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

 

To Run Our Race Well

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 hat 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 these great witnesses who encircle us like clouds. So we must let go of every wound 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)

 

Life is not a sprint; it is a marathon. In order to run well, a runner needs to be rid of all of the “extras” that would weigh them down. Just as a runner does not run a marathon with a backpack, nor with extra weight, we too need to rid ourselves of the burden of holding hurts and the sin that trips us up. The things that help most, both in running and in life, are those things we carry in our heart. Perseverance is possible when we know the end goal. In a marathon, though 26.2 miles may sound like forever, there is an end point. Likewise, in life, our time on this rock that spins around the sun, is not the end, but rather the time granted to learn and grow, share and know, the blessed hope that is held in our heavenly eternity. It is far easier to “run” with passion when one is well-trained. Ongoing training teaches our hearts to persevere. May we look to the examples of those who have gone before us and run life’s race well, so that we too, may be encouraged to rid ourselves of anything that hinders us from moving forward in Christ with passion and determination, so that we may run our own race well.

 

Release the burdens, img_2019-04-03_04-26-166398438284953483236.jpg

That weigh the heart down;

Past hurts, temptation,

The trip-ups we’ve found.

Look to examples,

Of those who’ve run well;

Trust the Lord’s leading,

In Him, we’ll excel.

Our race isn’t won,

At a turbo pace;

Instead, with purpose,

We run our own race.

For Christ shall strengthen,

All those who choose seek;

Grant perseverance,

When we’re feeling weak.

In hope, keep running,

Our God, He provides;

All that is needed,

To eternal prize.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that life is not a sprint, but rather a marathon. Thank You that You provide all that we need to run our own race well. Thank You that You provide our ultimate race plan, so that we may run well. Forgive us for holding that which weighs us down, or for allowing sin to entangle us. Teach us to walk away from that which trips us up, and to lay down the weight we are not meant to carry. Show us how to love and encourage those around us to run with perseverance, the race to which they have been called. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to show us what weight needs be let go, and how to avoid that which entangles so that we may run with perseverance all of our days. Amen.

 

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

 

But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not grow faint. – Isaiah 40:31

 

 

Setting Our Sight

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things. – (Philippians 4:8, NIV)

Brothers and sisters, continue to think about what is good and worthy of praise. Think about what is true and honorable and right and pure and beautiful and respected. – (Philippians 4:8, ERV)

Finally, brothers and sisters, fill your minds with beauty and truth. Meditate on whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is good, whatever is virtuous and praiseworthy. – (Philippians 4:8, VOICE)

 

In light of recent events in the news, there is much temptation to allow our thoughts to fix on things that are entirely opposite of that to which we are called.  Demoralizing or demonizing an entire group of people based on the actions of a few, is not focusing on what is honorable, right or lovely at all. As an individual who has a varied circle of people whom I love, opinions and affiliations among them lie on both sides of the argument. Both camps feel as if the media/popular opinion is making their side out to be something it is not. The name calling and judgments passed from both camps bring out the worst in people, rather than the best. It is my hope that rather than focusing on the bad, we all might fill our minds with beauty and truth.  Let us fix our hearts and minds on things that are honorable, right, pure, lovely, good, virtuous and praiseworthy.

 

For we are all called,

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Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

To set our hearts right;

Love as the Lord loves,

In Him take delight.

As we choose to set,

Our hearts and our minds;

On the things of God,

There’s hope for mankind.

Hope’s found in choosing,

To set our soul right;

To love and be kind,

In good things delight.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You created each of us with the capacity to love and be loved. Thank You that You do not have a political agenda nor affiliation. Forgive us for allowing our opinions, emotions or personal experiences to taint how we view others. Help us to fix our eyes on that which is good, lovely, honorable, right, true and above all, that which brings glory to You. Show us how to love those around us well, regardless of differing opinions and views of the world. May many come to know You through our love. Be glorified O God, as we set our souls on the good that You give to us daily, as we choose with intention to open our eyes and hearts to notice. Amen.

 

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

 

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 before us. – Hebrews 12:1

The Race Marked Out for Us

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)

 

Each and every one of us has our own race that we are called to run. Our race is not a sprint, but rather it is a lifelong marathon. We are called to run a race full of obstacles and challenges that we must take on with trust in Him, in order to keep moving according to the course He has set before us. The great cloud of witnesses that surround us, are those who have gone before us and successfully run their own race. They too had to keep running, regardless of weather, terrain, or how they felt. The things that hinder us, are those burdens that weigh us down and make moving unbearable. God wants us to travel light. His intent is not for us to run our race weighted with an extra-heavy load, but rather for one that is custom crafted and appropriate and proportionate for us. Additionally, as we run, there are many temptations that attempt to steer us off course. Our charge is to stay the course, and not allow such sin to entangle, as they easily trip us up and steal the security of our footing. May we rise up ready each day and keep running with perseverance, the race marked out before us, throwing off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles.

 

This wearying road,Break Camp and Move Out

has been run before;

despite obstacles,

from mountain to shore.

The very same God,

from the days of old;

will walk alongside,

give strength to uphold.

Let not the burdens,

keep us from our race;

His hands are outstretched,

He died in our place.

Beware of the sin,

that attempts ensnare;

diverting our eyes,

from Him, over there.

Instead, let us keep,

our hearts ever near;

dependent on Christ,

let us persevere.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that there are so many examples of those who have run their race with perseverance before us, and successfully finished fighting the good fight of faith. Thank You that You invite us to throw off everything that hinders us, warn us of those things that would attempt to entangle us, and strengthen us to persevere all the while. Forgive us for allowing our baggage to weigh us down, the things around us to divert our attention away from You, or our trust to simply sag, where it needs to rise up and run strong. Teach us to trust You more, so that we will seek You first in all things, and that we will be well-equipped to run our race with perseverance, daily. Lead us to love others consistently and generously, just as You love us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Amen.

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

Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy. – Hebrews 4:16

Running His Race

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

 

This verse is particularly poignant as I am preparing for a big race at week’s end. I will be participating in the Northwest Passage Ragnar Relay for the first time. It is a 200-mile, twelve person relay, that is run from Blaine, Washington (near the Canadian border), to south Whidbey Island. The race will be run continuously, by each of our twelve members, until every mile is complete. Markers will be set along the route to keep our path assured, and proper planning and training have prepared us to bring appropriate layers that do not hinder us, and our miles logged will help each of us persevere on the path set before us. Stories told by those who have run this race before, claim that there are runners along the way, cheering the participants on.

 

In life, we must do much of the same. It takes ongoing preparation and training for each of us to know and understand the race that He has set before us. When we spend time with Him, we gain understanding and insight as to what may hinder and entangle us on the path that He has placed us on. Perseverance grows as we continue to press on in our pursuit of all that He has for us. God is faithful to meet us, mile after mile, if we are only willing to continue to seek Him. We are surrounded by those who have successfully run the race that God had set before them; those who faithfully pursued and persevered until their final breath. May we too, one day be among those who have run their race according to Christ’s race plan.

 

May each of us run,Running His Race

the race He has planned;

with perseverance,

in His strength, we stand.

Let us each throw off,

the things that ensnare;

so nothing can stop,

us from running there.

By faith, as we move,

may we be aware;

of those before us,

who’re already there.

Be not discouraged,

but rather, pursue;

for He is present,

running beside you.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have marked out a race for us to run. Thank You that You have a plan and a purpose for each and every one of our lives. Thank You that when we come to You and seek You, You answer and remain present with us, always. Forgive us for allowing ourselves to be hindered or become entangled by anything that is not a part of Your race plan for our lives, and help us to throw off anything that would be a barrier in our running the race marked out for us. Teach us to persevere, even when it hurts or the hills are steep and long, and grant us strength to endure far more than we think we can. May our perseverance be a testimony to those who do not yet know You, and may they too, come to know You as their Savior and King. Let us love others as You love us. Be glorified as we run with perseverance, the race You have marked out for each of us. Amen.

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

For the Lord your God will bless you, …and your joy will be complete. – Deuteronomy 16:15