Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. – (Hebrews 4:16, NIV)
With Jesus as our high priest, we can feel free to come before God’s throne where there is grace. There we receive mercy and kindness to help us when we need it. – (Hebrews 4:16, ERV)
So let us step boldly to the throne of grace, where we can find mercy and grace to help when we need it most. – (Hebrews 4:16, VOICE)
This is a timely reminder this morning, as I find myself on the brink of burnout. It is easy to remember to approach God on His throne of grace to petition on behalf of those around me, but I don’t think that I go before God often enough for the mercy and grace that I truly need. Don’t get me wrong, I pray for strength to get through the day and patience to persevere; but really boldly stepping into His throne room to rest and refresh and meet my own deepest needs – seldom, to rarely, at best. Perhaps it is a matter of looking for ways to keep a Sabbath. Rest is not my forte, and to do so would require serious intentionality. To find grace and mercy and help when we need it most, looks different for each person. For me, I feel closest to our Creator when I am outside in the beauty that He has made. When my body is moving, my mind and heart are able to find rest. For others, rest is a matter of being still. What does appear to be clear is that I need to make time to be intentionally in a space where my heart and mind are fixed on God, just being present (without studying, writing, or any sort of specific doing), so that His mercy, grace and help may be made tangibly known. May we each be intentional to step boldly to the throne of grace, so that we may find mercy and grace and help when we need it most.
Go to the throne room,
Seek God and His grace;
Rest in His presence,
Receive His embrace.
For as we choose rest,
Let our minds be still;
God’s goodness and help,
Floods as mercy fills.
Choose set aside time,
By grace, enter in;
Be refreshed in love,
It’s where peace begins.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You love us with an everlasting love. Thank You that You made the way through Your Son, so that we can come before Your throne and be in Your presence, and You grant us mercy and grace and the help we are needing. Thank You that You are greater than every challenge we face, and that You provide Your help and presence, with mercy and grace. Forgive us for not being intentional to seek time just being present with You. Teach us how to rest in You. Show us what it means to find rest and refreshment in Your throne room. Lead us to love those around us in a way that encourages, strengthens and refreshes where weariness is setting in. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love You and are forever grateful that we can come into Your presence and receive mercy and grace and help. Amen.
Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from Him. – Psalm 62:5
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,
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;
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.
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
I love You, Lord, my strength. – (Psalm 18:1, NIV)
I love You, Lord! You are my strength. – (Psalm 18:1, ERV)
I love You, God – You make me strong. – (Psalm 18:1, MSG)
Everything about God is good. From sunrise to sunset, His wonders and provisions never cease to amaze me. He grants strength when we are weary, hope when we despair, and joy when sorrow seeks to sink our hearts. I am not certain of what has caused the shift, but there has been a fortification of sorts in my heart that was not present prior. Where I was anxious, I find that I have trust; where I was weary and exhausted, I have renewed strength and hope. It may be in part the new strides that mom is making with her walking, but honestly, I think that it is a work that God is doing within me. There is no magical timeline of healing and recovery that can indicate an end date to when mom will be restored and ready to be independent again, yet I find my heart in a space that is finding it easier to simply stay present and trust. I am embracing each day, each moment as they come, and celebrating the victories – great and small, appreciating the fact that I am overwhelmingly blessed to have all of this precious time with my mom. We laugh often, and there is little sweeter than our early morning wake-up routine of her surprise first call of the day, be it a song, a phrase, or something completely silly, we usually end up giggling about it as we waltz to the restroom before breakfast. Together, we sit in wonder and awe as we watch the sunrise together. Incredibly, the painting across the sky transforms rapidly, and may begin in shades of pink and blue, turn to gray, then reappear in a fiery orange glow. That was our gift from God this morning. 😊
Yesterday was quite busy in the morning, as mom had occupational therapy and physical therapy back-to-back, filling the late morning slot. During OT, Larissa, mom’s wonderful occupational therapist, devised a simple way to tape mom’s shoulder to provide a bit of extra support, as the right one is beginning to have a bit of twinge pain with some movements. The added support really seems to help. Physical therapy was a fantastic continuation of working to strengthen mom’s right leg and keep up her hallway walking. After the therapists had gone, mom was a little restless, and I talked her into a quick field trip into town to go through the Dutch Bros drive through. We both benefited from an escape, and it was a gorgeous sunny day. The remainder of our day was rather quiet, spent resting, stretching, doing laundry and the like. Mom slept very well, with only one wake-up in the night, so we are both rested and refreshed this morning. God is faithful, and He is always ready to supply the strength that we need.
O Lord, You are love,
Strength, power and grace;
Much more than enough,
To conquer each day.
Not in my own strength,
But only in Yours;
For it’s Your strong hand,
That opens locked doors.
Lord, show me the way,
You’d have me to go;
Each new direction,
By Your love, make known.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are the One who gives us strength to navigate this life according to Your purpose and plan. Thank You that You turn seemingly horrendous detours into beautiful routes we would have never known. Forgive us for our fears and doubts when trials and tribulations derail us. Show us how much strength You are willing to deposit within us, so that we can navigate the new that stands before us. Teach us how to love those around us in a way that offers strength and encouragement when theirs feels depleted. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, our strength, as we praise You for Your faithful provision. Amen.
It is God who arms me with strength and keeps my way secure. – 2 Samuel 22:33
Yours, O Lord, is the greatness, the power, the glory, the victory, and the majesty. Everything in the heavens and on earth is Yours, O Lord, and this is Your kingdom. We adore You as the One who is over all things. – (1 Chronicles 29:11, NLT)
Greatness, power, glory, victory, and honor belong to You, because everything in heaven and on earth belongs to You! The kingdom belongs to You, Lord! You are the head, the Ruler over everything. – (1 Chronicles 29:11, ERV)
All that is great and powerful and glorious and victorious and majestic is Yours, O Eternal One. Indeed, everything that is in the heavens and the earth belongs to You. The kingdom belongs to You, O Eternal One, and You are the head of it all. – (1 Chronicles 29:11, VOICE)
Everything is His. Sometimes, it is challenging to remember that. Yesterday began on very little sleep. Mom needed to get up a few times in the night, and my own heightened awareness seemed to get the better of me, stealing the precious time afforded between “get-ups”, and when she was ready to be up for breakfast a few short minutes after I gave in and got up to do my devotions, that was the end of any possible rest opportunities for me for the morning. Our day was filled with a good sort of busy, as dear “framily” whom we have known for nearly my entire life, stopped by for a quick hug and “hello”, on their way through to Leavenworth. Their visit was a wonderful boost for mom, and a great encouragement for all. The day unfolded with far more appointments than anticipated, as we ended up with a quick meeting with her case manager, a physical therapy appointment (that was indeed scheduled), and met the speech therapist for an entry assessment to determine a starting point for the work that will be done for recovery. During physical therapy, Victor had mom doing new and more challenging exercises than she had ever done before. We were all excited and encouraged by her strength and resolve to do the hard work, and discover new things that she is capable of doing right now. Her speech assessment went equally well, as Jim was thrilled with her starting point, and extremely positive about the outlook for her rehabilitation potential. Impressed with the connections she has already reestablished; he was grinning ear-to-ear as he entered his notes in preparation for what is yet to come. Once the dust had settled and everyone had gone, we had thoughts of watching a movie before dinner. Barely five minutes in, mom recognized her own need for rest, and let me know she needed to go lay down. Rather than rest myself, I hopped online to determine whether or not Instacart is available in mom’s area. To my relief, it is, and I did some grocery shopping online, to be delivered within a few short hours. Upon completion, exhaustion set in. I spoke with my sweet spouse, and was in nearly meltdown mode. Thankfully, he is patient and kind, and simply offered words of love and encouragement in my depleted state. After a few hours, the delivery of our groceries, and a quick call to my sister, I woke mom for dinner. I’m not sure if it was dinner, the delivery, the check-in with my sister, seeing mom rested, my conversation with my Viking, or purely the grace of God, but I had a second wind that carried me through the remainder of the evening.
Everything belongs to God. My need for rest, mom’s sleep patterns, and the grace needed to get through. Last night, mom slept all the way until 3 am, which is huge, and not that far from my normal waking hours on a work day. I am far more rested this morning, and refreshed in the hope of a new day. God is good, and the victory is His as we navigate each step of this journey.
Yours is the greatness,
All power and praise;
Lord of the heavens,
And King of our days.
All of existence,
Is because of You;
Grace for the journey,
Your love sees us through.
Forever our hearts,
In awe, we shall stand;
As You hold us up,
In Your mighty hands.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that all greatness, power, glory, majesty and splendor are Yours, as everything in heaven and earth belong to You. Thank You that You are head over all, and that nothing is beyond Your reach. Thank You that You see us, hear us, and know our needs – great and small. Forgive us for forgetting how faithful You are, even in the little things. Teach us to trust You more, even for the things that seem insignificant. Show us how to love those around us in a way that helps others grasp Your glory. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You and trust all in Your hands. Amen.
The Father loves the Son and has placed everything in His hands. – John 3:35
Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. – (Matthew 11:28, NIV)
Come to Me all of you who are tired from the heavy burden you have been forced to carry. I will give you rest. – (Matthew 11:28, ERV)
Are you weary, carrying a heavy burden? Then come to me. I will refresh your life, for I am your oasis. – (Matthew 11:28, TPT)
Weariness is worn on the faces of myself and my colleagues, as we press in and power through this final week prior to spring break. Though there were a few snow days sprinkled in, the stretch between winter break and this well-timed rest in the spring, feels like a marathon. Between escalating behaviors, time commitments that extend the already busy hours of each day, and the plague of viruses that have made their way around, finally arriving at today, the last day prior to break, feels miraculous. God knows what we need. Next week is a provided opportunity to lay down burdens and be refreshed. I love The Passions Translation, as the imagery of God being our oasis is outstanding. An oasis in the desert of exhaustion is exactly where I am ready to go. May we all run to our Redeemer, who is ready to receive our burdens and exchange them for real rest and refreshment.
When heavy burdens,
Overwhelm our hearts;
We need seek the Lord,
In Whom rest shall start.
God is our sweet space,
Where true rest is found;
Strength when we’re weary,
And grace to slow down.
Slow in His presence,
Renewal shall come;
Our Great Provider,
Where true peace is from.
Rest for the body,
And peace for our minds;
The love of Jesus,
Is gracious and kind.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You invite us to bring You our heavy burdens. Thank You that as we give all to You, You grant us rest in Your love. Thank You that You are our oasis in the desert of weariness. Forgive us for allowing the weight of the world to remain on our shoulders when You did not design us to carry so much. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would bring our burdens before You, allowing You room to grant us reprieve and true rest. Show us how to lay all things down and find rest in You. Help us to love those around us in such a way, that they too, may know real rest in Your goodness and grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we run to You for rest and lay our burdens before You. Amen.
But if from there you seek the Lord your God, you will find Him if you seek Him with all your heart and with all your soul. – Deuteronomy 4:29
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of others. – (Philippians 2:3-4, NIV)
In whatever you do, don’t let selfishness or pride be your guide. Be humble, and honor others more than yourselves. Don’t be interested only in your own life, but care about the lives of others too. – (Philippians 2:3-4, ERV)
Don’t let selfishness and prideful agendas take over. Embrace true humility, and lift your heads to extend love to others. Get beyond yourselves and protecting your own interests; be sincere, and secure your neighbors’ interests first. – (Philippians 2:3-4, VOICE)
This passage is a reminder to conduct ourselves with an “otherly” outlook. What this means is that we ought to consider others, not just self. As we operate in our daily lives, we need to value others – their opinions, interests, time, state of mind, and their entire existence. It does not mean that we have to agree with all that they think or do, but rather we must value the person and treat them accordingly. Humility listens and loves and honors others first. If our focus is on loving and valuing others, our own selfish tendencies are set aside. May we seek and depend on the Lord to lead us, as we look to His example to carry this out by loving and treating others with His very best in mind.
In all that I do,
May I set aside;
My own selfishness,
That’s the cause of pride.
Instead, help me seek,
To see others first;
To listen and love,
Help each know their worth.
May my sense of self,
And view of others;
Be seen through Your eyes,
All sisters, brothers.
For You showed us how,
Jesus led the way;
To do all in love,
And extend Your grace.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son to show us how to live and love with others in mind. Thank You that through Him, we too, can love in the same way. Forgive us for the times that our own agendas and pride have prevented us from loving others in the way in which You intended. Teach us to trust You more, so that we seek Your heart and eyes to be the lens through which we see the world. Show us how to love those around us in a way that demonstrates how much they are valued. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to show us how to let go of our own pride and agenda, and live lives that are “otherly”. Amen.
A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed. – Proverbs 11:25
Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. – (Matthew 11:29, NIV)
Accept my teaching. Learn from me. I am gentle and humble in spirit. And you will be able to get some rest. – (Matthew 11:29, ERV)
Simply join your life with Mine. Learn my ways and you’ll discover that I’m gentle, humble, and easy to please. You will find refreshment in Me. – (Matthew 11:29, TPT)
Jesus longs for all to draw near to Him. He is gentle and humble, willing to teach us the way in which we are meant to live. Rest and refreshment are found as we seek our Savior. The yoke that Christ offers is light and unhindered, whereas on our own, the weight of the world rests heavily and wears us out. May we answer the call of Christ who is drawing us near, and allow His heart to lead us and His love to be our strength.
The way of the Lord,
Is loving and right;
He grants us His grace,
Calls us His delight.
Drawn unto Himself,
His heart is to give;
Rest to the weary,
And grace to forgive
So, let us draw near,
With hearts full of praise;
Lay our burdens down,
And walk in His ways.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your goodness and grace. Thank You that as we learn from You and seek time with You, our lives begin to reflect Your heart to those around us. Forgive us for the times that we neglect to seek You as we go. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would learn from You and share Your heart with the world. Show us how to love those around us according to Your good and perfect will. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek to learn from You and share Your love with all those whom we encounter. Amen.
A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed. – Proverbs 11:25
As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is My word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to Me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it. – (Isaiah 55:10-11, NIV)
Rain and snow fall from the sky and don’t return until they have watered the ground. Then the ground causes the plants to sprout and grow, and they produce seeds for the farmer and food for the people to eat. In the same way, My words leave My mouth, and they don’t come back without results. My words make the things happen that I want to happen. – (Isaiah 55:10-11, ERV)
It has been a typically torrential week, weather-wise, in the great Pacific Northwest. Rain has poured down daily, and the mountains are gaining significant snow to help us all remember that December is actually here. Though I prefer the sunshine and sweeter, more leisurely days of summer, there are blessings to behold as the rains come down. Yesterday, as my best running buddy and I were braving the elements on a run, we hit a favorite sweet spot that is an actual decline (as everywhere we run in our town is hilly) an old song I love kept going through my head – “Send Your Rain”. As the lyrics were on repeat as we ran, I thought about the benefit and beauty that our wet winter weather affords our area. It is lush and green and gorgeous, and there is a view of either the mountains or water, (or both!) nearly everywhere one goes. In the same way, as I immerse myself in His word each morning, what I learn seems to be recalled at the most opportune moments, when I need to be reminded most. God is a God of intention, and He is able to use everything for good. Even the wet, cold days of winter serve a purpose, as they bring bounty as we walk into spring. (The jury is still out on spiders though, just sayin’…) May we ever seek the Lord and His word, recognizing that what He says is true and what He promises, He will do. May we allow Him reign in our hearts.
Each raindrop that falls,
Has purposed intent;
To water the earth,
This grace, heaven-sent.
The same with God’s word,
Each spoken with care;
To guide and instruct,
Love, help and prepare.
Both are sent for growth,
For their yield is great;
Each to be absorbed,
New life, generate.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your rain and Your word. Thank You that both are used to nurture and grow. Thank You that You give us tangible, visible examples in the world around us to grasp that which might not be clearly seen. Forgive us for not absorbing all that we can from Your word, as You generously give us all that we need to navigate well. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would seek You and rely on Your word. Show us how to love those around us well, so that they may feel refreshed and grow in the grace that You so lovingly give. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we receive Your reign in our lives and soak in all that You speak to our hearts. Amen.
The Lord reigns, let the earth be glad; let the distant shores rejoice. – Psalm 97:1