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

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

To Lead with Listening

My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry. – (James 1:19, NIV)

My dear brothers and sisters, always be more willing to listen than to speak. Keep control of your anger. – (James 1:19, ERV)

Post this at all the intersections, dear friends: Lead with your ears, follow up with your tongue, and let anger straggle along in the rear. – (James 1:19, MSG)

 

Who would have known how necessary and true these words would be in our present circumstances? Though I know that anger can be a stage of grief, the flashes of anger that I have experienced have been out of fierce protection, as people have not understood mom’s need for space and rest as she heals. Countless times, I have had to take deep breaths, listen to His still small voice, and speak with kindness to explain that mom is not able to have guests visit when she is tired or resting or simply not ready to see visitors at this time. I imagine it is extraordinarily difficult as one of mom’s friends, as she loves and is loved well by so many. As she transitions to her home this coming week, mom will need time to adjust to being back in her own environment and find her “footing” in her own space, before she is ever ready to receive visitors. Please do not just “drop by” or “come say hi”, or you will be met by one of her girls who is doing everything they can to listen before speaking and keep anger in check, but push too much, and you may see a ginger, snap.

Mom is continuing to work tirelessly in her therapies, as she is determined and focused. Her desire is set on regaining full movement in her right side, and each day she regains a little more strength and control of what was lost. Mom will be released to home in a wheelchair, as she continues to work on relearning how to walk and regain her strength and mobility. We are extremely grateful that her home is a rambler, so little needs to be done to prepare for her return. Additionally, because my sister or I will be with mom at all times, there is room to recognize anything that may need to be done in the future to make mom’s mobility more approachable for her on her own. Time and experience will be our best teachers. Please continue to pray with us for mom’s ongoing healing, for a smooth transition home, for ears to listen, mouths that are slow to speak, and anger to be kept in check as grace abounds so much more.

 

Lord, help us listen,img_2019-05-25_07-57-12278632563012603228.jpg

To be slow to speak;

To hear with our heart,

Let Your love repeat.

Keep anger at bay,

As it tries to rise;

The need to protect,

Fear’s ugly disguise.

God grant us wisdom,

Show us what to do;

To protect and love,

Bring honor to You.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to listen first, as I imagine that is why we have two ears and only one mouth. Forgive us for speaking without listening to Your still small voice first, or for allowing our anger to get the best of us. Teach us to slow down and breathe; to set all before You and allow You to show us what is righteous anger and what is not; what we are meant to do, and what we are not. Show us how to love people well, even when they do not understand the circumstances or expectations and frustrate us to the point of anger. May our choosing to love point they to a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we bring all things before You and choose to listen first and take our time before talking. Amen.

 

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

 

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. – Galatians 5:22-23

 

 

The Illuminated Path

Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path. – (Psalm 119:105, NIV)

Your word is like a lamp that guides my steps, a light that shows the path I should take. – (Psalm 119:105, ERV)

By Your words I can see where I’m going; they throw a beam of light on my dark path. – (Psalm 119:105, MSG)

 

Sitting at mom’s kitchen table before sunrise, I take in the familiar view I love. Something that has always struck me as significant, is how even in the dark of night, the few streetlights that are strategically placed on the highway near the turnoff to drive to mom’s house, seem to illuminate the darkness, with a sort of light that glows far greater than ordinary streetlights. It is almost as if at night, the moon shines upon the spot to point the way as well. I included a photo, but it hardly does the actual scene before me justice, as the camera allowed in far too much surrounding light. It was actually far darker outside, and the light at the turnoff, is more pronounced.  God shows us the way that we are meant to go. Sometimes it is subtle and we have to listen for the whisper or be ever alert to see the signs along the route; however, there are times that He illuminates the turnoff with such intensity, that there is no denying that it is the direction we must go. As we prepare for the next steps for mom, we desire the illuminated path to be made plain before us.

Yesterday, mom had a great and exhausting day of work that left her weary by the day’s end. She continued to work on upper body mobility and strengthening in occupational therapy, lower body movement and strengthening in physical therapy, and vocal strengthening and word recall in speech therapy. One of the many exciting things that took place yesterday, occurred during PT. Mom was trying to lift her right leg from fully extended (while lying down) up to the bent position. She pulled and struggled, worked and strained. With a small bit of assist, she did several, until her leg was fatigued and she needed to rest that leg. While her leg was extended straight, we all were chatting about something or another, and mom spontaneously pulled her leg right up to bent to adjust her pants, because she didn’t like the way that they were bunched up. Stephanie and I just stared at her. We exchanged looks of awe, looked at her, and then giggled in amazement, as she too, realized what she had just done, without thinking about it. Clearly it had made an impact on mom, as she was pleased to retell the story to my sister when we spoke on the phone later last evening.

May we continue to trust in the One who makes plain the path before us, as He lights the way that we are meant to go.

 

Lord, Your holy word, img_2019-05-21_05-05-29920261958759057627.jpg

I’ll keep in my heart;

For it is a lamp,

To lead, set apart.

For You have great plans,

For us, one and all;

If we choose listen,

And answer Your call.

God, help us hear You,

Show us the right way;

Lead us and guide us,

Near You, help us stay.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are a light unto our path and a lamp unto our feet. Thank You that You not only show us the way, but You guide each step. Forgive us for our fear and doubts when we know the route but cannot yet see the steps to reach the destination. Teach us to trust You more. Show us how to love those around us in a way that spreads Your light and life and hope in all whom we encounter. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You and Your word to lead us and guide us, all the days of our lives. Amen.

 

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

 

Let the morning bring me word of Your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in You. Show me the way I should go, for to You I entrust my life. – Psalm 143:8