Recognize What is Good

He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. – (Micah 6:8, NIV)

Human, the Lord has told you what goodness is. This is what He wants from you: Be fair to other people. Love kindness and loyalty, and humbly obey your God. – (Micah 6:8, ERV)

But He’s already made it plain how to live, what to do, what God is looking for in men and women. It’s quite simple: Do what is fair and just to your neighbor, be compassionate and loyal in your love, and don’t take yourself too seriously – take God seriously. – (Micah 6:8, MSG)

 

There is no better time than now, to recognize what goodness is, and walk it out. The things that God asks of us are the very same things that He grants to us in abundance. He is just and merciful and full of love, compassionate and kind. We are charged to humbly walk with God and do as He asks, so that we too, might be equipped to extend the same to all whom we encounter. Incredibly, these things are contagious. Random acts of kindness have a domino effect, as the recipient of one small act is often compelled to do something kind for someone else, and so on. In this space of “staying at home”, we may think we have little opportunity to do good and have any sort of impact, however, our kids, our families, our neighbors, and even the checker at the grocery store when we need to restock supplies, will remember how we made them feel during this season. If we are compassionate and loyal in love, choosing fairness and kindness in all that we say and do, it will have a positive and lasting impact on those around us. It does make a difference, as even in our Zoom meetings, knowing my 6th grade team and I all love Jesus, there is a positivity, kindness and compassion toward one another and genuine concern for our students, that binds us together in common purpose. We are all willing to trust one another and try new things, as we each know the intention of the others is good. May we recognize the opportunity that we each have in this season to do as the Lord has shown us; for He will clearly show us what is good, what loyalty in love looks like, how to extend kindness, how to grant mercy, and how to walk humbly with Him.

 

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The Lord clearly shows;

What we are to do,

And which doors to close.

He shows us mercy,

So we’ll do the same;

To love, give kindness,

It honors His Name.

As we walk with Him,

And humbly pray;

He leads and guides us,

He shows us the way.

His plan’s always good,

Full of love and grace;

We’re meant for the same,

As we walk His way.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You show us what is good and what You require of us. Thank You that You do not ask anything of us that You are not also willing to give us and equip us to do. Thank You that You first loved us and made the way for us to do as You ask of us. Forgive us for the times that we have not represented You well, or have done nothing when we were meant to reach out. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would have Your eyes to see the opportunities to operate justly, love mercy, give kindness, love with loyalty, and ever walk humbly with You. Show us specific and tangible ways to demonstrate Your goodness and love everywhere we go, with everyone whom we encounter. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love You and seek to love others like You do. Amen.

 

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

 

Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in Him. – Psalm 34:8

Let It Shine

In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. – (Matthew 5:16, NIV)

In the same way, you should be a light for other people. Live so that they will see the good things you do and praise your Father in heaven. – (Matthew 5:16, ERV)

You are like that illuminating light. Let your light shine everywhere you go, that you may illumine creation, so men and women everywhere may see your good actions, may see creation at its fullest, may see your devotion to Me, and may turn and praise your Father in heaven because of it. – (Matthew 5:16, VOICE)

 

What we do and how we live speak volumes about God. Our choices either point to Him in a positive light, or one that is less than edifying. For some, our light, life, and approach in what we do, is the only exposure to Christ that exists in their lives. How we choose to live, matters. As we invest in our relationship with Christ, our lives are transformed to more clearly reflect His light through how we choose to live. May we ever invest in the Light of the World, for He grows the good within us that fans the flame of our light to shine ever brighter before those around us.

As for Mom, she is happily back in the routine of life with my sister and her family. It is a joy to receive texts and sneak in quick phone calls, as we lovingly laugh about the fun we had shopping with the driving carts and checking in with one another. She continues to build confidence with using her cane, as there has been no looking back. Yesterday marked one whole week of only using a cane as a walking aid! We are celebrating and praising God, as this is remarkable progress in this healing process Mom is walking through. Please continue to pray for strength to return to her right arm and pathways to be made. She is able to move her right arm when it is unweighted in a hydraulic contraption at physical therapy, but she does not yet have the strength to move the weight of her arm on its own. Again, the capacity to move is there, she now needs the strength to be built up and returned to make it all work together. Mom’s positivity and perseverance shine brightly wherever she goes.

 

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To rise up and shine;

Embrace all God gives,

Love as we’re designed.

For how we choose live,

Determines the light;

That shines to others,

Through both day and night.

As we choose give good,

God’s love light’s made known;

Darkness fades away,

As kindness is shown.

Let us choose to love,

To live in God’s light;

Extend love and grace,

And do what is right.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to be light wherever we go. Thank You that it is not something that we do on our own, but rather it is Your light within us that shines through us, as we trust and follow after You. Forgive us for neglecting to listen to Your leading and doing what serves us best, rather than seeking the good of others. Show us how to be Your light wherever we go. Teach us to love all those around us as Your do. Help us to do the practical and tangible good that blesses hearts and soothes minds. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we pursue the path that You make plain before us so that we may shine Your light before those around us through doing good. Amen.

 

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

 

Therefore, if your whole body is full of light, and no part of it is dark, it will be just as full of light as when a lamp shines its light on you. – Luke 11:36

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

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,

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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

Put Into Practice

Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me – put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you. – (Philippians 4:9, NIV)

Put into practice what you learned from me, what you heard and saw and realized. Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into His most excellent harmonies. – (Philippians 4:9, MSG)

 

I had two incredibly proud mom moments last evening, as I recognized the reality of this verse lived out in the lives of both of my boys. First, the orchestra teacher began to speak of a student who had overcome the struggle of learning his music as he had gone on and memorized nearly every piece they played. His perseverance and positivity were commended as he received one of the most-improved musician awards. After watching my eldest progeny go forward to receive his award, the same instructor began speaking of a young man who worked hard everyday, greeted her with kindness daily, and always offered a helping hand. He too was being recognized for the same such award, with no sense of obligation to reward the second son because he was in the family, rather it was all because of the merit of his character. I was blown away… Both boys had left a mark in a space that they have loved throughout their middle school careers. Each one chose to commit to their craft and care well for those around them in the process, and as a result, were being seen as the upstanding young men that they have become. Both boys were blown away by being seen, and I imagine the moment will be forever marked in their memories.

A take-away from the evening was the reminder of how important it is to let kids know that we see their hard work. Acknowledging them in their struggle to persevere can make all of the difference, and when they have seen a challenge through to completion – celebrate! May we see the success stories all around us in this season of graduations and new beginnings. Let our lives mirror that of our Maker, so that we may put into practice, His ways, allowing our words and deeds to deliver peace in places that need it most.

 

Let all that’s been learned,photo (6)

Received from the Lord;

Be set in practice,

Honor the Adored.

For as we obey,

Operate in peace;

God’s glory and grace,

Are through Him, released.

May His love be known,

By all who draw near;

Together we come,

As He removes fear.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You show us, teach us, and speak to us, the things that You want us to learn from You. Thank You that when we put these things into practice, we discover Your peace. Forgive us for not acting on the things that You have shown us, and ending up unsettled, wondering why we can’t find Your peace. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would seek You and find You in every situation and circumstance, no matter how challenging. Thank You that You are far greater than anything we face. Lead us to love others well, especially those who are in a space of transition or on the cusp of new beginnings. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we put into practice that which we have learned, received or heard from You. Amen.

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

Answer me, O Lord, out of the goodness of Your love; in Your great mercy turn to me. – Psalm 69:16