Sorry. Not sorry.

www.laurareimer.net

Yesterday as I was driving north and my mind was rambling around as it is prone to do; for some reason I landed on a current phrase in social media that makes me chuckle first but ponder later.

You may have seen a post where someone shows a decadent dessert or a stack of Amazon Prime boxes delivered to their front door and the tag line is “Sorry. Not sorry.”

Depending on the photo, this can be a light laugh for the day and a welcome addition to other not-light posts. 

The idea is basically reflecting our human tendency to acknowledge we should be sorry for something, but in reality we are not and if we were given the chance we would do it again in a heartbeat.

It’s funny when it is something that really brings no harm to anyone including ourselves, but the underlying truth of it is not so funny. 

Yesterday I was with the band of brothers and Miss Caroline and we had some typical issues that plague childhood in that they sometimes were not quick to listen or obey. 

We had several Come to Jesus meetings with Lola that culminated in a big Come to Jesus seminar when dad got home. 

Everyone was sorry…and all was forgiven….but both Zach and I repeated what every parent has repeated since the first parent ever dealt with a child and will continue to repeat until Christ’s return…just saying you are sorry but not changing your behavior is not really being sorry. 

As I did when I was the parent and now do again as the grandparent, I usually walk away from these times of teaching, rebuking, correcting and instructing with a little playback of what I said only it comes to me as God’s voice agreeing over my own tendency to be sorry and yet not change. 

For example, I am always genuinely and deeply sorry that I make my punctual and gracious husband walk in late to things…but not sorry enough to have changed much in the 38 years we have been married.

I am truly sorry at the end of a day of eating good healthy food and then foraging the pantry just before bed and snacking on anything salty and crunchy….followed by something sweet…and then returning to the salty, crunchy to get rid of the sweet and then…repeat…repeat. And I feel sorry because I ate food I didn’t need. But not sorry enough to not do again the next time I find myself on a scavenger hunt for snacks.

When I let my frustration over a situation build up and I spew all of my sarcasm and anger and venting onto a poor unsuspecting human, I am sorry. Very sorry. But not enough to learn that this never brings healing to me, doesn’t enhance my capacity to forgive the perpetrator and leaves some poor soul covered in my yuk. 

You get the idea. 

Sorry can be regret  you got caught…or a way of buying yourself back into the good graces of someone you can keep hurting…or a cheap way to feel better about yourself.

But true sorrow over our sin should bring us to repentance and a heart change – a crying out to God to help us to overcome the evil within our own DNA that constantly lurks under the surface trying to take back what God has done in us through salvation. 

“Sorry. Not sorry.” may be a funny post on Instagram but in real life it is an ungodly attitude that needs to be confessed, repented of…prayed over and then a walking forth in a new state of…

Forgiven. Done and done. 

We are all works in progress…let’s keep progressing as we Journey Onward <3

The truth and nothing but the truth in journaling….

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A few weeks ago a friend of ours stopped me in the lobby at church to ask me about journaling.

That’s not surprising in and of itself because I do get asked about that from time to time, but it is always women and this happened to be a man. 

He has been feeling the nudge to journal more regularly as part of his study and prayer time and his question was a good one. 

He asked me if I stick to vague references about heart issues or if I am gut honest when I journal.

Short answer?

Gut honest. 

I believe that writing out my thoughts, ugly and raw … deep and pondering…working through all of what is crowding out God in my heart, soul and mind…is part of the journaling process. 

It helps me clear away the fluff and often reveals pride or guilt or whatever isn’t of God and makes room for Him to do what He does…

convict, rebuke, comfort, forgive, restore, edify, counsel, speak into this life that He gave me. 

And there is another reason I express myself in journaling with bold transparency. 

There are days I run across an entry and as I read the words I wrote with my own hand, farther down the road of this journey, I sit in humble gratitude for how God took those thoughts the day I wrote them and He held them tenderly and faithfully and because I owned what I was feeling…

He did His thing and I do not feel shame for what I misunderstood about His goodness. 

My honest outpouring was a child crying out to her Abba Father. 

And while I may not get an answer right after I write out my heart and my questions…over time, He worketh <3

I ran across a confession I wrote in the margin of the No Other Gods study today. 

I wrote it in a hard season of deep hurt three years ago. 

In the midst of painful loss and transition, as I cried out to God, He revealed to me things that were buried in me that needed to be dug up and removed. 

Today I read with humble gratitude the exchange I had with Him that day and I can mark the growth that has come three years later. 

Little bits of fruit here and there on a tree that dug her roots into His mercy and grace and took life from His living water as we limped through a rough time. 

Perhaps you are not one who takes up a pen and writes out your thoughts, but it is the only way I know to record mine so that I can remember what God has done for me. 

He is great and awesome and yet so very kind and personal. 

Know Him. 

The selfish part of low self-esteem…ouch….<3

www.laurareimer.net

I am enjoying catching up on my morning favorite reads and devotions and today I was blown away by the pages I covered in that book from my aunt’s library that I discovered this summer.

Walking Wisely by Charles Stanley and published in 2002, it is still relevant to today because 1. biblical truth and 2. human nature….don’t change.

In the chapter I am reading, he has written about eight benefits of wisdom. 

#6 addresses the effects of godly wisdom on our self-image and I am thinking if this was an issue in a book published in 2002, than whatever we have been doing in the ensuing 17 years has not enhanced and helped us out of that black hole.

In the opening paragraph of this section he marvels at the number of books that are being published and the seminars being held on the topic of self-esteem.

Oh Charles…you had no idea that we would be adding blogs, Instagram stories, tweets, printed t-shirts and coffee mugs and billboards by 2019.

But have we moved any closer to the truth that unless we find our identity in Christ alone we will always face a big void in this?

No.

Have we grown any closer to just embracing the truth of the Proverbs 8 passage he uses to anchor this section of his book…

“Now therefore, listen to me, my children, for blessed are those who keep my ways. Hear (listen and obey*) instructions and be wise, and do not disdain it. Blessed is the man (and woman*) who listens to me (obeys*), watching daily at my gates, waiting at the posts of my doors. For whoever finds me finds life, and obtains favor from the LORD.” Proverbs 8: 32-35

*indicates my additional paraphrase added to verse

And who is this “me” that we are to seek and listen to and keep the ways of?

Godly wisdom….found in the pages of Scripture and prayerfully asking the Spirit to lead us into understanding as we read and ponder what is written and then obediently look for ways to apply truth to our daily lives. 

And how would this help with the self-esteem issues that plaque us?

Charles Stanley writes:

“If you genuinely believe that God desires to bless you and that He approves of you and loves you unconditionally,  you must ask yourself, ‘On what is my poor self-image based?’ You’re going to have to draw your own conclusions – your poor self-image comes from lies of the enemy or lies from other people. And you must take responsibility for the fact that you have bought into those lies and continue to accept them as truth.”

Walking Wisely, Charles F. Stanley; 2002 Thomas Nelson Publishers page 59

How do we apply this in a practical way in 2019 – a way that we all at various points can relate to?

If I base my self-worth and value as a human being on how everyone else around me is doing that is better or worse than how I am doing it….(whether it is based on what I know to be true or am perceiving to be true), then I am buying into a lie.

I am using other people as a measuring stick for my value. 

And reading an empowering post of a quote that tells me something good about myself is only going to carry me about as far as the next post that shows someone doing life better than me and then I am back to ground zero.

Instead, Charles Stanley offers us a dose of truth to get into our bones and gut and heart so that we know who we are before we ever head out into the day. 

“The person who seeks godly wisdom comes to believe, ‘I am blessed by God. God loves me and approves of me. I am saved by the blood of Jesus Christ, filled with God’s Spirit, and on the basis of what Jesus has done for me and the Holy Spirit continues to do in me, I have favor from God. All of God’s promises pertain to me. All of the talents that God has built into my life are worthy to be developed and used. God has a plan for my life and it is unfolding. God is refining me, preparing me, and molding me into the likeness of Christ Jesus. I belong to Him forever, and He is my loving Father who is continually seeking my good.’”

Walking Wisely, Charles F. Stanley; 2002 Thomas Nelson Publishers page 60

I have read that over and over this morning and every time I feel His love and care for me pouring over me. 

Believing this to my core will change how I see my own self-worth and then will affect how I treat others. 


If I believe this about myself, then I can love and care for others more effectively because I am not threatened by how I am received. Whether I am cherished or cast off matters not if I know where my value is found.

Such a good word!

Bless you as you go about your day choosing to believe the truth about you instead of the lies that would derail you!

Monday thoughts <3

www.laurareimer.net

Oh it is good to be home! 

I sat a little extra long with my coffee, journal, Bible and prayers this morning and now have a list of things I need to tackle, so a quick thought and we are off and running for a Monday.

With being gone last week, I didn’t really share any thoughts on the No Other Gods study…so I had to smile this morning when one of my first Scripture references in one of my morning devotion standard reads was this one…

“You saw no form of any kind the day the LORD spoke to you at Horeb out of the fire. Therefore watch yourselves carefully.”

Deuteronomy 4:15

The attribute of God for the passages today was focusing on “Invisible”

How do you feel about that?

Probably like me, you wish that wasn’t a quality of God we have to deal with.

Giant crosses hung in front of the church surrounded by smoke, lights and a lot of people who think like me

A breathtaking sunset

Tiny fingers of our first grandchild gripping my pinkie

All the faces of all our people gathered around the table 

Shiny things

Good things

Visible things

These are blessings I can touch and taste and see.

www.laurareimer.net

How difficult to realize we can give all we hold dear to be thrown into the fire and when a golden calf just pops out…we figure it must be from God and suddenly….we have strayed into idolatry. 

But God reminds us.

He does not “appear” out of the fire. 

He is invisible. 

He will not satisfy our need and desire for an image. 

He is too big for that.

He is greater than the little gods we have made up in our hearts.

Out of good things we fashion a god who can satisfy our immediate need and we can somewhat control and manage and manipulate.

But He refuses to play by our rules.

www.laurareimer.net

I am so thankful.

The blessings He has bestowed upon me have come in many shapes and sizes and have been both mind-numbingly beautiful and soul-piercingly difficult. 

But not one of His blessings can save me. 

He is God and there is no other. 

He will show Himself to me by covering His face because He is so glorious I cannot handle it. 

And this is more than enough for me <3

The hardest part about seasons is when they change….<3

 I am writing to you from Atlanta, Georgia this morning…how odd is that?

Back when I was a young girl with all kinds of possibilities swirling around in my head for what I wanted to be when I grew up, I thought being a buyer for a store sounded like an amazing job. Being paid to shop?

Yes, please. 

I also thought being a stewardess sounded ideal because, again…paid to travel?

No brainer.

Or a teacher because my stuffed animals made great students as I stood before my little chalkboard in the basement and handed out assignments.

But my heart’s deepest desire was to be a wife and a mom and to maintain a home and God gave me that, while allowing me to work part time jobs here and there that have given me much fuel to entertain you.

He also allowed me ample shopping for groceries and kiddo’s clothes and such.

 And I have been blessed with so many travel opportunities without having to push a drink cart down a narrow aisle.

Although I still wistfully envy watching them gracefully point out the exit doors, emergency lighting down the center of the plane and demonstrate how to put on your oxygen mask.

All that being said; here I am, a few days away from turning 61, experiencing what it is like for someone to be a buyer for a store.

I have been given the opportunity, this late in the game, to accompany my dear friend and “boss” (she laughs when I call her that) on her annual buying trip to the Americas Mart. 

And let me tell you…

I thank the good Lord He didn’t answer my whim to do this full time for some department store many years ago.

He knows me and… while this has been a wonderful experience and so interesting and fun and yet definitely hard work… I think how much I would have missed as I watch full time buyers making selections for their stores and I think of the pressure this kind of career has brought on them.

God wired them for it, bless them…but this lady right here is thankful for her smaller town and time to ponder and study and the way God let me teach.

Not in front of a chalkboard in a school house though.

God allowed me to fulfill that dream on Sunday mornings in front of a variety of adults at my church for so many years.

And now that season has come to an end, my friends.

Last Sunday I let those who attended know that I will be stepping down from teaching our class as of the end of summer.

Years ago the pastors asked me to come up with a name for the group that showed up to let me facilitate their learning and since we were meeting in a room where the equipment for a renovations project was stored, I said we were the “Under Construction” class. 

I liked it because, while it did describe our classroom full of ladders and paint cans, it also fit my philosophy about this Journey…we are all works in progress…God is continually refining us and making improvements to fit us to look more like His Son. 

This little blog grew out of a weekly letter of encouragement I sent by email to a few people. It grew in number over the years as it would get forwarded and people asked to be added to the list.

Those will continue as will this blog, because I am not finished encouraging those who God might send my way <3

If you attend our class (or ever attended over the years)  and were not there on Sunday, please know how deeply loved you are and how thankful I am for each one of you.

You were more than just someone who sat in a chair for an hour and listened to me ramble…you are an extension of the Body of Christ and an answer to prayer that God could use someone like me and I am so thankful that you are part of my story and allowed me to be part of yours. 

You are my family and my friends, my brothers and sisters. 

Group hug and I will chat with you next week..

because for now…

I have miles to go…

literally…

before I return to this room tonight to sleep <3