one place when I was in another, or help, or participate, or orchestrate, and I could not… I know that people, my family and friends, understand and are gracious, however, I find that is not always true within me. It typically takes a very honest and defeated conversation over the phone with my persistently patient husband, to get to the place of accepting what is, letting go of what I cannot control, and placing all back in the rightful hands of God. It is a season, and I am learning to let go and trust big. Peace is far preferred to its absence, so today, I choose again to trust.

Yesterday, mom and I had a good day. It was a strange start, but went well. She was rather tired as the day began, and went back to sleep after breakfast. When she woke, she was really groggy, so her preference was to relax and watch a movie so that she could continue to wake up more gently. Later in the morning, we ventured into town again. This time, after the coffee drive thru, we drove to a store in town so that I could run in and buy a few CDs for my drive home in the afternoon. I offered to bring her in with me, but she was not ready yet. She happily waited in the car while I ran in and quickly selected my music and returned to her. We drove around a bit more, then went to a restaurant in town that she had wanted to go. Again, she had me run in to get food for takeout. By the time we had arrived home, settled in and eaten lunch, she was a bit weary. Mom determined that she would take a bit of a snooze. The rest was short-lived, and when she got up, we decided to work on some of her exercises. She did some hall walking and some stretches, then we relaxed and hung out until Sharon, my honorary sister, (grew up across the street and we literally lived at each other’s homes our entire childhood) came to stay with mom until Megan arrived, so that I could get driving home before dark. Meg arrived safely and on time, and Sharon and mom had a good visit. I made it home in excellent time, and was wrapped up in giant arms the moment I pulled into the driveway. 😊

May we ever trust in the Lord, for He is good, and He is our peace; always.

 

The God of all grace, img_2019-07-06_07-24-202660716920165927309.jpg

Promoter of peace;

Lavishly He loves,

Good that will not cease.

As we trust in Him,

Peace shall abound more;

For fears fall away,

Hope brings us ashore.

God knows what we need,

His heart is to bless;

Keep trusting in Him,

He hears each request.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You bring peace as we trust in You. Thank You that peace is not dependent on our circumstances, but rather it is dependent on our awareness of Your presence. Forgive us for the times that we allow ourselves to get worked up and worried about what is happening around us, rather than allowing You to do the work within us. Teach us to trust You more. Show us how to be ambassadors of Your perfect peace to those around us as we love others in the same way that You love each of us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose to trust You to be our peace in all things and at all times. Amen.

 

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

 

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

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

To Patiently Persevere

May the Lord direct your hearts into God’s love and Christ’s perseverance. – (2 Thessalonians 3:5, NIV)

We pray that the Lord will cause you to feel God’s love and remember Christ’s patient endurance. – (2 Thessalonians 3:5, ERV)

Now may the Lord move your hearts into a greater understanding of God’s pure love for you and into Christ’s steadfast endurance. – (2 Thessalonians 3:5, TPT)

 

Our ability to endure and patiently persevere is comprehensively connected to our understanding of God’s love and His heart for us. When we know and feel that He is for us, we are exceedingly more willing to press on and keep moving forward to the seemingly impossible. I have known and witnessed this to be true in my own life, and I am witnessing a glorious unfolding of such in both my mom, and in each member of our family/community that is impacted by this road that mom is currently navigating. Though not perfect, as we are all a work in progress, I see and feel the love of God being poured out beyond measure, and each of us rising up and patiently enduring with the strength that Christ provides. We are able to do immeasurably more than we could ever hope or imagine when we place our trust in God.

As for the specific updates on mom: Saturday, I neglected to mention that the new in-home care company made its debut. One of the physical therapists, Kari, came to the house and did an assessment to get the ball rolling. She was knowledgeable, professional, kind, thorough, and receptive to hear mom’s needs. Right away, she agreed to schedule mom for physical therapy three days per week, just as she had been doing before, (despite only having twice per week listed on her initial paperwork) and she made a point to be certain to let us know when each type of therapist should be contacting us for their assessment. Additionally, she said that she would follow up with Bellevue Healthcare, the company whom we ordered mom’s wheelchair through more than a month ago, to find out the status of her order. (Her loaner chair is not ideal) Based on what we observed through Kari, we are confident that God is continuing to hold mom and her care in His hands. Sunday, we enjoyed the morning with Mark before he had to head home to be with our boys. The remainder of the day was rather leisurely for mom and myself, as it consisted of movie-watching and laundry. After dinner, we were able to have another great visit with mom’s brother and his wife before bed, to close out our day well. Today will include physical therapy and a speech evaluation with the new speech therapist. May we continue to receive the love of the Lord as He directs our steps, and allow Him to be our strength to persevere in all things.

 

May the Love of God, img_2019-06-24_06-44-425253759792040482934.jpg

Direct heart and mind;

Our Source and our Strength,

In Whom hope aligns.

As we learn to trust,

Likewise persevere;

In Christ we’re equipped,

To rise without fear.

Far greater is He,

The Lord above all;

Than trials we face,

He won’t let us fall.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You show us Your love and grant us the strength to persevere. Thank You that You do not ask us to do anything that You are not also willing to strengthen and empower us to do. Forgive us for somehow thinking that we have to do things on our own. Teach us to trust You more, for You are our strength and the love that holds us up when we are unsure of how we will keep moving forward. Show us how to love those around us in a way that walks alongside them through the struggles, supports and strengthens, and encourages and lifts up. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we receive Your love and trust You to be our strength and hope forever. Amen.

 

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

 

And as for you, brothers and sisters, never tire of doing what is good. – 2 Thessalonians 3:13

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

Within Us

God is within her, she will not fall; God will help her at break of day. – (Psalm 46:5, NIV)

The True God never sleeps and always resides in the city of joy; He makes it unstoppable, unshakable. When it awakes at dawn, the True God has already been at work. – (Psalm 46:5, VOICE)

God is in the midst of His city, secure and never shaken. At daybreak His help will be seen with the appearing of the dawn. – (Psalm 46:5, TPT)

 

David’s declaration of God’s faithfulness in song, as found in Psalm 46, was a proclamation of how God remains faithful and keeps His people secure. It is a reminder that the Lord never stops moving on our behalf, and that we are made aware anew each morning, as the dawn of each day appears. Though the phrasing of the NIV is in reference to an entire people group, I appreciate how it makes it feel more personal. When I imagine the words are from God’s heart to mine, reminding me that He is within me (and mom) and that we will not fall; that He will help us at the break of day, I find renewed hope and strength, trust and resolve. This morning, this feels especially true, as I am rested and restored, after mom only woke once in the night, and it was after a five-hour stretch. Her appointment yesterday was encouraging, as we so appreciated meeting with a neurosurgeon who was clearly practicing for the intent and purpose of helping people. Though his specialty is surgical, his recommendation for mom was on that would be far less invasive, with little to no recovery time. Rather than take on something himself, he was quick to make a referral for something far less complicated; clearly holding mom’s healing and rehabilitation in mind. We left the appointment encouraged, with an ongoing appreciation for the care that is available in mom’s home town. Incredibly, mom had a fantastic physical therapy session prior to her appointment, despite here lack of sleep, and continues to make great gains as she works on walking with a walker up and down her hallway.

After the appointment, we had called in an order for fresh spring rolls from our favorite place in town. We made a quick stop to pick them up, and then headed home. Astonishingly, mom only took a 45-minute siesta after lunch, and was up and alert the remainder of the afternoon. Once we had finished dinner and settled in to watch a movie, mom began to fade quickly. Though she attempted to fend off the exhaustion, sleep overtook her, and she dozed in her comfy chair by 7:30. We called it a night at 8:00 pm, and she was snoozing away in her bed within thirty minutes. God truly has us; He won’t let us fall; He helps us anew every morning. May we trust in He who is faithful forever; for He is always good.

 

God is within us, not-defined-by-a-day

With Him, we won’t fall;

He’ll help us anew,

With each new day’s call.

The Lord never sleeps,

He’s ever aware;

He knows all our needs,

And answers with care.

Grants rest when weary,

Hope in our dismay;

Peace in our unrest,

Help for each new day.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your love is unfailing and never ending. Thank You that You do not sleep and are ever watching over us. Forgive us for our frustration in our own weariness. Teach us to trust You more, as You are our Source and Supply. Thank You that with You in us, we will not fall, and that You will help us with the dawn of each new day. Show us how to love those around us in a way that offers help and hope to press on, even on the most discouraging of days. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we rise with You in us. Amen.

 

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

 

He says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” – Psalm 46:10

Be Interruptible

Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails. – (Proverbs 19:21, NIV)

People might make many plans, but what the Lord says is what will happen. – (Proverbs 19:21, ERV)

We humans keep brainstorming options and plans, but God’s purpose prevails. – (Proverbs 19:21, MSG)

 

Yesterday was a fantastic day, as my husband drove over the mountains to spend time with mom and me. We enjoyed our afternoon and evening together, balancing time between just he and I as mom took an afternoon siesta, and a wonderful adventure of preparing and partaking in dinner with one another, as a trio. Interestingly, we had a plan in place, as a dear friend, (who was like a second mom to me growing up) was going to come spend time with mom, so that Mark and I could go into town for a quick visit with our best friends, who are here for a ball tournament. Well, the timing did not align, and our plans did not go according to what we had imagined, but we ended up having a fantastic evening of playing a family favorite game with mom, my second mom, Mark and myself. So often, what we think we ought to be doing turns out to not be the actual plan. What unfolds, ends up being a perfect sort of wonderful, and exactly the sort of evening that each of us needed. God knew, even if we did not. Though we are not meant to sit idly by and wait for life to unfold; we ought not get flustered or forlorn when plans do not go as we thought they ought to have gone. Rather, we should be open to the idea that when things do not go the way we thought they should, perhaps God had a better plan all along. No matter how the road before us unfolds, God is with us, God is for us, and God is good.

 

Many are the plans, Be Interruptible

Deep down in our heart;

Yet it’s God’s purpose,

That will find a start.

Sometimes the best plans,

Go a different way;

And we discover,

His path is made plain.

All praise to the Lord,

On whom we rely;

For His ways are best,

And His strength supplied.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your ways are higher than our ways, and Your plans, greater than our own. Forgive us for our initial frustration or disappointment when our plans seem to fail. Teach us to trust You more, as Your plans provide us with all that we need and more. Show us how to love those around us well, so that we may encourage, strengthen and build each other up in Your goodness and grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we keep pressing forward in faith, but allow our plans to be interruptible and embrace the way that You direct our steps. Amen.

 

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

 

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.” – Jeremiah 29:11

To Build Up and Encourage

Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing. – (1 Thessalonians 5:11, NIV)

So encourage each other and help each other grow stronger in faith, just as you are already doing. – (1 Thessalonians 5:11, ERV)

So support one another. Keep building each other up as you have been doing. – (1 Thessalonians 5:11, VOICE)

 

Though I know not their heart after God, it is as if each one of my mom’s in-home care team has chosen to live this verse out as their life’s ambition. It takes a special sort of person to do in-home care, as I imagine one is never sure what they will encounter when they approach a home for the very first time. Each and every one of the care providers who has entered mom’s home has been an incredible source of encouragement for mom. Their positivity about mom’s progress thus far, and their excitement and motivation to walk this road of healing beside her, is faith-building as she continues to do the difficult work each day. Yesterday, as I asked mom if there was anything she would like to do or anyone she wished to see, she actually took me up on the offer for the first time and named the names of three of her dearest friends. I immediately sent out messages to them, and they responded promptly with enthusiasm. My heart lightened too, as I sat with the four of them and enjoyed the familiar banter among dear sister-friends. The sharing of life together was a needed boost for all of them, and each seemed to walk away encouraged and built up. After the ladies had been visiting for a while, mom’s in-home nurses arrived to do their check-in. They encouraged the girls to keep visiting while they checked in with me about particulars, and made sure to let all of them know how wonderful such visits were for mom and her rehabilitation and recovery. Pathways and progress multiply in the familiar, and in the last 24-48 hours, I have noticed a significant increase in the strength of her voice.

Beyond just yesterday, there has been an outpouring of encouragement and support for not only mom, but for my sister and me as we walk this road to recovery together. Mom’s living room and kitchen are lined with cards that have been sent over the last month by family and friends, far and near. Dear ones have been taking my boys to school in the mornings, and I know the same has been true for my sister when she is here as well. Our communities have rallied around us and covered us in prayer. We have been built up and encouraged, and are encouraged to do likewise. May we ever reach out and support one another; for we were indeed created to be in a community.

 

Build up each other,

img_2019-06-05_06-47-096960588294766447506.jpg

A sweet photo of mom and some of her besties from last year. ❤

Encourage, reach out;

Help one another,

It’s what love’s about.

For God created,

People to all need;

Sense of belonging,

A community.

Family and friends,

The gifts whom God gives;

To walk alongside,

To thrive as we live.

Let’s choose encourage,

Love well and build up;

Bless one another,

Fill up empty cups.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to encourage and build each other up. Thank You that You place people in our lives that do so when we need it the most. Forgive us for the missed opportunities to offer a word of encouragement or to come alongside another who needed a boost. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would listen to Your leading and encourage and build others up in the same way that You encourage and build us up. Show us how to love those around us in a way that strengthens and builds up where they are depleted. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for the encouragement that we have received and seek Your heart to extend the same to others around us. Amen.

 

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

 

You, Lord, hear the desire of the afflicted; You encourage them, and You listen to their cry. – Psalm 10:17

Answer Gently

A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. – (Proverbs 15:1, NIV)

A gentle answer makes anger disappear, but a rough answer makes it grow. – (Proverbs 15:1, ERV)

A gentle answer turns away wrath, but harsh words cause quarrels. – (Proverbs 15:1, TLB)

 

Both my mother, and her mother before her, modeled this verse in action for us growing up. On countless occasions, I witnessed each of them diffuse situations, simply by meeting someone kindly, who was engaging with them in a way that did not begin on the kindest of terms. Their smile and genuine love for people would soften the hardest of hearts, and win over the grumpiest of characters. For me, more times than not, a gentle response to a child escalated in the classroom, has provided them room to calm down or breathe long enough to avoid further incident. Walking this road to recovery with mom is no different. Losing mobility, freedom and independence, for a strong, self-sufficient, care-giver like mom, has got to be beyond frustrating. She is handling it gracefully 99% of the time, and it is my charge to be extraordinarily gentle through the 1%, when her frustration gets the better of her. Gentle words affirming her frustration, yet recognizing her strength and progress, have been pivotal in working through moments of challenge. Humor has been a lifeline as well. Thankfully, we know each other better than anyone else, so a mere look speaks volumes, and can inspire giggles in an instant, even in moments of madness.

Much of the reason she is not feeling ready for visitors, (other than the very short list of family and lifelong friends whom have already been in contact), is her own desire to uphold a spirit of gentleness and kindness, as she cannot wrap her head around not being able to be the gracious host that she normally would be. Please continue to be patient with her willingness to see visitors, as I imagine she will become more willing as she is more confident and settled back in her own space.

Today will be the first official day of in-home therapies, as physical therapy kicks off this afternoon at 1pm. We are eagerly awaiting phone calls from the occupational therapist, speech therapist and nursing care facilitator, to figure out what the schedule will be for them as well. Yesterday was a very relaxing day, as mom and I enjoyed watching a few movies between meals, stretching and rests, after the fellas went home. This week will be busy, as we work to discover a new normal with appointments coming into the home to aid in mom’s recovery. May we ever rely on the Lord to be gentle with those around us, for kindness keeps anger at bay.

 

No matter what comes, photo

Be gentle and kind;

For we do not know,

Battles deep inside.

So often anger,

Is hurt or a fear;

Set free by kindness,

If love braves draw near.

Seek to have courage,

To always be kind;

Give love to others,

And true peace, you’ll find.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that a gentle answer turns away anger. Thank You that this is not simply a theory, but proven, time and time again. Thank You that Jesus modeled this for us throughout His life, death, resurrection and ascension. Forgive us for the times that our responses are not gentle or kind. Teach us to trust and rely on You to give us the wisdom and strength to be Your heart and voice to others, so that they may see Your love in the way that we respond. Show us how to love others well, as we choose to be gentle and kind to all, no matter how others speak or act toward us. Give us grace O God. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose kindness and love, just as You do with us. Amen.

 

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

 

But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things! – Galatians 5:22-23