Be Devoted in Love

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

Love each other in a way that makes you feel close like brothers and sisters. And give each other more honor than you give yourself. – (Romans 12:10, ERV)

Live in true devotion to one another, loving each other as sisters and brothers. Be first to honor others by putting them first. – (Romans 12:10, VOICE)

Be devoted to tenderly loving your fellow believers as members of one family. Try to outdo yourselves in respect and honor of one another. – (Romans 12:10, TPT)

 

This is a timely reminder this morning, as last night, I hit a breaking point. I was frustrated with my sixth-grade students’ seeming lack of buy-in or concern about what we needed to review while I was present in the classroom, there was some sort of flying ant infestation in the backroom off of my classroom, leaving me with stragglers randomly buzzing about the room and landing wherever they chose, my scheduled run – cancelled, a stack of tests that I worked on tirelessly, yet felt as if I barely made a dent in, and then, after I had thrown in the towel and gone to bed, received a phone call from the hospital where mom is, asking if so-and-so could go in and visit mom at 8:30 pm. I nearly snapped. Mom is exhausted by 5:00 pm, and is in bed, ready to sleep, long before 8:30. Though I imagine the individual had the very best of intentions, we have requested NO VISITORS, except our immediate family and the very few friends who already know who they are (whom my sister and I know VERY well). It simply would cause a setback rather than be beneficial, as she must get her rest. I promise we will let everyone know WHEN she is ready and available for visitors. That being said, there were many wonderful things that took place yesterday to report. My art classes were terrific, I had a great time running a few errands with one of my boys, we were able to sit down together as a family for dinner, and I was on the phone with my sister and mom when mom spontaneously decided to lift her right leg in the air and then bend her knee. Megan asked her to repeat it, and she did! This means that her quad is now cooperating as well, and she is that much closer to having regained control in her right leg of the muscles required to walk again!

Our fierce protection of mom’s rest and space is out of devotion and love. She wants to be restored, and restoration comes through both hard work and rest. We are learning that we are willing to do whatever we are able to do, to give mom every opportunity to heal. Each leap of faith that we have taken, God has met us and held us up in His hands. As we continue to press forward toward moving mom home next week, the rigor of her therapies continues to increase, in order to best prepare for all that lies ahead. Once home, the therapy sessions will come to mom, rather than her to them. Her days will likely be just as rigorous; yet, the switch to the comfort and familiarity of her own home ought to provide more automatic responses and far more room to rest.

Please join us in praying for continued miracles in her healing, preparation of her home and heart for transition, and for all that is needed – body, heart, mind and soul, to thrive in her own space. May we ever depend on the Lord to help us be devoted to one another in love; honoring others above ourselves.

 

Ever devoted,

img_2019-05-24_04-42-326003441757431962292.jpg

The three of us a few years ago. ❤

A way to choose love;

Close familial bond,

Place others above.

Look past our own wants,

To what others need;

Choose give out of love,

As the Lord does lead.

For He loves us all,

Grace like no other;

Tenderly we’re loved,

Mercy discovered.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You show us what it is to be devoted to one another in love. For You loved so much that You sent Your one and only Son. Forgive us for the times that we worry only about ourselves, rather than those around us. Teach us to see others through Your eyes, so that we may have a proper perspective to love according to Your will. Show us how to be devoted in love, and to prefer others in a way that honors You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we serve and honor You by loving those around us in a way that honors them and considers their needs. Amen.

 

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

 

Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God. – Romans 4:20

Automatic Responses

May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Jesus had. – (Romans 15:5, NIV)

All patience and encouragement comes from God. And I pray that God will help you all agree with each other, as Christ Jesus wants. – (Romans 15:5, ERV)

I pray that our God, who calls you and gives you perseverance and encouragement, will join all of you together to share one mind according to Jesus the Anointed. – (Romans 15:5, VOICE)

 

This road we are walking alongside mom, as she journeys to recovery from her stroke, is certainly the epitome of an example of needing to walk forward in all patience, endurance and encouragement that comes from God. It has been by His grace, that we have been able to make decisions in agreement in love, with mom’s input and her very best in mind. Incredibly, one month to the day from when she was admitted to the ER for her stroke, she will transition to her home to begin the in-home care portion of her recovery and healing. Though the idea of moving mom to her house in less than a week is rather intimidating to all of us, the hope held in the potential benefits far outweigh our fears of the unknown. Additionally, both Meg and I will be able to be present for the transition time, as we discover and establish a new routine and figure out how to best navigate mom living back at home. Her mobility is still limited, and she will be moving home with the aid of a wheelchair. She is working on walking with assistance, but she is not yet walking without help. Mom is stable to stand, and does a fantastic job with transferring from chair to other seated spaces. Research indicates that most grow and thrive at a much more rapid rate in their own familiar surroundings. Based on the automatic responses we have seen from her; I believe this wholeheartedly.

Last evening was a perfect example. It was clear that mom is getting more and more back to herself, as she asked me to call her to let her know when I had arrived safely home last evening. I made certain that I had all of the correct information to reach her in her room, prior to my drive home. After a bit of orchestrating, I was able to get through. It was the most incredible thing – my mom sounded like herself on the phone! You see, the stroke has affected her voice, as the message to her vocal cords has somehow been compromised, so she is very soft-spoken right now. However, normally (pre-stroke) anytime that my mom, sister or I speak with each other on the phone, we are accused of speaking rather loudly. (I think we are just extremely excited to share with each other 😊Anyway, the voice that answered the line when I called (knowing it was me, as the nurse had let her know because I had to contact the nurse’s station first) was the loud, animated mom voice that I know so well. We were talking and laughing and my sweet husband was sitting beside me, shaking his head, grinning from ear-to-ear, in recognition of the incredible voice that was coming through the phone. We did not talk too long, and her voice did quiet down a bit, but she heard and felt the strength she had projected as well.

These are the sort of automatic responses that seem to happen when her mind is relaxed and fixed on home. We are praying and trusting that God will continue to move mountains on mom’s behalf, as He provides and heals and leads us each step of the way on this wild and wonderful road to recovery.

 

The God of all hope,

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Always an automatic smile with the grandsons. ❤

Grants love that’s secure;

Peace, love and patience,

The strength to endure.

Likewise, He will give,

Us both heart and mind;

To walk united,

Be gracious and kind.

Let us ever give,

All into His hands;

For not our own will,

But Your faithful plan.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your ways are higher than our ways, and You know the outcome before we even begin. Thank You that You give endurance and encouragement, peace and unity, as we lean into You. Forgive us for our fears in the unknown that lies before us. Teach us to trust You more. Show us Your power again, as You have done so many times before. Lead us to love those around us in a way that grants encouragement to the weary and peace and unity, where it is lacking. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we place all that lies ahead in Your hands. Amen.

 

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

 

The end of a matter is better than its beginning, and patience is better than pride. – Ecclesiastes 7:8

 

 

Modeled Love

You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. – (Galatians 5:13, NIV)

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, ERV)

Brothers and sisters, God has called you to freedom! Hear the call, and do not spoil this gift by using your liberty to engage in what your flesh desires; instead, use it to serve each other as Jesus taught through love. – (Galatians 5:13, VOICE)

 

Yesterday, we reached an impasse, and recognized that we had to make the final decision as to where mom would land next, as her stay at the acute rehabilitation facility comes to a close near the end of this month. After asking mom what she most wanted, watching how the familiarity of home made such a dramatic difference in her ability to recall information through an activity during speech therapy, and hearing from various therapists how often patients’ recovery accelerates by leaps and bounds in their own familiar settings, it became evident that her home was where she needed to be next. This is where the choosing to serve one another humbly in love comes in; for it is neither an easy nor convenient choice for either my sister or me. Megan has the obstacle of a seven-hour journey if she drives, a crazy, busy schedule at home with work and family, and the heartache of being away from mom whenever she needs to be home. For myself, I am still in my first year of a new marriage, raising two teenage sons, finishing their junior year, attempting to coordinate sub plans and grading from three hours from home, and seeking to maintain balance and normalcy in both spaces. Both Meg and I would not have it any other way. The words penned by Paul the Apostle, were modeled by mom throughout our entire lives. It is a simple decision to make, despite the logistical challenges. Additionally, we are overwhelmingly blessed and supported by our spouses, children, families, friends, and our extended communities – both near and far. The outpouring of love and support, both prayerfully and through notes and messages, has been an incredible blessing, and often just what was needed at the moment it was needed most.

As for mom specifically, she is continuing to make great gains. Her speech and language retrieval is phenomenally fast, but is more difficult by day’s end when she is tired. Physically, she is building more strength every day, and more and more movement is coming along. It is a painfully slow process, but it is happening. She would love to just jump up and take off running, but even as babies, we must first learn to crawl, then stand, then wobble and scoot, before we ever take steps. For a growing infant, the process takes the entire first year. Mom is making tremendous strides toward walking again, and it has not quite been a month yet. So often it is a matter of keeping it all in perspective.

For those who are walking alongside us in prayer, these are our present petitions before our Savior: for a smooth transition home, for protection from fear, protection physically, emotionally, and spiritually, against discouragement, for total and complete healing, for strength, for patience, for calendars and schedules to align easily, for grace, balance and wisdom, for her incredible community to continue to be patient about visiting until she is ready, as it needs to be in her time.

 

Jesus set us free, dsc090724766454540718468749.jpg

And gave us a choice;

To choose for ourselves,

Use heart, mind and voice.

Our purpose is more,

Than our own desire;

But rather to love,

Sacrifice, inspire.

Just as we are loved,

By He who gave all;

So we ought to give,

As we heed His call.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for sending Your Son and showing us what it means to choose to love and serve freely. Thank You for the treasured gift of our mom, who has modeled the same for us throughout our entire lives. Forgive us for the times that we have chosen to indulge our own selfish desires, rather than love like You. Teach us to trust You more, so that we choose to love and serve in the same way that You have always done for us. Show us how to love those around us as You would. Especially direct our steps as we prepare to bring mom back to her own home. May those around us who do not know You yet, come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose to serve in love, just as You have modeled for us through Your Son and those that You have strategically placed in our lives. Amen.

 

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

 

“Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet My unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor My covenant of peace be removed,” says the Lord, who has compassion on you. – Isaiah 54:10

 

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

Trust for Transition

I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in Him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit. – (Romans 15:13, NLT)

I pray that God, the source of all hope, will infuse your lives with an abundance of joy and peace in the midst of your faith so that your hope will overflow through the power of the Holy Spirit. – (Romans 15:13, VOICE)

Now may God, the inspiration and fountain of hope, fill you to overflowing with uncontainable joy and perfect peace as you trust in Him. And may the power of the Holy Spirit continually surround your life with His super-abundance until you radiate with hope! – (Romans 15:13, TPT)

 

Yesterday was a transition day for me. As I traveled from west to east, my heart was full of hope and excited anticipation to see mom, as I could not wait to witness the positive gains she has made in my time away. Upon my arrival, she was happily visiting with a dear friend. Though there was a gap between when my sister had gone home and I had arrived, we both were at peace, thanks to a few of her sweet, sister-like friends. As soon as her friend had gone, mom confessed that she was exhausted. It had been an extraordinarily long week, and I think having a few different people with her, for more than a brief time without one of us present, had taken a toll on her. With us, she knows that she can say or do anything, and we can read her body language and facial expressions – so little effort is required. This is why the number of visitors currently allowed is extraordinarily limited right now. (per her request) She is doing amazingly well, but I imagine there are insecurities and anxieties about finding the right words with those she doesn’t talk to daily. I am certain that much of her desire to wait to see people, has much to do with this, and my sister and I are doing everything we can to safeguard and protect mom’s wishes. It does not matter if those wanting to visit are not bothered by her struggle for finding words; if it bothers her and she does not want to share the struggle with others yet, we will honor our mother. Period. For those who have been incredibly gracious in the waiting, thank you.

As for the fountain of hope and uncontainable joy, I am seeing God fill mom with fresh hope and joy, every single day. Though her right hand is still not cooperating as she would like, she no longer hides it under a pillow on her lap, but rather she stretches it out with her other hand, holds onto it, recognizes it, and continues to send signals to tell it to move. She is hopeful, and does have feeling, so we trust that it is simply a matter of time. Peace in the waiting is clearly present. Most shifts, mom manages to have the kindest and most experienced charge nurse assigned to her. My guess is that they argue about who gets to work with her, as she is always smiling, gracious, grateful, and appreciative of all that they do to help with her healing.

The next week and a half are going to be pivotal for all of us, as we have some critical decisions to make about where mom ought to be next, in the transition. We are not sure yet as to whether to be at her house, Meg’s house, or mine, as much will depend on insurance, available therapies, accessibility, and of course, what mom wants. Obviously, we want what is very best for mom in this season as she continues to gain strength and heal. She will not be ready to live alone, nor would we want her to do so, even if she were. Please join us in praying for wisdom and direction to be made abundantly clear. Not our will, but His.

 

Let the Lord of hope, Trust for Transition

Fill you with all joy;

For His perfect peace,

All doubt does destroy.

Choose trust in the One,

Whose power and grace;

Surround and indwell,

Abound in your space.

His filling’s so great,

We too, overflow;

Radiate His hope,

So others may know.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we seek You, You fill us completely with joy and peace, as we trust in You. Thank You that You fill us to overflowing with confident hope, by the power of Your Holy Spirit within us. Forgive us for fearing the unknown, or being anxious about that which we cannot control. Teach us to trust all in Your hands. Show us how to listen for Your voice and to walk in the way that You lead. Direct our every step, O God. Lead us to love those around us in a way that demonstrates the joy and peace that are found through hope held in You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we place all of our trust in Your hands. Amen.

 

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

 

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

His Strength and Peace

The Lord gives strength to His people; the Lord blesses His people with peace. – (Psalm 29:11, NIV)

May the Lord make His people strong. May the Lord bless His people with peace. – (Psalm 29:11, ERV)

God makes His people strong. God gives His peoples peace. – (Psalm 29:11, MSG)

 

There is a strange transition in my sister’s and my world, that began late yesterday morning, and will conclude as soon as I arrive back in Wenatchee, early this afternoon. For the first time since mom’s stroke, there is a gap in time, where neither of us is there. Both of us really struggled with the thought in the beginning, as we ordered and aligned our calendars to attempt to best balance time at home and to make certain one of us was always with mom. There was this small gap that we could not seem to reconcile, yet when speaking with both mom and her best friend, we were reassured that all would be well and the time would be covered. After having been with mom every single day since the stroke, I thought I would really struggle to head home for a few days. I was a bit torn to go, however, I knew she was in great hands with my sister, which allowed me to go in peace, and be present with my family, students and friends at home. There were still check-ins with my mom and sister, yet my purpose and focus has been on those who were present with me at home. God gave me the strength to do what I needed to do here, so that I would again feel prepared and eager, to return to Wenatchee this morning. Long before my alarm was to sound, I was wide awake. My entire being knows and is prepared to return to mom, excited to see her.

Yesterday, one of my sister’s and my dearest best friends since childhood, surprised mom and showed up to give mom a manicure. Such a sweet blessing, especially as she was like another sister in our home (and us in hers) throughout our entire growing up years. Mom continues to do the difficult work to prepare to transition home from the acute care facility. Much of her progress in the coming week or so will help us best determine what we need to do to best prepare her home to make the adjustment as smooth as possible. Please join us in continuing to pray for complete healing, and for wisdom to know each next step as it comes. God is faithful, and has clearly been present to make us strong and grant His peace, as only He can do.

 

Lord, grant us Your strength, img_2019-05-19_06-47-261927688208120696309.jpg

As only You do;

For in You, we’re strong,

Our hope is renewed.

You’re our place of peace,

Wherever we go;

As we look to You,

You help us to grow.

Show us Your way, Lord,

Point out each next step;

All thanks unto You,

In Your grace, we’re kept.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your loving kindness that grants us strength and peace, as only You can provide. Thank You that You supply all that we need in ways we might never anticipate. Forgive us for worry and doubt in spaces where we are uncertain or weary. Teach us to trust You more, as You are stronger than our struggles and You are our peace. Show us how to love those around us in a way that strengthens those who are struggling and brings peace to those in turmoil. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we listen to Your leading and rely on You to be our Source of strength and peace in all things. Amen.

 

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

 

Look to the Lord and His strength; seek His face always. – 1 Chronicles 16:11

Forward without Fear

But He said to them, “It is I; don’t be afraid.” Then they were willing to take Him into the boat, and immediately the boat reached the shore where they were heading. – (John 6:20-21, NIV)

But He said to them, “Don’t be afraid. It’s Me.” When He said this, they were glad to take Him into the boat. And then the boat reached the shore at the place they wanted to go. – (John 6:20-21, ERV)

Jesus (to the disciples): I am the One. Don’t be afraid. They welcomed Jesus aboard their small vessel; and when He stepped into the boat, the next thing they knew, they were ashore at their destination. – (John 6:20-21, VOICE)

 

Seriously? Why have I never caught the significance in this passage prior to this morning? Perhaps that is why this whole journey for me is called Revelations in Writing… I guess He shows me what I need to know, when I need to know it most.

Anyway, my giant aha this morning is that in the verses prior to the ones listed above, John (the Apostle), mentions that the disciples were three or four miles out from shore, in a storm. Previously, what had stood out to me, was that Jesus calmed the storm when He stepped into the boat; however, it goes far beyond the sudden stillness. Jesus miraculously moved them from three or four miles out in the middle of the tumultuous lake, to the specific spot on the shore that they had intended to go. For me, this is a tremendous reminder of God’s power to move us miraculously in His timing. Jesus was well aware of where the disciples were rowing on the lake; He knew where they were headed and where they needed to go. In the same way, Jesus knows exactly where my mom is heading next from her current acute care facility; He sees and is fully aware of the work she is doing to propel herself to the next step, and He is with her and able to move her however He sees best, according to His miraculous timing. What He does between now and her projected transition to home date is in His hands. He sees and He knows her needs. The same greeting of “Don’t be afraid”, resonates today, as He is with us, every step of the way.

Mom is gaining new strength and confidence every day, as the “awakening” of her muscles continues. She is still waiting, desperately for it to work its way down to her hand and foot, but her perseverance and commitment to the challenging work is inspiring and full of hope. May we ever rely on the same God who can meet us stranded at sea in the midst of a storm, and in an instant, move us to the safety of the shore.

 

No matter the space,quiet-hope-e1516279596955.jpg

You find yourself in;

Jesus is nearby,

He knows where and when.

The very same God,

Who calmed stormy seas;

Can take us ashore,

Bring peace within me.

God sees all our needs,

And hears ev’ry prayer;

He’s faithful always,

Present to show care.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You reveal Yourself to us in new ways through Your word, when we need it most. Thank You that when You walked on water in the midst of a storm, You not only calmed the storm, but You took the disciples from the middle of a space that was far from the safety of the shore, and instantly moved them to the place that they were headed. Forgive us for forgetting just how powerful You truly are. Teach us to trust beyond what our eyes can see and our hearts can understand. God, we are trusting and believing for the miraculous. Show us how to love and encourage those around us, so that we are ever aware of the miracles that are made new every morning that we rise and draw breath. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we walk by faith and not by sight, for You are a faithful and loving God forever. Amen.

 

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

 

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

He Hears

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)

 

This is yet another reason why I rise so early each day. In the morning, before the world wakes, I read and reflect on God’s promises and present my requests before Him. He listens to us whenever we pray, but for me, it sets my heart right for the day. Yesterday, His grace was abundant, as my humanity and frustration flared up a bit as I first walked into my classroom after being away for a few weeks. It was in a state of disarray, and at first, I felt quite disrespected. The still small voice reminded me that the kids can’t really see past the revolving door of strangers, and they act out accordingly, rather than think about where they are and the possible reason for my absence. After I had the tables scrubbed and garbage off of the floors and bookshelves, I was better able to regain perspective and hold hope and positive anticipation for the day. I found a few sweet notes left by students on my desk, and my demeanor softened further. My colleagues were extraordinarily kind and welcoming, and by the time the bell rang for kids to head to class, I felt prepared and eager to see my students. After greeting them at the door, listening to announcements and taking care of attendance, I filled them in as to why I had been away for the past few weeks. The somber quiet in the room showed me that they understood the weight of my circumstances, and many of them were imagining themselves in my shoes. They were wonderful the remainder of the morning; even my students who often struggle to focus. I know they love their moms deeply, and I think it hit home for them too. Unfortunately, halfway through my second class with my kiddos, I received a strange text from one of my sons. He was quite concerned about an odd symptom, that he feared was asthma related. We did a bit of problem-solving and back-and-forth, but by the time my lunch was nearly over, I knew I was going to need to take him in to Urgent Care. Thankfully, a guest teacher was available for the second half of the day, and I was able to leave for the afternoon. As I arrived on my sons’ campus, there were three ambulances in the bus loop. All I could do was pray, “Dear Jesus, please don’t let that be for my son!”

Thankfully, the ambulances were not for my boy, and I was able to pick him up and get him checked at Urgent Care without incident. The symptoms were wise to get checked, as he continues to near adulthood and must learn to listen to when things seem “off” with his health. Everything came back as clear, and they chalked it up to something muscular/skeletal. For me, it had become a blessing of some bonus time with my boy that I would not have otherwise had, so I teased him about the lengths he went to, to get solo time with me. 🙂

As for mom, she is continuing to do the difficult work. After a stroke, it is common for the large muscle groups to “wake up” first, and then the signals to continue to make their way down to the smaller. For mom, her glutes and hip flexor have been cooperating for several days, and it seems that her quad is not joining the party! In her right arm, her shoulder has begun to awaken, and her right tricep is also starting to receive signals. Each new movement is a huge celebration, as the ability to regain movement that was lost is a miracle in the making. Speaking to she and my sister on the phone last evening, I was able to hear more strength in her voice than I have heard before.

May we ever begin our days with the Lord, presenting our requests to He who is abundantly able to do all things.

 

Early each morning,

img_2019-05-17_04-31-267571152975944849692.jpg

Mom in OT, working on standing, balance, and utilizing her left hand for day-to-day tasks.

This is why I rise;

In silent stillness,

Hope is realized.

Placed on the altar,

Each hope and my needs;

The Lord is faithful,

His love far exceeds.

All grace for today,

Hope for tomorrow;

His peace in chaos,

Comfort in sorrow.

Ever seek the Lord,

He’s faithful to hear;

All that we ask Him,

As He remains near.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your overwhelming, never ending loving kindness and grace. Thank You that You hear our every prayer. Thank You that You never leave us nor forsake us, even in the moments when we question “why”. Forgive us for our fears and frustrations with the frailty of our humanity. Teach us to trust You more, and to see the blessings that You provide, even in the seemingly awful or inconvenient situations and circumstances that we find ourselves in. Show us how to love and bless those around us in ways that help them to see the good, even when circumstances are not. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love You and trust You, and place our prayers before You anew every morning. Amen.

 

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

 

Because He bends down to listen, I will pray as long as I have breath! – Psalm 116:2 

A Loving Warrior

For the Lord your God is living among you. He is a mighty Savior. He will take delight in you with gladness. With His love, He will calm all Your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs. – (Zephaniah 3:17, NLT)

The Lord your God is with you. He is like a powerful soldier. He will save you. He will show how much He loves you and how happy He is with you. He will laugh and be happy about you. – (Zephaniah 3:17, ERV)

Your God is present among you, a strong Warrior there to save you. Happy to have you back, He’ll calm you with His love and delight you with His songs. – (Zephaniah 3:17, MSG)

 

It amazes me how often the verse of the day on my Bible application, is exactly the reminder I need. This morning, as I am on the other side of the mountains from mom and prepare to head back to work for a few days before returning to her after having not set foot in my classroom in nearly three weeks, I am more than a little nervous. Fortunately, I am comfortable about mom because my sister is there with her, and am able to be present with my family at home. Yesterday morning, I actually woke myself up from dreaming, as I had been telling my students about what had happened, and why I had been gone so long. Clearly returning to my classes has weighed heavily on my heart, and the unknown can be a bit of a fearful space. That being said, the past several weeks of my life have been nothing but unknowns. When we first drove to Wenatchee to mom in the hospital, we did not know the shape that she would be in. We knew not what the road to recovery and restoration would have in store, nor the timeline that would be required. Even now, we do not fully know the answers, however, God does. Even in this, we have found joy. There has been laughter, and smiles, gladness and delight. Peace and calm have come when they did not seem possible, and really did not make sense.

Mom continues to work tirelessly in each therapy session, and that which used to be the most frustration for her, is now becoming an area where she is seeing the most rapid growth and gratification. Speech therapy works not only on word recognition, cognition, reading, memory, logic and the like, but they are also working on strengthening her vocal cords. One of the things the stroke affected was the power of mom’s voice. Typically outgoing with a boisterous and jovial voice, the stroke left her quite soft-spoken. Her vocal work in speech therapy is helping her find the power in her voice again. We share many giggles in the process.

In all of this, God is with us, a present, loving warrior, battling on our behalf, loving us through the process as He calms our fears. May we ever trust in the One who delights in us, and listen to the songs He sings over us with joy.

 

The Lord is present, Bold Grace

Ever He is near;

Loving warrior,

We’ve nothing to fear.

With our God for us,

He’ll hold us upright;

Fighting our battles,

All day and all night.

Choose trust in the One,

Whose love grants us peace;

And sings over us,

Delightful release.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for being both our loving Savior and mighty Warrior. Thank You that You delight in us and sing over us, granting us peace in our spaces of fear. Forgive us for our fear of the unknown and unexplainable; for You already know the outcome and have a plan and a purpose for all. Teach us to trust the truth of Your word, that Your plans are to prosper and not to harm, to give a hope and a future. Show us how to love those around us well, so that Your loving strength shines through us clearly. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we rise up and receive the covering You provide for us in Your strength and love. Amen.

 

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

 

The Lord gives strength to His people; the Lord blesses His people with peace. – Psalm 29:11

Fully Known

For You created my inmost being; You knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Your works are wonderful, I know that full well. – (Psalm 139:13-14, NIV)

You formed the way I think and feel. You put me together in my mother’s womb. I praise You because You made me in such a wonderful way. I know how amazing that ways! – (Psalm 139:13-14, ERV)

For You shaped me, inside and out. You knitted me together in my mother’s womb long before I took my first breath. I will offer You my grateful heart, for I am Your unique creation, filled with wonder and awe. You have approached even the smallest details with excellence; Your works are wonderful; I carry this knowledge deep within my soul. – (Psalm 139:13-14, VOICE)

 

Every single day, as I watch in wonder and awe, I recognize God’s mighty hand, as I see not only His restorative power as He heals and renews the portion of mom’s brain impacted by the stroke, but how His hand is clearly evident in everything. The very One who knit her together in her mother’s womb, knows what she needs most. He hand-selected physical therapists, speech therapists, occupational therapists, nurses, social workers, custodial staff, dietitians and doctors to be exactly the people to bless and encourage, love and inspire mom in the way that moves her most. She is in the place she is meant to be, and is thriving. Days are busy and fully scheduled, so visits from anyone other than the immediate family or very close family friends that have already been notified, are still just too much to add to her day. The process of healing from a stroke is a sort of great awakening, and the more focused she can be on that, the more quickly the connections are reestablished. Gradually, she is asking to make phone calls on speaker, so for those eager to hear, please stay patient. For those who have sent cards, thank you! She loves how I have hung the cards around the top perimeter of her room, reminding her that every card represents loved ones who are praying for her and cheering her on. Sometimes, at the end of the day, she sits in the middle of the room in her chair and slowly turns herself around, looking at each card above her, grinning ear to ear. At times her eyes get a bit glossy, simply because she is overwhelmed knowing how very loved and supported, she truly is. God created my mom to be a warrior and a friend to all. Both her kindness and drive are fueling this fight to regain what the stroke tried to take. Each day, we see new evidence and hope towards the restoration of her right side. God knows what mom needs, and He knows how to restore the connections that have been disrupted. May we ever seek our Savior, for He is our help and our hope forever.

 

The same mighty hands, img_2019-05-14_05-13-222901137501217552613.jpg

That formed us with care;

Are holding us now,

Our burdens, He’ll bear.

We need only come,

And sit and His feet;

To find safe harbor,

Love’s gracious retreat.

With arms open wide,

His love does embrace;

Spaces of unrest,

As He fills with grace.

God knows what we need,

And His way is best;

We need seek and trust,

It’s how we find rest.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You know every intimate detail about us and how our bodies work best. Thank You that You know our mom and how to best restore her to health and wholeness. Thank You that we are witnessing Your miraculous healing power every single day before our own eyes. Forgive us for our discouragement at the pace. Teach us to trust Your timing, rather than our own desires to have what we want when we want it. Show us how to love mom and those around us in a way that encourages, supports, and shines Your light so brightly, that there is no denying the difference You make in a person. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we live and love with hope and trust in You, the One who knows us better than we know ourselves. Amen.

 

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

 

Sing to the Lord, for He has done glorious things; let this be known to all the world. – Isaiah 12:5