Category Archives: Discipline

focuses on the spiritual disciplines

A time to sow…a time to reap <3

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I don’t wear a watch these days. There really isn’t much point. 

I can check the kitchen clock as I go about my various projects. 

Sometimes I have to do them quietly as Russ carries on his work at our kitchen table via phone calls and Zoom meetings. 

I fix us lunch and we eat together and take a quick walk around the block before he returns to the table and I return to my to do list. Often that includes sitting here at this desk and spending the time I used to long for just following rabbit trails of thoughts. 

While our life is quiet and in some ways far removed from the shocking realities others are dealing with, we are not ignorant of the ways this pandemic has shaken the core of all the systems that were in place.

All levels of business, relationships, churches, and governments are feeling the impact and if we didn’t have enough to keep us struggling to not worry, the media is happy to provide worst case scenarios to keep anxiety churning. 

This pandemic has left no area of the industry Russ works with untouched and in the midst of the knowns and unknowns of his challenges, we are also deeply aware of the impact on others here and around the world.

They come to mind as we work through our day and we do what you are probably doing. 

We choose to trust God. We pray. We do what we can do and we wonder what it will be like when “this thing” ends. 

That’s what we have come to call it in our family texts.

“This thing”

“This thing” that has separated us here in our part of the world from those we love and from those around the world who are also separated and on it goes. 

“This thing” lets us only connect through telecommunication, social media and six foot waving distance with others in our neighborhood when we are out walking. 

“This thing” that has filled so many with fear. 

“This thing”that has emptied schools and churches and workplaces, restaurants and ball fields and concert halls, board rooms and factories and businesses.

I can’t say we took it for granted, those places and people we were accustomed to seeing and talking to and living life with. We just didn’t know that we could all, the whole entire world, experience such an abrupt halt in our routines in such a brief span of time. 

We wonder when “this thing” will end and what our “used to be” will look like in the aftermath. 

This week as I realized, short of the most incredible nation-wide miracle where the numbers of cases drop to some incredibly low number or vanish (which believe me, is possible for God) I will experience my first ever Easter Sunday via a live feed.

As a side note, if that miraculous turn around happened, can you imagine the churches and pastors scrambling to open their doors???!!!! How fun would that be to see?

Yes, I know and agree with all the memes…

Spring has not been canceled.

Easter has not been canceled.

The celebration of the Resurrection has not been canceled.

The conquering of sin and death has not been canceled. 

But celebrating in community with the Body of Christ gathered in one place? That has been canceled. As far as we know…

So as this reality began to sink in, and I felt a sadness in my heart, I would just pray and ask God to bring all of us in the Church here and around the world comfort and hope in the midst of all that we have seemed to lose. 

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As I would pray, an old bit of Scripture kept cropping up in my spirit.

It wasn’t like I had it memorized word for word, but the gist of the passage just kept rising in my thoughts…we were like those who dreamed and our hearts were filled with laughter and joy. 

Those words became an anchor for the places in me that are longing to touch our family, to hug (sorry anti-huggers…but I want to hug my friends in the lobby of our church so badly right now), to look in their flesh and blood faces and not via some computer screen or from six feet away…and it rose in me as a promise that this time of isolation will end and we will be reunited. 

Let me share the whole Psalm with you right now. 

When the LORD restored the fortunes of Zion, we were like those who dream. 

Our mouths were filled with laughter then, and our tongues with shouts of joy. 

Then they said among the nations, 

“The LORD has done great things for them.” 

The LORD has done great things for us; we were joyful.

Restore our fortunes, LORD, like watercourses in the Negev. 

Those who sow in tears will reap with shouts of joy, though one goes along weeping, carrying the bag of seed, he will sure come back with shouts of joy, carrying his sheaves. 

Psalm 126 a song of ascents CSB

Can you see that the bedrock of their restoration and joy was a foundation of sowing in tears?

Oh dear friends. 

Yes indeed – pray for our God to restore our “fortunes”…but more than that I urge you to use this time of isolation to sow in tears. 

Your broken hearts and longings are seeds sown and planted as you pray and meditate on what God is speaking to you.

Yes, to YOU. 

While the whole world has been put on hold and while some of our fellow humans are still out there doing the thing they are called to do, any of us who have been given the time to carry a bag of seed…humbly take it up and plant a prayer, a word of encouragement, a conviction in your heart, whatever God is speaking to you in this season…sow that seed, water it with your tears.

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May the Church of the Resurrected Christ tune into the Giver of all Life and do the hard work of this season – whatever the bag of seed God has given to you. 

We will surely be restored. 

We will surely reap a harvest from this time if we do not grow weary in doing what God has called us to do. 

Remember this will pass and we want to come out on the other side with our arms full of the sheaves of all the harvest God intended for His people. 

May the LORD bless you and keep you until we can laugh and be filled with joy as we see one another face to face <3

In honor of my mom <3

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one of my fav pics of my mom and dad <3

Today is the anniversary of my mom’s birth. She left us in December of 2008 and if you have or had a complicated relationship with your mom, let me tell you it is with great joy and deep gratitude to God’s healing and restoration of relationships that I can say, I miss her. 

I am so thankful for her and have grown to appreciate all of her as time has passed, and I know that throughout her whole life she loved and cared for my sister and me to the very best of her ability. 

We humans are fragile and we fight our demons and sometimes it interferes with relationships and I continue to grow in the understanding of this as the years pass. 

When we brought my parents to our area so we could help advocate the care of my father’s further descent into Alzheimers disease, my mom had to live on her own for the very first time in her entire life. 

In solitude she grew in her faith in incredible ways and she overcame some issues that had plagued her. She met Jesus in a personal and profound way and was in many ways transformed and yet in many ways remained her unique self. 

God gifted me and my family a relationship with her that we all treasure. Five years of return on the years the locusts had nibbled on and we are so grateful.

One of my most precious moments from this time with her was a day when I had been called to meet up with my aunt, her sister, who had severe dementia and had taken yet another spill in the nursing home. 

When the hospital called, I had asked if they would hold off on all tests until I could get there and help assess her mental state. She fell regularly and the care facility had to follow through with their end, but often there was a barrage of unnecessary scans and tests because she seemed “confused”. 

The tests and scans were invasive for her and as her advocate, I wanted to be able to speak up. Also if the tests were deemed necessary this time, she would need someone with her to help explain what was happening. Over and over and over… 

Well, the nurse I spoke with as I was scrambling to get out the door assumed I was Dr. Kevorkian’s friend because she lined me out on the phone like I was the cruelest person the planet. 

I called my mom to update and told her I was concerned about what would happen once I got there given the impression I had left with the staff and then I headed out to face the music. 

Of all our ER visit’s this one was the smoothest ever. 

The nurse greeted me warmly and said that after speaking with my aunt she certainly understood my call. They had checked her over and determined she just needed a little bandage. 

After a very short wait, she was attended to and dressed and carefully placed in my car to be returned to her facility. 

I considered having them check me out because I was entering into all the signs of shock. 

After I got her settled in her room, I called my mom. 

She was so relieved and shared that since she had hung up from me she had just sat in her chair holding her Bible in her lap and had prayed for me. The kicker is she didn’t even make her bed. 

This is important. 

I thank God for answering machines and house phones in that time because she had left a message reporting all of these details while I had been taking care of my aunt. Over the ensuing years, when I was tempted to forget how faithfully God works to transform us, I would replay that saved message. 

Because my mom could drive herself to medication with worry and anxiety. 

My mom never didn’t make her bed. 

My mom created worse case scenario’s that would make mine pale in comparison. 

But that day, she let that bed go unmade.

That day when her daughter needed someone to intercede for her, she took her bible and sat in her chair and read and prayed. 

That day she did not the only thing but the best thing she could do for me.

We have a world in great need of help right now and our words to each other about it and our worry over it and our keeping busy with our stuff won’t provide the help it needs. 

So people of faith, sons and daughters of the Most High God, open your Bible and pray.

Just some randoms for Wednesday from our shelter to yours <3

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This morning Russ asked me if it was hard to keep track of the days lately. 

I have to say to him a yes and a no.

My regular pre-Covid19 schedule was anything but static.

The three constants were to work at the shop Wednesdays and Fridays and go to church on Sunday. From there my hours were up for grabs as needed by family and home duties. 

I would lament many days that I didn’t have enough time at home. 

Be careful what you pray for, right? And no…not for one second do I believe God answered my prayer for a freer calendar by sending this to the world. 

PLEASE NOTE: I am assuming anyone reading this knows my heart better than that…but in case you don’t, I am aware of the heartache this is causing beyond just inconvenienced schedules of isolation.

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 I am using these lock-in days to get a lot of much needed home work done. The accountability of having my husband setting up his office at our kitchen table has truly helped keep this ADHD blonde brain on task and for that I am grateful…but I would never have dreamed the extent of devastation that would provide me with this time-standing-still break in our calendar. 

So since it’s Wednesday I figured it would be okay to just throw out some random observations from where I sit each day on this 25th day of March:

#1

Because telecommunication is happening from my normal command central of our kitchen, I have been working in other rooms of the house including this little space we call my desk. 

It actually has a surface that is not paper. 

I discovered this yesterday when I locked myself in here and began working through the piles of stuff that had accumulated. 

It has forced me to realize how I have viewed something God has laid on my heart to do through sharing encouragement via writing and socials media as a “hobby.” I see now I have despised, by belittling, the opportunity He has given me to use something I don’t understand or appreciate to exhort others in the faith.  

As I have been isolated from meeting face to face with real live people, I have begun to notice the way others are sharing their talents. 

Music, cooking, humor, fitness, art, words, teachings, encouragement, correction, wisdom, organization…all these things are being shared in abundance on social media and I am so thankful not one single person who has touched my life said, “Well, what I do isn’t very special. Nobody needs this today.” 

Whatever you are called to do – do it. 

Do it with your whole heart and do it as well as you can. 

Some of you are called to quiet ministries of prayer or one-on-one mentoring, care-giving or cheerleading. 

Do it as unto the LORD – now more than ever.

Don’t despise your calling because you are looking at it from your human perspective. 

Think about the one person that needed to hear or see or know what you have been given to share and do it for that one unknown face, with great joy and for the glory of God. 

www.laurareimer.net

#2

It is still Lent. 

I am saying this as much for me as for anyone who needs reminding. 

While I have continued to do my devotions each morning and am keeping up with my Bible reading, I confess I have lost the thread of any kind of focus on the season of Lent. 

My main thoughts about the calendar leading up to Easter have been ….

  1. The growing realization that we may be sitting in front of our computer on Easter morning in our living room instead of being in our home church and trying to take that in.

 and

b.   There will come a day when we won’t celebrate Easter because there won’t be a reason to. The world as we know it will come to an end and our current setting is a vivid reminder of why we are supposed to, at all times, remember that this is not the final home for us and how this is not a doomsday or morbid thought for followers of Christ but a reason to celebrate and remember that we already died…and we live in Him now…and that we will stand perfected, finally, before the One who died for us and redeemed us. 

But I want to get re-focused on the season of Lent…so pray for me…because if I had a theme going it has vanished from my radar…sigh.

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#3

I believe because of something deep inside me that we will come out of this sooner than we feared. I believe with my whole heart that there will be positive, but sadly in some cases temporary, changes in the way things are done. I sense deep within my spirit that we are going to see God move in mighty ways. 

I believe some of us will be markedly different because of what we have been through. I believe as we recover as a nation and across the globe, there will be improvements from this time that benefit many. 

But I also believe others will return to old or worse ways based on the historical bent of human nature. I believe that there will be another event down the way that will shake us some more because this pattern marks the progression of the world wearing out…we have been given the warnings and signs in Scripture. 

<3 As timing would have it, and having extra time, I grabbed a book off the shelf designated for  “need to read these”.

It is about the Shemita and God’s command for rest. Sabbath rest…the rest for land every seven years…the canceling of debts…the whole thing. 

It is complicated and it was for Israel, but it makes me think of businesses I know that shut down on Sunday in the past and yet continued to do well. And how many of us have not rested who knew we should rest. 

I am not making judgments. I am not wise enough to do so. 

I am simply pondering how often I didn’t rest because there was too much to do…and now I find that we have all…the entire world…has come to a screeching halt in many ways.  

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#4

Even having said that, I know there are still others of us who are working tirelessly now more than ever. 

While I do sense a degree of political posturing regarding the health care crisis, I know for a fact from friends and family that there are medical servants who are being pushed to the limit who need our prayers right now. 

Given circumstances that are too complicated to share here on this little space: our physicians, nurses, hospitals, paramedics, first responders, CNA’s, hospice workers, social workers, pharmacists and techs…anyone who is used to providing well and acute care to our community are being affected with extreme challenges and exposure. 

As followers of Christ, we are called to be obedient to the mandates of our government and to faithfully pray and support those who are on the front lines. 

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I urge you to remain at home if at all possible to slow the advance of spreading the disease. 

I urge you to think carefully before you engage in inflammatory political arguments on social media. 

I urge you to extend grace to those who use humor to relieve stress and yet I caution you to be sensitive in the way you share your own humor at this time. We need to laugh and sharing laughter is good medicine, but also be people of sober judgment about what is above and what is below the line of decency. 

I urge you to apply the practices and disciplines of our faith in Christ by turning to Scripture and prayer in your closet. 

I urge you to respond to every nudge of the Spirit when He puts a friend or family member on your heart  – and then figure out a way to reach out to that one person…you can text, call, email, post…positive and life-giving words of hope and encouragement without breaking any of the shelter in place orders. You can provide a gift card to a local restaurant for a young family struggling with the new normal or drop a meal off on the porch of lonely single person who cannot get out. 

How blessed we are that in our afflictions, God gives us the comfort we need so we can comfort others. 2 Corinthians 1:4 

Be blessed today…and be a blessing as we journey onward. 

Refuting lies with truth <3

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Well, it is Monday, March the 23rd. 

I actually say the day and date to myself every morning now…because every day looks pretty much the same if I am not careful. Routine is kind of important to me, thus I am making efforts to keep on track mentally, emotionally and spiritually. 

Because every day may SEEM to be the same, but it isn’t. 

It’s a new day, every day…whether you are dragging yourself out of bed to face teaching school online or facing another day in the war zone that medical care has become or handling the transport of goods and services in ways you never dreamed of or trying to keep your family productive and peaceful…it is a new day, full of God’s tender mercies that come new every morning. 

That is the truth.

While it has always been true that we need to keep renewing our minds with truth, it is as important these days as we are isolated from physical contact and a mind is easily led astray; with the soul and heart and spirit following close behind. 

Today I want to share a word to those who call themselves followers of Christ. 

There are just a lot of words flying around out there and ideas and underneath them there CAN be lies of the enemy or ignorance or misinformation.

In my understanding, if I want to imitate Christ, the way to counteract this is not to shout out my opinion but simply and quietly refute the lie with truth. 

Publicly, if I know I am called to do so, but privately is powerful and effective. 

So for example only of how I am doing this, here are some things to show you what I mean. 

Last night we watched the news and when a famous doctor said, regarding staying informed about the developments of the virus and such, “Knowledge is what will bring light into our darkness.” I just said quietly …. “Lord ,You alone bring light into our darkness.” 

Now do I mean we are to stick our heads in a bucket and ignore being informed. No. But information may help us make good choices, but the darkness we need penetrated is a spiritual darkness and head knowledge will never do the trick. So when I heard what kind of sounded like the truth being spoken, I just finished it with solid truth. 

And when the newscaster said at the end of all the reports that all the eyes of the country were on Washington to deliver us from this medical emergency and rescue the economy, I said, “Lord, the eyes of the world may look to Washington, but the eyes of your people are on YOU to deliver us from this global illness and provide for the needs of all of us.” 

Because those who don’t know God will be looking to systems to save and deliver, but the eyes of God’s people should be on Him. Our words should speak hope, life, truth, grace and mercy. 

Not in an ugly or loud or judgmental way. 

But as people who stand in the gap for those who think that man can save us. 

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Here is the prayer that came to me as we turned off the TV and lights and entered our rest for the night:

Heavenly Father, I heard what the newscaster said and I know you did, too. He doesn’t know or isn’t willing to say where our help comes from, but we know and Lord, I know You listen to us. So Lord, I say that I believe our help comes from You. I know You work through us and so I pray that You would give our government leaders and our health care leaders Your wisdom and guidance to lead us well. I pray You would hold back the spread of this disease and I pray that You would diminish its effects in those are currently infected. I pray that You would provide for all of us with what we need and I pray that You would forgive us for our selfishness and greed. I pray that hearts that have been hardened to You will be softened and I pray that those who love You would proclaim Your goodness and truth. Give us who follow You discernment and keep us from the temptation of fear and doubt. Please forgive those who do not know and help us to remember to pray for them. May Your Kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven. I ask in Jesus’ Name. Amen <3

my prayer for truth in all of us <3

There are so many amazing resources right now available. 

Here are some I have found lead me into places of worship:

Kelly Minter is offering a 14 day devotional sent to your inbox. https://kellyminter.com/2020/03/21/blessed-life-free-devo/

On Facebook:

  • Michael W. Smith held a worship service in his home yesterday.
  • Natalie Grant does a song a day (also on Instagram). 
  • Locally, a young couple is doing worship sessions – you can find these under Randall L. Strunk II

This prayer is from a booklet I received from a prayer mentor years ago.

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Please share my website or any other website that brings you hope and encouragement with others. We need all the doses of Jesus we can get…now and always <3

Be blessed and filled with hope and grace. 

Stay away from stupid and senseless arguments. These only lead to trouble, and God’s servants should not be troublemakers. They must be kind to everyone, and they must be good teachers and they must be very patient. Be humble when you correct people who oppose you. Maybe God will lead them to turn to him and learn the truth. They have been trapped by the devil, and he makes them obey him., but God may help them escape.

2 Timothy 2: 23-26 CEV

Because the truth is…we don’t know <3

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One day this week while we were being double teamed by the band of brothers and little miss thing, Graham went missing. 

I found him curled up on the front room couch. 

I asked him what was wrong and he just shook his head. He said he didn’t know. 

I asked him if I guessed the right thing, would he tell me and he nodded yes. 

So I went back over what I could remember of the past fifteen to twenty minutes to see if I could find the trigger but as I suggested some possibilities he shook his head no repeatedly. 

I asked if he just felt sad and that got a nod of ascent. 

He had been up playing basketball earlier at a friend’s house and I wondered if being with them reminded him of all that he has lost in such a short time. 

At eight years old, his sport’s teams and lunch room grossness and games of kickball are his world. 

Sure he loves his family, but it’s hard to keep getting excited about a two year old’s tea party with her Minnie Mouse cart and a four year old who needs the hoop lowered to about 5 feet off the ground and a six year old who wants to beat him and imitate him all at the same time, on a loop…24/7. 

And he’s sad. 

And he wants to know when it’s going to end, but we don’t have answers. 

The adults who always have fixed things, can’t fix this. 

So we talked about our faith, G and I. 

And I told him I get sad, too…and even scared. 

And I have to remember that I never had control of things, but I could manage them better before this thing started. 

And we prayed. 

We prayed for an end and we prayed for healing of those sick, we prayed for patience and for hope to fill us and we prayed for our friends who don’t know Jesus and are trying to get through this without Him.

The sadness didn’t go away right away but we held each other, and we drew comfort from that. 

God is good. 

This I know. 

And we will see it…keep the faith, dear ones. 

Keep the faith <3