In Strength, Choose Love

Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong. Do everything in love. – (1 Corinthians 16:13-14, NIV)

Be careful. Hold firmly to your faith. Have courage and be strong. Do everything in love. – (1 Corinthians 16:13-14, ERV)

Keep your eyes open, hold tight to your convictions, give it all you’ve got, be resolute, and love without stopping. – (1 Corinthians 16:13-14, MSG)

 

This is something that we are all called to live out, in every area of our lives. It is both rare and wonderful, when there are public figures who live by this principle in a way that is seen, heard and known. Last night, my husband and I went to a concert that featured my favorite band, Skillet. Their lead vocalist, John Cooper, is completely clear in his convictions as he performs, and is courageous and strong as he shares his music and message in love. After more than twenty-three years as a Christian band that tours with bands that typically are not, and it is evident that they are careful to be on their guard and hold firm to their faith. Each time I have seen them in concert, the other bands touring with them have raved about the kindness extended to them by Skillet. What that speaks to me is that they are living out loud, the very message that they follow in faith. If a rock band can cling to their convictions and love well, why can’t we? May we each be aware of the things that distract us from what is true, and with courage and strength, hold fast to the faith that anchors us secure. And in all that we do, may we let love be our motivation.

 

Help us guard our hearts, img_2019-08-29_06-26-021861362932488398857.jpg

To our faith, hold fast;

Have courage, be strong,

With the love that lasts.

For each time we choose,

In strength, to love well;

We are showing Christ,

His story we tell.

Not with our speaking,

So much as our deeds;

People remember,

Those who met their needs.

Let us choose to love,

In all that we do;

Rely on His grace,

He’ll carry us through.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You warn us to be careful of that which distracts us from the truth, and You call us to stand firm in Your strength to the truth so that we may do all things in love. Forgive us for the times that we allowed the things around us to pull us off course. Teach us to stay anchored in You. Show us how to love those around us in all things and at all times, just as we are loved relentlessly by You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we stand strong in the truth, ever aware of what surrounds us, and choose to love, just as You love us. Amen.

 

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

 

Stand firm , and you will win life. – Luke 21:19

Endings and Beginnings

You are my refuge and my shield; I have put my hope in Your word. – (Psalm 119:114, NIV)

You are my refuge and my shield; Your word is my source of hope. – (Psalm 119:114, NLT)

You are my hiding place and my shield of protection; I hope in Your word. – (Psalm 119:114, VOICE)

 

Though David often had need for the Lord to be his literal hiding place, there were times too, that he needed his heart to be covered and “hidden” by God. For me, that is more often the space that I find myself in. When the cares of my circumstances become overwhelming or seem far too heavy to bear, it is in that space that I need seek Christ to cover my heart with His, as He is my place of refuge and a shield about me. He renews my hope with the truth of His word and reminds me anew of who He is. Today, I am being granted the gift of time with my boys as they prepare to leave for a ten-day cruise with the Sea Scouts. I had hoped and prayed for a way to get home to help them pack and prepare and send them off, and God has been faithful to provide faithful friends for such a time as this, so that I could do exactly that and know that mom is in great hands and comfortable in my brief absence.

Yesterday was an incredible day to end mom’s therapies in Washington. As she met with Nick, her physical therapist, he had me guide mom through the paces of navigating her front steps with her hemi-walker. Giving her verbal cues and only keeping a hand touching her low back to remind her that I was present if there was a need, she was able to go down the steps, walk some steps in the grass, turn around, and then return up the stairs. It was the very first time since her stroke that mom had set foot on grass, and after Nick left, she could not stop the tears from falling. For her, it was yet another mile-marker that reminded her that hope is tangible and that she is truly making progress. A few hours later, mom had her final session with Susan, her speech therapist. The beautiful thing about speech therapy is that there is much opportunity to visit, as word recall is largely called forth through conversation. Time flew by, and goodbyes were difficult. Lastly, a bit later in the afternoon, was Larissa, mom’s occupational therapist. Larissa went to great lengths to make certain that we had a solid plan in place for ongoing exercises and stretches for mom to be doing daily during the gap time between now and when therapies begin in Oregon. She has been innovative and kind, and has gone above and beyond to help research and facilitate mom’s needs. As she was leaving, she refused to call it goodbye, but rather a “see you later.” Each of mom’s therapists parted ways with mom with hugs and words of well-wishes, encouraging her and letting her know how much they had loved working with her and how much they would miss her. Mom has a way of winning folks over quickly, and once she has, she is not forgotten. My hope and prayer now, is that she will find the same to be true of her new therapists in Oregon, and that she will discover a new community with which to connect during her season in that space. God has always been her refuge, and I trust that He will continue to provide her hope and tangible evidence of His faithfulness.

 

My refuge and shield, 08011905054602014993045993958.jpg

Where all hope is found;

The God of all grace,

Your word’s always sound.

You grant me safety,

And You cover me;

My heart is hidden,

In You, lovingly.

Hidden from the things,

That make me choose fear;

Blind to Your presence,

As You’re ever near.

Help us ever seek,

The light of Your grace;

For goodness is found,

Following Your ways.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our safety and our refuge, and that we can ever find hope in Your word. Thank You that You are present to help and protect and provide. Forgive us for our fearfulness in the unsteady or the unknown. Teach us to trust You more. Show us how to love those around us in a way that offers peace and grace and safety. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust and hope in You forever. Amen.

 

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

 

I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God in whom I trust.” – Psalm 91:2

Faithful to the Finish

Being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. – (Philippians 1:6, NIV)

I am sure that the good work God began in you will continue until He completes it on the day when Jesus Christ comes again. – (Philippians 1:6, ERV)

I am confident that the Creator, who has begun such a great work among you, will not stop in mid-design but will keep perfecting you until the day Jesus the Anointed, our Liberating King, returns to redeem the world. – (Philippians 1:6, VOICE)

 

God is faithful to complete that which He begins. I believe this to be true for the heart, body, mind and soul. The good work that God has begun in the healing and restoration of my mom following her stroke, will be carried out until it is complete. We know not the timeline, nor how it will unfold, but we know that God is faithful and true to His word.

We are beginning to have the difficult discussions with mom about what comes next. Thankfully, two of her dearest friends visited yesterday, separately, and both inquired about the plan for what is next, and interjected their support and encouragement in ways that were easiest for mom to receive. Though we do not have dates finalized, nor details completely established, we are fairly certain that mom’s next step in healing and recovery will be to spend some time in Oregon with my sister and her family. There is fantastic outpatient care for the various therapies that mom needs, within a few miles of Meg’s home, and excellent resources for the best possible care for her recovery. In-home care will likely come to an end at the close of this month, so the transition to Oregon will potentially take place, shortly thereafter. Obviously, there are many details work out and lists to complete, prior to making any moves, but it is good to know the next step and mentally prepare for what the next season may look like.  We are grateful for His grace, and beyond blown away by the community and support that mom has here in Wenatchee. It is horribly difficult to leave her home and network of support, but it would not be wise to be away from family while she still has some significant healing to go, before she is ready to return to independent living. Mom is incredibly resilient, and has her eyes on the prize. She knows that this is merely a season that will provide that time and room for her to grow stronger so that she may continue to regain what was lost. God will continue, as He is faithful. May we ever trust in Him.

 

God in His goodness,Anchor with Compass Engraving Illustration

He already knows;

The way to healing,

Which way the wind blows.

He has established,

The road that is best;

And makes the way plain,

As His love’s expressed.

God always completes,

The work that He starts;

As He moves in strength,

Mind, body and heart.

Choose to keep trusting,

When the road is rough;

And each time you’ll find,

The Lord is enough.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are ever working in us. Thank You that You never stop. Thank You that every good work You begin, You see through to the end – body, heart, mind and soul. Thank You that You are our strength, our hope and our peace. Forgive us for our frustrations and fears when we cannot see or understand how the work could ever be completed in the direction we are walking. Teach us to trust You to be our Navigator and our Anchor. Show us Your power and strength each new day, as we trust You for each new step You lead us to take. Help us to love those around us well, so that we may extend strength and hope and grace where it is lacking. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust in You to faithfully complete every work that You have begun in us. Amen.

 

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

 

For the word of the Lord is right and true; He is faithful in all He does. – Psalm 33:5

Trust for Peace

You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in You. – (Isaiah 26:3, NIV)

God, You give true peace to people who depend on You, to those who trust in You. – (Isaiah 26:3, ERV)

You will keep the peace, a perfect peace, for all who trust in You, for those who dedicate their hearts and minds to You. – (Isaiah 26:3, VOICE)

 

God does exactly what He says He will do, when we do our part. That does not mean that we have to perform at a certain level, or achieve a specific status, but rather we must trust Him and rely on Him to be God, in order for there to be room in our hearts and lives for Him to move. Yes, I believe in God with all of my heart, mind, soul and strength, however, there are times that I know my trust wavers. It is in those moments of troubled trust, that perfect peace escapes me. Sadly, I don’t think the peace is gone, as much as I cannot feel nor find it in my stirred-up state of being. When I slow down and recognize that I am trying to control circumstances that are out of my control, and give the reigns back to the One who is a far better driver than I, it is then that I find the peace that I have needed all along. There is a large learning curve for this for me in my current season. As a wife, still in her first year of a new marriage, the mother of twin seventeen-year-old boys who have always been in my direct care, a daughter, a sister, a friend, an invested member of my church community, a runner, and so on, I have had many moments that I have desperately wanted to be in one place when I was in another, or help, or participate, or orchestrate, and I could not… I know that people, my family and friends, understand and are gracious, however, I find that is not always true within me. It typically takes a very honest and defeated conversation over the phone with my persistently patient husband, to get to the place of accepting what is, letting go of what I cannot control, and placing all back in the rightful hands of God. It is a season, and I am learning to let go and trust big. Peace is far preferred to its absence, so today, I choose again to trust.

Yesterday, mom and I had a good day. It was a strange start, but went well. She was rather tired as the day began, and went back to sleep after breakfast. When she woke, she was really groggy, so her preference was to relax and watch a movie so that she could continue to wake up more gently. Later in the morning, we ventured into town again. This time, after the coffee drive thru, we drove to a store in town so that I could run in and buy a few CDs for my drive home in the afternoon. I offered to bring her in with me, but she was not ready yet. She happily waited in the car while I ran in and quickly selected my music and returned to her. We drove around a bit more, then went to a restaurant in town that she had wanted to go. Again, she had me run in to get food for takeout. By the time we had arrived home, settled in and eaten lunch, she was a bit weary. Mom determined that she would take a bit of a snooze. The rest was short-lived, and when she got up, we decided to work on some of her exercises. She did some hall walking and some stretches, then we relaxed and hung out until Sharon, my honorary sister, (grew up across the street and we literally lived at each other’s homes our entire childhood) came to stay with mom until Megan arrived, so that I could get driving home before dark. Meg arrived safely and on time, and Sharon and mom had a good visit. I made it home in excellent time, and was wrapped up in giant arms the moment I pulled into the driveway. 😊

May we ever trust in the Lord, for He is good, and He is our peace; always.

 

The God of all grace, img_2019-07-06_07-24-202660716920165927309.jpg

Promoter of peace;

Lavishly He loves,

Good that will not cease.

As we trust in Him,

Peace shall abound more;

For fears fall away,

Hope brings us ashore.

God knows what we need,

His heart is to bless;

Keep trusting in Him,

He hears each request.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You bring peace as we trust in You. Thank You that peace is not dependent on our circumstances, but rather it is dependent on our awareness of Your presence. Forgive us for the times that we allow ourselves to get worked up and worried about what is happening around us, rather than allowing You to do the work within us. Teach us to trust You more. Show us how to be ambassadors of Your perfect peace to those around us as we love others in the same way that You love each of us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose to trust You to be our peace in all things and at all times. Amen.

 

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

 

Those who know Your name trust in You, for You, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek You. – Psalm 9:10

Sweet Independence

Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” – (Matthew 4:4, NIV)

Jesus answered him, “The Scriptures say, ‘It is not just bread that keeps people alive. Their lives depend on what God says.’” – (Matthew 4:4, ERV)

Jesus answered by quoting Deuteronomy: “It takes more than bread to stay alive. It takes a steady stream of words from God’s mouth.” – (Matthew 4:4, MSG)

 

Independence Day has an entirely new meaning in my world this year. I am not speaking on a national level, but rather on a personal one. Independence, as it is defined, is the freedom from the control, influence, support, aid, or the like, of others. (dictionary.com)  Ironically, to be independent from the wiles of this world, we must be dependent on God. We have to know the Lord, trust His word to be true, and actually follow after Him with our whole heart, to avoid being sucked into a dependence on popular thought, regardless of how askew it has become. Personally, I am in a space where my formerly independent mom, is currently completely dependent on me (or my sister) for everything throughout her day. Aid and support are required to sustain her, as the right side of her body is still not cooperating as it used to, prior to her stroke. At times I find myself feeling like a prisoner in this space, as I am accustomed to the freedom to come and go as I choose. Not having the liberty to take off and go for a run or make a quick trip to the store as needed, is an odd sort of normal. That being said, even when I have those freedoms at home, I still depend on God. My thought life and ability to express myself is independent of anyone’s control, and any submitting that I do, is a personal choice unto the Lord.

Perhaps my point is to not take our independence for granted. Mom’s independence was taken in an unexpected instant. She had no prior health issues nor warning signs, yet a stroke happened, and here we are. God is gracious and mom is a fighter. He has given her strength and tenacity, and I believe she will work her way back to full function on her own again. However, there is much work and an undisclosed timeline in the in between. Yesterday was another good day, as mom walked the full length of her hallway by herself with the walker during physical therapy in the morning. A bit later, we went on a “field trip” into town to drive through Dutch Bros for coffee. Honestly, it is a way to get out of the house and take in a change of scenery. Upon our return, we sat on the deck and spent a few hours playing Uno and Dominos. Playing games is a great way to continue to connect pathways in her healing brain, and do not be fooled, as she is a ruthless competitor. 😊 The remainder of the day was fairly routine, as we did the usual sort of activities. Last night, she had a few wake-ups in a short span of time, but then slept until 5:30 this morning. There is absolutely nothing scheduled for today, so we shall see what the day holds. We are independent to choose, yet dependent on God for His goodness and grace as we go. May your day be free and blessed as You celebrate the gift of independence that is held in your hands.

 

Sweet independence,

Freedom to behold;

Where no one controls,

We choose what to hold.

Hold fast to the truth,

Grace rooted in love;

Trust in the Lord’s word,

All hope from above.

Only by God’s grace,

Do we truly know;

Freedom forever,

True peace to let go.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your goodness and grace. Thank You that true independence and freedom come when we learn to be dependent on You. Thank You for the nourishment found in Your word. Forgive us for our frustration found in our circumstances, somehow thinking that our independence has anything to do with our location or physical condition. Teach us to trust You more, understanding that Your word truly sets us free from all that holds us captive. Show us how to love those around us well, so that they too may come to understand freedom in Your love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we celebrate our independence because of our dependence on You. Amen.

 

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

 

My brothers and sisters, God chose you to be free. But don’t use your freedom as an excuse to do what pleases your sinful selves. Instead, serve each other with love. – Galatians 5:13

To Patiently Persevere

May the Lord direct your hearts into God’s love and Christ’s perseverance. – (2 Thessalonians 3:5, NIV)

We pray that the Lord will cause you to feel God’s love and remember Christ’s patient endurance. – (2 Thessalonians 3:5, ERV)

Now may the Lord move your hearts into a greater understanding of God’s pure love for you and into Christ’s steadfast endurance. – (2 Thessalonians 3:5, TPT)

 

Our ability to endure and patiently persevere is comprehensively connected to our understanding of God’s love and His heart for us. When we know and feel that He is for us, we are exceedingly more willing to press on and keep moving forward to the seemingly impossible. I have known and witnessed this to be true in my own life, and I am witnessing a glorious unfolding of such in both my mom, and in each member of our family/community that is impacted by this road that mom is currently navigating. Though not perfect, as we are all a work in progress, I see and feel the love of God being poured out beyond measure, and each of us rising up and patiently enduring with the strength that Christ provides. We are able to do immeasurably more than we could ever hope or imagine when we place our trust in God.

As for the specific updates on mom: Saturday, I neglected to mention that the new in-home care company made its debut. One of the physical therapists, Kari, came to the house and did an assessment to get the ball rolling. She was knowledgeable, professional, kind, thorough, and receptive to hear mom’s needs. Right away, she agreed to schedule mom for physical therapy three days per week, just as she had been doing before, (despite only having twice per week listed on her initial paperwork) and she made a point to be certain to let us know when each type of therapist should be contacting us for their assessment. Additionally, she said that she would follow up with Bellevue Healthcare, the company whom we ordered mom’s wheelchair through more than a month ago, to find out the status of her order. (Her loaner chair is not ideal) Based on what we observed through Kari, we are confident that God is continuing to hold mom and her care in His hands. Sunday, we enjoyed the morning with Mark before he had to head home to be with our boys. The remainder of the day was rather leisurely for mom and myself, as it consisted of movie-watching and laundry. After dinner, we were able to have another great visit with mom’s brother and his wife before bed, to close out our day well. Today will include physical therapy and a speech evaluation with the new speech therapist. May we continue to receive the love of the Lord as He directs our steps, and allow Him to be our strength to persevere in all things.

 

May the Love of God, img_2019-06-24_06-44-425253759792040482934.jpg

Direct heart and mind;

Our Source and our Strength,

In Whom hope aligns.

As we learn to trust,

Likewise persevere;

In Christ we’re equipped,

To rise without fear.

Far greater is He,

The Lord above all;

Than trials we face,

He won’t let us fall.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You show us Your love and grant us the strength to persevere. Thank You that You do not ask us to do anything that You are not also willing to strengthen and empower us to do. Forgive us for somehow thinking that we have to do things on our own. Teach us to trust You more, for You are our strength and the love that holds us up when we are unsure of how we will keep moving forward. Show us how to love those around us in a way that walks alongside them through the struggles, supports and strengthens, and encourages and lifts up. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we receive Your love and trust You to be our strength and hope forever. Amen.

 

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

 

And as for you, brothers and sisters, never tire of doing what is good. – 2 Thessalonians 3:13

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