Some thoughts on prayer to end the week…

IMG_5416First off…nothing like a really unoriginal title to grab your attention, right?

But it’s Friday and I actually had a productive week around this house so I am going to get right to the point.

As I went through the mail this week, I found a booklet of coupons from Kroger. It was like a miniature slick magazine with pretty pictures. Each page featured a mini-ad for the product and then the coupon.

Every single one was for something we use.

Right down to the brand of product, whether store or brand-label that we purchase for that item.

And then it hit me.

Of course it is.

Through our “shopper card”, the company knows exactly what we buy and they tailor made a book for us to ensure that we would return to their store asap to…er… save money.

And sometimes I have to be honest.

I want God to do that for me with my prayers.

I show up daily with my prayer list.

I rattle off what I want.

I hope, dream, and even expect Him to provide a world where all the things I want will arrive in a pretty package suited 100% to my tastes and liking.

And that is not at all what prayer is about.

In My Utmost for His Highest this morning, Oswald Chambers writes:

We look upon prayer simply as a means of getting things for ourselves, but the biblical purpose of prayer is that we may get to know God Himself.”   August 28

I am not knocking prayer lists, nor repeated prayers for situations.

But I know that I can begin to default to rote prayers when answers are long in coming.

And it is good to remember that prayer is not just me asking for things (even good and right and wonderful right-in-the-heart-of-God things).

Prayer is communication and communication is talking and listening and asking and answering.

It’s hard work to build relationship.

As I go to God and converse instead of just ask, I get to know more about Him and He reveals more about me then just the thing I think I want to happen.

And that is what prayer is…

me coming to meet with the God who KNOWS me

SEES me

MADE me

SAVED me

and getting to KNOW HIM.

So I hope and …yes…pray…that each of us will do the work of prayer…taking time to be honest and real before God.

I encourage you to be intentional in entering His Presence to know Him and to have understanding of His heart for you in the midst of your circumstances.

God bless you today as you quiet your heart and seek His company <3

 

 

Whatever you do….

IMG_5280Here in the Midwest we have been enjoying a little promise of Fall as temperatures are moderate in the day, cool at night, and … hallelujah! NO humidity! Woot!!

If you can’t tell, I enjoy Autumn.

The only major holidays involve minimal decorations and lots of food…what’s not to love about that?

There is football and wiener roasts and chili to be eaten. Harvest is happening and all things pumpkin are being offered from beverages to baked goods.IMG_3065Recent news from around the country and in some people’s lives who are near and dear have been a bit rough this week, so today I have a little story to tell you that has no point or moral that I can think of.

I just hope it makes you smile, because we could all use a little smiling this week…right?

Last weekend the boys stayed with us while mommy and daddy attended a concert.

On Sunday morning, Graham was playing with a plastic sword we have had for years. He was swashbuckling the stair railings when the plastic weapon took a fatal hit. It broke at the handle.

He was so sad, but as we all know…duct tape fixes everything.

So I made a quick trip out to the garage to grab a roll. I worked my magic, and while it wasn’t as fancy looking as before, he was back in business.

As I wove the tape around the handle and blade, Graham looked at me with big solemn eyes and asked if I was a nurse like his mommy.

I told him no, I am not a nurse.

After another minute, he asked me if I was a teacher, then.

Again I had to shake my head no and tell him I wasn’t a teacher either.

With wheels spinning and great concentration, he ventured one more question….
“Well, what do you do?”

I had to stifle a laugh.

I wanted to tell him that is the ten million dollar question around this house…What EXACTLY do I do?…

I told him I was a wife, mommy and Lola. I took care of his mom and Tia and Uncle John when they were growing up, and Papi, and the house; and now I just take care of Papi and the house and try to do stuff for people when I can.

Because explaining my 18 plus part time jobs of in all manner of trade and skill sets over the years seemed a little overwhelming for his short attention span….

He nodded his head in acceptance of this answer, took his bandaged sword and headed off to play.

But apparently my career choice made some kind of impression on him.

Later in the afternoon, as we tucked him and Emmett into their parents’ van and kissed them goodbye about 25 times each, he took my face in his hands, looked deep in my eyes and commissioned me with these parting words….

“I want you to be careful with your stuff, Lola.”

So there you go.

While the world seems to be going helter skelter…and some days you don’t know up from down…

may God bless you all as you just hang in there and, for goodness sakes, please be careful with your stuff…..

IMG_5080

The basics

IMG_5406

Sometimes it’s good to just go over the basic fundamentals of sin and how God deals with it.

Because in the beginning…of every story of every fall…the setting, props and cast may change but the plot remains the same….

There are a gazillion blessings and gifts and offerings that are yours for the taking, using, enjoying.

And then there’s the one thing.

The thing you can’t have because it’s not good for you. It’s not right for you. It’s not God’s best for you.

So Satan comes along…in the form of a snake, or an angel of light, or a whisper, or a dare or whatever it takes to get you thinking…

about that one thing…

and about you…

and about how much you want that one thing, need that one thing, deserve that one thing….

and then…as soon as you take the bait…

regret…guilt…sorrow…pain…death; whether you feel it right away or over time…it is the inevitable result.

Now there are variations at this point.

Because it may be one and done…

or it may take you awhile to realize this was the first step in a long path of more one things…

or you may start taking more of that one thing thinking it will fill the emptiness that you are suddenly aware of.

But it always separates you from God.

That’s one thing about the one thing you can count on.

You can also count on that Satan will not have your back once you choose to listen to him.

You won’t even sustain the applause of the crowd.

Because with the crowd,  it’s really all about the lure and not the fall.

But not for God.

With Him, it was never about the everything or the one thing or the right thing or the wrong thing….

it was all about Main Thing…

His relationship with you…

and now that it’s been ripped apart He is,

as He always was…

and always will be…

the Only Thing…

Because the One who warned you about the one thing…He’s the One Thing that can fix it.

Oh sure. There are consequences.

Those won’t go away just because you are sorry and He is forgiving.

But He is the One who can cover  your shame…

The LORD God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them.  

Genesis 3:21 NIV

can heal your brokeness…

He forgives all my sins and heals all my diseases. He redeems me from death and crowns me with love and tender mercies.    Psalm 103: 3 & 4

because He not only has your back…

He is able to save completely all who come to God through him. Since he will live forever, he will always be there to remind God that he has paid for their sins with his blood. Hebrews 7:25   Living Bible (TLB) 

He took your sin and mine on His back….

But he was pierced for our rebellion, crushed for our sins.
He was beaten so we could be whole. He was whipped so we could be healed.   Isaiah 53:5

literally…

But you would have to take God’s Word for it.

For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are – yet did not sin.                      Hebrews 4:15 NIV

I so very much hope and pray that you do <3

Why this isn’t a blog about physical fitness….

IMG_5402You will never find inspiration here for heading to the gym. Just so we are clear.

Oh. I go.

But it is with steely determination, abundant prayer and multiple pep talks.

I am not athletic. As in…I not only am not athletic, I lack all desire to be athletic.

If you ask me what position or participation I want in any given sport, my answer will always be … spectator.

You will never hear me say things like “I want to train for a marathon”…or 5K…or jog around the block.

I can and will walk MILES…and love every minute of it. But that is the extent of my athletic endeavors, except for golf which is only because I get to spend several hours walking beside Russ and yakking his ear off while occasionally shocking both of us with a not-too-bad hit…or whatever you call it.

So after a string of legitimate excuses to NOT attend the Piloxing class for most of the summer…I went last night. I could no longer nurse my healed toe, fake a congested cough or rig up a conflict on the calendar.

Don’t get my wrong – I love the teacher. She is the most encouraging and positive instructor I  have ever encountered. The class is nice. The music is tolerable. And once I am there, it really isn’t so bad.

But not great enough that I won’t be having to gear up mentally again come Wednesday.

And have mercy…I am so out of shape and sore today because of my slack off this summer. But again…even knowing what reentry would be, I could not motivate myself to exercise on my own.

I used to be like that spiritually. I was hit and miss with my Bible reading, prayer, quiet time…basically the spiritual disciplines. I would go along until I hit a wall and then I would get back into the Word.

As soon as I felt strong again…I would become lax in reading, praying, meditating God’s Word.

Until the walls I hit got big enough.

Until the desire to know Him became more important than getting over/through/around the next crisis.

Until NOT being in the Word became my crisis.

So that’s my thing now.

To encourage you…to stay in His Word…which to me means, making a set time every day to read Scripture, to jot down some thoughts about what God is saying to you, to find some devotionals …. or inspirational writings…or hymns….or a study….and do it.

Every day.

Faithfully.

My bag is packed and I pull it out every morning…yes, there are some mornings that I have to hurry through…but I pull it out and do what I can…and since this IS a blog about exhorting you to spend time in the Word and develop a routine…here are my standard tools for 2015….

  • The Siesta Memory verse…one verse memorized every two weeks – see LPM website and sign up…it’s never too late. Get an accountability partner or two and text your verse to each other on the 1st and 15th of the month (men…you can do this…just find a Bro Memory group….)
  • Oswald Chambers “My Utmost for His Highest”….I had set this one aside but dug it out this year when one of my millennial sisters kept quoting it to me….
  • Streams in the Dessert…again…someone shared a few quotes and I got mine back out and in the bag
  • Our Daily Bread – a perfect little devotion that gets you in the word of God with a small meditation…don’t skip the Bible reading!!!!
  • Derek Prince -” Declaring God’s Word “
  • Reading a few pages of “The Ragamuffin Gospel” by Brennan Manning
  • Writing out my own prayer most days
  • Some other favorites that I keep in the bag but don’t use every day….are The Valley of Vision/prayers of the Puritans and a notebook I use to write down the lyrics of hymns and praise songs that I love…which are a lot of them….=0)

That may look like a lot…but honestly….it takes me about 30 minutes.

30 minutes…as in the length of a TV show or the nightly news.

Most mornings, it is like Oswald, Derek, Brennan, the assorted writers of Streams and ODB had a strategy meeting in the Spirit and have been apprised of my circumstances….God is thematic and speaks the same word to me through all of them!

This is what MY workout looks like…yours will be entirely different and tailored to YOU…
IF you will only seek God and ask to help you.

I just urge you to do it. Do something to get in His Word and get His Word into YOU!!!

Believe me, when we had the boys this weekend, I was reminded why I used to get up at a ridiculous hour to start my day…when you have small children you will have to be creative about your “quiet time”…but pray and ask God to open a window for you!

Now let’s get out there and do this thing!!!

Because you know what today is…

IMG_5179Yeah…it’s fall…I see Kroger has these all over the place…and Hobby Lobby is already marking all their Christmas stuff down because, gosh, it’s been out since July, right?

And I want to holler….SLOW DOWN PLEASE….because….this oneIMG_5227

starts 4 year preschool  today…and we only have one year til he’s officially a…I can’t bring myself to say it…the K word.

Because I am pretty sure it was like seconds ago that I cried my eyes out putting his mommy on a school bus with a backpack about the same size as her own 5 year old self…and now…IMG_5376

Even though we haven’t bought a school supply for a Reimer child in at least 3 years (I count tuition as a school supply)…

The memory of that pang in the heart that the start of a new school year can bring is still fresh , so I thought I would share a few tips that helped me through the tender days of transition.

  1. When Rachel started Kindergarten, we took the advice of the school professionals and let her ride the bus. But I may have driven the 10 mile stretch between us and her a couple of times just to make sure the school looked okay. And I possibly drove past just about every school at different times in the many years that followed. Because Drive-by Prayers are the best <3
  2. When all three started school, I began to go sit at McDonalds near our house on the first day of school. I would order a coffee and take my journal. Sitting there with tears flowing, I would write each child a letter. I planned to give them the bundle on graduation from high school…they are still in my dresser drawer. I am not sure they are ready, even as adults, for the full outflow of their mother’s emotions. I know the senior citizens at the other tables were very concerned for me each year so I can only imagine what fills those blotchy pages…
  3. This piece of advice helped me when we sent our first child off to college. (keep in mind…she was attending the college located in our hometown…but living on campus, so cut me some slack). A friend at church told me to take my bible to her room and sit on her bed. Somehow reading God’s word while feeling connected to her was a huge comfort and also got my mind on Him instead of my own grief.
  4. When our youngest started Kindergarten, I remember this going in the room thing hitting a different mark…because when I went to sit on his bed I picked up his blanket and held it to me. If a piece of fabric can hold love, a child’s blanket is such a wonder. Somehow it captures the scent of who that child is to a mother’s heart. And to this day, I can close my eyes and I may as well be sitting on that bed holding on for dear life the dear life it represented. so….
  5. I guess the best thing I can say is, if you are a parent or grandparent that needs to grieve (not all do, so you know who you are)….then, by all means, take some time to grieve another year passing.
  6. For many years, I used a prayer from our Sarah’s orientation service for her freshman year in college. It was written by one of the professors, but in it was the following sentiment….I don’t want to plagiarize..but can’t find the paper right at the moment….so please forgive me Professor what’s-your-name….”We will acknowledge our grief, permit ourselves to live increasingly separate lives and learn to trust our love across the distance.”

Can I tell you today…I am still working on that…because that increasingly separate lives thing…

that’s a process…

and that love across the distance of time and miles and experiences…IMG_5202

it stretches us.

But stretching is good for all muscles…and after all…

the heart is a muscle….

which is something I learned in school…so….

IMG_5344

I guess these guys have more to learn than the art of marshmallow roasting and maybe school’s a good thing after all <3

God bless you all in all the changes of life!