Be Kind to All

“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes the sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even the pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” – (Matthew 5:43-48, NIV) 

‘’You’re familiar with the old written law, ‘Love your friend,’ and its unwritten companion, ‘Hate your enemy.’ I’m challenging that. I’m telling you to love your enemies. Let them bring out the best in you, not the worst. When someone gives you a hard time, respond with the energies of prayer, for then you are working out of your true selves. This is what God does. He gives His best – the sun to warm and the rain to nourish – to everyone, regardless: the good and the bad, the nice and the nasty. If all you do is love the lovable, do you expect a bonus? Anybody can do that. If you simply say hello to those who greet you, do you expect a medal? Any run-of-the-mill sinner does that. In a word, what I’m saying is, Grow up. You’re kingdom subjects. Now live like it. Live out your God-created identity. Live generously and graciously toward others, the way God lives toward you.” – (Matthew 5:43-48, MSG) 

Yesterday, the message delivered by one of the pastors at our church, resonated so clearly with me. (Link here, if you wish to listen.) His message mirrored the cry of my heart and what I have felt compelled to and ascertain to accomplish, for as long as I can recall. The bottom line is to love as God loves us. That means EVERYONE! Does this mean that I am successful every minute of every day? No. However, I am ever seeking to learn and grow and be established and rooted more deeply in Christ, so that I may do and be better each day. This is the reason that I refuse to engage in political banter on social media. When it is words being spewed into the oblivion, it seems to get really ugly, really rapidly. There is no capacity to see and hear the heart of the “speaker”, therefore it becomes a matter of attempting to prove why one’s own position is right, and the other is wrong. Kindness and love fall away, and what we are called to do, is far from done. We are not called to attempt to prove why our thinking is right and the other person’s is wrong. We are called to LOVE. Period. End statement. Love acts justly, loves mercy, and walks humbly. (Micah 6:8) Love is patient, kind, protective, honest, full of hope, and always perseveres. Love does not envy, boast, dishonor others, have a “me-first” attitude, is not easily angered, and does not keep record of wrongs. (1 Corinthians 13:4-7) Jesus loved the sinners and the saints; shared meals with both the despised and the embraced, and He shared much with the masses. He helped, He healed, He accepted, and He loved. What Jesus did, is what we are called to do. Our charge, as children of the Almighty God, is to LOVE. No matter who it is or what circumstances surround us, we must be kind and figure out how to love. Incredibly, when we ask and actually listen for answers, He will teach and equip us to love as He is calling us to love. Every act of kindness is an investment in others. As we sow love and kindness and generosity, God works in the hearts of those who receive. We are not called to preach at people, but rather we are called to love as Jesus loved. If we do so, according to His call, hearts can be changed and minds renewed. May we seek the Lord to strengthen and equip us each day, so that we may go forth and love one another according to His good and perfect will. 

We are not just called, 

To love those who love; 

But also, those who, 

Challenge us above. 

Jesus has shown us, 

To love enemies; 

For as we choose to, 

Both sides are set free. 

Set free from anger, 

From ugly dissent; 

For kindness disarms, 

Leads us to repent. 

Lord teach us to see, 

Others with Your love; 

To live as You lived, 

Give kindness above. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You equip and empower every willing heart to love as You loved, as we earnestly seek You. Forgive us for the times that our words or deeds did not reflect a love like Yours. Teach us to love both friend and foe in the same way that You love each of us. Show us what it means to love like You, and how to be kind and loving, even to those who make it difficult. May hearts be changed and relationships mended, as we seek to love ALL, as You love us; and may many come into a lasting relationship with You, the One who loves forever. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to grow us in Your love for others. Amen. 

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

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” – John 13:34

Purposed Parts

For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. – (Romans 12:4-6a, NIV)

Each one of us has one body, and that body has many parts. These parts don’t all do the same thing. In the same way, we are many people, but in Christ we are all one body. We are the parts of that body, and each part belongs to all the others. We all have different gifts. Each gift came because of the grace God gave us. – (Romans 12:4-6a, ERV)

In this way we are like the various parts of a human body. Each part gets its meaning from the body as a whole, not the other way around. The body we’re talking about is Christ’s body of chosen people. Each of us finds our meaning and function as a part of His body. But as a chopped-off finger or cut-off toe we wouldn’t amount to much, would we? So since we ourselves fashioned into all these excellently formed and marvelously functioning parts in Christ’s body, let’s just go ahead and be what we were made to be, without enviously or pridefully comparing ourselves with each other, or trying to be something we aren’t. – (Romans 12:4-6a, MSG)

 

I love when God shows me the reality of His word in action, and then the next morning, directs my heart to the reminder in scripture. Last evening, my Viking and I attended the gallery opening of The Heart Gallery, for a paint and sip event. Neither of us had ever attended such an event, nor has either of us ever really done much painting. Despite having an art degree, painting was never my medium of choice, so I think that the only painting I ever did was a butterfly that I did and gave to my grandma. There had been no instruction on utilizing the various tools nor techniques, so I am sure that I painted much in the same way that I draw; very controlled and precise, not free-flowing nor allowing for the painting to unfold. Back to the verse… Heather, the co-owner and brilliant art instructor at The Heart Gallery, took the group of us in attendance through the process of creating a painting of an evening skyline, including water in the foreground, with the idea of celebrating our Seattle 12th Man status, prior to Monday night’s game. Watching Heather operate in one of her incredible gifts, was an amazing experience. Not only did she encourage and celebrate each individual as we created, but she helped each person paint a piece of work that they were pleased with by the end of the evening.  As each of us wandered the gallery between steps in the process, we were not comparing ourselves to one another, but rather we were celebrating and appreciating each unique interpretation of the task. Each painting was unfolding differently, yet all becoming an expression of art to admire. Painting, much like life, can be planned out, but will never be precise nor look exactly like we intend. However, in the end, there is beauty, none-the-less. May we ever seek to operate in the gifts that God has given us, and pursue growth in the areas where we are being further developed. We are all one body in need of one another’s strengths.

 

We are one body, img_2019-11-09_08-30-273250335102578517637.jpg

Each purposely made;

With gifts meant to share,

Throughout all our days.

Each with unique gifts,

Intended to share;

To bless the body,

Make it known we care.

So, rise up in strength,

Use what God’s given;

Be who you should be,

By grace, forgiven.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You create each one of us with unique gifts and talents to contribute to the community in which we have been rooted. Thank You that no two gifts look the same. Thank You that each are equally needed to fully function as we are intended. Forgive us for not valuing either what we have been given, or that granted to another. Teach us to see ourselves and others through Your eyes, as You have created each of us with a plan and a purpose that blesses and helps the whole. Show us how to love those around us in a way that encourages each to operate in the gifts that they have been given. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to grow and utilize all that You have given us for the good of the body. Amen.

 

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

 

Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. – 1 Timothy 6:18

Train in Truth

Have nothing to do with godless myths and old wives’ tales; rather, train yourself to be godly. – (1 Timothy 4:7, NIV)

People tell silly stories that don’t agree with God’s truth. Don’t follow what these stories teach. But teach yourself to be devoted to God. – (1 Timothy 4:7, ERV)

Be quick to abstain from senseless traditions and legends, but instead be engaged in the training of truth that brings righteousness. – (1 Timothy 4:7, TPT)

We live in a day and age where there is so much out there, vying for our attention, that if our heart and mind are not set secure in the truth of God, we will be pulled in so many directions that we will have no direction at all. God calls us to set our sights on Him, the author and finisher of our faith. As we do, we find our hearts and minds protected and directed away from the senseless things that would tempt our attention and cause fear and anxiety, rather than faith and trust in what is true. This is why it is so important that we know and understand the word of God. When His truth is rooted and established in our hearts, we are easily able to decipher what is true and from Him, and that which is not. May we ever invest time in the word of God, so that we may know and understand what is good, lovely, righteous and true.

As for a mom update: One of my favorite things is when I receive a text from Mom. Yesterday, just as I was leaving work to go run, I discovered a sweet “hello, I’m thinking of you” sort of message that made me wish even more, that mom was not such a long drive away. I gave her a call, and we were able to catch up on the day’s happenings, thus far. She is continuing to work hard, as the next step for her will be the transition to outpatient therapies, rather than in-home therapies that she is currently doing.

Follow not stories, The Word of God

Or legends or tales;

As how to live life,

In the end, they’ll fail.

For God is the truth,

The way and the light;

Our path provider,

He shows us what’s right.

In everything,

Seek God earnestly;

For He’ll point the way,

To live fruitfully.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our Source and Provider. Thank You that Your word is truth. Thank You that as we seek You and invest time in Your word, You make Your path more plain to us. Forgive us for allowing our hearts or minds to be distracted by all of the things that vie for our attention that do not point us back to You. Teach us to seek You first, so that we may look through Your lens at all that is placed before us. Show us how to love well, all those whom are in our lives. Help us to be Your hands, feet, heart and voice to those around us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love You and seek You and Your word to lead and guide us in the ways we are meant to go. Amen.

 

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

 

Guide me in Your truth and teach me, for You are God my Savior, and my hope is in You all day long. – Psalm 25:5

To Be Resolute

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)

My counsel for you is simple and straightforward: Just go ahead with what you’ve been given. You received Christ Jesus, the Master; now live Him. You’re deeply rooted in Him. You’re well-constructed upon Him. You know your way around the faith. Now do what you’ve been taught. School’s out; quit studying the subject and start living it! And let your living spill into thanksgiving. – (Colossians 2:6-7, MSG)

 

When we accept Christ into our lives and allow Him to be Lord, we become rooted and constructed in Him. Our design is to walk out our faith in all that we do and all that we are, and as we do, gratitude grows and overflows from the core of who we are becoming in Christ. May we ever seek to be strengthened in our faith and remain constant in our thankfulness to God.

Mom and I kept missing each other with our attempts at calling yesterday, but we did exchange text messages a few times during the day. Each time I receive a message from her, gratitude to God rises, as I know how overwhelming even the thought of sending a text message was a few short months ago. Though I know that progress feels extraordinarily slow, it is in the moments when I am able to see tangible evidence of things that were once seeming impossibilities, have again becoming part of mom’s daily life. I trust that God will continue all that He has begun in her healing process, and am beyond grateful for the blessings that I can already see right now.

 

Choose live in the Lord, Weighing the Why

Allow faith take root;

Nourish and water,

In Christ, resolute.

The Lord will strengthen,

Grow our hearts in Him;

Overflow with thanks,

For His love within.

By grace, He shows us,

Love all of our days;

For His strength and peace,

Let us choose give praise.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we invite you in, You come and strengthen us and grow roots in our hearts in Your truth. Thank You that for these things and more, we have reason to continuously give You praise. Forgive us for allowing our challenges to distract us from the reality of who You are. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would overflow with gratitude; always. Show us how to love those around us well, so that they would be strengthened and encouraged and hunger after You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we thank You for growing us deeper in You and granting us the strength that we need each new day. 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

Radically Rooted

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, NIV)

But the fruit that the Spirit produces in a person’s life is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these kinds of things. – (Galatians 5:22-23, ERV)

But the fruit produced by the Holy Spirit within you is divine love in all its varied expressions: joy that overflows, peace that subdues, patience that endures, kindness in action, a life full of virtue, faith that prevails, gentleness of heart, and strength of spirit. Never set the law above these qualities, for they are meant to be limitless. – (Galatians 5:22-23, TPT)

 

Yesterday’s message at church was about living a “radical” life for Christ. Pastor Omar did not just present that term and continue forward, as if everyone had a shared understanding of the word and the way in which he intended its use, but rather he unpacked its Latin origin and the intent of what he was conveying. Radical, from its Latin origin, means to be rooted in. As people who are seeking to follow after Christ and do His will, it is critical that we are rooted in Him, in order to do His will and walk in His way. We are only able to walk forward in a willingness to experience discomfort when we know who we are in Christ, and who He is to us. As we surrender to Christ and continue to allow Him room to challenge and grow us, we begin to bear His fruit that lasts. The fruit that makes a heart after His known, is the very fruit that Galatians 5:22-23 unpacks. May we ever seek to deepen our roots and nurture our relationship with the Father, so that our lives may readily extend love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control towards all whom we encounter.

When I called to talk to mom yesterday, I was greeted by the voice of my eldest nephew. It was a treat to catch up with him, and know that the family was all enjoying time together with mom. Mom and the family had just returned from church for the second week in a row, and I know that the opportunity to do so, creates a bit more normalcy for her. In the evening, she and my sister and brother-in-love escaped for time out together, and appeared to have had a wonderful time. It is so good to see the smiles and know that mom is finding the courage to get out and go places. She is in great company, and good fruit is being extended between each of them, one to another.

 

Choose to be rooted, Radically Rooted

Established in Christ;

Surrendered to God,

Let Him lead our lives.

As we choose follow,

Willingly obey;

He stretches and grows,

Leads us in His way.

As we are willing,

He grows within us;

Fruit of the Spirit,

That mirror Jesus.

Love, peace and patience,

And gentleness too;

Kindness, faithfulness,

Care in all we do.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we invest our hearts, minds and time into relationship with You, we become rooted and established in a right relationship that bears fruit that lasts. Thank You that the fruit You have for us is good fruit to give away. Forgive us for the times that we have set aside our roots and operated in our own ugliness. Teach us to trust and rely on You more, so that we would bear Your fruit wherever we go and whatever we are doing. Show us how to love those around us in a way that demonstrates Your joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, faithfulness and self-control. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we ever pursue a heart after You, and choose to be willing to be uncomfortable so that we can grow. Amen.

 

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

 

The earth is filled with Your love, Lord; teach me Your decrees. – Psalm 119:64

 

 

Come with Confidence

In Him and through faith in Him we may approach God with freedom and confidence. – (Ephesians 3:12, NIV)

In Christ we come before God with freedom and without fear. We can do this because of our faith in Christ. – (Ephesians 3:12, ERV)

Now we can come fearlessly right into God’s presence, assured of His glad welcome when we come with Christ and trust in Him. – (Ephesians 3:12, TLB)

 

Though we fall short and are fallible, when we are rooted and established in Christ, we can approach God with freedom and confidence, knowing that He will welcome us; not because we are worthy, but because we are covered and made clean as we come with His Son. There is such comfort in knowing that we may approach our Maker, no matter how we come, and we will be heard and accepted by Him. Christ bridged the great divide between heaven and earth, and because of Him, there is no prayer too great or small to miss the ear of God. He hears and He cares, and we can be confident that He is moving on our behalf, even when we cannot see what is being done. May we hold fast to our faith and trust in the freedom and confidence that we have been granted through Christ.

It has been a strange couple of days with a lack of communication between mom and myself, as my days have been filled with back-to-school meetings and planning time with my colleagues, and my evenings booked with concerts and a football game. Not at all our usual, and it put a wrench in timing for talking. What I did happily observe, however, is that my brother-in-love took mom out for a walk in the sunshine. They made it to a park nearby, and watched a helicopter take off as they traveled. I know how much she loves and needs to be outdoors, so it was a blessing to see that she was out and enjoying the weather. We are still waiting and praying for all of the details to be coordinated for her in-home therapies, and continuing to fearlessly enter His presence with these requests.

 

Unworthy alone,

Yet covered in Christ;

Granted confidence,

As He paid the price.

His goodness and grace,

Covers all our sin;

Makes the way for us,

To pray, enter in.

For God, the Father,

Does not see our flaws; 

He sees Christ in us,

Not what our heart was.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can confidently and fearlessly come before You, because of Christ. Thank You that rather than our flaws, You see the perfection of Your Son. Forgive us for forgetting the enormity of the price that was paid for us to freely enter Your presence, or for somehow discounting the fact that it has been done. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would bring our requests before You and praise You for the work You are doing, and that which You have already done. Show us how to love those around us well, so that they may be acutely aware of Your goodness and grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we confidently come to You, trusting You to hear our every prayer. Amen.

 

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

 

I call on You, my God, for You will answer me; turn Your ear to me and hear my prayer. – Psalm 17:6

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

Sweet Independence

Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” – (Matthew 4:4, NIV)

Jesus answered him, “The Scriptures say, ‘It is not just bread that keeps people alive. Their lives depend on what God says.’” – (Matthew 4:4, ERV)

Jesus answered by quoting Deuteronomy: “It takes more than bread to stay alive. It takes a steady stream of words from God’s mouth.” – (Matthew 4:4, MSG)

 

Independence Day has an entirely new meaning in my world this year. I am not speaking on a national level, but rather on a personal one. Independence, as it is defined, is the freedom from the control, influence, support, aid, or the like, of others. (dictionary.com)  Ironically, to be independent from the wiles of this world, we must be dependent on God. We have to know the Lord, trust His word to be true, and actually follow after Him with our whole heart, to avoid being sucked into a dependence on popular thought, regardless of how askew it has become. Personally, I am in a space where my formerly independent mom, is currently completely dependent on me (or my sister) for everything throughout her day. Aid and support are required to sustain her, as the right side of her body is still not cooperating as it used to, prior to her stroke. At times I find myself feeling like a prisoner in this space, as I am accustomed to the freedom to come and go as I choose. Not having the liberty to take off and go for a run or make a quick trip to the store as needed, is an odd sort of normal. That being said, even when I have those freedoms at home, I still depend on God. My thought life and ability to express myself is independent of anyone’s control, and any submitting that I do, is a personal choice unto the Lord.

Perhaps my point is to not take our independence for granted. Mom’s independence was taken in an unexpected instant. She had no prior health issues nor warning signs, yet a stroke happened, and here we are. God is gracious and mom is a fighter. He has given her strength and tenacity, and I believe she will work her way back to full function on her own again. However, there is much work and an undisclosed timeline in the in between. Yesterday was another good day, as mom walked the full length of her hallway by herself with the walker during physical therapy in the morning. A bit later, we went on a “field trip” into town to drive through Dutch Bros for coffee. Honestly, it is a way to get out of the house and take in a change of scenery. Upon our return, we sat on the deck and spent a few hours playing Uno and Dominos. Playing games is a great way to continue to connect pathways in her healing brain, and do not be fooled, as she is a ruthless competitor. 😊 The remainder of the day was fairly routine, as we did the usual sort of activities. Last night, she had a few wake-ups in a short span of time, but then slept until 5:30 this morning. There is absolutely nothing scheduled for today, so we shall see what the day holds. We are independent to choose, yet dependent on God for His goodness and grace as we go. May your day be free and blessed as You celebrate the gift of independence that is held in your hands.

 

Sweet independence,

Freedom to behold;

Where no one controls,

We choose what to hold.

Hold fast to the truth,

Grace rooted in love;

Trust in the Lord’s word,

All hope from above.

Only by God’s grace,

Do we truly know;

Freedom forever,

True peace to let go.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your goodness and grace. Thank You that true independence and freedom come when we learn to be dependent on You. Thank You for the nourishment found in Your word. Forgive us for our frustration found in our circumstances, somehow thinking that our independence has anything to do with our location or physical condition. Teach us to trust You more, understanding that Your word truly sets us free from all that holds us captive. Show us how to love those around us well, so that they too may come to understand freedom in Your love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we celebrate our independence because of our dependence on You. Amen.

 

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

 

My brothers and sisters, God chose you to be free. But don’t use your freedom as an excuse to do what pleases your sinful selves. Instead, serve each other with love. – Galatians 5:13

Rooted in Hope

Guide me in Your truth and teach me, for You are God my Savior; and my hope is in You all day long. – (Psalm 25:5, NIV)

Guide me and teach me Your truths. You are my God, my Savior. You are the One I have been waiting for. – (Psalm 25:5, ERV)

Lead me; teach me; for You are the God who gives me salvation. I have no hope except in You. – (Psalm 25:5, TLB)

 

This is a critical reminder when we walk through difficult seasons. We must be led and guided by truth; rooted in our hope in God, who is our salvation. Circumstances change, situations ebb and flow, and emotions are not trustworthy. Even the people whom God gifts to us, are not who we are to place our trust upon. Yes, we can appreciate their presence as they walk beside us, but ultimately, we must rely on God. Today, as I prepare to head home for six days, the longest stretch I have been home in more than six weeks, I have to allow God to lead and teach me, and place my hope and trust in Him. When I arrive home, I will have one evening to spend with my husband before he leaves for a week-long motorcycle trip with some of his best buddies. The trip has been planned for six months, and it is important that he goes. For me, it is a bit heartbreaking to not have time with my husband, yet I have to recognize that my boys need their mom, and the time that we will have, just the three of us, is likely a much-needed gift. Also, I will finally have time with my best friend, who will be home the entire time. God knows what we need, and I trust that He will use the time the way that is best. I will be able to teach the final three days of the school year, and worship together with my church family on Sunday. Sadly, my running bestie will be in Belize, leading a team of nurses as she orchestrates a blood drive and various village outreaches, yet again, I know that there is a plan waiting for me.

As for mom, yesterday was a bit of a recovery day. In the morning, she was greeted by a quick visit from her best friend. We had quite a leisurely few hours, prior to her first in-home visit by the nurse, so it was a mellow morning. The doctor called to let us know the findings from the heart monitor. Thankfully, the results removed the mystery surrounding mom’s stroke, and provide clearer guidance as to how to actively prevent any further such occurrences. Answers aid in annihilating fear, and help us find footing to forge forward in faith. Another dear friend of mom’s stopped by for a quick visit and hug after lunch, and by the time she left, mom was ready for a solid siesta. Physical therapy took on a whole different look in the late afternoon, as mom is a morning person, and that time of day was not ideal. Victor was excellent at encouraging and adapting, and adjusted the exercises she worked on to meet her where she was at, and she finished the session feeling phenomenally successful. Her strength in her right leg is increasing daily, and it is incredible to watch her recognize what she is capable of doing.

May God guide us in His truth and teach us His ways; as He is our hope forever.

 

Grow where you’re planted,

img_2019-06-13_07-35-162822718710399486623.jpg

Flowers from mom’s yard. Hope planted in faith… ❤

Find hope each new day;

For God’s word is truth,

And He lights the way.

We must trust in Him,

And not what we see;

Now is a moment,

Not eternity.

Trust that there is good,

Though it seems unclear;

For God is greater,

His presence is near.

God’s ways are higher,

Than what we might think;

He’s our safe harbor,

When we fear we’ll sink.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You guide us and teach us, and that You are our Savior and our hope. Thank You that hope is not dependent on what we see nor feel, but rather on who You are. Forgive us for losing sight of the truth. Teach us to trust You more, especially when we are hoping in things other than You. Show us how to love those around us in a way that shares hope in spaces where it is absent. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to guide us and teach us, trusting You to be our hope alone. 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 3:6

Seeking Solace

I pray that out of His glorious riches He may strengthen you with power through His Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ. – (Ephesians 3:16-18, NIV)

I ask the Father with His great glory to give you the power to be strong in your spirits. He will give you the strength through His Spirit. I pray that Christ will live in your hearts because of your faith. I pray that your life will be strong in love and be built on love. And I pray that you and all God’s holy people will have the power to understand the greatness of Christ’s love – how wide, how long, how high, and how deep that love is. – (Ephesians 3:16-18, ERV)

And I pray that He would unveil within you the unlimited riches of His glory and favor until supernatural strength floods your innermost being with His divine might and explosive power. Then, by constantly using your faith, the life of Christ will be released deep inside you, and the resting place of His love will become the very source and root of your life. – (Ephesians 3:16-18, TPT)

 

Paul’s encouragement to the church in Ephesus is still an encouragement that is applicable and relevant to us today. In fact, I had to take pause and recognize my own need to receive his words, as I realized just how much I have been missing my husband, boys, and community at home. It is not that I resent nor regret what I am doing here, as I would not trade this time with my mom for anything. I am overwhelmingly blessed with time that could have been stolen, had things gone differently, and I am witnessing daily, the miracles that come with healing and recovery from a stroke. It is a strange sort of struggle to be pulled between two places. During mom’s waking hours, I am fully engaged and focused on whatever lies before us, and we enjoy our time together, celebrating victories and giggling and the small stuff that comes in the wake of exhaustion and recovery. It is in the quiet moments while mom is resting, or her attention is fixed on a movie, that I am torn and struggle being away from my husband and boys. We talk and text daily, but it is not the same, and all of my guys are loves who are generous with their affection for me. I miss the comfort of their nearness and the easy interactions that take place so often. I know it is just for a season, and the line in the TPT version “the resting place of His love will become the very source and root of your life”, is the space that I need to seek His solace.

As for mom’s progress from yesterday, she walked farther than she has walked (with a walker and slight assistance), since she had her stroke! For those who have been in mom’s house, she walked up and down her entire hallway. (The length of it is over 30 feet!) What I loved even more, was the recognition of hope that mom found through the process. After Victor, her physical therapist had gone, we sat down in the living room. She looked at me and said, “It really is possible, isn’t it?” I looked at her for a moment, studying her face, and realized that for the first time, she was recognizing that walking again was indeed possible for her. I let her know that we had seen and known the possibility all along, and after today, imagined that it would come even more quickly than we might have originally thought. Hope is a beautiful thing, and I am in awe realizing that despite her not really thinking it was possible to walk again, she was positive and hard-working, loving and kind. We reminded her all along that it was possible, however, I guess she had to physically experience the possibility for herself to understand. Mom was again open and receptive to short visits with a few friends, as she met with one dear one in the morning, and another prior to lunch. Both were wonderful boosts that brought much delight to the day.

I am so thankful that He does strengthen us with His power, out of His glorious riches through His Spirit in our inner being, and He dwells in our hearts through faith. As we are rooted and established in Him, may we together, grasp how great is His love.

 

Dear Father, I pray, Be strong and courageous

From Your vast supply;

You’ll give strength to those,

On You, choose rely.

And by Your Spirit,

Where in hearts Christ dwells;

Grow stronger our faith,

So we trust You well. dsc04451587116784.jpg

Each rooted in love,

Together by grace;

May we understand,

How great all Your ways.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are a loving and gracious God. Thank You that You know and see our need before we are aware of it ourselves. Thank You that You give us strength and grace, hope and love. Forgive us for allowing our fears or frustrations to find footing, rather than releasing all unto You. Teach us to trust You more, as You are our Provider and Place of Peace. Show us how to love those around us well, so that each may be strengthened, encouraged and find faith that is ready to nourish and grow. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You in all things and at all times, praising You for Your presence. Amen.

 

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

 

May Your unfailing love be my comfort, according to Your promise to Your servant. – Psalm 119:76