Category Archives: Guest Post

Sending out the Twelve…Did I do enough? Guest Post from Rachel Maxwell <3

I can well remember sitting in the parking lot of the Lutheran Preschool, pregnant with Sarah and bawling my eyes out as I realized that I had just ushered our first born into the beginning of a lifetime of arenas that would be hers…not mine. I am puddling up even as I type those words to introduce this beautiful piece our Rachel sent me a few weeks ago as a guest post. Grab a tissue and enjoy the gentle pondering of her tender heart <3

We sent our oldest to kindergarten this year.

The tears are hot on my cheeks as I recall the shortest and longest walk I have ever been on as his younger brothers and I escorted him to the door of his new school.

He was met with the welcoming, smiling faces of teachers and staff as they helped him find the right line to sit in. They called him by name…thanks to the nametags his teacher mailed us in early August.

He stood in the kindergarten line and looked back one last time.

I held it together…until I saw the back of that cute little head and red Spiderman backpack heading into a new adventure.

One I wasn’t going to be a part of every day…One I could only hear about later and second hand through the tidbits and stories he chose to share.

It’s an adventure I know I can’t push him to share…but thankful for each small nugget of his day I get to be a part of.

And like so much of parenting…I thought of our Father.

I thought of Him sending out of the disciples…did the ‘Mary half’ of Jesus wonder as I wonder? Did he question the humanity of the ones who followed Him?

I wonder….How will Graham represent our family name?

                        How will Peter represent the name of Jesus?

Will he be kind and known for his servant hands?

Will Levi be known for his generous heart?

I’ve taught him how to break bread and share meals with others…will he?

Will My disciples remember Me feeding the thousands?

Will he invite anyone to sit with him at lunch or will he be invited to sit at a table?

Will you feed My sheep?

Will he bring Jesus into every conversation?

Will you make disciples of ALL nations?

Will he stand up for the Truth in a world of non-conviction, opposition, and falsehood?

Will you remember My actions before and on the cross?

Will he continue to ask me for help, to seek my wisdom?

Will you remember My prayers shared with you in My Word?

I am in no way comparing my sacrifice as a mother to the great sacrifice of Jesus…please hear me.

But in my earthly stumbling’s along the way, God has graciously allowed me to become a mother and share in the lives of each of my children.

And I know He has spoken to me about Himself in this way…over and over again.

I labored for each of them before they were born…in different ways, but labor all the same.

We loved them before they were considered worth anything by the standards of this world.

Their lives had purpose and value…from the very start of their creation.

And so far…all of Graham’s life has led us to this point…is he ready to be sent out?

Have we done enough?

I think of Jesus walking alongside, performing miracles, teaching lessons, exemplifying prayer and petition to His Father all in front of His disciples, knowing His death, resurrection and ascension lay ahead of Him and He would leave them with what they had learned.

As I walked back down that long sidewalk back to our car…I cried.

Jesus knows that pain…He wept too.

The God who made the entire world with His spoken word wept on this earth.

The kindergarten teachers had the parents kiss the palms of our children’s hands and tell them to place it on their cheek when they were sad and missed us.

When we did this with Graham, his eyes lit up with the realization that he could do this at school and still ‘feel’ us and our love in the palm of his hand.

I may have placed the palm of my own hand to my own cheek as I thanked my Heavenly Father that I can feel the love from the palm of His hand.

He knows…He knows my heart and He loves me all the same.

The scars prove how far He is willing to go.

And you’d better believe I was ready and waiting for that final school bell to ring…and I got to look on the face of the child I love so dearly.

And then I had a glimpse of that reunion in heaven…

when I’m the child craning my neck so I can find Him and finally put that beautifully scarred palm on my cheek with a physical touch and I can look into His eyes and know I’m okay.

I’m home.

Guest Post – The Wonder of it All

For my last guest post of the week, here is a familiar face to this blog, our own daughter Rachel Maxwell..IMG_3313Rachel is our oldest daughter. I have often joked and said I hope to be like her when I grow up, but in truth…she is, in so many ways, a role model for me.

She is light years ahead of me at the age I am … and at the age I was as a young mother. 

If I can have a moment to brag…she is a wonderful wife, mother, sister and daughter who is also accomplished in her field of nursing and has been known to do some pretty impressive crafting.

I know you will be blessed by her gentle wisdom today.

She blogs — when she has time!! Check her out at : ourmaxwellmoments.blogspot.com

The Wonder of It All…Guest Post and photos by Rachel Maxwell 

Hello “Journey Onward”!

It’s me again…Rachel…the eldest daughter but more importantly the mother of the two boys that create and appear in so many of our “Lola’s” posts.

Mom has asked me to write again…so here goes… I pray it brings some refreshment to your soul today.

If there are any Point of Grace fans out there…you might have sung along with the title like I did when I wrote it.

If you don’t know the song…I’m sure YouTube has it! It’s a song I haven’t heard in years…but has recently begun popping into my head as I watch my two young boys explore the world around them.

They are so amazed by all that’s there.

As adults, we forget that there was a first time when we saw a butterfly take flight,

butterfly

caught a frog,

Untitled

tasted a S’more,

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twirled in a dress,

skinned our knee,

burned our tongue,

saw a rainbow,

rainbow

saw hail in the front yard,

went down a water slide or splashed in a pool,

pool

built a fort out of couches and bed sheets,

tent

connected with a ball on a tee,

jumped in a puddle,puddle

saw animals at the zoo…llama

We forget the joy that this life our God has created can bring!

And for legitimately good reasons…

our chores don’t get checked off, our toilets overflow, our loved ones face horrible diagnoses and surgical recoveries, our parents age (not mine of course!), we face separation and divorce, we punch the clock at a job watching the hours tick by, our kids rebel, young ones pass, we turn on a news channel and are bombarded with pure ugliness, our social media news feed is filled with links that direct us away from the task at hand…

We’ve forgotten the Wonder of It All…

The fact that God Almighty bends his ear when we call His name.

That our Father created this world for us to enjoy –

to feel the warmth of the sun on our face…boat

That we can rest in His never ending peace that He works all things together…

sleep

That no matter what our view is of what humans have done to portray God in this world…His TRUTH will always prevail…He is who He says He is!

The God who provides…

The God who is our Hope…

The God who can’t be seen face to face without a dramatic change…

The God who loved us enough to send His son for us that in choosing Him, we will never be separate.

We are a chosen people, set aside for His purpose, set aside for His pleasure, set aside as His bride!

Despite what the world is throwing at you today…may you cling to His promises and wonder in His glory!

Take your shoes off…walk (or run!) across the grass He created…ginrain

Take your sunglasses off…feel the sun on your face…

car

Turn the radio off…listen to the music of this life…

Take your Bible out…fall in love again with who He is…with the Wonder of our God!

Blessings…Rachel

 

 

Guest Post – Bump Ahead

Today you are hearing from a friend to many…IMG_3927Leslie Kent is known to so many in our community in her role as wife of our lead pastor, her prison ministry, and her work at NLPC. She is often asked to speak and sing at different events around the community and country. 

From the tiniest tot to the senior-ist saint and all ages, stages and conditions in between; we all affectionately call her “Ma Lamb” because she somehow manages to see all of us the way the Shepherd does…His little lambs. 

Les and I have been friends for 20 years now and her kind, generous and sweet nature have been a consistent source of encouragement to me every day. 

While we normally are blessed with her musical and speaking talents, today she is sharing a writing from her heart <3

BUMP AHEAD guest post and photos by Leslie Kent

Our world or at least our little part of the world is under road construction.unnamed Two lanes become one.

No one wants to let me in. Road traffic has slowed to a literal crawl while traffic lights cycle two or three times. The damage of winter weather and usage can take its toll on the condition of the road.

Crews work day and night in the heat and in rain (which has been frequent) repairing the places I frequent each day.

Recently I counted at least 100 “orange things” that were road constriction related in about a 2 mile stretch and that was not on the highway! Ugh😩

Sitting patiently (I jest) at a complete standstill I looked closely at the pot holes, cracks and condition of the roads being repaired. I thought about the “what if” they weren’t going to be repaired?

The damage to daily travelers could be severe and costly That idea took my mind and heart to a different place.

I’m a traveler in this world who thanks God daily for the way He speaks to me through events of life.

His voice speaks louder than the beeping of a construction vehicle in reverse. His Spirit penetrates to the core of my soul with more force than a jack hammer breaking through the cement of our streets.

Oh how I need repair.

Years ago I saw a sign on the side of the road while taking a road trip with my husband. It simply said, “BUMP AHEAD”.

I knew it was there to let the driver know that there was soon to be a bump in the road . . . there was.

Yet, there was no indication the bump or uneven place was in the process of being repaired then nor would it be in the future.

The sign wasn’t orange which meant this wasn’t a construction sight. It was just a regular sign to warn me about the location of the bump. It was such a bump that the sign would have better served the public if it had said “DRIVER BEWARE!”

So often my everyday life can be a mirror to the deep places of my heart and soul.unnamed-2

I too am under construction. The work crew is lead by a loving, “hands-on “ God who is not finished with me.

Being under construction can be painful, and oftentimes I just want the work done and finished.

NOW.

I want to prematurely place a sign up and leave it to warn folks . . . THIS IS WHO I AM . . . unnamed-3THERE MAY BE A FEW BUMPS BUT GET OVER IT.

The cold winds of my flesh, the frozen places of my heart and the depth of my sin need daily attention for me to live as GOD directs. He’s the One who makes the rough places smooth, but only from the inside out.

God’s love is personal.

So from this work-in-progress person, to each of you: if you see me and I’m wearing “orange” I’m under construction.

May the One who began a good work in each of us be faithful to complete it until the day of Jesus Christ. Phil 1:6

Guest Post: Fishing with Papa

On Monday, I wrote about being thankful for the people God has blessed me with on this journey.

This week you are going to meet three precious women who share their hearts so beautifully through words. They are helping me out on a very busy week by guest posting some of their thoughts…

Today, I want you to meet my dear friend with whom Russ and I share grandchildren <3

IMG_0961Tammy is my friend and sister in heart…but also our Zach’s momma! We have prayed over and loved each other’s children since our two started dating over 16 years ago.

We can pull off Lucy and Ethel pretty well, but have also strapped on armor for some serious battles in the heavenlies.

I know you will be blessed by her writing and I encourage you to visit her blog at tammymaxwell.blogspot.com; where you may see a couple of cuties you recognize from here! 

Fishing With Papa    guest post and photos by Tammy Maxwell

*Original Post April 17, 2015

“Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people”…Matthew 4:19.

Last summer, my husband had the extreme pleasure of taking his grandsons fishing on different occasions!IMG_3918You can only imagine how excited he was to spend time with his grandsons (and their fathers) doing something that he absolutely loves!

One of these exciting excursions took place at Pittsfield Lake.IMG_3920My daughter and I already had planned to thoroughly clean their home that day (as they were anticipating the arrival of Baby Gabe and wanted to be ready), but we were able to head down to the lake and catch a glimpse of the boys as they were wrapping up their fishing outing!

I’m not sure who was more excited…IMG_3917

Papa or the grandsons!IMG_3919

It was a blessing to see grandfather, father and sons enjoying their outing!

And though we didn’t have fish to fry for dinner that night, we did hear all about their time at the lake!

Another fishing expedition took place in Bloomington!IMG_3921My oldest son, Graham’s father, shared with me that every time Graham passes by the fishing pond where they went fishing, he says…”That’s where Papa and I went fishing”!

I was blessed to hear about their adventure as well!

I know Papa Don is already looking forward to more fishing trips this summer!

However, my husband, sons and grandsons are not the only important fishermen!

Jesus recruited fishermen to join him in sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ!

Scripture tell us that…As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. “Come, follow me, “Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.” At once they left their nets and followed him…Matthew 4:18-20.

Going on from there, he saw two other brothers, James son of Zebedee and his brother John. They were in a boat with their father Zebedee, preparing their nets. Jesus called them, and immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him…Matthew 4:21-22.

As Christ began to preach, he also began to gather his disciples. They would witness Jesus’ miracles, and later preach the gospel of Jesus Christ.

The first individuals that Jesus chose to join him were fishermen! They were not educated men. They were not considered to be important figures that stood out among other men.

So why did Jesus choose these simple fishermen? Why did Jesus choose men who appeared not to be qualified to fill their new roles?

Why? So, all would know that their gifts were from Jesus! He wanted His power…His glory in them to be revealed!

Jesus used ordinary men to do extraordinary things! All they had to do was follow Him.

If Jesus could use fisherman to preach the gospel and perform miracles, He can use you too!

Is Jesus asking you to following Him in a certain area today? If so, you may need to set down your nets and follow Him?

Following Jesus may take you out of your comfort zone…it might be a little scary…and you may wonder if you can do what Jesus is calling you to do!

I remember teaching my first Jr. High Sunday School class…and a few years later, teaching my first Sr. High Sunday School class. I was nervous…scared…and wondered if I would be able to relate to this group of teenagers.

It would have been easy to say, ”I’m too busy”…or “I don’t think this is where God desires me to be at this time”!

However, I would have missed the opportunity to follow God where he was calling me to go. After saying yes, I spent the next 18 years in Youth Ministry!

Hopefully, God used me to touch the lives of many, but I know for certain, those teenagers touched my life more than I could have every imagined.

Dear ones…if Jesus is calling you to step out and follow Him on a certain path, not only will HE guide you on that path…but he will also equip you for this new role! He is faithful!

Dear Heavenly Father…forgive me for the times I have let fear keep me from stepping out and following you. Help me…and others…to pick up our poles and be fishermen of men! Use us for your glory, Lord!

 

Christmas Countdown 2013 <3 Day 20

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Day 20…if I showed you the little Advent board that these tins start out on and you saw all the empty space around the last few, you would have a panic attack. I would love to have you join me, but I just can’t do that to you.

Today I am featuring a “guest post” written by our first born, Rachel. She is amazing, as you will find when you read. But I must tell you, that there is a great refining when two baby-of-the-family’s come together and try to raise a first-born.

I used her writing for my weekly email that goes out to 100 plus people yesterday. I heard from a good portion of them. Being raised to respond to every comment made in my general direction, I responded to each plus forwarded to Rachel. All of this on my breaks at work and on an iPhone without the use of my cheaters. At some point in the thread, I get a response from her regarding my website tag at the end of my emails. I somehow have used a colon instead of a period between the www and the laurareimer.net. I hope to someday grow up and be like her….in the mean time, enjoy the words of this wise young woman who is still trying to get her mother in line….. you can find more of her writings at http://ourmaxewellmoments.blogspot.com

 

Shaping by Rachel Maxwell

My mom has graciously allowed me to guest-post on her blog. I am not a writer by trade and truth be told, I adore the thesaurus feature on Microsoft Word. I am humbled she would ask me to share some of my thoughts and His word with you!

Let me introduce myself. I’m the eldest daughter, Rachel. I would be the one with the two young boys that provide much of her material or humorous anecdotes. (And, all of her stories are true.) Graham (our 2 1/2 year old) keeps us on toes, wears us out, and loves us unconditionally. It’s a beautiful combination I pray he never loses. Emmett (our 6 month old) is following right in big bro’s footsteps – absolutely delighting us, already moving everywhere, and just enjoying watching his hero brother at play!

A couple weeks ago as the boys napped and my husband was at work, I decided to tackle the basement tree. A 6.5 foot, artificial, pre-lit, three-piece tree seemed pretty simple to me, so I went for it. Don’t worry, the tree is up and I am unharmed! But it’s in the process, the ‘simple steps’ is where Christ likes to speak to me the loudest.

You may have your qualms about an artificial tree, and I would have whole-heartedly agreed as I pulled these three pieces out of the box and set them on top of each other. The branches are all twisted and bound close together making it painfully obvious this tree is fake. It’s just ugly coming out of the box. There are gaping holes where branches aren’t there and you can see the plastic ‘trunk’ that the makers have twisted a fake piece of garland around trying their best to conceal the plastic, the fake-ness of this tree. Being the mature mother of two, I rolled my eyes and got to work.

I went through each branch and started shaping and spreading out each one. After an hour of labor, I had cuts on my hands to prove I had done my best to shape the tree. I turned on the lights, backed away, and admired my work. That tree had gone from an eye-sore to a delight.

And then I cried.

You see, I am that tree.

I am ugly out of the box and I need lots of work.

Every sin like a branch where you can see straight to the trunk of my heart. Every argument, every quick tempered response, every muttered word, every part of my sinful nature is a branch on my tree. But thankfully, my tree doesn’t stop there and it is not finished.

Christ works on me shaping each branch with His scarred hands, removing the ugliness and creating me into something beautiful – His image. His work in me doesn’t stop with one branch, He continues to shape and reshape me until I’m closer to perfect than I was before.
And then when His light shines in me…I am now beautiful.

2 Samuel 22:29 – You are my lamp, O Lord; the Lord turns my darkness into light.

Job 33:28 – He redeemed my soul from going down to the pit, and I will live to enjoy the light.