He Suffered for Our Sake

But He was pierced for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on Him, and by His wounds we are healed. – (Isaiah 53:5, NIV)

But He was being punished for what we did. He was crushed because of our guilt. He took the punishment we deserved, and this brought us peace. We were healed because of His pain. – (Isaiah 53:5, ERV)

But He was hurt because of us; He suffered so. Our wrongdoing wounded and crushed Him. He endured the breaking that made us whole. The injuries He suffered became our healing. – (Isaiah 53:5, VOICE)

As I continue to fix my heart and mind on the significance of Easter, my study this morning landed me in Isaiah 53. Isaiah was written long before the birth of Jesus, so it is a prophetic foretelling of what was yet to come. Jesus was indeed pierced for our transgressions, taking on the guilt and punishment that was deserved, so that we might know healing, wholeness and peace. His suffering on Friday brought us to the freedom that arrived on Sunday with an empty tomb. The very One who bore the weight of the world, overcame death in order to bring us new life. It is mind-blowing to think of anyone taking the punishment we deserve for our wrongdoing, and even more baffling to consider He who took ALL for EVERYONE. I know as a parent, I would gladly take pain in the place of my children. However, I am flawed and I fail; Jesus, who knew no sin, had done no wrong, endured the guilt and suffering for all that we have ever done, are doing, and will ever do, so that we have the opportunity and freedom to decide to follow after God and be in a right relationship with Him. Jesus made the way for all. In God’s eyes, every sin is a sin, and we all fall short. I cannot imagine what life would be like if we did not have the Savior to seek in our shortcomings, suffering and struggle. May we ever give glory to God, who sent His Only Son, and all praise to Jesus, who bore all on our behalf so that we would know God’s goodness and love.

Love chose be broken,

For once and for all;

Suffering Savior,

Love tore down the wall.

The wall between us,

Kept apart by sin;

His love brought new life,

Our only way in.

Into His goodness,

Overwhelmed by grace;

Hope that’s eternal,

O Ancient of Days.

Let us give glory,

Where glory is due;

All thanks for new life,

Through that empty tomb.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son to make the way for us to be restored in relationship with You. Jesus, thank You for bearing the weight of my sin upon Yourself so that I might know abundant life in You. Forgive us for allowing this holy week to come and go without pondering and pursuing a deeper understanding of all that You did to bring us into Your kingdom. Teach us to be intentional with our time. Show us how to love those around us intentionally and with Your goodness and grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we recognize the magnitude of Your sacrifice and suffering that brought us new life in You. Amen.

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

But we do see Jesus, who was made lower than the angels for a little while, now crowned with glory and honor because He suffered death, so that by the grace of God He might taste death for everyone. – Hebrews 2:9

A Call to Comfort

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 received 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 praises belong to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. For He is the Father of tender mercy and the God of endless comfort. He always comes alongside us to comfort us in every suffering so that we can come alongside those who are in any painful trial. We can bring them this same comfort that God has poured out upon us. – (2 Corinthians 1:3-4, TPT)

When I think about this encouragement, what comes to mind is that of my dear friends and family, those who are the most comforting are the ones who have endured the most. Though I would never wish for the challenges, trouble and suffering that each have endured, I am able to see clearly the way in which God uses their experiences in each of their lives. I know this is due to their willingness to seek and receive from God, as it is by the comfort they have received that each is able to extend such godly comfort to others. In the spaces where I have experienced God’s comfort the most, are the same circumstances where I feel most compassionate towards others going through similar situations. There is something powerful in our own experience, as it grants us empathy for those walking through something we too have traversed. Our compassion is not an accident. It is intended that we reach out and extend the very same comfort and love that we received to those who are in need now. May we ever seek the Lord to open our eyes to the need around us, and reach out with comfort and compassion as He has done for us.

God, in His mercy,

Brings comfort to us;

Compassion, kindness,

Perspective adjusts.

For where we’ve suffered,

Comfort’s been made known;

Goodness and mercy,

God’s love clearly shown.

Through experience,

We can choose the same;

To reach out in love,

Compassionate aim.

We’ve been created,

To love and be loved;

To help each other,

Like the Lord above.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that in the midst of our struggles and trials, You provide Your comfort and care. Thank You that You have designed us to do the same for those around us. Forgive us for the times that we have allowed our circumstances to drag us down, rather than looking for the goodness that You provide and the comfort that comes as we seek You. Teach us to reach out to those around us to extend Your comfort. Show us how to love well, so that all whom we encounter would see and understand Your comfort through our kindness and compassion. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for the comfort that You give, and seek You to teach us to do the same. Amen.

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

May Your unfailing love be my comfort, according to Your promise to Your servant. – Psalm 119:76

Persist in Prayer

Then Jesus said to her, “Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted.” And her daughter was healed at that moment. – (Matthew 15:28, NIV)

Then Jesus answered, “Woman, you have great faith! You will get what you asked for.” And right then the woman’s daughter was healed. – (Matthew 15:28, ERV)

Jesus gave in. “Oh woman, your faith is something else. What you want is what you get!” Right then her daughter became well. – (Matthew 15:28, MSG)

This exchange between Jesus and a Canaanite woman is a great example of persistent faith. The woman’s daughter was suffering, and she knew that Jesus could heal her. Despite being a Canaanite (not God’s chosen people), the woman sought Jesus to heal her daughter. Jesus went back and forth with the woman about who is deserving, and she kept responding in a way that demonstrated her faith in His ability to heal. He recognized and admonished her for her trust in Him, and healed her daughter immediately. So often, I think we disqualify ourselves from His help, as we think that we are somehow unworthy of His touch if our request is not answered right away. What this shows us is that we need to keep asking, keep pursuing the help and healing we are hoping for, as often there is a wait that grows our faith. Perhaps the wait occurs to provide time for healing of our hearts, rather than just a quick fix. I cannot claim to truly understand why some healings are immediate, some are gradual, and some do not happen on this side of heaven. What I do know is that God is good. May we ever continue to seek Him to meet our needs, and praise Him for His goodness and love.

The heart of a mom,

That holds fast to hope;

Demonstrates great faith,

Grace granted to cope.

We must keep asking,

Choose trust and believe;

God’s loving kindness,

Is what we receive.

O Lord, please lead us,

Help us choose to pray;

Ever keep seeking,

For You are the way.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You hear our prayers and heal us in Your timing. Thank You that You listen to our persistent prayers. Forgive us for our frustration when answers don’t come as soon as we think they ought. Teach us to trust You and Your timing, and to contend for the help and healing that is needed. Show us how to love, encourage and lift up those around us with ongoing persistence. May many find healing and hope as they come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God as we continually trust and lean into You. Amen.

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

Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. – Matthew 7:7

Seeking Solitude for Strength

When Jesus heard what had happened, He withdrew by boat privately to a solitary place. – (Matthew 14:13a, NIV)

When Jesus heard what happened to John, He left in a boat. He went alone to a place where no one lived. – (Matthew 14:13a, ERV)

When Jesus got the news, He slipped away by boat to an out-of-the-way place by Himself. – (Matthew 14:13a, MSG)

This passage in Matthew 14 is an account of when John the Baptist (the cousin of Jesus) was beheaded by Herod and Jesus had just received news of it. Jesus, in His grief, sought some solitary space to grieve. However, soon after His retreat, crowds of people caught wind of His whereabouts and followed Him. Though Jesus was likely attempting to process and pray, when He saw the large crowd of people in need, “…He had compassion on them and healed their sick.” (vs. 14)

Jesus was the Son of God, yet on earth, He was also fully man. The grief, suffering, sorrow, and struggles that we all experience, He experienced too. Much like us, He desired room to grieve and pray. That being said, in His perfect love, Jesus recognized the needs in front of Him and set aside His own desires, in order to help. How do we navigate spaces of suffering, sorrow, and struggle like Jesus? He sought the Father, and then He saw the need before Him. Only Jesus is able to provide what we need to do both – to navigate our own trials and simultaneously reach out to those around us who are in need. We cannot allow the challenges of life to keep us from loving people the way we were created to love. Incredibly, when we do choose to look and reach out, the weight of our own burdens become lighter. May we ever seek the Lord to lead us in love and compassion, so that we may walk out our purpose, even when the road is rough.

Lord, teach us to pray,

To ever seek You;

Please lead us in love,

Grant us hope anew.

When challenges come,

For they always do;

Give us compassion,

To keep loving true.

It is by Your strength,

That we are made new;

Equipped to answer,

How we’re called by You.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the example that Jesus set before us to remind us that even in our darkness, we are called and equipped to be Your light. Forgive us for staying in our space of withdrawal when struggles come, rather than turning to You, then continuing to look forward. Teach us to trust You completely, for You bring comfort and compassion to the weariest of souls, and empower us to love all the more. Lead us to love those around us in ways that soothe the struggles and calm the chaos. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to pick us up, dust us off, and keep moving forward into all that You have created us for. 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

Hope While We Wait

On a Sabbath Jesus was teaching in one of the synagogues, and a woman was there who had been crippled by a spirit for eighteen years. She was bent over and could not straighten up at all. When Jesus saw her, He called her forward and said to her, “Woman, you are set free from your infirmity.” Then He put His hand on her, and immediately she straightened up and praised God. – (Luke 13:10-13, NIV)

He was teaching in one of the meeting places on the Sabbath. There was a woman present, so twisted and bent over with arthritis that she couldn’t even look up. She had been afflicted with this for eighteen years. When Jesus saw her, He called her over. ”Woman, you’re free!” He laid hands on her and suddenly she was standing straight and tall, giving glory to God. – (Luke 13:10-13, MSG)

Around this time, He was teaching in a synagogue on the Sabbath, the Jewish day of rest. A woman there had been sick for 18 years; she was weak, hunched over, and unable to stand up straight. Jesus placed His hands on her and suddenly she could stand straight again. She started praising God. – (Luke 13:10-13, VOICE)

 

At first, this passage made me curious as to what the woman had been suffering from for so long. After a bit of pondering, and reading a bit further, I realized there was so much to grasp from the story, that it really was irrelevant as to what caused her crippled state for so many years, but rather that on that particular Sabbath, she was healed. Not only was her long-awaited hope realized, but Jesus silenced the piousness of the synagogue leader, who claimed it was unlawful to heal on the Sabbath. Jesus, in His great wisdom, pointed out the purpose of the healing, and how it was far more important than watering an animal, which everyone did, even on the Sabbath. As His opponents were silenced, the woman who was healed could not contain her gratitude. She stood tall for the first time in eighteen years; with her hands extended toward heaven, she gave glory to God. I do wonder if she had shown up on that particular Sabbath hoping to be healed, or simply had come to hear the teaching of Jesus and be encouraged. Either way, Hope had come. After eighteen long years, she had been restored, and immediately, she gave all glory to God.

This both encourages and challenges me in this season. I woke at 2:30 this morning, for no apparent reason. Immediately, my thoughts went to my mom. I searched for the number to call the front desk at her senior living community to check in and see how she was doing, but the number I reached, rang off the hook. Defeated, I sat on the steps and prayed for her. Perhaps that was what I was meant to do all along; just pray. In the same way that healing came to that woman in the synagogue, I am contending for in my mom. God has done some miraculous work, as He spared her life and is actively restoring much of what was lost due to her stroke, yet I am continuing to pray for total healing – full and complete. God is good, and He is able to move and heal and grant hope; always. May we be encouraged to hold hope, even in the waiting, for God is good and His love endures forever.

 

Hope is the anchor, Anchor

To which we can hold;

Steady and secure,

Sure strength to behold.

For God is our rock,

When all else gives way;

He won’t be shaken,

By wind, storm or waves.

So, cling close to Christ,

All doubts, choose ignore;

God will be with us,

Beside and before.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are the God who heals. Thank You that Your timing is perfect, even when the wait seems long. Forgive us for forgetting how incredibly powerful Your love is for each of us. Teach us to trust You more – both for healing and in the waiting. Show us how to love well, all those around us, with encouragement, strength and hope. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for Your incredible love that first heals hearts and then touches lives in countless other ways. Amen.

 

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

 

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

Hope Rises

After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb. There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men. The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; He has risen, just as He said. Come and see where He lay.” – (Matthew 28:1-6, NIV)

After the Sabbath, as the first light of the new week dawned, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to keep vigil at the tomb. Suddenly the earth reeled and rocked under their feet as God’s angel came down from heaven, came right up to where they were standing. He rolled back the stone and sat on it. Shafts of lightning blazed from him. His garments shimmered snow-white. The guards at the tomb were scared to death. They were so frightened, they couldn’t move. The angel spoke to the women: “There is nothing to fear here. I know you’re looking for Jesus, the One they nailed to the cross. He is not here. He was raised, just as He said. Come and look at the place where He was placed.” – (Matthew 28:1-6, MSG)

 

The more I dig into the scriptures to unpack the details of Holy Week, the more I notice things that either have escaped me previously, or that I had somehow forgotten over time. This morning, after reading about Jesus’ resurrection in all four gospels, I had a moment of “Wow, how did I miss that before?”  In Mark, Luke, and John’s telling of the resurrection, the accounts each begin AFTER the stone had been rolled away. So, what does this matter, you ask? For me, this added to the already miraculous resurrection, as Jesus had risen and left the tomb BEFORE the stone was rolled away. In the same way that He “appeared” in the locked room where the disciples were meeting after all of this had taken place, Jesus had “disappeared” from the tomb, only to “appear” before Mary in the garden by the tomb. Next, Jesus “appeared” to the two disciples along the road to Emmaus, then among the disciples gathered in the locked room, and later at the Sea of Galilee, where He reinstated Peter, as well as in a variety of other places and spaces to teach and equip His followers before He ascended into Heaven. (Read John 20:11-21:25 for specifics) For me, this is a reminder of the incredible power of Christ. We, in our frail humanity, cannot begin to fathom the power held in the hands of our Creator. The very same God who created heaven and earth, bore the sin of the world to redeem all humanity, and then rose from three days dead. Beyond that, He lived and loved and touched and equipped those around Him further, before He ascended into heaven to be seated at the right hand of the Father, where He is ever moving on our behalf. It is no wonder they say that “Hope Rises.”  It does indeed. Christ rose. The sun rises each new day. As the weight of fear, suffering, sin and sorrow are laid at His feet, we are empowered and strengthened to rise. I wonder if that is why God created day and night the way that He did. Each morning as the sun rises, we have the opportunity to be reminded that the Son rose for us; new hope, new help, every single day. May we embrace the truth that HE HAS RISEN, and allow hope to rise in all of us on this glorious Easter morning. Let the world rejoice, for hope has risen, HE is alive!

 

 

Imagine the tomb, Statements of Praise

Cold, lifeless and still;

Guarded, protected,

O God, what’s Your will?

All of a sudden,

The earth starts to shake;

Terrifying light,

Moves the stone away.

From atop the stone,

A voice then declares;

“Do not be afraid,

He’s no longer there.”

Guards frozen in fear,

Ladies look in awe;

Just grave clothes remain,

This scene that they saw.

What He had promised,

Had now come to pass;

Jesus had risen,

Our hope that shall last.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son to live and love, to die and rise again, so that we might know the hope that is found in You alone. Thank You that today is a day to remember how powerfully hope rises, as You rose up out of the grave and defeated death for our sake. Forgive us for forgetting the power held in hope that rises, for You have the power to resurrect anything. Teach us to trust You more, as You are our hope, strength, light and life. Show us how to love well, all those around us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we look into the empty tomb and see that the Son has risen for us anew, so that we may know hope in You. Amen.

 

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

 

We wait in hope for the Lord; He is our help and our shield. – Psalm 33:20

 

*If you need an Easter service to join, please join me at Grace Church, 10am, PST. ❤

The Weight of Grief in the Garden

When He rose from prayer and went back to the disciples, He found them asleep, exhausted from sorrow. – (Luke 22:45, NIV)
When He finished praying, He went to His followers. He found them asleep, worn out from their grieving.  – (Luke 22:45, ERV)
When Jesus finished praying, He got up and went to His disciples and found them all asleep, for they were exhausted and overwhelmed with sorrow. – (Luke 22:45, TPT)
I am not sure why I have not ever noticed the phrasing of Luke’s account of what took place in the Garden of Gethsemane before, but why the disciples fell asleep, becomes far more relate-able somehow. The disciples had every reason to be grieving, for they had shared their final meal with Jesus, heard His last words of wisdom, sung their last hymn together, and then heard that one among them would betray Him and another would deny Him… That is some serious heaviness to hold. How often do we find ourselves in the same sort of space? There  are times that the grief is too great, and even as we try to pray, exhaustion takes over, and sleep finds a welcomed win. The disciples, though Jesus had told them what would take place, could likely not wrap their hearts and minds around it all. They were in the throes of the suffering and sorrow-filled part, and could not yet see the glorious hope that would come after the horror Jesus was about to endure. Incredibly, Jesus continued to pray. When Judas and his entourage of Sanhedrin and soldiers arrived to have Jesus arrested, Jesus continued to love as He healed the ear that an over-zealous disciple cut off in His defense. He went willingly, without argument nor needed force, for love led Him to the cross at Calgary.
I paused writing to go run, and ended up having a great discussion about the potential disparity between the four accounts of the disciples’ time in the garden. My running bestie is a nurse, so she reminded me that Luke was a doctor. Between us, we recognized that the other accounts were recorded by fishermen, who likely felt bad for falling asleep, and simply recorded that alone. Luke, however, from a physician’s standpoint, was the most likely to recognize the toll that grief and sorrow take on the body, and reported the occurrence accordingly. Like me, she had not ever noticed the difference in the accounts of what took place, but together, we discussed how it indeed made sense. Many of us find ourselves in a similar space of grief or sorrow. There is loss that we are uncertain how to process, and that weighs heavily, no matter how much we pray. Perhaps this forced slow down season is meant for more than just protecting ourselves from the further spread of a pandemic; maybe, just maybe, this is a season where we are to allow our bodies to sleep when we can fight it no longer, rest up, reflect on what truly matters, and rise up renewed and refreshed, as Jesus carried it all for us and rose again. May we give ourselves grace in our moments of sorrow, grief and exhaustion, and look to the Lord who is the One who strengthens, renews and grants us what we need to rise up restored, once again.
In grief’s heaviness,

The Weight of Grief

Sculpture by Celeste Roberge

We’re burdened and worn;
Exhausted and spent,
In sorrow, forlorn.
Our bodies in need,
Of overdue rest;
Sometimes a shut down,
When sleep is the best.
God knows all our needs,
He loves us with grace;
Refreshes, renews,
And brings brighter days.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son to show us Your goodness and grace, even in humanity’s most exhausted spaces. Thank You that You love us back to life again, even when our weariness from loss steals our resolve to rise and fight. Forgive us for thinking that we can somehow power through things without giving room for grief. Teach us to lean into You to show us how to properly process, rest and rise again in all that You are calling us to do. Lead us to love others well, so that their burdens may be lessened and their sorrow’s shortened. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we come to You in our heaviness and seek You for rest and refreshment as You restore and renew us in You. Amen.
My soul is weary with sorrow; strengthen me according to Your word. – Psalm 119:28

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Ponder the Pain

Now Jesus was going up to Jerusalem. On the way, He took the Twelve aside and said to them, “We are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be delivered over to the chief priests and the teachers of the law. They will condemn Him to death and will hand Him over to the Gentiles to be mocked and flogged and crucified. On the third day He will be raised to life!” – (Matthew 20:17-19, NIV)

Jesus was going to Jerusalem. His twelve followers were with Him. While they were walking, He gathered the followers together and spoke to them privately. He said to them, “We are going to Jerusalem. The Son of Man will be handed over to the leading priests and the teachers of the law, and they will say He must die. They will hand Him over to the foreigners, who will laugh at Him and beat Him with whips, and then they will kill Him on a cross. But on the third day after His death, He will be raised to life again.” – (Matthew 20:17-19, ERV)

 

As I opened my Bible application to read the passage for today, I was taken aback as I realized our nearness to Easter, and the significance of the passage presented. It has taken all of my fortitude to simply keep current on what day of the week it is, and recognize which particular date corresponds on the calendar, (with loads of helpful reminders from modern technology) let alone look further forward than a day or two. This passage, however, jolted my head and heart back to the reality of the sacred remembrance of this season. Jesus boldly and willingly went to Jerusalem, knowing what stood before Him. The love within Him was far greater than the human desire to detour away from pain and suffering. Jesus chose the agonizing road, so that we could have life, light, hope, love and freedom in Him. I imagine the days leading up to the cross seemed agonizingly long. He knew what He had to do, yet He could not stop preparing and living and loving, leading up to that point in time, when all of the sin, shame and suffering of the world would be His to bear on our behalf. There are a million directions my mind could go when I ponder the pain He endured for me. This morning, my thought is simply that if He could continue in living and loving, knowing that He would have to endure so much suffering; how much more ought we choose to live and love with hope, knowing that our present circumstances will not remain as they are forever. Though we do not know the end date, and have disappointments and losses and reasons to grieve, we also have reason to live and love and spread hope through extending the very same kindness that Christ has granted to us. May we take pause and ponder the purpose of this season, as we observe new life sprouting and taking root all around us. He is risen, and hope is here.

 

Even in darkness,DSC00009

Light finds its way in;

Buds begin blooming,

As springtime begins.

In our rough seasons,

We are not alone;

Christ’s gone before us,

Each pain He has known.

And just when darkness,

Seemed it would not end;

His death on the cross,

Then He rose again…

From out of the grave,

Three days He had lain;

Christ resurrected,

Hope rose once again.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You came and chose the painful road on our behalf, because You love so deeply. Thank You that Your life, death and resurrection made the way for life, hope and love for us all. Forgive us for allowing our present darkness to overshadow the light of all that You have done and continue to do for us and in us. Show us how to love those around us in ways that offer love, light, life and hope in the same way that You do for us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for the incredible sacrifice that You made on our behalf, and the love that carried You down that difficult road. Amen.

 

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

 

So Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many; and He will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for Him. – Hebrews 9:28

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.

 

Seek be invested, img_2019-07-16_06-35-183702170351870846491.jpg

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

 

For God and His Grace

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, For God and His Grace

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.

 

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

 

Praise be to the name of God for ever and ever; wisdom and power are His. – Daniel 2:20