Ask and See

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. – (Philippians 4:6-7, NIV)

Don’t worry about anything, but pray and ask God for everything you need, always giving thanks for what you have. And because you belong to Christ Jesus, God’s peace will stand guard over all your thoughts and feelings. His peace can do this far better than our human minds. – (Philippians 4:6-7, ERV)

Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life. – (Philippians 4:6-7, MSG)

 

Because my sister is not returning home to Oregon until Tuesday, we determined that it would be good for me to make a quick trip home to see my boys overnight, as I will be staying in Wenatchee with mom at least for the next week and beyond. At first, I was a bit anxious. It reminded me of when my boys were preemies in the NICU, and I was taken home for one night, away from my babies. I am not an outward “emoter” at all, but I cried the entire time, and vowed then and there that I would not be leaving the hospital again until my boys came with me. Thankfully, this did not feel the same. My sister was staying with mom, and my mom is able to speak for herself. Mark and I went to the hospital with Megan before we left town, and were able to witness some really remarkable milestones in her progress thus far. With the help of the occupational therapist and an aid, mom took her very first heavily assisted steps since her stroke. They moved her right side for her, as she focused on the left. Each movement was slow, frustrating, and very labor intensive; yet they were movement forward, upright, and progress in a very positive direction. The next petition that was answered prior to our departure, was getting her out of her room. Anyone who knows mom, knows that she is constantly on the go. Her sitting in bed or the chair in her room for hours and hours on end was quite concerning to us all. We got to wheel her out in a wheelchair to the waiting area on her floor that is full of windows with a spectacular view. The room was flooded with warm rays of sun, and she basked in the warmth as she happily sucked down a Coffee Frappuccino we smuggled in for her (with the medical team’s permission of course). Lastly, though mom has not had a problem with chewing or swallowing (praise God), she just has not had an appetite. No food has had any appeal, and even her favorites she has only been willing to take a bite or two. Yesterday, that too, changed. Breakfast was extraordinarily late to come, and her sweet nurse got after the kitchen to make it happen when we inquired. For whatever reason, the simplicity of the sourdough toast with her Frappuccino hit the spot, and she had taken in more in one sitting than she had since arriving last Sunday. Better still, at lunch, she ate all but the crust of a grilled cheese sandwich. This may sound trivial, but these are milestones that are critical for strength building as she moves to acute care on Monday. Once there, she will be working actively in therapies for at least three hours each day. Her determination, faith and work ethic with be invaluable. God is faithful as we cast our cares upon Him. When worry comes, it is our reminder to pray. May we ever be prayerful in all things, giving God room to move in places we need Him the most.

 

Do not let worry,

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The mountain in the background is Mt. St. Helen’s, so prior to 1980…

Be what takes control;

For we have a God,

Who heals broken souls. 

When we give to Him,

The weight that we bear;

He exchanges all,

With His loving care.

So, lift up in prayer,

All that your heart needs;

The Lord always hears,

And His grace succeeds.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your incredible faithfulness to us as we give our anxiousness and worries to You in prayer. Thank You that You surround us with the right people at the right time, to encourage and love us well, as an extension of Your arms, heart and love for us, individually. Thank You for the outpouring of support that You have graced my mom, sister and me with over the past week. Forgive us for our moments of fear and anxiousness about the unknowns that lie ahead. Teach us to trust and continue to give it all to You, again and again and again. We lay it all in Your hands, as we see so clearly how You have held and are still holding our mom in Your loving arms. Show us how to love and support mom the best way for her, and how to love those who are around her so that they may see You in us. Lead many into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, even in this we pray. 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

His Mighty Power

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power. – (Ephesians 6:10)

 

We are not called to buck up, suck it up, and stand up in our own strength, but rather, we are called to be strong in Christ. In order to be strong in His power, we must recognize that we have reached the end of our own. When we are weak, His strength is at the ready – available and waiting for us to call on Him to be in charge. As we place our trust in Him, He is given room to move, as only Christ can do. His power is made perfect, when our ego is out of the way.

 

Lord, without You,His Mighty Power

we’ve no strength at all;

for You alone,

hear each time we call.

You are patient,

as You hear each word;

faithful and kind,

with all that is heard.

You grant us strength,

when our strength is gone;

so we can stand,

rise up and press on.

Where we give trust,

You give all the more;

Your mighty strength,

our hope is assured.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that it is only by Your strength, that we may be strong. Thank You that You supply what we need to endure the trials that come our way, and that our ability to stand does not come from ourselves, but rather, it is all from You. Thank You that Your power is made perfect in our weakness. Thank You that You renew and refresh us each day, and that Your mercies are made new every morning. Thank You that Your faithfulness never ends. Forgive us for allowing our hearts to attempt to stand in our own strength, and help us to let down our walls before You, trusting that You are more than enough to see us through. Thank You that in You, we may be strong in Your mighty power. May many come to know Your saving grace, as we allow You to be the strength of our lives. Let those who are looking, find You. Be glorified, as we live and love in Your strength, not ours. Amen.

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

As you know, we consider blessed those who have persevered. – James 5:11

Finding Common Ground

“…I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some.  I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings.” – (I Corinthians 9:22b-23)

Paul is telling us a plethora of important principles in but a brief statement.  First, we must find common ground with those around us.  That does not mean we are to partake or indulge in sinful stuff, but rather we must take the time to invest in the lives of those around us, and love them well, where they are at, if we ever hope to have a voice in sharing what matters from our own hearts.  Second, we cannot have a know-it-all attitude.  Humility is the only way we will ever be heard.  Another necessary element in the process is to assure those around us that they are accepted, right where they are.  There are no requirements of “cleaning up” to come to Christ, but rather it is a matter of a sincere heart that is seeking Him.  We must be sensitive to the needs and concerns of those around us, and do what we can, practically, to help meet their needs.  When there is a relationship of trust established, opportunities to share what Christ has done for us personally, will be presented; we need only be available and willing to share.

(Italics  above are paraphrased from NIV footnotes for 9:22-23)

To find common ground,Purple flower

we need open our eyes;

take time to invest,

in other people’s lives.

For if we’re not known,

why would they lend an ear?

No one will listen,

’til another draws near.

We must first listen,

hear each heart and each voice;

notice what’s needed,

sincere service our choice.

When we invest time,

and let love be our choice;

our heart will be heard,

despite chaos and noise.

Let Love lead the way,

be faithful to the Lord;

people will notice,

His light can’t be ignored.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You came and showed us the way to love others well.  Thank You that You came near to all, and made everyone who came near feel accepted and loved.  Thank You that You were always concerned about the needs of those who came, and touched lives as You transformed hearts.  Thank You that You sent Your Spirit, so that we too, have the capacity to love, accept, help, and share in such a way, that people may see You.  Forgive us for not investing time, or not being sensitive to those around us.  Help make us aware of the needs around us, so that we might be Your hands and heart to those who need Your touch, or word of encouragement.  May we learn to find common ground with everyone we meet, and allow You room to move as You see fit.  May many come to know You as their Savior and King.  Be exalted in everything we say and do.  Amen.

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

They will celebrate Your abundant goodness and joyfully sing of Your righteousness.

– Psalm 145:7