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

 

Wise with Words

When you talk, you should always be kind and wise. Then you will be able to answer everyone in the way you should. – (Colossians 4:6, ERV)

Let your conversations be gracious and attractive so that you will have the right response for everyone. – (Colossians 4:6, NLT)

Make the most of every opportunity. Be gracious in your speech. The goal is to bring out the best in others in a conversation, not to put them down, nor cut them out. – (Colossians 4:6, MSG)

 

First, in a season of so many unknowns, it is difficult to speak with any sort of wisdom about what lies ahead. That being said, kindness and grace must be intentional and come from Christ, or answers will not be the right response in the moment. Before I expand further on what I am learning about this through this whole ordeal, I know the update that so many are looking for ought to come first.

Yesterday, was another good day for mom. Her day was full of various therapy sessions, each one with intention and purpose to propel her to strength and independence. She was at the table in the dining area picking at breakfast when we arrived and handed her the “smuggled in” Frappuccino. From there we met with the social worker and case coordinator (whom I affectionately refer to as Thor and Llama, based on the collections in their office), as they reviewed mom’s rights and care information with mom, my sister and me. Next up was the OT extraordinaire, Stephanie (I think, so many names), who took her in to help her begin to relearn the whole showering process. Cleanliness is next to godliness, and she felt refreshed to have soaked in that warm water, rather than hospital shower wipes. Her least favorite rebuilding session so far was speech therapy. It had little to do with the who, and everything to do with the what. Due to where the stroke occurred in mom’s brain, she is experiencing some apraxia. For those non-medical folks like myself, the dictionary defines apraxia as a disorder of the nervous system, characterized by an inability to perform purposeful movements, but not accompanied by a loss of sensory functions or paralysis. To make it even simpler, based on observations, there has been a disruption in the connection between message sending and receiving for some words to actions, words to objects, and most certainly, thoughts to movements on the right side of her body. Speech is the space where she is made glaringly aware of the disconnect. It is difficult and frustrating, and an area where extra grace will be needed, for sure. Already the speech therapist will adjust the schedule to meet with her in two 30-minute sessions, rather than one longer sitting. As soon as we returned downstairs from speech, Sophie, the recreational therapist came in. Who even knew that was a thing?! Anyway, super sweet, and her job is to help mom get back to doing the recreational things she enjoys, so I made sure she was aware that the bar was extraordinarily high. Sophie was quite pleased. Next up was OT again to work on vision and upper body, then lunch, followed by PT. It was not Penny yesterday, but Kristen was equally lovely and encouraging, and PT is by far, mom’s favorite therapy session of the day. In fact, she was trying to negotiate trading speech time for more PT time. 🙂 We were able to go outside again after dinner, and enjoyed a movie together before I headed back home for the night. A few phone calls were made on speaker, which was huge for mom, as it was a start to regaining a connection to those not standing in front of us.

Anyway, back to the verse of the day. This whole situation is showing me more and more how critically important it is to seek the Lord and His grace to speak to others. We have now had two people in the last week, tell us (in front of my mom!) stories of their own family members who had strokes and died a few months later. Seriously? Not the encouragement, wisdom, nor words seasoned in the love of Christ that this girl’s heart needed to hear, nor the protector in me wanted ANYWHERE near my mom. I was gracious, but it took much self-control to not scream that I am not their therapist, I am fighting for MY MOM, and no nay-sayers allowed. I am well aware of the risks and reality of our circumstances. What we need is love and support, encouragement and most of all, covering in prayer. It is a strange place when I don’t know someone who cares deeply for mom, is super emotional, and I am an empath who refuses to emote. Too much weight. Additionally, mom doesn’t need to see others feeling sorry for her. She needs cheerleaders, encouragers, shoulders who are ready to rise up and walk beside her. It is biblical. It is right. There is an army that has risen, and for you, we are forever grateful. For those waiting in the wings, feeling uncertain of what to do; keep praying – Your prayers are fueling this fight!

 

O Lord let my words, img_2019-05-08_06-29-487932028719116438520.jpg

Be faithful and true;

Seasoned with kindness,

Reflections of You.

By Your loving grace,

May all that I say;

Encourage, build up,

Each day, Lord, I pray.

God grant me wisdom,

In each circumstance;

May Your truth be known,

Your kingdom advanced.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are the watcher of our words. Thank You that what is intended to harm, You use for good. Thank You that You guard our hearts, even though we may have moments of frustration of anger at what we hear, we can trust that You are greater and have us in Your hands. Forgive us for those moments when anger arises and our thoughts are less than godly toward others for the things that they say. Forgive us too, for the times that we have done the same. Not one of us is perfect and we all have fallen short and said the wrong thing at the wrong time, even with the best of intentions. Teach us how to lean on You to love and extend grace with wisdom through our words. Show us how to love like You to all those around us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to speak with wisdom and grace, ever extending kindness and grace to all those around us. Amen.

 

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

 

Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. – Colossians 4:2

Discarding Doubt

I cried out, “I am slipping!” But Your unfailing love, O Lord, supported me. When doubts filled my mind, Your comfort gave me renewed hope and cheer. – (Psalm 94:19, NLT)

I was very worried and upset, but You comforted me and made me happy. – (Psalm 94:19, ERV)

When I was upset and beside myself, You calmed me down and cheered me up. – (Psalm 94:19, MSG)

 

When fear, doubt, anxiety or worry enter in, we tend to get a bit rattled. Incredibly, it takes little time in the presence of God, to find comfort and calm where chaos was attempting to reign. As we call on the Lord, His love brings comfort, and renews our hearts and minds with hope, which changes our countenance from doubtful to confident in Him. Some situations and circumstances are longer lasting, and require our ongoing pursuit of our Provider. It is in such times that He often surrounds us with dear ones to rally around us, that remind us daily that He is near, through the tangible presence of people who love and support, just as He does. May we always remember to cry out to the Lord of unfailing love when doubts fill our minds, and be ever available to walk beside those who are in a season of distress.

 

When worry and doubt, Discarding Doubt

Rise up and draw near;

Cry out to the Lord,

Our calmer of fears.

It is by His love,

That comfort is found;

Calm and hope renewed,

And minds are made sound.

Let’s ever cry out,

To God of all grace;

For He’s our comfort,

As we seek His face.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your unfailing love that supports us and comforts us when doubts fill our minds. Thank You that You renew our hope and cheer. Forgive us for wallowing in our worry rather than crying out to You for help and comfort. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would seek You the second that fears or doubts attempt to enter in. Show us how to love those around us in a way that brings comfort and peace in the midst of trials, and offers hope when little is felt or seen. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we cry out to You and trust in Your unfailing love, as You support, comfort and renew our hope with Your goodness and grace. Amen.

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

Listen… be wise, and keep your heart on the right path. – Proverbs 23:19

His Purpose Will Prevail

“For God has put it into their hearts to accomplish His purpose by agreeing to give the beast their power to rule, until God’s words are fulfilled.” – Revelation 17:17

holyspiritglass.jpg

holyspiritglass.jpg

Were it not for the footnotes, I fear I would still feel a little lost.  The following are the accompanying footnotes in my NIV Study Bible:

“No matter what happens, we must trust that God is still in charge, that God overrules all the plans and intrigues of the evil one, and that God’s plans will happen just as He says.  God even uses people opposed to Him as tools to execute His will.  Although He allows evil to permeate this present world, the new earth will never know sin.”

I find much comfort and reassurance in the reminder that God’s ultimate purpose and plans will be accomplished, regardless of the ruin and wreckage the existing evil may cause.  Sadly, we have seen so much of it with shootings and stabbings – both locally and globally.  However, we have also see a nation grieve the losses of a small northern town, and rally behind them with a monumental outpouring of love and support.  The goodness of God, supplied in the aftermath of inexplicable evil.

Yesterday, my mom, my boys and I, traveled a few hours south, to meet my sister and her boys at the very same mall that was the site of one of the recent shootings.  Upon arrival, I anticipated a sense of fear or anxiousness within me, yet I felt neither.  Instead, I felt joy in our happy reunion, and peace in the perfect protection provided by our Heavenly Father.  People were kind to each other, and I was delighted to be in such wonderful company.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your purpose will always prevail, regardless of our present perception.  Thank You that greater are You who is in us, than that which is in the world.  Teach us to trust You and Your perfect plans, and forgive us for allowing fear a foothold.  Lead us to listen well, so that we might love like You.  Let our light shine brightly before all in need of Your loving light and life.  Amen.

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