Undeniably Good

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

Give the Lord a chance to show you how good He is. Great blessings belong to those who depend on Him! – (Psalm 34:8, ERV)

Open your mouth and taste, open your eyes and see – how good God is. Blessed are you who run to Him. – (Psalm 34:8, MSG)

 

God is undeniably good. The last few weeks have been a bit overwhelming, yet each time I have gone to God to be my refuge and my strength, He has met me and carried me through. One of the most trying things for me as an educator, is being observed and evaluated. I am constantly evaluating what is going on in my classroom, seeking solutions to improve, yet somehow, the process of being observed always makes me feel like I cannot ever be or do enough. Anyway, yesterday was my first observation of the year. Though I was prepared and had given it to God each time anxiousness entered in, my nerves were still surging. My evaluator is kind and compassionate, and as much as it was possible, she did help set me a bit more at ease than I normally would have been. I survived, and the remainder of the day went quickly. More of God’s good was witnessed throughout the evening, as I partook in my first high school gymnastics meet as an assistant coach. The girls did well; supporting and encouraging one another with kindness and grace. In the end, my alma mater, where I coach, took first among the four schools in attendance. It was a sweet end, to a day that had once again shown me, just how good God truly is.

 

If you give God room, For God and His Grace

He’s faithful to show;

His goodness and grace,

Blessings to bestow.

Take refuge in Him,

For there we find rest;

Comfort and His peace,

As He loves us best.

So, choose taste and see,

That the Lord is good;

Faithful forever,

His love is assured.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can look, see and experience Your goodness when we run to You. Thank You that You are our refuge and our strength. Thank You that Your faithfulness knows no end. Thank You that You are loving and kind, and have our very best in mind. Forgive us for our fears and anxiousness with the things that we cannot control. Teach us to trust You more, as You go before us and remain with us, all the days of our lives. Show us how to love those around us in ways that demonstrate Your goodness and faithfulness in tangible ways. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we taste and see how good You are, and take refuge in You, our blessed Redeemer. Amen.

 

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

 

But as for me, it is good to be near God. I have made the Sovereign Lord my refuge; I will tell of all Your deeds. – Psalm 73:28

Prepare

For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, in which God prepared in advance for us to do. – (Ephesians 2:10, NIV)

God has made us what we are. In Christ Jesus, God made us new people so that we would spend our lives doing the good things He had already planned for us to do. – (Ephesians 2:10, ERV)

For we are the product of His hand, heaven’s poetry etched on lives, created in the Anointed, Jesus, to accomplish the good works God arranged long ago. – (Ephesians 2:10, VOICE)

 

As the calendar turns another page and we are now making our way into December, the word that keeps coming to my heart and mind, is “prepare”. I did a quick biblical word study, and discovered that the many mentions of preparing or preparation were for battles, arrivals, departures, deaths, feasts, sacrifices, celebrations and ceremonies. In each instance, those preparing were the ones whom had been called. The tenth verse of the second chapter of Ephesians, helps us recognize that we all have been called, created and prepared to do good works that God has planned for us. It is not difficult to find places where good is needed during this holy season, and we are each meant to step in and offer what we have to give – be it our time, our talents or our resources. Our heart is what requires preparation the most frequently, as the distractions all around us can dull our awareness to the places we have been prepared to extend good. May we slow down often in this sacred season, to prepare our hearts, so that we are ready and available to do the good things that God has for us to do.

 

This sacred season,Prepare

May we rise, prepare;

Set our hearts on good,

And how we can share.

For we’re created,

Each of us prepared;

With plan and purpose,

In God’s loving care.

Let us each choose seek,

So that we may find;

The good we can do,

In love for mankind.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that in the same way You prepared each one of us with a plan and a purpose, may we too, prepare our hearts this season, to walk out the good that You have for us to give. Thank You that we all have something to offer, be it our time, talent or resources. Forgive us for the times that we think we have nothing to give, or we neglect to slow down and look for ways to extend Your heart to others in this sacred season. Teach us to take time to listen to Your leading, and to be willing to walk out whatever You ask of us. Show us how to love those around us in tangible and practical ways this season, that make Your goodness and grace evident. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we prepare our hearts in the same way that You prepared each of us, to do good and represent You well. Amen.

 

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

 

Show me Your ways, Lord, teach me Your paths. – Psalm 25:4

Every New Step

I can do all this through Him who gives me strength. – (Philippians 4:13, NIV)

Christ is the one who gives me the strength I need to do whatever I must do. – (Philippians 4:13, ERV)

For I can do everything God asks me to with the help of Christ who gives me the strength and power. – (Philippians 4:13, TLB)

 

Do you ever wake at the start of the week and wonder how you will get from the now to the close of the week? It is not a lack of faith thing, nor a whoa is me situation, but rather a recognition of the demands that lie before me, and the need for Christ to be present every step of the way. The week ahead is like that for me, particularly as I step into the new and unknown. I am excited and eager, yet uncertain of how all will unfold. God is good, as He grants me the strength to do the He is leading me to, and He makes plain the path that He has prepared in advance for me to walk. Today, I am trusting His strength for each next step as I navigate the new in this season.

Mom understands this far better than most, as she continues to trust in Christ and His strength each new day for every new step that she is to take on this road of healing and recovery. Each week, she is trying a bit more as she gets out of the house and engages in social activities with my sister and brother-in-love. More and more, there is a return to self, as Christ’s strength continues to grow and be made known in Mom.

 

The strength of the Lord, Strong Heart

Is present and free;

For all who choose seek,

He gives what we need.

All that the Lord asks,

We’re equipped to do;

His power and grace,

Ever see us through.

So, trust in the Lord,

Answer what He asks;

You’ll find you’ve the strength,

For every task.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You give us the strength and power to do all that You call us to do. Thank You that You have a perfect plan and purpose for each of us. Forgive us for our moments of being a bit overwhelmed by all that we see that lies ahead. Teach us to trust You more, as You are always faithful to go before us and walk beside us, every step of the way. Show us how to love those around us in ways that encourage, strengthen and empower each to do all that is asked of them. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust Your power and strength to supply all that we need for each step we are meant to take of every day. Amen.

 

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

 

The Lord makes firm the steps of the one who delights in Him. – Psalm 37:23

Love Well

For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. – (Ephesians 2:10, NIV)

God has made us what we are. In Christ Jesus, God made us new people so that we would spend our lives doing the good things He had already planned for us to do. – (Ephesians 2:10, ERV)

For we are the product of His hand, heaven’s poetry etched on lives, created in the Anointed, Jesus, to accomplish the good works God arranged long ago. – (Ephesians 2:10, VOICE)

 

We have been designed to do good things. Incredibly, it is not about some master plan to accomplish an incredible feat (though some do as part of the plan) but rather it is to love well in each little thing, as to do so, adds up to a life lived well, according to His purposes. Above all, we are called to love. If everything we do is motivated by love, then we cannot help but do the good that God created and intended us to accomplish. Heartache, struggle, disappointment, grief, and weariness all provide us opportunity to look past ourselves and discover just how powerful love can be when we choose to dig deep and give it away. The good that comes from pouring out when we feel depleted, is a crazy filling up that does not even begin to make sense. There is something that happens when we do what we were designed to do – we grow. God multiplies where we can barely conceive the idea of addition. The more we trust Him and step out in faith to love well, the more He utilizes our obedience to touch and transform those around us. May we ever choose to do the good that He has called us to, as we opt to love others, as He first loved us.

As for mom, it sounds as if she had a successful first day in Albany. When I called, she actually answered her phone! That was a huge accomplishment in and of itself, as before, she had not interacted with her phone much at all. The first challenge in her new space, is that her chair does not fit in the bathroom. What this actually means, is that mom is getting more walking practice than before, and will likely lose the chair faster! Things happen the way they ought to, even when it seems a bit frustrating at first. Meg was able to come home at lunch to check and see how all was going, and it seems that all was well. My phone conversation was cut short, and I did not really have the opportunity for a second check-in, but will be eager to hear more about how mom is settling in. I know prayer points for mom need include expediting a visit to a general practitioner to establish care, so that mom is able to reestablish in-home care for physical, occupational and speech therapies that come to her during the day. The process has been started, but favor and prompt processing would be fantastic. We are praying for wonderful, loving people to work with mom as well, as each of the therapists that she had in Wenatchee were incredible individuals.

 

Lord, help us to love, Sowing Seeds of Peace

Do good in Your name;

To love as You love,

As peace is proclaimed.

Help us see others,

Through Your loving lens;

So we treat strangers,

With love, like our friends.

Grant us Your kindness,

Fill us with Your grace;

Teach us Your goodness,

So all we’ll embrace.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to do the good for which we were designed to do. Thank You that above all, we are called to love. Thank You that You have shown us what it is to love above all else through the example of Your Son. Forgive us for the times that we have not given good or not chosen love. Teach us to trust You more, so that we make the conscious choice to love, no matter the space we find ourselves in. Show us how to love those around us in a way that Your goodness and grace is made abundantly clear. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to equip us to do the good for which we have been designed to do. Amen.

 

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

 

Turn from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it. – Psalm 34:14

Helped in Him

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

O Lord God, our Help, fb_img_15637309176878339909102890478638.jpg

You’re all that we need;

You strengthen, protect,

Our hopes You exceed.

Help our hearts to trust,

Each step of the way;

No matter what comes,

You’re our help and grace.

Show us green pastures,

Where strength’s realized;

Beautiful blessings,

As in You, we rise.

 

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

 

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

 

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

Help in Time

I will give rest and strength to those who are weak and tired. – (Jeremiah 31:25, ERV)

For I have given rest to the weary and joy to all the sorrowing. – (Jeremiah 31:25, TLB)

I’ll refresh tired bodies; I’ll restore tired souls. – (Jeremiah 31:25, MSG)

 

Each of the translations of this verse have proven true for me over the past week, and throughout this entire season since mom suffered her stroke. To go from twelve hours each day at a hospital, where we did not know or understand the prognosis; to twelve hours per day at an acute care rehabilitation facility, in which we gained insight and understanding, yet had to return home to mom’s empty house; and on to the present, in which life is on the clock, twenty-four hours per day. The joy has been granted in the witnessing of each new gain of strength and restoration, and seemingly, right at the times when I find myself the most exhausted, sleep is graced and I am gifted reprieve through a visit from my husband and children or a change of the guard with my sister. This is not to say that every moment of each day is exhausting nor draining, as it is not. There are many laughs, and there is much joy in the blessing of so much time spent with mom. We have always been close, and this season together has only proven to strengthen our bond further. The times that bring the sorrow and the weariness are the long nights and the down time when mom is resting. Lack of sleep and a longing for my husband, children, and dear ones back home, bring sorrow as I miss the regular routine that I am accustomed to during this time of year. God is full of grace, and I am amazed at how He has shown me the key to help mom sleep better at night. Additionally, as my body is more rested, my soul is better equipped to accept the restoration He offers each morning as I seek Him.

Yesterday was a wonderful day full of family. Mom and I had a quiet morning as we prepared for my husband and boys’ arrival, enjoying a leisurely morning with time for an early breakfast, showers, trimmed her hair a bit, relaxed, worked on some stretching for mom, and did a little wandering around outside in the sunshine on the paved parts of mom’s property. Once the fellas arrived, my Viking set to work, making certain that all was working as it should with mom’s sprinkler system. The boys, mom and I set straight to it, playing a family favorite game. Mark joined us about halfway through, and was tribute dealer for mom, as we finished our first game, then partook in a second game with all of us together. Late afternoon, mom advocated for herself and decided that she ought to take a rest. The boys did their thing, and I was able to spend some much needed and appreciated time with my spouse. My grill master kept up tradition, and prepared the protein, while I took care of the side dishes inside. We all enjoyed a wonderful dinner together on the deck. There was a short escape to pick cherries at a neighbor’s small orchard (who offers anyone pick whatever they’d like) while the boys hung with grandma. Two gallon-sized Ziplocks later, and the Viking and I returned with our loot. There was time for mom’s exercises and a great game of Dominoes before we all were ready to call it a day. For each of us, I think the was refreshment and joy in the company of one another.

May we ever seek the Lord who is faithful to provide rest and restoration when it is needed most.

 

When weary and worn, img_2019-06-30_06-14-354704547889236371471.jpg

He’s faithful and true;

God grants us real rest,

Refreshes, renews.

Where there is sorrow,

The Lord will bring joy;

Tender His blessings,

Reason to rejoice.

Let not life’s burdens,

Crush you with the weight;

Instead seek the Lord,

Whose help’s never late.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You give rest when we are weary and strength when we are depleted. Thank You that You meet us in our spaces of sorrow and bring joy. Forgive us for allowing the weight of life to overwhelm us. Teach us to place life’s heaviness in Your capable hands. Show us how to love those around us in a way that offers help and hope, strength and joy in spaces where they are lacking. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we thank You and praise You for holding us in Your hands and providing all that we need – body, heart, mind and soul. Amen.

 

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

 

Look to the Lord and His strength; seek His face always. – 1 Chronicles 16:11

People With Purpose

A friend is always loyal, and a brother is born to help in time of need. – (Proverbs 17:17, NLT)

Friends love through all kinds of weather, and families stick together in all kinds of trouble. – (Proverbs 17:17, MSG)

A dear friend will love you no matter what, and a family sticks together through all kinds of trouble. – (Proverbs 17:17, TPT)

 

No truer words have ever been penned, as I have been overwhelmingly blessed and surrounded, each and every day since our whole world as we knew it, changed. Yesterday, as I drove home for the first time in three weeks, I was flooded with emotions that I could not quite identify. I was disgusted by the overgrowth of weeds in the yard, angered that I could not get my Jeep in the garage, and then stuck in an ugly emptiness I cannot quite describe, as I walked into the silent, uninhabited house. My husband was working, my boys at school, and my bonus son, upstairs sleeping soundly. There was no greeting; nothing to make me feel glad to be home, only stuck in a sorrowful space for having left my mom. My best friend sent a text, a quite timely one, asking me to go for a walk with she and her pups. She knew what I needed, better than I did, and I hesitantly agreed. After a good, long walk and talk with two happy dogs leading the way, I was in a much better space to return home and meet up with my boys, who were heading home from school, and ready to see me as well. The three of us enjoyed a late lunch together at a favorite local spot, then we returned home where the two of them retreated for a nap, as the end of the school year had caught up with them. Sadly, the silence again got to me, and I was left with my own angst. Determined to put the excess energy to good use, I went out front and began to tackle the weeds. By the time Mark made his way home from work, I had spent a few hours weeding, showered, changed, and was in a far better space; ready to enjoy our time together. Our evening flew by, as we ran a few errands together, and then ended up at the home of our besties on their deck for a visit, before heading home for the night. Up early this morning to share coffee together, he is running around now, making final preparations before leaving for his week-long motorcycle trip. The boys are preparing for a day at Sea Scouts, and I will spend the day with my best friend. Though things home are not how I might have hoped during my first trip home in so long, I am blessed with wonderful friends and family who love and support me faithfully through this most difficult season.

As for mom, yesterday was a far fuller day than originally anticipated. With an early start, mom was at the table for breakfast with me while I did my devotions and writing, hung out and visited and saw me off as I headed home, prepared for the day with Meg, had a visit from the nurse, went to an anti-coagulation specialist in town, returned home for speech therapy, had lunch, then finished off the string of appointments with physical therapy. Though long and busy, all appointments went extremely well. Speech therapy was especially encouraging, as it seems to be the fastest area of her recovery. It is incredible that each time the speech therapist comes, there is obvious improvement from the session prior. I imagine her visits with dear friends are contributing to the acceleration of her progress.

May we seek the Lord to give us strength to be the loyal, close friends and family to those around us who need our support.

 

Friends who are loyal, img_2019-06-15_07-54-322354392329068873074.jpg

And family close;

Oh what a treasure,

To be blessed with both.

As life ebbs and flows,

And trials do come;

Support’s a treasure,

From the Holy One.

A wondrous gift,

To be truly known;

And loved anyway,

It’s how God’s heart’s shown.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the gift of friends and family that You give to us. Thank You that You strengthen and equip them to be Your hands, heart and voice to us when we need it most. Thank You that Your love is made tangible through the people whom You place in our lives. Forgive us for allowing our circumstances to overwhelm us to the point of isolation, rather than allowing those whom You bring to walk beside us, by Your grace. Teach us to trust You more, and to receive all that You lovingly offer. Show us how to love those around us in a way that listens, helps, holds, encourages, and supports best, in the same way that You do for us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for the gift of the people whom You have placed in our lives with purpose. May we too, be such people for others. Amen.

 

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

 

Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. – Romans 12:10

The Skies Don’t Lie

The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of His hands. – (Psalm 19:1, NIV)

The heavens tell about the glory of God. The skies announce what His hands have made. – (Psalm 19:1, ERV)

God’s splendor is a tale that is told; His testament is written in the stars. Space itself speaks His story every day through the marvels of the heavens. His truth is on tour in the starry vault of the sky, showing His skill in creation’s craftsmanship. – (Psalm 19:1, TPT)

 

Every morning, no matter the number of times I’ve been up in the night, nor the quality of sleep I’ve obtained, the handiwork of God is brilliantly displayed across the sky to remind me that He is present and that His truth remains. Whenever I am in a space of uncertainty, so often the words that bring comfort are from the Psalms. David was a man who endured trials and triumphs, and he recorded his heart after God with passion and honesty that is genuine and timeless throughout the ages. His recognition and awe at the handiwork of God captures my heart perfectly, as I watch the sunrise in wonder and amazement each morning.

Yesterday was another full day for mom. She had occupational therapy in the morning, lunch delivered and shared with two of her dearest friends midday, and then a late afternoon appointment with her primary care physician. The trip into town again went smoothly, and we are in awe of how God found the perfect PCP for mom. Her new doctor is a perfect fit, and sets our minds and hearts at ease, the moment she enters the room. All went smoothly, and we were on our way. After we had enjoyed dinner together back home and were ready to settle in to watch a movie, I checked mom’s phone for messages. There was a message from her doctor that must have come shortly after we left her office, and it left us both a bit unsettled. Mom just finished a 30-day heart-monitor study on June 10, and to our knowledge, it had been uneventful. The message implied that perhaps there was something to discuss, so we will be in contact with the doctor today to discover what exactly was found throughout the study. This is certainly a prayer point, as there are pros and cons to there being “something” there. A pro is that it could be the “why” as to what actually caused mom’s stroke. Additionally, if we know the what, it can be treated and prevented. However, an obvious con is that we do not want mom to have issues with her heart. God is greater. He knit her together in her mother’s womb and knows the number of hairs on her head. May we ever trust in He who hung the stars in the sky and causes the sun each day to rise.

 

God’s great glory shines,0612190457254276551488597199.jpg

Each morn as I rise;

His work is displayed,

Across painted skies.

Brilliant the colors,

Show His handiwork;

Dark becomes daybreak,

World’s finest artwork.

All of creation,

Makes God’s glory clear;

Present Creator,

Who chooses be near.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that the heavens declare Your glory and that Your handiwork is evident as we gaze across the sky. Thank You for the daily reminders of Your presence. Forgive us for our uncertainty, fearfulness and doubts as we continue to walk along a road where we cannot see past the step we are taking right now. Keep holding us close, reminding us that we are in Your hands and that You have a plan that is already well prepared. Show us how to love those around us as they seek to navigate their own road. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we continue to seek and trust, appreciate and stand in awe of all that You have done, are doing, and will continue to do. Amen.

 

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

 

For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. – Ephesians 2:10

Surrounded

“You will not have to fight this battle. Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the Lord will give you, Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Go out and face them tomorrow, and the Lord will be with you.” – (2 Chronicles 20:17, NIV)

“You will not have to fight this battle. Just stand there and watch the Lord save you. Judah and Jerusalem, don’t be afraid. Don’t worry, because the Lord is with you. So go out to stand against those people tomorrow.” – (2 Chronicles 20:17, ERV)

“Stand and watch, but do not fight the battle. There, you will watch the Eternal save you, Judah and Jerusalem. Do not fear or worry. Tomorrow, face the army and trust that the Eternal is with you.” – (2 Chronicles 20:17, VOICE)

 

After waking up and preparing my coffee, and settling to begin my devotions, I heard mom stirring in her room. Her movement is my cue to go check and see if she is ready to get up for a restroom run. Of course, she gladly took me up on the early morning offer, and after all was said and done, she determined that she would try to go back to bed and sleep a while longer. When I returned to my spot at the kitchen table with a view, the lyrics from a simple worship song kept playing on repeat in my head and heart:

This is how I fight my battles

This is how I fight my battles (repeats)

It may look like I’m surrounded 

But I’m surrounded by You (repeats)

(To listen, click here. )

As I looked in the word for similar, I found the story in 2 Chronicles, chapter 20. The gist is about God’s faithfulness in fighting on behalf of Judah and Jerusalem when they were surrounded on all sides. Reading verse seventeen, it was as if Jesus was saying to me: You will not have to fight this battle(alone). Just stand there and watch Me work. Shannon and Megan, don’t be afraid. Don’t worry, I am with You. Go out and take each tomorrow as it comes, for I will be with you. Now, I am not trying to twist scripture, nor change the meaning of a passage, but rather, I am attempting to share the encouragement gained from reading about God’s faithfulness to Judah and Jerusalem when they likely felt completely overwhelmed. For my sister and me, we too have had such “surrounded” moments as we navigate this road to recovery with mom. Just as the song came in like a flood and surrounded my heart and mind, so too has God’s faithful provision for mom, Megan and myself, when we needed it most. He knows our need and is full of goodness and grace, ready to move on our behalf. Personally, after my sister had to return home Thursday, I was a bit intimidated to take on the care giver role alone. I want to bless, protect, help and encourage mom every step of this journey as I love her well, and I feel completely inadequate and ill-equipped to do all that needs to be done. None of us are ever fully equipped nor prepared for the things to which we are called. I imagine that is part of God’s wise design. It keeps us dependent on Him to be our help, hope and strength, and helps us recognize His grace and provisions, both great and small.

Yesterday, mom and I were surrounded well by my husband and boys. It was so good to share meals together, visit together, and enjoy a family favorite game before bed. Watching the delight on mom’s face as she interacted with my guys, and the same look, mirrored on their faces, filled the places in my heart that were feeling a bit depleted. We have a bit more time altogether today before they head home, so I know that our cups will be fuller still, before the day’s end. May we ever seek the Lord to fight our battles, and know that we are surrounded by Him.

 

When life overwhelms,

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Surrounded by family. ❤ (Christmas 2018)

And battles rage on;

Turn in trust to God,

Whose help makes us strong.

Strong for the battles,

We’re chosen to fight;

Wisdom to listen,

Gain the Lord’s insight.

The courage to wait,

And trust in His plan;

Soak in surrender,

As for us, He’ll stand.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You fight on our behalf, even when we are unaware of how You are moving. Thank You that You are faithful to strengthen and equip us for each new day, and that You supply all that we need as the need arises. Forgive us for our fearfulness when we appear to be surrounded by more than we can bear. Teach us to recognize that we are actually surrounded by You. Show us how to walk by faith and not by sight, as You fight for us and through us. Lead us to love those around us well, so that they too may come to know and understand Your strength and grace and love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we fight our battles by surrendering to Your surrounding of us all. Amen.

 

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

 

For we live by faith, not by sight. – 2 Corinthians 5:7

Prepared Like a Bride

I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and He will dwell with them. They will be His people, and God Himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” – (Revelation 21:2-4, NIV)

And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God. It was prepared like a bride dressed for her husband. I heard a loud voice from the throne. It said, “Now God’s home is with people. He will live with them. They will be His people. God Himself will be with them and will be their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death, sadness, crying, or pain. All the old ways are gone.” – (Revelation 21:2-4, ERV)

 

God really is so good. Though I felt compelled to call this site Revelations in Writing, I have not spent much time dwelling in the book of Revelation. The content, quite honestly, makes me a bit anxious, rather than brings clarity. I don’t avoid it altogether, I just have not really dove deep into a dedicated study of that particular book. This morning, however, I was nearly moved to tears by the imagery found in the verses that appeared in my daily devotions. Being such a visual person, these verses struck a space in my heart that needed to imagine such incredible, beautiful hope.

It was a little less than a year ago, and I was the bride, dressing for my husband on our wedding day, right here at my mom’s house. Dear family and treasured friends joined us to celebrate our union before God in this gorgeous setting. As a girl who grew up caring far more about athletics and art than appearances, I have never been one to feel particularly “pretty” or “beautifully dressed”, but rather an artist who has fun with color and pattern and design. However, on my wedding day, I did feel like a bride who had been transformed for her groom – not because of my clothing or hair; it was the way I was viewed through the eyes of my groom.

Additionally, the hope that is held in these verses, offers a load far lighter than what I bore yesterday. Between the early morning’s fiasco, exhaustion, and then learning of the loss of my paternal grandmother, my heart was so heavy that it simply sat in my chest as a stone. I could not even feel because the weight was so great.

Mom struggled with word finding the first half of the day, as the lack of sleep had really taken a toll. We met her new in-home physical therapist, and were both very impressed and pleased. She will begin sessions three days per week, starting Monday. Speech therapy and occupational therapy are yet to be scheduled, but those should begin this coming week as well. She will have in-home nurse visits too, to be sure all is going as it should. So far, her care team is fantastic, and I am grateful that we have the opportunity to keep mom in her own home in Wenatchee.

All that to say, that the hope held in knowing that one day we will be with God, and He with us, where there will be no wheelchairs, monitors, bed rails, strokes, sickness, deaths, diseases, fears, frustration, tears, nor pain, is an incredible promise to hold in our hearts.

 

Imagine the bride,

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Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

On her wedding day;

Eager and ready,

For all that awaits.

Two lives full of hope,

Placed in the Lord’s hands;

As loved ones witness,

His unfolding plan.

How much greater still,

Will it be one day;

When God comes to dwell,

Among us, to stay.

All sickness and pain,

Death, hurt and disease;

Will no longer be,

In Him, we’ll be free.

No weight nor sorrow,

Just wonder and awe;

Joy in His presence,

No more sinful flaw.

Fear not His coming,

Instead, let hope rise;

There’s beauty beyond,

Our dreams realized.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are so good. Thank You that You take our heaviness and exchange it with hope. Thank You that the weight of this world may feel heavy for a season, but the hope of eternity is well worth the weight we bear throughout the various seasons in life. Thank You that You strengthen and equip us to carry whatever load lies before us, and You bring others alongside us to share the weight. Forgive us for thinking that we are meant to carry things alone, or that this is somehow all there is, forgetting that there is so much more beyond what is before us in the right now. Teach us to trust You with our today, tomorrow and forever. Show us how to love those around us in a way that helps them see the hope that goes beyond today. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we embrace the hope that is held in eternity with You, and the help You supply in the “right now”. Thank You that You speak to us individually, in the way that penetrates the places in our hearts that feel heaviest and need Your light to shine the brightest. Amen.

 

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

 

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. – Hebrews 13:8