Big A…little a..what begins with A?

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Big A….little a…what begins with A?

If you knew it was Aunt Annie’s alligator A…a…A then you, like me, have read this Dr Seuss book so many times you have it memorized. 

And when I say so many times, I mean that there was a span of close to two decades between the last time I tucked that book on to the shelf and the past few years when I pulled it off again to read to the third generation of our family. 

But just like I did when I was reading it to the three R’s…I am still able to close my eyes and recite each page and turn to the next. 

It’s a beautiful thing when you are so tired you are the one who needs the nap…and you can catch a few winks whilst reading to the little body relaxing in your arms still fighting to stay awake. 

I also can sing almost word for word most of John Denver, Billy Joel and Glen Campbell’s albums as well as a good portion of Hotel California. 

I am not saying I am proud of this…just saying I can do it. 

Because I listened enough times at one time that the words are stuck tight in the deep recesses of my memory banks and yet…

I struggle to memorize Scripture. 

And I acknowledge that is lack of motivation and discipline that is the root of my problem. 

The lilting rhyme and rhythm of music added to so many things I have retained helped hold them fast in my gray matter and when I hear the beginning notes to many songs, I am able to pull it up to the front of my mind. 

And so I wonder how I can take the beauty of God’s Words and truth and turn them into a rhythm in my own comprehension so that they are planted and rooted deep in my heart. 

How do you memorize things? 

How do you hide God’s Word in your heart?

I do know that the more I read through even familiar passages, the words and thoughts shape and transform my thinking and my actions. 

I say I “follow” Christ…how can I follow if I do not read and study His word? 

It is a choice and one I choose daily…step by step…word by word…He is after all the Alpha and the Omega…the beginning and the end …of the Alphabet and all things <3

It’s that time of year again <3

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All week long on social media I have seen pictures of kiddos heading back to school around the country. All ages and stages as parents are sending preschoolers through college age (and some of us now have children who are TEACHERS going back to school!) with their back packs and dorm rooms and such. 

This morning our family text thread came through with our two little guys laden with first day of school supplies and headed off and I have to say they look quite ready though the picture seemed a little blurry but that may have been from some watery matter in my own eyes as I zoomed in on their faces. 

It is human nature to reminisce back to our time sending little ones off and this memory has been popping in my head so will share. 

Somewhere in Rachel’s first foray into the halls of education, I had the habit when I picked her up of asking her if she had a good day. 

Her answer was rarely a resounding yes.

Mostly it had just been ok and sometimes it was not good at all. 

I would listen to whatever stories she felt like telling, which were scant on details and never as fully fleshed out as I would have loved to hear so I could analyze and counsel and all the things annoying moms like me tend to do. 

The next morning I would send her off with “I hope you have a good day!” and I would pray for God to bless her with a good day but at pickup time, it was usually just ok. 

This went on for a long enough period of time that I began to ask God why oh why could this little one not have a good day most days, and He answered my question with a question which I notice He seems to take great pleasure in doing. 

As I queried Him on this subject, I felt the response was…”Did YOU have a good day, Laura?”

Well..I said…it was ok.

Really?

Yes…because most of my days were a mixed bag.

Great moments, good moments, hard moments, frustrating moments, downright awful moments all blended in between a whole lot of just ordinary moments. 

And when I averaged it out at the end of the day it was … ok. 

So as I sat pondering this perspective, I felt the nudge that perhaps instead of praying for her to have a “good” day every day, I pray for the ways God might meet her in the various moments and that He would strengthen her in the tough ones and teach her in the awkward ones and protect her in the bad ones..etc etc.

I also realized that I was letting her experiences define my success. 

I had begun to equate my sole purpose as raising a child who had nothing but good days. I thought about how much pressure I seemed to putting on her because I felt like I had failed if she was not happy. 

Oh dear. 

As if my whole purpose and existence depended on the happiness of our children. 

Wow. 

That’s a lot of pressure on another human being, right? 

As I have had the opportunity to go through Kelly Minter’s “No Other Gods” study for the second time this summer (did it the first time in 2016), I see that this is one of my areas of struggle that will probably never completely go away.

It is the place where I am prone to set up an idol, and thus a place I have to be vigilant to clean house on a regular basis. 

I am so thankful for the painful process God works me through every time I take the right and godly gift of being a mom to three people and turn it into the basis for my existence and give it place in my heart that is only meant for God. 

I love them with a fierce love, but they are not MINE. 

They are the children the Lord has blessed Russ and I to bear and to raise and to encourage and support…but their lives belong to the One who gave them to us to parent…not to own, worship or place our identity in. 

Each of us struggles with different temptations to make good things our gods. 

It is worthwhile to ask God to reveal them to us and then to cooperate in the painful process of putting them in right perspective and priority. 

Checking in as we transition <3

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I am getting a late start to everything today.

This body suddenly felt all of her 61 years and one month this morning and I did something I rarely do.

I crawled back under the covers and woke up an hour later feeling a bit more rested and thankful for a husband who doesn’t begrudge me the luxury of this when he headed off to do what he has done lo these many years to keep us in food and clothing.

Then I took a sweet forever to do my devotions and I watched the final video for No Other Gods and it was so good.

She talked about abiding/remaining in Christ, the True Vine and I couldn’t help but think of our little visit through Psalm 91 last week.

I sat here in front of my computer taking notes and wiping tears.

As she talked about what it is to abide and remain and how we almost don’t have concrete words to explain it, I thought about what it has meant to me to abide in Him.

In practical ways it has meant that over all the days of my life, even when I have wandered or been highly distracted…even when I have set up little g gods that kind of, sort of helped alleviate some discomfort or seemed to be more manageable to try and achieve what I thought were good plans for me and mine….I have found all roads lead back to Him.

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Whether it is a slow descent into old thought patterns around 3:00 in the afternoon or a step by casual step in the wrong direction that took some major work to correct and several recalculations to get back on track…the deepest desire of my heart is always to return to Him.

He has never failed me.

He loved me and chose me before I even knew to choose Him.

His promises are filled with hope and life and truth.

Like King David I can say…one day as door keeper for His house is better than ten thousand anywhere else in the universe.

He exceeds my best ideas and expectations and without Him I can do nothing that will be of lasting value.

He is the Beginning and End of all the stories.

He is my life.

Praise Him <3

Seeking peace in the midst of what we cannot understand <3

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Because I fail to read the newspaper and stay current on current events, I am usually completely out of the loop on a lot of news items of the day. 

I missed all of the background stuff that has been going on for far too long of a time regarding the recent suicide of Epstein and the saga of filth that is surrounding him and his life. 

I shake my head in unbelief that this has been allowed to drag out for such a long time and I have many thoughts regarding this that I choose not to air out as they have been said in much better ways by those with greater knowledge and impact than me.

Even now the constant stream of attempts to provide us with information is nauseating and I realize that media sometimes reports suppositions and accusations with motives beyond sharing truth. 

I also believe there are powerful forces that will provide protection for the guilty and there are opportunists who will take this horrendous moment to generate fame and wealth at the expense of women whose lives have been damaged. 

I believe there is an underlying mindset of sin that disregards the value of human life and the worth of protecting the innocence of childhood.

 I believe the sins perpetrated by anyone who participated in this are as old as the first fall of man when the first people decided that what they saw with their eyes appeared to be good and pleasant for them to partake of and became something that they just had to have no matter what the cost.

And I believe with all my heart that this man did not escape justice by taking his life. I do not believe that by avoiding facing his victims he missed out on facing the One who created the very lives he deemed to be his to destroy.

I believe with all my heart that he is facing judgment and finally understanding why it would have been better to have an enormous hunk of concrete tied around his neck as he was tossed into the ocean than to face the God who demands justice for unrepentant sinners. 

And I weep that he and others will never know the broken place of repentance and true godly sorrow and then finally understand that the love of God reached into the deepest, ugliest, most lost places of humanity and offered to pay the price we owed. 

I pray for the spiritual and emotional healing of men and women who were betrayed and scarred by others whose greed and lust took what did not belong to them. 

I pray for truth to be revealed and for true repentance for those who succumbed to participate in this level of depravity. 

And I tremble in fear for the levels of depravity we are all capable of given the right circumstances and conditions.

I pray for justice that can be leveled here on earth and I pray that those who would continue in this act of defiance against the Sovereignty of God over His creation would be caught and disabled from harming more people. 

I pray as a follower of Jesus Christ, who carries the Hope of His Resurrection in my heart, that my words and my actions would reflect the great joy of His salvation and the promise that He will return and He will bring justice to all. 

I pray to be a voice of healing and hope to those who are oppressed and beaten down by sin, that of their own doing and that perpetrated against them. 

I pray to not shrink back in the face of the threat to be silent about this Hope I carry. It is the only way I know that we can be saved from the sins of our humanity. 

No laws will change the hard heart of mankind. 

And I will give them one heart [a new heart], and put a new spirit within them. I will take from them the heart of stone, and will give them a heart of flesh [that is responsive to My touch],

Ezekiel 11:19 AMP

Since last we met <3

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The parents of this collection of cuties celebrated their 13th wedding anniversary yesterday so we had an overnight on Sunday to give them a little time to eat dinner that didn’t involve fifteen trips to the bathroom and at least one meltdown over having to share a fry with someone.

And as darling as they are right here…I do have to once again give kudos to young parents in the trenches because this…

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was what their first response to “Sit down together so I can take a picture of you and send to mommy and daddy” looked like.

So here are the reality pics of the event…just the highlights…

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After we made the trek to the park playground, we had to stop by the water tower so everyone could do whatever it is boys feel the need to do with a large white painted tower and yes…the paint does rub off on your hands…thank you Wet Wipes for once again saving us.

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We had another one of our fancy patio party dinners.

Imitation Orange Dye is a food group, right?

If so, we are good on our RDA.

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Monday morning we hit up Dunkin Donuts, which all three boys proclaimed to be the best Dunkin Donuts Shop in the whole world. So … we have that going for us now.

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This is how they entertained themselves when I said surely they could stand still along the wall of the post office while I worked with the guy behind the counter to get a package mailed.

They were so entertaining for the people waiting behind us that the post master handed out suckers to them and to the people in line.

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We went to the zoo and scared the living daylights out of the animals with our enthusiasm.

I may have to have knee surgery after crouching down for this picture and everyone thought I said, “Dog pile on Lola!!!”

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We grabbed some lunch at the McDonalds over by our old house and I started crying because it was like fifteen minutes ago I sat at this table with their mom, Tia and Uncle John saying basically the same things I said yesterday…but still…best days ever are best days ever even when you need a jumbo diet Coke just to stay awake <3

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And finally this classic shot because E. M. M. E. T. T. has met his match.

This one finagled a toy away from him and then followed him around doing this for quite some time.

What you can’t see or hear is her making the cheesiest smile and saying….Emmmmeeeettttttttt…..as she held the toy tight to her chest.

Oh the irony.

Have a great Tuesday and check back tomorrow <3