Monthly Archives: October 2017

The comfortable rut of comparison and why we want to choose a better path <3

I had a random thought the other day about our human propensity to compare our performance, status, circumstances or appearance to others.

We are prone to look around at friends, co-workers, acquaintences and even total strangers we encounter out there in our every day or via the internet and size up how we are doing with how they are doing.

And we walk away feeling better or worse or affirmed or threatened.

But not transformed.

We take pride that we aren’t as decadent as the celebrities while we feel deprived that our “hot mess” isn’t as cute and charming as that Instagram post we just read.

And I think that is why we have a love-hate relationship with this habit of the flesh.

Because it is comfortable and familiar and easier to cope with feelings of being less than this one and superior to that one, and so we continue observing others in light of our own haves and have-nots.

By remaining in the safe zone of measuring ourselves against other frail humans, we never have to set the standard any higher than what we deem to be the best and worst of what is currently available in our peripheral vision.

And God says … stop it.

I find a better way to view and compare in Galatians 6:1-5

Is someone around me having a sin problem?

Gently work to restore that one and be aware and careful because I can well be tempted by the same sin.

Is someone going through a difficult season filled with pain and loss, illness or trial?

Prayerfully ask how I can be used to help shoulder the burden with this one.

Am I looking at how others are doing so I can measure my own successes and failures by those standards?

Honestly assess how I am stewarding the gifts and talents I have been given in light of my generous and glorious and amazing God who has given them to me and bring my shortcomings to the One who extends grace and mercy; the One who patiently shapes and molds me more and more into the image of His dear Son. And work this out with Him and Him alone.

It is effortless and useless to allow ourselves to remain in this cycle of comparison to others.

It is far more profitable and takes more work to begin to examine ourselves in the light of God’s Truth alone.

If we are going to measure ourselves to anything it must be according to God’s standards and not the best or worst of what we see in the people around us.

Here are a few Scriptures to ponder in light of this thought today:

Not that we dare to classify or compare ourselves with some of those who are commending themselves. But when they measure themselves by one another and compare themselves with one another, they are without understanding.  

2 Corinthians 10:12 ESV

Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you? – unless indeed you fail to meet the test!

2 Corinthians 13:5   ESV

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

Romans 12: 2-3   ESV

You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male servant, or his female servant, or his ox, or his donkey, or anything that is your neighbor’s.

Exodus 20:17   ESV

For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and spirit, of joints and marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account. 

Hebrews 4:12-13   ESV

As I meditate on these passages, I begin to see how wasteful it is to look at the lives and patterns of people around me to measure the course of my journey.

God has fitted me and purposed me to run my race only.

To stay in my lane.

To keep my eyes fixed on Him, the author and perfecter of my faith.

And I am only to look to you to cheer you on in your race. To offer a gentle hand when you stumble. And to accept yours extended to me when I do the same.

Let’s do the greater work of comparing ourselves to God’s standard and leave the comfortable rut of the comparison game behind us <3






Two birthdays, a wedding and something I never thought of before <3

So this one happened to be in a wedding this weekend here in the area which worked out great because…

this one…

had a birthday palooza that included plenty ‘o sugar…

an impromptu, unlicensed tattoo parlor…

and an opportunity to actually have all three of these treasures in one room for a while…

Then on Sunday we celebrated a second birth day…

when our son-in-law brought this little man to become our brother in Christ through the waters of baptism.


No greater joy <3

It was a full and beautiful weekend and I thank you for indulging me to share some of the fun and joy.

But I want to leave you with something to ponder as you work your way through Monday.

The sermon text before Graham’s baptism was on Joshua 2.

The passage is about Rahab hiding the two spies and while the pastor made many great observations, this one stuck with me because I had never thought of it before.

We tend to focus on the two spies being sent into the city of Jericho to check out the situation.

But evidently they were terrible spies because everyone in town seemed to know they were there and what they were doing.

Also, considering God’s plan was to destroy Jericho without the army actually entering the city, there was really no need to size up the situation from the inside.

So the story we find in Joshua is not really about God sending out special forces for His army, but rather about the plan of salvation for one woman named Rahab and her family.

He reminded us that all of the whole context of God’s Word expressed through Scripture is the story of a rescue mission.

Of a God who is in the business of saving souls…pulling us out of the places where we had no hope of redemption…saving us from who we are because of who He is.

Be blessed to remember this, dear ones.

He is still working salvation stories all around us today <3

Why use one word when you can use more, right?

It is always a marvel to me when I read where someone has selected one word to focus on at the start of a new year. There are books and blog posts and articles about choosing a word and fixing your attention on it for the entire 365 days.

Examples include: Peace, Grateful, Fearless, Grace, Joy.

And I have nothing against the concept.

It’s just I am not a woman of few words so trying to focus on one word has me jumping all over the place grabbing words like they are about to go extinct and I need to save them.

However; one year I did focus on a verse for an entire year.

And I came across it today in my All Things New workbook.

2 Corinthians 5: 14….

For the love of Christ compels us, because we judge thus: that if One died for all, then all died.

Now give me some credit, because I did hone that down for my focus the year I chose it as my theme.

And so every morning of that year’s journal, my entry had the day of the week, the date and the words….

The love of Christ compels me.

I chose it based on the words of Oswald Chambers regarding this passage…

Paul said he was overpowered, subdued, and held as in a vise by “the love of Christ.” Very few of us really know what it means to be held in the grip of the love of God. We tend so often to be controlled simply by our own experience. The one thing that gripped and held Paul, to the exclusion of everything else, was the love of God. ‘The love of Christ compels us…’ When you hear that coming from the life of a man or woman it is unmistakable. You will know that the Spirit of God is completely unhindered in that person’s life.”  Oswald Chambers; My Utmost for His Highest, February 4

On my first reading of the passage, I would have interpreted it as more like “The love of Christ propels me….lurches me forward in a strong projectile motion” ….and nothing about that sounded appealing to me.

Because my whole life, driven by a brain that is in hyper-drive 24/7 and fueled by well-caffeinated emotions and an overactive imagination, hurtles me along a roller coaster existence most days.

So the idea of being propelled was not a great idea to me.

But thanks to Oswald, I stopped and dug into this passage and discovered that the world “compels” in Greek is sunecho.  From two words: sun = “together” and echo = “to hold.”

Thus….The love of Christ holds me together….grips me tightly….

And I like that.

In my propensity to be on the brink of losing it or falling apart.

The love of Christ…

His love for me…

my love for Him…

holds me together.

It grips me tightly and brings purpose and meaning and …. quite honestly …. FOCUS…to my scattered thinking and haphazard living.

And as an added little mercy from God this morning as I am reminded of my year writing this verse every morning, as I typed the Greek word for “compels”…

my beloved autocorrect that frustrates me to no end sometimes…

changed sunecho to…

sun and echo…

and yes…

that’s the whole point of the passage to me.

I want echo the Son.

Perhaps the idea of being held tight in the love of Christ seems restrictive to you.

Oh, I pray not.

Do you see the part where Oswald talks about being a man or a woman in whom God has His unhindered way?

It is the paradox of following Christ.

There is not greater place of freedom than being held fast in the beautiful bonds and boundaries of His Love <3



Like a child <3

About two years ago our church began offering a dual service during the most populated gathering time by making a worship center out of what used to be, basically, a gymnasium.

They lined the walls with curtains, set up a stage for all the live worship and greeting and installed three screens where they do a video feed of the sermon as it is being preached in the more traditional sanctuary.

As veterans of FCC, we were asked to flex to the new surroundings and were actually surprised how quickly we adapted to the setup.

But I confess, I still miss pews. Not just for the comfort, but there is something about sharing a long bench with your family and other people that is just nice and familiar and pleasant to me.

I wondered how young families would manage because back in the day, we had little Reimer’s pressed all around us and sometimes on us and if they were particularly tired, they might even just stretch out a bit.

A few Sundays ago, one of the young dad’s scooped up his unhappy infant and disappeared for a while but eventually returned with her cradled in his arms.

I had a great view of her limp noodle self sprawled out in the crook of her dad’s elbow for the remainder of the service.

Her pacifier was barely holding on as she took long, contented breaths. One of her arms was hooked back behind her dad, holding tightly to his shirt and the other was flayed out in a way that almost made my arm cramp in empathy.

And speaking of empathy, as the service continued on, I noticed this tall dad rocking gently to readjust his back in the lightly padded stackable chairs we use.

He would try to lift up a bit and scoot to a different position but always with his eyes riveted on her little face. Any flicker of interruption to her slumber and he would begin to do one of those slight rhythmic bounces until she was settled again.

I know his back had to be screaming and most likely his arms fell asleep but he maintained the position to the last amen.

How like our heavenly Father.

Oh, He doesn’t get arm cramps…and His back never hurts….but as surely as this sweet daddy tenderly held his little one, your Father is holding you.

You may not realize it.

He may seem distant or disinterested.

But He is anything but those things.

He calls us His children.

He urges us to come to Him and find rest for our souls.

We live in troubled times and there is much to stir us up.

Listen to what God said about rest:

Hebrews 4:9 and 10 There remains therefore a rest for the people of God. For he who has entered His rest has himself also ceased from his works as God did from His.

Jeremiah 6:16 Thus says the LORD: “Stand in the ways and see, and ask for the old paths, where the good way is, and walk in it; then you will find rest for your souls.”


Matthew 11: 28-29 (Jesus said) “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”

The world will wear you out and wear you down, dear one.

So many voices are telling us what is right and what is wrong.

But God offers us true rest though obedience to His ways and trusting in His heart.

Cease from your toiling and your striving. Come to the Father, and find rest.

Take time to lean back into His arms and allow Him to hold you.

Receive today the gift of His rest as His beloved child .


Only so much room for storage <3

I know we have discussed my capacity to over save memories.

Exhibit A: I currently have 35,978 items in the iPhoto area of this desktop computer.

That doesn’t include the untold numbers safely tucked in a file called “Reimer Transfer” that the nice young man who sold me this computer painstakingly downloaded from our old tower memory.

Then there are the same 35,978 items downloaded to the MacBook Pro….and then saved to an external hard drive…not to mention….

3,408 photos resting on my phone.

Of which all have been downloaded to both of the above mentioned computers and might also possibly be duplicated and living on a cloud out there somewhere.

So when I was finally feeling released to delete a good portion of these treasures off my phone and yet still showing low storage capacity, I realized that after I delete them…they transfer to another file called…

“Recently deleted photos”…where they live for a month just in case I need to retrieve something.

It occurs to me that I only have so much digital, emotional, mental, physical space to accumulate and document and store the experiences and moments  of life…my life and life that goes on around me.

But how do we delete the deleted files?

Now, I realize this example falls short because I am talking about photos that I have saved verses memories that stir up old wounds but hang with me here….

How do we effectively erase the images that lurk in places and, while we are typically unaware of them in the course of our daily living, crop up and suck the life out of us at the oddest times?

They were deleted because they no longer served a beneficial purpose and yet…there they are. Taking up space in the memory, casting a shadow on our moving forward today.

As I ponder this for myself, I realize I have several options.

I can gaze intently at the image of a deleted memory and allow myself to be refreshed anew in guilt, grief, sorrow, loss, regret….whatever emotions accompanied the event.

I can take the image to close friends and I can ask them to join me as I look on. I can describe vividly to them the details of the pain or shame or the injustice and spend my energy enlisting their help in giving new life to this event…help me retrieve it back into the active memory files…and hopefully get them on board to hold in their own data banks.


I can hold it up to the only One who can truly erase the past. The One who permanently deletes…by casting it into an ocean deep with mercy.

I can take Him at His Word when He says though my sins be red as the deepest reds, He will make them like the new fallen snow.

That when He forgives, He remembers no more.

That He binds up the broken hearted and heals the shattered heart.

That He is the same yesterday, today and forever and He alone is the only One who can safely bury the past.

Until a thing is buried in Him, it has the capacity to linger and haunt the present and cast shadows on the future.

Is it easy, this turning over of long-held thoughts and memories to Him?


But what walk of faith is ever easy?

May the Lord Himself strengthen us to open up wide the hidden places in our hearts and minds where old wounds, sins and sorrows have tucked themselves into our souls…that He might be invited in to clean house in the deepest places within us.

3-6 The world is unprincipled. It’s dog-eat-dog out there! The world doesn’t fight fair. But we don’t live or fight our battles that way—never have and never will. The tools of our trade aren’t for marketing or manipulation, but they are for demolishing that entire massively corrupt culture. We use our powerful God-tools for smashing warped philosophies, tearing down barriers erected against the truth of God, fitting every loose thought and emotion and impulse into the structure of life shaped by Christ. Our tools are ready at hand for clearing the ground of every obstruction and building lives of obedience into maturity.

The Message (MSG)Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson