Forget Not the Blessings

Praise the Lord, my soul; all my inmost being, praise His holy Name. Praise the Lord, my soul, and forget not all His benefits. – (Psalm 103:1-2, NIV)

My soul, praise the Lord! Every part of me, praise His holy Name! My soul, praise the Lord and never forget and kind He is! – (Psalm 103:1-2, ERV)

O my soul, bless God. From head to toe, I’ll bless His holy Name! O my soul, bless God, don’t forget a single blessing! – (Psalm 103:1-2, MSG)

 

David so often has exactly the right words to express my heart in each season. This morning, I find my heart fixed on praise, as I prepare to spend six days and five nights with my Mom in Oregon. His kindness has afforded me the exact job to allow for the time off in just the right season, so that I am able to go and be with her. Additionally, He directed the steps between my sister and myself, so that we could coordinate timing best, minimizing time missed coaching, and maximizing quality vacation time for she and her family. Another blessing included in this time, is that my husband and boys will come for the weekend to celebrate Christmas together with Mom. Our tradition of family Christmas all together is being sustained, despite the different locale. God is so kind, and from head to toe I cannot help but praise Him. He loves with kindness and grace, and repeatedly shows us His goodness and love. May we ever remember the kindness of God and bless His holy Name.

As for Mom, she is continuing with her out-patient therapies. I am eager to be the one to take her to her appointments and see the progress she is making, and witness the work that they have her do to further regain strength and mobility. She is looking forward to our visit, as we have not had so many days in a row together since summer. I know she is eager to see her grandsons too. It will be a wonderful time of togetherness, and we are all praising God for the opportunity to gather.

 

My soul, praise the Lord,

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Christmas together 2018, looking forward to 2019 memories this weekend.

With all my being;

I thank You, O God,

For countless blessings.

In space of despair,

Always God, You hear;

You comfort and bless,

As You choose draw near.

Your grace overwhelms,

Your goodness exceeds;

You bless us beyond,

What we merely need.

Your kindness unmatched,

As well as Your grace;

May we ever choose,

Lift to You all praise.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the way that You love us so well. Thank You that You meet us where we are, and love us with kindness and grace, blessings and benefits beyond what we could ever imagine. Thank You that You are a good, good Father. Forgive us for not always giving You the praise that is due. Teach us to recognize the blessings that You bestow upon us, and flood our entire beings with praise for You, as You are the giver of light and life, hope and love. Show us how to love those around us well, so that we may extend the same sort of blessings to others that You so lavishly pour out upon us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we lift all thanks and praise unto You, and remember the incredible kindness and blessings that You bestow upon us all. Amen.

 

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

 

Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in Him. – Psalm 34:8

Love Forgoes Faults

Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sin. – (1 Peter 4:8, NIV)

Most important of all, love each other deeply, because love makes you willing to forgive many sins. – (1 Peter 4:8, ERV)

Most of all, love each other steadily and unselfishly, because love makes up for many faults. – (1 Peter 4:8, VOICE)

 

There is a strange tension that can accompany the holidays, as families travel and gather together after extended time apart. I know in our own household, there was a tangible funk, as we are in a season of navigating how to cope with serious health issues in loved ones, and the end of life in another. Thankfully, there was a conscious choice to love, unselfishly, as we each have faults, and need the forgiveness of one another. As we prepare for and anticipate the coming days of travel and time with loved ones we hold dear, we must choose to love deeply and steadily, rather than allowing faults to fog our fondness for one another. May we each, above all, choose to love one another; be it on long road trips, in close quarters, or in one another’s space, let steady and unselfish love lead the way.

As for mom, we are eagerly anticipating being reunited tomorrow! It has been more than a month since Mark and I have seen her, and since summer, for the boys. There is something so wonderful about tradition and routine and familiarity, as all of us gathering at my sister and Scott’s has been our family custom for the last many years. I know for each of us, there is deep love, that looks forward to competitive board games, meals seated together, relaxing conversations on comfortable couches, and time adventuring out in the community to get some fresh air and sunshine. Twenty-four hours from now, we will begin our whirlwind weekend of wonderful!

 

May we above all, fb_img_15748583727618213196253172713274.jpg

Choose to deeply love;

For love that runs deep,

In Christ, is enough.

For God’s love is kind,

He’s faithful and true;

Oversees our faults,

Forgives and renews.

May we choose to love,

In much the same way;

Forgive and give grace,

God’s goodness displayed.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You love us more deeply than we can comprehend, and You forgive our faults and failures when we falter and sin. Thank You that You pick us up, dust us off, and love us back to life. Forgive us for the times that we do not extend the same goodness and grace to those around us. Teach us to depend on You to supply all that is needed to love in the way in which we are called to love. Show us how to love those around us best, so that they may see and know Your heart through how we love in tangible and practical ways. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for Your lavish love, and depend on You as we go forth and gather in love, with those whom You have gifted us with as family. Amen.

 

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

 

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” – John 13:34

Loyal Love that Lasts

For the Lord is good and His love endures forever; His faithfulness continues through all generations. – (Psalm 100:5, NIV)

The Lord is good! There is no end to His faithful love. We can trust Him forever and ever! – (Psalm 100:5, ERV)

For God is sheer beauty, all-generous in love, loyal always and forever. – (Psalm 100:5, MSG)

 

This morning as I woke, I was a bit startled to realize that light was streaming in through our bedroom window, as I checked the time, amazed that I had slept in until nearly 7:30 am. When the body is conditioned for a 3:15 am wake-up, anything past 6:00 am is a rarity. Even more shocking, was a look at my sleep record in my Fitbit app, only to discover that I had slept a bit over eight hours for the first time since August 16th! Clearly my body needed the rest, and God in His goodness, provided. Even during the busiest weeks, God is faithful and worthy of our trust. Each day He supplied all that was needed to navigate each day, and last evening, after work, practice, and a run, I was blessed with a family dinner out with all five of us. As we take care of things on the home front this weekend, each of us will prepare for a short week, followed by the blessing of much anticipated time together with family. Such tangible goodness points me back to His word, and I am particularly drawn to the powerful imagery of the Message translation of this verse, as I think it is easy to forget that loyal, all-generous love, is where true beauty lies. God is the author and perfecter of faithful, everlasting love, and in Him, we grow to understand how good He truly is from one generation to the next. May we remember that the Lord is where true goodness lies, and that His faithful love endures throughout all generations as we gather together to give thanks.

Mom is doing well, but in a bit of a holding pattern again until after Thanksgiving. She had her speech assessment with the out-patient therapist, yet will not meet with her new occupational and physical therapists until December. Thankfully, mom remains upbeat and optimistic, recognizing the positive work that lies ahead. More than anything, I think that all of us are eager and grateful to be together for Thanksgiving. It has been our family tradition for many years, so I anticipate the familiarity of our festivities will be a beautiful blessing for all.

 

In goodness and grace, To Drive Out Darkness

The Lord ever gives;

His love, peace and hope,

As in Him, we live.

Faithful to meet us,

With love that will last;

He holds our future,

Forgives for our past.

All generations,

Who seek Him will find;

Faithful, sheer beauty,

From God to mankind.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are good and that Your love endures forever. Thank You that there is no end to Your faithful love. Thank You that we can trust You, knowing that You see and hear and hold us in Your strong hands. Forgive us for the times that we doubt, and teach us to trust You in all things and at all times. Show us how to love those around us through every bump in the road. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we thank You for Your goodness and grace, and praise You for Your loyal love that lasts forever. Amen.

 

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

 

For I have always been mindful of Your unfailing love and have lived in reliance on Your faithfulness. – Psalm 26:3

Help in Time

I will give rest and strength to those who are weak and tired. – (Jeremiah 31:25, ERV)

For I have given rest to the weary and joy to all the sorrowing. – (Jeremiah 31:25, TLB)

I’ll refresh tired bodies; I’ll restore tired souls. – (Jeremiah 31:25, MSG)

 

Each of the translations of this verse have proven true for me over the past week, and throughout this entire season since mom suffered her stroke. To go from twelve hours each day at a hospital, where we did not know or understand the prognosis; to twelve hours per day at an acute care rehabilitation facility, in which we gained insight and understanding, yet had to return home to mom’s empty house; and on to the present, in which life is on the clock, twenty-four hours per day. The joy has been granted in the witnessing of each new gain of strength and restoration, and seemingly, right at the times when I find myself the most exhausted, sleep is graced and I am gifted reprieve through a visit from my husband and children or a change of the guard with my sister. This is not to say that every moment of each day is exhausting nor draining, as it is not. There are many laughs, and there is much joy in the blessing of so much time spent with mom. We have always been close, and this season together has only proven to strengthen our bond further. The times that bring the sorrow and the weariness are the long nights and the down time when mom is resting. Lack of sleep and a longing for my husband, children, and dear ones back home, bring sorrow as I miss the regular routine that I am accustomed to during this time of year. God is full of grace, and I am amazed at how He has shown me the key to help mom sleep better at night. Additionally, as my body is more rested, my soul is better equipped to accept the restoration He offers each morning as I seek Him.

Yesterday was a wonderful day full of family. Mom and I had a quiet morning as we prepared for my husband and boys’ arrival, enjoying a leisurely morning with time for an early breakfast, showers, trimmed her hair a bit, relaxed, worked on some stretching for mom, and did a little wandering around outside in the sunshine on the paved parts of mom’s property. Once the fellas arrived, my Viking set to work, making certain that all was working as it should with mom’s sprinkler system. The boys, mom and I set straight to it, playing a family favorite game. Mark joined us about halfway through, and was tribute dealer for mom, as we finished our first game, then partook in a second game with all of us together. Late afternoon, mom advocated for herself and decided that she ought to take a rest. The boys did their thing, and I was able to spend some much needed and appreciated time with my spouse. My grill master kept up tradition, and prepared the protein, while I took care of the side dishes inside. We all enjoyed a wonderful dinner together on the deck. There was a short escape to pick cherries at a neighbor’s small orchard (who offers anyone pick whatever they’d like) while the boys hung with grandma. Two gallon-sized Ziplocks later, and the Viking and I returned with our loot. There was time for mom’s exercises and a great game of Dominoes before we all were ready to call it a day. For each of us, I think the was refreshment and joy in the company of one another.

May we ever seek the Lord who is faithful to provide rest and restoration when it is needed most.

 

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He’s faithful and true;

God grants us real rest,

Refreshes, renews.

Where there is sorrow,

The Lord will bring joy;

Tender His blessings,

Reason to rejoice.

Let not life’s burdens,

Crush you with the weight;

Instead seek the Lord,

Whose help’s never late.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You give rest when we are weary and strength when we are depleted. Thank You that You meet us in our spaces of sorrow and bring joy. Forgive us for allowing the weight of life to overwhelm us. Teach us to place life’s heaviness in Your capable hands. Show us how to love those around us in a way that offers help and hope, strength and joy in spaces where they are lacking. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we thank You and praise You for holding us in Your hands and providing all that we need – body, heart, mind and soul. 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

Bound Together

Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor. If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up. Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken. – (Ecclesiastes 4:9-12, NIV)

Two can accomplish more than twice as much as one, for the results can be much better. If one falls, the other pulls him up; but if a man falls when he is alone, he’s in trouble. Also, on a cold night, two under the same blanket gain warmth from each other, but how can one be warm alone? And one standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer; three is even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken. – (Ecclesiastes 4:9-12, TLB)

 

For years, this verse has been my hope and prayer, held in my heart, especially the last sentence about a cord of three strands being so strong. As my Viking and I prepared to wed, we did a bit of research about Nordic wedding traditions. Incredibly, we found that often, in Nordic weddings, there is a hand-tying portion of the ceremony where the bride and groom’s hands are bound together in a triple-braided cord to represent the two coming together and be bound to one another with God. The visual representation of this joining together very closely matched an image that has stuck with me for a very long time. Consequently, together with our Pastor, we incorporated this tradition into our wedding ceremony.

Already, as we drove home from Wenatchee yesterday, (where our wedding took place) this verse proved itself true for us. We came upon horrendous traffic, and the typical two-and-a-half hour drive turned into eight hours. On our own, either one of us would have been ready to tap out; however, with the support of one another and the grace of God, we successfully navigated our way home through the heat and traffic, unscathed and still speaking to one another.  The wonderful thing about the promise held in two being better than one, is that it perpetuates our charge to be engaged in the body. If we love God and love one another, we are not alone and have the strength of that three-strand cord. May we ever invest in our relationship with God and one another so that we may stand together in His strength, no matter what comes our way.

 

Our God has designed, wp-15323501515116858327490790099683.jpg

Us not be alone;

Binds us together,

In heart and in home.

Wherever two stand,

Their strength is greater;

As joined by the Lord,

Loving Creator.

Let two choose unite,

And in God abide;

For their strength shall stand,

With grace found inside.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You created us to be in relationship with You and with each other. Thank You that when two join together and invite You to be the center, You come and intertwine Your heart with ours and grant us strength. Forgive us for the times that we attempt to take on what lies before us on our own. Teach us to trust You and those whom You have given us to walk beside. Show us how to love each other in a way that joins hearts and minds in Your purpose to walk out Your plan. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we stand with You as a three-strand cord, bound in Your strength, hope and love. Amen.

 

© Shannon Elizabeth  (Moreno) Grabrick and Revelations in Writing,

May 2011 – present

 

Glorify the Lord with me; let us exalt His Name together. – Psalm 34:3