Prepared Like a Bride

I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and He will dwell with them. They will be His people, and God Himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” – (Revelation 21:2-4, NIV)

And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God. It was prepared like a bride dressed for her husband. I heard a loud voice from the throne. It said, “Now God’s home is with people. He will live with them. They will be His people. God Himself will be with them and will be their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death, sadness, crying, or pain. All the old ways are gone.” – (Revelation 21:2-4, ERV)

 

God really is so good. Though I felt compelled to call this site Revelations in Writing, I have not spent much time dwelling in the book of Revelation. The content, quite honestly, makes me a bit anxious, rather than brings clarity. I don’t avoid it altogether, I just have not really dove deep into a dedicated study of that particular book. This morning, however, I was nearly moved to tears by the imagery found in the verses that appeared in my daily devotions. Being such a visual person, these verses struck a space in my heart that needed to imagine such incredible, beautiful hope.

It was a little less than a year ago, and I was the bride, dressing for my husband on our wedding day, right here at my mom’s house. Dear family and treasured friends joined us to celebrate our union before God in this gorgeous setting. As a girl who grew up caring far more about athletics and art than appearances, I have never been one to feel particularly “pretty” or “beautifully dressed”, but rather an artist who has fun with color and pattern and design. However, on my wedding day, I did feel like a bride who had been transformed for her groom – not because of my clothing or hair; it was the way I was viewed through the eyes of my groom.

Additionally, the hope that is held in these verses, offers a load far lighter than what I bore yesterday. Between the early morning’s fiasco, exhaustion, and then learning of the loss of my paternal grandmother, my heart was so heavy that it simply sat in my chest as a stone. I could not even feel because the weight was so great.

Mom struggled with word finding the first half of the day, as the lack of sleep had really taken a toll. We met her new in-home physical therapist, and were both very impressed and pleased. She will begin sessions three days per week, starting Monday. Speech therapy and occupational therapy are yet to be scheduled, but those should begin this coming week as well. She will have in-home nurse visits too, to be sure all is going as it should. So far, her care team is fantastic, and I am grateful that we have the opportunity to keep mom in her own home in Wenatchee.

All that to say, that the hope held in knowing that one day we will be with God, and He with us, where there will be no wheelchairs, monitors, bed rails, strokes, sickness, deaths, diseases, fears, frustration, tears, nor pain, is an incredible promise to hold in our hearts.

 

Imagine the bride,

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Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

On her wedding day;

Eager and ready,

For all that awaits.

Two lives full of hope,

Placed in the Lord’s hands;

As loved ones witness,

His unfolding plan.

How much greater still,

Will it be one day;

When God comes to dwell,

Among us, to stay.

All sickness and pain,

Death, hurt and disease;

Will no longer be,

In Him, we’ll be free.

No weight nor sorrow,

Just wonder and awe;

Joy in His presence,

No more sinful flaw.

Fear not His coming,

Instead, let hope rise;

There’s beauty beyond,

Our dreams realized.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are so good. Thank You that You take our heaviness and exchange it with hope. Thank You that the weight of this world may feel heavy for a season, but the hope of eternity is well worth the weight we bear throughout the various seasons in life. Thank You that You strengthen and equip us to carry whatever load lies before us, and You bring others alongside us to share the weight. Forgive us for thinking that we are meant to carry things alone, or that this is somehow all there is, forgetting that there is so much more beyond what is before us in the right now. Teach us to trust You with our today, tomorrow and forever. Show us how to love those around us in a way that helps them see the hope that goes beyond today. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we embrace the hope that is held in eternity with You, and the help You supply in the “right now”. Thank You that You speak to us individually, in the way that penetrates the places in our hearts that feel heaviest and need Your light to shine the brightest. Amen.

 

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

 

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. – Hebrews 13:8

Make It So

Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” – (Matthew 19:26, NIV)

Jesus looked at them and said, “This is something that people cannot do. But God can do anything.” – (Matthew 19:26, ERV) 

Jesus looked at them intently and said, “Humanly speaking, no one. But with God, everything is possible.” – (Matthew 19:26, TLB)

 

Typically, I am a faith-filled realist, that sees the hope. I look at what is, but trust in what shall be. This week, my world has been shaken like never before. Yes, I know that God is good and that He has us, but if I can be real and raw with you – this sucks! My mom is the matriarch of our family, a rock, a love, willing to go anywhere, do anything, and friend and confidant to all whom she meets. To know her is to love her. For my sister and I, we have had to battle frustration and anger, as people love her and want to waltz into the hospital to see her, as if they have known her forever. Sadly, if we don’t know them and mom is uncertain of who they are based on their name, it adds too much frustration for her, and our protective instincts want to build a fortress around her to keep everyone she has not called by name, out, until she is ready to receive guests. I know it is not her nature to have a closed door. One of her greatest gifts is hospitality. That being said, it is hard to be hospitable in the hospital… For now, we are limiting visits to immediate family and those whom we consider “framily” (such long-standing friends that they have become family). Please, those who love mom, be patient, we so appreciate your love and support, and covet your prayers the most right now.

On to the update many have been waiting to hear. First, we are witnessing miracles; daily. Yesterday, mom moved her right arm! Granted, it was slight and not likely a conscious decision, but her arm moved on more than one occasion, which means that the connections are firing. This is very, very good! Additionally, her speech and word recall are continuing to improve. There is marked improvement from morning to afternoon, and one day to the next. The more relaxed she is, the easier words come. The second miracle is that she has been accepted into the best acute care facility in Washington State. We are not yet certain of the when (though we anticipate the end of the week or the weekend), but we are so grateful to know the where. It is in close proximity to me, so I will be spending much time with mom in the coming months on her road to recovery. Once released, the plan is to have her transition to my sister’s house, as it is already able to accommodate potential needs on a single level.

God is good and He makes what is impossible for us, possible. Please continue to contend with us for our mom, as God is far greater than a stroke.

 

Impossible blows,

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A celebration in the park after Mom’s first tennis tournament win with her parents ❤

The dashing of dreams;

How do we press on,

What does it all mean?

Questions aren’t too big,

Our God doesn’t mind;

His grace is greater,

For love’s what we find.

Plenty provided,

All that we shall need;

His arms surrounding,

As we let Him lead.

Thank You, Lord Jesus,

That You are enough;

For in our own strength,

We are not that tough.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your kindness and provision in this dark and scary space. Thank You for surrounding us with loving and knowledgeable people who help point us in the direction You are leading, and for opening the doors You intend. Prepare the way, even now, for where mom is going next. Prepare the hearts of every staff member, doctor, nurse, specialist, volunteer, friend and family member who comes near, so that we will best know how to encourage and build her up. May her positivity, and ours, be a witness to those who do not know You yet, pointing them to a lasting relationship with You. Keep discouragement and depression far from her. Bring full healing and restoration, we pray. Forgive us for our impatience. Please God, give us our strong, vibrant, active mom back to us, fully restored as she so desperately wants to be. Amen.

 

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

 

Summon Your power, God; show us Your strength, our God, as You have done before. – Psalm 68:28

 

 

Trust to Make All Possible

Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God.” – (Mark 10:27, NIV)

Jesus looked at them and said, “That is something people cannot do, but God can. He can do anything.” – (Mark 10:27, ERV)

Jesus looked at them and replied, “With people it is impossible, but not with God – God makes all things possible!” – (Mark 10:27, TPT)

 

Impossible is our understood limit to the human capacity. However, God’s view is far different. In Him, all things become possible. God is able to do exceedingly more than we could ever hope or imagine.  When doubt or fear find way into our hearts, we must remember who holds us in the palm of His hands. May we ever seek the Lord and His strength, trusting that He is far greater than anything that would attempt to come against us or challenge the truth of who we are.

 

When there is no way, Faith for Forever

It’s not so with God;

He’ll show us there’s more,

Our doubts, they are flawed.

For what seems too much,

Is simple to Him;

Creator of all,

His grace always wins.

Peace in our struggles,

Strength when ours is gone;

Brawn in the battle,

Hope to carry on.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that nothing is impossible with You. Thank You that You will always equip us for the things that You call us to do. Forgive us for relying on our own strength, or for seeing only the obstacles rather than You, our solution. Show us how to strengthen and encourage the faith of those around us through Your love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You to make the seeming impossible, possible. Amen.

 

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

 

Jesus replied, “What is impossible with man is possible with God.” – Luke 18:27

Revelation Through Pursuit

For the word of the Lord is right and true; He is faithful in all He does. The Lord loves righteousness and justice; the earth is full of His unfailing love. – (Psalm 33:4-5, NIV)

The Lord’s word is true, and He is faithful in everything He does. He loves goodness and justice. The Lord’s unfailing love fills the earth. – (Psalm 33:4-5, ERV)

For God’s Word is something to sing about! He is true to His promises, His word can be trusted, and everything He does is reliable and right. The Lord loves seeing justice on the earth. Everywhere you can find His faithful, unfailing love! – (Psalm 33:4-5, TPT)

 

What God says, He will do. His faithfulness, righteousness and justice are not dependent on us. Rather, His unfailing love is evident everywhere because He is good. If the Lord loves goodness, righteousness and justice, shouldn’t we then seek to act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with our God? As we do, He shows us how to live right before Him, to view justice through His lens, rather than our own, and above all, He leads us to love as He loves. May we ever seek the Lord and spend time in His word, so that we can recognize the truth of His word, have faith in He who is righteous and just, and ever receive His unfailing love.

 

Ever He’s faithful, Prepare the Way

The Lord God on high;

The work of His hands,

Seen from earth to sky.

Always He is just,

And His word is true;

Righteousness revealed,

As Him, we pursue.

Love that’s unfailing,

No matter what comes;

As we choose to trust,

We see His will done.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your word is true and Your promises make us new. Thank You that as we seek You, You lead us and guide us in the ways in which we are meant to go. Thank You that above all, You love, and we are meant to do likewise. Forgive us for anything that we have said or done that was not right in Your eyes, not just, or not motivated by love. Teach us to trust You more to lead us in the way that we are meant to go. Show us how to love without limits, act justly, love mercy, and to walk humbly with You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, Lord. Be glorified O God, as we seek Your leading and trust Your promises. Amen.

 

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

 

He has shown you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord requires of you – but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God? – Micah 6:8

Sowing Seeds of Peace

Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness. – (James 3:18, NIV)

Those who make peace sow the seeds of justice by their peaceful acts. – (James 3:18, CEB)

You can develop a healthy, robust community that lives right with God and enjoys its results only if you do the hard work of getting along with each other, treating each other with dignity and honor. – (James 3:18, MSG)

 

Typically, the role of a peacemaker has served me well in the classroom. When kids are escalated, remaining calm most often leads to peace restored. However, despite the difficult work that has already been invested, there is clearly much more to be done, as there are a few students throughout my day that continue to struggle to get along with others and treat others with dignity. In the wait, I will continue to promote peace with each group of young people that enters my classroom, by modeling the very things that I ask of each of them. May we depend on the Lord to sow in peace, so that we may reap a harvest of righteousness.

 

May we ever choose, Sowing Seeds of Peace

To sow seeds of peace;

Kindness and honor,

To others increase.

The more we feel known,

The more we’re at ease;

Able to settle,

Calm down and sow peace.

Keep on investing,

Choose love others well;

With honor and grace,

May peace in us dwell.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we sow seeds of peace, we reap a harvest of righteousness. Thank You that what we invest in extending peace does not go out void, but You use every intentional word and deed to plant seeds of peace. Forgive us for our frustration in the wait, as at times it appears our efforts are for naught. Teach us to trust You more, as You are the One who brings lasting peace and righteousness to those who seek and follow after You. Show us how to love those around us in a way that promotes peace for all. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we sow seeds of peace and rely on You to return a harvest of righteousness. 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)

Shown Good

No, O people, the Lord has told you what is good, and this is what He requires of you: to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God. – (Micah 6:8, NLT)

Human, the Lord has told you what goodness is. This is what He wants from you: Be fair to other people. Love kindness and loyalty, and humbly obey your God. – (Micah 6:8, ERV)

He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. – (Micah 6:8, NIV)

 

This is a great reminder, as what is required of us is not dependent on what people do, but rather on who God is. If we love God, we long to serve and honor Him. To honor God is to do what is right by being fair to other people, extending mercy, love and kindness and walk in humility as we obey that to which we are called. Our obedience is not determined by the path of others, but by our own decision to walk with God. Being just does not require us to remain in toxic environments, yet love requires we forgive as we move forward. Often, a decision to extend love and kindness can change the entire setting of a space, from where it began. May we be ever open to hear the heart of God in all circumstances, so that we may extend His loving kindness to others, just as He has done for us.

 

What the Lord requires, Strength in the Sorrow

Is to do what’s right;

Do good and choose love,

Humble in His sight.

All grace and mercy,

That He freely gives;

Are granted in love,

As He chose forgive.

We are called to go,

And do just the same;

Give love and mercy,

Because Jesus came.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your love and mercy that You freely give to us if we are willing to seek You and receive what You offer. Thank You that You tell us what is good, and show and equip us to do that which You ask of us. Forgive us for the times that we have chosen poorly. Teach us to trust You more, so that we walk humbly with You, extending mercy and doing what is right in Your eyes. Show us how to love others as You have loved us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to do what is good. 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

Strength in Waiting

Wait for the Lord’s help. Be strong and brave, and wait for the Lord’s help. – (Psalm 27:14, ERV)

Stay with God! Take heart. Don’t quit. I’ll say it again: Stay with God. – (Psalm 27:14, MSG)

Wait patiently for the Lord. Be brave and courageous. Yes, wait patiently for the Lord. – (Psalm 27:14, NLT)

 

Everyday, we are faced with decisions to make. Some are simple and require little thought or effort to make, whereas others can be a bit gut-wrenching. In the face of the difficult decisions, we need to be patient, take heart, and wait for the Lord’s guidance, rather than rush to make an irrational choice or avoid an answer all together. Patiently waiting when we are stuck in a space of selection requires courage and trust. When we allow our hearts to hold fast to Him who is faithful, the outcome of our decisions honor God, rather than simply serve ourselves in the moment. Several friends are modeling this for me right now, as they have heard the Lord’s call, taken first steps of obedience, and now are waiting patiently and courageously to know what they are to do next. May we all choose to take heart and persevere, regardless of how things appear. God is faithful, and He is worthy of our trust in Him.

 

No matter what comes,strength-in-waiting

Take heart and don’t quit;

The Lord is our help,

Our hope to make it.

Be strong and be brave,

For the Lord is near;

He helps those who ask,

Each request, He hears.

Wait for the Lord’s help,

Don’t quit, stay with God;

He is our answer,

To overcome odds.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can trust in You. Thank You that You hear us and help us when we call on Your Name. Thank You that You give us strength and courage to wait patiently for You and Your timing, as You know what is best, despite our desire for immediate answers. Forgive us for our impatience and lack of faith. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would wait patiently for You with courage and strength, confident that You will help us in the way that is best. Show us how to love those around us according to Your goodness and grace. May many come forever into Your sweet embrace. Be glorified O God, as we wait patiently for You and Your help in our spaces of need. Amen.

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

I thank and praise You, O God of my fathers: You have given me wisdom and power. – Daniel 2:23