Strength in Love

I love You, Lord, my strength. – (Psalm 18:1, NIV)

I love You, Lord! You are my strength. – (Psalm 18:1, ERV)

I love You, God – You make me strong. – (Psalm 18:1, MSG)

 

Everything about God is good. From sunrise to sunset, His wonders and provisions never cease to amaze me. He grants strength when we are weary, hope when we despair, and joy when sorrow seeks to sink our hearts. I am not certain of what has caused the shift, but there has been a fortification of sorts in my heart that was not present prior. Where I was anxious, I find that I have trust; where I was weary and exhausted, I have renewed strength and hope. It may be in part the new strides that mom is making with her walking, but honestly, I think that it is a work that God is doing within me. There is no magical timeline of healing and recovery that can indicate an end date to when mom will be restored and ready to be independent again, yet I find my heart in a space that is finding it easier to simply stay present and trust. I am embracing each day, each moment as they come, and celebrating the victories – great and small, appreciating the fact that I am overwhelmingly blessed to have all of this precious time with my mom. We laugh often, and there is little sweeter than our early morning wake-up routine of her surprise first call of the day, be it a song, a phrase, or something completely silly, we usually end up giggling about it as we waltz to the restroom before breakfast. Together, we sit in wonder and awe as we watch the sunrise together. Incredibly, the painting across the sky transforms rapidly, and may begin in shades of pink and blue, turn to gray, then reappear in a fiery orange glow. That was our gift from God this morning. 😊

Yesterday was quite busy in the morning, as mom had occupational therapy and physical therapy back-to-back, filling the late morning slot. During OT, Larissa, mom’s wonderful occupational therapist, devised a simple way to tape mom’s shoulder to provide a bit of extra support, as the right one is beginning to have a bit of twinge pain with some movements. The added support really seems to help. Physical therapy was a fantastic continuation of working to strengthen mom’s right leg and keep up her hallway walking. After the therapists had gone, mom was a little restless, and I talked her into a quick field trip into town to go through the Dutch Bros drive through. We both benefited from an escape, and it was a gorgeous sunny day. The remainder of our day was rather quiet, spent resting, stretching, doing laundry and the like. Mom slept very well, with only one wake-up in the night, so we are both rested and refreshed this morning. God is faithful, and He is always ready to supply the strength that we need.

 

O Lord, You are love, img_2019-07-02_06-33-255028693986524136181.jpg

Strength, power and grace;

Much more than enough,

To conquer each day.

Not in my own strength,

But only in Yours;

For it’s Your strong hand,

That opens locked doors.

Lord, show me the way,

You’d have me to go;

Each new direction,

By Your love, make known.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are the One who gives us strength to navigate this life according to Your purpose and plan. Thank You that You turn seemingly horrendous detours into beautiful routes we would have never known. Forgive us for our fears and doubts when trials and tribulations derail us. Show us how much strength You are willing to deposit within us, so that we can navigate the new that stands before us. Teach us how to love those around us in a way that offers strength and encouragement when theirs feels depleted. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, our strength, as we praise You for Your faithful provision. Amen.

 

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

 

It is God who arms me with strength and keeps my way secure. – 2 Samuel 22:33

 

Faithfulness to the Skies

Your love, Lord, reaches to the heavens, Your faithfulness to the skies. – (Psalm 36:5, NIV)

Lord, your faithful love reaches to the sky. Your faithfulness is as high as the clouds. – (Psalm 36:5, ERV)

Your steadfast love, O Lord, is as great as all the heavens. Your faithfulness reaches beyond the clouds. – (Psalm 36:5, TLB)

 

I love that every day is new, and each morning is a fresh reminder of God’s goodness and faithfulness and love. It is particularly clear from my vantage point, as the view from mom’s kitchen table is spectacular. Each day as I rise before the sun, God’s handiwork greets me as He paints the sky new every morning. No two sunrises look the same. The cloud patterns and the colors shift and change, mix and blend, reminding me that He is creative and innovative, able to take on new challenges in new ways.

Last night, mom only woke one time during the night! For those who have been following our story daily, this means that both of us slept more last night, than we like did over the previous two nights combined. (Thank you for those of you who have been praying!) Furthermore, yesterday was full of things to be celebrated! During physical therapy in the morning, mom walked nearly half the length of her hallway with her walker, unassisted! Once she grew a bit fatigued, she rested for a moment or two, and then the physical therapist, Nick, had me assist/spot mom with her walking. It was exhilarating to participate directly with her, and gain the nod of approval to at last work with mom on our own on walking. Because we now have clearance to practice walking, we gave it another go in the evening as we were winding down. Mom is overjoyed and completely motivated, as she is ready to demonstrate her new-found confidence for my husband and boys when they arrive later this morning. The appointment with mom’s physiatrist went well, as she is the one who oversees and coordinates all post-stroke care. She was pleased with mom’s progress thus far, and will see her again in early August. We had a wonderful visit with mom’s next-door neighbors before dinner, and made the most of our evening, prior to calling it a night fairly early, after our previous two nights of not nearly enough sleep. Mom and I shared an early breakfast to watch the sunrise (photo below), and appreciated God’s handiwork together. Each of us sat in awe, as we gazed upon His glory in gratitude. May we ever remember the faithfulness and goodness of God, and just how far-reaching His love is for us all.

 

The Lord is faithful,img_2019-06-29_05-55-33225047676974216251.jpg

Beyond what we see;

His grace unending,

He loves tangibly.

Be it a sunrise,

At the break of day;

Or loving guidance,

As He points the way.

No matter what comes,

The Lord, He is near;

He will remain close,

Help us persevere.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are good and kind and loving. Thank You that Your faithfulness never ends. Thank You for sleep and restoration when we need it the most. Forgive us for our frustration when we cannot do anything to control our circumstances. Continue to teach us to hand all to You. Show us how to love well all those around us, as You empower us to walk faithfully and lovingly alongside them, encouraging and building up as they move forward. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You praise for Your steadfast love and faithfulness that reaches to the heavens and is painted across the sky each morning. Amen.

 

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

 

Out of His fullness we have all received grace in place of grace already given. – John 1:16

Clothed with His Character

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. – (Colossians 3:12, NIV) 

God has chosen you and made you His holy people. He loves you. So, your new life should be like this: Show mercy to others. Be kind, humble, gentle and patient. – (Colossians 3:12, ERV) 

You are always and dearly loved by God! So, robe yourself with virtues of God, since you have been divinely chosen to be holy. Be merciful as you endeavor to understand others, and be compassionate, showing kindness toward all. Be gentle and humble, unoffendable in your patience with others. – (Colossians 3:12, TPT) 

 

When we know God, we are called and chosen to walk in His ways. This past week, I have been intentional to pray for specific students before the school day has even begun. What I have observed this week, has been a shift in a few individuals who were my most difficult. Two eighth grade boys have caused much struggle and strife this semester. For the first time in a long while, they were calm and attempting to actually work on the projects that have been assigned. Each one was given room to enter and settle, allowing them to get set in their space. Once students are set and working, I have sought to be compassionate and gentle in my approach. With one, I gather the materials needed for the day’s project and set them before him, extending my availability to answer questions or provide help if needed. For him, it seemed to make a way to focus and complete work. With the other, I have likewise chosen compassion, and simply asked what project he would like to work to complete each day. He too has been calm and attempting to work, rather than sitting idly by on his phone. Though I was gentle and kind previously, a slight shift in my approach seems to have been met with a shift in them as well. There are still others in that class that are “acting a fool”, but the simple transformation in the two is an example of my prayers heard and answered. May we ever seek the Lord to be our Source and Supply, allowing Him to clothe us in compassion, kindness, gentleness, patience and humility, keeping us from becoming offended by the actions of others. 

 

Because we are loved, Sowing Seeds of Peace

We also are called; 

To be the Lord’s light, 

For one and for all. 

Called to compassion, 

Equipped to give grace; 

Kindness and patience, 

Granted in our space. 

With a humble heart, 

Let no one’s offense; 

Deter us from love, 

His grace is immense. 

So, be clothed in love, 

That chooses extend; 

The heart of our God, 

On Whom we depend. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You hear our prayers and equip us to carry out all to which we are called. Forgive us for our frustration when we cannot see the change You are making. Teach us to trust and rely on You more, as Your love covers all. Show us how to love those around us, especially those who are most challenging to love. Grant us Your eyes to see them, and Your heart to extend kindness and grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we rely on You to supply us with kindness, patience, humility and love for all whom we encounter. Amen.

 

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

 

You gave me life and showed me kindness, and in Your providence watched over my spirit. – Job 10:12

As Unto You

Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people. – (Colossians 3:23, NLT)

Whatever you do, do it from the heart for the Lord and not for people. – (Colossians 3:23, CEB)

Put your heart and soul into every activity you do, as though you are doing it for the Lord Himself and not merely for others. – (Colossians 3:23, TPT)

 

After student-led conferences, there is a sort of shift as we are race forward into the holiday season. We have a four-day week this week, less than three-day week next week, then we are only a month away until Christmas Break. Calendars fill rapidly, and it is easy to over-commit. That being said, my intent going into this busy, but beautiful season, is going to be – if I cannot put my heart and soul into whatever it is, as if unto the Lord, then my answer to the invitation will need to be a “no”. My family, my job, and my existing commitments to that which I am called, have to be my priority as I go. I love people deeply, and grew up as a “pleaser”, so I must be certain that my motivation is as unto the Lord. He is well-pleased with us because we are His, not for anything that we do or do not do. May we keep our eyes fixed on the Lord as we walk into this wonderful season, and allow Him to lead us into the things that we can do with our whole heart.

 

In all that we do, Weighing the Why

May it be done well;

As unto the Lord,

Love’s own personnel.

As we choose commit,

To events and tasks;

We need make certain,

Our heart in it lasts.

How we choose to work,

The care placed in things;

Is our way to show,

The good that God brings.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to do all things as unto You. Thank You that we are not created to please people, but rather to be obedient to You. Thank You that as we live and love according to Your call, work is done well and people are loved as You love. Forgive us for the times that we have over-committed ourselves and have been pulled in so many different directions that we were unable to fully invest in anything. Teach us to balance our time and place our whole heart into the things that we are called to do. Show us how to love and prioritize people as we work as unto You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we put our heart and soul into every activity that we do, as unto You. Amen.

 

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

 

A person’s steps are directed by the Lord. How then can anyone understand their own way? – Proverbs 20:24

 

Seek to Receive

Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. – (Hebrews 4:16, NIV) 

 

With Jesus as our high priest, we can feel free to come before God’s throne where there is grace. Then we receive mercy and kindness to help us when we need it. – (Hebrews 4:16, ERV) 

So now we come freely and boldly to where love is enthroned, to receive mercy’s kiss and discover the grace we urgently need to strengthen us in our time of weakness. – (Hebrews 4:16, TPT)

There are days that I seem to be more readily available to receive the grace that is desperately needed to navigate than others. I know there is nothing that we can or cannot do to be more or less worthy of receiving His grace and mercy, yet I think our intentionality to approach His throne directly affects the help that we receive; for when we seek, we find. If we do not ask, we are actually attempting to power through on our own. Lately, I have been intentional to pray over the day as I drop my boys off at school. I begin by asking for protection over them – body, heart and mind, and for them to be blessed and a blessing to and by those around them. From there, I begin lifting up my day – my students, my colleagues, lesson plans, classroom environment, and the like. Though I am uncertain as to whether or not there has been a change in students, I feel like there is a shift for me. Perhaps I am simply more aware of the grace I am being granted to get through each day. Whatever the shift, it matters. May we boldly approach Love’s throne for the grace and mercy we need; for He is faithful to meet us and provide the strength and grace to carry us through.

When mercy and grace, 

dsc077159190310288249327367.jpg

Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography<3

Are needed the most; 

Go to the Lord’s throne, 

He’s a loving host. 

With kindness and grace, 

He hears our heart’s cry; 

His love lifts us up, 

He’s ever nearby. 

So, run to the Lord, 

Let Him know the need; 

His grace will cover, 

And His love shall lead. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your mercy and grace that welcomes us as we come to You. Thank You that You hear our every prayer, and meet us wherever we are. Forgive us for attempting to power through on our own, rather than seeking You for all that we need. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would know Your ongoing faithfulness forever. Show us how to love those around us in a way that extends Your kindness and grace where it is needed most. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we approach Your throne for the mercy and grace we need each day. Amen.

 

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

 

Light in Loss

I will never forget this awful time, as I grieve over my loss. Yet I still dare to hope when I remember this: The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease. – (Lamentations 3:20-22, NLT)

 

Yesterday evening, in our neighboring city, a police officer’s life was senselessly taken. While the officer was responding to a domestic dispute call, he was shot and killed. My heart aches for the family of the slain officer, and for the families of all those who serve and protect our nation. Each time one of our officers in blue is shot, more fear finds way into the hearts of families who anxiously wait for their loved ones to return home at the conclusion of each shift. Grief cannot help but grip our hearts at the brokenness of humanity. When a hero falls, it is indeed a time to grieve. However, we must still dare to hope. Even in the darkness, light finds way to shine. The faithful love of the Lord does not end, and His mercies never cease. Though there were children holed up in the hiding place with the shooter, other officers were able to safely remove them from the scene. Despite the devastation of the situation, there were innocent lives that were spared that could have been lost. May we remember those who have been lost, yet continue to hold hope in the One who loves without limits and is merciful forever.

 

Let us not forget,light-in-loss

Those who serve us well;

With honor, protect,

As crime they dispel.

For far too often,

Lives of these are lost;

As they seek to serve,

The ultimate cost.

May we remember,

Those who serve in blue;

Let mercy and hope,

Surround and renew.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that even in times of grief, You are our hope. Thank You that Your faithful love never ends and Your mercies continue forever. Forgive us for losing sight of these truths in the throes of devastation and heartache. Teach us to trust in You more, so that we would cling to You regardless of what is happening around us. Show us how to love those around us, particularly officers and families of officers in light of recent events. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we hope in You in all things and at all times. Amen.

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

You have made known to me the paths of life; You will fill me with joy in Your presence. – Acts 2:28

 

The Seasonal Shift

There is a not-so-subtle shift that somehow takes place between yesterday and today.  Every year, it seems much the same – gather, eat, relax and enjoy the company of family and friends, and return home to rest.  Despite a day off that follows, there is a sort of frantic feel in the air; a new sense of list-making, and task-doing that must be accomplished NOW.  Though I am not a Black Friday shopper, nor did I set an alarm clock this morning, I woke early with a sense of urgency to get things done.  Perhaps it is a realization that Christmas is now only twenty-six days away, or that I have not even begun to shop, decorate, or visibly prepare for the next season that has now arrived.

After slowing down my heart and mind, and spending time in His presence, I am reminded again of what matters most – not only this time of year, but always.  Am I loving God with my whole heart?  Am I loving people?  If I can answer yes, I am choosing to commit each day unto Him, then I am moving in the right direction.  Christmas is a most wonderful time of year, when we keep Christ in the center.  Remembering how He came to us as a vulnerable baby, only to go through all of the growing pains that we too experience and more, so that He could love us with His life, and ultimately, His death in our place on the cross and then His resurrection on the third day;  it truly is a sacred season.  When we think about preparations and giving, where does our heart go?  My hope is that as I ready my heart and home for this blessed new season, I will be intentional to honor Him.  As I give, I want to feel a fraction of what He feels when He gives us gifts.  When I worship, I want to marvel in the majesty of His presence.  Seated near the tree that will eventually go up, I hope to hear the heavenly hosts singing praise in my heart, as I gaze upon that which is adorned before me, as I think of Him.

May every heart stop,The Seasonal Shift

slow down and take in;

glimpses of You, God,

our Father, and Friend.

Let us not forget,

You are the reason;

we now celebrate,

this holy season.

Grant us eyes to see,

and Your heart to hear;

the glory around,

as You’re ever near.

Be honored, Lord, God,

in all that we do;

may all be now done,

to glorify You.

“May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by His grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word.” – (2 Thessalonians 2:16-17) 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the beautiful blessings that You wrap in this most holy season.  Please help us to keep our eyes fixed securely on You, so that our priorities will be aligned with Yours.  Show us how we may be a blessing to those around us.  Forgive us for getting caught up in the craziness of the “have-to’s”, and help us to know what matters to You, and what does not.  Help us do everything unto You, and may many come to know the real reason we celebrate this Christmas season.  Let Your love shine brightly through all that we say and do.  Amen.

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