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

Seeking Solace

I pray that out of His glorious riches He may strengthen you with power through His Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ. – (Ephesians 3:16-18, NIV)

I ask the Father with His great glory to give you the power to be strong in your spirits. He will give you the strength through His Spirit. I pray that Christ will live in your hearts because of your faith. I pray that your life will be strong in love and be built on love. And I pray that you and all God’s holy people will have the power to understand the greatness of Christ’s love – how wide, how long, how high, and how deep that love is. – (Ephesians 3:16-18, ERV)

And I pray that He would unveil within you the unlimited riches of His glory and favor until supernatural strength floods your innermost being with His divine might and explosive power. Then, by constantly using your faith, the life of Christ will be released deep inside you, and the resting place of His love will become the very source and root of your life. – (Ephesians 3:16-18, TPT)

 

Paul’s encouragement to the church in Ephesus is still an encouragement that is applicable and relevant to us today. In fact, I had to take pause and recognize my own need to receive his words, as I realized just how much I have been missing my husband, boys, and community at home. It is not that I resent nor regret what I am doing here, as I would not trade this time with my mom for anything. I am overwhelmingly blessed with time that could have been stolen, had things gone differently, and I am witnessing daily, the miracles that come with healing and recovery from a stroke. It is a strange sort of struggle to be pulled between two places. During mom’s waking hours, I am fully engaged and focused on whatever lies before us, and we enjoy our time together, celebrating victories and giggling and the small stuff that comes in the wake of exhaustion and recovery. It is in the quiet moments while mom is resting, or her attention is fixed on a movie, that I am torn and struggle being away from my husband and boys. We talk and text daily, but it is not the same, and all of my guys are loves who are generous with their affection for me. I miss the comfort of their nearness and the easy interactions that take place so often. I know it is just for a season, and the line in the TPT version “the resting place of His love will become the very source and root of your life”, is the space that I need to seek His solace.

As for mom’s progress from yesterday, she walked farther than she has walked (with a walker and slight assistance), since she had her stroke! For those who have been in mom’s house, she walked up and down her entire hallway. (The length of it is over 30 feet!) What I loved even more, was the recognition of hope that mom found through the process. After Victor, her physical therapist had gone, we sat down in the living room. She looked at me and said, “It really is possible, isn’t it?” I looked at her for a moment, studying her face, and realized that for the first time, she was recognizing that walking again was indeed possible for her. I let her know that we had seen and known the possibility all along, and after today, imagined that it would come even more quickly than we might have originally thought. Hope is a beautiful thing, and I am in awe realizing that despite her not really thinking it was possible to walk again, she was positive and hard-working, loving and kind. We reminded her all along that it was possible, however, I guess she had to physically experience the possibility for herself to understand. Mom was again open and receptive to short visits with a few friends, as she met with one dear one in the morning, and another prior to lunch. Both were wonderful boosts that brought much delight to the day.

I am so thankful that He does strengthen us with His power, out of His glorious riches through His Spirit in our inner being, and He dwells in our hearts through faith. As we are rooted and established in Him, may we together, grasp how great is His love.

 

Dear Father, I pray, Be strong and courageous

From Your vast supply;

You’ll give strength to those,

On You, choose rely.

And by Your Spirit,

Where in hearts Christ dwells;

Grow stronger our faith,

So we trust You well. dsc04451587116784.jpg

Each rooted in love,

Together by grace;

May we understand,

How great all Your ways.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are a loving and gracious God. Thank You that You know and see our need before we are aware of it ourselves. Thank You that You give us strength and grace, hope and love. Forgive us for allowing our fears or frustrations to find footing, rather than releasing all unto You. Teach us to trust You more, as You are our Provider and Place of Peace. Show us how to love those around us well, so that each may be strengthened, encouraged and find faith that is ready to nourish and grow. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You in all things and at all times, praising You for Your presence. Amen.

 

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

 

May Your unfailing love be my comfort, according to Your promise to Your servant. – Psalm 119:76

Automatic Responses

May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Jesus had. – (Romans 15:5, NIV)

All patience and encouragement comes from God. And I pray that God will help you all agree with each other, as Christ Jesus wants. – (Romans 15:5, ERV)

I pray that our God, who calls you and gives you perseverance and encouragement, will join all of you together to share one mind according to Jesus the Anointed. – (Romans 15:5, VOICE)

 

This road we are walking alongside mom, as she journeys to recovery from her stroke, is certainly the epitome of an example of needing to walk forward in all patience, endurance and encouragement that comes from God. It has been by His grace, that we have been able to make decisions in agreement in love, with mom’s input and her very best in mind. Incredibly, one month to the day from when she was admitted to the ER for her stroke, she will transition to her home to begin the in-home care portion of her recovery and healing. Though the idea of moving mom to her house in less than a week is rather intimidating to all of us, the hope held in the potential benefits far outweigh our fears of the unknown. Additionally, both Meg and I will be able to be present for the transition time, as we discover and establish a new routine and figure out how to best navigate mom living back at home. Her mobility is still limited, and she will be moving home with the aid of a wheelchair. She is working on walking with assistance, but she is not yet walking without help. Mom is stable to stand, and does a fantastic job with transferring from chair to other seated spaces. Research indicates that most grow and thrive at a much more rapid rate in their own familiar surroundings. Based on the automatic responses we have seen from her; I believe this wholeheartedly.

Last evening was a perfect example. It was clear that mom is getting more and more back to herself, as she asked me to call her to let her know when I had arrived safely home last evening. I made certain that I had all of the correct information to reach her in her room, prior to my drive home. After a bit of orchestrating, I was able to get through. It was the most incredible thing – my mom sounded like herself on the phone! You see, the stroke has affected her voice, as the message to her vocal cords has somehow been compromised, so she is very soft-spoken right now. However, normally (pre-stroke) anytime that my mom, sister or I speak with each other on the phone, we are accused of speaking rather loudly. (I think we are just extremely excited to share with each other 😊Anyway, the voice that answered the line when I called (knowing it was me, as the nurse had let her know because I had to contact the nurse’s station first) was the loud, animated mom voice that I know so well. We were talking and laughing and my sweet husband was sitting beside me, shaking his head, grinning from ear-to-ear, in recognition of the incredible voice that was coming through the phone. We did not talk too long, and her voice did quiet down a bit, but she heard and felt the strength she had projected as well.

These are the sort of automatic responses that seem to happen when her mind is relaxed and fixed on home. We are praying and trusting that God will continue to move mountains on mom’s behalf, as He provides and heals and leads us each step of the way on this wild and wonderful road to recovery.

 

The God of all hope,

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Always an automatic smile with the grandsons. ❤

Grants love that’s secure;

Peace, love and patience,

The strength to endure.

Likewise, He will give,

Us both heart and mind;

To walk united,

Be gracious and kind.

Let us ever give,

All into His hands;

For not our own will,

But Your faithful plan.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your ways are higher than our ways, and You know the outcome before we even begin. Thank You that You give endurance and encouragement, peace and unity, as we lean into You. Forgive us for our fears in the unknown that lies before us. Teach us to trust You more. Show us Your power again, as You have done so many times before. Lead us to love those around us in a way that grants encouragement to the weary and peace and unity, where it is lacking. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we place all that lies ahead in Your hands. Amen.

 

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

 

The end of a matter is better than its beginning, and patience is better than pride. – Ecclesiastes 7:8

 

 

Plan to Do Good

If you plan to do evil, you will be lost; if you plan to do good, you will receive unfailing love and faithfulness. – (Proverbs 14:22, NLT)

Whoever works to do good will find love and loyalty. It is a mistake to work at doing evil. – (Proverbs 14:22, ERV)

Haven’t you noticed how evil schemers always wander astray? But kindness and truth come to those who make plans to be pure in all their ways. – (Proverbs 14:22, TPT)

 

“You reap what you sow” becomes evident based on what we choose to do, day in and day out. When our focus and intent are rooted in God’s goodness, love and loyalty seem to find us. Contrarily, those who choose to do otherwise, end up lost and in the company of those with unsavory notions. May we ever set our hearts and minds on things of God, so that kindness and truth come our way.

 

You reap what you sow,Sowing Seeds of Peace

Forever holds true;

We get what we give,

Our choice a preview.

For when we choose good,

Give love and God’s grace;

The same is returned,

His love is in place.

Let us seek the Lord,

To love as He does;

Far from all evil,

Let good rise above.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to do good, so that we may know the love and loyalty that is returned. Forgive us for the things we are drawn to that are not of You. Teach us to look to You to lead us in the good You have established for us to follow. Show us how to love those around us with loyalty, faithfulness and grace, so that they may recognize the good in all of Your ways. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love You and those around us according to Your good and perfect plan. Amen.

 

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

 

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things. – Philippians 4:8

Purposeful Grace

May God be gracious to us and bless us and make His face shine on us – so that Your ways may be known on earth, Your salvation among all nations. – (Psalm 67:1-2, NIV)

God, show mercy to us and bless us. Please accept us! Let everyone on earth learn about You. Let every nation see how You save people. – (Psalm 67:1-2, ERV)

May God pour His grace and blessings into us and turn His face to shine His light on us. So all those on earth will learn to follow Your way and see Your saving power come to redeem all nations. – (Psalm 67:1-2, VOICE)

 

David, the author of this Psalm, was specific to ask for God’s grace, blessing, and favor. However, his requests did not end there. There was purpose in his petition – David’s prayer was that God’s ways would be known throughout the earth, His salvation spread to all people. His heart was that of a missionary, as David had hope that all might come to see and know the saving power of God. He recognized that as people could see God’s grace, blessing, and favor upon those who already knew and followed God, that they too, would desire the difference. His prayer had purpose. David did not pray for the goodness of God to be evident in him for his pleasure, but rather so that God’s ways might be made known throughout the earth; that people everywhere would come to know His salvation. The heart of David is a model for all who believe. May we seek the Lord and His mercy, grace and blessings, so that His favor upon us may make His heart known to all those around us and beyond.

 

O Lord, may Your grace,numbered-days-and-wise-ways.jpg

Be poured upon us;

So people may see,

The light of Jesus.

Each blessing received,

Make Your glory known;

Through favor to us,

Your love light be shown.

Let all come to know,

Power of Your grace;

So all would seek You,

For all of our days.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that David modeled both what to pray and why. Thank You that Your grace, blessings, and favor have a far greater purpose that extends well beyond the recipient. Forgive us for not recognizing the reason for Your favor. Teach us to see every act of mercy, grace and blessing as an opportunity to show others what it is to know and embrace Your goodness and grace. Lead us to love those around us in a way that extends Your heart and hands. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we ask for and embrace all the good Your pour out upon us, recognizing the opportunity to be Your light and love to the world. Amen.

 

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

 

Yes, the Word was full of grace and truth, and from Him we all received one blessing after another. – John 1:16

Faithfulness Knows No End

Your love, Lord, reaches to the heavens, Your faithfulness to the skies. – (Psalm 36:5, NIV)

Lord, Your faithful love reaches to the sky. Your faithfulness is as high as the clouds. – (Psalm 36:5, ERV)

Your love, O Eternal One, towers high into the heavens. Even the skies are lower than Your faithfulness. – (Psalm 36:5, VOICE)

 

I am forever in awe of the faithfulness of God. After sustaining a fibular fracture that caused a DVT (blood clot) in my calf, I was pretty much guaranteed that my football season was over. The fracture has completely healed and my leg feels great again, but I have to take blood thinners for another few months, making contact sports an off-limits activity. Throughout my injury, I continued to attend practices, as my commitment to the team mattered to me, and I was determined to be present to the end of the season. Over the last week, the special teams coach came up with a way to allow me to actually get into a game. As a kicker, punting has very limited risk for contact, as the focus is on chasing down the kicked ball, not the kicker. Last evening, we had our last regular season game at our home field. We were significantly ahead after the first half, and it was not looking like there would be any opportunity to punt, as we were not handing over the ball at all. My coach asked me if I could kick off, to which I enthusiastically replied, “Yes!” Though I had not practiced kickoff since early in the season, prior to my injury, I was eager for an opportunity to participate in my first game. Twice I was called upon to kick off, and twice I was overwhelmed with gratitude for the opportunity to get in the game! Our next stop is the playoffs, and likely against much tougher opponents. I know not if I will have the chance to get in a game again, but I will continue to practice and be present, giving God the glory for all that He has done. May we ever give Him praise for all of our days for His faithfulness in all things great and small.

 

So great is the love,

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I’m #15, if you were curious. 🙂

Of our God on high;

Above all we see,

So deep and so wide.

The Lord’s faithfulness,

Will never run out;

He’s with us always,

His presence devout.

All glory to Him,

In Heaven on high;

For His care for us,

Each day and each night.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your love reaches us wherever we are and Your faithfulness knows no end. Thank You that You meet us where we are and bless us beyond what we could hope or imagine. Forgive us for our times of doubt, when we cannot see how You are moving on our behalf. Teach us to understand that Your ways are higher than our ways, and that we can trust You always. Show us how to love those around us in a way that demonstrates Your faithfulness in a tangible way. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You all praise and honor for Your love and faithfulness that knows no end. Amen.

 

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

 

For the Lord is good and His love endures forever; His faithfulness continues through all generations. – Psalm 100:5

Trust. Seek. Listen. Proceed.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths. – (Proverbs 3:5-6, NKJV)

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 God from the bottom of your heart; don’t try to figure out everything on your own. Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; He’s the One who will keep you on track. – (Proverbs 3:5-6, MSG)

 

In this extraordinarily busy season, it is critical for me to remember to trust in the Lord completely, rather than rely on my own understanding of the way that I see things. If I try to figure out everything on my own, and micromanage that which is actually beyond my control, I will end up frustrated and fatigued rather than built up and growing in my faith. God is faithful to show us which way to go with each new step that we need to take. If we listen for His voice and seek His will, our path will be made plain before us. May we trust the Lord with all that we are and seek Him for answers and direction in all things. Wherever we go and whatever we do, He will show us the path by which we are meant to proceed.

 

Lord, teach me to trust, Pardon Brings Peace

In everything;

To seek You always,

The answers You bring.

For Your ways are good,

You’re faithful to lead;

You show us the way,

We’re meant to proceed.

Help me to listen,

For Your guiding voice;

Make plain all my paths,

Show me the right choice.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can trust You with our hearts and lives completely. Thank You that as we depend on You, rather than our own understanding, You make plain the paths we are meant to take. Forgive us for not seeking or acknowledging You in all things, as we get caught up in our own understanding and proceed accordingly. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would seek You and listen for Your direction in all things. Show us how to love others well, as we trust You completely and depend on You to lead and guide us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You and depend on You, acknowledging that You are God and we are not, and we need You to direct our steps for all of our days. Amen.

 

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

 

May God be gracious to us and bless us and make His face shine upon us. – Psalm 67:1

O My Strength, I’ll Sing

O my Strength, I watch for You; You, O God, are my fortress, my loving God. – (Psalm 59:9)

O my Strength, I sing praise to You; You, O God, are my fortress, my loving God. – (Psalm 59:17)

 

Psalm 59 was written by David when Saul had sent men to his home to watch him, in order that they might kill him. Despite the space of being pursued by those who were sent to end his life, David trusted in the Lord and was quick to call on His Name. David knew well, from where his strength and safety could come, and not only did he cry out to the Lord for help, but He praised God for who He is.

 

When we are standing in the storms, or feel as if the enemy is hot on our heels, do we too, watch for the Lord and praise Him? God is faithful and loving, and is our source of strength when we call on His Name. He is our fortress, our strong tower, to whom we can run, whenever we feel afraid. He is good, and we can always trust and call on the Lord. May we rely on the Lord’s strength as we watch for Him and sing praise to Him, because He is our space of safety and our loving God.

 

The Lord is my strength,Sense in Storms

I will watch for You;

safety and fortress,

protection that’s true.

O God, You are love,

my strength and my song;

to whom I can run,

when all things go wrong.

No matter what comes,

I’ll watch and I’ll sing;

for You Lord are good,

my Savior and King.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that no matter what comes, You are our Strength, our fortress, and our loving God. Thank You that as we watch for You and sing praise to You, our eyes and hearts are opened to the truth of who You are. Forgive us for not trusting, watching or praising when life’s circumstances become overwhelming. Teach us to trust You more, so that we call on You as David did, even if all seems to be against us. Lead us to love others in such a way, that they too, may see the strength and safety that is available through You, our loving God. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, Lord. Be exalted O God, as we watch for You and sing praise to You, our strength, our fortress and our loving Lord. Amen.

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

Show me Your ways, O Lord, teach me Your paths; …my hope is in You all day long. – Psalm 25:4-5

*A song that kept running through my heart and my head this morning as I wrote was:

Hungry (Falling on My Knees) by Joy Williams.