Ponder the Wonderful Things

I will consider all Your works and meditate on all Your mighty deeds. – (Psalm 77:12, NIV)

I’ll ponder all the things You’ve accomplished, and give a long, loving look at Your acts. – (Psalm 77:12, MSG)

I ponder all You’ve done, Lord, musing on all Your miracles. – (Psalm 77:12, TPT)

 

Though I have spent much time pondering the things that God has done, especially over the last three and a half months, today is a perfect day to really recognize the mighty miracles of God, as mom and I spend our last full day together. Tomorrow, I return home to Federal Way, and mom will begin her journey in Albany, Oregon. It will be a strange separation for both of us, yet a well-timed return to my family and an opportunity for mom to spend time with my sister and her family as well.

First, the greatest gift and mightiest miracle is that mom is still here with us. The circumstances surrounding her stroke were a bit horrifying, as she was alone for three days before she was found. God, in His faithfulness, held and sustained her, protecting her life and quickening our hearts to call emergency services to do a wellness check. Already, mom has regained much of what was initially lost following the stroke. When we first arrived, her voice was so soft, it was barely audible, and words were very difficult for her to find. She had no control of the right side of her body, and was restricted in swallowing and positioning, as well as in a space of needing a bit of oxygen at night, due to the damage done. Since that time, her dietary restrictions were quickly lifted, as any swallowing concerns dissipated rapidly, and likewise did the need for oxygen. I have had the incredible blessing of watching her healing unfold. Mom has gone from no movement on her right side, to now being able to walk up and down her hallway with a platform walker, and navigate her front porch steps and into the grass with a hemi-walker. Her healing has come not all at once, but in small victories, one day at a time. Though seemingly painfully slow, to look back, it is a wonder to ponder all that He has accomplished. The thing that I remind her of most often when she becomes discouraged with the pace, is that it takes a baby a year to learn to walk, and here she is, a bit more than three months post-stroke, walking with a walker and tackling stairs! Way ahead of the curve. 😊 Additionally, God has blessed my relationship with my mom. Though we have always been close, He has orchestrated an opportunity for a tenderness that has not been present since I was small. My mom is an inspiration, and one of my reasons to live this life well.

Tomorrow will be a travel day for all of us, with me leaving in the early morning to head home, unload the car, then drive with my husband another hundred-plus miles to Anacortes to pick up my boys from their long cruise. Meanwhile, mom, Megan and Scott will be traveling the seven-plus hours to Albany, after loading and doing all of the final preparations for closing mom’s home for the season. Please join us in praying for traveling mercies, especially for mom, as she is a bit nervous to ride in a car for so many hours.

May we all take pause and ponder all of the wonderful things that God has done, for He is for us, and He ultimately uses all things for good.

 

The Lord, He is good, img_2019-08-09_07-20-292830600631577744291.jpg

In all of His ways;

He blesses, protects,

Throughout all our days.

God moves the mountains,

That stand in our way;

Or shows us the route,

The path, He’ll display.

Mighty miracles,

We cannot repay;

Instead we give thanks,

And ponder His grace.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the countless ways that You love us, bless us and protect us. Thank You for all that we have to remember and ponder because You are so loving and kind. Forgive us for the times that we get caught up in the chaos of what lies before us, and do not take pause to ponder Your faithfulness that has always been with us prior. Teach us to remember so that we trust You more. Show us how to love those around us in a way that extends grace and faithfulness, and inspires faith in Your goodness. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we ponder the many miracles that You have done, and all that is yet to come. Amen.

 

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

 

I remember the days of long ago; I meditate on all Your works and consider what Your hands have done. – Psalm 143:5

Hope in the Waiting

But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently. – (Romans 8:25, NIV)

But we are hoping for something we don’t have yet, and we are waiting for it patiently. – (Romans 8:25, ERV)

But if we wait expectantly for things we have never seen, then we hope with true perseverance and eager anticipation. – (Romans 8:25, VOICE)

 

Kingdom principles applied to earthly timetables are indeed the most challenging to embrace. Hoping for what we desire and cannot yet see, and waiting patiently for what is yet to come, are foundational elements of faith. Walking beside someone, particularly a parent, following a serious stroke, indeed provides opportunity to exercise the fortification of one’s faith and the identification and holding fast to the very things for which one holds hope. Patiently waiting is proving the most challenging, as it can be agonizing to watch the struggle as a loved one works tirelessly to regain what was once automatic. It is a slow and tedious process, but each small step in the right direction is worthy of celebration and thanksgiving. Obviously in our circumstance, the hope is that mom will regain her independence and mobility, and be able to resume life as she knew it prior to her stroke. Right now, she is in the season of not yet. She is still in the space of relearning to walk and regain control of the right side of her body. Mom is leaps and bounds beyond where she was three months ago when this all began, yet there is still much ground to gain before she can safely live alone. This is the space of hoping for what is not yet, and waiting patiently with perseverance and eager anticipation, as God can do so much more.

Yesterday, mom had yet another glimpse of the good things yet to come. I had asked Nick, her physical therapist, if he would be willing to work with mom on steps. He gladly obliged, and before the end of their session, mom had walked down and back up her front landing steps and walkway with her hemi-walker (one-handed walker) with Nick beside her, giving verbal coaching cues and minimal hands-on as a reassurance. She did incredibly well, and will practice again on Wednesday. The bonus blessing of being able to navigate steps is that next week, when she has a gap week between insurance coverage locally, (covered in Oregon, not here) she will be able to return to her friend’s pool and step down into the pool and climb the steps back out, rather than relying on two people to lift her in and out. Extra exercise options will be wonderful, and the pool has been a favorite for both of us. Mom also had speech therapy and a lovely visit with a sweet pair of her neighbors. The visit took us up to a late dinner start, so by the time we had eaten and watched a movie, we were both wiped out and ready to sleep. Mom slept through the night until 4:30 am, and went back to sleep. In fact, she is still sleeping now. 😊 Rest is so good, and will be of great help as she has options for adventure today, with only occupational therapy on the schedule this morning.

May we seek the Lord to help us hold fast to hope for that which we cannot yet see, and wait patiently with perseverance and eager anticipation, as God moves on our behalf.

 

Hope is the anchor, 0730190513_hdr1301316828220822645.jpg

That tells us, “Hold on!”

A strength from within,

God’s gracious response.

The patience to wait,

For things yet unseen;

Faith to keep trusting,

In that still to be.

With perseverance,

Anticipate good;

God’s ever moving,

His love understood.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for granting us hope in that which we cannot see, and faith that You are moving on our behalf in the waiting. Forgive us for our impatience, as Your timing is not our own. Teach us to trust You more, as Your ways are perfect and Your plan is best. Show us how to love those around us as they are in their own spaces of waiting or hoping or persevering toward the prize that seems out of reach. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You to be our hope and strength that sustains us as You grow our faith each step of the way. Help us to continue to persevere in You. Amen.

 

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

 

We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the inner curtain. – Hebrews 6:19

 

 

To Lead with Listening

My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry. – (James 1:19, NIV)

My dear brothers and sisters, always be more willing to listen than to speak. Keep control of your anger. – (James 1:19, ERV)

Post this at all the intersections, dear friends: Lead with your ears, follow up with your tongue, and let anger straggle along in the rear. – (James 1:19, MSG)

 

Who would have known how necessary and true these words would be in our present circumstances? Though I know that anger can be a stage of grief, the flashes of anger that I have experienced have been out of fierce protection, as people have not understood mom’s need for space and rest as she heals. Countless times, I have had to take deep breaths, listen to His still small voice, and speak with kindness to explain that mom is not able to have guests visit when she is tired or resting or simply not ready to see visitors at this time. I imagine it is extraordinarily difficult as one of mom’s friends, as she loves and is loved well by so many. As she transitions to her home this coming week, mom will need time to adjust to being back in her own environment and find her “footing” in her own space, before she is ever ready to receive visitors. Please do not just “drop by” or “come say hi”, or you will be met by one of her girls who is doing everything they can to listen before speaking and keep anger in check, but push too much, and you may see a ginger, snap.

Mom is continuing to work tirelessly in her therapies, as she is determined and focused. Her desire is set on regaining full movement in her right side, and each day she regains a little more strength and control of what was lost. Mom will be released to home in a wheelchair, as she continues to work on relearning how to walk and regain her strength and mobility. We are extremely grateful that her home is a rambler, so little needs to be done to prepare for her return. Additionally, because my sister or I will be with mom at all times, there is room to recognize anything that may need to be done in the future to make mom’s mobility more approachable for her on her own. Time and experience will be our best teachers. Please continue to pray with us for mom’s ongoing healing, for a smooth transition home, for ears to listen, mouths that are slow to speak, and anger to be kept in check as grace abounds so much more.

 

Lord, help us listen,img_2019-05-25_07-57-12278632563012603228.jpg

To be slow to speak;

To hear with our heart,

Let Your love repeat.

Keep anger at bay,

As it tries to rise;

The need to protect,

Fear’s ugly disguise.

God grant us wisdom,

Show us what to do;

To protect and love,

Bring honor to You.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to listen first, as I imagine that is why we have two ears and only one mouth. Forgive us for speaking without listening to Your still small voice first, or for allowing our anger to get the best of us. Teach us to slow down and breathe; to set all before You and allow You to show us what is righteous anger and what is not; what we are meant to do, and what we are not. Show us how to love people well, even when they do not understand the circumstances or expectations and frustrate us to the point of anger. May our choosing to love point they to a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we bring all things before You and choose to listen first and take our time before talking. Amen.

 

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

 

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. – Galatians 5:22-23

 

 

Fully Known

For You created my inmost being; You knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Your works are wonderful, I know that full well. – (Psalm 139:13-14, NIV)

You formed the way I think and feel. You put me together in my mother’s womb. I praise You because You made me in such a wonderful way. I know how amazing that ways! – (Psalm 139:13-14, ERV)

For You shaped me, inside and out. You knitted me together in my mother’s womb long before I took my first breath. I will offer You my grateful heart, for I am Your unique creation, filled with wonder and awe. You have approached even the smallest details with excellence; Your works are wonderful; I carry this knowledge deep within my soul. – (Psalm 139:13-14, VOICE)

 

Every single day, as I watch in wonder and awe, I recognize God’s mighty hand, as I see not only His restorative power as He heals and renews the portion of mom’s brain impacted by the stroke, but how His hand is clearly evident in everything. The very One who knit her together in her mother’s womb, knows what she needs most. He hand-selected physical therapists, speech therapists, occupational therapists, nurses, social workers, custodial staff, dietitians and doctors to be exactly the people to bless and encourage, love and inspire mom in the way that moves her most. She is in the place she is meant to be, and is thriving. Days are busy and fully scheduled, so visits from anyone other than the immediate family or very close family friends that have already been notified, are still just too much to add to her day. The process of healing from a stroke is a sort of great awakening, and the more focused she can be on that, the more quickly the connections are reestablished. Gradually, she is asking to make phone calls on speaker, so for those eager to hear, please stay patient. For those who have sent cards, thank you! She loves how I have hung the cards around the top perimeter of her room, reminding her that every card represents loved ones who are praying for her and cheering her on. Sometimes, at the end of the day, she sits in the middle of the room in her chair and slowly turns herself around, looking at each card above her, grinning ear to ear. At times her eyes get a bit glossy, simply because she is overwhelmed knowing how very loved and supported, she truly is. God created my mom to be a warrior and a friend to all. Both her kindness and drive are fueling this fight to regain what the stroke tried to take. Each day, we see new evidence and hope towards the restoration of her right side. God knows what mom needs, and He knows how to restore the connections that have been disrupted. May we ever seek our Savior, for He is our help and our hope forever.

 

The same mighty hands, img_2019-05-14_05-13-222901137501217552613.jpg

That formed us with care;

Are holding us now,

Our burdens, He’ll bear.

We need only come,

And sit and His feet;

To find safe harbor,

Love’s gracious retreat.

With arms open wide,

His love does embrace;

Spaces of unrest,

As He fills with grace.

God knows what we need,

And His way is best;

We need seek and trust,

It’s how we find rest.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You know every intimate detail about us and how our bodies work best. Thank You that You know our mom and how to best restore her to health and wholeness. Thank You that we are witnessing Your miraculous healing power every single day before our own eyes. Forgive us for our discouragement at the pace. Teach us to trust Your timing, rather than our own desires to have what we want when we want it. Show us how to love mom and those around us in a way that encourages, supports, and shines Your light so brightly, that there is no denying the difference You make in a person. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we live and love with hope and trust in You, the One who knows us better than we know ourselves. Amen.

 

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

 

Sing to the Lord, for He has done glorious things; let this be known to all the world. – Isaiah 12:5

Holding Hidden Hope

Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for He who promised is faithful. – (Hebrews 10:23, NIV)

Let’s hold on to the confession of our hope without wavering, because the One who made the promises is reliable. – (Hebrews 10:23, CEB)

So we must cling tightly to the hope that lives within us, knowing that God always keeps His promises! – (Hebrews 10:23, TPT)

 

God sees, hears and knows the hopes that we are holding deep within our hearts, that feel so far reaching, that we give them little attention or thought. In this space of being present for my mom, my greatest hope and prayer is for her total and complete healing and restored independence in every way. My own desires have taken a back burner, as caring for mom is my top priority in this season. Yesterday, my sister let me know that she would be able to come and be with mom for the latter half of both next week and the following week. For me, this means that I will be heading home to teach the last two days of both next week and the following week, will be home with my husband and children for more than a quick overnight, and will be able to worship alongside dear ones at my own church two weeks in a row. Balance and normalcy after living in a strange sort of isolation for the last two weeks will return. I would not trade the time for anything, as I have had the incredible privilege of watching mom thrive and heal and grow by leaps and bounds in a very short span of time. This is a space of being torn, wanting desperately to be in two places at once. I know that my sister has struggled with the same. Thankfully, modern technology has made it a bit easier with the ability to send videos, Marco Polo, text messaging and phone calls on speaker. All of these things remind us there is hope, and that God is faithful to keep His promises. He will never leave us nor forsake us; EVER!

Mom had another fantastic day yesterday, and her right side is beginning to “wake up”. After a stroke, the muscles are still very much alive; it is the signals to the muscles that have to be reestablished. New pathways are finding connections, and there are new movements to celebrate daily. Interestingly, the messages start reconnecting first in the larger muscles, then work their way down to the smaller. She is able to move her right arm some from her shoulder, and her right leg some from her hip, quad and glute. Continue to pray for the pathways to reconnect every muscle, tendon and fiber within her being. We are ever holding close to the hope that He has rooted deep within us, trusting in His goodness and grace to bring forth His promises to fulfillment.

 

The Lord is faithful,05111905412003377672249863064.jpg

His promises true;

Always beside us,

Our hope He renews.

Trust in His goodness,

Rely on His grace;

For He knows our needs,

And sets all in place.

Even with the hopes,

We dare not give voice;

He hears and honors,

Reason to rejoice.

So, hold onto hope,

God ever shall be;

Faithful to His word,

‘til eternity.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can cling to the hope that we profess, for we know that You are faithful to all that You have promised. Thank You that You show us again and again, evidence of Your goodness and grace; Your incredible love made tangible. Forgive us for our fears and doubts, or for allowing our circumstances to take our eyes off of the hope we know is true in You. Teach us to trust You more, for You are ALWAYS faithful. Show us how to love and encourage those around us in a way that demonstrates Your hope and faithfulness in practical and tangible ways. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we cling to the hope we know in You, for You are faithful forever. Amen.

 

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

 

Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. – Ephesians 4:32