Grief Wanes in the Wake of Gratitude

So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in Him, rooted and built up in Him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness. – (Colossians 2:6-7, NIV)

You accepted Christ Jesus as Lord, so continue to live following Him. You must depend on Christ only, drawing life and strength from Him. Just as you were taught the truth, continue to grow stronger in your understanding of it. And never stop giving thanks to God. – (Colossians 2:6-7, ERV) 

Now that you have welcomed the Anointed One, Jesus the Lord, into your lives continue to journey with Him and allow Him to shape your lives. Let your roots grow down deeply in Him, and let Him build you up on a firm foundation. Be strong in the faith, just as you were taught, and always spill over with thankfulness. – (Colossians 2:6-7, VOICE)

 

Grief shows up in unexpected spaces, and seeks to sink the soul. Last night, as I attempted to fall asleep, I was flooded by sorrow as I longed to be with my family. I have never been separated from my boys for more than a week, and after nearly three months, this mama’s heart has found its limit. My heart simply grieved for the time lost. Missed concerts, activities, milestones, mornings, moments, and the joy of doing life together. It has always been my boys and me, and this space of occasional visits on a weekend that works, is simply not enough. I know it is a preview of adulthood, but we have not yet arrived at that point, and I do not want to miss out on the precious time that I am given. This morning, as I read and pondered these two verses from Colossians 2, I recognize how relevant this particular passage is for me right now. The best remedy for grief is gratitude. I cannot dwell on time lost, but rather must fix my eyes, heart and mind on the blessings that I have before me. My boys want me to be with my mom, as they know how important it is that she have her daughter with her to care and advocate on her behalf. Both boys have set aside their own desires, and are thinking of their grandmother first. As their mom, I am beyond grateful for their kind and generous hearts. Additionally, there is the obvious, as I cannot even begin to unpack my praise to God for sparing the life of my mom. She has been the most incredible example of selfless love throughout my entire life, so how could I not be present and invest all that I am in walking beside her on this road to recovery?

As for mom’s moving along, she had her first attempt at walking with a cane yesterday. There is a huge learning curve, and she was not a fan, due to the seeming unsteadiness in comparison to her walker, yet she persevered, and walked a good fifteen feet with it, before transitioning back to the walker to complete two lengths of the hallway and into the kitchen. Her interest in getting out of the house continued as well, as she advocated to go get coffee and spring rolls from our favorite takeout place. We enjoyed our drive into town and back, and then had a very relaxing afternoon and evening. I think that it was needed after the crazy, busy weekend of birthday fun, as it was the first time that there were no extra people in the house. Today mom has occupational and speech therapies on the agenda, and tomorrow, my sister will arrive back in town so that I may return home for a bit of a furlough.

May we be strong in faith and overflowing with gratitude, for it is in this space that we find peace.

 

When we live in Christ, img_2019-07-16_06-35-183702170351870846491.jpg

Strong rooted in Him;

Our faith is built up,

To graciously live.

As we are built up,

Strengthened we give praise;

Hearts overflowing,

With thanks all our days.

In everything,

Pursue gratitude;

Grace overpowers,

Heartache’s solitude.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we are strengthened in faith as we praise and give thanks. Thank You that gratitude helps overcome the weight of grief. Forgive us for sitting in our own heartache rather than seeking You to show us Your kindness and grace. Teach us to trust You more, as You are loving and kind, ready to hold us and lift us up, no matter how we come. Show us how to love those around us well, so that we may strengthen, encourage, help and hold others in their spaces of grief or lack. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to be our strength and our salvation forever. Amen.

 

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

 

Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever. – Psalm 107:1

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

Seeking Solace

I pray that out of His glorious riches He may strengthen you with power through His Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ. – (Ephesians 3:16-18, NIV)

I ask the Father with His great glory to give you the power to be strong in your spirits. He will give you the strength through His Spirit. I pray that Christ will live in your hearts because of your faith. I pray that your life will be strong in love and be built on love. And I pray that you and all God’s holy people will have the power to understand the greatness of Christ’s love – how wide, how long, how high, and how deep that love is. – (Ephesians 3:16-18, ERV)

And I pray that He would unveil within you the unlimited riches of His glory and favor until supernatural strength floods your innermost being with His divine might and explosive power. Then, by constantly using your faith, the life of Christ will be released deep inside you, and the resting place of His love will become the very source and root of your life. – (Ephesians 3:16-18, TPT)

 

Paul’s encouragement to the church in Ephesus is still an encouragement that is applicable and relevant to us today. In fact, I had to take pause and recognize my own need to receive his words, as I realized just how much I have been missing my husband, boys, and community at home. It is not that I resent nor regret what I am doing here, as I would not trade this time with my mom for anything. I am overwhelmingly blessed with time that could have been stolen, had things gone differently, and I am witnessing daily, the miracles that come with healing and recovery from a stroke. It is a strange sort of struggle to be pulled between two places. During mom’s waking hours, I am fully engaged and focused on whatever lies before us, and we enjoy our time together, celebrating victories and giggling and the small stuff that comes in the wake of exhaustion and recovery. It is in the quiet moments while mom is resting, or her attention is fixed on a movie, that I am torn and struggle being away from my husband and boys. We talk and text daily, but it is not the same, and all of my guys are loves who are generous with their affection for me. I miss the comfort of their nearness and the easy interactions that take place so often. I know it is just for a season, and the line in the TPT version “the resting place of His love will become the very source and root of your life”, is the space that I need to seek His solace.

As for mom’s progress from yesterday, she walked farther than she has walked (with a walker and slight assistance), since she had her stroke! For those who have been in mom’s house, she walked up and down her entire hallway. (The length of it is over 30 feet!) What I loved even more, was the recognition of hope that mom found through the process. After Victor, her physical therapist had gone, we sat down in the living room. She looked at me and said, “It really is possible, isn’t it?” I looked at her for a moment, studying her face, and realized that for the first time, she was recognizing that walking again was indeed possible for her. I let her know that we had seen and known the possibility all along, and after today, imagined that it would come even more quickly than we might have originally thought. Hope is a beautiful thing, and I am in awe realizing that despite her not really thinking it was possible to walk again, she was positive and hard-working, loving and kind. We reminded her all along that it was possible, however, I guess she had to physically experience the possibility for herself to understand. Mom was again open and receptive to short visits with a few friends, as she met with one dear one in the morning, and another prior to lunch. Both were wonderful boosts that brought much delight to the day.

I am so thankful that He does strengthen us with His power, out of His glorious riches through His Spirit in our inner being, and He dwells in our hearts through faith. As we are rooted and established in Him, may we together, grasp how great is His love.

 

Dear Father, I pray, Be strong and courageous

From Your vast supply;

You’ll give strength to those,

On You, choose rely.

And by Your Spirit,

Where in hearts Christ dwells;

Grow stronger our faith,

So we trust You well. dsc04451587116784.jpg

Each rooted in love,

Together by grace;

May we understand,

How great all Your ways.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are a loving and gracious God. Thank You that You know and see our need before we are aware of it ourselves. Thank You that You give us strength and grace, hope and love. Forgive us for allowing our fears or frustrations to find footing, rather than releasing all unto You. Teach us to trust You more, as You are our Provider and Place of Peace. Show us how to love those around us well, so that each may be strengthened, encouraged and find faith that is ready to nourish and grow. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You in all things and at all times, praising You for Your presence. Amen.

 

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

 

May Your unfailing love be my comfort, according to Your promise to Your servant. – Psalm 119:76

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

Through the Valleys and Highest Peaks

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose. – (Romans 8:28, NIV)

We know that in everything God works for the good of those who love Him. These are the people God chose, because that was His plan. – (Romans 8:28, ERV)

We are confident that God is able to orchestrate everything to work toward something good and beautiful when we love Him and accept His invitation to live according to His plan. – (Romans 8:28, VOICE)

 

This is the truth. Though the things we walk through may not be good, God can bring good out of our experiences. He will take our difficulties and direct our steps, demonstrating to us, just how much strength that He has deposited within our hearts for such a time as this. Things we might have never noticed before, suddenly become significant and beautiful beyond what our human heart can hold.

Yesterday, I was able to plug into my church and run media, experiencing Sunday in a way that felt “normal” for the first time in a month. There is something significant about being present as our worship team warms up and runs through the songs, then witnessing the wonderful unfolding of what God has in store, in two services. The two never unfold exactly alike, and there are always morsels of the message that I can carry with me into the week, that often come back to mind in moments when the message aligns with what lies before me. It is the great unfolding of His plan, as we invest in the truth of His word. We are not promised an easy or pain-free life, but we are promised that He will never leave us nor forsake us; and He is able to work ALL THINGS toward something good. God truly does bring beauty from ashes when we allow Him in. My own life is a living testament of His faithfulness. So many times, the places of trial or heartache became the greatest sources of strength, victory and grace. God is always good, and I know He is bringing even more beauty to the life He created for my mom.

Mom enjoyed a balance of time with Megan’s family, therapies, rest, and Mark and me even were able to sneak over and surprise her for a hug and quick visit, before trading off with Meg’s fellas. It is a joy to hear the perspective of both Scott and Mark, (Meg and my spouses), as they have had large gaps in between visits with mom, so they see giant leaps in her progress, rather than the day-to-day victories that my sister and I witness. Both of our guys cannot contain their joy as they speak of the change they see in mom. Each has been instrumental in my sister’s and my ability to be with mom every day. If not for them holding down the fort and running the households back home, we would not be able to be here. May we ever remain confident in He who is able to use ALL THINGS for good, and continue to trust in Him for every step of this uncharted journey.

 

Beauty from ashes, 0515190557_hdr3238003239624041706.jpg

Great hope from despair;

Our most holy God,

Hears every prayer.

He’ll never forsake,

Nor leave us alone;

He sees all our needs,

And we each are known.

Trust that He is good,

His plan, purposeful;

Beauty from ashes,

A life meaningful.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You work all things out for good for those who love You. Thank You that even though the circumstances or struggles are not good, You bring good from the process. Thank You that You are God and we are not. Forgive us for the times that we are too blinded by our own hurt or struggle to see how You are working for our good in the midst of it. Teach us to trust You more, as You are far greater that anything that stands before us. Show us how to love those around us as we walk through the valleys and climb the highest peaks. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You and praise You for the beauty You bring from ashes, and watch in anticipation for all that is yet to come. Amen.

 

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

 

…To bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair… – Isaiah 61:3

A Very Good Day

Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. – (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, NIV)

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

Be cheerful no matter what; pray all the time; thank God no matter what happens. This is the way God wants you who belong to Christ Jesus to live. – (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, MSG)

 

Thankfully, joy is not circumstantial, but rather something that is deep-rooted in our souls. Praying continually is far easier to remember, especially in times of crisis, and giving thanks is not about being grateful for our circumstances, but rather giving thanks for Who is with us through them.

Yesterday was a very good day. God showed us His faithfulness in countless ways. First thing in the morning, as Megan and I were preparing to make our way to the hospital for the day, we received the call from Sheila, the case manager (whom we adore), that the cabulance would be at the hospital at 10 am to move mom to the acute care facility. Her call hustled us out the door even faster than we would have normally exited, and we were on our way. Upon arrival, mom was seated in a chair and smiling, fully aware of the fact that it was moving day. Additional blessings that immediately came prior to leaving the hospital were: the removal of her IV, removal of the heart monitor stickers, leads and the five-pound accessory box that sat in a pocket on her chest, hospital gowns, as well as the standard hospital required practices of waking patients every four hours to ask a series of questions that may or may not inspire intelligible answers in the midst of a fog of sleepiness. The hospital crew was kind in their sendoff, and the cabulance drivers were incredible. In fact, one driver had been one of the EMTs on the scene when mom had been found in her home by the police, and one of the officers was her husband. (God is so cool!) Anyway, I knew they were in great hands as Megan rode with mom to the new place and I drove over with her belongings in my vehicle. As we arrived, though a whirlwind, we were overwhelmed with kindness and grace. God’s hand was abundantly evident. From the attending doctor, to the lead RN, to the superb social worker; everyone was hand-picked for mom and our family. God knew what we would need. After a sort of orientation with the doctor and nurse, mom met with the speech therapist for nearly an hour. That gave Meg and myself time to explore a bit, and I was able to speak with the social worker about paperwork. After eating lunch with mom in her room, (the only time that will happen, as they have a family-style dining area), we met Penny, her physical therapist, and they got to work. Penny began with some seemingly simple things, to evaluate where the disconnect lies. She asked mom to do something specific, did not see results, then begin making notes and mom did it! Megan and I sat watching in awe. I imagine someone could have come along and pushed our chins to close our mouths, and we would not have noticed… Even more amazing, Penny was so in tune with mom’s needs. She ordered a wheelchair that was the right size for her, an armrest for her uncooperative arm (to keep it safe and from swelling), and she had mom moving herself with her good foot and good arm, down the hallway, by herself! At first, mom wasn’t sure how to make the chair move, so Penny grabbed another wheelchair and sat in it beside her and showed her. It was then that the sweet game of chase began. Though slow, it was on. Mom is a fighter and a competitor. When she became tired, Penny knew to shift gears rather than stop. She helped mom get herself to a hallway that had a railing on her good side, stood her up out of her chair, and assisted her with walking several steps down that hall. I think both Megan and I were doing everything within us not to cartwheel down that hall in celebration! After PT was OT, but primarily a get-to-know-you session, followed by dinner, then we watched a movie, and the piece de resistance, was the freedom to take mom outside. The sun was low enough that it was not bright nor beating on us, the wind was still, and the air was a perfect warm hug, as we sat together in the little park by the tree surrounded by flowers, where bees were buzzing, and the green grass cooled our feet. Though all these things have happened, there was this beautiful, perfect peace. The little smiling angel figurine in the flower bed was a sweet reminder of His faithful army watching over us. We walked out of the acute care center yesterday, far lighter than we had gone in. God truly is so good.

And, for those who appreciate comic relief, we walked to my Jeep, hopped in, and were ready to zip away. Only, I turned the key, and nothing… Seriously? Ugh! It only took a moment, as it is a stick, and we are two, fairly strong-willed, stubborn, redheads. We started out with Meg pushing me and I tried popping the clutch, but could not quite get enough speed. We had it turned far enough around, so we switched spots. A young man and his wife were walking to their car, and he jumped in and joined me in the pushing. The added boost helped get the car to the speed we needed to pop the clutch, and all was well. Plus, I think Megan was eager for an opportunity to drive the Jeep, and this way she had to zip around the big parking lot several times prior to picking me up, just to make sure the charge was up enough. Add the kindness of a stranger to our list of reasons to be thankful for yesterday.

 

Each day we draw breath,

img_2019-05-06_22-33-432372452717547527438.jpg

Mid-giggle as we attempted several selfies together. So, so good. ❤

Let us choose rejoice;

Despite what we face,

We still have a choice.

Joy’s not a feeling,

Based on circumstance;

It’s deep in the soul,

And not there by chance.

Through a thankful heart,

That knows and believes;

That God is for us,

His joy is received.

All thanks we choose give,

To God, our great King;

May He shine through us,

Our praise offering.

 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your overwhelming goodness and grace. Thank You that You love us more than we could ever hope or imagine. Thank You that You make that love tangible. Forgive us for allowing circumstances to temporarily steal our joy. Fear is a liar and a thief. Protect us from such things. Thank You that You continue to show us the power of a smile, an encouraging word, a gesture; all things done in love. Show us how to love and encourage mom and all those who are touched by her both far and near. May her light spark a flame in the hearts of those who do not know You yet. Lead many into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we rejoice in You and give thanks for Your hand in all things and Your presence, always. 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

The Fullness of Grace

Out of His fullness we have all received grace in place of grace already given. – (John 1:16, NIV)

Yes, the Word was full of grace and truth, and from Him we all received one blessing after another. – (John 1:16, ERV)

And now out of His fullness we are fulfilled! And from Him we receive grace heaped upon more grace! – (John 1:16, TPT)

 

The grace of God has been evident from the beginning of time. When Jesus came for the forgiveness of all who seek Him, grace was made all the more perceptible. Grace is the freely given, unmerited favor and love of God. (dictionary.com) Often, I find myself in awe of God’s grace that is provided in visible and tangible ways. Obviously, the greatest gifts of grace have come through life, love and salvation. However, the grace of God is granted in small and seemingly insignificant ways as well. Yesterday, I had a dental appointment to take care of a few small fillings. I was dreading the appointment, and wished very much, that I could just cancel it. It is not the dentist, as he and his staff are wonderful, but rather that my mouth does not stay numb through and entire procedure – EVER. Feeling the drill grind on nerves in my teeth is one of my least favorite sensations. After arriving at the office and getting seated, the sweet receptionist looked at me, looked at her computer screen, and said, “We don’t seem to have you on the schedule today.” In both joy and disbelief, I let her know that I was just fine with that. Though I had it in my calendar, which I only enter on the spot, in the office, to be certain I record the correct information for appointments, somehow, it did not get entered on their end. Not only did I not need to stay for a procedure, she actually handed me a Starbucks gift card for my “trouble”. It truly was NO trouble. Anyway, for me, this series of small things that transpired in a span of mere moments, were sweet gifts of grace. Yes, I realize that I will still need to have that sort of appointment, however, for yesterday, the time returned to my day, (and the bonus coffee) were evidence of God’s goodness and grace that is given when we need it the most. I was tired and in need of rest, and ended up having time to come home and relax for a while before preparing dinner and the usual evening routine. May we ever be aware of the grace upon grace given by God, as His love for us is made evident, individually.

 

God, in His goodness, Ambassadors of Love

Created all things;

And then sent His Son,

Great love offering.

Always there was grace,

And with Jesus, more;

Love tangibly shown,

Through Him we adore.

May we be aware,

Of the grace You give;

Extending our praise,

Each day that we live.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your goodness and grace. Thank You that You love us in ways that show us Your loving kindness. Forgive us for missing the moments of grace that You give us throughout our day, or for failing to recognize Your goodness being granted in great and small ways. Teach us to trust You more, so that we are ever aware of Your freely given, unmerited favor and love throughout all of our days. Show us how to love those around us in ways that extend Your goodness and grace, and make Your love evident. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we thank and praise You for the countless ways that You love us and grant us grace each day. Amen.

 

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

 

What shall I return to the Lord for all His goodness to me? – Psalm 116:12

The Seeming Lunacy of Lavish Love

For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. – (1 Corinthians 1:18, NIV)

The teaching about the cross seems foolish to those who are lost. But to us who are being saved it is the power of God. – (1 Corinthians 1:18, ERV)

To preach the message of the cross seems like sheer nonsense to those who are on their way to destruction, but to us who are on our way to salvation, it is the mighty power of God released within us. – (1 Corinthians 1:18, TPT)

 

Without the cross, we would have a lengthy laundry list of laws that we would be required to follow to find way to heaven. The cross changed all that. Laws show us our sinfulness, yet Christ went to the cross to bear the burden of our every failure to follow. Rather than rules and rituals requiring strict adherence to look to the Lord, we now have hope in a Savior who calls us to love. The saving power that was presented at the cross, provides the desire and strength to look to the Lord and be in relationship with Him. Before, there was a veil that separated people from God. Torn in two, as Jesus took His last breath, His decision to die for us all destroyed the barrier between God and mankind, and made the way for us to know Him, personally. The more we know the Lord, the more we are compelled to let go of our former foolishness and follow after Him. He who knew no sin, wore all of our sin upon Himself so that we could come to know His power, individually. His mercy and grace provided us with a fresh start and a call to two things: love God and love people. When we do the two, we reflect the goodness of God to the world, and make salvation tangible for those who do not know Him. May we ever embrace the goodness and grace that was granted at the cross, and receive His power that is presented to us as we come to Him in faith.

 

Seemingly foolish,Live Right by His Light

God sent His own Son;

To take away sin,

This Most Holy One.

Bearing our burdens,

In love, chose to die;

So we might know Him,

All sins rectified.

Such power and love,

Laid bare on that cross;

All to offer life,

Horrifying cost.

Yet freely He chose,

So we could know grace;

Receive and believe,

Daily, seek His face.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the radical and unfathomable love that You have for us. Thank You for making the way for us to come to know You, personally. Forgive us for all that we think, say and do that led You to choose the cross so that we might live. Teach us to trust You more, ever coming before You with gratitude and eyes to see the depth and breadth of Your love. Show us how to love those around us in a way that makes Your goodness and grace visible to all. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You praise for who You are and how You love, trusting our very lives into Your holy hands.  Amen.

 

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

 

When we were overwhelmed by sins, You forgave our transgressions. – Psalm 65:3

Actions Speak

For the kingdom of God is not a matter of talk but of power. – (1 Corinthians 4:20, NIV)

God’s power is not seen in talk but in power. – (1 Corinthians 4:20, ERV)

God’s Way is not a matter of mere talk; it’s an empowered life. – (1 Corinthians 4:20, MSG)

 

Evidence of God with us is seen not in the things we say, but rather through what we do. Is our mode of operation a life of love, pursuing God’s purpose in our lives, or do we say one thing and do another? The power of the living God is made evident through those who are in constant communion with Christ, seeking the Lord’s leading in all that is said and done. May we ever be intentional to invest our hearts, minds and lives into the word and will of God, so that our lives are tangible proof of His power.

 

To live out a life, The Power of Generosity

That makes the Lord clear;

Our charge to choose trust,

For God will be near.

Not just in speaking,

But choosing to live;

To move in God’s love,

Through good that we give.

The Lord is power,

Grace to in love, move;

As we love out loud,

His goodness we prove.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your power that dwells in us when we seek You and pursue Your will. Forgive us for the times that we have neglected to demonstrate the goodness of Your love through our actions. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would live a life of faith that is rooted and growing in Your goodness to give away. Show us how to love those around us in a way that makes Your heart tangible. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we invest our time, hearts and minds into knowing You more, so that our actions are a reflection of Your heart for the world. Amen.

 

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

 

Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. – Romans 12:10

All for Good

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose. – (Romans 8:28, NIV)

We know that in everything God works for the good of those who love Him. These are the people God chose, because that was His plan. – (Romans 8:28, ERV)

We are confident that God is able to orchestrate everything to work toward something good and beautiful when we love Him and accept His invitation to live according to His plan. – (Romans 8:28, VOICE)

 

This is an incredible promise to which we can hold secure. All things that we face, endure and walk through can be transformed and utilized for our good, and the good of those around us. He turns our tests into testimonies, our ashes into something beautiful, and our mourning leads to celebration, through the power of His presence and strength. I can look back at the darkest trials that I have had to walk through, and see clearly, how His light shone brightest for me, and ultimately through me, as He turned difficult things into triumphs that encouraged others in similar situations. God is good, and we can trust Him to use everything for good, in due time. May we ever seek the Lord to be our strength, and watch for His love to turn ashes into things of beauty.

 

Beauty from ashes, All for Good

Strength where we were weak;

Light where things were dark,

When the Lord we seek.

His presence, promised,

And His love assured;

Trust and reliance,

Faith that the Lord heard.

He hears our requests,

God’s faithful to bring;

Solutions and grace,

Praise to our wise King.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You work all things together for the good of those who love You and seek answer Your call. Thank You that You are faithful forever. Forgive us for our fears and doubts when we are in the midst of a mess. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would recognize Your strength and grace as we go, and the beauty that You bring from our former ashes. Show us how to love those around us in a way that they see Your hope and light and strength in the middle of their struggle. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust in Your transforming power to bring beauty from the ashes of our trials. Amen.

 

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

 

I say to the Lord, “You are my Lord; apart from You I have no good thing.” – Psalm 16:2