Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the Lord. – (Psalm 31:24, NIV)
Be strong and brave, all of you who are waiting on the Lord’s help. – (Psalm 31:24, ERV)
So cheer up! Take courage all you who love Him. Wait for Him to break through for you, all who trust in Him! – (Psalm 31:24, TPT)
God’s timing is always perfect, even though we often desire a different timeline. Yesterday was an amazing day for hope, as Mom took a giant leap of faith, that took tremendous courage and strength, as she continues to persevere and wait for full healing and restoration to come. In the morning, prior to my guys arrival, Mom determined that she wanted to give the new cane we had purchased on Friday (per the physical therapist’s request), a try. Not only did she “try”, but she opted to utilize the cane as her only assisting tool for walking for the entire day! She did multiple laps around the house, was in and out of various rooms, and later we ventured into Corvallis to a favorite shop and then to dinner together. Mom navigated beautifully, and did not relent, as she joyfully joined us all for family game night when we returned home. She is a bit sore this morning, as muscles were utilized differently than they have been, yet she continues to be determined, and insisted on using the cane from the moment she woke up. Post-stroke, progress is slow by human standards, yet God knows what we need and we are placing our hope and trust in Him. He is good, and He continues to grant us beautiful reminders of His faithfulness and grace, and show us how He is working in and through Mom to strengthen and heal her. May we choose to be strong and take heart in He who is our hope forever.
Be strong in the Lord,
For He makes us brave;
Grants us what we need,
To float through the waves.
The Lord is our hope,
He hears each heart cry;
He moves far beyond,
What’s seen with our eyes.
God strengthens each heart,
And builds up resolve;
Helps us keep moving,
As grace is installed.
Choose trust in the Lord,
Take courage, be strong;
He’s ever moving,
Our Hope and our Song.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can be strong and courageous in You, as You are our hope. Thank You that You move on our behalf, even when we cannot see what You are doing. Forgive us for our impatience and lack of faith that grows weary when things do not move according to our desired timeline. Teach us to trust You more, as Your timing is perfect and You have good in store for those who love You. Show us how to love those around us in ways that encourage strength, courage and hope in all things. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we hope in You in all things. Amen.
We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain. – Hebrews 6:19
Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for He who promised is faithful. – (Hebrews 10:23, NIV)
We must hold on to the hope we have, never hesitating to tell people about it. We can trust God to do what He promised. – (Hebrews 10:23, ERV)
Let us hold strong to the confession of our hope, never wavering, since the One who promised it to us is faithful. – (Hebrews 10:23, VOICE)
This is where the “rubber meets the road”, as we have to make a decision to hold hope in the proper place, no matter what we see. Every time I find myself discouraged or disappointed in how things appear to be unfolding, I have to check myself and evaluate exactly where I am placing my hope. What I find each time, is that the let down or seeming “loss of hope” is due to hope misplaced. When I place my hope in people or things, I will always end up disappointed. Humans are flawed and things are empty. Hope belongs in Christ alone. He who makes promises, is faithful to fulfill them, and God is the One in whom our hope belongs. If I place my hope in Him, and give Him my dreams, desires, and aspirations, He will do abundantly more than I could ever do on my own. Even when it appears that what I desired most is dead in the water, He can turn it around for something good. It has to be a matter of trust, and placing hope where hope belongs. May we hold fast to the hope we confess, without wavering; for He who has promised, is faithful forever.
The process feels a bit different when it comes to someone else, whom we love with all of our heart. It seems that it boils down to a matter of trust. With Mom, and her recovery, I have to trust that God’s word is true, and that He loves her even more than I do. He has a plan and a purpose for her, and it is good, and that reminds my heart that I have every reason to hope in Him for all that He is and continues to do for Mom on her road to recovery. He who promised is faithful, and daily there is tangible evidence of His love and grace as He encourages and strengthens Mom.
Let us hold the hope,
Found in God alone;
He’s faithful always,
And our hearts are known.
It’s placing our trust,
In God and His will;
Not in other things,
For they won’t fulfill.
People are broken,
We fall short and fail;
But God, in His grace,
Will always prevail.
Choose trust in the Lord,
Place all hope in Him;
His love never fails,
Once we let Him in.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our hope. Thank You that You have plans and purposes for our lives that are greater than we could hope or imagine. Thank You that Your plans go far beyond what we can see with our eyes or own understanding. Thank You that You are always good. Forgive us for the times that we place our hope in people or things, rather than in You. Teach us to trust You more, for You alone deserve our trust. Show us how to love those around us in ways that bless, encourage and inspire hope in You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You and hope in You alone. Amen.
We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. – Hebrews 6:19a
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. There we receive mercy and kindness to help us when we need it. – (Hebrews 4:16, ERV)
So let us step boldly to the throne of grace, where we can find mercy and grace to help when we need it most. – (Hebrews 4:16, VOICE)
This is a timely reminder this morning, as I find myself on the brink of burnout. It is easy to remember to approach God on His throne of grace to petition on behalf of those around me, but I don’t think that I go before God often enough for the mercy and grace that I truly need. Don’t get me wrong, I pray for strength to get through the day and patience to persevere; but really boldly stepping into His throne room to rest and refresh and meet my own deepest needs – seldom, to rarely, at best. Perhaps it is a matter of looking for ways to keep a Sabbath. Rest is not my forte, and to do so would require serious intentionality. To find grace and mercy and help when we need it most, looks different for each person. For me, I feel closest to our Creator when I am outside in the beauty that He has made. When my body is moving, my mind and heart are able to find rest. For others, rest is a matter of being still. What does appear to be clear is that I need to make time to be intentionally in a space where my heart and mind are fixed on God, just being present (without studying, writing, or any sort of specific doing), so that His mercy, grace and help may be made tangibly known. May we each be intentional to step boldly to the throne of grace, so that we may find mercy and grace and help when we need it most.
Go to the throne room,
Seek God and His grace;
Rest in His presence,
Receive His embrace.
For as we choose rest,
Let our minds be still;
God’s goodness and help,
Floods as mercy fills.
Choose set aside time,
By grace, enter in;
Be refreshed in love,
It’s where peace begins.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You love us with an everlasting love. Thank You that You made the way through Your Son, so that we can come before Your throne and be in Your presence, and You grant us mercy and grace and the help we are needing. Thank You that You are greater than every challenge we face, and that You provide Your help and presence, with mercy and grace. Forgive us for not being intentional to seek time just being present with You. Teach us how to rest in You. Show us what it means to find rest and refreshment in Your throne room. Lead us to love those around us in a way that encourages, strengthens and refreshes where weariness is setting in. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love You and are forever grateful that we can come into Your presence and receive mercy and grace and help. Amen.
Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from Him. – Psalm 62:5
He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. – (Colossians 1:17, NIV)
He existed before anything was made, and now everything finds completion in Him. – (Colossians 1:17, TPT)
He was before all else began and it is His power that holds everything together. – (Colossians 1:17, TLB)
Some days, the weight of the world feels heavy on my heart. Yesterday was one of those days. Things in my immediate reach are good, however, there are challenges and trials that greet my grit the moment I set foot out of the oasis in my own home. Even in the comfort of my own space, I know the heaviness awaits me. What I have to remember, above all else, is that God is already there. He goes before me, He knows the solution, and He holds all together in His hands. I need not worry about that which I cannot control, and need seek Him for strength and solutions for the things that I can change. Today, I turn in trust to He who is already where I need Him to be, and believe that He is holding all together as God sees all things through to completion.
Yesterday, Mom had a great in-home physical therapy appointment. She was encouraged, as she did quite a bit of walking, leg strengthening exercises, and some practical exercises in the kitchen standing by the sink. When I tried to catch up with my sister last evening, she and mom were actually at Costco, so we were unable to chat in the midst of errand running. I continue to be encouraged, each time I hear that mom is out and doing “normal” things. Though I am sure a Costco run is a bit labor intensive compared to what she is accustomed to, it has to feel good to get out and see and select things again.
Before there was time,
Love, light, hope or fear;
Forever God’s been,
Making life appear.
All things together,
He holds in His hands;
Divine, loving plan.
Always we can trust,
Our great God above;
Who brings completion,
In strength and in love.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have always been and that You hold us in Your Mighty Hands. Thank You that You do not leave us nor forsake us, but You carry us through until things are complete. Forgive us for our faltering faith when the weight of the world wears us down. Teach us to trust You more, so that we place all in Your strong and capable hands. Show us how to love those around us in a way that strengthens and encourages each person to persevere on the path to which they have been called. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust in Your eternal goodness and Your capacity to lead and carry us through all things. Amen.
The works of His hands are faithful and just; all His precepts are trustworthy. – Psalm 111:7
God is within her, she will not fall; God will help her at the break of day. – (Psalm 46:5, NIV)
The True God never sleeps and always resides in the city of joy; He makes it unstoppable, unshakable. When it awakes at dawn, the True God has already been at work. – (Psalm 46:5, VOICE)
God is in the midst of His city, secure and never shaken. At daybreak His help will be seen with the appearing of the dawn. – (Psalm 46:5, TPT)
The entire 46th Psalm speaks of the power and protection in the presence of God. Each translation gives a slightly different visual to imagine. I appreciate the NIV translation, as it makes it personal, yet the following two translations are a reminder that He is present, purposeful and powerful wherever we dwell. Every morning is new, and God is already at work, making a way for the day. Yesterday, He made a new way that blessed mom and those of us present, beyond what we thought possible. First, my Viking drove over to be with us, which of course was fantastic for me. (Mom was glad too) Next, we all were invited to a dear friend of mom’s, to go give swimming a try. Mom used to be a lap swimmer, so my sister and I have been desperately wanting to get mom into a pool, as we knew she would love the feeling of being in the water. The way was provided, and the three of us navigated our way to Sharon’s beautiful home. She welcomed us and supplied the perfect space to allow mom the opportunity to give time in a pool a try. Slowly, we walked her together into the pool, lowering one step at a time. We determined together that a life jacket would likely be best, as it would provide a sense of security in a space of uncertainty. Almost immediately, mom wanted to get out beyond where her feet could touch bottom so that she could propel herself with kicking. The freedom of movement in the water was incredible, and the smile did not leave her face the entire time we were in the pool. In fact, I had to convince her that she ought to get out after more than an hour, as her teeth had started chattering. Additionally, as we floated and treaded water, Sharon was stretching mom’s right hand and fingers all the while. Not only did they have a fantastic visit, but mom had some bonus occupational therapy as well as physical therapy in that pool time. By the time we were ready to go, the three of us were in need of dinner. Originally, we had planned to stop and pick something up on the way home, but Mark easily convinced mom that we should just dine in at a family-style Mexican restaurant we enjoy. It was delicious and she did fantastic. We even played a few games of Dirty Marbles after arriving home. All in all, it was a wonderful day, and one I wish we could repeat often.
May we ever trust in God, who is already at work as we rise, and is present in us and our space, ready to keep us going in the right direction.
God is within us,
He won’t let us fall;
He’s moving for us,
Each time that we call.
Strength, God of all grace;
Ever He’s working,
Present all our days.
So, choose to trust Him,
For He’s always good;
He’s making things new,
As only He could.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are within us, around us, and for us. Thank You that You never stop moving on our behalf. Thank You that as the new day dawns, You already have a plan in place to propel us forward in Your goodness and grace. Forgive us for the times that we wonder where You are when we cannot understand the direction that life is moving. Teach us to trust You in all things and at all times, as You do new things in ways that are far beyond our understanding. Show us how to love those around us in a way that supports and strengthens those caught in life’s struggles. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust in You and Your love for us all. Amen.
But as for me, it is good to be near God. I have made the Sovereign Lord my refuge; I will tell of all Your deeds. – Psalm 73:28
Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord. – (Psalm 27:14, NIV)
Wait for the Lord’s help. Be strong and brave, and wait for the Lord’s help. – (Psalm 27:14, ERV)
Stay with God! Take heart. Don’t quit. I’ll say it again: Stay with God. – (Psalm 27:14, MSG)
The last three months of my life have been a season of seeking the Lord for strength, and waiting. Even now, as I am away and enjoying a long-awaited escape with my husband for our anniversary, there is a sense of waiting for the Lord for what lies ahead. Because my life is not my own and I have committed to caring for my mom in this season, there is more waiting on God as we trust and seek and pursue His help, moving forward into the next step and season for mom. There are countless details that must fall into place in order to move mom from Washington to Oregon with my sister and her family, and His help is essential to orchestrate far more than we can do on our own. Though I did not actually have the opportunity to speak with my mom and sister yesterday, my heart and mind are never far from Wenatchee, and what is going on there. I am challenged to be intentional to be present here, right now, as I have not had this much time together with my spouse in three months. It is good, and exactly what we both need right now.
Yesterday was a light day for mom as far as therapies go, as I know her Friday calendar only held physical therapy in the morning. I know Nick’s plan was to continue to do some more work with the hemi-walker, but I imagine he did some training on exercises and the regular walker with Megan too. In fact, if memory serves me correctly, I anticipate that my sister was blown away by the progress she was able to witness yesterday with her own eyes, as the gains mom has made in walking in a few short weeks have been phenomenal. Mom is demonstrating in a very visible way, how to stay with God and not quit. Though challenged in the waiting, mom takes heart and trusts big.
May we all remember to wait on the Lord in strength, for He is strong and will provide all that we need as we wait and trust in Him.
Choose wait on the Lord,
Stay strong in His might;
For we need not fear,
In His loving light.
No matter how far,
The Lord’s big enough,
To make possible.
Trust in His goodness,
And wait in His grace;
Seek the Lord always,
As He’ll make a way.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we wait on You, You give us strength and provide all that we need. Thank You that You supply rest and reprieve when we need it most. Thank You that You see and hear our hearts and love us in spite of our shortfalls. Forgive us for our fears and frustrations with the obstacles we see, rather than faith in what we cannot see. Show us how to place all in Your hands. Teach us to know what is our part to do and what we are meant to allow You room. Lead us to love those around us in a way that strengthens resolve and refreshes the weary. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we wait on You with the strength that You supply. Amen.
Lord, I wait for You; You will answer, Lord my God. – Psalm 38:15
Ah, Sovereign Lord, You have made the heavens and the earth by Your great power and outstretched arm. Nothing is too hard for You. – (Jeremiah 32:17, NIV)
Lord God, with Your great power You made the earth and the sky. There is nothing too hard for You to do. – (Jeremiah 32:17, ERV)
Eternal Lord, with Your outstretched arm and Your enormous power You created the heavens and the earth. Nothing is too difficult for You. – (Jeremiah 32:17, VOICE)
The same God, who in His great power, made the heavens and the earth, also knit each of us together while we were being formed in the womb. He knows every cell and fiber of our being, and the unspoken needs of our hearts. God sees, He hears, He cares, and He answers, even when we are unsure of what we are asking.
This morning, I am grateful that I had a four-hour stretch of sleep, after multiple wake-ups due to the pain that mom is suffering from her right shoulder. Finally, after a second dose of ibuprofen, she was able to sleep for a stretch long enough to provide both of us some true rest. Thankfully, her shoulder seldom bothers her during the day, as she is able to support it properly and stretch and utilize it in the ways that best keep it stable. The struggle is during the night as she sleeps. As she continues to grow stronger, she adjusts her sleep position more and more, yet doing so in a way that does not cause pain to her shoulder, is extraordinarily difficult, particularly when she is maneuvering in her sleep. Yesterday, mom did her best walking yet. She walked the full length of the hallway with her walker without assistance nor pause, and did so fluidly and with clear purpose. Additionally, mom showed marked improvement with all of her strengthening exercises during physical therapy as well. So much so, that we discussed a possible transition to a hemi-walker on Friday (which is a much smaller, one-handed walker that assists in a transition to a cane). Mom is motivated and determined, and after she and I had a quick outing to drive to pick up a prescription and coffees, we returned home. After lunch she decided she would relax and watch a movie in the living room, so I had her transfer from her wheelchair to a comfortable chair. For the first time ever, as she transferred, she actually picked up her right foot as she stepped! She did not slide nor drag it, but picked it up for an actual step. The entire transfer was completely on her own, with me only holding her right arm so that it would not dangle down and cause pain. We both recognized right away what she had done, and looked at one another in awe and pure delight. God is moving, and we are seeing the fruit of her labor and His faithfulness. The biggest prayers right now are obviously for her full and complete healing, yet as we wait, for no more pain and ongoing regain in that right arm. He is good, and we continue to trust in Him.
The very same God,
Who made earth and sky;
Saw fit to make us,
And loved with His life.
Whatever we face,
All that comes our way;
Is never too much,
For God and His grace.
He knows all our needs,
And hears our heart’s cry;
He draws ever near,
Lord of love, Most High.
So, each day we choose,
To trust in His grace;
For always He’s good,
And He’ll make a way.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You, the One who created heaven and earth, by Your great power, can overcome anything with a mere word. Thank You that You know us and love us, and are willing to draw near and hear our every cry. Forgive us for our wavering faith. Teach us to trust You more. Show us how to love those around us in a way that encourages and strengthens and gives grace and goodness in the spaces where it is needed most. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose to trust in You, and recognize that You are far greater than all else. Amen.
Praise be to the name of God for ever and ever; wisdom and power are His. – Daniel 2:20
But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. – (Isaiah 40:31, NIV)
But those who trust in the Lord will become strong again. They will be like eagles that grow new feathers. They will run and not get weak. They will walk and not get tired. – (Isaiah 40:31, ERV)
But those who trust in the Eternal One will regain their strength. They will soar on wings as eagles. They will run – never winded, never weary. They will walk – never tired, never faint. – (Isaiah 40:31, VOICE)
This morning, this verse has extra meaning for me. A few weeks ago, as I was getting mom ready for bed and she was very tired, she randomly said something about her feathers. I looked at her a little funny, and asked about her plumage. We both giggled, and she shook her head and said it was not what she was trying to say. However, looking at the ERV translation, perhaps she knew exactly what she was saying in her exhausted state. As she is healing and new neurological pathways are rebuilding, it is as if she is growing new feathers to fly. Her “feathers” are the key to restored strength to walk and move and reengage in the activities she longs to do once again. God is faithful, and I think He has a great sense of humor. We laugh often, even in the challenges of all of this. Each day I witness new strength and resolve, where new “feathers” are sprouting.
Yesterday was a wonderful day in every way. My Viking is here, and rather than just relax and visit, he worked tirelessly to assure that mom’s sprinkler system was back up and in working order. He trouble-shot and discovered issues we were not even aware existed. Incredibly, had he not, there could have been major issues with the hillside. Additionally, mom’s middle older brother and his wife came for a visit. We all shared dinner together, and a couple of rounds of a family favorite game. It was wonderful to watch the hearts of each of the two siblings soar in the presence of one another. Each one needed the reassurance of the other, to see that the other was okay, and was going to press on and persevere in faith. The two are in town a few more days, so we anticipate another visit or two prior to their return trip home. (I think being surrounded by the love of family encourages feather growth as well.) May we ever trust in the One who is our Source of strength, as He gives us feathers to fly; endurance to run without growing weary and perseverance to walk and not grow faint.
Lord, You are our strength,
When weariness comes;
You form new feathers,
With each rising sun.
You help us to run,
Without growing tired;
To keep pressing on,
You are strength to walk,
When steps seem too much;
You hold out Your hand,
Grant Your loving touch.
Lord, help us rise up,
In the strength You give;
With new-found feathers,
Fly free and choose live.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we trust in You, we become strong again. Thank You that You renew our strength, granting fresh endurance and resolve to rise up and press on to all that You call us to do. Forgive us for our frustration and lack of perseverance when things don’t go the way we think they ought to go. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would ever seek You for strength, direction, and peace. Show us how to embrace the new “feathers” You are growing in us so that we may rise up and soar. Lead us to love those around us in a way that encourages, strengthens and supports others as they press on toward the prize to which You have called them. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust in You to be our strength forever. Amen.
Those who know Your Name trust in You, for You, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek You. – Psalm 9:10
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,
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.
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