Hands that Uphold

So do not fear, for I am with You; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. – (Isaiah 41:10, NIV)

Don’t worry – I am with you. Don’t be afraid – I am your God. I will make you strong and help you. I will support you with my right hand that brings victory. – (Isaiah 41:10, ERV)

So don’t be afraid. I am here, with you; don’t be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, help you. I am here with My right hand to make right and to hold you up. – (Isaiah 41:10, VOICE)

 

As my mom, sister and I have navigated the last three months, we have had to do so with no previous experience nor understanding, but rather it has been a matter of having to work together and trust big. God has been with us and provided the strength that we have needed to take each new step along the way. As we all are preparing for the next leg of mom’s journey, I know there is a natural inclination to worry and perhaps be a bit fearful. This morning’s verse is quite timely, as last evening when I spoke to my mom and sister, I could hear the underlying anxiousness in their voices as we spoke of details of mom’s move to Megan’s. I too, share their fears, especially being away right now. However, I have to look at the journey thus far, and recognize how God has held us up and provided the perfect people and plan each step of the way. If God has been with us and for us since day one, why would that change now? His perfect love casts out fear and grants us the strength to do all that is required. May we look to Him and set aside fear, trusting that He will be our strength and guide, every step of our journey.

Yesterday, mom had an appointment at the anti-coagulation clinic and speech therapy. Her appointment at the clinic was great, as it was only twenty minutes and her specialist is fantastic. Speech was shorter than usual in the afternoon, but the work accomplished was equal to that of a regular session. On the home front for me, I was able to run in the morning, get to a hair appointment mid-day, and then meet with our tax guy to finally take care of some paperwork that was long needing my attention. We were able to go to dinner as a family, and then return home to pack, relax and get to bed early, as my Viking and I are off to the airport in a few short hours for our anniversary adventure.

May we all place our concerns in the hands that are great enough to hold them, and trust Him to be our strength as we enjoy the blessings of each brand-new day.

 

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We need not choose fear;

Do not be dismayed,

For the Lord is near.

He will be our strength,

In our time of need;

Uphold and guide us,

In love, He will lead.

So, trust in the Lord,

Always He is near;

To lead us in love,

And calm all our fear.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You love us and lead us and never leave us on our own. Thank You that You are always near. Thank You that we can always trust our lives in Your hands. Forgive us for our fears and worries when the weight of the world seems to close in. Teach us to places all in Your hands, as You are ready to carry the weight and strengthen our hearts so that we are able to do abundantly more than we ever thought possible. Show us how to love those around us in a way that strengthens and supports where fear and worry wants to overwhelm. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust all in Your mighty hands. Amen.

 

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

 

But I trust in Your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in Your salvation. – Psalm 13:5

 

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.”

 

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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

Take Heart

“I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world!” – (John 16:33, NIV)

“I have told you these things so that you can have peace in Me. In this world you will have troubles. But be brave! I have defeated the world!” – (John 16:33, ERV)

“And everything I’ve taught you is so that the peace which is in Me will be in you and will give you great confidence as you rest in Me. For in this unbelieving world you will experience trouble and sorrows, but you must be courageous, for I have conquered the world!” – (John 16:33, TPT)

 

There is something extra encouraging about words that were specifically spoken by Jesus that build up the heart. I’m not sure if it is the weird weather, the isolation, my inability to get out and run, or the long stretches of time away from home, but this morning it was seeming to wear on me a little bit more than before. Feelings are temporary, and recognition is half the battle, but it is frustrating to discover the troubles of this world are beginning to get the best of me. Thankfully, once it is identified, it is short-lived. God is faithful to meet me however I come each morning, and show Himself faithful and kind. Not only was I reminded of where my peace and strength come from, but I received tangible evidence of His grace and love for me, as I received a sweet and timely text from my husband. Sometimes, all it takes is a momentary reminder that we are known and seen and loved. Other times, it is good to identify that this will not be a trouble-free life, yet we can have peace through the One who has overcome all.

I know it is not easy for my mom. A woman who was completely independent and always active, lost her independence overnight, as well as her ability to be active at the level she has known and enjoyed for as long as I can remember. Incredibly, she is walking this long road with courage and grace; trusting in He who is faithful. Each day, she greets the day with positivity and strength, ready to invest the energy required to continue on this road to recovery and healing. Yesterday was a slower day, with speech therapy as her only appointment. Susan is wonderful, and meets mom with kindness and grace; challenging her, yet interacting as would a friend.  Beyond that, it was a typical day of stretching, exercises, resting, meal preparation, tasks around the house, and movie watching. I imagine that sometimes, simply continuing the course is exactly what is needed to perpetuate the positive trend for recovery. Last night had a few wake-ups, but we also did not have as much social interaction as the days prior. She did have a good solid stretch of sleep from one to five, so I will gladly accept four-hour stretches where we get them. Today, mom’s only appointment is physical therapy this morning. It will be interesting to see how the remainder of the week unfolds, as there are no appointments for Thursday or Friday, due to the holiday.

May we all take heart when troubles come, for He who is in us, has already overcome all. Peace is ours for the taking, we simply must seek the Source.

 

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Magic guarantees;

That all will be well,

Sweet and trouble-free.

Yet we have a hope,

An anchor secure;

God’s presence always,

Promise to be near.

God grants us the strength,

And all that we need;

To rise and press on,

Follow where He leads.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are loving and kind and full of grace. Thank You that You are our peace and our comfort through the storms. Thank You that though there are no promises that life will be easy, there is a promise that You will be present. Forgive us for thinking that we somehow need to navigate on our own. Teach us to trust You more, as You are our strength and our safe harbor where we can rest and find peace. Show us how to love those around us in a way that offers strength and hope, peace and rest where it is difficult to find. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we ever lean into You to be our peace and our strength. 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

Faithfulness to the Skies

Your love, Lord, reaches to the heavens, Your faithfulness to the skies. – (Psalm 36:5, NIV)

Lord, your faithful love reaches to the sky. Your faithfulness is as high as the clouds. – (Psalm 36:5, ERV)

Your steadfast love, O Lord, is as great as all the heavens. Your faithfulness reaches beyond the clouds. – (Psalm 36:5, TLB)

 

I love that every day is new, and each morning is a fresh reminder of God’s goodness and faithfulness and love. It is particularly clear from my vantage point, as the view from mom’s kitchen table is spectacular. Each day as I rise before the sun, God’s handiwork greets me as He paints the sky new every morning. No two sunrises look the same. The cloud patterns and the colors shift and change, mix and blend, reminding me that He is creative and innovative, able to take on new challenges in new ways.

Last night, mom only woke one time during the night! For those who have been following our story daily, this means that both of us slept more last night, than we like did over the previous two nights combined. (Thank you for those of you who have been praying!) Furthermore, yesterday was full of things to be celebrated! During physical therapy in the morning, mom walked nearly half the length of her hallway with her walker, unassisted! Once she grew a bit fatigued, she rested for a moment or two, and then the physical therapist, Nick, had me assist/spot mom with her walking. It was exhilarating to participate directly with her, and gain the nod of approval to at last work with mom on our own on walking. Because we now have clearance to practice walking, we gave it another go in the evening as we were winding down. Mom is overjoyed and completely motivated, as she is ready to demonstrate her new-found confidence for my husband and boys when they arrive later this morning. The appointment with mom’s physiatrist went well, as she is the one who oversees and coordinates all post-stroke care. She was pleased with mom’s progress thus far, and will see her again in early August. We had a wonderful visit with mom’s next-door neighbors before dinner, and made the most of our evening, prior to calling it a night fairly early, after our previous two nights of not nearly enough sleep. Mom and I shared an early breakfast to watch the sunrise (photo below), and appreciated God’s handiwork together. Each of us sat in awe, as we gazed upon His glory in gratitude. May we ever remember the faithfulness and goodness of God, and just how far-reaching His love is for us all.

 

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Beyond what we see;

His grace unending,

He loves tangibly.

Be it a sunrise,

At the break of day;

Or loving guidance,

As He points the way.

No matter what comes,

The Lord, He is near;

He will remain close,

Help us persevere.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are good and kind and loving. Thank You that Your faithfulness never ends. Thank You for sleep and restoration when we need it the most. Forgive us for our frustration when we cannot do anything to control our circumstances. Continue to teach us to hand all to You. Show us how to love well all those around us, as You empower us to walk faithfully and lovingly alongside them, encouraging and building up as they move forward. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You praise for Your steadfast love and faithfulness that reaches to the heavens and is painted across the sky each morning. Amen.

 

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

 

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

Remember to Give Thanks

Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever. – (1 Chronicles 16:34, NIV)

Give thanks to the Lord because He is good. His faithful love will last forever. – (1 Chronicles 16:34, ERV)

Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love and His kindness go on forever. – (1 Chronicles 16:34, TLB)

 

On mornings like this, I need to above all, remember to give thanks. We always have a choice – to fix our eyes on the goodness of God, or on the difficulty of our circumstances. Sometimes, in the moment, particularly on the fourth wake up of the night, it is easy to forget His goodness, and simply get frustrated with the sleep that I am not gaining. However, with the dawning of a new day, and time in the word, perspective is regained and I am again reminded of His goodness and love. Today is another day that I am blessed to have with my mom. Had things gone differently, I would not. Additionally, mom is continuing to make gains in this whole healing process. Yesterday, as she worked with her new physical therapist, Nick, she actually completed 15-20 of the steps with her walker, unassisted; whereas before, she always needed help bringing her right leg through. Right now, she is able to complete three or four steps without help before her hip flexor becomes fatigued, and she needs a little assistance bringing her leg the rest of the way through. Nick had mom rest a moment, reset, and begin again, so that she would truly know and feel that she was indeed walking all by herself. It was so encouraging to watch!

In the morning yesterday, mom was struggling a bit with frustration, as she was discouraged about how terribly slow the progress is with her right arm. I sent a text to one of her dearest friends in town, and her response was that she was just about to message me to inquire about a visit. God knew she needed the boost. Another positive that I was able to pass on to mom, was that my husband had dreamed about an interaction with mom the night before, and in his dream, they were joking around about something (probably banter about our favorite family game) and she reached up and over with her right arm at him. It had been very vivid and clear, and I shared it with her, receiving it as a glimpse of good that is yet to come. Regardless of our circumstances, God is good, and His kindness goes on forever. May we give Him thanks and trust in Him, rather than on the temporary that is seen.

 

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In each circumstance;

Our reason to rise,

And strength to advance.

In everything,

The Lord shall be near;

With kindness and grace,

Help us persevere.

Trial and triumph,

He’s present in all;

Trustworthy always,

He’ll not let us fall.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are good and that Your love and kindness endure forever. Thank You that Your character and faithfulness are not dependent on our circumstances. Forgive us for forgetting how very faithful You are. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would rest in Your presence and gain strength from Your goodness and grace. Show us how to love those around us through both trials and triumphs, as goodness and grace are always needed. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You thanks for who You are and how You love both now and forevermore. Amen.

 

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

 

Praise the Lord. Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever. – Psalm 106:1

 

 

Rooted in Hope

Guide me in Your truth and teach me, for You are God my Savior; and my hope is in You all day long. – (Psalm 25:5, NIV)

Guide me and teach me Your truths. You are my God, my Savior. You are the One I have been waiting for. – (Psalm 25:5, ERV)

Lead me; teach me; for You are the God who gives me salvation. I have no hope except in You. – (Psalm 25:5, TLB)

 

This is a critical reminder when we walk through difficult seasons. We must be led and guided by truth; rooted in our hope in God, who is our salvation. Circumstances change, situations ebb and flow, and emotions are not trustworthy. Even the people whom God gifts to us, are not who we are to place our trust upon. Yes, we can appreciate their presence as they walk beside us, but ultimately, we must rely on God. Today, as I prepare to head home for six days, the longest stretch I have been home in more than six weeks, I have to allow God to lead and teach me, and place my hope and trust in Him. When I arrive home, I will have one evening to spend with my husband before he leaves for a week-long motorcycle trip with some of his best buddies. The trip has been planned for six months, and it is important that he goes. For me, it is a bit heartbreaking to not have time with my husband, yet I have to recognize that my boys need their mom, and the time that we will have, just the three of us, is likely a much-needed gift. Also, I will finally have time with my best friend, who will be home the entire time. God knows what we need, and I trust that He will use the time the way that is best. I will be able to teach the final three days of the school year, and worship together with my church family on Sunday. Sadly, my running bestie will be in Belize, leading a team of nurses as she orchestrates a blood drive and various village outreaches, yet again, I know that there is a plan waiting for me.

As for mom, yesterday was a bit of a recovery day. In the morning, she was greeted by a quick visit from her best friend. We had quite a leisurely few hours, prior to her first in-home visit by the nurse, so it was a mellow morning. The doctor called to let us know the findings from the heart monitor. Thankfully, the results removed the mystery surrounding mom’s stroke, and provide clearer guidance as to how to actively prevent any further such occurrences. Answers aid in annihilating fear, and help us find footing to forge forward in faith. Another dear friend of mom’s stopped by for a quick visit and hug after lunch, and by the time she left, mom was ready for a solid siesta. Physical therapy took on a whole different look in the late afternoon, as mom is a morning person, and that time of day was not ideal. Victor was excellent at encouraging and adapting, and adjusted the exercises she worked on to meet her where she was at, and she finished the session feeling phenomenally successful. Her strength in her right leg is increasing daily, and it is incredible to watch her recognize what she is capable of doing.

May God guide us in His truth and teach us His ways; as He is our hope forever.

 

Grow where you’re planted,

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Flowers from mom’s yard. Hope planted in faith… ❤

Find hope each new day;

For God’s word is truth,

And He lights the way.

We must trust in Him,

And not what we see;

Now is a moment,

Not eternity.

Trust that there is good,

Though it seems unclear;

For God is greater,

His presence is near.

God’s ways are higher,

Than what we might think;

He’s our safe harbor,

When we fear we’ll sink.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You guide us and teach us, and that You are our Savior and our hope. Thank You that hope is not dependent on what we see nor feel, but rather on who You are. Forgive us for losing sight of the truth. Teach us to trust You more, especially when we are hoping in things other than You. Show us how to love those around us in a way that shares hope in spaces where it is absent. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to guide us and teach us, trusting You to be our hope alone. Amen.

 

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

 

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight. – Proverbs 3:6

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,

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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

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

Hope When it Feels Like Hell

Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. – (Romans 12:12, NIV)

Be happy because of the hope you have. Be patient when you have troubles. Pray all the time. – (Romans 12:12, ERV)

Do not forget to rejoice, for hope is always just around the corner. Hold up through the hard times that are coming, and devote yourselves to prayer. – (Romans 12:12, VOICE)

 

This morning, this is the very reminder that I needed the most. I know there are stages of grief, particularly when something so traumatic takes place with a parent, especially a parent who has filled the role of both mother and father, coach and teacher, friend and confidant, leader, example, pastor, sole grandparent to my children, and so much more. Anger seems to be the stage in this process that both my sister and I are in. Between the frustration of the questions of why her, the outrage at the details and the seeming disclosure violations, the paperwork battle to place her near family (which is far less costly than the dang hospital), to simply being just plain mad that it happened to OUR mom. We would never wish this on another, but why her? I know no one has the answers, and quite frankly, I would probably throat punch anyone who tried to give me answers. In fact, I woke myself in the night saying “throat punch”, as my left arm shot forward with a balled fist. Thankfully, I was facing the opposite direction of my Viking, and he was soundly sleeping. Finding joy in the hope is particularly difficult when we feel like we are on hold. Patience in static spots is not a strength of mom’s, Meg’s nor mine. Prayer, we can do, as I know so many of you are too. Perhaps that is the point of this post. Please pray for joy in hope, patience in all of this, and ever be faithful to continue to contend for mom’s complete and total healing.

 

Find joy in the hope, 05031906408349317511433862260.jpg

Of what lies ahead;

For fear’s a liar,

No matter what’s said.

God is far greater,

Than all that we face;

We must be patient,

It’s His, not our pace.

In everything,

Choose seek God and pray;

no matter what’s seen,

God will make a way.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are bigger than our frustration and anger and grief. Thank You that You hold us in Your hands and ride out our rage, waiting lovingly to embrace us with Your joy, peace and comfort. Forgive us for allowing fear a foothold based on our limited understanding. Teach us to trust You more. Show us how to find joy in the hope of all that lies ahead, patience in the here and now, and to pray without ceasing. Lead us to love well, all those around us, so that they may recognize Your heart for them through us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, even in this, for we know that You alone can bring beauty from ashes and hope from despair. Amen.

 

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

 

To all who mourn in Israel He will give: beauty for ashes; joy instead of mourning; praise instead of heaviness. For God has planted them like strong and graceful oaks for His own glory. – Isaiah 61:3