The Blessing of Rain

He covers the sky with clouds; He supplies the earth with rain and makes grass grow on the hills. – (Psalm 147:8, NIV)

He fills the sky with clouds. He sends rain to the earth. He makes the grass grow on the mountains. – (Psalm 147:8, ERV)

He fills the sky with clouds, sending showers to water the earth so that grass springs up on the mountain fields and the earth produces food for man. – (Psalm 147:8, TPT)

 

We have been blessed with beautiful weather the last two weeks, which considering our “stay at home” status, has been extra beneficial. There is something about having sunrays streaming in through windows, and the light shining through the burly branches of the evergreen trees in our backyard, that lifts my countenance and bring me joy, simply at the sight of sunshine. This morning, I was almost surprised to see drizzle, darkness and damp, blanketing the scene out back through my kitchen window. At first, I felt my heart sink a little, as I inwardly groaned at the limitations it could cause for our day. After I made a bit of breakfast and sat down with my coffee, I thought it best to turn to the word and remind myself of the reason for rain. The first verse that captured my attention to remind me again of the beauty of rain, was the above-mentioned verse from Psalm 147. Rain is supplied to us to water the earth. It helps grass and crops grow, and where we live, keeps everything beautiful and green. Because rain is abundant in the Northwest, we seldom have to think about watering grass or plants outdoors, as rain takes care of it for us. After the simple reminder, I looked again and noticed how much greener the trees and the grass appear, when freshly covered in rain. Another great thing about rain this morning is that it will wash away the build-up of pollen everywhere. Atop of cars, roads, decks, trees, stoops, and basically anything outdoors, there has been a thick coating of yellow-green dust that clings to everything. One good round of rain clears the pollen and refreshes the air, so that allergy sufferers may breathe more freely, once again. For a bit of humor, my husband just woke and walked upstairs, looked out into the backyard, and said, “Oh man, rain. Really?” I giggled to myself, as I think we had similar hopes of outdoor activities for the day. God is good, and so is the rain. We will take the watering of the earth, the clearing of the pollen, and appreciate all the sunshine that we have had so many days in a row. May we find the good in whatever comes, for God is faithful to provide in every season.

 

When clouds fill the sky,wp-15872244864286637822912657625399.jpg

And the rains do come;

Know they have purpose,

There’s good to be done.

As rain waters earth,

Grass and the crops grow;

Providing for us,

God’s faithfulness shown.

Lord help us recall,

The blessing of rain;

As Your love’s outpoured,

We all stand to gain.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You send Your rain to water the earth and wash away what does not need to remain. Thank You that You do the same for our hearts as we call on You and seek Your guidance in all things. Forgive us for our frustration with things that are much bigger than ourselves, as You have purpose in all things. Teach us to trust You and rely on You to order our days, as You lead us and love us through every sort of weather. Show us how to love those around us in ways that encourage each, so that they come to understand how showered in love they are by You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give Your praise for the rain that waters the earth, and thank You for the sunshine that follows. Amen.

 

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

 

I will send you rain in its season, and the ground will yield its crops and the trees their fruit. – Leviticus 26:4

The Weight of Grief in the Garden

When He rose from prayer and went back to the disciples, He found them asleep, exhausted from sorrow. – (Luke 22:45, NIV)
When He finished praying, He went to His followers. He found them asleep, worn out from their grieving.  – (Luke 22:45, ERV)
When Jesus finished praying, He got up and went to His disciples and found them all asleep, for they were exhausted and overwhelmed with sorrow. – (Luke 22:45, TPT)
I am not sure why I have not ever noticed the phrasing of Luke’s account of what took place in the Garden of Gethsemane before, but why the disciples fell asleep, becomes far more relate-able somehow. The disciples had every reason to be grieving, for they had shared their final meal with Jesus, heard His last words of wisdom, sung their last hymn together, and then heard that one among them would betray Him and another would deny Him… That is some serious heaviness to hold. How often do we find ourselves in the same sort of space? There  are times that the grief is too great, and even as we try to pray, exhaustion takes over, and sleep finds a welcomed win. The disciples, though Jesus had told them what would take place, could likely not wrap their hearts and minds around it all. They were in the throes of the suffering and sorrow-filled part, and could not yet see the glorious hope that would come after the horror Jesus was about to endure. Incredibly, Jesus continued to pray. When Judas and his entourage of Sanhedrin and soldiers arrived to have Jesus arrested, Jesus continued to love as He healed the ear that an over-zealous disciple cut off in His defense. He went willingly, without argument nor needed force, for love led Him to the cross at Calgary.
I paused writing to go run, and ended up having a great discussion about the potential disparity between the four accounts of the disciples’ time in the garden. My running bestie is a nurse, so she reminded me that Luke was a doctor. Between us, we recognized that the other accounts were recorded by fishermen, who likely felt bad for falling asleep, and simply recorded that alone. Luke, however, from a physician’s standpoint, was the most likely to recognize the toll that grief and sorrow take on the body, and reported the occurrence accordingly. Like me, she had not ever noticed the difference in the accounts of what took place, but together, we discussed how it indeed made sense. Many of us find ourselves in a similar space of grief or sorrow. There is loss that we are uncertain how to process, and that weighs heavily, no matter how much we pray. Perhaps this forced slow down season is meant for more than just protecting ourselves from the further spread of a pandemic; maybe, just maybe, this is a season where we are to allow our bodies to sleep when we can fight it no longer, rest up, reflect on what truly matters, and rise up renewed and refreshed, as Jesus carried it all for us and rose again. May we give ourselves grace in our moments of sorrow, grief and exhaustion, and look to the Lord who is the One who strengthens, renews and grants us what we need to rise up restored, once again.
In grief’s heaviness,

The Weight of Grief

Sculpture by Celeste Roberge

We’re burdened and worn;
Exhausted and spent,
In sorrow, forlorn.
Our bodies in need,
Of overdue rest;
Sometimes a shut down,
When sleep is the best.
God knows all our needs,
He loves us with grace;
Refreshes, renews,
And brings brighter days.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son to show us Your goodness and grace, even in humanity’s most exhausted spaces. Thank You that You love us back to life again, even when our weariness from loss steals our resolve to rise and fight. Forgive us for thinking that we can somehow power through things without giving room for grief. Teach us to lean into You to show us how to properly process, rest and rise again in all that You are calling us to do. Lead us to love others well, so that their burdens may be lessened and their sorrow’s shortened. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we come to You in our heaviness and seek You for rest and refreshment as You restore and renew us in You. Amen.
My soul is weary with sorrow; strengthen me according to Your word. – Psalm 119:28

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Strength for the Soul

As soon as I pray, You answer me; You encourage me by giving me strength. – (Psalm 138:3, NLT)

When I called to You for help, You answered me and gave me strength. – (Psalm 138:3, ERV)

On the day I needed You, I called, and You responded and infused my soul with strength. – (Psalm 138:3, VOICE)

 

Every single day, whether with mom or on a brief furlough home, God is faithful to meet me when I pray. Sometimes, who am I kidding, most often, the prayers of my heart are simply, “Oh God, please help!” He is faithful to come and bring clarity in chaos, and calm in moments of distress. Last night, when mom woke for the third time in a matter of four or five hours, I knew there had to be something waking her. I slowed down, asked for help, then gently asked mom if she was okay. She said she was, but I noticed she kept touching her right shoulder. I asked if it was bothering her, and she replied, “yes.” When I offered to grab her some ibuprofen, she accepted. After that, she slept soundly until a reasonable time to rise. Sometimes, strength comes through a few solid hours of consecutive sleep. Other times, it rises up as the soul is infused with the strength of our Savior at work in our hearts. Either way, He is good.

As for yesterday, it was transition day, as I arrived back in Wenatchee late morning. It was a fantastic reunion, and as always, wonderful for mom to have both of her girls at the same time, even if only for a few hours. To celebrate, she determined she was willing to venture out so that we could all have lunch together. For me, this was a joyful first experience with mom since her stroke, and wonderful to watch her willing to spread her wings, be it ever so hesitantly. We decided to try The South, down at Pybus Market, as we were getting an early start and should likely beat the typical Sunday lunch crowd. Our estimation was correct, and there were only two other tables occupied in the whole establishment. We had a wonderful lunch together, and enjoyed the view near the river in the company of each other. After lunch we returned home, and before we knew it, it was time for Megan to leave for the airport to fly back home. Mom and I had a mellow evening of movies and exercises, as we were updated with Meg’s travel status as she went. Today, we return to a more typical week, kicking off the day with physical therapy at 8:15 this morning.

My prayer is for strength to continue to abound all the more in mom as she rebuilds, and for healing and recovery of her right arm that seems so painstakingly slow. May you know the faithful strength of the Lord as you seek Him.

 

God faithfully gives, 0707191208_hdr2314193726958669817.jpg

His strength as we ask;

He hears all our prayers,

Equips us to task.

So much more than that,

His love knows no bounds;

Our heart in His hands,

In Him, we are found.

Choose call on the Lord,

And earnestly pray;

He hears and answers,

With strength each new day.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we pray to You, You give us the strength that we need. Thank You that You are loving and kind, faithful and true. Forgive us for the times that we neglect to trust in You. Show us again, how very faithful You are. Help us to love those around us with Your strength and faithfulness, so that they too, may be encouraged and lifted up in You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we pray to You and depend on You to be our strength. Amen.

 

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

 

It is God who arms me with strength and keeps my way secure. – 2 Samuel 22:33

To Build Up and Encourage

Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing. – (1 Thessalonians 5:11, NIV)

So encourage each other and help each other grow stronger in faith, just as you are already doing. – (1 Thessalonians 5:11, ERV)

So support one another. Keep building each other up as you have been doing. – (1 Thessalonians 5:11, VOICE)

 

Though I know not their heart after God, it is as if each one of my mom’s in-home care team has chosen to live this verse out as their life’s ambition. It takes a special sort of person to do in-home care, as I imagine one is never sure what they will encounter when they approach a home for the very first time. Each and every one of the care providers who has entered mom’s home has been an incredible source of encouragement for mom. Their positivity about mom’s progress thus far, and their excitement and motivation to walk this road of healing beside her, is faith-building as she continues to do the difficult work each day. Yesterday, as I asked mom if there was anything she would like to do or anyone she wished to see, she actually took me up on the offer for the first time and named the names of three of her dearest friends. I immediately sent out messages to them, and they responded promptly with enthusiasm. My heart lightened too, as I sat with the four of them and enjoyed the familiar banter among dear sister-friends. The sharing of life together was a needed boost for all of them, and each seemed to walk away encouraged and built up. After the ladies had been visiting for a while, mom’s in-home nurses arrived to do their check-in. They encouraged the girls to keep visiting while they checked in with me about particulars, and made sure to let all of them know how wonderful such visits were for mom and her rehabilitation and recovery. Pathways and progress multiply in the familiar, and in the last 24-48 hours, I have noticed a significant increase in the strength of her voice.

Beyond just yesterday, there has been an outpouring of encouragement and support for not only mom, but for my sister and me as we walk this road to recovery together. Mom’s living room and kitchen are lined with cards that have been sent over the last month by family and friends, far and near. Dear ones have been taking my boys to school in the mornings, and I know the same has been true for my sister when she is here as well. Our communities have rallied around us and covered us in prayer. We have been built up and encouraged, and are encouraged to do likewise. May we ever reach out and support one another; for we were indeed created to be in a community.

 

Build up each other,

img_2019-06-05_06-47-096960588294766447506.jpg

A sweet photo of mom and some of her besties from last year. ❤

Encourage, reach out;

Help one another,

It’s what love’s about.

For God created,

People to all need;

Sense of belonging,

A community.

Family and friends,

The gifts whom God gives;

To walk alongside,

To thrive as we live.

Let’s choose encourage,

Love well and build up;

Bless one another,

Fill up empty cups.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to encourage and build each other up. Thank You that You place people in our lives that do so when we need it the most. Forgive us for the missed opportunities to offer a word of encouragement or to come alongside another who needed a boost. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would listen to Your leading and encourage and build others up in the same way that You encourage and build us up. Show us how to love those around us in a way that strengthens and builds up where they are depleted. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for the encouragement that we have received and seek Your heart to extend the same to others around us. Amen.

 

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

 

You, Lord, hear the desire of the afflicted; You encourage them, and You listen to their cry. – Psalm 10:17

Plan to Do Good

If you plan to do evil, you will be lost; if you plan to do good, you will receive unfailing love and faithfulness. – (Proverbs 14:22, NLT)

Whoever works to do good will find love and loyalty. It is a mistake to work at doing evil. – (Proverbs 14:22, ERV)

Haven’t you noticed how evil schemers always wander astray? But kindness and truth come to those who make plans to be pure in all their ways. – (Proverbs 14:22, TPT)

 

“You reap what you sow” becomes evident based on what we choose to do, day in and day out. When our focus and intent are rooted in God’s goodness, love and loyalty seem to find us. Contrarily, those who choose to do otherwise, end up lost and in the company of those with unsavory notions. May we ever set our hearts and minds on things of God, so that kindness and truth come our way.

 

You reap what you sow,Sowing Seeds of Peace

Forever holds true;

We get what we give,

Our choice a preview.

For when we choose good,

Give love and God’s grace;

The same is returned,

His love is in place.

Let us seek the Lord,

To love as He does;

Far from all evil,

Let good rise above.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to do good, so that we may know the love and loyalty that is returned. Forgive us for the things we are drawn to that are not of You. Teach us to look to You to lead us in the good You have established for us to follow. Show us how to love those around us with loyalty, faithfulness and grace, so that they may recognize the good in all of Your ways. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love You and those around us according to Your good and perfect plan. Amen.

 

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

 

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things. – Philippians 4:8

A Faithful Heritage

For the Lord is good and His love endures forever; His faithfulness continues through all generations. – (Psalm 100:5, NIV)

The Lord is good! There is no end to His faithful love. We can trust Him forever and ever! – (Psalm 100:5, ERV)

Because the Eternal is good, His loyal love and mercy will never end, and His truth will last throughout all generations. – (Psalm 100:5, VOICE)

 

Every year, I am blessed with the opportunity to gather with family to give thanks. What I have noticed, is that the same goodness and faithfulness that I remember my great-grandmothers speaking of, what I saw in my grandparents’ lives, have witnessed and still see in my mom’s life, I now observe in awe, in my own life and the lives of my children. This is not to say that life has been free of trials or struggles or difficulty, but rather it is that through it all, the Lord’s goodness and faithfulness have been evident through each generation. May we take time to tell one another of the Lord’s ongoing faithfulness in our lives, as His love endures forever and His mercy knows no end.

 

Come and bless the Lord,

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Photos by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

He’s faithful and good;

His love is endless,

Throughout time it’s stood.

Firm in great mercy,

Generous in grace;

Faithful forever,

The Ancient of Days.

Each generation,

Make known to the next;

This love, unending,

As God loves us best.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for a heritage of wise women and men who followed faithfully after You. Thank You for the example that previous generations have set for the next. Forgive us for not sharing enough about Your faithfulness with those who follow after us. Teach us to trust and rely on You, so that our children and their children cannot help but see Your faithful, enduring love forever. Show us how to love those around us in a way that makes Your faithfulness, love and grace known through our words and deeds. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust in Your faithfulness forever and give You praise throughout all of our days. Amen.

 

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

 

Your faithfulness continues through all generations; You established the earth, and it endures. – Psalm 119:90

Trust in His Hand

The works of His hands are faithful and just; all His precepts are trustworthy. – (Psalm 111:7, NIV)

Everything He does is good and fair. All His commands can be trusted. – (Psalm 111:7, ERV)

All His accomplishments are truth and justice; all His instructions are certain. – (Psalm 111:7, VOICE)

My husband, on our wedding day, happened to be holding both of our wedding bands in the hollow of his hand. As he looked closely at the two symbols of our love and commitment to one another, he noticed that mine fit easily in his. He snapped a photo of our rings in his hand, and at some point, showed me the picture he had taken. Because I am such a visual person, when I saw the image, my heart held fast; for just as my Viking held our rings in the hollow of his hand, so too does God hold us in His. In the same way that his ring surrounded and protected mine, likewise is his charge as a husband to surround and protect in love as we are held in the Lord’s hands. Throughout our entire relationship so far, the image matches how my heart has been held. May we ever rest in the Lord, as we are held in His hands, for He is faithful and just, and we can trust Him in all of our ways.

 

Loved and protected,

For all of our days;

We’re held in His hands,

Both now and always.

We can always trust,

For His ways are sure;

He holds us in love,

In Him, we’re secure.

So, ever seek God,

Who’s faithful and just;

All His ways are good,

And worthy of trust.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You give us tangible examples of how You love us and hold us in Your hands. Thank You that You are worthy of all of our trust. Forgive us for forgetting how great the hands are that hold us, as You who created all that exists are capable of holding us and leading us the ways in which we are meant to go. Teach us to trust You in all things and at all times; for You are so good. Show us how to love those around us in a way that envelops each in the goodness and faithfulness that Your love provides. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust all in Your hands. Amen.

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

The Father loves the Son and has placed everything in His hands. – John 3:35

Rise Again

Good people might fall again and again, but they always get up. – (Proverbs 24:16a, ERV)

God-loyal people don’t stay down long; soon they’re up on their feet again. – (Proverbs 24:16, MSG)

For though the righteous fall seven times, they rise again. – (Proverbs 24:16, NIV)

 

When the going gets tough, the tough keep going. I have witnessed incredible strength demonstrated in the lives of people in the midst of crazy adversity. What I noticed, is that each of those who had strength to rise when most would have crumbled, were firmly established in their faith. Despite their circumstances and what they were able to see before them, their faith did not waiver. Each time I observe such unflappable faith, I am both in awe and inspired to invest more of my heart in the spaces where I struggle to trust. The goodness of God gives way to strength and hope and help in such spaces, if we are willing to place our trust in Him. We must ask in order for Him to answer, as God does not force His way in, nor does He overtake our hearts and minds. We have a free will and must choose. May we ever make the choice to use our voice and intentionally trust in the Lord and His strength, so that each time we fall, we rise up again.

 

We can be certain,Rise Again

That trials will come;

Our resolve tested,

Where will we choose run?

When we trust the Lord,

Seek His strength and might;

We gain the resolve,

To rise up and fight.

No matter the falls,

The times we’re knocked down;

If we trust in Him,

Strength to rise is found.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we trust in You, You give us the strength and resolve to rise again, each time we fall down. Forgive us for the times that we have fallen from Your grace with the choices we have made, and stayed stuck, rather than seeking You for help and forgiveness. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would seek You when we are down, and when things are going well. Help us to keep short accounts, so that we do not divert from the path that You have placed before us. Show us how to love and lead those around us well, so that they too, may rise again, each time that they fall. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust in You and Your strength to help us rise again, each time we fall. Amen.

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

Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy. – Hebrews 4:16

See and Be Glad

The humble will see their God at work and be glad. Let all who seek God’s help be encouraged. – (Psalm 69:32, NLT)

The poor in spirit see and are glad – Oh, you God-seekers, take heart! – (Psalm 69:32, MSG)

Those who humbly serve will see and rejoice! All you seekers-after-God will revive your souls! – (Psalm 69:32, VOICE)

 

When we slow down and stop focusing on ourselves, we are able to observe the glory of God at work. As we seek Him, the Lord encourages us with His love and light, filling us with what we need to love and serve according to His plan. Our reasons to rejoice are not always noticed with a quick glance, but rather when our hearts align with He who is greater than all that comes against us. It is in the recognition of God’s greatness, even in the trials, that we are able to take heart and know that His goodness is reason to rejoice. May we look to the Lord in awe and wonder, seeking Him, trusting that He will be our help and encouragement that brings us gladness through His grace.

 

The humble shall see,Purposeful Prayer

The work of God’s hand;

How the Lord will move,

When in faith, we stand.

When we are downcast,

The Lord lifts us up;

Encourages hearts,

And fills empty cups.

All who choose seek Him,

Will see and rejoice;

The move of God’s hand,

As He hears our voice.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we humble ourselves before You and seek You, we are able to see You at work in us and around us. Thank You that You move on our behalf, and encourage our hearts. Forgive us for not humbly seeking You in all things. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would look to You for all that we need, as You are always at work and giving us reason to rejoice. Show us how to love those around us so that they might be encouraged and built up, no matter what surrounds them. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we see the work of Your hand all around us, and choose to rejoice. Amen.

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

He who refreshes others will himself be refreshed. – Proverbs 11:25