Goodness and Love that Won’t Quit

Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever. – (1 Chronicles 16:34, NIV)

Give thanks to the Lord because He is good. His faithful love will last forever. – (1 Chronicles 16:34, ERV)

Give thanks to God – He is good and His love never quits. – (1 Chronicles 16:34, MSG)

 

Though I have reflected upon this verse on more than one occasion, the words perfectly capture my heart for God, as I am reminded again and again of His love and His goodness. The last twenty-four hours have been a wonderful whirlwind of family time, as Mark and I have been blessed with the opportunity to be at my sister and brother-in-love’s home to spend time with mom and the whole family. My day began with tender time, reminiscent of where my season with mom began daily, as I was able to greet her as she woke (or in this instance, discover that she was already awake and quietly waiting like a ninja), and together, prepare for the day ahead. As she and I ate breakfast, others began to appear downstairs in the kitchen. It wasn’t long before we were able to interact with every family member, sans the fourteen-year-old, who was still sleeping. 😉 There was a relaxed ebb and flow, as my sister had a study session to attend; my eldest nephew, a practice; while the rest of us moved about the house visiting and preparing for mom’s next-door-neighbors from back home, to come join us for lunch. The visit was wonderful and a blessing to all. After Ken and Karen departed for the next outing of their day, mom, Mark and I decided to go on an adventure of our own, leaving time and space for Meg and Scott to scoot out and join their besties for some time together. The three of us ended up in Corvallis, and thoroughly enjoyed the break in the weather as we wandered along the river walk in the sunshine. We even ventured into a few shops in town on our way back to the car, taking in the town in a fashion typical of our exploratory ways. From there, we decided to try a favorite spot of Meg and Scott’s for a light dinner. We quickly discovered why it was a favorite, and delighted in our dining experience together. Once back home, we set to a game of “Dirty Marbles” (a family favorite that is a cross between Sorry and Chinese Checkers). When we were nearly finished, our nephews returned home, and no longer “sleepy” Skyler, asked to join the next game with a mischievous glint in his eyes. The game was a hilarious back and forth battle, enjoyed by all. By the time we finished, we all were ready to retire for the evening. Our time together reminds me of the goodness of God, and how His love never quits. May we give thanks to the Lord for His heart for us, as His love is everlasting.

 

All thanks be to God, img_2019-10-20_08-25-315565891628329069230.jpg

Who’s loving and kind;

He blesses our hearts,

With our need in mind.

He knows all the ways,

That fill our soul best;

Encourage our heart,

And grant our minds rest.

For all of these things,

And endlessly more;

I give the Lord thanks,

As love is outpoured.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are good and that Your love never ends. Thank You that You know our needs and bless our hearts in the very best ways possible. Forgive us for our worries, fears and weariness that overwhelm when we lose sight of You. Teach us to turn to You in all things and at all times. Show us how to love those around us in ways that demonstrate Your endless goodness and love in tangible ways. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You thanks forever for Your goodness and love. Amen.

 

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

 

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. – Colossians 3:15

Trust for Peace

You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in You. – (Isaiah 26:3, NIV)

God, You give true peace to people who depend on You, to those who trust in You. – (Isaiah 26:3, ERV)

You will keep the peace, a perfect peace, for all who trust in You, for those who dedicate their hearts and minds to You. – (Isaiah 26:3, VOICE)

 

God does exactly what He says He will do, when we do our part. That does not mean that we have to perform at a certain level, or achieve a specific status, but rather we must trust Him and rely on Him to be God, in order for there to be room in our hearts and lives for Him to move. Yes, I believe in God with all of my heart, mind, soul and strength, however, there are times that I know my trust wavers. It is in those moments of troubled trust, that perfect peace escapes me. Sadly, I don’t think the peace is gone, as much as I cannot feel nor find it in my stirred-up state of being. When I slow down and recognize that I am trying to control circumstances that are out of my control, and give the reigns back to the One who is a far better driver than I, it is then that I find the peace that I have needed all along. There is a large learning curve for this for me in my current season. As a wife, still in her first year of a new marriage, the mother of twin seventeen-year-old boys who have always been in my direct care, a daughter, a sister, a friend, an invested member of my church community, a runner, and so on, I have had many moments that I have desperately wanted to be in one place when I was in another, or help, or participate, or orchestrate, and I could not… I know that people, my family and friends, understand and are gracious, however, I find that is not always true within me. It typically takes a very honest and defeated conversation over the phone with my persistently patient husband, to get to the place of accepting what is, letting go of what I cannot control, and placing all back in the rightful hands of God. It is a season, and I am learning to let go and trust big. Peace is far preferred to its absence, so today, I choose again to trust.

Yesterday, mom and I had a good day. It was a strange start, but went well. She was rather tired as the day began, and went back to sleep after breakfast. When she woke, she was really groggy, so her preference was to relax and watch a movie so that she could continue to wake up more gently. Later in the morning, we ventured into town again. This time, after the coffee drive thru, we drove to a store in town so that I could run in and buy a few CDs for my drive home in the afternoon. I offered to bring her in with me, but she was not ready yet. She happily waited in the car while I ran in and quickly selected my music and returned to her. We drove around a bit more, then went to a restaurant in town that she had wanted to go. Again, she had me run in to get food for takeout. By the time we had arrived home, settled in and eaten lunch, she was a bit weary. Mom determined that she would take a bit of a snooze. The rest was short-lived, and when she got up, we decided to work on some of her exercises. She did some hall walking and some stretches, then we relaxed and hung out until Sharon, my honorary sister, (grew up across the street and we literally lived at each other’s homes our entire childhood) came to stay with mom until Megan arrived, so that I could get driving home before dark. Meg arrived safely and on time, and Sharon and mom had a good visit. I made it home in excellent time, and was wrapped up in giant arms the moment I pulled into the driveway. 😊

May we ever trust in the Lord, for He is good, and He is our peace; always.

 

The God of all grace, img_2019-07-06_07-24-202660716920165927309.jpg

Promoter of peace;

Lavishly He loves,

Good that will not cease.

As we trust in Him,

Peace shall abound more;

For fears fall away,

Hope brings us ashore.

God knows what we need,

His heart is to bless;

Keep trusting in Him,

He hears each request.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You bring peace as we trust in You. Thank You that peace is not dependent on our circumstances, but rather it is dependent on our awareness of Your presence. Forgive us for the times that we allow ourselves to get worked up and worried about what is happening around us, rather than allowing You to do the work within us. Teach us to trust You more. Show us how to be ambassadors of Your perfect peace to those around us as we love others in the same way that You love each of us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose to trust You to be our peace in all things and at all times. Amen.

 

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

 

Those who know Your name trust in You, for You, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek You. – Psalm 9:10

Automatic Responses

May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Jesus had. – (Romans 15:5, NIV)

All patience and encouragement comes from God. And I pray that God will help you all agree with each other, as Christ Jesus wants. – (Romans 15:5, ERV)

I pray that our God, who calls you and gives you perseverance and encouragement, will join all of you together to share one mind according to Jesus the Anointed. – (Romans 15:5, VOICE)

 

This road we are walking alongside mom, as she journeys to recovery from her stroke, is certainly the epitome of an example of needing to walk forward in all patience, endurance and encouragement that comes from God. It has been by His grace, that we have been able to make decisions in agreement in love, with mom’s input and her very best in mind. Incredibly, one month to the day from when she was admitted to the ER for her stroke, she will transition to her home to begin the in-home care portion of her recovery and healing. Though the idea of moving mom to her house in less than a week is rather intimidating to all of us, the hope held in the potential benefits far outweigh our fears of the unknown. Additionally, both Meg and I will be able to be present for the transition time, as we discover and establish a new routine and figure out how to best navigate mom living back at home. Her mobility is still limited, and she will be moving home with the aid of a wheelchair. She is working on walking with assistance, but she is not yet walking without help. Mom is stable to stand, and does a fantastic job with transferring from chair to other seated spaces. Research indicates that most grow and thrive at a much more rapid rate in their own familiar surroundings. Based on the automatic responses we have seen from her; I believe this wholeheartedly.

Last evening was a perfect example. It was clear that mom is getting more and more back to herself, as she asked me to call her to let her know when I had arrived safely home last evening. I made certain that I had all of the correct information to reach her in her room, prior to my drive home. After a bit of orchestrating, I was able to get through. It was the most incredible thing – my mom sounded like herself on the phone! You see, the stroke has affected her voice, as the message to her vocal cords has somehow been compromised, so she is very soft-spoken right now. However, normally (pre-stroke) anytime that my mom, sister or I speak with each other on the phone, we are accused of speaking rather loudly. (I think we are just extremely excited to share with each other 😊Anyway, the voice that answered the line when I called (knowing it was me, as the nurse had let her know because I had to contact the nurse’s station first) was the loud, animated mom voice that I know so well. We were talking and laughing and my sweet husband was sitting beside me, shaking his head, grinning from ear-to-ear, in recognition of the incredible voice that was coming through the phone. We did not talk too long, and her voice did quiet down a bit, but she heard and felt the strength she had projected as well.

These are the sort of automatic responses that seem to happen when her mind is relaxed and fixed on home. We are praying and trusting that God will continue to move mountains on mom’s behalf, as He provides and heals and leads us each step of the way on this wild and wonderful road to recovery.

 

The God of all hope,

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Always an automatic smile with the grandsons. ❤

Grants love that’s secure;

Peace, love and patience,

The strength to endure.

Likewise, He will give,

Us both heart and mind;

To walk united,

Be gracious and kind.

Let us ever give,

All into His hands;

For not our own will,

But Your faithful plan.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your ways are higher than our ways, and You know the outcome before we even begin. Thank You that You give endurance and encouragement, peace and unity, as we lean into You. Forgive us for our fears in the unknown that lies before us. Teach us to trust You more. Show us Your power again, as You have done so many times before. Lead us to love those around us in a way that grants encouragement to the weary and peace and unity, where it is lacking. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we place all that lies ahead in Your hands. Amen.

 

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

 

The end of a matter is better than its beginning, and patience is better than pride. – Ecclesiastes 7:8

 

 

Abundant Grace

The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. – (1 Timothy 1:14, NIV)

But our Lord gave me a full measure of His grace. And with that grace came the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. – (1 Timothy 1:14, ERV)

I was flooded with such incredible grace, like a river overflowing its banks, until I was full of faith and love for Jesus, the Anointed One! – (1 Timothy 1:14, TPT)

 

Grace is the freely given, unmerited favor and love of God. Daily, as we journey on this road to recovery with mom, we are acutely aware of God’s grace. His love abounds in the little things all around us every day, we simply need slow down, and watch for them. Yesterday, being a Sunday, was a day of rest for mom in her stroke rehabilitation program. It was odd to not have any therapy sessions scheduled, and the day was probably extra off, being Mother’s Day. At first, mom was quite annoyed that she was not actively working toward recovery yesterday, but when I reminded her that even God, Himself, rested on the seventh day, she agreed it might be okay if she too, had a day of rest. The day began with Mark, the boys and me all arriving together to visit with mom before the fellas had to head back home. There were many smiles and some animated banter, and before we knew it, it was time for the guys to get going. Mom and I visited and made a few phone calls together, then after another art project to add to her ceiling collection and lunch, we relaxed and watched a movie. Of course, after sitting for the length of an entire film, we both had grown restless, and were ready to head outdoors. Sun hats and sunglasses on, I quickly pushed her out of her wing, and we were riding the elevator to freedom. There was a warm wind blowing steadily as we made our way out, and we began with a lap around the building. After that, per her request, we moved east, and were both drawn in the direction of some beautifully blooming rhododendrons. We decided we ought to take a quick photo or two for posterity, and for my sister before heading back. My hat was blown off once on the return route, so we both ditched our hats and stashed them in her “magical” chair bag, as we did not want them to land in the street swept muck on the side of the road. Upon our return, I worked with mom on a few of her stretching things for PT, and she was very encouraged to use her right leg to practice pushing off from the hip. I love watching her face light up in recognition that she is indeed moving herself with that leg that she thought was done. Grace after grace. God is so good. May we ever be aware of the goodness and grace poured upon us, though we deserve it not, and give praise to Him to is the Giver of every good and perfect gift.

 

Grace is the Lord’s gift, img_2019-05-13_06-14-17471261504932170441.jpg

He gives unto us;

Though it’s not deserved,

He gives in excess.

Such love in all things,

Both great and the small;

All matter to Him,

He knows and sees all.

Every moment,

Each breath that we take;

The Lord is aware,

And He won’t forsake.

He is the anchor,

Our safe hiding place;

Love overwhelming,

Extravagant grace.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You love us beyond what we can even begin to fathom. Thank You that Your grace is granted in all things, great and small. Thank You for Your goodness that makes Your love tangible in everyday little things so often. Forgive us for being blind to Your blessings. Give us eyes to see, ears to hear and hearts to understand how deep and how wide Your grace runs for us. Teach us to trust You more, as our human hearts grow weary and fearful when we cannot see or understand the road ahead. Show us how to love those around us in great and small ways, so that they too, may recognize glimpses of the grace that You have for us all. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we hold fast to our faith and give You praise for the overwhelming grace that You give us each and every day. Amen.

 

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

 

Grace and beauty can fool you, but a woman who respects the Lord should be praised. – Proverbs 31:30

Courage Comes

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go. – (Joshua 1:9, NIV)

Remember, I commanded you to be strong and brave. Don’t be afraid, because the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go. – (Joshua 1:9, ERV)

Haven’t I commanded you? Strength! Courage! Don’t be timid; don’t get discouraged. God, your God, is with you every step you take. – (Joshua 1:9, MSG)

 

As my sister and I navigate these days with our mom, into this vast unknown, there are many barriers and bumps that cause fear and discouragement. On our own, we would be huddled in the corner in the fetal position, rocking back and forth in a puddle of tears; sorrow and fear, anger and devastation overtaking us. Thankfully, we are not on our own. The battle belongs to the Lord, and He has surrounded us with an army of warriors who love fiercely – from our families, friends who are framily, to all those near and far who love mom deeply. Even the hospital staff is wonderful, and they are fighting fiercely to deal with the insurance loopholes required to move her to the very best acute care facility available. Mom continues to make progress with her speaking, at least when she is relaxed and speaking with Megan and me, but we are finding that she struggles when there are more than one or two people in the room, particularly those she does not know really well. Words are far more difficult to find when she is put on the spot, and when she feels pressed, she becomes quiet and just shakes her head with a disgusted smile. That smile makes me die inside a little more, each time I see it. My mama bear instincts rise up, and I want to throat punch people who say foolish things that do NOT encourage her, or motivate her to keep pressing forward. There are some enormous decisions to be made, and I am in need of covering as I contact HR to find out what my options are for FML in the coming weeks. What we do know is that mom will be at the Good Samaritan Acute Care Facility in Puyallup. Additionally, through dear friends, we have discovered that a mutual friend is actually on staff there! We see evidence of God’s hands all over this journey, it is just a road we wish we’d never had to walk. God knows, and we know He is with us; we just need to keep our eyes and ears open for the reminders. Humanity is fragile, but God is strong. May we ever depend on Him to be our strength and courage for every step we take.

 

Be strong, take courage, img_2019-05-02_06-41-226964497963981900913.jpg

For our Lord is near;

Despite what we see,

We need never fear.

Into His great hands,

We are firmly held;

The strength of His love,

Cause doubts be dispelled.

Lean into Jesus,

For in Him is found;

All safety and grace,

In strength, to abound.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our strength in weakness, and that You are our courage when we feel afraid. Forgive us for our fear of what we perceive, as we only see in part, what You already know. Lord Jesus, please go before us and prepare the way. Orchestrate the transportation to the new facility for mom – the very best and most comfortable method to safely transport; the timing that You have already set in place; please expedite the insurance paperwork and grant favor so that the current out-of-network status will be overturned, and above all else, continue to bring complete and total healing and restoration to mom. May her heart and mind and attitude be an example to those who do not know You yet, and draw others into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, even in this, for You are good, even when circumstances are not. Amen.

 

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

 

Be still and know that I am God… – Psalm 46:10a

Make It So

Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” – (Matthew 19:26, NIV)

Jesus looked at them and said, “This is something that people cannot do. But God can do anything.” – (Matthew 19:26, ERV) 

Jesus looked at them intently and said, “Humanly speaking, no one. But with God, everything is possible.” – (Matthew 19:26, TLB)

 

Typically, I am a faith-filled realist, that sees the hope. I look at what is, but trust in what shall be. This week, my world has been shaken like never before. Yes, I know that God is good and that He has us, but if I can be real and raw with you – this sucks! My mom is the matriarch of our family, a rock, a love, willing to go anywhere, do anything, and friend and confidant to all whom she meets. To know her is to love her. For my sister and I, we have had to battle frustration and anger, as people love her and want to waltz into the hospital to see her, as if they have known her forever. Sadly, if we don’t know them and mom is uncertain of who they are based on their name, it adds too much frustration for her, and our protective instincts want to build a fortress around her to keep everyone she has not called by name, out, until she is ready to receive guests. I know it is not her nature to have a closed door. One of her greatest gifts is hospitality. That being said, it is hard to be hospitable in the hospital… For now, we are limiting visits to immediate family and those whom we consider “framily” (such long-standing friends that they have become family). Please, those who love mom, be patient, we so appreciate your love and support, and covet your prayers the most right now.

On to the update many have been waiting to hear. First, we are witnessing miracles; daily. Yesterday, mom moved her right arm! Granted, it was slight and not likely a conscious decision, but her arm moved on more than one occasion, which means that the connections are firing. This is very, very good! Additionally, her speech and word recall are continuing to improve. There is marked improvement from morning to afternoon, and one day to the next. The more relaxed she is, the easier words come. The second miracle is that she has been accepted into the best acute care facility in Washington State. We are not yet certain of the when (though we anticipate the end of the week or the weekend), but we are so grateful to know the where. It is in close proximity to me, so I will be spending much time with mom in the coming months on her road to recovery. Once released, the plan is to have her transition to my sister’s house, as it is already able to accommodate potential needs on a single level.

God is good and He makes what is impossible for us, possible. Please continue to contend with us for our mom, as God is far greater than a stroke.

 

Impossible blows,

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A celebration in the park after Mom’s first tennis tournament win with her parents ❤

The dashing of dreams;

How do we press on,

What does it all mean?

Questions aren’t too big,

Our God doesn’t mind;

His grace is greater,

For love’s what we find.

Plenty provided,

All that we shall need;

His arms surrounding,

As we let Him lead.

Thank You, Lord Jesus,

That You are enough;

For in our own strength,

We are not that tough.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your kindness and provision in this dark and scary space. Thank You for surrounding us with loving and knowledgeable people who help point us in the direction You are leading, and for opening the doors You intend. Prepare the way, even now, for where mom is going next. Prepare the hearts of every staff member, doctor, nurse, specialist, volunteer, friend and family member who comes near, so that we will best know how to encourage and build her up. May her positivity, and ours, be a witness to those who do not know You yet, pointing them to a lasting relationship with You. Keep discouragement and depression far from her. Bring full healing and restoration, we pray. Forgive us for our impatience. Please God, give us our strong, vibrant, active mom back to us, fully restored as she so desperately wants to be. Amen.

 

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

 

Summon Your power, God; show us Your strength, our God, as You have done before. – Psalm 68:28