Merry Christmas 2019

Merry Christmas blessings to all! Today’s post is going to look a bit different than usual, as I wanted to take the opportunity to send out Christmas greetings and an update for family and friends, near and far, as I found myself in a space of having to let go of the expectation of sending out Christmas cards this year. wp-15772871873888784698050003969833.jpg

Grace is a beautiful thing. Once I realized that the only person who had the expectation of a card being sent was me, I was able to let that “one more thing” go, and be present and enjoy the season.

This year has been all about learning and growing in grace; letting go of expectations of what we thought life would be, and embracing the gifts that come our way each day. At the end of April, my mom suffered a stroke, completely out of the blue. She was in great health, fit, capable, and extraordinarily independent; always on the go. As a result, I was given the grace to take a leave of absence for the majority of the remaining school year, and had the wellness leave to cover the time without loss of pay. Grace was granted financially for my family, as I was afforded time and total support to go and be present with Mom in the beginning of her recovery.  We also were able to visit Mark’s dad in September while he was still doing reasonably well, as we just returned to Wisconsin a few weeks ago for his memorial. Love and loss, blessings and grace; we have been carried well this year, despite the unanticipated obstacles.

Mid-August, Mom moved to Oregon with my sister and her family, while I returned home to my own to prepare for the new school year. She and her family have been loving and caring for Mom with incredible grace.

Both of my boys are now nearly half-way through their senior year, as is my eldest nephew in Oregon. The duo gained their licenses at the close of summer, so there has been a new-found freedom for all. Our eldest, my bonus son, secured a new job in the field of his choosing, and is back to working days, after more than a year of graveyard. It is a wonderful blessing to be able to have family dinners at least a few times each week.

Mark’s twenty-year dream has become a reality over the last few months, as the shop construction is nearly complete. All that remains is wiring, insulation and equipping the shop with all of the various tools he will utilize to practice his trade on the side from home. Daily, he is like a little kid on Christmas morning, as he looks at the shop with awe and gratitude.

As for me, I am continuing my twenty-third year of teaching, currently teaching English, Social Studies and Art. Added to the list this season with joy, is the position of assistant gymnastics coach at the high school my boys attend. I will continue to be the head coach at the middle school where I teach, as the seasons are separate, so I am able to participate in both.

Mom, despite the enormous blow to her health that none of us had anticipated, is a resilient fighter. Her perseverance is paying off, as she is able to walk around with a walker well, and continues to gain strength and work tirelessly to rebuild that which was compromised. We are eagerly awaiting our visit in a few days to celebrate the season with her.

May the grace of God be poured out upon each of you this most wonderful season, as you take pause and reflect on His goodness and grace. Merry Christmas, and blessings of peace to all!

 

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

 

For unto us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on His shoulders. And He will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. – Isaiah 9:6

Deep Roots Produce Fruit

But blessed are those who trust in the Lord and have made the Lord their hope and confidence. They are like trees planted along a riverbank, with roots that reach deep into the water. Such trees are not bothered by the heat or worried by long months of drought. Their leaves stay green and they never stop producing fruit. – (Jeremiah 17:7-8, NLT)

But those who trust in the Lord will be blessed. They know that the Lord will do what He says. They will be strong like trees planted near a stream that send out roots to the water. They have nothing to fear when the days get hot. Their leaves are always green. They never worry, even in a year that has no rain. They always produce fruit. – (Jeremiah 17:7-8, ERV)

 

The more we learn to trust in the Lord and place our hope in Him, the better we are able to weather the difficult or unexpected. As we press in and grow deep roots, we become anchored with a confidence that God is who He says He is, and that His word is true. Our decision to love God and love people carries on in strength, for the roots deeply established, provide all that we need, even when our surroundings do not. May we ever invest our time, energy and passion into things that show us more of who God is and how He loves.

 

Those who trust the Lord, Deep Roots Produce Fruit

Grow roots by His grace;

Hope comes as we know,

His loving embrace.

Living waters flow,

Nourish and revive;

Flood our hearts with hope,

As love comes alive.

We need not despair,

When challenges come;

For God remains near,

Strength to overcome.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that the more we trust and have confidence in You, the more we discover that our peace, joy and love are not dependent on our circumstances, but rather are reliant on Your goodness and grace. Forgive us for our fears and doubts when challenges come, and teach us to trust in the hope we know in You. Show us how to love those around us in a way that waters weary souls and grants hope where it is lacking. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we dive deep into Your living water and allow Your love to flood our thirsty souls. Amen.

 

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

 

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