To Lead with Listening

My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry. – (James 1:19, NIV)

My dear brothers and sisters, always be more willing to listen than to speak. Keep control of your anger. – (James 1:19, ERV)

Post this at all the intersections, dear friends: Lead with your ears, follow up with your tongue, and let anger straggle along in the rear. – (James 1:19, MSG)

 

Who would have known how necessary and true these words would be in our present circumstances? Though I know that anger can be a stage of grief, the flashes of anger that I have experienced have been out of fierce protection, as people have not understood mom’s need for space and rest as she heals. Countless times, I have had to take deep breaths, listen to His still small voice, and speak with kindness to explain that mom is not able to have guests visit when she is tired or resting or simply not ready to see visitors at this time. I imagine it is extraordinarily difficult as one of mom’s friends, as she loves and is loved well by so many. As she transitions to her home this coming week, mom will need time to adjust to being back in her own environment and find her “footing” in her own space, before she is ever ready to receive visitors. Please do not just “drop by” or “come say hi”, or you will be met by one of her girls who is doing everything they can to listen before speaking and keep anger in check, but push too much, and you may see a ginger, snap.

Mom is continuing to work tirelessly in her therapies, as she is determined and focused. Her desire is set on regaining full movement in her right side, and each day she regains a little more strength and control of what was lost. Mom will be released to home in a wheelchair, as she continues to work on relearning how to walk and regain her strength and mobility. We are extremely grateful that her home is a rambler, so little needs to be done to prepare for her return. Additionally, because my sister or I will be with mom at all times, there is room to recognize anything that may need to be done in the future to make mom’s mobility more approachable for her on her own. Time and experience will be our best teachers. Please continue to pray with us for mom’s ongoing healing, for a smooth transition home, for ears to listen, mouths that are slow to speak, and anger to be kept in check as grace abounds so much more.

 

Lord, help us listen,img_2019-05-25_07-57-12278632563012603228.jpg

To be slow to speak;

To hear with our heart,

Let Your love repeat.

Keep anger at bay,

As it tries to rise;

The need to protect,

Fear’s ugly disguise.

God grant us wisdom,

Show us what to do;

To protect and love,

Bring honor to You.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to listen first, as I imagine that is why we have two ears and only one mouth. Forgive us for speaking without listening to Your still small voice first, or for allowing our anger to get the best of us. Teach us to slow down and breathe; to set all before You and allow You to show us what is righteous anger and what is not; what we are meant to do, and what we are not. Show us how to love people well, even when they do not understand the circumstances or expectations and frustrate us to the point of anger. May our choosing to love point they to a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we bring all things before You and choose to listen first and take our time before talking. Amen.

 

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

 

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. – Galatians 5:22-23

 

 

Holding Hidden Hope

Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for He who promised is faithful. – (Hebrews 10:23, NIV)

Let’s hold on to the confession of our hope without wavering, because the One who made the promises is reliable. – (Hebrews 10:23, CEB)

So we must cling tightly to the hope that lives within us, knowing that God always keeps His promises! – (Hebrews 10:23, TPT)

 

God sees, hears and knows the hopes that we are holding deep within our hearts, that feel so far reaching, that we give them little attention or thought. In this space of being present for my mom, my greatest hope and prayer is for her total and complete healing and restored independence in every way. My own desires have taken a back burner, as caring for mom is my top priority in this season. Yesterday, my sister let me know that she would be able to come and be with mom for the latter half of both next week and the following week. For me, this means that I will be heading home to teach the last two days of both next week and the following week, will be home with my husband and children for more than a quick overnight, and will be able to worship alongside dear ones at my own church two weeks in a row. Balance and normalcy after living in a strange sort of isolation for the last two weeks will return. I would not trade the time for anything, as I have had the incredible privilege of watching mom thrive and heal and grow by leaps and bounds in a very short span of time. This is a space of being torn, wanting desperately to be in two places at once. I know that my sister has struggled with the same. Thankfully, modern technology has made it a bit easier with the ability to send videos, Marco Polo, text messaging and phone calls on speaker. All of these things remind us there is hope, and that God is faithful to keep His promises. He will never leave us nor forsake us; EVER!

Mom had another fantastic day yesterday, and her right side is beginning to “wake up”. After a stroke, the muscles are still very much alive; it is the signals to the muscles that have to be reestablished. New pathways are finding connections, and there are new movements to celebrate daily. Interestingly, the messages start reconnecting first in the larger muscles, then work their way down to the smaller. She is able to move her right arm some from her shoulder, and her right leg some from her hip, quad and glute. Continue to pray for the pathways to reconnect every muscle, tendon and fiber within her being. We are ever holding close to the hope that He has rooted deep within us, trusting in His goodness and grace to bring forth His promises to fulfillment.

 

The Lord is faithful,05111905412003377672249863064.jpg

His promises true;

Always beside us,

Our hope He renews.

Trust in His goodness,

Rely on His grace;

For He knows our needs,

And sets all in place.

Even with the hopes,

We dare not give voice;

He hears and honors,

Reason to rejoice.

So, hold onto hope,

God ever shall be;

Faithful to His word,

‘til eternity.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can cling to the hope that we profess, for we know that You are faithful to all that You have promised. Thank You that You show us again and again, evidence of Your goodness and grace; Your incredible love made tangible. Forgive us for our fears and doubts, or for allowing our circumstances to take our eyes off of the hope we know is true in You. Teach us to trust You more, for You are ALWAYS faithful. Show us how to love and encourage those around us in a way that demonstrates Your hope and faithfulness in practical and tangible ways. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we cling to the hope we know in You, for You are faithful forever. Amen.

 

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

 

Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. – Ephesians 4:32

 

 

Wise with Words

When you talk, you should always be kind and wise. Then you will be able to answer everyone in the way you should. – (Colossians 4:6, ERV)

Let your conversations be gracious and attractive so that you will have the right response for everyone. – (Colossians 4:6, NLT)

Make the most of every opportunity. Be gracious in your speech. The goal is to bring out the best in others in a conversation, not to put them down, nor cut them out. – (Colossians 4:6, MSG)

 

First, in a season of so many unknowns, it is difficult to speak with any sort of wisdom about what lies ahead. That being said, kindness and grace must be intentional and come from Christ, or answers will not be the right response in the moment. Before I expand further on what I am learning about this through this whole ordeal, I know the update that so many are looking for ought to come first.

Yesterday, was another good day for mom. Her day was full of various therapy sessions, each one with intention and purpose to propel her to strength and independence. She was at the table in the dining area picking at breakfast when we arrived and handed her the “smuggled in” Frappuccino. From there we met with the social worker and case coordinator (whom I affectionately refer to as Thor and Llama, based on the collections in their office), as they reviewed mom’s rights and care information with mom, my sister and me. Next up was the OT extraordinaire, Stephanie (I think, so many names), who took her in to help her begin to relearn the whole showering process. Cleanliness is next to godliness, and she felt refreshed to have soaked in that warm water, rather than hospital shower wipes. Her least favorite rebuilding session so far was speech therapy. It had little to do with the who, and everything to do with the what. Due to where the stroke occurred in mom’s brain, she is experiencing some apraxia. For those non-medical folks like myself, the dictionary defines apraxia as a disorder of the nervous system, characterized by an inability to perform purposeful movements, but not accompanied by a loss of sensory functions or paralysis. To make it even simpler, based on observations, there has been a disruption in the connection between message sending and receiving for some words to actions, words to objects, and most certainly, thoughts to movements on the right side of her body. Speech is the space where she is made glaringly aware of the disconnect. It is difficult and frustrating, and an area where extra grace will be needed, for sure. Already the speech therapist will adjust the schedule to meet with her in two 30-minute sessions, rather than one longer sitting. As soon as we returned downstairs from speech, Sophie, the recreational therapist came in. Who even knew that was a thing?! Anyway, super sweet, and her job is to help mom get back to doing the recreational things she enjoys, so I made sure she was aware that the bar was extraordinarily high. Sophie was quite pleased. Next up was OT again to work on vision and upper body, then lunch, followed by PT. It was not Penny yesterday, but Kristen was equally lovely and encouraging, and PT is by far, mom’s favorite therapy session of the day. In fact, she was trying to negotiate trading speech time for more PT time. 🙂 We were able to go outside again after dinner, and enjoyed a movie together before I headed back home for the night. A few phone calls were made on speaker, which was huge for mom, as it was a start to regaining a connection to those not standing in front of us.

Anyway, back to the verse of the day. This whole situation is showing me more and more how critically important it is to seek the Lord and His grace to speak to others. We have now had two people in the last week, tell us (in front of my mom!) stories of their own family members who had strokes and died a few months later. Seriously? Not the encouragement, wisdom, nor words seasoned in the love of Christ that this girl’s heart needed to hear, nor the protector in me wanted ANYWHERE near my mom. I was gracious, but it took much self-control to not scream that I am not their therapist, I am fighting for MY MOM, and no nay-sayers allowed. I am well aware of the risks and reality of our circumstances. What we need is love and support, encouragement and most of all, covering in prayer. It is a strange place when I don’t know someone who cares deeply for mom, is super emotional, and I am an empath who refuses to emote. Too much weight. Additionally, mom doesn’t need to see others feeling sorry for her. She needs cheerleaders, encouragers, shoulders who are ready to rise up and walk beside her. It is biblical. It is right. There is an army that has risen, and for you, we are forever grateful. For those waiting in the wings, feeling uncertain of what to do; keep praying – Your prayers are fueling this fight!

 

O Lord let my words, img_2019-05-08_06-29-487932028719116438520.jpg

Be faithful and true;

Seasoned with kindness,

Reflections of You.

By Your loving grace,

May all that I say;

Encourage, build up,

Each day, Lord, I pray.

God grant me wisdom,

In each circumstance;

May Your truth be known,

Your kingdom advanced.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are the watcher of our words. Thank You that what is intended to harm, You use for good. Thank You that You guard our hearts, even though we may have moments of frustration of anger at what we hear, we can trust that You are greater and have us in Your hands. Forgive us for those moments when anger arises and our thoughts are less than godly toward others for the things that they say. Forgive us too, for the times that we have done the same. Not one of us is perfect and we all have fallen short and said the wrong thing at the wrong time, even with the best of intentions. Teach us how to lean on You to love and extend grace with wisdom through our words. Show us how to love like You to all those around us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to speak with wisdom and grace, ever extending kindness and grace to all those around us. Amen.

 

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

 

Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. – Colossians 4:2

To Drive Out Darkness

You, Lord, are my lamp; the Lord turns my darkness into light. – (2 Samuel 22:29, NIV)

O Lord, You are my light! You make my darkness bright. – (2 Samuel 22:29, TLB)

Suddenly, God, Your light floods my path, God drives out the darkness. – (2 Samuel 22:29, MSG)

 

These were the words of David, as he reflected on God’s faithfulness to him. David had faced countless enemies and exhaustion, and God continued to rescue, redeem, and hear his prayers. The same God who provided for David on his most difficult days, is alive and active, ever-ready to overcome the darkness before us. May we turn in trust to the Lord, always seeking Him to light our path and show us the ways we are meant to go.

 

The Lord is my lamp, To Drive Out Darkness

Emitting His light;

Makes plain all our paths,

And which choice is right.

In spaces of dark,

His love light shines through;

As we choose to seek,

Faithfully pursue.

Pursue God’s wisdom,

Direction to know;

What we are to do,

And where we should go.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are loving and kind, faithful and true. Thank You that You are the light that shows us what to do. Forgive us for not seeking You for light in spaces of darkness. Teach us to trust You more, as You make the path plain when we look to Your light. Show us how to love those around us in ways that illuminate Your faithfulness forever. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we pursue the path You light before us. Amen.

 

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

 

You, Lord, keep my lamp burning; my God turns my darkness into light. – Psalm 18:28

Deep Roots Produce Fruit

But blessed are those who trust in the Lord and have made the Lord their hope and confidence. They are like trees planted along a riverbank, with roots that reach deep into the water. Such trees are not bothered by the heat or worried by long months of drought. Their leaves stay green and they never stop producing fruit. – (Jeremiah 17:7-8, NLT)

But those who trust in the Lord will be blessed. They know that the Lord will do what He says. They will be strong like trees planted near a stream that send out roots to the water. They have nothing to fear when the days get hot. Their leaves are always green. They never worry, even in a year that has no rain. They always produce fruit. – (Jeremiah 17:7-8, ERV)

 

The more we learn to trust in the Lord and place our hope in Him, the better we are able to weather the difficult or unexpected. As we press in and grow deep roots, we become anchored with a confidence that God is who He says He is, and that His word is true. Our decision to love God and love people carries on in strength, for the roots deeply established, provide all that we need, even when our surroundings do not. May we ever invest our time, energy and passion into things that show us more of who God is and how He loves.

 

Those who trust the Lord, Deep Roots Produce Fruit

Grow roots by His grace;

Hope comes as we know,

His loving embrace.

Living waters flow,

Nourish and revive;

Flood our hearts with hope,

As love comes alive.

We need not despair,

When challenges come;

For God remains near,

Strength to overcome.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that the more we trust and have confidence in You, the more we discover that our peace, joy and love are not dependent on our circumstances, but rather are reliant on Your goodness and grace. Forgive us for our fears and doubts when challenges come, and teach us to trust in the hope we know in You. Show us how to love those around us in a way that waters weary souls and grants hope where it is lacking. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we dive deep into Your living water and allow Your love to flood our thirsty souls. Amen.

 

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

 

I pray that out of His glorious riches He may strengthen you with power through His Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ. – Ephesians 3:16-18

Persevering Pursuit

Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. – (James 1:4, NIV)

If you let that patience work in you, the end result will be good. You will be mature and complete. You will be all that God wants you to be. – (James 1:4, ERV)

So let it grow, and don’t try to squirm out of your problems. For when your patience is finally in full bloom, then you will be ready for anything, strong in character, full and complete. – (James 1:4, TLB)

 

We are ever a work in progress. It is through the deadlines, difficulties and distress, that we mature and grow in patience and perseverance provided by the Lord. Through dependence on Him, our character is strengthened, lacking nothing, so that we may be mature and complete, becoming the person that God calls us to be. Our part is to stick with it; to not grow weary in trusting the Lord. Patience produces the good that God intended in us and through us. May we ever persevere as we press on in all that we are called to do. God provides all that is needed as we lean into Him.

 

Let’s not grow weary,08031810217159514240041247714.jpg

In faithful pursuit;

Real perseverance,

As we trust what’s true.

Patience produces,

Our growth in the Lord;

And He grants us strength,

Each need He’ll reward.

What He has started,

The Lord will see through;

As we follow Him,

His word’s proven true.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to persevere. Thank You that each time we press in, You grow and refine us to more clearly reflect Your heart to the world. Forgive us for our lack of follow through when things grow difficult. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would ever persevere in pursuing the path to which we are called. Show us how to love those around us in a way that further grows us in character, full and complete in You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we persevere in the power that You provide. Amen.

 

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

 

You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what He has promised. – Hebrews 10:36

 

Keeping the Covenant of Love

Know therefore that the Lord your God is God; He is the faithful God, keeping His covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love Him and keep His commandments. – (Deuteronomy 7:9, NIV)

So remember that the Lord your God is the only God, and you can trust Him! He keeps His agreement. He shows His love and kindness to all people who love Him and obey His commands. He continues to show His love and kindness through a thousand generations. – (Deuteronomy 7:9, ERV)

Understand, therefore, that the Lord your God is indeed God. He is the faithful God who keeps His covenant for a thousand generations and lavishes His unfailing love on those who love Him and obey His commands. – (Deuteronomy 7:9, NLT)

 

God is faithful and loving throughout the ages. Our charge is to love God and do the things He asks of us. He is trustworthy and true to His word, and shows His kindness from one generation to the next. May we be assured that God is the One true God, as He lavishes His unfailing love upon all those who love and obey Him.

 

The Lord is our God,

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Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

He’s faithful and kind;

Full of lavish love,

All who seek, shall find.

For those who choose love,

And obedience;

Discover His grace,

That’s beyond immense.

Throughout the ages,

From one to the next;

Those who choose the Lord,

His love shall reflect.

Choose to trust the Lord,

Seek love and obey;

And know faithfulness,

That comes in to stay.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your faithfulness throughout the ages. Thank You that as we choose love You and walk in obedience to that which You ask of us, we come to know and understand Your lavish love for us forevermore. Forgive us for the times that we veer astray and do not obey that which You are asking. Teach us to trust You more, and to know that Your way is always best, as You have the outcome in mind. Show us how to love You and those around us according to Your good and perfect will. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love and obey, choosing to walk in Your wondrous ways. Amen.

 

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

 

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

Where Praise is Due

O Lord, I will honor and praise Your Name, for You are my God. You do such wonderful things! You planned them long ago, and now You have accomplished them. – (Isaiah 25:1, NLT)

Lord, You are my God. I honor and praise Your Name, because You did amazing things. The words You said long ago are completely true; everything happened exactly as You said it would. – (Isaiah 25:1, ERV)

Eternal One, You are my God. I will lift You up and praise Your Name. Because You have made wonders marvelous and beautiful – the most ancient designs holding strong and sure. – (Isaiah 25:1, VOICE)

 

The Lord deserves all of our honor and praise. Not only has He done amazing things, but He has shown us, again and again, that what He says, He will do, and His word is ever true. It is incredible that the same God who made way in the desert and parted the sea, is still alive and active today. He makes a way where there seems to be no way, and equips us to overcome obstacles that are far beyond us. May we ever praise Him, for God is good and faithful to fulfill His promises.

 

O God, Holy Lord, The Power of Praise and Worship

I’ll ever praise You;

For Your faithfulness,

And Your word that’s true.

All wonderful things,

Blessings that ensue;

Strength that overcomes,

Each because of You.

Before all there is,

Could ever be seen;

You Lord were present,

The future foreseen.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for who You are and how You love. Thank You that You are faithful to fulfill all that You say You will do. Thank You that Your word is true. Forgive us for our doubts when we do not see the evidence of Your moving on our behalf. Teach us to trust You more, recognizing that You are present and for us, no matter what we see. Show us how to love those around us in a way that gives hope and strength and peace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust that Your word is true, and that You will always do what You say You will do. Amen.

 

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

 

I will sing the Lord’s praise, for He has been good to me. – Psalm 13:6

Plan to Do Good

If you plan to do evil, you will be lost; if you plan to do good, you will receive unfailing love and faithfulness. – (Proverbs 14:22, NLT)

Whoever works to do good will find love and loyalty. It is a mistake to work at doing evil. – (Proverbs 14:22, ERV)

Haven’t you noticed how evil schemers always wander astray? But kindness and truth come to those who make plans to be pure in all their ways. – (Proverbs 14:22, TPT)

 

“You reap what you sow” becomes evident based on what we choose to do, day in and day out. When our focus and intent are rooted in God’s goodness, love and loyalty seem to find us. Contrarily, those who choose to do otherwise, end up lost and in the company of those with unsavory notions. May we ever set our hearts and minds on things of God, so that kindness and truth come our way.

 

You reap what you sow,Sowing Seeds of Peace

Forever holds true;

We get what we give,

Our choice a preview.

For when we choose good,

Give love and God’s grace;

The same is returned,

His love is in place.

Let us seek the Lord,

To love as He does;

Far from all evil,

Let good rise above.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to do good, so that we may know the love and loyalty that is returned. Forgive us for the things we are drawn to that are not of You. Teach us to look to You to lead us in the good You have established for us to follow. Show us how to love those around us with loyalty, faithfulness and grace, so that they may recognize the good in all of Your ways. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love You and those around us according to Your good and perfect plan. Amen.

 

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

 

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