How Long?

How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and day after day have sorrow in my heart? – (Psalm 13:2a, NIV)

My soul is weary with sorrow; strengthen me according to Your word. – (Psalm 119:28, NIV)

How much longer must I cling to this constant grief? I’ve endured this shaking of my soul. – (Psalm 13:2a, TPT)

My life’s strength melts away with grief and sadness; come and strengthen me and encourage me with Your words. – (Psalm 119:28, TPT)

 

I have set aside personal reflection for public view on the shift in schooling for quite some time, due largely in part to weight of my own sorrow. You see, not only is this the loss of concluding this school year with my students, but it is my own children’s senior year, and the second spring in a row that I have been absent from both. Last year, two weeks from now, our entire world came to a crashing halt. My mom suffered a massive stroke, and we were unsure of what the outcome would be. Immediately, my husband and I made the drive over the mountains to be with her, and I made arrangements to take a leave of absence to remain with mom, as Mark returned home to be with our kids. Mom is a fighter, and did remarkably well as my sister and I were able be with her around the clock, and after all of my years of teaching, I had plenty of leave to stay on through the majority of the remaining school year. Because mom was thriving and making gains, I did not give myself room to grieve. Now, nearly a year later, I am in an entirely different circumstance, yet in a similar space of loss. There have been moments of sorrow and grief, but I have given little time or space to ponder or process. Then, yesterday, as I returned to school for my designated twenty minutes to pick up any supplies I might need from my classroom, the weight of reality began to set in. Silent hallways and classrooms without kids running around, laughing, or talking to one another, left a hollow void in my heart.

My friend and colleague has a remarkable way with capturing in words, moments, so eloquently, and when I read what she posted on Facebook as a reflection of her twenty minutes in her classroom, I found myself fighting back the sting of tears. It took deep, intentional breaths to not fully succumb to the depth of sorrow I was feeling as I read what she had written. My own boys had been in her very first sixth grade class, and she recognized and grieved for those seniors too. There is just so much…

The beauty in the brokenness is that we are not stuck in it. God is faithful to pick us up, dust us off, and grant us fresh resolve. He does strengthen us, and today, my goal and focus is to be prepared for our launch of distance learning, come Monday morning. Additionally, today is my day to email a check-in to my art students, so that holds some hope and joy as well. In all things, God has a way of bringing beauty from ashes. I look forward to seeing how all of this season changes our neighborhood, schools, city, state, and nation for the better.

 

Hollow empty halls,wp-15870437506012790305386090599192.jpg

That mirror my heart;

Loss of what should be,

This season apart.

Such sorrow in loss,

Of all that could be;

Lord help us rise up,

As Your hope sets free.

Even in losses,

You can bring gains;

Beauty from ashes,

For Your love remains.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You hold us as we wrestle through our sorrow and heaviness, and You strengthen us with resolve once again. Thank You that You truly do bring beauty from ashes, and hope from despair. Forgive us for allow ourselves to sit in our sorrow too long, or for ignoring it and allowing the weight to burden us. Teach us to place all in Your hands, so that You can walk us through it into the good that You have in store for us. Show us how to love those around us well, even though we cannot see people the way we want to right now. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, and know the comfort and peace that You alone offer. Be glorified O God, as we seek Your comfort and strength in our sorrow, and anticipate the good that lies ahead. Amen.

 

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

 

“…He will give a crown of beauty for ashes, a joyous blessing instead of mourning, festive praise instead of despair. In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks that the Lord has planted for His own glory.” – Isaiah 61:3

Weighing the Why

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourself, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of others. – (Philippians 2:3-4, NIV)

In whatever you do, don’t let selfishness or pride be your guide. Be humble, and honor others more than yourselves. Don’t be interested only in your own life, but care about the lives of others too. – (Philippians 2:3-4, ERV)

Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too. – (Philippians 2:3-4, NLT)

 

I am so thankful that God is gentle as He comes alongside us to remind us of what matters most. This past weekend, I was wrestling with a decision that I thought I had already made. After much prayer and a loving and supportive ear from my Viking, I discovered that I was meant to navigate a different direction than I had determined I would go. Weighing the “why” brought me to a place of peace with the decision that is best for my family. Because I had unconditional support, I had not previously given much consideration to the choice I thought I had already made. It was the gentle prompting in my heart that led me to wrestle with my “why”, and ultimately choose differently.  May we ever seek our Savior to lead and guide us in our every decision, allowing Him room to show us the way that is best for others and not just ourselves.

 

Let each decision, Weighing the Why

Be unto the Lord;

Set aside all pride,

And seek the Adored.

For all that we do,

Impacts more than us;

We need consider,

Others and adjust.

God, help us be wise,

And allow You room;

To show us what’s best,

So Your love may bloom.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You love us and lead us in the ways that are best for all. Thank You that You come alongside us and guide us when we determine to go a direction that You do not intend for us to go. Forgive us for our selfishness and pride that lead us to make decisions that are less than the very best You have for us. Teach us to hold our plans loosely, so that we are willing to allow You to interrupt and reroute us as we go. Show us how to love those around us in a way that considers their best interest in all that we say and do. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek Your wisdom and grace to lead us in the ways we are meant to go to best love, support and encourage those around us. Amen.

 

 

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

 

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. – 1 Corinthians 13:4 & 7