Keep Singing

O my Strength, to You I sing praises, for You, O God, are my refuge, the God who shows me unfailing love. – (Psalm 59:17, NLT)

I will sing praises to You, my source of strength. You, God, are my place of safety. You are the God who loves me! – (Psalm 59:17, ERV)

I will lift my voice to sing Your praise, O my Strength – for You came to my defense. O God, You have shown me Your loving mercy. – (Psalm 59:17, VOICE)

 

As I prepare to head home for a quick visit until Sunday morning, I have much to be grateful for as I go. God is doing a new thing in mom, as He is granting her courage and desire to actually get out of the house and enjoy a change of scenery. For me, this has been a huge answer to prayer, especially with no appointments scheduled over the long holiday weekend. Mom desperately needed something to break up the long hours, and I needed a change of scenery and an escape. Wednesday, she willingly obliged to go into town for a quick coffee run, and consequently, we picked up lunch at a favorite take out place. Yesterday, what began as another quick coffee run, turned into a glorious adventure in scenic driving, as mom directed me on amazing back roads that I had never been. We both were all smiles as we soaked in the sun and the scenery along the river, nestled between the surrounding mountains. For a few hours, life did not seem like we were in this post-stroke limbo space, but rather we were simply out on an adventure together. Dare I say, all felt gloriously normal. The outing challenged her enough to leave her needing a rest, and helped break up the day so that what could have been a long and dull day, actually flowed and was an enjoyable and relaxing one. Sleep last night was decent, and the sunrise this morning was an exceptional orange glow. As I drive home late this afternoon, I know that my way will be accompanied by a loud sing-along to my favorite songs of praise. God is loving and merciful, and He provides all that we need, just as it is needed. May we ever praise Him for His goodness and grace.

 

Forever faithful, img_2019-07-05_06-48-18148229039848643710.jpg

God of strength and grace;

Our space of refuge,

For all of our days.

You show us Your love,

As it never fails;

Kindness unending,

Your goodness prevails.

May we ever sing,

Give unending praise;

To You, our Savior,

Hope of all our days.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are goodness and kindness, strength and love. Thank You that You are our refuge forever. Thank You that You teach our hearts to sing, so that we may ever praise You. Forgive us for forgetting the tune that You have planted in our heart when things feel too heavy. Teach us to trust You more, so that we will place all in Your hands and praise You through life’s storms. Show us how to love those around us in a way that helps lighten the load that others are bearing, so that they too, may find the song within. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You, our strength and refuge, for Your unfailing love. Amen.

 

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

 

Sing to Him; yes, sing His praises. Tell everyone about His wonderful deeds. – 1 Chronicles 16:9

Through the Valleys and Highest Peaks

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

Beauty from ashes, 0515190557_hdr3238003239624041706.jpg

Great hope from despair;

Our most holy God,

Hears every prayer.

He’ll never forsake,

Nor leave us alone;

He sees all our needs,

And we each are known.

Trust that He is good,

His plan, purposeful;

Beauty from ashes,

A life meaningful.

 

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

 

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

 

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

Coming to a Crossroad

Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and He will establish your plans. – (Proverbs 16:3, NIV)

Turn to the Lord for help in everything you do, and you will be successful. – (Proverbs 16:3, ERV)

Whatever you do, do it as service to Him, and He will guarantee your success. – (Proverbs 16:3, VOICE)

 

Yesterday, we came to a crossroad. Mom’s insurance company was adamantly denying her move to Good Sam’s Acute Rehab Facility in Puyallup. After have spent the previous two days attempting two appeals, we reached a point of recognizing that time was far more important than location. Additionally, we had been praying that God would open the doors we were meant to walk through, and close the ones we were not. Though Good Sam welcomed her, insurance slammed that door shut. At first, it did not make sense. Anger gave way to acceptance. Mom has lived in Wenatchee for nearly twenty years. She has an incredible community here. She is loved deeply, and her home will accommodate those I am comfortable sharing space with from home, who have known her since I was very young. As it turns out, between FMLA and twenty-two years of teaching in the same school, I have plenty of leave to be in Wenatchee as long as I am needed. Megan too, has FMLA benefits, flexibility of working remotely, and a dear friend who can aid in ease of travel on occasion. We are surrounded and loved in the Wenatchee Valley. No, this is not what we thought things would look like, but then again, this whole nightmare is nothing we ever envisioned for our mom; EVER. Just as we are grieving, so too is she. Mom is fully aware of her current circumstances, and she recognizes the road ahead. It is discouraging when people place expectations on her to “get to her old self in no time”, as no one knows what the future holds. By faith, her body will be fully restored and she will regain EVERYTHING. However, we do not know when. She may not be independent for quite a while, and consequently, may not be ready for visitors for just as long. Yesterday was the first day that she expressed any interest in seeing her phone. I will take it to her and all of her cards. The outpouring of cards, texts and calls has been incredible, as we know her family, friends and church community love her very well.

The what next is that she will be moved on Monday to an acute care facility in Wenatchee. Right now, we are not wanting people to take the liberty to just “drop by” to say “hi” and see her, even though that was normal for her before. Acute care will be extremely intense, and she will likely be exhausted and needing far more rest than she has ever needed before. An important part of healing from a stroke is sleep, so we do not want anything to hinder the process. We do not yet know what it all will look like, nor how she will feel, until we arrive and go through the paces. As she settles in, I will continue to update and let people know. I imagine there will come a point where some sort of visiting schedule could be established. However, that is a stay tuned situation. In the meantime, please, please, continue to pray. Your prayers are felt and we do have light-hearted moments in the midst of the difficult. We smile and laugh, talk and remember, share and listen, and pray. God is good, even when life is hard. May we turn to Him to lead us in all things.

 

When a door opens, 0503192119a6743790846154114741.jpg

Then slams in your face;

Do not stop running,

Rather adjust pace.

Keep moving forward,

Ever seeking Him;

He’ll show the right way,

And usher us in.

Give all to the Lord,

Allow Him to lead;

For He knows the way,

And will meet each need.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we commit our plans to You, You lead us in the way that we are meant to go, even if it is not the way that we thought it was supposed to be. Thank You that You already know the outcome and what is the very best place for our mom to thrive and heal. Forgive us for our fears and frustrations as we navigate all of this uncharted territory. Teach us to trust You more, as trust is all that we have. Show us Your ongoing miracles through the healing of our mom, as we are already seeing small steps of Your faithful forward momentum. Show us how to love and encourage mom and all who help care for and work with her. May those who do not know You yet, see Jesus through us and come into a lasting relationship with You. Be our light and strength and love that leads us every minute of every day, Lord God, so that You may be glorified. 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

You Make Me Strong

I love You, Lord; You are my strength. – (Psalm 18:1, NLT)

I love You, God – You make me strong. – (Psalm 18:1, MSG)

I love You, Eternal One, Source of my power. – (Psalm 18:1, VOICE)

 

This morning, waking up was a bit painful. I did not get nearly enough sleep, and my mind and body were challenged in new ways last evening that left me exhausted beyond what a normal workout would. Though I am weary, I am grateful, for I know where my strength will come from, despite the lack I am currently feeling. Just as we are able to dig deep and ask far more of our bodies than we realize as we take on new physical challenges, we can do the same in life as we press into Jesus, and seek His strength to do all that He calls us to do. May we turn in trust to our loving Lord, and seek the One who is our Source of strength each time we call on Him.

 

The Lord is our strength, You Make Me Strong

Power when we’re weak;

In love, He listens,

To all those who seek.

Let’s trust in the One,

Who always will hear;

Us calling for help,

By grace, He draws near.

Seek the Lord’s comfort,

Trust strength by His grace;

Love without limits,

In faith, run your race.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are approachable and present as we seek You. Thank You that we can love and be loved by You. Thank You that You are our strength in weakness, and that You equip us with power for the purposes to which we are called. Forgive us for not turning in trust to You when we feel weak. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would seek You as our Source of power and strength to persevere on the path to which we have been called. Show us how to love and encourage those around us, so that they too, may find their strength in You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love You and praise You for making us strong, so that we are able run the race to which we have been called to run. Amen.

 

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

 

May God Almighty grant you mercy. – Genesis 43:14

Let Our Love Proclaim

Give thanks to the Lord and proclaim His greatness. Let the whole world know what He has done. – (1 Chronicles 16:8, NLT)

Give thanks to the Lord and call out to Him! Tell the nations what He has done! – (1 Chronicles 16:8, ERV)

Thank God! Call out His Name! Tell the whole world who He is and what He’s done! – (1 Chronicles 16:8, MSG)

 

To give God thanks and praise is a natural and normal occurrence throughout my days. However, making proclamations verbally is not a normal part of my mode of operation. I tend to be on the quieter side, and go about my day doing what needs to be done. I give credit where credit is due, yet I do not make big announcements nor proclamations about anything. Daily, I write about His faithfulness in my life, and hope that His love is made evident through my actions. This is a verse that I wonder about, as I know we are each designed with different gifts and strengths. Perhaps it is in the quiet conversations between friends, when we reflect on the reason for the season, that our opportunities to share of His greatness and faithfulness in our own lives are the places that we are meant to speak of what He has done. May we ever give thanks to the Lord and call on His Name, and may we share of His goodness and grace when given the opportunity in word or deed.

 

Gracious Giving

All thanks be to God,

He’s faithful and good;

Choose call on His Name,

He’s hope understood.

In word and in deed,

Speak of what He’s done;

Proclaim His greatness,

The Most Holy One.

Oh Lord, let our lives,

Speak of what is true;

Of Your love and grace,

And faithfulness too.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are great and faithful and that we can call on Your Name. Thank You for all that You have done. Forgive us for not sharing of Your faithfulness with those around us, as they too, need to know of Your goodness and grace. Teach us to trust You more, so that we will depend on You for the words and ways to share Your goodness with those around us. Show us how to love others in a way that clearly communicates Your heart for people. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You thanks and praise for all of our days, and share of Your goodness and grace with those around us. Amen.

 

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

 

Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad. – 1 Chronicles 16:31

Staving Off Soreness

Our bodies get sore when we either use muscles we have not used consistently in a while, or utilize them in a new and more challenging way. The resulting soreness reminds us that the muscles exist, and that we ought to perhaps pay more regular attention to the muscle groups that are groaning. Interestingly, our spiritual lives work much the same way. If we rarely exercise our faith, we may find ourselves fearful when setting foot into the new. In prayer, a loss for words is not uncommon, as the posture and position only becomes normal and natural as it is done regularly.

 

Late in the afternoon the twelve disciples came to Him and said, “Send the crowds away to the nearby villages and farms, so they can find food and lodging for the night. There is nothing to eat here in this remote place.”

But Jesus said, “You feed them.”

“But we have only five loaves of bread and two fish,” they answered. “Or are you expecting us to go and buy enough food for this whole crowd?” – (Luke 9:12-13, NLT)

 

I so appreciate this story of Jesus and the disciples, as He was training the faith muscles of the disciples for later days. Sometimes, the disciples would get it right and find faith in the things that they were being asked to do, yet other times, they would require specific instruction and modeling (true training) in their faith, to learn the lessons that they would need to go forth and do the great things that God was calling them to do down the road. Just as our bodies require consistent physical training to keep from becoming too sore, so too our spirits need ongoing faith-building to be ready to do whatever God asks us to do. The sort of training that we are given for our faith comes through time in the word, worship, fellowship, and prayer. May we be wise with our time and choose to invest well, so that we may be ready for whatever God calls us to do.

 

When muscles are sore,Staving Off Soreness

And we’re out of shape;

We’re meant to persist,

That’s how strength grows great.

Whether in our faith,

Prayer or being;

It requires of us,

Often repeating.

There’s no easy way,

To instantly grow;

Make process habit,

And strength will soon show.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You use everyday experiences to show us the truth of Your word. Thank You that though physical training is good and important to keep our bodies strong and at the ready, our spiritual training is far more significant as it lasts into eternity. Forgive us for the places where we lack consistency, be it our prayer life, time in the word, or in our faith when facing obstacles that seem larger than life. Teach us to seek You daily for our spiritual training, so that we may be fit for all that You are calling us to do. Show us how to love well, all those whom You place on our path. Be glorified O God, as we seek to be fit to serve You well. Amen.

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

Shout aloud and sing for joy. – Isaiah 12:6

No Sweeter Season

When my eyes fluttered gently open to the light that still remained on from last night, I felt something I haven’t felt in quite a while – rested. I realized that I had laid down for a moment, still in my workout attire, just to warm up under the weight and warmth of my blankets. Fast forward eight hours and twenty-five minutes later, and the arrival of morning had come…

Many friends have asked what I intend to do with my summer, as yesterday was the final day of the school year. (I am a teacher.) I know there are some that have well-laid plans, and schedule each day with an itinerary and to-do list. For me, I think summer is meant to be a time of rest, refreshing and healing. My body is worn, and I am still trying to heal from a fracture in my low back. Sleep deprivation has been my normal for the past nine plus months, so actually sleeping until my body wakes will be novel.

As for writing, this is part of my daily practice. I wake. I make coffee and grab something to eat, and I sit down to pray, read the word, and then reflect. This is the routine in my day, as it sets my heart and mind for wherever the Lord leads. If I am running errands, I find I have patience and kindness to extend to others, regardless of what is going on around me. When adventure awaits, energy and enthusiasm overflow, and my guys join in for the journey.

Fitness too, is a part of my daily doings. When my body is active, my mind does not get hung up on the little things of life. It gives me reason to be grateful for health and His creation, and the ability to move and be active is something that I will never take for granted.

This morning’s scheduled reading was from John 11:17-37, and tells the story of Jesus going to Mary and Martha after Lazarus had died. Everyone was glad to see Jesus, but each questioned His timing, with the statement of faith that Lazarus would not have died had Jesus arrived sooner. There was sorrow and regret that seeped out from the family and friends of Lazarus to the Lord. He was compassionate, and as He cared for them, He cried. The story does not end there. In the last few verses of this part of the passage, Jesus asks, “Where have you put him?” One question that would change their world, in a very short span of time.

The connection? We may have hopes and expectations for how things will occur in a certain season, but as we wait on the Lord, we may feel disappointment or sorrow in what we see as delay or a no way, only to be blown away by what He will ultimately do. May this summer be a season of faithful movement as we anticipate and watch for the things that the Lord will do in us and through us, and we prioritize earnest pursuit of Him.

 

I looked to the Lord,Enter With Thanksgiving

And called on His Name;

No word went unheard,

To God of all grace.

Though I have set hopes,

And dreams for this time;

In Your faithfulness,

Please, Your will, not mine.

In each new season,

May I see Your grace;

No matter what comes,

Keep running Your race.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You do exceedingly more that we could hope or imagine in Your time. Thank You that Your faithfulness is not dependent on how we perceive things or how we feel. Forgive us for our lack of faith and fearfulness when things that we long for seem to have died. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would remember that You see beyond today, and Your timing and plan is always best. Show us how to love others with Your goodness and grace, so that they too may long to seek Your face. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we pursue You and Your best for us in all things. Amen.

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

Because of the tender mercy of our God, …the rising sun will come to us from heaven. – Luke 1:78