A to Z

IMG_3290

We had sunshine…all day today! Seriously!

So I took a walk…and as I walked, I tried something Ruth Graham mentioned at the Teen Challenge dinner.

She talked about using the alphabet to name God’s attributes and character.

So I gave it a whirl…and here is what I came up with….

A…adorable, Adonai, accessible

B…beautiful, benefactor, benevolent, bestowing, blessing

C…compassionate, caring, concerned, conscientious

D…darling, dear, Daddy, divine, delivering, delightful

E…eternal, everlasting, encompassing, essential, everything

F…faithful, Father, forgiving, fantastic

G…gracious, grace-filled, giving, gorgeous, generous, gentle

H…handsome, heavenly, holy, humble, helpful

I…inviting, impossible – worker (as in, He can do the impossible…), invigorating

J…joyful, joy-giving, just

K….kind, King, keeper of my heart

L…loving, loyal, LORD, lasting, lovely

M…magnificent, majestic, miracle worker, Most High, marvelous

O…omniscient, omnipresent, omnipotent, over all things

P…present, perfect, patient, protecting

Q…quiet, quick, quaint

R…real, restful, resurrected, risen, royal, righteous, restoring

S…safe, sweet, sure, Savior

T…terrific, terrible (as in AWESOME and MIGHTY), touching, teaching, tangible

U…unlimited, unparalleled, unending, unbelievably merciful

V…victorious, valiant

W…wonderful, way beyond my expectations

X…x-ray vision (He sees right through things), Xcellent (X is a tough one, ok)

Y…Yahweh

Z…zenith (look it up…He really is….)

Oh…I hope you enjoyed that…

He is the Alpha and the Omega….the beginning and the end….

have some fun and try it yourself… would love to hear what YOU came up with that made you smile <3

IMG_3294

 

Random Monday thoughts….

Happy Monday! Welcome to an eclectic collection of thoughts because I’m processing the weekend and also mapping out the calendar of this coming week and marveling at all that God has done and all that He is going to do….so here we go…

Church was sweet this weekend – we walked around the perimeter of the property at the end of every service. I went on Saturday night and walked with the dearest people. We prayed, but we also shared how we came to attend this church and what it had meant to our families. Each one had a different story, but all were God’s story for us!

For us, we came when our children were in the range of 5 – 11 years old. We were loved and welcomed. We learned about praise and about GRACE and about the Holy Spirit. Our pastor told the congregation, before we went out to pray, about a Sunday when the lot was still empty. Some of the men had mowed a line around the edge of the land we had purchased. The building that stands today was just a blueprint on paper, if we even had that figured out yet! We had gathered with our children and walked the same line, dedicating the land to the Lord.

Having moved so many times as a child from military base to base and then following my dad’s different jobs after he retired, I always longed for our children to grow up in one place. On  Sunday, it was with a full heart that I traced the steps those three Reimer kids jumped and skipped and ran around so many years before. I think I could hear their voices echoing in the trees.

Also, this weekend, Russ visited John and reported that this precious son of ours that has struggled for 2 plus years with debilitating pain in his back was long-boarding and climbing up retaining walls so he could jump down….

We rejoice in God’s healing. He is faithful and His ways are beyond our understanding. He placed a promise in my heart that John would be healed. It has been a long wait for us….but for John, I can only imagine. Many have prayed for him and us along the way. We are so thankful <3

With the launching of a church-wide prayer initiative, I began a new 40 day “circle” this morning. I picked up a sweet little prayer book I carry in my purse. Today, for some reason, I opened to the very first page…the one where you can write “To”, “From”…etc….and apparently I gave this one to one of our daughters in 2005.

It must not have made the cut of books she wanted to keep or else I just borrowed it back…but somehow on June 25, 2005 God had me write these words. I know they are from Him…..I’m just not that good….

Stay close to the LORD, as will I, and we will always be held close to each other in Him <3

That is my prayer for you today, for all those you love and all those you pray for.

Your prayers move mountains. Your prayers open doors. Your prayers bring about God’s Kingdom in the lives of those you love <3

Do not give up. Do not grow weary.

He – God Himself – who began those good works….He WILL complete them!

Bless you today, dear ones. You are being prayed for — RIGHT NOW!!!!

*I warned you this would be random!

 

 

Can You really sing over such a one as this?

The sun has returned to the midwest today! Hallelujah!

Because another dreary day, and I may have just sunk right down into the soggy puddles along the journey…

IMG_3245Do you get worn down after too many rainy days in a row?

Yesterday was my day with the little guys and I had an early start and all kinds of things I hoped to take along to help brighten the day of their sweet family.

I was also leaving straight from there to attend the Teen Challenge annual dinner with Russ. This meant a change of clothes and hair product, because…well..nap with Graham does a number on my do.

But I ran out of time and so once again was rushing out the door, frustrated ….

 

and literally, crying and … ugh…venting…

about…

1. my nails were chipped and I had left my polish on the table

2. I had wanted to make a nice meal for them and I didn’t have time to get the ingredients and now I didn’t know if I would be able to get to the store up there

3. I had a typo in the email/blog post that morning…”the” instead of “then”

4. I wasn’t sure I would have time to grab a coffee and well… bonus stars in the next 7 days???

4 1/2. I hadn’t eaten breakfast and was forced to take a snack pack….aaannnnndddd once again forgot to take my vitamins

IMG_3248

5. All of this, is SOOOOOOOO trivial in the grand scheme of not only my life, but good grief! the whole world right now….things so incredibly shocking, we can barely keep up with the growing list of crises and tragedies.

and

6. That made it even more horrible that I was falling apart over the MOST ridiculously inane nothingness and yet, I could NOT get over it…..could not stop the tears, the shouting, the grown up melt down I was having, even as I was headed to one of my favorite destinations….

And since I fully believe that my ENTIRE existence is lived out in the Presence of God, it was crucial to bring this mess right up to the very Throne of All-Mighty God…

IMG_2851and so as I cried and vented and used language I am not proud of…

I was confessing and repenting….

Which means, I had to drag the ugliness of me to the foot of the Cross….and as I confessed with my mouth and believed in my heart that somehow…because He said so, He loves me…I asked Him ….

Do You really sing over one such as me?

Because I have a hard time believing it….so, great…now I had to confess DOUBT of HIS WORD>>>

and in my heart…

that still small Voice whispered….

Laura, even if you had remembered all the stuff you need today, and your nails were fine and you had a home cooked meal, complete with fresh baked rolls and a lovely dessert tucked in a Longaberger basket with a fall cloth draped over….I wouldn’t love you any more than I do…right now…I don’t love you any more….I don’t love you any less….I don’t love the way you love….

That is the hardest part of it sometimes, isn’t it? Understanding grace…GRACE…UNMERITED…UNEARNED FAVOR….

Nothing I do to earn it….nothing I do to lose it….

Oh, He isn’t all smiling and doting when I have my little or big fits….He doesn’t coddle me when I am selfish and complaining and grumbling and foul…but He loves me…and He sings over me…and sure enough…

He provided a trip to the grocery with the troops to get the fixin’s for their dinner….and He gave us time to….

IMG_2852

make pumpkin tookies for Uncle John and….of course….

IMG_2854

and well, even one such as I….could hear Him singing over us…

IMG_2858

 

Halleluja!!!!!

Draining rain

Does anyone remember the huge downpour on Monday?

Ok, not the one on Tuesday OR Wednesday.

I mean the one on Monday.

I got caught in the drive thru of Starbucks, of all things, when the deluge came and the sirens sounded. Imagine being stuck, between cars, lined up getting overpriced coffee; and that this might be where I would meet my Maker….kind of fitting, actually.

From there, I took refuge in the church lobby nearby until the all clear sounded. Then I headed home to see if we still had one.

Many streets were flooded over, including the one right in front of our house; which thankfully, was still there.

I had to park up the street and ford the stream on foot to get our rake.

What? yes…our rake.

Because the reason our street floods is all the leaves from all our neighbors wash down to the low place in front of our house and clog the storm sewers.

Before I started the unplugging process, I checked on the new couple next door. They are young, with their first baby, and I wanted to make sure they weren’t trying to bail water out of their basement. The wife assured me they were fine and had checked it just before sitting down for their dinner. The she looked wide-eyed at the river where our street used to be.

I mentioned that I was going to dig the leaves out of the gutters and that would drain the water quickly. As I set to work, I was joined in short order by her young husband in waders and toting a shovel.

He didn’t for a minute think I knew what I was talking about, but he joined right in forging out in the mucky water; dragging his shovel along the curb. As he moved along, he said that he thought it just came down so fast that it was taking a while to drain. Uh….ok…..

I stood on the other side, in leather Borns that were seeping in water by the minute. Poking my rake out as far as I could without completely wrecking my shoes, I fervently hoped and prayed we would find the problem soon before he thought I was a complete nut.

Suddenly, his shovel hit the clog and he became a believer. Once he located the grate on his side, I knew where mine would be.

So in the pouring rain, on either side of the street, we pulled out gross wet leaves until the pavement was once again revealed. Then he helped me carry the heavy masses to yard bags so they wouldn’t wash back in during the next onslaught of water. “Let me get those!”, he kept saying.

He marveled that I had been right. Now that he knows, he said, he would keep an eye on them in the future when we have a heavy rain.

How did I get so smart?

Well, I used to be the new, young neighbor digging out leaves with the older man next door. The one whose family our new young friends bought the house from this summer.

He passed away last winter. I miss him so much. I had to smile thinking of him looking down on us and belly-laughing that he was free from this kind of task!

Monday, as this young man headed back to his now-cold dinner and I threw my drenched clothes in the laundry room, I realized….we need each other – the older and the younger. He needed what I had learned, and I needed his help. Just like I had needed Howard’s knowledge and he had needed my energy almost 20 years ago.

Sometimes we build bridges over the waters and sometimes we muck out the drains, but let’s join forces across generations and respect what each brings to the project.

 

 

Calling it as He sees it….

IMG_2344 - Version 2

I am making my way through Ezekiel and it has been a series of judgments the last few days….judgments against one nation after another….and at 6 AM, they kind of run together…

But then this morning, we broke out of all these nations and judgments that for someone like me, who struggles with names and geography, can get very confusing…I hit chapter 33.

And in it, I find passages that are already marked up from other readings this year.

In this chapter, I find the heart of God regarding wickedness.

He doesn’t like it.

And He does something about it.

He alerts people to it. And He calls them to point it out.

He commissioned Ezekiel to be a Watchman – someone who looks for people and places that are headed for destruction on a path of wickedness.

God says that if Ezekiel, or any watchman, sees the infiltration of the enemy, it is his (or her) responsibility to call it out. To sound the alarm. To give a warning.

There are people who are doing that in our day. They are mocked and laughed at and ignored. Just like Ezekiel was.

But God didn’t commission Ezekiel or any watchman to be popular, or loved or even liked. He said….if you see it, you sound the alarm….if others listen, they will be saved. If not, you have done what you are supposed to do.

We did a parenting class years ago called “Growing Kids God’s Way”. One of my take aways is:

You will stand before God one day, accountable for what you taught your children. They will stand before God accountable for what they did with it.

We can apply this to all people we come in contact with.

I can see the truth of Ezekiel in that.

I am responsible to speak the truth of God’s Word.

I am not responsible for what anyone else does with it.

I only have to answer for myself when He asks: Did you warn them?

And can I tell you that the great comfort in this is that God does not leave any watchman hanging out there with a self-righteous attitude of spouting-truth-and-you-can-take-it-or- leave-it-because-I-saved-my-own-skin-when-I-warned-you-and-now-the-ball’s- in-your- court.

No.

God reveals His heart….

“Say to them, ‘As I live,’ says the LORD GOD, ‘ I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live. Turn, turn from your evil ways! For why should you die, O house of Israel?’”         Ezekiel 33:11

It is not His desire to see the wicked perish, but to see them turn to Him.

And because He lives in me, this is my desire and the desire of all the watchmen.

When God shows us places where a warning needs to be sounded, we must pray for boldness, for grace, for humility and for courage to sound the alarm.

We must not let the reaction of others discourage us or weaken our faith.

Whatever the reaction, we love those people who are blindly stumbling into wickedness because God loves them and desires that their hearts are turned toward Him.

God did not call us to popularity.

He called us to obedience.

May God bless you with His eyes, His strength, His heart <3