Endings and Beginnings

You are my refuge and my shield; I have put my hope in Your word. – (Psalm 119:114, NIV)

You are my refuge and my shield; Your word is my source of hope. – (Psalm 119:114, NLT)

You are my hiding place and my shield of protection; I hope in Your word. – (Psalm 119:114, VOICE)

 

Though David often had need for the Lord to be his literal hiding place, there were times too, that he needed his heart to be covered and “hidden” by God. For me, that is more often the space that I find myself in. When the cares of my circumstances become overwhelming or seem far too heavy to bear, it is in that space that I need seek Christ to cover my heart with His, as He is my place of refuge and a shield about me. He renews my hope with the truth of His word and reminds me anew of who He is. Today, I am being granted the gift of time with my boys as they prepare to leave for a ten-day cruise with the Sea Scouts. I had hoped and prayed for a way to get home to help them pack and prepare and send them off, and God has been faithful to provide faithful friends for such a time as this, so that I could do exactly that and know that mom is in great hands and comfortable in my brief absence.

Yesterday was an incredible day to end mom’s therapies in Washington. As she met with Nick, her physical therapist, he had me guide mom through the paces of navigating her front steps with her hemi-walker. Giving her verbal cues and only keeping a hand touching her low back to remind her that I was present if there was a need, she was able to go down the steps, walk some steps in the grass, turn around, and then return up the stairs. It was the very first time since her stroke that mom had set foot on grass, and after Nick left, she could not stop the tears from falling. For her, it was yet another mile-marker that reminded her that hope is tangible and that she is truly making progress. A few hours later, mom had her final session with Susan, her speech therapist. The beautiful thing about speech therapy is that there is much opportunity to visit, as word recall is largely called forth through conversation. Time flew by, and goodbyes were difficult. Lastly, a bit later in the afternoon, was Larissa, mom’s occupational therapist. Larissa went to great lengths to make certain that we had a solid plan in place for ongoing exercises and stretches for mom to be doing daily during the gap time between now and when therapies begin in Oregon. She has been innovative and kind, and has gone above and beyond to help research and facilitate mom’s needs. As she was leaving, she refused to call it goodbye, but rather a “see you later.” Each of mom’s therapists parted ways with mom with hugs and words of well-wishes, encouraging her and letting her know how much they had loved working with her and how much they would miss her. Mom has a way of winning folks over quickly, and once she has, she is not forgotten. My hope and prayer now, is that she will find the same to be true of her new therapists in Oregon, and that she will discover a new community with which to connect during her season in that space. God has always been her refuge, and I trust that He will continue to provide her hope and tangible evidence of His faithfulness.

 

My refuge and shield, 08011905054602014993045993958.jpg

Where all hope is found;

The God of all grace,

Your word’s always sound.

You grant me safety,

And You cover me;

My heart is hidden,

In You, lovingly.

Hidden from the things,

That make me choose fear;

Blind to Your presence,

As You’re ever near.

Help us ever seek,

The light of Your grace;

For goodness is found,

Following Your ways.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our safety and our refuge, and that we can ever find hope in Your word. Thank You that You are present to help and protect and provide. Forgive us for our fearfulness in the unsteady or the unknown. Teach us to trust You more. Show us how to love those around us in a way that offers peace and grace and safety. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust and hope in You forever. Amen.

 

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

 

I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God in whom I trust.” – Psalm 91:2

Helped in Him

Surely God is my help; the Lord is the one who sustains me. – (Psalm 54:4, NIV)

But see now! God comes to rescue me; the Lord is my valiant supporter. – (Psalm 54:4, VOICE)

But the Lord God has become my divine helper. He leans into my heart and lays His hands upon me! – (Psalm 54:4, TPT)

 

Truer words have never been spoken, as David is remarkable at capturing the sentiment of my own heart. Daily, I see and feel the evidence of God’s hands and heart at work in sustaining, supporting and helping me, as I navigate this long and challenging road. He grants joy in the journey, and strength when I feel as I have none. His peace comes when concerns and sorrow seek to sink my soul.

Yesterday began with an encouraging occupational therapy appointment for mom. With the entire appointment focused on moving her right arm through the use of her shoulder and scapula, we were extremely encouraged to see the gains mom is making, as she was able to do more than ever before. In the early afternoon, two of mom’s dearest friends stopped by for a visit. Their encouragement and loving support are tangible evidence of His help and His heart for her, and I know that mom is refreshed and renewed, each time she has enjoyed the company of her close friends. We had a bit of down time in the afternoon, which was perfect, as I needed to take care of some follow up calls with the medical insurance company for Oregon, and mom was eager to enjoy a movie and relax. God’s grace and favor was with us, as the leg work that my sister had initiated and research she had sent over, made navigating the finalization of mom’s switch to Oregon coverage, fairly simple. It is a tremendous blessing to work together as a team and be able to share information with one another so well. All went exactly as we needed it to, as it was essential that mom be enrolled in Oregon insurance as of August 1st, otherwise, she would not qualify to do so until September 1st. Again, by His grace, all went smoothly and each prayer extended regarding this portion of the transition, has been faithfully answered. After all of the insurance orchestrating, another sweet friend of mom’s came for a visit. We invited her to stay and join us for dinner, and to our delight, she did so. It was wonderful to watch the two ladies enjoy one another’s company, and it provided me the opportunity to make dinner and communicate with my family at home. Additionally, Sharon, (the same friend that has the pool) continued with her gift of stretching mom’s fingers and hands, and helped facilitate extra work that is so helpful for her right arm recovery. The evening closed well, and mom only woke once in the night. Today is her final day of therapies in Washington, as coverage here ends once Oregon coverage begins. She will meet with all three therapists today, so it will be quite busy on the home front. Each one has been a tremendous blessing, and goodbyes will be difficult. Please pray for mom as this will be one of the challenging portions of her transition.

May we ever seek the Lord to be our help, as He is our support and the One who sustains us in all things.

 

O Lord God, our Help, fb_img_15637309176878339909102890478638.jpg

You’re all that we need;

You strengthen, protect,

Our hopes You exceed.

Help our hearts to trust,

Each step of the way;

No matter what comes,

You’re our help and grace.

Show us green pastures,

Where strength’s realized;

Beautiful blessings,

As in You, we rise.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our help and our hope. Thank You that You strengthen and sustain us in all things and at all times. Thank You that You support us and remain ever near. Forgive us for our fearfulness and unrest when we are uncertain of what lies ahead. Teach us to trust You more, as You have already gone before us and prepared the way. Show us how to love those around us in a way that supports, encourages and extends the grace that is needed to supply strength and hope to keep moving forward. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You to rescue us and be our strength. Amen.

 

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

 

The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in Him, and He helps me. My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise Him. – Psalm 28:7

It is Well With My Soul

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. – (Hebrews 11:1, NIV)

Faith is what makes real the things we hope for. It is proof of what we cannot see. – (Hebrews 11:1, ERV)

Now faith brings our hopes into reality and becomes the foundation needed to acquire the things we long for. It is all the evidence required to prove what is still unseen. – (Hebrews 11:1, TPT)

 

Faith trusts that what we hope will actually come to pass. Both faith and hope are required to navigate this season of life, as I walk so closely beside mom, in these months following her stroke. We hope for a full recovery, and have faith that she will attain independence and regain what was lost. In the beginning, we did not see much at all; it was completely a matter of believing in that which we could not yet see. Now, as we are a few months into her rehabilitation and recovery, there are mile markers along the way that encourage hope and fortify our faith, though we still do not see fully, that which we are hoping for. God is good and He is faithful, as He shows us what we need, as it is needed. Progress seems painfully slow by human standards, but when we pause and reflect, it is actually miraculous that mom is able to walk the full length of her hallway twice, by herself with her walker, when nearly three months ago, she could not even move her right side at all. Furthermore, there is proof found in the hearts of those most closely impacted by mom and how she is navigating this ordeal. I know that for myself, my spouse, my sister, my children, and her dearest friends, we have all learned to love more deeply and hope more firmly in faith, as we have walked beside her and have witnessed in wonder, her perseverance and positivity, even when the road has seemed impossibly long and difficult to navigate. Faith in what we hope for is exactly what brings reality into existence.

The milestones overcome yesterday were not so much physical feats, as much as fears conquered for mom. She knows how much I desire to move and be outdoors, and for the last nearly three months, I have had little time to do either. I had mentioned that it might be nice if we all went down to the river walk together for a little stroll, but did not push nor place much weight on it, as I needed it to be her decision. Incredibly, she threw caution to the wind, and determined that we ought to go down by the river for a wander. My husband, children, mom and myself, walked (pushing mom in her chair) for over an hour! Mom had given me the gift of movement, and herself the realization that she was indeed safe to go beyond the barriers of a drive-thru or a small restaurant. Her smile, as evidenced in the photo below, shows that it fueled her heart as much as it did mine. My love of the outdoors was nurtured from an early age by her, and she too, needs to be out and moving. I think getting out was a wonderful reminder of just how much it benefits us both. After the riverfront, we came home and enjoyed visiting together until after lunch. Upon our return, we were greeted by my best friend, who had driven over to stay a night to celebrate my birthday too. As we said our goodbyes to Mark and the boys, the ladies and I began to visit a while. The second milestone of the day came when a dear friend called to see if she was up for a visit with another mutual friend, whom my mom had not seen in twenty-five plus years. At first, mom said, “no”. When I told her it would be in a few hours, she softened, and said okay. I was both pleased and amazed. The three ladies had a wonderful visit together, and I was able to visit with my bestie. After they had gone, the three of us had an amazing dinner and we taught Robin our favorite game. The day drew to a close, and each of us could confidently say, “It is well with my soul.”

 

Hope is the anchor, img_2019-07-15_08-15-465369529854207780981.jpg

That faith holds onto;

Trusting in the Lord,

That His word is true.

Hope for the unseen,

Below raging seas;

Calm in the chaos,

Peace He brings to me.

Faith to rest assured,

That He’s ever near;

Making our path plain,

As His love is clear.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the faith and hope that You grow in us when we turn to You in trust. Thank You that You will take faith as small as a mustard seed, and grow it into something great. Forgive us for allowing our fears and failures to stand in the way of Your goodness and grace. Teach us to trust You more, as You are able to do immeasurably more than we could ever hope or imagine. Show us how to love those around us in a way that encourages hope and strengthens faith. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust in that which we cannot see and have faith in that which we know we can hold hope forever. Amen.

 

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

 

For the word of the Lord is right and true; He is faithful in all He does. – Psalm 33:4

As He Loves

My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. – (John 15:12, NIV)

This is what I command you: Love each other as I have loved you. – (John 15:12, ERV)

So this is my command: Love each other deeply, as much as I have loved you. – (John 15:12, TPT)

 

I am beyond blessed to have so many people in my life who model this very sort of love toward me on a regular basis. This weekend, I have been reminded especially well, of just how much God loves me, as He has made His love tangible through the people whom He has intentionally placed in my life. Though this past year has not unfolded exactly as one might have hoped nor expected in the first year of marriage and as I roll into the start of my forty-eighth year of life, I can clearly see God’s hand in it, and have been held, strengthened, encouraged and carried, every step of the way. Many spouses would not be so fortunate to have the blessing of their husband of nine months, and their seventeen-year-old twins, to go and care for their mother after a stroke. Mine, however, said, “Go!” Each weekend, my husband has faithfully driven the three hours to come see me, and have made sure to speak with me and encourage me daily on the phone, (the boys join him as often as their schedules allow). This weekend was kicked off with my running bestie on Friday evening through Saturday morning, followed by my husband and boys on Saturday at midday, and as the fellas prepare to leave this afternoon, my best friend will arrive to stay a quick overnight as well. Not only am I blessed and encouraged by their visit and presence, but mom is too. It is only fitting, as she is the reason that I am here. As this week continues, Megan will return and I will head home to go on an escape for our first anniversary trip. God is good, and I have learned to love more deeply in the last three months than I ever knew possible prior.

As for mom and her progress yesterday, she accomplished another new milestone with her grandsons cheering her on! Mom walked the entire length of her hallway, twice! That is one-hundred and twenty feet, unassisted. I love watching the recognition of new progress on mom’s face each time she conquers new milestones. There is a visible flood of hope that fills not only her face, but her entire being. It is almost as if she could jump out of her chair and dance down the hallway with excitement. So much joy. Another accomplishment was tackled as we went out to dinner as a family. Being out in public is not her favorite, and I imagine the idea of sitting in a restaurant makes her feel especially vulnerable. Thankfully, the place we selected was fairly quiet, and we were at a table in a room where there were nearly no other patrons. We enjoyed our meal together and did not have any issues navigating the space. After dinner, we returned home and played several rounds of our family favorite game, Dirty Marbles. It is a sort of combination of Chinese Checkers and Sorry, and gets quite competitive. Each of us ended the day full, happy, and knowing how truly loved we are. I could not think of a better way to close out my 47th year. 😊

May we ever recognize how God loves us so well, and go forth and love as we are loved.

 

We are commanded, img_2019-07-14_07-32-527808805951401243208.jpg

To love as we’re loved;

Give as we’re given,

From the Lord above.

For all that God gives,

Within, multiplies;

So we might go forth,

And love with delight.

For each time we choose,

To love like the Lord;

We help others know,

How much they’re adored.

The Lord loves us all,

His most treasured ones;

May we trust in Him,

And love like His Son.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You only ask of us that which You already have shown us in countless ways. Thank You that Your love is tangible. Thank You for the treasured gift of family and friends whom You place in our lives to show us what Your love really means. Forgive us for the times that we have not loved according to Your plan. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would love without limits and allow Your light to burn brightly through us to the world. Show us how to love those around us, especially those who are difficult to love or do not know how to receive the love You have to offer. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love others in the same way that You selflessly and generously love each of us. 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

To Patiently Persevere

May the Lord direct your hearts into God’s love and Christ’s perseverance. – (2 Thessalonians 3:5, NIV)

We pray that the Lord will cause you to feel God’s love and remember Christ’s patient endurance. – (2 Thessalonians 3:5, ERV)

Now may the Lord move your hearts into a greater understanding of God’s pure love for you and into Christ’s steadfast endurance. – (2 Thessalonians 3:5, TPT)

 

Our ability to endure and patiently persevere is comprehensively connected to our understanding of God’s love and His heart for us. When we know and feel that He is for us, we are exceedingly more willing to press on and keep moving forward to the seemingly impossible. I have known and witnessed this to be true in my own life, and I am witnessing a glorious unfolding of such in both my mom, and in each member of our family/community that is impacted by this road that mom is currently navigating. Though not perfect, as we are all a work in progress, I see and feel the love of God being poured out beyond measure, and each of us rising up and patiently enduring with the strength that Christ provides. We are able to do immeasurably more than we could ever hope or imagine when we place our trust in God.

As for the specific updates on mom: Saturday, I neglected to mention that the new in-home care company made its debut. One of the physical therapists, Kari, came to the house and did an assessment to get the ball rolling. She was knowledgeable, professional, kind, thorough, and receptive to hear mom’s needs. Right away, she agreed to schedule mom for physical therapy three days per week, just as she had been doing before, (despite only having twice per week listed on her initial paperwork) and she made a point to be certain to let us know when each type of therapist should be contacting us for their assessment. Additionally, she said that she would follow up with Bellevue Healthcare, the company whom we ordered mom’s wheelchair through more than a month ago, to find out the status of her order. (Her loaner chair is not ideal) Based on what we observed through Kari, we are confident that God is continuing to hold mom and her care in His hands. Sunday, we enjoyed the morning with Mark before he had to head home to be with our boys. The remainder of the day was rather leisurely for mom and myself, as it consisted of movie-watching and laundry. After dinner, we were able to have another great visit with mom’s brother and his wife before bed, to close out our day well. Today will include physical therapy and a speech evaluation with the new speech therapist. May we continue to receive the love of the Lord as He directs our steps, and allow Him to be our strength to persevere in all things.

 

May the Love of God, img_2019-06-24_06-44-425253759792040482934.jpg

Direct heart and mind;

Our Source and our Strength,

In Whom hope aligns.

As we learn to trust,

Likewise persevere;

In Christ we’re equipped,

To rise without fear.

Far greater is He,

The Lord above all;

Than trials we face,

He won’t let us fall.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You show us Your love and grant us the strength to persevere. Thank You that You do not ask us to do anything that You are not also willing to strengthen and empower us to do. Forgive us for somehow thinking that we have to do things on our own. Teach us to trust You more, for You are our strength and the love that holds us up when we are unsure of how we will keep moving forward. Show us how to love those around us in a way that walks alongside them through the struggles, supports and strengthens, and encourages and lifts up. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we receive Your love and trust You to be our strength and hope forever. Amen.

 

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

 

And as for you, brothers and sisters, never tire of doing what is good. – 2 Thessalonians 3:13

Numbered Days and Wise Ways

Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom. – (Psalm 90:12, NIV) 

Teach us to number our days so we can have a wise heart. – (Psalm 90:12, CEB) 

Teach us to number our days so that we may truly live and achieve wisdom. – (Psalm 90:12, VOICE) 

 

When I think of numbering my days, it leads to a place of valuing each new day as it comes. It is an intentional act of the will to choose to be in the moment and appreciate the time that we are given. The older I get, the more I try to be intentional with my time. Last evening, though I wanted to join the ladies at church for the Sisterhood Christmas, I knew I needed a quiet evening with my husband and time to check in with my children, after a long week, and prior to my escape for a girls’ weekend with my best friend. A heart of wisdom is a gift that God grows within us over time, as we seek and invest time with Him. There is no “arrival”, but the more in tune we become with the Lord, the quicker we are to hear His voice and know His heart when navigating things that require wisdom and insight. May we value each day, savor each moment as it comes, so that we may gain a heart of wisdom through the loving grace of God. 

 

Lord, help us to know, Numbered Days and Wise Ways

How to count our days; 

To treasure each gift, 

That You send our way. 

Each day we draw breath, 

Is a gift from You; 

Lord, grant us wisdom, 

To love as You do. 

Grant us new insight, 

To walk in Your ways; 

So that we value, 

Each blessed new day. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the gift of this life that You have given. Thank You that as we seek You and ask You, You show us how to number our days and treasure the gift that we are granted in You. Thank You that You grow within us Your wisdom and grace, as we pursue a life lived with You. Forgive us for taking the time that we have been given for granted, or for neglecting the wisdom that You are set to establish within us. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would listen to Your leading and ever grow in Your wisdom and grace. Show us how to love those around us in a way that blesses each with value and grace, so that they too, may recognize the treasure of each day. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You praise for the gift of each of our days, and ever seek You to grow in wisdom. Amen.

 

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

 

The mouths of the righteous utter wisdom, and their tongues speak what is just. – Psalm 37:30

Divine Power Passed On

His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and goodness. – (2 Peter 1:3, NIV)

Jesus has the power of God. And His power has given us everything we need to live a life devoted to God. We have these things because we know Him. Jesus chose us by His glory and goodness. – (2 Peter 1:3, ERV)

 

Navigating this life according to God’s will and His ways is possible through the power that He provides within us, by His Spirit, when we call Christ our Savior and King. In knowing Jesus, we come to know all that is necessary to follow Him and do His will. When we are uncertain, He will provide answers to all who choose to seek Him. It is through the glory and goodness of God made evident through Jesus, that we discover all that is needed to live a life devoted to the Lord. May we ever seek our Savior to inform and instruct us in the ways in which we are meant to go.

 

The power of God,The Reason for Reverence

Is made known to us;

As we choose to call,

Upon Lord Jesus.

For all that we need,

To live life for Him;

Was given to us,

As we entered in.

Into a new love,

That shows us the way;

Made our dark hearts clean,

New light and life stay.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that by Your divine power, You give us everything we need to know You and to live a godly life. Thank You that You chose to give us these things by Your glory and goodness. Forgive us for not seeking Your wisdom or Your ways when trials come, and teach us to trust You more. Help us to understand the power that You alone provide, as You show us the way to walk out our faith. Show us how to love those around us well, so that they may come to understand the glory and goodness that is Yours. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be exalted O God, as we seek Your wisdom and power so that we walk out this life devoted to You. Amen.

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

Your righteousness reaches to the skies, O God, You who have done great things. Who, O God, is like You? – Psalm 71:19