Love Well

For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. – (Ephesians 2:10, NIV)

God has made us what we are. In Christ Jesus, God made us new people so that we would spend our lives doing the good things He had already planned for us to do. – (Ephesians 2:10, ERV)

For we are the product of His hand, heaven’s poetry etched on lives, created in the Anointed, Jesus, to accomplish the good works God arranged long ago. – (Ephesians 2:10, VOICE)

 

We have been designed to do good things. Incredibly, it is not about some master plan to accomplish an incredible feat (though some do as part of the plan) but rather it is to love well in each little thing, as to do so, adds up to a life lived well, according to His purposes. Above all, we are called to love. If everything we do is motivated by love, then we cannot help but do the good that God created and intended us to accomplish. Heartache, struggle, disappointment, grief, and weariness all provide us opportunity to look past ourselves and discover just how powerful love can be when we choose to dig deep and give it away. The good that comes from pouring out when we feel depleted, is a crazy filling up that does not even begin to make sense. There is something that happens when we do what we were designed to do – we grow. God multiplies where we can barely conceive the idea of addition. The more we trust Him and step out in faith to love well, the more He utilizes our obedience to touch and transform those around us. May we ever choose to do the good that He has called us to, as we opt to love others, as He first loved us.

As for mom, it sounds as if she had a successful first day in Albany. When I called, she actually answered her phone! That was a huge accomplishment in and of itself, as before, she had not interacted with her phone much at all. The first challenge in her new space, is that her chair does not fit in the bathroom. What this actually means, is that mom is getting more walking practice than before, and will likely lose the chair faster! Things happen the way they ought to, even when it seems a bit frustrating at first. Meg was able to come home at lunch to check and see how all was going, and it seems that all was well. My phone conversation was cut short, and I did not really have the opportunity for a second check-in, but will be eager to hear more about how mom is settling in. I know prayer points for mom need include expediting a visit to a general practitioner to establish care, so that mom is able to reestablish in-home care for physical, occupational and speech therapies that come to her during the day. The process has been started, but favor and prompt processing would be fantastic. We are praying for wonderful, loving people to work with mom as well, as each of the therapists that she had in Wenatchee were incredible individuals.

 

Lord, help us to love, Sowing Seeds of Peace

Do good in Your name;

To love as You love,

As peace is proclaimed.

Help us see others,

Through Your loving lens;

So we treat strangers,

With love, like our friends.

Grant us Your kindness,

Fill us with Your grace;

Teach us Your goodness,

So all we’ll embrace.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to do the good for which we were designed to do. Thank You that above all, we are called to love. Thank You that You have shown us what it is to love above all else through the example of Your Son. Forgive us for the times that we have not given good or not chosen love. Teach us to trust You more, so that we make the conscious choice to love, no matter the space we find ourselves in. Show us how to love those around us in a way that Your goodness and grace is made abundantly clear. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to equip us to do the good for which we have been designed to do. Amen.

 

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

 

Turn from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it. – Psalm 34:14

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 Wait in Hope

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

So we will wait for the Lord. He helps us and protects us. – (Psalm 33:20, ERV)

The Lord alone is our radiant hope and we trust in Him with all our hearts. His wrap-around presence will strengthen us. – (Psalm 33:20, TPT)

 

This is the time where I have to dig in and wait in hope all the more for God to be my help and my shield. As my time with my husband and my brief time at home with my boys this evening will be drawing to a close as I return to my mom in Wenatchee tomorrow morning, I have to place my heart and my trust in Him. Each time I leave my family, I am a bit more gutted than the last; not because I am going to my mom, as I love the time with mom and am grateful to be able to be with her and help her, but rather because I have been away from my husband and children for far too long, and it is taking its toll on all of us. Each of us knew the cost when we decided as a family that my being with mom was the best choice, but as the end date is drawing near, closure and next steps are needed. That being said, we need the Lord to orchestrate the details for mom’s time and care in Oregon. There is much to consider and many things that must be in place, prior to moving mom seven hours from her home for a season.

As for mom, prayers were answered last night, for she slept far better, with a five-hour consecutive stretch in the night. She had a great day and enjoyed a couple of great visits with some of her dearest friends both during the afternoon and again in the evening. I imagine that the extra stimulus contributed positively to her stellar sleep. Today includes both occupational therapy and speech therapy on the agenda. Both are great for taxing the body and mind, and will hopefully aid in another great night of sleep. Tomorrow will be transition day, as Megan will make the long drive back to Oregon, and I will return from my home west of the mountains. It sounds as if we will not actually see one another in the switch, as a dear friend will likely stay with mom during the gap. Please continue to pray with us for every detail of mom’s care in Oregon to fall into place, so that the transition will be smooth and timely. Ideally, there will be little to no gap in therapy appointments, to maximize mom’s continued progress. Though we cannot fathom how all of this will come to fruition, God can.

 

We wait on the Lord, 07231913171339276386040171037.jpg

In hope, love and trust;

For He is faithful,

And forever just.

He knows all our needs,

Each cry of our heart;

He answers in ways,

As faith, He imparts.

So, trust in the Lord,

Even when it’s tough;

His grace is greater,

And blessings, enough.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we wait on You, You help us and protect us. Thank You that You provide all that we need, as it is needed. Forgive us for our fears and doubts, especially when we cannot conceive a way for things to work out. Teach us to trust You more, as You are so much greater than our doubts and our lack of vision beyond what our mere eyes can see. Show us how to love those around us through the struggles and doubts, and encourage one another to trust in Your goodness and love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust in You; our help and shield forever. Amen.

 

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

 

Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord. – Psalm 27:14

Trust for Return

As for God, His way is perfect: The Lord’s word is flawless; He shields all who take refuge in Him. – (Psalm 18:30, NIV)

God’s way is perfect. The Lord’s promise always proves to be true. He protects those who trust in Him. – (Psalm 18:30, ERV)

What a God! His road stretches straight and smooth. Every God-direction is road-tested. Everyone who runs toward Him makes it. – (Psalm 18:30, MSG)

 

Our plans are not always the plans that God has in mind for us. On this quick trip home, much of what I thought and had planned, went differently than anticipated. At first, I was disappointed, but then realized that the change in plans at least afforded me a bit more time with my boys, and perhaps that was the purpose. God knows. His ways are always good. Two nights and only one day at home with my husband, children and a quick visit with dear friends, once again, leaves me grieving a bit, as I anticipate going back to Wenatchee. It is not a grief that is opposed to time with mom, for I am grateful to be present to help; rather, it is a strong and indescribable sense of loss of time with my husband and boys, as I desperately miss them after all of these many weeks away. For my boys, prior to this, I had never been away from them for more than a week. Now, in the last six weeks, I have seen them a total of six days. With my husband, the staggering statistics are similar. God is good and He is protecting our family and our relationships, but oh how my heart longs for home…  Today, as I go, I choose to trust Him and His plan. He knows what I need and the desires of my heart. I trust Him to protect me and make a way where there seems to be no way. Always, He is good.

As for mom, she had an amazing adventure yesterday with my sister. After having been willing to get out of the house for a few coffee-runs and driving outings with me last week, she decided she was ready to spread her wings. Mom actually determined that she was willing to go inside an establishment and have lunch with my sister! Megan happily obliged, and mom did very well and enjoyed her time out and about, as much as Meg was delighted to see her willingness to do so. This was huge, as it was the very first time that mom has been willing to go in anywhere other than a required doctor’s office.  This is particularly encouraging for me, as my family will be coming to celebrate my birthday next weekend, and the hope of actually getting out of the house and going somewhere, all together, is a wish come true. May we all continue to choose trust in the One whose way is perfect, as He is our refuge and the One who holds our heart.

 

Despite all our plans, All for Good

God’s way shall prevail;

For His ways are best,

As love never fails.

Though our way seems right,

Sometimes there is more;

We have to let go,

Push out past the shore.

For beyond the waves,

And into the sea;

Wherever He leads,

Grace will also be.

The sights that we see,

And lessons we learn;

Require steps out,

And trust for return.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are loving and kind trustworthy. Thank You that You are our refuge and strength. Thank You that Your ways are perfect, even when we don’t understand Your plan. Forgive us for fearing the road that seems uncertain, or for grieving the turns that we did not get to take. Teach us to trust You more, as all is in Your hands. Continue to show us Your love and grace in the season of uncertain space. Lead us to love those around us well, so that we strengthen and encourage and create safe spaces, just as You do for us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You and Your ways. Amen.

 

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

 

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight. – Proverbs 3:5-6

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

All for Good

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose. – (Romans 8:28, NIV)

We know that in everything God works for the good of those who love Him. These are the people God chose, because that was His plan. – (Romans 8:28, ERV)

We are confident that God is able to orchestrate everything to work toward something good and beautiful when we love Him and accept His invitation to live according to His plan. – (Romans 8:28, VOICE)

 

This is an incredible promise to which we can hold secure. All things that we face, endure and walk through can be transformed and utilized for our good, and the good of those around us. He turns our tests into testimonies, our ashes into something beautiful, and our mourning leads to celebration, through the power of His presence and strength. I can look back at the darkest trials that I have had to walk through, and see clearly, how His light shone brightest for me, and ultimately through me, as He turned difficult things into triumphs that encouraged others in similar situations. God is good, and we can trust Him to use everything for good, in due time. May we ever seek the Lord to be our strength, and watch for His love to turn ashes into things of beauty.

 

Beauty from ashes, All for Good

Strength where we were weak;

Light where things were dark,

When the Lord we seek.

His presence, promised,

And His love assured;

Trust and reliance,

Faith that the Lord heard.

He hears our requests,

God’s faithful to bring;

Solutions and grace,

Praise to our wise King.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You work all things together for the good of those who love You and seek answer Your call. Thank You that You are faithful forever. Forgive us for our fears and doubts when we are in the midst of a mess. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would recognize Your strength and grace as we go, and the beauty that You bring from our former ashes. Show us how to love those around us in a way that they see Your hope and light and strength in the middle of their struggle. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust in Your transforming power to bring beauty from the ashes of our trials. Amen.

 

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

 

I say to the Lord, “You are my Lord; apart from You I have no good thing.” – Psalm 16:2

His Plans are Good

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” – (Jeremiah 29:11, NIV)

“I say this because I know the plans that I have for you.” This message is from the Lord. “I have good plans for you. I don’t plan to hurt you. I plan to give you hope and a good future.” – (Jeremiah 29:11, ERV)

“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Eternal, “plans for peace, not evil, to give you a future and hope – never forget that.” – (Jeremiah 29:11, VOICE)

 

No matter how our circumstances feel, God has good plans for each of us. Though we walk through seasons of heartache or hardship, what comes from it is ultimately good, and often leads to a place of hope and blessing that far exceeds what we could have anticipated or imagined. In my own life, dreams were dashed for a time, and could not imagine how the turn life had taken could lead to the sort of future I had hoped for. Incredibly, God provided and loved me through it and grew and prepared me for the new season I was about to enter. Today, I can look back and see His heart for me through it all. His strength and resolve were deposited in my heart in fresh new ways, and I now know His love far better than I ever had before. Though none of us know for certain what lies ahead, I have hope and trust that it is good. May we ever seek our Savior and trust in Him, as He has good plans for us that include hope and a good future.

 

Despite what we see,

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Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

Hope ever remains;

For God’s plans are good,

As we let Him reign.

Reign within our heart,

And show us the way;

To trust the future,

Your love Lord, we pray.

May all know Your hope,

That fills hearts with love;

Grants courage and trust,

As we seek You above.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your plans for us are good. Thank You that in You, we have hope and a future. Forgive us for doubting Your hand in what lies ahead when things grow difficult for a season. Teach us to trust You through all things and at all times, as You are our strength and supply for our every need. Show us how to love those around us in ways that offer hope for the future and strength for right now. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust the hope and future that You hold in Your hands for each of us. Amen.

 

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

 

May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by His grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word. – 2 Thessalonians 2:16-17