Choose to Not Argue

And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. – (2 Timothy 2:23, NIV)

As a servant of the Lord, you must not argue. You must be kind to everyone. You must be a good teacher, and you must be patient. – (2 Timothy 2:23, ERV)

For a true servant of our Lord Jesus will not be argumentative but gentle toward all and skilled in helping others see the truth, having great patience toward the immature. – (2 Timothy 2:24, TPT)

 

This verse is a practical application verse for teachers everywhere, and a great reminder to start off the week. We cannot engage in arguments, or all will be lost. Kindness to everyone opens doors, ears, and hearts. When kids feel cared for, they are more likely to allow us to come alongside them and help guide them in new learning. All of this requires patience. Though in the forefront of my mind for teaching, these principles also apply in parenting, friendships, and every sort of familial relationship as well. Kindness and patience, willingness to help teach or guide in what is true, and choosing to not engage in arguments helps strengthen bonds and increase trust. May we ever depend on the Lord and His strength to help us walk out our days in this very way.

 

To truly serve God, 0726190601_hdr1675198494268030113.jpg

And walk in His will;

We will need kindness,

The sort Christ instills.

Choose to not argue,

Be patient, always;

Help others see truth,

As we extend grace.

May goodness and light,

Flood all that we do;

So God’s love is known,

And His word shown true.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You love us and remind us of the things that matter most. Thank You that we are called to kindness and love, with patience and endurance as we seek to honor You with our lives. Forgive us for the times that we have senselessly argued with those around us, or have neglected to extend kindness or patience of goodness, according to Your plan placed before us. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would listen and learn how to best avoid arguments and loving with kindness and patience as we come alongside each other. Show us how to love those around us in the same way that we are loved by You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we turn in trust to You. Amen.

 

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

 

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. – Matthew 5:9

Just Pray

One day Jesus was praying in a certain place. When He finished, one of His disciples said to Him, “Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.” – (Luke 11:1, NIV)

One time Jesus was out praying, and when He finished, one of His followers said to Him, “John taught his followers how to pray. Lord, teach us how to pray too.” – (Luke 11:1, ERV)

One day, as Jesus was in prayer, one of His disciples came over to Him as He finished and said, “Would you teach us a model prayer that we can pray, just like John did for his disciples?” – (Luke 11:1, TPT)

 

Yesterday, after having been away last weekend, I finally had the opportunity to listen to the podcast from Sunday’s message. This week, Pastor Omar continued his DNA series (A review of our foundational values). The message was about prayer, and spring boarded from the passage in Luke 11, verses 1-13. First and foremost, Jesus lived and modeled a life of prayer. He set the example of what we were designed to do to be in communication with the Father. When asked by a disciple to teach them to pray, Jesus did not rattle off some eloquent prayer, nor give a formula to be repeated; rather what we have come to know as the Lord’s prayer, is really a reminder of things to keep in mind as we pray. We need to acknowledge and praise God for who He is, ask Him to meet our needs; seek forgiveness and His help forgiving others, and His protection from temptation. Jesus went on to tell a story of a person seeking their neighbor in need, and pointed out that the neighbor would get up and help the friend, not because of the friendship, but because of their boldness to ask when it was inconvenient.  The heart of God is so much more than that of our friends, neighbors and family members. He gives the Holy Spirit to help and guide us, and hears every word that is raised heavenward, as He meets the needs we know, and even those we may not be aware of yet. Most of us, if asked, would respond that our prayer life could use a lift. Pastor Omar gave some practical reminders of how exactly we can do just that.

To strengthen our prayer life:

– Ask Jesus to teach us how to pray.

– Walk with the Holy Spirit.

– Find a rhythm for prayer. (Discover when your best time to pray is, and use it!)

– Recognize that there are seasons in life, and as life ebbs and flows, what our prayer life looks like will too.

– Understand that we each have our own personality and relate to God individually. Just as children interact and relate to their parents uniquely, so too, do we with our Heavenly Father.

– Commit for the long haul. Change, habits, lifestyles all transform over time, not overnight.

– Be okay with silence. Sometimes, prayer is sitting silently before God and waiting, listening, or resting in His presence. All are good things to grow in Him.

– Lastly, just pray. To strengthen a prayer life requires praying.

May we remember that prayer is not just a thing that we do, but rather it is a place we go to be in the presence of God to communicate with Him.

 

As for mom, today is the day!!!! After two months and eight days, I will see mom tonight! The moment I arrive home from work, Mark and I will hop in the car and head south to my sister and family’s home in Oregon. Typically, due to traffic, it is a six-plus hour drive. We are praying for traveling mercies and lighter than usual traffic, but no matter what, we will have each other and a great destination awaiting our arrival. The anticipation of seeing Mom and witnessing her progress with my own eyes is making the thought of working a full day prior to our departure, a bit painful. I am praying that today is one of those days that flies by before you even feel like you can blink, sort of days. 😊

 

Jesus has taught us, img_2019-10-18_04-57-472496001443635161835.jpg

The power of prayer;

To touch and change lives,

And show that we care.

It’s crazy to think,

That each time we pray;

He who gave us life,

Hears each word we say.

Holy is the Lord,

Who hears all our needs;

Forgives us our sins,

And in His way, leads.

Make time to reach out,

Spend time with the King;

It’s how lives transform,

As His love He brings.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we have the privilege of prayer. Thank You that You, the Creator of the Universe, care and have time to hear the heart and prayers of each of Your created; individually. Forgive us for not making prayer a priority, as communication is key in any relationship. Teach us to pray in a way that is comfortable and natural and sustainable. Show us how to love those around us well, as we lift each up to You in prayer. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we come to You and pray to You, asking, seeking, and listening; for You are amazing and it is a gift to grow in relationship with You. Amen.

 

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

 

I call on You, my God, for You will answer me; turn Your ear to me and hear my prayer. – Psalm 17:7

Return to Rest

Return to your rest, my soul, for the Lord has been good to you. – (Psalm 116:7, NIV)

My soul, relax! The Lord is caring for you. – (Psalm 116:7, ERV)

I said to myself, “Relax and rest. God has showered you with blessings.” – (Psalm 116:7, MSG)

 

I’m not sure if it has been an extraordinarily long week, or if my lack of rest finally caught up with me. Either way, by the time I arrived home from work yesterday afternoon, I was done. Heavy eyes and weary body, for once, I chose to listen to my body and lie down to rest. Typically, if I attempt to take a rest, my efforts last about twenty minutes before my mind and body determine that it is time to get moving again. Yesterday, that was not the case. Two hours later, my loving spouse wandered into our room and asked if I was planning on getting up, as it was already 6pm. As I woke, shocked that so much time had passed, I realized that I had desperately needed the rest. God knew what I needed, and by His grace, there was nothing scheduled, nor anything that I had to do, besides just rest. The evening was spent relaxing, and I had zero difficulty falling asleep at our typically early bedtime. When I woke this morning, there was a moment of wishing I could roll back over and sleep more. Not normal for me, but I can assume that meant I slept soundly. Though it may seem trivial, for me, the ability to relax and rest is clear evidence of the Lord caring for me. Rest and relaxation may look different on any given day, but He knows our need, and cares for us individually. May we seek the Lord to find rest for our weary souls, and relax in the blessings He pours out upon us.

 

Return to your rest, img_2019-10-17_04-44-322420476979709143818.jpg

O my weary soul;

For the Lord is good,

His love makes us whole.

He knows all our needs,

By grace, He provides;

Strength that’s enduring,

And faith to abide.

Relax in God’s rest,

For our needs are known;

Trust and see He’s good,

As His grace is shown.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You care for us in ways that provide rest. Thank You that we can relax and rest in You. Forgive us for neglecting to listen when our heart, mind, body or soul needs rest. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would slow down and find rest in You. Show us how to love those around us in ways that provide opportunities for rest and relaxation, reminding them of the blessings that You bring. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we rest in You and give You praise for the blessings that You continually bring. Amen.

 

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

 

Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. – Matthew 11:28

Each Word a Gift

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. – (Ephesians 4:29, NIV) 

When you talk, don’t say anything bad. But say the good things that people need – whatever will help them grow stronger. Then what you say will be a blessing to those who hear you. – (Ephesians 4:29, ERV) 

Watch the way you talk. Let nothing foul or dirty come out of your mouth. Say only what helps, each word a gift. – (Ephesians 4:29, MSG) 

And never let ugly or hateful words come from your mouth, but instead let your words become beautiful gifts that encourage others; do this by speaking words of grace to help them. – (Ephesians 4:29, TPT) 

 

Words matter. They have the power to build up, or to devastate; bring tremendous joy, or pierce the heart with pain. I so appreciate the various translations of this verse, as each one clarifies the power of our words. If we consider every word we utter as a gift that we are charged to give away, perhaps we could more easily garnish each phrase delivered in grace, and be mindful of the purpose of our words. Whether our words are those of correction, direction, exhortation, devotion, appreciation, or affection, each can be delivered with grace to benefit the hearer as a blessing; a gift given with the intent of betterment. May we ever be mindful of our words, withholding ugliness, and choosing with intention, to allow our words to become “beautiful gifts that encourage others”. 

Yesterday evening, on my way home from a very long day, that had concluded with Open House at my school, I had the joy of hearing the gift of my mom’s words, as she shared her joy in the blessing of having had both physical therapy and speech therapy on the same day. Speech therapy was an assessment appointment, but physical therapy was her first “getting after it” appointment, as Monday’s time was to assess her need. Mom was encouraged and eager to have new work to challenge her and keep her growing in her recovery. Based on her response, I imagine that she too, had been the recipient of the gift of good words as she worked with the therapists.  

 

May each word we speak, unseal-my-lips

Be wrapped up in grace; 

Used to encourage, 

Choice loving display. 

Keep the unkind words, 

Where they have no voice; 

God be our filter, 

So love is our choice. 

Help us remember, 

Each word that we say; 

A powerful gift, 

To give love away. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to use our words as gifts to those around us. Thank You that You have given us the treasured gift of Your word, and Your Holy Spirit within us to model and speak to our hearts, the words that bring life and love and light to those around us. Forgive us for the times that our words have been ugly. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would choose to be silent in the moments we want to spew ugliness. Show us Your heart for others in the moments that we cannot see past our own injury. Lead us to love others in a way that our every word is a gift of grace to those around us that builds up and encourages and gives strength. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we depend on You to utilize our words as gifts to those around us. Amen. 

 

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

 

My Lord, I will open my mouth and sing Your praises! – Psalm 51:15

To Carry the Sweet Scent

For we are to God the pleasing aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. – (2 Corinthians 2:15, NIV)

Our offering to God is to be the perfume of Christ that goes out to those who are being saved and to those who are being lost. – (2 Corinthians 2:15, ERV)

In a turbulent world where people are either dying or being rescued, we are the sweet smell of the Anointed to God our Father. – (2 Corinthians 2:15, VOICE)

 

When we invite Christ to come and dwell within us, He covers us with His goodness and grace. No longer do we wreak of the stench of sin and death, but we are made new, filled with His scent of hope and light, life and love. Our charge is to go forth in His love and love others. As we do, we carry His aroma by association. To those who are in need of hope and ready to receive it, the scent is sweet; yet to those who have set their heart on the sin they are in, the scent we bear is pungent. Incredibly, each one of us had to be drawn to God in our own time, before we recognized how sweet the fragrance of our Heavenly Father. May we ever seek the Lord to listen and do His will, so that we may carry His sweet scent wherever we go and in all that we say and do.

 

We carry the scent, img_2019-07-16_06-35-183702170351870846491.jpg

Before God above;

Of Jesus, His Son,

Through how we choose love.

For as we love well,

The fragrance of life;

Shared with each other,

Brings an end to strife.

Yet, sometimes the smell,

Is not found so sweet;

Only the ready,

Come forth in receipt.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Christ brings the sweet scent of life and hope and love to all who are ready to receive Him. Thank You that as we do, we too may bear the favorable fragrance found in You. Forgive us for the times that we have been a bit pungent, as our words or actions did not clearly reflect who You have created us to become. Teach us to trust and rely on You more, so that we would bear Your beloved scent before all others. Show us how to love those around us well, so that they may embrace Your sweet fragrance of life. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to ever transform us, so that we may carry the blessed aroma of Your Son, that leads to everlasting life. Amen.

 

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

 

In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. – Matthew 5:16

 

 

Our Hearts Are Heard

This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. – (1 John 5:14, NIV)

We can come to God with no doubts. This means that when we ask God for things (and those things agree with what God wants for us), God cares about what we say. – (1 John 5:14, ERV)

Since we have this confidence, we can also have great boldness before Him, for if we present any request agreeable to His will, He will hear us. – (1 John 5:14, TPT)

 

God amazes me with how He hears us, both audibly, and the very cries of our hearts. For me, since I have been home, there have been prayers met that were actually lifted, and then there have been those that were merely hidden hopes in my heart, that have been heard and honored by my Heavenly Father. One of the ways that my heart is filled best is through quality time with the people I love. After such an extended time away from home, it has been especially important to me to find time to spend with my family and friends before the school year begins again. Last week, I was able to take each of my boys back-to-school shopping, individually, and enjoy their company, one-on-one. I have been able to get some running in with my running bestie, and visits, walks and yes, even a run in, with my best friend too, as well as wonderful, ordinary, everyday life with my husband. Time together is such a blessing, and last evening, he took me back to the place where we had our very first date, three years ago. We sat at the same table, at nearly the same time of day. What a difference three years makes! Back then, I was so nervous, that I could not even lift my water glass without my hand shaking. That being said, Mark was able to set my heart and mind at ease, and made our first encounter light and enjoyable, as we began to learn more about one another. After he walked me out to my car and asked permission to call me to see me again, the nervousness had completely subsided, and I knew that there was something worth getting to know about this gentle giant. Nearly two years later we were married, and now, three years later, we have our first year of marriage under our belt with a lifetime to look forward to with joy. He too, was an answer to a prayer that I didn’t quite know how to pray. I knew that when the time came, I would need someone who could love me well, and that would appreciate being loved by me as well. God knew what we both needed, and fit us together perfectly. God hears and He answers when we ask Him according to His good and perfect will.

Yesterday, mom had a wonderful day of being celebrated well. The day began with my sister and her family taking mom to brunch, followed by a walk down by the river at a park nearby. The plan was to attend church after, but I did not catch whether or not that transpired or not, in our conversation last evening. Mom enjoyed the afternoon with the family, and was set up with some new technology to aid in the use of her tablet and cell phone. (Meg and family found holders for each that attach to mom’s chair so that she can use them while seated, one-handed) Their evening continued with my brother-in-love’s fantastic barbecue work for dinner, and a relaxing time enjoying one another. Our ask of the Lord this week is that God continues to settle mom’s heart and help all of them to find a routine so that each feels at ease and able to do what needs to be done. Change is challenging for all, but the grace of God is greater. We are trusting Him to be their peace and their Provider, as He leads them through each of the new that need be navigated this week.

 

Approach the Lord God, img_2019-08-19_05-40-231040012414498634990.jpg

In confidence, come;

All asked in His will,

Are heard and welcome.

For God knows our needs,

What blesses our hearts;

Place all in His hands,

As grace He imparts.

His goodness abounds,

As His love shall lead;

We will discover,

He’ll meet all our needs.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that because of Jesus, we can approach You with confidence, trusting that You hear our every prayer. Thank You that Your ways are higher than ours, and Your will is the only way we should go. Forgive us for the times that we find ourselves frustrated for the seemingly unanswered prayers, as You patiently wait for us to listen for Your will and way, or to recognize what the right answer really is. Thank You for loving us through our wandering. Teach us to seek and trust You more. Show us how to love those around us in ways that make Your goodness and grace tangible. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love You and approach You with confidence, knowing that You will hear our every prayer that aligns with Your will. Amen.

 

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

 

I call on You, my God, for You will answer me; turn Your ear to me and hear my prayer. – Psalm 17:6

Gratitude for All

For from Him and through Him and for Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever! Amen. – (Romans 11:36, NIV)

Yes, God made all things. And everything continues through Him and for Him. To God be the glory forever! Amen. – (Romans 11:36, ERV)

And because God is the source and sustainer of everything, everything finds fulfillment in Him. May all praise and honor be given to Him forever! Amen! – (Romans 11:36, TPT)

 

Today is a perfect day to pause and give thanks. Yesterday, and the night before, all of our travels for transition were met with His protection and mercy. My sister and brother-in-love had a crazy drive, as they navigated their way through torrential downpours and electrical storms that illuminated the roadway around them with enormous flashes, until they arrived at 1:30 am. Shortly after they had arrived and settled to sleep, I had woken, seen their text letting me know they had arrived safely, and knew that mom would likely wake soon for a restroom run. Sure enough, within twenty minutes, mom rose and called for me. After I had her set to sleep again, I was able to return to slumber until 5 am. When I woke, the house was silent. Stealthily, I loaded my car and did all that was necessary to prepare for my trip home. Once all was made ready, I went and climbed in mom’s bed beside her and gave her a huge hug. I whispered to see if she might want a quick restroom run prior to my leaving, knowing that Meg and Scott would really need to sleep as long as possible. Happily, she accepted, and she also selected a movie to watch to pass the time until they would rise. My drive home was easy and uneventful, and my reception was wonderful. I was greeted and embraced before I barely had the chance to get out of the car, and had more than an hour to just spend time with my husband, before hopping in the car again to drive 100 miles north to Anacortes, to go pick my boys up from their Sea Scouts long cruise. That drive too, went without incident, and the reunion was a wonderful one. A few hours upon our return home, we took Mark out for a birthday dinner as a family. Joined by our best friends, we had a fantastic evening of celebrating my Love and enjoying the company of each other. Meanwhile, mom, Meg and Scott were utilizing the day to make preparations for the long drive to Oregon today. A highlight and incredible accomplishment achieved in the process was that mom actually walked to the car from the house, and from car into a restaurant with her walker. That was a first for her, and a huge celebratory worthy milestone!

Today, I am especially thankful for the gift of my husband. It is his 50th birthday, and the third year that he has been a part of my life. Hopes and dreams that had all but died, were brought to life again through the gift of this wonderful man. God knew what I needed far better than I did, and Mark’s heart and capacity to love is proportionate to his Viking-size. He is not a man that merely speaks of his love, but far more often, it is through everything that he does and how he supports and encourages and serves that his love is made evident to all. He is a man after God’s own heart, and I cannot imagine what this last several months would have been like without his love and support. May we ever give thanks to God for His love for us, and how He brings all things together. He is good, and indeed He is worthy of our praise.

 

From Him and in Him, img_20190811_060721_2386066888330016697486.jpg

All things come to be;

Our hopes come alive,

And dreams are set free.

The Giver of good,

He loves us so well;

He hears our heart cry,

As in Him, we dwell.

So, seek after God,

And trust in His love;

His goodness exceeds,

All we can dream of.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You love us so well. Thank You for the blessings of those whom You bring into our lives to show us Your love made tangible. Forgive us for the opportunities we miss to extend the same to those around us. Teach us to listen to You and follow all that You ask, so that our every word and action may be an extension of Your heart, hands and voice to those around us. Show us how to love like You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You praise for all that You are and all that You do. 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

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

Surrounded

“You will not have to fight this battle. Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the Lord will give you, Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Go out and face them tomorrow, and the Lord will be with you.” – (2 Chronicles 20:17, NIV)

“You will not have to fight this battle. Just stand there and watch the Lord save you. Judah and Jerusalem, don’t be afraid. Don’t worry, because the Lord is with you. So go out to stand against those people tomorrow.” – (2 Chronicles 20:17, ERV)

“Stand and watch, but do not fight the battle. There, you will watch the Eternal save you, Judah and Jerusalem. Do not fear or worry. Tomorrow, face the army and trust that the Eternal is with you.” – (2 Chronicles 20:17, VOICE)

 

After waking up and preparing my coffee, and settling to begin my devotions, I heard mom stirring in her room. Her movement is my cue to go check and see if she is ready to get up for a restroom run. Of course, she gladly took me up on the early morning offer, and after all was said and done, she determined that she would try to go back to bed and sleep a while longer. When I returned to my spot at the kitchen table with a view, the lyrics from a simple worship song kept playing on repeat in my head and heart:

This is how I fight my battles

This is how I fight my battles (repeats)

It may look like I’m surrounded 

But I’m surrounded by You (repeats)

(To listen, click here. )

As I looked in the word for similar, I found the story in 2 Chronicles, chapter 20. The gist is about God’s faithfulness in fighting on behalf of Judah and Jerusalem when they were surrounded on all sides. Reading verse seventeen, it was as if Jesus was saying to me: You will not have to fight this battle(alone). Just stand there and watch Me work. Shannon and Megan, don’t be afraid. Don’t worry, I am with You. Go out and take each tomorrow as it comes, for I will be with you. Now, I am not trying to twist scripture, nor change the meaning of a passage, but rather, I am attempting to share the encouragement gained from reading about God’s faithfulness to Judah and Jerusalem when they likely felt completely overwhelmed. For my sister and me, we too have had such “surrounded” moments as we navigate this road to recovery with mom. Just as the song came in like a flood and surrounded my heart and mind, so too has God’s faithful provision for mom, Megan and myself, when we needed it most. He knows our need and is full of goodness and grace, ready to move on our behalf. Personally, after my sister had to return home Thursday, I was a bit intimidated to take on the care giver role alone. I want to bless, protect, help and encourage mom every step of this journey as I love her well, and I feel completely inadequate and ill-equipped to do all that needs to be done. None of us are ever fully equipped nor prepared for the things to which we are called. I imagine that is part of God’s wise design. It keeps us dependent on Him to be our help, hope and strength, and helps us recognize His grace and provisions, both great and small.

Yesterday, mom and I were surrounded well by my husband and boys. It was so good to share meals together, visit together, and enjoy a family favorite game before bed. Watching the delight on mom’s face as she interacted with my guys, and the same look, mirrored on their faces, filled the places in my heart that were feeling a bit depleted. We have a bit more time altogether today before they head home, so I know that our cups will be fuller still, before the day’s end. May we ever seek the Lord to fight our battles, and know that we are surrounded by Him.

 

When life overwhelms,

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Surrounded by family. ❤ (Christmas 2018)

And battles rage on;

Turn in trust to God,

Whose help makes us strong.

Strong for the battles,

We’re chosen to fight;

Wisdom to listen,

Gain the Lord’s insight.

The courage to wait,

And trust in His plan;

Soak in surrender,

As for us, He’ll stand.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You fight on our behalf, even when we are unaware of how You are moving. Thank You that You are faithful to strengthen and equip us for each new day, and that You supply all that we need as the need arises. Forgive us for our fearfulness when we appear to be surrounded by more than we can bear. Teach us to recognize that we are actually surrounded by You. Show us how to walk by faith and not by sight, as You fight for us and through us. Lead us to love those around us well, so that they too may come to know and understand Your strength and grace and love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we fight our battles by surrendering to Your surrounding of us all. Amen.

 

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

 

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