Bloom Where You Are Planted

Therefore, since we are surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. – (Hebrews 12:1, NIV)

We have all these great people around us as examples. Their lives tell us what faith means. So we, too, should run the race that is before us and never quit. We should remove from our lives anything that would slow us down and the sin that so often makes us fall. – (Hebrews 12:1, ERV)

As for us, we have all of these great witnesses who encircle us like clouds. So we must let go of every would that has pierced us and the sin we so easily fall into. Then we will be able to run life’s marathon race with passion and determination, for the path has been already marked out before us. – (Hebrews 12:1, TPT)

 

This, this is why we are called to be in community. Though we can accomplish much through Christ on our own, we can do and be more when we are surrounded by others who walk alongside us as we navigate the journey to which we are called. Incredibly, everyone has a story to tell, and we each have encouragement to offer, based on our experiences and the person whom we have been created to be. Though the struggles and seasons of suffering stink, they often become the space where we find God has grown us the strongest. It is in such seasons that we learn perseverance and dependence on Christ, and have to let go of everything else that weighs us down if we wish to keep moving forward. One of the things that I have missed terribly throughout this trying season, is the consistent community and gathering together to worship and fellowship with friends who have become family at home. However, I know that their prayerful support has been a tremendous contribution to what has sustained us as we have navigated this new and unknown road. God has been faithful each step of the way, and we trust Him to continue as each of us prepare for the next season in mom’s journey to a full recovery.

For mom, yesterday began with some strong ongoing progress that took incredible strength and courage. What terrified mom a little over a week ago, still frightened her a bit, yet she did not hesitate to participate and do her best. Doing upper body work from a kneeling position on the floor is a scary space for mom. However, it is a position that forces her to utilize the right side of her upper body, that she desperately wants to regain. She knows that the reward is worth the risk, and willingly fended off fear to do the work required of her. Ever so slowly, mom is activating her shoulder and scapula. Each time she does the exercises to strengthen the muscles, she also is increasing the message pathways to movement. Later in the afternoon, following an errand outing for a few necessities, lunch and Dutch Bros, we returned home and mom was ready to do some walking. Normally, mom changes into her tennis shoes with an AFO (something foot orthotic that lifts her toes so they don’t drag or catch when she steps) in them, but she already had her crocs on and I suggested she give it a try. Much to her surprise, she was able to walk well in her crocs without the AFO. This is extraordinarily exciting news, as it means that she is actually lifting her right leg as she steps, and no longer just dragging it through. The more she lifts her right foot as she steps, the greater variety of terrain she will be able to take on. (She really wants to walk around her yard!) Mom’s great cloud of witnesses have been coming to see her, more and more. She recognizes the benefit of visitors, and is enjoying reconnecting with dear friends from church, Bible studies and the like. Her perseverance is an encouragement to us all. May we ever seek to surround ourselves in community, so that we may encourage one another to persevere on the path to which we have been called.

 

Seek be invested, img_2019-07-16_06-35-183702170351870846491.jpg

In community;

To learn and to grow,

Exponentially.

For each one planted,

Has something to give;

Wisdom to offer,

Strength from lessons lived.

Hearing from others,

Those far and those near;

Lifts up and strengthens,

Helps us persevere.

Reach out and grow roots,

Invest and make room;

Choose let others in,

Where you’re planted, bloom.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to be in community. Thank You that we can both gain and offer strength to those around us as we do life together in You. Forgive us for allowing ourselves to be isolated when the road is difficult. Thank You for those whom You place in our lives to keep community strong, even when we are not nearby. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would reach out to those around us, regardless of our circumstances, as You bring beauty from ashes and often use our own weakness as Your greatest strength through us. Show us how to love those around us well, so that they will be encouraged and built up; strengthened to persevere through all seasons. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we invest in the communities that You call us to, and praise You for the power to persevere that comes from You. Amen.

 

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

 

Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe. – Hebrews 12:28

 

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

Internal Investments Exceed External

Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. – (Proverbs 31:30)

 

How we present ourselves, may or may not be the whole picture. We deceive even ourselves, if we do not look at our lives through the lens of Christ. The external, what is seen, grows weary and worn; yet in Christ, our minds and spirits may be refreshed and renewed, day by day. A woman who recognizes who the Lord is, and invites Him to be seated in His proper position in her life, operates as He is calling her to live. As we choose to allow Christ to reign in our lives, His gifts flow through us, and we bear fruit, as others too, may come to see and know who He is, and what He has done for us all. May we rise up in reverence for the Risen Lord, and invite Him to rule and reign in our every word and deed.

 

Be not deceived,Internal Investments Exceed External

by beauty nor charm;

false illusions,

that unchecked, bring harm.

Beauty, it fades,

and charm is deceit;

fearing the Lord,

is wise, praiseworthy.

Christ is our rock,

on Whom we must stand;

all other things,

are just sinking sand.

Rise up in faith,

in our Holy Lord;

all unto Him,

our shield and our sword.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that though external things are fleeting, that which we invest in You, lasts forever. Thank You that as we grow in our understanding of who You are and how much You love us, You are pleased with our pursuit, and use us to turn and bless others. Forgive us for allowing the external voices to deceive our hearts into believing anything that would tie our value to what is seen on the outside, rather than what You are doing and have already done on the inside. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would make our priority the pursuit of You. Help us to love others well, just as You so completely love each of us. May many come into a saving relationship with You, Lord. Be exalted O God, as we see through deceit and beyond packaging, and grant us Your eyes to see and Your heart to love, as we walk in reverence of who You are and the splendor of all whom You have created. Amen.

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

He will yet fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with shouts of joy. – Job 8:21

Correction as a Catalyst for Change

If good people correct me, I will consider it a good thing. If they criticize me, I will accept it like a warm welcome. But my prayer will always be against the wicked and the evil that they do. – (Psalm 141:5, ERV)

 

Being rebuked or corrected by a righteous person is a kindness. If someone who is walking well with the Lord recognizes wrong in me and brings it to my attention, it is my job to humbly consider their words, keep quiet, and consider their correction an act of love. Any confusion or uncertainty about what has been spoken, ought to be brought before the Lord in prayer. We are shown how to present our petitions before the Lord in this way: Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. – (Psalm 139:24)

 

May we readily receive rebuke from the righteous, and prayerfully present ourselves to the Lord. Let the Lord search us and know us, so that we may be cleansed from all unrighteousness and led in the light of life everlasting.

 

Let each correction,Christ Corrects the Called

be considered, heard;

presented to Christ,

compared to His word.

Is what has been said,

truth spoken in love?

If so, receive it,

direct from above.

Continue to pray,

against all the wrong;

down with the wicked,

lift praise up in song.

For God sees and knows,

our heart and our mind;

He longs to lead us,

to glory divine.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are good and loving, and that You place us in one another’s lives to speak truth in love. Thank You that correction is for our benefit, and intended to draw us closer to You. Forgive us for refusing correction or being defensive when another speaks truth in love to us. Teach us to trust You more, so that we may keep quiet and hear what is spoken, and bring anything that we are uncertain about before You. Lead us to love others with a love that is not afraid to speak truth in such a way, that the recipient is directed straight to You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, Lord. Be exalted O God, as we receive correction and change direction where it is necessary. Amen.

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

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

Realistic Assessment and Commitment

“For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.” – (Luke 14:11)

Humility is not about outward appearances in so much as it is an inward working of the heart.  A humble heart compares oneself to Christ alone, and recognizes one’s own sinfulness and the unquestionable desperate need for a Savior.  In the same state of self-reflection, “a humble heart also recognizes their gifts and strengths, and is willing to use them as directed by Christ.  Humility is not self-degradation; it is realistic assessment and commitment to serve.” (NIV footnotes)

So, how do we do this?  In a society built upon appearances, how do we keep our priorities in order?  It seems that the most straightforward way to keep our focus in the right direction, is if we view everything through the lens of loving God, and loving others.  If we are looking up, and then looking out, there is little time to look down.  Proper perspective keeps the main things the main things, as He is quick to enlighten, encourage, correct and redirect, as we fix our eyes on Him.  When our communication with Christ is constant, we are available to hear what He has to say, and we are less likely to become too puffed up, or conversely, to listen to the lies that would try to destroy our worth in Him.  May we hear Him clearly, so that we are able to realistically assess and commit to serve.

Humble in heart,Realistic Assessment and Commitment

may not mean bow down;

listen to Christ,

for way to be found.

Seek only Him,

compare not to man;

only to Christ,

Revealer of plans.

Recognize gifts,

He’s given to you;

ask Him to show,

serving we’re to do.

Take not the best,

offer to others;

honor each as,

sisters and brothers.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son to show us what humility looks like.  Thank You Jesus, that You are gentle and humble in heart, yet not lowly and meek.  Thank You that You showed us strength of character and grace, yet never considered anyone nor any task, beneath You.  Thank You for modeling what true humility ought to be.  Forgive us for attempted appearances or for making comparisons, and help us to fix our eyes on You.  Teach us how we are to love You and others well, and in the process, teach us how we can continually assess where we are as opposed to where You are calling us to go, and that we may commit our lives to serve one another in love.  May many come to know who You are, as we love and serve You with our lives.  Let the lost be found, and the hurting be held in Your hands.  Be glorified, Lord God.  Amen.

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