To everything a season

One of my devotions today was about the dreams God plants in our hearts as children for what our future will be.

The author knew in fifth grade she wanted to be involved in business and has seen God move her into that dream over the years.

My mom used to tell me I had fulfilled my greatest hope for my life when she would visit and I was up to my elbows in diapers and dishes with one kid hanging off the hem of my pants as I tried to move around the kitchen stepping over toys and debris from lunch.

She would remind me that I filled out every “When I grow up, I want to be….” with the words….a wife and a mother.

What I didn’t know when I was scribbling those words in pencil on lines of cheap tablet paper and practicing for hours with baby dolls in a play kitchen in our basement is that wife and mother are not occupations…they are relationships.

And they change over the years.

 

They have seasons and we all know change is not my forte…however…God is and He has been so faithful to teach me how to be what is needed for my family as they have moved into new phases while I try to hold fast to the past deep in this stubborn, slow to adapt heart of mine.

I am a doer and fixing meals, washing clothes, keeping the calendar, micro-managing everyone’s every move…those were the highlight years of this gig.

These days, though, the birds are making their way on their own. And I have to find new ways to love them and support them. I didn’t see this part coming. And sometimes it is hard to adjust to the changes…but…

They aren’t a project, they are people…with choices and consequences…they have jobs and friends I don’t always know…they pay bills and support causes…and if we can get one or two times in a year where we are all in the same place for a few minutes, we thank God and snap a picture.

And daily I am reminded that the order of the desire the Lord placed on my heart was to be a wife first and then a mother.

Daily I thank God for the years He has given me with Russ and I am humbled that one such as I should be able to say I still get to do that thing God laid on my heart so many years ago.

He is not finished with me in my role.

As I continue to seek His will for my days, He shows me the ever-expanding legacy of family.

Seeds planted and sown…watered with tears and prayers…fruit in season and out of season…all in His timing.

All His idea to begin with…and to end with <3

 

 

 

 

Let the Birthday Week Musings begin….

A current trend on social media is pictures of loved ones and the comment “My heart”

Well, for your viewing pleasure, I have a photo today that we could label…

My Brain.

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Because right here is a classic peek into what the top of my desk and the inside of my gray matter looks like most of the time.

Ideas and scenarios and imaginary conversations fly around in a frightening whirl pretty much all the time in this blonde brain as I try to capture them on slips of paper.

 And to be honest…it is kind of exhausting sometimes to be me. 

I can only imagine what wear and tear it brings on my sweet husband who is often treated to one of my thought streams in mid-flow. 

Because basically a lot of my conversations start out like you walked into the middle of a complicated movie and you have no pre-informed notice as to characters, plot or even the genre. 

So this week, I thought it would be fun (for me, anyway) to share some of my observations gleaned from my life thus far.

As I was praying about what to share and what to hold back, I came across some topics for the week. 

Some are kind of awkward maybe, but they are the things that keep surfacing so I am going to pray one more time and spin the wheel and hope my thoughts shared are acceptable to the Lord and can be used by Him today to draw each of you closer to His heart.

Yesterday I was headed home and for some crazy reason, realized I had entered the turn lane into our local mall. 

As Russ pointed out later, it is possible to circle the mall on the access road and still get to our house without shopping, but I thought that maybe God wanted me to go the mall…and I certainly wanted to yield to His direction in my daily walk…so there is that. 

Like so many large shopping centers, our mall has quite a few empty store fronts as well as one of the anchor stores closing soon. 

I think about how the way we purchase things has changed over the course of my life, and I wonder what we are going to do with all these big old buildings if large retail companies continue to go out of business.

I think about how the malls damaged the mom and pop shops and downtowns. And the cycle of cities trying to rebuild those small businesses.

I think about how we can look at big companies and say their greed drove them to ruin. 

But what about our greed?

What about us in smaller cities wanting all the choices of the big city folk?

I look at a company like Starbucks and I think it was our demand that said…I can’t walk another block for your coffee…I want a shop right outside my office. 

So they built them…one right after the other while we plunked down our dollars for their brews.

We would go there when we traveled and then we wanted a Starbucks here in our town..so we got two…and if you aren’t local, you need to know…they are within a few feet of each other. 

I am not kidding. 

It would take more time for the barista to make a latte than it would for you to walk from one Starbucks to the other. 

So we got all the stores…we got the Walmart and Menard’s and Lowe’s that put the small grocers and hardware stores and lumber yards out of business….and now we have the ability to order all the stuff even cheaper online…so these stores are struggling…and where does it end?

I look at my own overstuffed closet and my constant search for a different knick-knack to update the look of our home…and I want it to not cost much but look like it did.

It is my own greed that has pushed jobs away from this country and financed sweat shops. 

Apparently our government has gotten tied up in trade to keep our shelves stocked and there is a system in place that is beyond what you and I can even comprehend. 

Consequences for years of decisions – on all levels…us included…have created fall out that we are going to start feeling here in the heartland in real ways. 

Because you really can’t get something for nothing. 

There is always a cost. 

And I don’t know how to turn this big of a ship around and I am not sure we can.

 Nor am I even convinced we are meant to.

Because God’s Word is clear about how this thing goes down in the end.

All the systems that are in place are coming to a point where they will rise up against God one last time…and then … He wins. 

Once and for all. 

So for me, I live in the struggle of knowing what I am capable of when it comes to greed.

I don’t get it right all the time, but I know God put me where I am in this time to use the resources He has given me to serve Him. 

My purchase at the local shop, whether it is at the mall or down on Merchant Street, is providing income for someone here in town. 

My purchases from a company that provides something I can not get here, yet need…it too provides income.

And yes…the people at the top are getting rich while many, many are just barely getting by…if that…and when I am made aware of injustice, I need to act by doing without that item.

By recognizing, as just one person in the mix of all the “systems” of this economy, that all that I have belongs to God and is to be used to advance His Kingdom…that is the place to start.

Honestly addressing the motives behind my expenditures is another way I can bring our finances under God’s authority.

Prayerfully seeking direction for the dollars we save and spend and give…this is the way we honor God..and that is really the only thing in the economy I do have control over. 

It’s easier to spot the corporate greed than to face it in myself. But God wants me to look deep in my own heart and wallet and make the changes there first…

We are blessed to bless. 

The Fourth Quarter

Well welcome to Monday and the week where I bid farewell to the decade that was my 50’s.

Whoa.

As one of our dear football-loving friends likes to point out….

Laura, we’re in the fourth quarter.

How did that happen?

I am not quite certain, except to say it was spent in moments and some of them were pretty amazing and some I wasted terribly.

Some were so rough, there is no way I would press rewind because I simply have no desire to ever walk through the landmines again.

And some were so precious that the joy of them literally burst my heart so wide that it is painful.

Anyone?

That kind of happy that becomes physical to the point you think maybe you might be having a coronary situation because you heart is doing that Grinch-growth thing and busting out of your rib cage?

And a lot of it was just ordinary moments of doing what needs to be done…with people I love in a community I am blessed to call my earthly home.

I used to love my birthday and looked forward to it with eager anticipation and much chatter.

I always had great celebrations because I shared the excitement of my upcoming special day with anyone who would stand still long enough.

And then I hit an age where getting older lost its charm and my exuberance over the day waned…

to the point that I focused more on the part of the hourglass where the grains of sand are rocking low to the bottom of that inevitable hole.

An attitude that is depressing and pointless and so very wrong.

So it has been my goal to enter the last part of this run with joy and determination to end well.

Fourth quarter in a good game is the best part of the game.

It’s where teams knuckle down and get serious.

It’s where players decide how much they want to walk way knowing each one left it all on the field.

I have been thinking about how best to honor God with the journey so far and so this week I will just have some observations on life gleaned to this point.

No great words of wisdom, but just some of the thoughts and pondering made as I have lived through the past fifty years of life on planet earth.

Hopefully a mix of some fun and insight and doses of my heart.

I hope you will join me for the party as we continue this journey…onward <3

 

 

 

Sometimes it is what you say AND the way you say it <3

Good morning and Happy Friday to you!

Rumor has it we are in for mild temps, low humidity and sunshine for the weekend. That is my weather love language. A rare treat here in the Midwest for sure! 

Yesterday was my day with the kiddo’s and since their schedule was free of commitments, we came down here. 

We took an outing to the playground and library nearby.

 As we unloaded from the car, Emmett and Graham headed to the sidewalk where they were actually getting along and being safe. 

I had Caroline on one hip and Joel was allowing me to unbuckle his seat belt without insisting he can do it.

Oh, no he can’t.

But he still wants to try.

So: “Help me, but don’t.”

Everybody had kept their shoes on. No one suddenly needed a drink or to go potty. I had my purse with the keys and my phone in it plus three drawstring bags for books. 

It was one of my finer moments. 

Just as Joel was ready to slip out, a car pulled into the space next to us and the driver eagerly rolled down her window and loudly and laughingly proclaimed, “You sure have your hands full.” 

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Wow. 

I have heard younger moms express frustration at this, but now I was the recipient. 

While I am pretty sure the lady didn’t mean it in a negative way, somehow I was not encouraged or edified or lifted up. 

Instead I felt like I was an oddity…somewhat like I was spinning plates in a circus act. 

I had no idea how to respond so I just kind of smiled that stiff smile I have when my social skills completely vanish and steered my tribe over to the playground area. 

A little while later we headed back to enter the library and encountered another fellow patron coming up the sidewalk.

This one was a man who appeared to be maybe twenty years my senior. 

Hot from the park and full of energy, we were rather noticeable. 

I was still carrying Caroline, Emmet had already shot through the door and was holding it wide open, Graham was basically scaling the wall around the fountain asking if he could put his hands in the water…no…and Joel was weaving zig zag fashion back and forth trying to decide if he wanted to join Graham for a dip or help Emmett hold the door.

As I attempted to get everyone corralled and let the gentleman go in front of us, he laughed gently and said he had raised five of those himself and gave me a thumbs up smile and nod of the head to let me know I was doing fine.

First off.

The fact that he actually thought they were mine earned him a forever spot in my 2018 Hall of Fame. 

But that aside…what a difference the effect of his words had on me. 

Suddenly we were on the same team. 

I wasn’t a spectacle.

I was a human being tending smaller human beings.

And I was succeeding at it. 

www.laurareimer.net

So if you see a young mom or dad or parents …

or an older Lola-type…

herding tots today…

give them a smile…tell them how beautiful their family is…hold the door…let them hold the door for you as you carefully step over little feet…ride the crazy train of it all a few miles with them…gesture a thumb’s up…and make their load a little lighter <3

 

Why knowing He knows makes all the difference <3

 

I have that holiday feeling thing going. 

Which is kind of odd on a Tuesday but tomorrow is the Fourth of July and in our family it is  double fun because … day off, fireworks, and our John’s birthday … so win, win, win <3

This morning I went through the notes from Sunday’s sermon by Pastor Brian and it was so good I can’t help but summarize again. 

We started a new series called “Quotable” which features some of the more popular buzz-word Scriptures people tend to display on everything from tattoos to mugs. 

The plan is to look at those passages within the context of the Bible text so that we can have a fuller and richer understanding as we apply the timeless truths of God’s Word to our every day life.

 Brian’s teaching centered on the passage I think we most often see around graduations and such…

Jeremiah 29:11…

For I know the plans I have for you…sing along if you know it…

Or as it reads in the NKJV I use…

For I know the thoughts I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.     

While I love this passage dearly, I am always prone to want to remind people that it was not delivered on the cusp of launching someone into some rose-colored future of best days ever on the horizon. 

I want to remind them that the purpose of the promise is to point us to a time when we will prosper BECAUSE we will be in such a desperate place that we will finally turn to God and really pray to Him and really listen to Him. 

But somehow, pointing this out as I munch graduation cake and look at an eighteen year span of photos glued to a poster board display never seems quite appropriate. 

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So I sat under the anointed teaching of our pastor on Sunday and I let far wiser and kinder and more skilled words fall from him over me and as God’s word always does, I was transformed and changed and renewed and led and fed. 

Because as Brian explained it so well, in each of our lives there are seasons that seem God has sent us away into a foreign land. 

For whatever purpose He may have, whether it is consequences of our own choices or the result of others choices, a time of testing or a time of trial, any season where we are saying…this is not what I thought “home” would look like…this is not at all where I want us to be living out our days. 

Would you indulge me on this pre-Independence Day post to give you my summary notes?

All the bold type words are direct quotes or what I was able to get copied from words spoken by Brian Talty…those are not my words <3

<3 In the midst of the worst – God is still God 

Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, to all who were carried away captive , whom I have caused to be carried away from Jerusalem to Babylon  

Jeremiah 29:4

<3 Keep on going – life is not over. Invest in the future. Do what you need to do to get through this time of captivity so that you can thrive on the other side. 

Build houses, live your life fully in them, marry, have children, build relationships, increase, grow, do not let this time decrease you.  

paraphrase from Jeremiah 29: 5,6

<3 Bless your Babylon by praying for the peace and prosperity of this place you are in. Jesus called it loving your enemies and praying for those who persecute you. 

And seek the peace of the city where I have caused you to be carried away captive, and pray to the LORD for it; for in its peace, you will have peace. Jeremiah 29:7 

<3 Be careful not to draw false hope from those who are saying only what you want to hear. Use this time to draw more closely in honest relationship to God and listen for the truth of His voice in this season.

Do not listen to those who deceive you nor listen to your dreams which you cause to be dreamed. Do not listen to those who prophecy falsely in My name. I have not sent them. 

Paraphrase of Jeremiah 29: 10

<3 Pray for the breaking of a stronghold of despair. 

In My timing, I will come to you. When My purposes for this season have been fulfilled, I will return and I will bring you out. I will remember my promises to you, both in the duration and in the ending. It will be good and it will not harm you. It will prosper you and I am with you.

Paraphrase Jeremiah 29:10-11

<3 It is the perseverance and patience and trust and worship WHILE in Babylon that matters most. 

Or as I would say it….the point is not reaching the destination, but rather the journey to get there.

Then you will call to Me, and I will listen to you. And you will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with your whole heart. And I will be found by you, says the LORD, and I will bring you back from your captivity (from this season)… Jeremiah 29: 12-14

One of the most precious things that touched my heart in a tender place was this thought near the end of his sermon.

Brian pointed out that God told them they would be in Babylon for 70 years.

He acknowledged that in the grand time-line of history seven decades is a blip on radar, but for the life of individuals…that is the length of their story here on earth.

How kind God is to us to remind us…in our story… no matter how the plot has twisted and characters have been removed or added or flipped…in spite of changes we were not expecting…or we are due…or we created…or we had dumped on us…

He is with us…to prosper us and not to harm us.

To give us life right where we are.

And we are invited, in the midst of our Babylons, to engage in seeking Him, worshipping Him, bringing His Kingdom come right into the walls of our captivity…to thrive and to do well and increase.

Praise Him <3