A day of remembrance <3

Russ and I are auditing a Spanish class at our local university this fall.

Last night our profesor encouraged the students to watch the news and pay attention as our nation will surely recount the events of September 11, 2001.

He asked if anyone was alive at the time to even have experienced that day.

A handful of us were.

The rest were either not yet born or infants.

As he shared his own emotional account of the day with his heavy accent still present after twenty years living in this country, the shock and emotions he experienced still rang through his comments.

Trying to explain how we found out via someone watching it on the news and then either calling or telling others in person was so foreign to these kids sitting around us.

It is common to their existence to know what flavor latte a friend just ordered complete with emojis and flashing hearts around it even as the friend drinks it live on an Instagram story.

I see in the paper that it will be taught in some classrooms today and I wonder how you teach that our country has enemies to a one-world, globally minded, let’s all just get along population.

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How do you explain to kids who hear every day of our own people killing our own people that we should remember an attack that came from the outside in and ask them to feel some sort of patriotism?

I don’t know.

These young adults have never known life without walking through metal detectors, having to cut through several layers of protection to get to a Tylenol or practicing lock down drills as a routine part of their grade school curriculum.

Our country is torn and polarized and to think this is something new is to forget that there are families in Oklahoma City whose lives were ripped apart on April 19,1995 by some of us killing many of us.

It is to forget that many issues run deep and there are wrong things that have been done and covered up and that there really are enemies of goodness and righteousness and just putting a generic policy of peace and love out there isn’t going to change that.

It is complicated.

Much more complicated than idealistic chatter will ever be able to master.

We are broken and we are bent.

We cannot fix our messes with logic and reasoning and rhetoric.

We cannot change the minds and hearts of those who do not love or honor God.

But we can pray.

We, who love Him and are called by His Name…we, who have laid down our lives to take up His Life through the Cross can apply the words of this scripture…

IF MY PEOPLE…

will humble themselves…

and pray…

and seek My face…

I will hear from heaven…

and I will forgive their sin…

and I will heal and restore their land.

2 Chronicles 7:14

Greatness for a nation will come when God’s people bend low and repent and seek the only One who can truly bring about change…transforming, life-giving….change <3

 

 

 

Sometimes we need to name our fears so they lose their power <3

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I have been working around the house today and it has been a while people. 

One of those days where anything I do is helping the cause so I interspersed bouts of cleaning with more purging and also spent time going through some of those stacks of bulletins, napkins, envelope backs and receipts that perch on the edge of this computer desk. 

They contain sermon notes and thoughts that I have had or someone has said that I thought needed recording and so I spent some time transferring what still made sense into a notebook I keep of ideas on things to write about.

One of the scribbles had just some basic words…and for effect I will tell you I scrawled FEAR at the top of a small lime green square of paper and under it I numbered 1  through 5.

I should also tell you that the numbers actually included a 1/2 between items 1 and  2;

six fears seemingly were recorded…

but #1/2 and #5 are completely illegible…

which is typical of my handwriting…so they are lost forever. 

Although I feel strongly the word by #5 was “done” which is an odd way to end a list of fears but … we will never know.

This I do know. 

They all had to do with my anxieties leading up to our trip to Cuba and I am glad I took the time to write down my fears that day.

For two reason, really.… 

For one thing, I still remember they brought looming what-if fears down to the size of a post it note and I could face them and carry on. 

The other reason was I can look back from today and say none of them ever happened. 

Well, except ironically #5 because we did finish the trip. 

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So I thought I would share them with you today because maybe you have things coming up and you have some fears and when you see mine maybe you will feel a camaraderie or maybe you will think…wow…at least my fears aren’t lame like hers. 

Are you ready?

  1. I will forget something I wished I had packed
  2. I will lose my passport while I’m there
  3. I will have tummy issues
  4. I will do that weird thing I do when I am nervous and shut down and miss the whole experience of connecting with people and being a part of it all

So here I am on the other side.

And let me tell you….

While none of those things happened and I thank God with all that is in me, they are all legitimate fears because they are things that can and have happened to either me or someone else and the thought of experiencing even one of those was producing a fear in me that was undermining the whole process of preparing physically and spiritually for the journey. 

God tells us to cast all our anxieties on Him but I truly believe we need to take some time and nail down exactly what it is we are anxious about. 

Just a blanket throwing the “feeling” of anxiety on Him is kind of silly.

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Because when I wrote those items down (and I am pretty sure the day I compiled the list numbers 1/2 and 5 made perfect sense), I was focusing on some real possibilities of things that could ruin the trip for me. 

But as I faced them on paper, I could think through why I was concerned and talk to God about it and pray and then yes, cast the worry that was wrapping tight around each scenario on Him and ask for His help to do my best on my end and leave the rest in His hands. 

What is troubling you today? Perhaps you can take time to jot it down or voice it in a prayer and then ask God to show you your part and give the rest to Him. 

I am praying right now that the Lord will open your eyes and heart to be honest before Him and then as you list those fears, you will have wisdom to know how to pray and how to release them to Him.

I pray He will guide you in the practical steps you need to avoid pitfalls where you can, and peace to know that if your fears pan out…He is with you. He will get you through.

I pray you know He is already ahead of where He is leading you but He is also right there with you each step of the journey.

Blessings and have a good weekend <3

Who doesn’t love good stuff that’s free?

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Good morning to you!

My kind husband has supported me in this writing effort and also funded not only the website but also the means for me to attend three conferences over the years.

The first one I signed up for was She Speaks led by the Proverbs 31 team back in the summer of 2013 and I didn’t have a blog or anything.

Just me and a closet full of journals and scraps of paper with thoughts scattered hither and yon.

I had no idea what I was doing and had flashbacks of every new school I had to enter.

And believe me with eight of those experiences under my belt, I know a thing or two about walking in alone.

So every time I entered the large room for meal or teaching, I would pray for God to send me to the right table.

One of those prayers was answered by sitting with an elegant and reserved woman who was also new to exploring how to use the unquenchable call to capture all the swirling thoughts and ideas in our head and hearts and corral them onto ink and paper and then ask God…

Now what?

We exchanged information and kind of kept up over the next few years as we each began to flesh out a presence on the internet.

Fast forward to last summer when I got the idea to google writing conferences and came across The Declare Conference held in Dallas area each year.

The speakers looked solid and it was close to John so I decided to check with my friend Lisa who happens to be a Texan and see if she had heard anything about this gathering.

Turns out she had an interest in the same event and we ended up rooming together last year.

How cute is she?

I know…pretty darn cute ….

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She had a book proposal put together and presented it with favorable results and when I say “book proposal” let me tell you…her research and art work and concept absolutely blew me away.

She is a student of God’s Word but has the gift of making it accessible to draw other students in to the process of learning.

I love her posts and devotions at https://www.wordofgodtrain.me

Lisa has also started a podcast series. Each podcast is around 20 minutes and her gentle voice is pleasant to listen to as she shares her reflections on passages of Scripture. She is speaking to and about women so not sure how much guys would get out of it…but you never know <3

And right now she is offering a free five day study through her website. You can click here for the study:

http://thewarriorshe.com/5-truths-transform-stop-waves-thought/

Here are some samples of the pages – of course I printed mine off, but they come as an easy download right to your computer … no need to add any kind of adobe reader or whatever…easy peasy…

Each day offers simple format of questions that are clear and lead you to passages of Scripture.

The questions are not those obtuse ones that make you feel awkward because you aren’t sure what is being asked….just straight Bible Study questions that lead to LEARNING.

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There is an opportunity to apply what I learned so that I am transformed by the Word and a call to action that moves me forward in my faith journey.

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And in addition to giving me a space for collecting my own passages to meditate on, each day offers her leg work through the Bible…

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I am such a visual person and all these fonts on cards I can cut out and carry with me are just a bonus to the whole study.

So there you have it.

I am including links again at the bottom for Lisa’s website and the Declare Conference below:

The Declare Conference:  http://declareconference.com

Lisa’s devotional website: https://www.wordofgodtrain.me

Sign up for the 5 day Bible Study on the Word of God: http://thewarriorshe.com/5-truths-transform-stop-waves-thought/

and you can listen to the podcasts for both the Declare Conference and The Warrior She found on their pages.

That’s my recommendation…don’t even need to give me a penny for my thoughts…free…free…all free.

 

Who said that?

Yesterday’s post stirred some comments about how we dress after Labor Day. 

Back in the day, there were guidelines for dress and so I joked with some friends about wearing white pants after Labor Day. 

A couple of us, our own daughter Rachel included, struggle with hearing our mom’s voice warning us of some kind of unnamed dire consequence should we slip on a pair of white jeans come the Tuesday morning following this holiday. 

Even if the temperature is well over 100 with the heat index, we just can’t do it. 

No judgment against those who do. 

It’s just we can’t drown out the voice in our heads. 

First off…the fact that I am the voice in our daughter’s head freaks me out…but beyond that…

as I pondered these comments yesterday, I was struck with two thoughts. 

One is how my mom probably made it her mission to prepare me for success and prosperity in life. To aim for good and avoid the pitfalls of evil.

And this is the stuff I tend to remember most vividly…things like “Don’t wear white pants after Labor Day” and her infallible method for solving all mathematical equations by starting with this phrase….

“Well, let’s see. A pint is a pound the world around.”

From there she would commence to ciphering, as Jethro Clampett would say, and come up with the correct answer to just about any math problem. 

Don’t ask me how she did it, but this has worked for me in many a grocery store aisle as I calculated ingredients for a recipe. 

The other thought I had was more a rabbit trail on other voices in my head. 

Because I can become easily discouraged to the point of quitting something just because of the dialogue that runs through my mind. 

Often the statements I give credence to somehow disguise themselves as the opinions of others.

Am I alone in this? 

Maybe I am and if so, pray for me. 

But I can literally assign thoughts to other people based on a facial expression, a chance encounter in a hallway or just a lack of any positive feedback that I twist into disapproval. 

Someone hurries by me or has a slight frown when they say hello. I read this as they don’t like me.

I get a short text response and assume I have offended this friend in some way. 

A card or gift is sent and goes unacknowledged? I have over stepped my bounds and made this one feel uncomfortable.

I am going to credit both Lysa TerKeurst and Beth Moore for help in undoing some of this mess.

My thoughts are based on things I read from different books: Unglued by Lysa and So Long, Insecurity by Beth …but I am not quoting either one…just sharing my takeaways as I apply them to the above vortex of ridiculous self-talk that I can blame on others. 

When I imagine what another person might be thinking and assign these as valid thoughts, I am completely ignoring the fact that no one has actually voiced in real life the comments my mind has manufactured. 

In interpreting a look or perceiving a slight from someone, it is my own brain that develops and fills in the scenario of criticism or discouragement.

It is my insecurities that have globbed onto someone else’s existence and twisted that one’s mood into a direct assault on my efforts to fulfill my purpose and move forward. 

If I stop and ask myself point blank if that person has actually said the things I am assigning to him or her, the answer is always…no. 

How unfair to blame someone else for my own barrage of negative thoughts. 

And in the same way, how unfair to run to God and ask Him to console me when in reality it is my own fault for placing the opinion of others above that of His. 

I don’t think these moments are the time to try and placate myself with “At least God loves me and thinks good things toward me.”

Yes, as a follower of Christ it is the main thing that I find my identity in who He says I am…however, I need to first come clean with the truth that I have a deep need to feed my own ego with approval from others.

Because I have basically come up with what boils down to a fabrication of any truth.

These thoughts are L.I.E.S. and I have formed them and then nurtured them to grow.

And I need to own this about myself.

I have the capacity to entertain a lying spirit in my heart…I need a Savior.

Daily.

When I confess this longing to be loved by others and acknowledge my tendency to be self-absorbed, I am opening the door that leads me to repentance.

I can turn from my natural craving for affirmation from people and ask God to help me seek only His “Well done’s” at the end of each day. 

I want to be a teller and a lover of truth, especially within my own mind.

I will probably always struggle with voices in my head, but by His grace I can sort through them with His help and guidance and throw away the ones that are just vain imaginings. 

Because it seems like it’s been for forever…

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Good morning to you on this post-Labor Day weekend Tuesday.

I am moving incredibly slowly this morning.

Trying to figure out how to best be efficient with the day ahead while I am also considering how soon is too soon to take an afternoon nap.

Probably should wait until after “noon.”

Since I have nothing profound to share with you, maybe just some pictures of our weekend and then it’s off to tackle the To Do list that is lurking around the kitchen counter somewhere near the calendar….

I will do a quick summary of the weekend highlights and let you get on your way <3

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Friday night, we went to our second game of the season…

this time to see our favorite cheerleader more than the actual game…

and since we had to eat dinner…

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there was this.

We decided I could do a fall football game food review so I can report that the Maroa Forsyth team made a pretty tasty burger last weekend.

Since I am not and expert on pork tenderloins, I have nothing to compare this one with but  Russ said Mt Zion serves up a good one.

I worked on Saturday and Russ held down the home-front.

He reported that the grocery and post office lines are ridiculous…yes, yes they are.

And I am so grateful he embraced the wait so I don’t have to do those tasks today <3

Sunday we headed to St Louis after church to attend…

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with these two…

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And yes this is a spliced together picture because we just snapped on the way to the car after dinner.

Details.

On Monday we celebrated Labor Day by laboring in the yard and taking a long walk.

Soooooo hot….

Then dinner with some friends and time to read before we crashed.

This morning we got a text from Rachel with pictures…

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pc/Rachel <3

Graham checked off one of his summer bucket list wishes…he caught a monarch.

In case any of you are activists for this beautiful butterfly, no worries…mom also said that they had a talk about what it might feel like to be a glorious winged creature reduced to living in a cage and so they set him free…

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pc/Rachel <3

And that is how we ended the Summer of 2018 <3

How about you ?