Let us pray <3

Good morning!

I think, read and talk a lot about prayer. 

I pray a lot. 

And yet like all others of my species, I never feel like I have a full grasp of it. 

I get moments of understanding and I truly believe it is the vehicle God chooses to work through here on planet earth.

But I also know…so well…sometimes He seems to work in spite of our prayers. 

And sometimes it certainly looks like our prayers did not work. 

Oh, yes, I know.

Prayer is conversation. 

And prayer stopped the sun in the sky for three hours.

 Prayer changed pagan king’s minds and hearts and prayer raised dead sons of widows and such. 

But the skeptic and the scoffer will point out that maybe those things would have happened anyway so…what’s the point?

And I don’t have an answer for that kind of doubt. 

But I will tell you this. 

The other day I passed one of the many road crews at work around our city. 

And I slowed waaaaaaayyyyy down long before the guy holding the sign came into view. 

I started slowing as soon as all those orange vests registered in my long view. 

And I commenced to praying and looking for one worker in particular. 

He is the son of dear friends. 

Many years ago when he was just a little kid who was friends with our son, his parents moved down to my pew during the call for prayer time at a Sunday morning service.  

He had hit a little bump in one of his subjects at school and they didn’t want to go all the way down front so they stopped where I was and asked me to pray for him to not struggle with his classes. 

I prayed what was probably the lamest prayer I have ever prayed in my life and as we lifted our heads I wondered if they were kind of regretting the decision to not move all the way down to where the big guns were praying. 

But I kept praying. 

And while I have probably never spoken more than a few sentences at a time with this young man, I carry him in a special place in my heart. 

I feel closer to him than many other young people from that era because of the time I have spent just lifting him in prayer. 

It also affects how I view road crews all around this country as I drive. 

I take those construction signs personally because I know and pray for one of those persons.

And all the men and women in orange construction vests matter much to some other people. 

That couple have become like family to me because we pray for them and theirs…they pray for us and ours.

And it binds us closer every year to the heart of God. 

I don’t have to know how prayer works. 

I don’t have to know why sometimes it seems like it did or it didn’t because I don’t think that was ever the point of why God told us to pray. 

I don’t have an answer for the skeptic or the doubter or the cynic. 

I just know that I know. 

Prayer is a good thing that God wants for His children. 

Jesus prayed. 

He still prays.

I pray.

We pray. 

End of story.

<3

Happy Anniversary to us <3

I held my breath this week, just like I have from the first day I sat in the Mosaic Coffee shop at our church and Fred, the FCC tech genius, helped me set up this website.

Every year I frantically log into the server that backs up and runs the innards of Journey Onward multiple times to make sure all the domain registration and site fees are going through, even though I marked the auto-renew option years ago.

And yesterday, just like every year since I tapped out my first post on October 11, 2013, I sat here with tears in my eyes and hands lifted that the hosting company knows what it’s doing…because….five years later…I still don’t have a clue.

I just know that God has called me to head in here as many of the Monday through Friday’s as I can and send out something.

Something silly…something serious…something fun…something about our life…something about what God whispered or shouted into my heart…some quirky observation.

I am so thankful to the people God has sent over the years to help me:

First off…Russ for encouraging me to do this and for believing in me when I sure don’t believe in myself.

For Fred and Robin to help me along the way with some of the more difficult aspects of running a website.

For She Speaks in 2013 and 2014.

For Declare Conference in 2017 and 2018.

For so many of you who like, share, comment – but most of all…when you just come up and tell me you read this stuff…you bless me more than you could ever know.

I often wonder why I do this…like daily…but I can’t not do it so…there is that.

Every year God has shown me next steps and I am sitting quiet as we finish our fifth year journeying onward.

I am listening to where we will head…what we could do to make this more of what He wants it to be.

And now…in honor of the day…here is a repost of my very first blog entry <3

Original posting October 11, 2013 <3

I hope your day is going well. Mine started a little earlier than planned. Apparently, the coffee clock is set ahead an hour and the call of caffeine beat out my alarm.

The extra time is great because it allowed me no excuses to head to the Y. Turns out the place is pretty empty at this hour. This works for me as I am a little intimidated by the whole workout thing.

By the time I had made my way through the machines and headed to the free weights part, the late crowd was filtering in. As I pumped iron, my core pulled in and my lip curling in agony with each repetition, I took in the scene around me thanks to the big old mirror we have to face.

To my right was a guy with 40 pounds in each hand, doing some kind of bicep thing with the same amount of ease that I flick my curling iron. He had a spider tattoo on his arm that was roughly the size of my upper torso.

Behind me and to my left was a young man that I think should have been at school today. He couldn’t have been more than 15. He was doing push ups. A lot of them. And with his legs not only straight out but one crossed over the other. Seriously.

I considered asking Spider Man to help me carry my 5 pound weights back over to the rack and calling it quits, when another gym rat rolled by in her wheelchair. Her weights were resting on her one and only leg as she maneuvered into an empty spot next to me. As she began her exercises, I put on my big girl pants and finished my work out.

We are all at different levels based on our abilities and limitations, and the amount of time we have devoted to the discipline of exercise. As I walked to the car, I remembered that a year ago I was sitting on the couch recovering from a surgery, which worked well since I was unable to walk on a foot plagued by plantar fasciitis. Progress.

It’s like that in our faith walk as well. We have a mixture of abilities and disabilities, a life that has dealt us some great things and some tough things. But with discipline and diligence, we apply the tools of training – reading and study of the Word, prayer, worship, fellowship, obedience – and we grow and prosper in the Spirit. We are all at different places with varied levels of progress. But we are working toward the common goal of bearing the image of Christ.

I pray today you are encouraged by those around you who are seeking to grow in the Lord; not comparing yourself to others. Sense the joy of growing in God’s timing as you rejoice in what He has done in you and look forward with great expectation to what lies ahead. Keep at it and don’t grow weary! Stretch and strengthen and grow!

Even when the word is a hard one <3

www.laurareimer.net

Sometimes Scripture is perplexing isn’t it?

God certainly did not sugar coat nor did He hire a spin doctor to write out the story of humanity….the fall…the redemption…the good, the bad and the ugly of us all.

And aren’t we thankful?

Because life on planet earth is messy. 

It hurts.

It’s amazing.

It’s moments of joy where you think your heart is going to explode in a thousand million bits of happiness.

And it’s those times when the explosion is so painful you can not even breathe as you view the shards of what used to be your existence.

To be honest…I have been so awe struck in the happy that I failed to look for Jesus in the midst of all the beauty of the moment.

But when I have thought and remembered and learned to worship Him…the joy has been eternally sealed.

And sometimes I have missed Him completely in the shattering of pain and heartache. 

But when I have sought Him in raw brokenness …that pain has also become a place of beauty that exists beyond time and space. 

Today I read a portion of Scripture that places two stories back to back that cause me stop and ponder.

Luke 7:11-17 recounts a day when Jesus and His disciples are passing through a town called Nain. 

There is a funeral procession going along…a widow is burying her only son. 

It says that Jesus’ heart “went out to her.”

He goes over to the coffin…touches it…and the son sits up and starts talking…walks off with his mom…goes home…resumes life.

I marvel at this. 

How many moms all around had begged for the life of their son. 

This mom was done and done with the begging and was burying her hopes and dreams and Jesus just saw her…had compassion…healed…raised the dead.

Why?

That’s what John wanted to know. 

Because bumpered up against this passage is Jesus’ cousin John. 

Rotting in a prison he didn’t deserve.

Because he had spoken out to Herod about some serious sin issues in the palace, he was now on death row. 

And he is hearing from his disciples all the miraculous things Jesus is doing. 

But there he sits. 

Jesus even just randomly raised a dead man without so much as a “if You are willing…” from his mom. 

But John faces death any day. 

Innocent of wrong doing. 

The one who had prepared the way. 

The voice crying out in the wilderness. 

Why?

So he sends his disciples to Jesus with a hard question.

Wow. I thought you were the Messiah. The one who would save us. Was I wrong? Should I be looking for someone else? Because…hello? I am not feeling the love here, Jesus. Where are You for me in my time of need?

And even stranger is Jesus’ response. 

He tells the disciples to go back and report to John how the dead are being raised. 

Go back to that dark prison where John waits for Herod to send his henchman and finish this off…and tell him about all the wonderful things that are happening. 

And after they leave.

THEN…

He praises John to the crowd. 

He tells them how great John is in the Kingdom. 

He doesn’t brag about John to John, see?

He gives John’s testimony to the crowd. 

Can it be that right now, He is watching the faithful who struggle and He is declaring your testimony in the heavenliness?

Can it be when He seems the farthest and the least concerned it is because He is saying…well done…well done, faithful one. 

Can we trust His compassion is there when we don’t feel it?

Can we sit in whatever unjust prison we have been assigned and find strength in His goodness even if we cannot see it? 

We must. 

Like the disciples we must say…this is hard…very hard…but where else can we go?

For it is only in You that we find eternal life. 

Please know…I am praying for many of you who are walking through the darkest and hardest of valleys. 

May you know the sweet presence of God in these days. 

Hold fast to the faith.

He is faithful <3

An encounter of the most precious kind <3

www.laurareimer.net

And while we were still sinners…Christ died for us. Romans 5:8

I am fresh off of a particularly sweet morning time with a close encounter of the most precious kind.

In a daily devotional collection I have been reading out of this year, I read my story.

Oh, it was penned by someone else…her name is Alia Joy and her testimony is recorded in a book I received for Christmas last year from my dear friend Lisa who has supplied my morning devotional for more years than I can even stop and recount. 

She prays every year before she purchases and every year…it’s just what I need. Right when I need it. 

This one is called “A Moment to Breathe” and is from the (in)Courage Community of writers. 

www.laurareimer.net

Today’s spoke to my heart because it is my testimony. 

I highlighted and summarized her thoughts in my journal like this:

  • Going forward to receive Christ as a child….over and over and over again … “…and hope that this time it took.”
  • In human moments of failing, in rebellious moments of putting my hand up to God…picturing Him angrily watching and waiting to administer my punishment.
  • Somehow thinking my performance was tied to His willingness to go to the Cross on my behalf.
  • One day realizing all of the above was my distorted view of God and who He is and what GRACE is about.
  • How sometimes I still slip back into that old rut and think that I could ever earn it OR ever lose it.
  • That this abundant, amazing love of God was once and for all demonstrated on the Cross and never was initiated by me.
  • While I was STILL….YET…a sinner…Christ died for me. 

As I wrote all these things out in my journal, the song that bubbled up from my memory was the 2013 Hillsong offering…Christ is enough for me. 

Sometimes the title phrase has sounded wrong to me. 

It has a connotation that could be misconstrued in a culture (even a Christian culture) that focuses on me, myself and I. 

It can come across to the untrained ear if you just focus on that one phrase like and seem like a sort of self-focused statement…

Yeah. There is enough of what I need in Christ. 

But a deeper look at the lyrics clears all of that up.

Give it a fresh listen today <3

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E6MzgVsP2uE

www.laurareimer.net

The lyrics point to a decision to set the face like flint…to turn my back on this world and all that it offers as peace, contentment, prosperity, success, happiness, motivation…and steadfastly walk toward the Cross of Jesus Christ. 

Not because I loved Him first. 

But because while I was …and when I forget even now…He loves me perfectly. 

And so my story has become…

I have decided to follow Jesus.

No turning back.

No turning back. 

In His timing <3

www.laurareimer.net

Happy Monday!

I put a load of laundry in this morning and it was a mixture of shorts and turtlenecks because the weather has been a mix of summer, fall and winter all rolled into one wild and crazy week. 

I want to catch my breath and process all the wondrous notes I have scratched down from the Declare Conference…before I can’t remember what I wrote. 

Because even I can’t decipher my handwriting after too much time passes. 

I have a note on our calendar for today that says “Did you send your _________?”

and honestly…

the word looks like chuus….

Since I can’t even come up with something I should have sent that remotely looks like that, I am going to have to assume I sent them…or I will just sit in the kitchen puzzling my puzzler all day and accomplish nothing.

www.laurareimer.net

October is half over and if anyone can tell me how that happened, please…please…let me know. 

Thankfully the weeding that never got done is about to die off under the first frost of the year so I can check that off the To Do list. 

Life is busy and every single season is jam-packed. 

Recently I was laughing remembering a time when our three were in multiple sports and activities, choir, band, church…you name it…we did it.

Those were the days when I needed a spread sheet just to map out the car pools I was a part of.

One night, I grabbed what was left of my uneaten dinner and set it on the console of our van as I piled kids in the car. We were picking up a neighbor girl and headed to some kind of practice. 

www.laurareimer.net

As she climbed in she glanced at the plate perched next to my elbow…my plan was to use stoplights and the inevitable blocked train crossing to try and consume the remainders of my meal. 

Her eyes were wide as saucers and I realized her mom was one of those who planned ahead…fed kids early on nights like this…didn’t hurtle through life with a flurry of papers and laundry following close behind her as she went. 

I believe it was in that moment that I decided…perhaps we have overcommitted. 

Perhaps it is time to reevaluate our quality of life and learn the importance of the word “No”

We have a million and one choices today for how we can spend our time. 

Only God knows the things He had planned for our day though. 

www.laurareimer.net

Take time.

Seek Him first.

Write down all the ideas and the schedule and the plans.

But then lift them up to Him for clarity and purpose and direction.

Last week, I set out with my list of errands but I asked God to order them according to His plan for my day. 

As I worked through the list, there were several times I ended up in an unexpected place able to help someone else with their interrupted schedule. 

I managed to get all my tasks done, but even if I hadn’t …I would have been on His schedule. 

So much better. 

Always.

Be blessed as you start out your week. 

Seek Him…adjust…be flexible. 

It is the people along the way that matter most and yes, we have to balance maintenance of home and errands and practical things…

But check out what God’s mission was for you today and do it.

Do it as well as you can with the strength you have and by the way…

Come back tomorrow…

Please? 

<3