A Loving Warrior

For the Lord your God is living among you. He is a mighty Savior. He will take delight in you with gladness. With His love, He will calm all Your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs. – (Zephaniah 3:17, NLT)

The Lord your God is with you. He is like a powerful soldier. He will save you. He will show how much He loves you and how happy He is with you. He will laugh and be happy about you. – (Zephaniah 3:17, ERV)

Your God is present among you, a strong Warrior there to save you. Happy to have you back, He’ll calm you with His love and delight you with His songs. – (Zephaniah 3:17, MSG)

 

It amazes me how often the verse of the day on my Bible application, is exactly the reminder I need. This morning, as I am on the other side of the mountains from mom and prepare to head back to work for a few days before returning to her after having not set foot in my classroom in nearly three weeks, I am more than a little nervous. Fortunately, I am comfortable about mom because my sister is there with her, and am able to be present with my family at home. Yesterday morning, I actually woke myself up from dreaming, as I had been telling my students about what had happened, and why I had been gone so long. Clearly returning to my classes has weighed heavily on my heart, and the unknown can be a bit of a fearful space. That being said, the past several weeks of my life have been nothing but unknowns. When we first drove to Wenatchee to mom in the hospital, we did not know the shape that she would be in. We knew not what the road to recovery and restoration would have in store, nor the timeline that would be required. Even now, we do not fully know the answers, however, God does. Even in this, we have found joy. There has been laughter, and smiles, gladness and delight. Peace and calm have come when they did not seem possible, and really did not make sense.

Mom continues to work tirelessly in each therapy session, and that which used to be the most frustration for her, is now becoming an area where she is seeing the most rapid growth and gratification. Speech therapy works not only on word recognition, cognition, reading, memory, logic and the like, but they are also working on strengthening her vocal cords. One of the things the stroke affected was the power of mom’s voice. Typically outgoing with a boisterous and jovial voice, the stroke left her quite soft-spoken. Her vocal work in speech therapy is helping her find the power in her voice again. We share many giggles in the process.

In all of this, God is with us, a present, loving warrior, battling on our behalf, loving us through the process as He calms our fears. May we ever trust in the One who delights in us, and listen to the songs He sings over us with joy.

 

The Lord is present, Bold Grace

Ever He is near;

Loving warrior,

We’ve nothing to fear.

With our God for us,

He’ll hold us upright;

Fighting our battles,

All day and all night.

Choose trust in the One,

Whose love grants us peace;

And sings over us,

Delightful release.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for being both our loving Savior and mighty Warrior. Thank You that You delight in us and sing over us, granting us peace in our spaces of fear. Forgive us for our fear of the unknown and unexplainable; for You already know the outcome and have a plan and a purpose for all. Teach us to trust the truth of Your word, that Your plans are to prosper and not to harm, to give a hope and a future. Show us how to love those around us well, so that Your loving strength shines through us clearly. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we rise up and receive the covering You provide for us in Your strength and love. Amen.

 

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

 

The Lord gives strength to His people; the Lord blesses His people with peace. – Psalm 29:11

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

Make Our Path Plain

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

Trust the Lord completely, and don’t depend on your own knowledge. With every step you take, think about what He wants, and He will help you go the right way. – (Proverbs 3:5-6, ERV)

Trust in the Lord completely, and do not rely on your own opinions. With all your heart rely on Him to guide you, and He will lead you in every decision you make. Become intimate with Him in whatever you do, and He will lead you wherever you go. – (Proverbs 3:5-6, TPT)

 

I am in territory where the only choice I have is trust. Without a medical background, and only knowing a strong, vibrant and healthy mom, this new normal leaves me in a space of dependency on God that I have not known before. For myself and my children, I have been here, but for my mom? Oh Jesus, why? This has been the resounding question that I have had to battle over and over again. Why her? My mom is the kindest, most generous, most loving human on the planet. She loves with her whole heart, and everyone who meets her, considers her a friend. We have had to turn people away at the hospital, again and again, as my sister and I (together prayerfully, with input from mom) determined that visitors beyond immediate family or those whom were on the direct contact list, would need to wait, as too many too soon are overwhelming in this space of her healing. (That being said, encouraging notes bless her very much.) In the coming days, my sister and I will have to find and decide which acute care facility will be the best fit for mom (with her input of course), either near Meg in Albany, or near me in Federal Way. Either way, there is much to prayerfully consider. We need the Lord to lead us and direct our steps. Our opinions matter far less than His, and we need clear guidance as to which space will best bring restoration to Mom, and provide the level of care that she would give to anyone who enters her home. For those who have ever set foot in her house, you know exactly the sort of loving hospitality she deserves. God has shown Himself trustworthy over and over again in my life, so here I stand, choosing to trust for my mom. Please join us in contending for her full healing, and for the very best placement for her – a space where she feels loved and valued, encouraged and known; a care facility where she will thrive and heal quickly and completely, that is located very near to either my sister or myself.

 

To trust in the Lord, 04291921376784107530368167090.jpg

We place in His hands;

All that is heavy,

For He understands.

God already knows,

The road that is best;

It is up to us,

To seek Him, invest.

For God is faithful,

He always is near;

He’ll never leave us,

Our heart, He shall hear.

So, give all to Him,

Seek His loving grace;

He’ll make the path plain,

As we seek His face.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You love us more than we can even fathom, and You are ready to show us the way that we are meant to go in all things. Thank You that we can trust You, even with the things that are beyond our understanding. Forgive us for our frustration and confusion in the unknowns in uncharted territory. Thank You for the grace that You give and for the those that You place around us to make Your loving kindness tangible. Show us which way to go, O God. Make the path plain for my Mom. Heal her completely. Restore every synapse connection that was broken and restore full movement to her right side. God, You are far greater than anything that comes against our bodies. We trust You to heal our mom. Show us how to best get her to the place for You to work in and through her, as You have created her to be a witness of Your love and grace, even in this. Be glorified in this nightmare O God, and lead many unto a lasting relationship with You. We praise You for Your faithfulness to us, and choose to trust You again today to make our path plain as You lead us. 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

Trust Over Worry

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. – (Philippians 4:6, NIV)

Don’t worry about anything, but pray and ask God for everything you need, always giving thanks for what you have. – (Philippians 4:6, ERV)

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything; tell God your needs, and don’t forget to thank Him for His answers. – (Philippians 4:6, TLB)

 

Yesterday, as I quickly grabbed the mail between errands and thumbed through it, one envelope captured my curiosity. There was something from the IRS, and I could not figure out for the life of me, why. Upon opening said envelope, my stress level and anxiety shot through the roof. Inside was a letter informing me that there had been an error in my 2016 filing, and that I owe a large sum of money. As I walked into the house, attempting to make sense of what I was reading, I was greeted by two teenage boys who were yelling at one another about who spilled rice on the floor and who had to finish cleaning it up. The noise only added to my anxiousness, and I quickly let them know that I needed them to chill out so that I could process what I was reading. Their arguing continued, and I had to get out of the chaos. I let them know that I was going to the new house to take care of some things and entered the quiet of the car by myself. Once seated, with the key in the ignition, the verse above tumbled about my brain. There was nothing eloquent about my words, but I simply let God know that I needed His help and could not afford this, especially by the date given on the letterhead, and I really don’t understand how they came up with the numbers that they did. As I neared my turn, I saw a familiar vehicle and took a second glance at the driver. It happened to be a sweet friend of mine, so I called out her name. She had just taken her youngest daughter to the park across the street from our new home, had a bit of time and wanted to come take a tour. Gladly, I invited the distraction and showed the two lovely ladies our soon-to-be dwelling. I was encouraged by her kindness and shared with her what had just happened prior to my drive over. She is a prayer warrior, and on the spot, stopped and prayed the things that my heart held but could not yet give words. As they left, I felt far less anxious and more at peace, knowing that God is in control and I have a fiancé who will walk beside me and a community that has my back in prayer. What it did is remind me how grateful I am for the people whom God has placed in my life and that He will lead me in the way in which I am meant to go in all things. May we remember to not worry about anything, and instead, choose to pray and ask God for help, giving Him thanks for the answers that He will and has already provided.

 

Do not be anxious, wp-15296764255929217887386200022319.jpg

About anything;

Instead, choose to pray,

To God, our fears bring.

He’s faithful to hear,

All that we present;

And He’ll show the way,

Answers Heaven sent.

So, trust in the Lord,

No matter what comes;

He’s faithful always,

The Most Holy One.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You remind us to let go of worry and anxiety and to present our prayers and petitions before You. Thank You that You are faithful to hear us and to provide solutions. Thank You that You answer in ways that we would never dream up on our own, yet they are always what we need, when we need it most. Forgive us for allowing unknowns to dominate our thoughts and cause anxiousness, rather than bring our fears and concerns to You right away. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would present our every request before You, knowing that You will meet us and never leave us. Show us how to love and walk beside those around us, so that they know Your comfort and Your peace in a tangible way. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we present our requests before You and give You praise for Your faithfulness always. Amen.

 

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

 

Let love and faithfulness never leave you; …write them on the tablet of your heart. – Proverbs 3:3

Soar in Strength

 

But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not grow faint. – (Isaiah 40:31, NLT)

 

I apologize in advance if the running references are not in your realm of reality right now. However, for the next few days, I will be in run, rest, repeat mode, and it is very much in the forefront of my mind and will likely flavor that which I write. Today is no exception. The new strength that is found through trusting the Lord, is spiritual, emotional, and often physical. When we come to the end of ourselves and feel like we’ve no more to give, His Spirit within us rises, and whispers, “press on.” Though fighting through weariness, fatigue, and exhaustion can be grueling, the reward on the other side is well worth it. To look back and see the strength that was supplied and the ground that was covered despite our moments of doubt, provide new strength and hope as we gain even greater trust in He who gives us all that we need. Although I have trained, I must trust. There are elements and unknowns that I cannot anticipate. I need the Lord to go before me, remain beside me, and be my strength, as I run the road that lies ahead. May we ever trust in the Lord to grant us new strength, so that we may soar on wings like eagles; run without growing wearing, walk without growing faint – wherever His path leads us.

 

Those who trust in God,

Silhouetted Woman Running at Sunset

Shall find strength anew;

They’ll soar high on wings,

Just as eagles do.

They’ll run and not tire,

Walk and not grow faint;

The Lord is faithful,

To arm each with strength.

So go forth and run,

Wherever He leads;

Our God shall supply,

All that we will need.

 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we trust in You, we find strength anew. Thank You that by Your grace, we soar on wings like eagles, in the direction You call us to fly. Thank You that we can run and not grow weary, walk and not grow faint, when we are moving in the direction to which You are calling us to move. Forgive us for attempting to fly on our own, or for running the wrong direction. Lead us on the path that You have placed before us, so that we would run the race to which we are called. Show us how to love and encourage all of those who are running near us, so that each may run well, their own race. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust in You to supply the strength we need to complete all that which we are called to do. Amen.

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

Because of the tender mercy of our God, …the rising sun will come to us from heaven. – Luke 1:78

 

To Choose to Trust

Though at times we feel alone, we never truly are, for the Lord is ever near. This is especially comforting when facing the new. It is in the unknowns that fear tends to rise up, and uncertainty and self-doubt seek to find space in the equation. However, when we choose to trust, and to seek the Lord in the midst of the new and the unknown, His words to us are much like His words in Isaiah.

 

So don’t be afraid. I am here, with you; don’t be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, help you. I am here with My right hand to make right and to hold you up. – (Isaiah 41:10, VOICE)

 

If the Lord tells us to not be afraid, what have we to fear? All that is now, is temporary, but that which is yet to come, is eternal. If God is for us, who can stand against us? No mountain is too high, no valley too low, nor sea too wide for Christ to come alongside and strengthen and equip us to overcome whatever lies before us.

 

After all, it is I, the Eternal One your God, who has hold of your right hand, Who whispers in your ear, “Don’t be afraid. I will help you.” – (Isaiah 41:13, VOICE)

 

God has a hold of us and will help us, we need to trust Him and reach out our hands to Him. As we give Him our fear, He returns to us, His strength, courage, help and hope. He cares about the little things and the larger ones. Nothing is too small to escape His concern, nor too much trouble for He who created and cares for us all. May we go forward, without fear, trusting in Him who will be our help and hold us up with His holy right hand.

 

Do not let the new,Dispelling Discouragement

Cause terror to reign;

For Christ is our strength,

And makes our path plain.

Hand all fear to God,

Do not be dismayed;

For He is our help,

Through whom strength’s displayed.

The Lord holds us up,

Takes us by the hand;

Whispers, “I will help,”

Gives us strength to stand.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we need not fear with You. Thank You that You are our help and our hope, and that nothing is too difficult for You. Forgive us for our fears and doubts, and teach us to trust You more. Show us how to believe big in the little things and the large. Help us to love others well, so that they too might find courage and strength to press forward when fear attempts to derail. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust in You to be our strength to move forward, even when things seem beyond what we can fathom. Amen.

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

Shout aloud and sing for joy. – Isaiah 12:6

 

Why Worry?

When unknowns stand before us, worry is a natural response for many of us. The “what ifs” find way to wander in, and fear finds its footing, granting a way in for worry. Sadly, worrying does us absolutely no good.

 

Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life. – (Matthew 6:27)

 

Rather than worry, we are meant to confess our concerns before Christ. He is our answer, and supplies what we need, regardless of our situation. He knows what lies before us, and He already sees the outcome. We need not worry about the path we travel to get from here to there, so long as we walk beside Him and listen to His voice. The Lord will lead us and guide us in all of His ways, and will provide what is needed as it is needed along the way. May we rise up in faith and trust Him, leaving worry behind as we follow the Lord wherever He calls us to go.

 

Despite the unknowns,Delivering Dreams

leave worry behind;

for trust in the Lord,

is heart, soul and mind.

Let’s give Him our all,

no matter what comes;

for His ways are best,

the Most Holy One.

Allow not worry,

from any life take;

peace and His promise,

granted for our sake.

In faith, let’s rise up,

and trust in His Name;

leave worry behind,

and His truth proclaim.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that in You, we need not worry about anything. Thank You that You see and know our needs before we do, and that You will provide for us as we seek You. Thank You that You speak to us, lead us and guide us, if we are willing to listen for Your voice. Forgive us for allowing our fears to entertain worry, rather than choosing to run to You. Teach us to trust You more, so that our immediate response to our known needs, is to present our requests before You, trusting that You are good and loving, and that You will provide what we need as we need it. Lead us to love others well, so that we may be Your hands and heart to the hurting. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose to give all of our worries to You. Amen.

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

Shout aloud and sing for joy. – Isaiah 12:6

Staying the Course

There are times when the Lord leads us to a space of unknowns. It is dark and terrifying and without Him, we know not where to go. However, the Lord is good and His plans for us are good. He leads us to freedom, where we had once been held captive, and strength, where we had previously been with none. Though it may be a long and arduous journey, His path for our lives leads to perfection. Knowing how the story ends is enough to hold fast to the hope that is found in Christ alone. Because the nature of God has been made known, we can respond to these spaces of darkness just as David did.

“But now, Lord, what do I look for? My hope is in You.” – (Psalm 39:7)

May faith rise in us as we face our spaces of unknowns, and the Lord’s strength be ours as we trust in Him.

Lord, in the darkness,A Wondrous Way to Walk

Your hope is my light;

when facing unknown,

Your love fends off fright.

For You are so good,

and You never change;

though obstacles come,

Your path You’ll make plain.

Please lead us, Lord God,

no matter the fears;

remind us again,

that You are so near.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You alone are whom we should look for, as You are where our hope is assured. Thank You that though there will be legs of our journey that are long and difficult, You will never leave us nor forsake us, and in the end, perseverance will have been worthwhile. Forgive us for our fears in the face of adversity and unknowns, and help us to fix our eyes on You. Teach us to trust You more, so that we will look to You, no matter what lies before us. Lead us to love others in such a way, that they too, will fix their eyes on You. May many come into a saving relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we stay the course to which we are called. Amen.

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

Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. – Psalm 25:6