The God of Hope

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. – (Romans 15:13, NIV)

I pray that the God who gives hope will fill you with much joy and peace as you trust in Him. Then you will have more and more hope, and it will flow out of you by the power of the Holy Spirit. – (Romans 15:13, ERV)

Now may God, the inspiration and fountain of hope, fill you to overflowing with uncontainable joy and perfect peace as you trust in Him. And may the power of the Holy Spirit continually surround your life with His super-abundance until you radiate with hope! – (Romans 15:13, TPT)

 

God’s hope fills us with joy and peace, and empowers us to trust in Him. As our trust grows, hope flows from us, and becomes a beacon in our lives. This process is ongoing, and there is always room to grow. Though I trust God, I certainly find myself in moments where I lose sight of His peace and have to take pause to remember what matters eternally. Yesterday at school, this was my reality for a few minutes. Just as my students had left my classroom and I was beginning to settle in and make preparations during my planning period, one of my colleagues entered my room and handed me a sub folder for a class. I took pause, in frustration asked, “Are you kidding me, right now?” And then proceeded to process the fact that I was losing my planning with no notification. At first, I was completely stressed about how I would get everything done, but then stopped and settled into trust, recognizing that I could utilize my lunchtime to do the planning I still needed to do. Peace arrived, the moment I slowed down and chose trust. The lack of notice was an oversight on the part of very busy, lovely humans, and grace is the only thing warranted in such circumstances. All worked out and the planning required was completed, reminding me, yet again to trust and keep my hope in He who gives me strength. May we ever hope in God, our ever-trustworthy place of peace.

Mom is continuing to push along on her road to recovery. Yesterday, my brother-in-love posted the best photo of my sister and mom that I have seen in a long while. Mom was actually at the island helping Megan prepare dinner! This is huge for so many reasons; mom standing and balancing, engaging in what she used to love to do, and recognizing that she is able to do exceedingly more than she may have thought possible. My prayer is that His peace would continue to flood their home as trust and hope grow greater still.

 

May the God of hope, fb_img_15711398132665000935021918141.jpg

Fill you with all joy;

May peace be present,

As hope is employed.

May His hope rise up,

Flood each heart and mind;

To overflowing,

As God’s love is kind.

Let God empower,

Your mind and your heart;

Hope overflowing,

Where peace and joy start.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your peace and joy that come and fill us with all hope as we trust in You. Thank You that hope rises and overflows. Forgive us for the times that we take our eyes off of You and lose sight of where trust belongs. Teach us the power found in trusting You, so that we would not waiver in our faith. Show us how to love those around us in a way that spreads Your peace and joy, where by hope overflows where it is needed the most. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust all in Your hands and hold fast to the hope we know in You. 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

Realigned for Gratitude

Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. – (Ephesians 5:19b-20, NIV)

And give thanks to God the Father every day through the name of our Lord Jesus the Anointed for all He has done. – (Ephesians 5:20, VOICE)

Always give thanks to Father God for every person He brings into your life in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. – (Ephesians 5:20, TPT)

 

Some days, a reminder to give thanks is well-timed, particularly when the “crud” is still lingering, and I wake up not quite ready to embrace the day. Regardless of how I feel, there are countless reasons for which I can give God thanks. This morning, the simple reminder in His word, helped realign my heart with gratitude. Each new day is a gift, and I am incredibly grateful for the people He has placed in my life. I have an incredibly loving and supportive husband, bright and kind children, loyal and caring friends, colleagues that are included in my circle of friends, extended family that is close despite the distance, a church in which we are firmly rooted, and a job that I enjoy, even on the difficult days. For each of these things and countless more, I give God praise, both today and always.

Mom is one of the greatest reasons to give praise. First and foremost, I am overwhelmingly grateful that she is with us and on the road to recovery. Though the road is long and painfully slow by human standards, she is here, and she is making positive progress. Mom embraces opportunities to work on growing stronger, and remains hopeful, ever trusting in He who is her strength. May we ever give thanks to God for all that He has done.

 

All thanks be to God,img_2019-10-03_05-05-362923133453325865323.jpg

Each day we draw breath;

For light, life and love,

Defeater of death.

Praise Him for the good,

The blessings that come;

Each beautiful soul,

That helps us become.

Become so much more,

Than we would alone;

Encouragement grows,

As people feel known.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for who You are and how You have surrounded me with an incredible community of support and encouragement. Thank You that even on days that I don’t feel great, I have so much to be thankful for and reasons to give You praise. Forgive us for the times that we allow our frustrations or challenges to overshadow the blessings that You bestow upon us. Teach us to see the good, even in the shadowy spaces. Show us how to love those around us in a way that offers encouragement and support in the way that it is needed most. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You thanks for all of the blessings that You bring into our lives. Amen.

 

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

 

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

Establish the Work

May the favor of the Lord our God rest on us; establish the work of our hands for us – yes, establish the work of our hands. – (Psalm 90:17, NIV)

Lord, our God, be kind to us. Make everything we do successful. Yes, make it all successful. – (Psalm 90:17, ERV)

O Lord our God, let Your sweet beauty rest upon us and give us favor. Come work with us, and then our works will endure, and give us success in all we do. – (Psalm 90:17, TPT)

 

This is a fitting verse this morning, as I prepare to head back to my classroom to begin the process of preparing for the school year. My prayer is that I can create a space that is safe, comfortable and welcoming, and that as students enter my room, we are able to establish a caring community that fosters growth and learning, bringing out the best in each of us. Such a request is no small ask, and it will require God’s hand to be upon my heart, daily. God is so good, and He is able to do abundantly more than we can ever ask or imagine, and I am asking and imagining that an amazing space of peace be ever present in my classroom. I am trusting Him to establish the work of my hands both now, and in the days to come. Each investment sown in love, does not come back void, but rather finds way to fill in dark spaces with much needed light. May we ever seek our Savior to be our strength and source in all that we do, so that He may establish the good we hope to see.

As for mom, it sounds as if God’s beauty is resting upon her in her new space as well. Though the weariness from travel seemed to have caught up with her a bit yesterday, it was still a good day for mom. My sister arrived home from work to find Terry (mom’s in-home care provider) and Skyler (my nephew) playing Dirty Marbles (family favorite game – cross between Sorry and Chinese Checkers) at the kitchen table. Her new medical insurance card finally arrived in the mail yesterday, so the process of seeing a new physician and establishing in-home therapies should follow soon. It was wonderful to talk to mom and Megan on the phone last evening, as mom sounded good, and as if all is well within her. God continues to be so faithful in every step of the process in this journey for mom. We are trusting the same to be true as an appointment is set to see a new physician, and in-home therapies are sought after.  God will continue to bring mom success on her road to recovery, as she models such faith and trust in Him.

 

May the Lord’s favor, 10221815182971527373307308191.jpg

Be present with us;

As we pursue Him,

Seek love like Jesus.

Establish our work,

Lord, all that we do;

So, Your love’s made clear,

And Your heart shines through.

God, show us the way,

To best persevere;

And work unto You,

As You’re always near.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we seek You and place our trust in You, You establish the work of our hands that is intended to honor You. Thank You that You lead us and guide us and love us throughout each day. Forgive us for the times that we deceive ourselves and try to go our own way. Teach us to trust You and stay true to the truth we know. Show us how to establish all that we do in the love and grace that You intend. Lead us to love those around us well, so that they might come to understand what grace, goodness, hope, peace and love look like for themselves. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You to establish the work of our hands, so that we may honor You in all that we do. Amen.

 

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

 

Lord, You establish peace for us; all that we have accomplished You have done for us. – Isaiah 26:12

Grief Wanes in the Wake of Gratitude

So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in Him, rooted and built up in Him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness. – (Colossians 2:6-7, NIV)

You accepted Christ Jesus as Lord, so continue to live following Him. You must depend on Christ only, drawing life and strength from Him. Just as you were taught the truth, continue to grow stronger in your understanding of it. And never stop giving thanks to God. – (Colossians 2:6-7, ERV) 

Now that you have welcomed the Anointed One, Jesus the Lord, into your lives continue to journey with Him and allow Him to shape your lives. Let your roots grow down deeply in Him, and let Him build you up on a firm foundation. Be strong in the faith, just as you were taught, and always spill over with thankfulness. – (Colossians 2:6-7, VOICE)

 

Grief shows up in unexpected spaces, and seeks to sink the soul. Last night, as I attempted to fall asleep, I was flooded by sorrow as I longed to be with my family. I have never been separated from my boys for more than a week, and after nearly three months, this mama’s heart has found its limit. My heart simply grieved for the time lost. Missed concerts, activities, milestones, mornings, moments, and the joy of doing life together. It has always been my boys and me, and this space of occasional visits on a weekend that works, is simply not enough. I know it is a preview of adulthood, but we have not yet arrived at that point, and I do not want to miss out on the precious time that I am given. This morning, as I read and pondered these two verses from Colossians 2, I recognize how relevant this particular passage is for me right now. The best remedy for grief is gratitude. I cannot dwell on time lost, but rather must fix my eyes, heart and mind on the blessings that I have before me. My boys want me to be with my mom, as they know how important it is that she have her daughter with her to care and advocate on her behalf. Both boys have set aside their own desires, and are thinking of their grandmother first. As their mom, I am beyond grateful for their kind and generous hearts. Additionally, there is the obvious, as I cannot even begin to unpack my praise to God for sparing the life of my mom. She has been the most incredible example of selfless love throughout my entire life, so how could I not be present and invest all that I am in walking beside her on this road to recovery?

As for mom’s moving along, she had her first attempt at walking with a cane yesterday. There is a huge learning curve, and she was not a fan, due to the seeming unsteadiness in comparison to her walker, yet she persevered, and walked a good fifteen feet with it, before transitioning back to the walker to complete two lengths of the hallway and into the kitchen. Her interest in getting out of the house continued as well, as she advocated to go get coffee and spring rolls from our favorite takeout place. We enjoyed our drive into town and back, and then had a very relaxing afternoon and evening. I think that it was needed after the crazy, busy weekend of birthday fun, as it was the first time that there were no extra people in the house. Today mom has occupational and speech therapies on the agenda, and tomorrow, my sister will arrive back in town so that I may return home for a bit of a furlough.

May we be strong in faith and overflowing with gratitude, for it is in this space that we find peace.

 

When we live in Christ, img_2019-07-16_06-35-183702170351870846491.jpg

Strong rooted in Him;

Our faith is built up,

To graciously live.

As we are built up,

Strengthened we give praise;

Hearts overflowing,

With thanks all our days.

In everything,

Pursue gratitude;

Grace overpowers,

Heartache’s solitude.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we are strengthened in faith as we praise and give thanks. Thank You that gratitude helps overcome the weight of grief. Forgive us for sitting in our own heartache rather than seeking You to show us Your kindness and grace. Teach us to trust You more, as You are loving and kind, ready to hold us and lift us up, no matter how we come. Show us how to love those around us well, so that we may strengthen, encourage, help and hold others in their spaces of grief or lack. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to be our strength and our salvation forever. Amen.

 

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

 

Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever. – Psalm 107:1

Take Heart

“I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world!” – (John 16:33, NIV)

“I have told you these things so that you can have peace in Me. In this world you will have troubles. But be brave! I have defeated the world!” – (John 16:33, ERV)

“And everything I’ve taught you is so that the peace which is in Me will be in you and will give you great confidence as you rest in Me. For in this unbelieving world you will experience trouble and sorrows, but you must be courageous, for I have conquered the world!” – (John 16:33, TPT)

 

There is something extra encouraging about words that were specifically spoken by Jesus that build up the heart. I’m not sure if it is the weird weather, the isolation, my inability to get out and run, or the long stretches of time away from home, but this morning it was seeming to wear on me a little bit more than before. Feelings are temporary, and recognition is half the battle, but it is frustrating to discover the troubles of this world are beginning to get the best of me. Thankfully, once it is identified, it is short-lived. God is faithful to meet me however I come each morning, and show Himself faithful and kind. Not only was I reminded of where my peace and strength come from, but I received tangible evidence of His grace and love for me, as I received a sweet and timely text from my husband. Sometimes, all it takes is a momentary reminder that we are known and seen and loved. Other times, it is good to identify that this will not be a trouble-free life, yet we can have peace through the One who has overcome all.

I know it is not easy for my mom. A woman who was completely independent and always active, lost her independence overnight, as well as her ability to be active at the level she has known and enjoyed for as long as I can remember. Incredibly, she is walking this long road with courage and grace; trusting in He who is faithful. Each day, she greets the day with positivity and strength, ready to invest the energy required to continue on this road to recovery and healing. Yesterday was a slower day, with speech therapy as her only appointment. Susan is wonderful, and meets mom with kindness and grace; challenging her, yet interacting as would a friend.  Beyond that, it was a typical day of stretching, exercises, resting, meal preparation, tasks around the house, and movie watching. I imagine that sometimes, simply continuing the course is exactly what is needed to perpetuate the positive trend for recovery. Last night had a few wake-ups, but we also did not have as much social interaction as the days prior. She did have a good solid stretch of sleep from one to five, so I will gladly accept four-hour stretches where we get them. Today, mom’s only appointment is physical therapy this morning. It will be interesting to see how the remainder of the week unfolds, as there are no appointments for Thursday or Friday, due to the holiday.

May we all take heart when troubles come, for He who is in us, has already overcome all. Peace is ours for the taking, we simply must seek the Source.

 

Life is not about, 63a09efb-a46a-4c36-b1af-4a9f0cf4c2e04975274388445686015.jpg

Magic guarantees;

That all will be well,

Sweet and trouble-free.

Yet we have a hope,

An anchor secure;

God’s presence always,

Promise to be near.

God grants us the strength,

And all that we need;

To rise and press on,

Follow where He leads.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are loving and kind and full of grace. Thank You that You are our peace and our comfort through the storms. Thank You that though there are no promises that life will be easy, there is a promise that You will be present. Forgive us for thinking that we somehow need to navigate on our own. Teach us to trust You more, as You are our strength and our safe harbor where we can rest and find peace. Show us how to love those around us in a way that offers strength and hope, peace and rest where it is difficult to find. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we ever lean into You to be our peace and our strength. Amen.

 

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

 

The Lord gives strength to His people; the Lord blesses His people with peace. – Psalm 29:11

Maker of Mountains

I lift up my eyes to the mountains – where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. – (Psalm 121:1-2, NIV)

I look up to the hills, but where will my help really come from? My help will come from the Lord, the Creator of heaven and earth. – (Psalm 121:1-2, ERV)

I look up at the vast size of the mountains – from where will my help come in times of trouble? The Eternal Creator of the heaven and earth and these mountains will send the help I need. – (Psalm 121:1-2, VOICE)

 

For a visual girl, such as myself, this is such a powerful reminder. At mom’s I am surrounded by hills and mountains that leave me in awe each morning as the sun rises and sets around us; and at home, snow-capped mountain ranges can be seen clearly beyond the water’s horizon of the Puget Sound. Either place, I am reminded from Whom my help comes. The very One who created such beauty, is more than able to be near and provide whatever help I need. We need only glimpse of the glory of creation to know that One who is far greater, has the world in His hands. This is critical to know, as we continue this road to recovery with mom. Our latest dilemma is such that her former in-home speech therapist took a new job, leaving the current in-home care company without a speech therapist. What this means for us, is that we have to switch all of her therapies to a different company because insurance will only work with one company. She loses her amazing physical therapist and occupational therapist, as well as a great in-home nurse. We have to trust that God has her in His hands and has a greater plan. He hasn’t brought her this far, to only bring her this far. We need His help to wrap our minds around how quickly time is flying and how labor-intensive progress is to make small gains. Our current arrangement is wonderful, ideal even for mom’s healing, but it has an expiration date. My capacity to be present in Wenatchee full-time will end in the middle of August. Meg will have exhausted her leave around the same time as well. He is our help and our hope, and we are trusting for miraculous things to determine the best next thing for mom. Thankfully, we have loving families and options in both Meg’s home and mine, if needed, yet it is not a path that mom is even ready to consider yet. All this to say that rather than looking at the size of the mountains before us, we need to look to the One who created them all. He is able to do abundantly more than we could hope or imagine as we choose to trust in Him. We do not know and cannot predict the direction this road will take, but for today, we continue to move forward in faith and trust in He who is our help and our hope forever.

 

Look to the mountains, img_2019-06-22_08-20-406022810217687705642.jpg

Such wonder to see;

How vast and how high,

From sky to the sea.

The same Creator,

Of all of these things;

Is our help and hope,

Salvation He brings.

No matter what comes,

The giants we face;

God will be our help,

With His endless grace.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that no matter when we look, we are reminded that if You can create such beauty, You can certainly help and hold us in Your hands. Thank You that You are the help we need, always. Forgive us for seeing the size of our need, rather than the size of our God. Teach us to trust You more, as You are greater than all. Show us how to love others in a way that supports and strengthens them, encouraging them to press on and look up as they continue to move ahead. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we look to You to be our help at all times and trust in You for all things. Amen.

 

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

 

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight. – Proverbs 3:5-6

Anchor

This hope is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls. It leads us through the curtain into God’s inner sanctuary. – (Hebrews 6:19, NLT)

This certain hope of being saved is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls, connecting us with God Himself behind the sacred curtains of heaven. – (Hebrews 6:19, TLB)

This hope is like an anchor for us. It is strong and sure and keeps us safe. It goes behind the curtain. – (Hebrews 6:19, ERV)

 

Hope is everything. Without it, we sink. As this journey has unfolded on the road to recovery following mom’s stroke, the image of an anchor with the word “hope” on the crossbar, seems to be etched in my mind. I am only beginning to realize how important the picture is to hold, as I feel like a ship, being tossed to and fro, desperately in need of anchoring in each port of call. When I am home, I need to set anchor here; allowing Him to lead and guide and grant me hope in my daily life as I attempt to reenter a world that has continued in my absence. At mom’s, it is a bit easier to feel anchored in hope in where I am, yet there are strong waves of doubt, fear, sorrow, and wonder, as to whether or not I am doing enough, or if I am doing a huge disservice to my family and loved ones at home.  This anchor of hope we hold in Christ is strong and secure, it allows us direct access to God. No more do we have to stand in the outer courts, but because of Christ, we can present our petitions directly to the heart and ears of God Himself. He hears and He knows; He answers and He loves. I know this is a seemingly odd post on Father’s Day, yet I can think of no better example of a father. The very best of fathers grant us safe harbor and teach us to set anchor so that we may weather life’s storms safely. God does this for us when we seek Him. May we ever trust our hope in He who is the anchor for our soul, who takes us behind the sacred curtains of heaven and hears our hearts, individually; personally.

 

Hope is the anchor, Anchor

When we’re tossed at sea;

Waves keep on crashing,

What will come of me?

Hope sets us steady,

Brings our hearts to peace;

Space of safe harbor,

As grace is released.

When the storm rages,

You are stronger still;

Bring us to safety,

And with Your love, fill.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our Anchor in whom we can hope forever. Thank You that You steady our soul and keep us safe through all of life’s storms. Thank You that You are strong when we are not. Forgive us for our fears, frustrations and doubts, as we attempt to depend on our own oars, rather than You, who anchors us to safety. Teach us to trust You more, even when we cannot see shore. Show us how to love those around us in a way that helps anchor hope into drifting hearts. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You to be the anchor of our hope, and praise You for being our good, good Father. Amen.

 

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

 

Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the Lord. – Psalm 31:24

 

I heard this new song, Anchor, by Skillet (my favorite band) two days ago, and was flooded by the truth of the lyrics. You can click the link to listen. Blessings. ❤

To Build Up and Encourage

Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing. – (1 Thessalonians 5:11, NIV)

So encourage each other and help each other grow stronger in faith, just as you are already doing. – (1 Thessalonians 5:11, ERV)

So support one another. Keep building each other up as you have been doing. – (1 Thessalonians 5:11, VOICE)

 

Though I know not their heart after God, it is as if each one of my mom’s in-home care team has chosen to live this verse out as their life’s ambition. It takes a special sort of person to do in-home care, as I imagine one is never sure what they will encounter when they approach a home for the very first time. Each and every one of the care providers who has entered mom’s home has been an incredible source of encouragement for mom. Their positivity about mom’s progress thus far, and their excitement and motivation to walk this road of healing beside her, is faith-building as she continues to do the difficult work each day. Yesterday, as I asked mom if there was anything she would like to do or anyone she wished to see, she actually took me up on the offer for the first time and named the names of three of her dearest friends. I immediately sent out messages to them, and they responded promptly with enthusiasm. My heart lightened too, as I sat with the four of them and enjoyed the familiar banter among dear sister-friends. The sharing of life together was a needed boost for all of them, and each seemed to walk away encouraged and built up. After the ladies had been visiting for a while, mom’s in-home nurses arrived to do their check-in. They encouraged the girls to keep visiting while they checked in with me about particulars, and made sure to let all of them know how wonderful such visits were for mom and her rehabilitation and recovery. Pathways and progress multiply in the familiar, and in the last 24-48 hours, I have noticed a significant increase in the strength of her voice.

Beyond just yesterday, there has been an outpouring of encouragement and support for not only mom, but for my sister and me as we walk this road to recovery together. Mom’s living room and kitchen are lined with cards that have been sent over the last month by family and friends, far and near. Dear ones have been taking my boys to school in the mornings, and I know the same has been true for my sister when she is here as well. Our communities have rallied around us and covered us in prayer. We have been built up and encouraged, and are encouraged to do likewise. May we ever reach out and support one another; for we were indeed created to be in a community.

 

Build up each other,

img_2019-06-05_06-47-096960588294766447506.jpg

A sweet photo of mom and some of her besties from last year. ❤

Encourage, reach out;

Help one another,

It’s what love’s about.

For God created,

People to all need;

Sense of belonging,

A community.

Family and friends,

The gifts whom God gives;

To walk alongside,

To thrive as we live.

Let’s choose encourage,

Love well and build up;

Bless one another,

Fill up empty cups.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to encourage and build each other up. Thank You that You place people in our lives that do so when we need it the most. Forgive us for the missed opportunities to offer a word of encouragement or to come alongside another who needed a boost. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would listen to Your leading and encourage and build others up in the same way that You encourage and build us up. Show us how to love those around us in a way that strengthens and builds up where they are depleted. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for the encouragement that we have received and seek Your heart to extend the same to others around us. Amen.

 

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

 

You, Lord, hear the desire of the afflicted; You encourage them, and You listen to their cry. – Psalm 10:17

Answer Gently

A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. – (Proverbs 15:1, NIV)

A gentle answer makes anger disappear, but a rough answer makes it grow. – (Proverbs 15:1, ERV)

A gentle answer turns away wrath, but harsh words cause quarrels. – (Proverbs 15:1, TLB)

 

Both my mother, and her mother before her, modeled this verse in action for us growing up. On countless occasions, I witnessed each of them diffuse situations, simply by meeting someone kindly, who was engaging with them in a way that did not begin on the kindest of terms. Their smile and genuine love for people would soften the hardest of hearts, and win over the grumpiest of characters. For me, more times than not, a gentle response to a child escalated in the classroom, has provided them room to calm down or breathe long enough to avoid further incident. Walking this road to recovery with mom is no different. Losing mobility, freedom and independence, for a strong, self-sufficient, care-giver like mom, has got to be beyond frustrating. She is handling it gracefully 99% of the time, and it is my charge to be extraordinarily gentle through the 1%, when her frustration gets the better of her. Gentle words affirming her frustration, yet recognizing her strength and progress, have been pivotal in working through moments of challenge. Humor has been a lifeline as well. Thankfully, we know each other better than anyone else, so a mere look speaks volumes, and can inspire giggles in an instant, even in moments of madness.

Much of the reason she is not feeling ready for visitors, (other than the very short list of family and lifelong friends whom have already been in contact), is her own desire to uphold a spirit of gentleness and kindness, as she cannot wrap her head around not being able to be the gracious host that she normally would be. Please continue to be patient with her willingness to see visitors, as I imagine she will become more willing as she is more confident and settled back in her own space.

Today will be the first official day of in-home therapies, as physical therapy kicks off this afternoon at 1pm. We are eagerly awaiting phone calls from the occupational therapist, speech therapist and nursing care facilitator, to figure out what the schedule will be for them as well. Yesterday was a very relaxing day, as mom and I enjoyed watching a few movies between meals, stretching and rests, after the fellas went home. This week will be busy, as we work to discover a new normal with appointments coming into the home to aid in mom’s recovery. May we ever rely on the Lord to be gentle with those around us, for kindness keeps anger at bay.

 

No matter what comes, photo

Be gentle and kind;

For we do not know,

Battles deep inside.

So often anger,

Is hurt or a fear;

Set free by kindness,

If love braves draw near.

Seek to have courage,

To always be kind;

Give love to others,

And true peace, you’ll find.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that a gentle answer turns away anger. Thank You that this is not simply a theory, but proven, time and time again. Thank You that Jesus modeled this for us throughout His life, death, resurrection and ascension. Forgive us for the times that our responses are not gentle or kind. Teach us to trust and rely on You to give us the wisdom and strength to be Your heart and voice to others, so that they may see Your love in the way that we respond. Show us how to love others well, as we choose to be gentle and kind to all, no matter how others speak or act toward us. Give us grace O God. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose kindness and love, just as You do with us. Amen.

 

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

 

But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things! – Galatians 5:22-23

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,

295835825870096043076989.jpeg

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