Run Our Race

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such 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)

So since we stand surrounded by all those who have gone before, an enormous cloud of witnesses, let us drop every extra weight, every sin that clings to us and slackens our pace, and let us run with endurance the long race set before us. – (Hebrews 12:1, VOICE)

 

Running is a great analogy for how we are meant to live life. Encouragement comes from those who have run a similar race before us, and know how to navigate the course well. Just as no runner ever wants to run carrying any unnecessary weight or things that will burden or slow them down, so too, it is meant to be in life with the things that distract and keep us off course from running the race for which we are called to run. To do so, requires perseverance and endurance, as it is not a sprint, but rather a race we are to keep running. In the same way that a runner must stay the course, persevere, and keep running, a life lived well requires faith, perseverance, a dropping of things that distract us from the course that God calls us to, and a conviction to continue, even when it is difficult. Both take training, and require a readiness to keep running. May we learn from all those who have gone before us and run well; may we remove from our lives anything that would slow us down and the sin that makes us fall, and may we run our race with endurance, as the true prize is well worth the run.

 

We all know others,

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Ash and I as we are ready to run our 1/2 Marathon today

Who are running well;

Grace and faithfulness,

Their lives clearly tell.

Just as they have done,

May we in faith, go;

Throwing off burdens,

What won’t help us grow.

In faith, keep running,

With His strength and grace;

Press on, persevere,

The Lord sets the pace.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your goodness and grace, and for the example set before us by those who have lived their lives for You well. Thank You that we are only meant to run the race that You set before us. Thank You that You strengthen and equip us for whatever You ask us to do. Forgive us for the sin that weighs us down and distracts us from staying the course. Teach us to keep our eyes on Your and our feet on the path to which we are called. Show us how to love those around us well, so that we may encourage others as we are encouraged by You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust in Your strength and grace to rise up and run our race with endurance. 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

Maker of Mountains

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, img_2019-06-22_08-20-406022810217687705642.jpg

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.

 

© 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

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.

 

God, grow our love more, img_20190613_213857_7235691910451312632394.jpg

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

Ask and See

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. – (Philippians 4:6-7, NIV)

Don’t worry about anything, but pray and ask God for everything you need, always giving thanks for what you have. And because you belong to Christ Jesus, God’s peace will stand guard over all your thoughts and feelings. His peace can do this far better than our human minds. – (Philippians 4:6-7, ERV)

Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life. – (Philippians 4:6-7, MSG)

 

Because my sister is not returning home to Oregon until Tuesday, we determined that it would be good for me to make a quick trip home to see my boys overnight, as I will be staying in Wenatchee with mom at least for the next week and beyond. At first, I was a bit anxious. It reminded me of when my boys were preemies in the NICU, and I was taken home for one night, away from my babies. I am not an outward “emoter” at all, but I cried the entire time, and vowed then and there that I would not be leaving the hospital again until my boys came with me. Thankfully, this did not feel the same. My sister was staying with mom, and my mom is able to speak for herself. Mark and I went to the hospital with Megan before we left town, and were able to witness some really remarkable milestones in her progress thus far. With the help of the occupational therapist and an aid, mom took her very first heavily assisted steps since her stroke. They moved her right side for her, as she focused on the left. Each movement was slow, frustrating, and very labor intensive; yet they were movement forward, upright, and progress in a very positive direction. The next petition that was answered prior to our departure, was getting her out of her room. Anyone who knows mom, knows that she is constantly on the go. Her sitting in bed or the chair in her room for hours and hours on end was quite concerning to us all. We got to wheel her out in a wheelchair to the waiting area on her floor that is full of windows with a spectacular view. The room was flooded with warm rays of sun, and she basked in the warmth as she happily sucked down a Coffee Frappuccino we smuggled in for her (with the medical team’s permission of course). Lastly, though mom has not had a problem with chewing or swallowing (praise God), she just has not had an appetite. No food has had any appeal, and even her favorites she has only been willing to take a bite or two. Yesterday, that too, changed. Breakfast was extraordinarily late to come, and her sweet nurse got after the kitchen to make it happen when we inquired. For whatever reason, the simplicity of the sourdough toast with her Frappuccino hit the spot, and she had taken in more in one sitting than she had since arriving last Sunday. Better still, at lunch, she ate all but the crust of a grilled cheese sandwich. This may sound trivial, but these are milestones that are critical for strength building as she moves to acute care on Monday. Once there, she will be working actively in therapies for at least three hours each day. Her determination, faith and work ethic with be invaluable. God is faithful as we cast our cares upon Him. When worry comes, it is our reminder to pray. May we ever be prayerful in all things, giving God room to move in places we need Him the most.

 

Do not let worry,

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The mountain in the background is Mt. St. Helen’s, so prior to 1980…

Be what takes control;

For we have a God,

Who heals broken souls. 

When we give to Him,

The weight that we bear;

He exchanges all,

With His loving care.

So, lift up in prayer,

All that your heart needs;

The Lord always hears,

And His grace succeeds.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your incredible faithfulness to us as we give our anxiousness and worries to You in prayer. Thank You that You surround us with the right people at the right time, to encourage and love us well, as an extension of Your arms, heart and love for us, individually. Thank You for the outpouring of support that You have graced my mom, sister and me with over the past week. Forgive us for our moments of fear and anxiousness about the unknowns that lie ahead. Teach us to trust and continue to give it all to You, again and again and again. We lay it all in Your hands, as we see so clearly how You have held and are still holding our mom in Your loving arms. Show us how to love and support mom the best way for her, and how to love those who are around her so that they may see You in us. Lead many into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, even in this we pray. 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