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Seeking what I really mean when I say I am seeking peace….

www.laurareimer.net

When I think of defining “peace” in my own words, my first thought is to join it with what I consider to be its sister term: “quiet”. 

To have some peace and quiet is to have a place of tranquility where it seems I may have a hopeful glimmer of bringing all my scattered thoughts into some sort of order.

Peace and Quiet is a land where I am not required to come up with responses to someone else’s thoughts and I do not have to sort through processing anything that is being presented to me either verbally or nonverbally by anyone else or deal with situations that I am not equipped or prepared to handle. 

Except there is a small problem with Peace and Quiet and that is the noisy conversations still going on inside of my own head and heart. 

So I see that the phrase from yesterday’s devotion is so true…

“Control masquerades as peace…”

Because when I am left to just myself and my own jumbled thoughts, I can feel like I am at peace, but I am really just fooling myself that I am more in control of the chaos. 

I looked up the definition of peace and found that biblically this word means “complete wellness and wholeness” – much more than just a placid condition of lack of stress and conflict. 

Out of curiosity, I googled the phrase “how can we attain peace” and sadly of the fourteen options on the first page of the search, only one was biblically directed near the bottom of page, and it was from Joel Osteen.

Some of the suggestions from other sources seemed to direct the seeker into methods of taking charge of thoughts and situations. By will power, or mind power, or just changing your perspective on things – you can attain peace. 

I don’t think so. 

If I am left to rely on my willpower to overcome a lack of peace, I have fifteen unwanted and stubborn pounds of flesh that can not resist a bag of potato chips. Every ounce of that fatty tissue will testify that no matter how much I want to change, I do not have the power within me to bring that about. 

But what I do have, is a strong understanding that to be made completely well and whole is going to take something bigger than me. What I do have is the realization that there is something more to having peace than just being quiet and still.

What I really want, as I think about it, is not an absence of conflict and not an uninterrupted series of days where I can do what I want and do it well. 

If I were to have that, I would also not have most of the people I love or they would have to live like robots doing what I want them to do. 

No, that’s not what I want.

What I really want is to remain stable and healthy and healed and whole as I move through life sharing the journey with others who think differently, respond differently, ask me questions I have to think about or don’t know the answer to, deal with moods that are not congruent with my current mood, correct children with the same exact information I have corrected them with a thousand times and not lose my junk, not overreact when too much happens all at once, not come undone when plans get changed or the needs of someone else wipes out my well-planned day… 

What I really want is this:

Real wisdom, God’s wisdom, begins with a holy life and is characterized by getting along with others. It is gentle and reasonable, overflowing with mercy and blessings, not hot one day and cold the next, not two-faced.

You can develop a healthy, robust community that lives right with God and enjoy its results only if you do the hard work of getting along with each other, treating each other with dignity and honor

James 3:17-18 THe message
www.laurareimer.net

That’s a good place to start, right?

Can I pray for us?

Heavenly Father, God of mercy and grace. Your love for us and patience with us is unending and I am so grateful. 

Father God, you see the conflict and stress of our days from a vantage point of knowing the end from the beginning. 

When things start swirling around us and within us today, oh Lord, would you in your kindness gently or sternly (your choice to get our attention) remind us that You are our Peace.

We do not have to conjur up some kind of peaceful state for ourselves but rather we can know that You have given us YOUR peace through Your Son, Jesus Christ.

You have made us healed and whole and complete in Him and I pray we could rest in that and believe that and live in that truth. 

In Jesus’ Name

Amen <3

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Seeking peace <3

www.laurareimer.net

This morning in my devotions I found a phrase that just jumped off the page to me. 

In a small book called Jesus-Centered Daily by Rick Lawrence, I was reading about a Saturday he experienced that sounds very familiar to me. 

He started off his day with quiet time and prayer, a workout and a nice lunch. But shortly after that things begin to unravel and he lists a variety of unwelcome interruptions that build and pile up until the day is basically a train wreck. 

Before all of the chaos begins, he says “Control masquerades as peace.”*

Wow. 

I can so relate. 

When I just have myself and my schedule going, I can feel like I have peace. 

But true “peace” isn’t me running my own show with no one messing it up. 

That is a false sense of control. 

If my “peace of mind” rests solely on no curve balls, no pop up thunderstorms, no waves from passing boats rocking my one-woman kayak…then I am in big trouble. 

I feel a series coming on, my friends….so as we wrap up July…come on back tomorrow and let’s take a look at this revealing of where Control can get confused with Peace and what true PEACE might look like <3

*Jesus-Centered Daily, Rick Lawrence; Group Publishing, Inc. 2020

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Tis the season …. <3

I have been doing a study this summer by Ruth Chou Simons called “Truthfilled.” 

It is based on a practice she learned from her husband which she calls “preaching to my own heart.” Grounded in the example of Psalm 43 and the book of Colossians, Ruth walks this study through the fact that we are always giving ourselves inner chatter and often the words we are speaking to ourselves are based on old ruts and, basically, lies we have come to accept as truth. 

About ourselves, about our circumstances, about God and about others. 

By filling our minds with truth (hence the name….Truthfilled) and practicing preaching Truth to our own hearts, we are transformed in our thinking and as we know, we act on what we think. 

She is an artistic student of the seasons and so she has separated the study into four seasons that use the natural order of the conditions of spring, summer, fall and winter to compare to our own spiritual seasons. 

I was particularly interested in her take on fall. She calls it a season when all the abundance stops. The gardens are spent, the flowers are no longer blooming, the long days of sun and activity have left us tired and sun dried and full. 

When I read her description, at first I was confused because I thought how Fall has always been a season I felt energized. 

She says,

“In the same way that a garden explodes and then must recoup after being spent, fall is a season of the heart that reestablishes and reminds a believer where his or her provision for perseverance comes from.” 

Truthfilled by Ruth Chou Simons, Lifeway Press, 2020. Page 121

As I walked this morning I enjoyed, as I do every time I walk the neighborhood that surrounds us, the bounty of color in pots and hanging baskets and flower patches that line the homes of our area. The hydrangea bushes are so full of blooms they take my breath away.

The giant hibiscus in front of many houses make me laugh as they really just exceed themselves in how huge the flowers are. The corn fields have reached full height and in some places we cannot see anything but the tall green stalks on either side of the walkway. We call it the corn tunnel. 

Our own little pollinator garden has filled in and plants are crowding against each other with those crazy pumpkin vines continuing to send out new shoots and little vines looking for anything to wrap themselves around. 

And I love it all.

A feast for the eyes of someone who can not ever get enough of the wide range of colors and shapes and handiwork of God. But I sense that we will soon be winding down. And although I will be sad when the sun starts setting before we even are thinking about what to have for dinner and I will miss sitting out on the patio and just watching little hummingbirds flit around, I know the shorter, cooler days will bring a refreshing. 

The seasons are all part of the ebb and flow of our lives and each has a purpose for both the natural and spiritual in us and around us. 

So enjoy the bounty even as the heat and humidity climb. 

Embrace the cool at the end of the day when the sun is setting and the fireflies begin their dancing about the yard. 

Stop at the farmer’s market….take someone up on that offer for tomatoes and zucchini…grill…read outside in the shade…admire the flowers. 

Take in all the fullness of summer now so that when fall comes, you can embrace the ahhhhhhhh…..of harvest and then rest.

Bless you. 

You are dearly loved <3

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