Blessings and Strength to the Seeking

Great blessings belong to those who depend on You for strength! Their heart’s desire is to make the trip to Your Temple. – (Psalm 84:5, ERV)

Happy are those who are strong in the Lord, who want above all else to follow your steps. – (Psalm 84:5, TLB)

Blessed are those who make You their strength, for they treasure every step of the journey. – (Psalm 84:5, VOICE)

 

This is a great reminder that our blessings of peace, joy and contentment come when we seek the Lord for strength. When the desire of our heart is to spend time in His presence, we begin to treasure each day and find joy in the journey. That does not mean that each day is easy, or that we somehow suddenly skate through life; but it does determine our true Source of strength and hope and joy, which makes all of the difference as we navigate each new day. May we depend on the Lord for strength each day, and treasure the faithfulness of our Heavenly Father as He blesses us with His presence and His peace as we persevere through all things.

 

May we ever learn,

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Of blessings we’ll find;

As we seek Your strength,

With soul, heart and mind.

Your great faithfulness,

Will always be found;

By those who choose seek,

Your grace is profound.

All that we shall need,

To keep keeping on;

Your blessings and strength,

Our hope and our song.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our strength as we seek You. Thank You that You bless our hearts and lives with Your presence and Your peace as we pursue time with You. Thank You that we no longer have to make a pilgrimage to a holy place to find You, for You are wherever we are when we call on Your Name. Forgive us for not seeking Your strength in our struggles. Teach us to trust You to provide all that we need to navigate each new day. Show us how to love those around us well, so that we may be Your hands, heart and voice to those in need of strength and encouragement. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to be our strength and praise You for Your faithfulness forever. Amen.

 

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

 

Look to the Lord and His strength; seek His face always. – 1 Chronicles 16:11

 

 

Contagious Compassion

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. – (2 Corinthians 1:3-4, NIV)

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. He is the Father who is full of mercy, the God of all comfort. He comforts us every time we have trouble so that when others have trouble, we can comfort them with the same comfort God gives us. – (2 Corinthians 1:3-4, ERV)

All praise goes to God, Father of our Lord Jesus, the Anointed One. He is the Father of compassion, the God of all comfort. He consoles us as we endure the pain and hardship of life so that we may draw from His comfort and share it with others in their own struggles. – (2 Corinthians 1:3-4, VOICE)

 

God is faithful to be present and comfort us throughout all of our days. It matters not whether the need is great or small, His compassion is present and available to all. Days like today, when I wake weary and worn before the day even begins, I know that I need not worry, for He will meet me with the strength I need to navigate today. In the hardest seasons of life, He has been tangibly present to comfort me. Because I have known such goodness and grace, I seek to extend the same to those around me as I am able. Incredibly, the most compassionate and comforting people that I know, have endured some of the most pain and hardship. Perhaps it was out of their own experiences that they gained perspective as to what others need most. May we all praise God, our Provider, as He grants us compassion and comfort when we encounter challenges of any kind. Let our hearts draw from the comfort He provides, so that we too, may comfort those around us.

 

Praise the Lord our God,

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Typography poster lettering love and ethnic patterns. The feathers of birds form a heart. Vector illustration hand drawn.

For He’s always good;

Brings comfort in pain,

Makes grace understood.

The love that God gives,

Beyond what we’d hope;

Floods our hearts and minds,

‘til it overflows.

It’s His compassion,

That fills and renews;

Making us aware,

To do the same too.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are the God of compassion and comfort, whether our need is great or small. Thank You that You see, hear and know our needs, even better than we do, and You meet us where we are. Thank You that You fill us to overflowing so that we can go forth and extend comfort and compassion to those around us. Forgive us for the times that we have neglected to see the need, or have ignored the prompting in our hearts to reach out. Teach us to trust You more, as You are always faithful to provide whatever is needed where we are called. Show us how to love those around us with comfort and compassion, so that Your heart may be made tangible. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we with grateful hearts receive Your comfort and grace, and reach out to extend the same to those around us. Amen.

 

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

 

But You, Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness. – Psalm 86:15

Begin With Thanks

Give thanks to the Lord for He is good; His love endures forever. – (1 Chronicles 16:34, NIV)

Give thanks to the Lord because He is good. His faithful love will last forever. – (1 Chronicles 16:34, ERV)

Give thanks to God – He is good and His love never quits. – (1 Chronicles 16:34, MSG)

 

This morning, I woke twenty minutes prior to my alarm. I am uncertain as to whether it was my full bladder or my strange dream that disrupted my slumber, but either way, I was not pleased to be awake at that time, knowing that I would be up for the day in such a short time. As I felt a toasty blast of heat on my way to the restroom, I had a quick check in my heart as to what really matters. Above all else, I have so many reasons to give thanks. So often, we need to take pause and take inventory. God’s goodness and love know no end. For me, in that moment, I remembered that this is the first day of November, a month often dedicated to giving thanks. Upon further pondering, my mental list of gratitude has grown, exponentially, and I could likely spend the month writing about all of the reasons that I am thankful. At 2:57 am, my list included a home with heat, a warm, comfortable bed, a roof over my head, a loving husband, wonderful children, our moms, siblings, and extended family, as well as an incredible circle of familial-like friends. We all have struggles and challenges and trials to face, yet in the midst of them all, we have God and His unending grace. For all of these things, and so many more, may we give thanks to God.

As for mom, her progress provides yet another reason to give God thanks. This week she had the very last of her in-home therapy appointments, as she is now going to transition to out-patient therapy. The switch is significant, as physical and occupation therapy providers have resources, tools and equipment that expedite mobility and strength, and we are eager to see how mom grows in this new chapter of her stroke recovery. Our prayer now is that the timing of the transition is seamless. We are hopeful that because she is in the same city, insurance will process and appointments will be available quickly. Above all, we give thanks to God that mom is with us, and is on the road to recovery, working hard and growing stronger every day.

 

Give thanks to the Lord,

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Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography

For He’s always good;

His love’s forever,

Through all times, withstood.

Every good gift,

Comes from God above;

Blessings from heaven,

Surrounded in love.

For all that is good,

And help when it’s not;

Give thanks to the Lord,

Who amply allots.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are good and that Your love endures forever. Thank You for the ways that You bless, sustain and help us throughout all of our days. Forgive us for losing sight of Your goodness when things don’t go our way. Teach us to look to You with gratitude, trusting that even in the struggles, trials, inconveniences and the like; You are with us and will see us through. Show us how to love those around us in a way that multiplies gratitude in others. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You thanks for who You are and for Your goodness and love that know no end. Amen.

 

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

 

And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him. – Colossians 3:17

 

 

Power, Protection and Presence

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.

 

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He won’t let us fall;

He’s moving for us,

Each time that we call.

Protector, Healer,

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.

 

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

 

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

 

 

Bloom Where You Are Planted

Therefore, since we are surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. – (Hebrews 12:1, NIV)

We have all these great people around us as examples. Their lives tell us what faith means. So we, too, should run the race that is before us and never quit. We should remove from our lives anything that would slow us down and the sin that so often makes us fall. – (Hebrews 12:1, ERV)

As for us, we have all of these great witnesses who encircle us like clouds. So we must let go of every would that has pierced us and the sin we so easily fall into. Then we will be able to run life’s marathon race with passion and determination, for the path has been already marked out before us. – (Hebrews 12:1, TPT)

 

This, this is why we are called to be in community. Though we can accomplish much through Christ on our own, we can do and be more when we are surrounded by others who walk alongside us as we navigate the journey to which we are called. Incredibly, everyone has a story to tell, and we each have encouragement to offer, based on our experiences and the person whom we have been created to be. Though the struggles and seasons of suffering stink, they often become the space where we find God has grown us the strongest. It is in such seasons that we learn perseverance and dependence on Christ, and have to let go of everything else that weighs us down if we wish to keep moving forward. One of the things that I have missed terribly throughout this trying season, is the consistent community and gathering together to worship and fellowship with friends who have become family at home. However, I know that their prayerful support has been a tremendous contribution to what has sustained us as we have navigated this new and unknown road. God has been faithful each step of the way, and we trust Him to continue as each of us prepare for the next season in mom’s journey to a full recovery.

For mom, yesterday began with some strong ongoing progress that took incredible strength and courage. What terrified mom a little over a week ago, still frightened her a bit, yet she did not hesitate to participate and do her best. Doing upper body work from a kneeling position on the floor is a scary space for mom. However, it is a position that forces her to utilize the right side of her upper body, that she desperately wants to regain. She knows that the reward is worth the risk, and willingly fended off fear to do the work required of her. Ever so slowly, mom is activating her shoulder and scapula. Each time she does the exercises to strengthen the muscles, she also is increasing the message pathways to movement. Later in the afternoon, following an errand outing for a few necessities, lunch and Dutch Bros, we returned home and mom was ready to do some walking. Normally, mom changes into her tennis shoes with an AFO (something foot orthotic that lifts her toes so they don’t drag or catch when she steps) in them, but she already had her crocs on and I suggested she give it a try. Much to her surprise, she was able to walk well in her crocs without the AFO. This is extraordinarily exciting news, as it means that she is actually lifting her right leg as she steps, and no longer just dragging it through. The more she lifts her right foot as she steps, the greater variety of terrain she will be able to take on. (She really wants to walk around her yard!) Mom’s great cloud of witnesses have been coming to see her, more and more. She recognizes the benefit of visitors, and is enjoying reconnecting with dear friends from church, Bible studies and the like. Her perseverance is an encouragement to us all. May we ever seek to surround ourselves in community, so that we may encourage one another to persevere on the path to which we have been called.

 

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In community;

To learn and to grow,

Exponentially.

For each one planted,

Has something to give;

Wisdom to offer,

Strength from lessons lived.

Hearing from others,

Those far and those near;

Lifts up and strengthens,

Helps us persevere.

Reach out and grow roots,

Invest and make room;

Choose let others in,

Where you’re planted, bloom.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to be in community. Thank You that we can both gain and offer strength to those around us as we do life together in You. Forgive us for allowing ourselves to be isolated when the road is difficult. Thank You for those whom You place in our lives to keep community strong, even when we are not nearby. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would reach out to those around us, regardless of our circumstances, as You bring beauty from ashes and often use our own weakness as Your greatest strength through us. Show us how to love those around us well, so that they will be encouraged and built up; strengthened to persevere through all seasons. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we invest in the communities that You call us to, and praise You for the power to persevere that comes from You. Amen.

 

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

 

Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe. – Hebrews 12:28

 

Home is the Company You Keep

Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. – (Matthew 5:4, NIV)

Great blessings belong to those who are sad now. God will comfort them. – (Matthew 5:4, ERV)

You’re blessed when you feel you’ve lost what is most dear to you. Only then can you be embraced by the One most dear to you. – (Matthew 5:4, MSG)

 

A sense of mourning has been the overarching theme of my time at home. From the first moment I walked through the door, I began to feel waves of grief. Until yesterday, I could not completely identify the “why”. Yes, some of it is obvious, with the trauma of what has gone on with mom’s stroke, the loss of my grandmother, grieving the loss of closing out much of the end of the school year with my students, and of course, all of the time that I did not get to spend with my husband and children and close friends. However, there was something more that was weighing me down at home. The revelation that I had as I was walking and talking with my best friend last evening, was that being home was not home to me, without my husband here. For me, home is the company you keep, not so much the place where you sleep. Of course, I love my children and time with them, but they are typical teenagers, and spend much time in their own world, being independent young adults. I easily felt at home at mom’s, yet here, with Mark away, I have been unsettled and sorrowful. It is amazing how quickly comfort can come, once the source is identified. I was able to share my struggle with my spouse, and he listened and heard my heart. He also is rerouting his plans, and will be doing a quick turn-around on Friday so that he can be in Wenatchee with me for the weekend, rather than wait another week to spend time with one another.

As for adventures in Wenatchee… Mom and Megan had an “exciting” day yesterday. The morning began in quite the usual way, with breakfast, shower, and so on. However, when the two of them were seated in the living room, just relaxing and watching a movie, they suddenly heard a loud “boom” from mom’s room! Megan quickly ran back to investigate the noise, only to discover a disaster in the bathroom. A pipe had burst and there was about an inch of water on the floor already. She jumped into action immediately, laying down towels to keep the water from reaching the carpeted areas of mom’s room, darted out of the house to find the water main and shut it off, and reached a neighbor with a shop vac and industrial fan, and a dear local friend for a quality plumber recommendation. Additionally, she was able to contact mom’s insurance company. All the while, mom had a physical therapy appointment take place and was able to let Meg know the contact people for insurance, etc. Incredibly, all repairs were complete and the water was back on by evening. Hats off to my quick-thinking, fast-acting, superstar sister!

May we ever seek the Lord when we are struggling, for He is our Comforter and Keeper of peace.

 

Lord be our Comfort, img_2019-06-20_06-48-128110825988295564590.jpg

Wherever we roam;

May we always choose,

Make our heart Your home.

Show us Your kindness,

And grant us Your grace;

When sorrow’s burden,

Tries to overtake.

Thank You for people,

To know and be known;

Oh what a blessings,

To make house a home.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our Comforter when sorrows and struggles come our way. Thank You that You make Your heart for us tangible through the people whom You place in our lives. Thank You for the countless gifts that You have given me – my husband, children, mom and sister, dearest friends, colleagues whom are lifelong friends, and more. Thank You that You truly bless us, even in our most difficult seasons. Forgive us for feeling stuck in the struggle, as You refine us in the fire. Teach us to trust You more, as You never let go of our hearts or our hands. Show us how to love those around us in a way that lifts up and walks alongside through the hurts and brings comfort and peace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as You are our caring Comforter in all things and at all times. Amen.

 

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

 

Now comfort me with Your faithful love, as You promised. – Psalm 119:76

Growing Love

And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight. – (Philippians 1:9, NIV)

This is my prayer for you: that your love will grow more and more; that you will have knowledge and understanding with your love. – (Philippians 1:9, ERV)

I continue to pray for your love to grow and increase beyond measure, bringing you into the rich revelation of spiritual insight in all things. – (Philippians 1:9, TPT)

 

Isn’t this honestly what we all need? As I return home later this morning and my sister takes the reigns here at mom’s, knowledge, understanding, revelation and insight are needed to best love those we are called to love, where we are called to love them. Though it is a bit easier to love our family members well, after long periods of separation there are likely to be challenges, hurts and misunderstandings. We need insight and a heart like Jesus, to love well, regardless of how our “re-entry” goes. Yes, I am eagerly anticipating time with my husband, boys, dear friends, and students, however, I do not expect it all to be a “bed of roses”. I anticipate hiccups and frustrations, especially after such a long-awaited return. My sister will likely endure similar struggles, as she has been eager to get back to mom, yet had to leave her husband and boys at home. There is new territory to navigate and a rhythm to discover, and it will not look nor feel the same as the one that mom and I have established. The time together will grant them each opportunity to grow even closer; as just yesterday, mom and I were discussing the blessing in this whole crazy catastrophe is that we have had more intentional quality time together over the last six weeks, than we have had in ages. We can communicate with looks and gestures, just as easily as with words. Laughter abounds in the house, and there is much joy, despite the challenges and frustrations in the long and arduous task of rehabilitation and recovery from a stroke.

Yesterday was a wonderful, busy day. The first order of business was occupational therapy. Elizabeth, her therapist, is working tirelessly to come up with ways to help mom regain movement and mobility in her right arm. Though the gains are slow and seemingly insignificant, Elizabeth’s enthusiasm and encouragement keep mom uplifted and ready to do the work for the long haul. Soon after her appointment, one of mom’s dearest friends from childhood and his wife came for a visit. The two of them are treasured friends, and mom was engaged and uplifted from time together. We had a mellow afternoon, full of movie watching and down time, as I think mom was too excited for Megan’s return to actually sleep, yet knew she needed to rest a bit. After dinner, we caught up with some sweet neighbors of mom’s, and again, mom was lifted up at the blessing of being together with dear ones. Shortly after they had gone, Megan at last, arrived. We had decided to go outside to see if we could catch her upon arrival, and just reached the garage door as the car had pulled up the driveway to welcome her in. Mom was over-the-moon to have both of her girls home at once, and we thoroughly enjoyed catching up with one another, visiting and laughing together, until we all were ready to call it a day. I know the bond between each of us has grown stronger through all of this as well: my sister and me, mom and my sister, mom and me. God is good, and He brings beautiful things from the ugliest of circumstances. May we ever seek Him to grow our love more and more, in knowledge and depth of insight.

 

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In knowledge of You;

Grant us Your insight,

Show us what to do.

Help us understand,

How deep and how wide;

How vastly You love,

As we choose abide.

Show us Your mercy,

Wrap us in Your grace;

Teach us to give love,

That honors Your Name.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we ask, Your love abounds in us more and more, and that You grow us in knowledge and understanding of who You are and how You love. Thank You that we can spend a lifetime pursuing You, and still never fully grasp the depth and breadth of Your incredible love. Forgive us for the times that we somehow think that it is not enough. Teach us to trust You more. Show us how to receive all that You have to offer, so that we may in turn, give out of the abundance that You give to us. Lead us to love those around us with wisdom and insight, so that they too, may see Your heart through our love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we pursue You, and seek to grow in the knowledge and understanding of Your overwhelming love for us all. Amen.

 

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

 

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight. – Proverbs 3:5

Love is a Safe Shelter

(Love) It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. – (1 Corinthians 13:7, NIV)

Love never gives up on people. It never stops trusting, never loses hope, and never quits. – (1 Corinthians 13:7, ERV)

Love is a safe place of shelter, for it never stops believing the best for others. Love never takes failure as defeat, for it never gives up. – (1 Corinthians 13:7, TPT)

 

God always knows what I need to hear, when I need to hear it. Part of the His design when He made me, includes a strong “mama bear” protective nature, a heart that clings closely to the hope I have in Him, and a spirit that does not understand the concept of quitting. That being said, the last eight hours seem to have stolen my ability to always protect. Though I know that ultimately, protection is in His hands, I want to do everything that I can to keep my loved ones safe at all times – physically, spiritually and emotionally. At 1:45 am, I heard a sound in the monitor that was frighteningly unfamiliar. Mom was making a sort of moaning sound that did not sound like she was sleeping. I bolted upright in bed and dashed across the hall into her room. My fear was realized as I saw her sitting on the floor, beside her bed, looking frightened and a bit dazed. Sitting beside her, I began checking for injury and looking for signs of need for emergency care. Thankfully, it appeared that she had, out of a lifelong habit of rising to use the restroom as needed, simply gone to stand up out of bed, and her legs did not support her standing for long. Before leaving acute care, we had practiced how to get up from the floor, if ever we were in such a position. Though it did not go quite as smoothly as one might hope, we managed, and all is well. Once mom was securely back in bed, with the exit side of her bed blocked better, I returned to my room and checked my phone to be sure my sister had made it home safely. In addition to her text, there was one from my boys’ dad, letting me know that they had not been treated kindly by some of their music people after their spring concert, when everyone gathered at Red Robin. I know that there is nothing that I could have possibly done to protect or prevent these things, however, the protector in me, dies a little when such things transpire. My heart hurts for my mom, as she struggles to regain movement and independence, and for my boys, who are wonderful, loving and sensitive young men, who deserve only kindness, yet are subject to the cruelty of this world. I have to remember that the love that always protects, is His, not mine. God is a far better protector that me. Though only a fool would mess with my people in front of me, I have to trust, hope and persevere, as God is greater and He always protects.

 

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That keeps things aligned;

Trust, hope, protection,

All in God’s design.

Life is a faith walk,

Where we have to choose;

To trust in the Lord,

No matter our view.

Sometimes what we see,

Seems dismal at best;

Trials and valleys,

Life’s endurance tests.

No matter what comes,

Keep trusting the One;

Who grants all we need,

‘til each day is done.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You always protect; You are always trustworthy, You are and will always be our hope; and in You, we will always have all that we need to persevere. Forgive us for our frustration when we cannot protect our loved ones from all the ills of this world; for it is broken and fallen and fallible. Thank You that You are not. Teach us to trust You more so that we would cling to You and depend on You in all things and at all times, not just for ourselves but for those we love as well. Show us how to love those around us well. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You, hope in You, persevere in Your strength, and protect in love, allowing Your love to lead our every step. Amen.

 

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

 

I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” – Psalm 91:2

 

 

An Impossible Pairing

Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. – (Romans 12:12, NIV)

Be happy because of the hope you have. Be patient when you have troubles. Pray all the time. – (Romans 12:12, ERV)

Do not forget to rejoice, for hope is always just around the corner. Hold up through the hard times that are coming, and devote yourselves to prayer. – (Romans 12:12, VOICE)

 

Joy and patience seem like an impossible pairing, but if I have learned anything from our present circumstances of walking out this road to recovery with mom, following her stroke, it is that there is joy in hope, despite the struggle through what has been lost. Every day there are new celebrations of pathways that are rerouting, and awe at how the brain is healing. Restoration of movement to a side struck by a stroke is slow, yet there is joy each new day, as we see evidence of God’s faithful presence and His hand as mom’s strength is being rebuilt.

Yesterday was a day full of joyful hope. Even the weather seemed to mirror a sort of tangible weight that somehow was lifted. You see, the last several days here have been dark, gloomy, and on the cooler side, which is not typical for this time of year in Wenatchee. That being said, it was a blessing, as there was something wrong with the irrigation main for mom’s neighborhood, and the lawn would not have fared well if the weather had been warmer. As I woke and took my usual spot at the kitchen table in the early hours yesterday morning, I could tell the atmosphere outside was changing. The sky was lighter, and the seeming heaviness in the air had lifted. The thermometer just outside the window already read in the low 60s, so I knew we were on a much warmer trend for the day. When Meg and I left for the hospital to be with mom, I thought we were saying our goodbyes to my husband, as he had indicated that he was heading straight home from the house. My brother-in-love and nephews were planning to stop by to say goodbye to mom before heading out of town, so we knew we would see them on their way out. To my surprise, all four fellas (my hubby included) walked into the acute care center and mom was beaming. What a boost for all of us before her last full day in that place! Mom teared up a bit as the guys said their goodbyes, and I think there may have been a few misty-eyed fellas too, but they were happy tears of love and mutual appreciation, with eager anticipation for their return visit. Our day was a wonderful combination of therapies, rest, wandering outdoors, and loads of laughter. Mom, Meg and I laughed more yesterday than we have laughed in a very long time. There was a lightness in our hearts, as I think each one of us sensed that though we do not know what the road ahead will look like, we will be okay as we navigate the unknown together. It has always been the three of us, and it is not about to change now. God has us in His hands. He will never leave us nor forsake us, and He has a plan and a purpose; even in this. May we ever present our prayers before He who is abundantly able to answer, and allow His joy to abound, even in difficult circumstances.

 

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For God never fails;

His purpose and plan,

Shall always prevail.

Patience in struggles,

For we’re in His hands;

He’ll lead and guide us,

Help us safely land.

Keep lifting in prayer,

Each dream, hope and care;

Of His direction,

He’ll make us aware.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are the reason that we have joy and hope, even in the midst of difficult circumstances. Thank You that You never leave us nor forsake us, and that You direct our every step, and hold us in the hollow of Your hands. Forgive us for our fears of the unknown, as our humanity fears what we cannot see. Teach us to trust You more in the spaces that seem unsteady, for You are our anchor in every storm. Show us how to love those around us in a way that offers joy, peace, hope and grace, no matter what surrounds. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You and listen to Your leading for every next step we are meant to take. Amen.

 

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

 

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight. – Proverbs 3:5-6

Through the Valleys and Highest Peaks

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose. – (Romans 8:28, NIV)

We know that in everything God works for the good of those who love Him. These are the people God chose, because that was His plan. – (Romans 8:28, ERV)

We are confident that God is able to orchestrate everything to work toward something good and beautiful when we love Him and accept His invitation to live according to His plan. – (Romans 8:28, VOICE)

 

This is the truth. Though the things we walk through may not be good, God can bring good out of our experiences. He will take our difficulties and direct our steps, demonstrating to us, just how much strength that He has deposited within our hearts for such a time as this. Things we might have never noticed before, suddenly become significant and beautiful beyond what our human heart can hold.

Yesterday, I was able to plug into my church and run media, experiencing Sunday in a way that felt “normal” for the first time in a month. There is something significant about being present as our worship team warms up and runs through the songs, then witnessing the wonderful unfolding of what God has in store, in two services. The two never unfold exactly alike, and there are always morsels of the message that I can carry with me into the week, that often come back to mind in moments when the message aligns with what lies before me. It is the great unfolding of His plan, as we invest in the truth of His word. We are not promised an easy or pain-free life, but we are promised that He will never leave us nor forsake us; and He is able to work ALL THINGS toward something good. God truly does bring beauty from ashes when we allow Him in. My own life is a living testament of His faithfulness. So many times, the places of trial or heartache became the greatest sources of strength, victory and grace. God is always good, and I know He is bringing even more beauty to the life He created for my mom.

Mom enjoyed a balance of time with Megan’s family, therapies, rest, and Mark and me even were able to sneak over and surprise her for a hug and quick visit, before trading off with Meg’s fellas. It is a joy to hear the perspective of both Scott and Mark, (Meg and my spouses), as they have had large gaps in between visits with mom, so they see giant leaps in her progress, rather than the day-to-day victories that my sister and I witness. Both of our guys cannot contain their joy as they speak of the change they see in mom. Each has been instrumental in my sister’s and my ability to be with mom every day. If not for them holding down the fort and running the households back home, we would not be able to be here. May we ever remain confident in He who is able to use ALL THINGS for good, and continue to trust in Him for every step of this uncharted journey.

 

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Great hope from despair;

Our most holy God,

Hears every prayer.

He’ll never forsake,

Nor leave us alone;

He sees all our needs,

And we each are known.

Trust that He is good,

His plan, purposeful;

Beauty from ashes,

A life meaningful.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You work all things out for good for those who love You. Thank You that even though the circumstances or struggles are not good, You bring good from the process. Thank You that You are God and we are not. Forgive us for the times that we are too blinded by our own hurt or struggle to see how You are working for our good in the midst of it. Teach us to trust You more, as You are far greater that anything that stands before us. Show us how to love those around us as we walk through the valleys and climb the highest peaks. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You and praise You for the beauty You bring from ashes, and watch in anticipation for all that is yet to come. Amen.

 

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

 

…To bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair… – Isaiah 61:3