Category Archives: Encouragement

Sorry. Not sorry.

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Yesterday as I was driving north and my mind was rambling around as it is prone to do; for some reason I landed on a current phrase in social media that makes me chuckle first but ponder later.

You may have seen a post where someone shows a decadent dessert or a stack of Amazon Prime boxes delivered to their front door and the tag line is “Sorry. Not sorry.”

Depending on the photo, this can be a light laugh for the day and a welcome addition to other not-light posts. 

The idea is basically reflecting our human tendency to acknowledge we should be sorry for something, but in reality we are not and if we were given the chance we would do it again in a heartbeat.

It’s funny when it is something that really brings no harm to anyone including ourselves, but the underlying truth of it is not so funny. 

Yesterday I was with the band of brothers and Miss Caroline and we had some typical issues that plague childhood in that they sometimes were not quick to listen or obey. 

We had several Come to Jesus meetings with Lola that culminated in a big Come to Jesus seminar when dad got home. 

Everyone was sorry…and all was forgiven….but both Zach and I repeated what every parent has repeated since the first parent ever dealt with a child and will continue to repeat until Christ’s return…just saying you are sorry but not changing your behavior is not really being sorry. 

As I did when I was the parent and now do again as the grandparent, I usually walk away from these times of teaching, rebuking, correcting and instructing with a little playback of what I said only it comes to me as God’s voice agreeing over my own tendency to be sorry and yet not change. 

For example, I am always genuinely and deeply sorry that I make my punctual and gracious husband walk in late to things…but not sorry enough to have changed much in the 38 years we have been married.

I am truly sorry at the end of a day of eating good healthy food and then foraging the pantry just before bed and snacking on anything salty and crunchy….followed by something sweet…and then returning to the salty, crunchy to get rid of the sweet and then…repeat…repeat. And I feel sorry because I ate food I didn’t need. But not sorry enough to not do again the next time I find myself on a scavenger hunt for snacks.

When I let my frustration over a situation build up and I spew all of my sarcasm and anger and venting onto a poor unsuspecting human, I am sorry. Very sorry. But not enough to learn that this never brings healing to me, doesn’t enhance my capacity to forgive the perpetrator and leaves some poor soul covered in my yuk. 

You get the idea. 

Sorry can be regret  you got caught…or a way of buying yourself back into the good graces of someone you can keep hurting…or a cheap way to feel better about yourself.

But true sorrow over our sin should bring us to repentance and a heart change – a crying out to God to help us to overcome the evil within our own DNA that constantly lurks under the surface trying to take back what God has done in us through salvation. 

“Sorry. Not sorry.” may be a funny post on Instagram but in real life it is an ungodly attitude that needs to be confessed, repented of…prayed over and then a walking forth in a new state of…

Forgiven. Done and done. 

We are all works in progress…let’s keep progressing as we Journey Onward <3

The truth and nothing but the truth in journaling….

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A few weeks ago a friend of ours stopped me in the lobby at church to ask me about journaling.

That’s not surprising in and of itself because I do get asked about that from time to time, but it is always women and this happened to be a man. 

He has been feeling the nudge to journal more regularly as part of his study and prayer time and his question was a good one. 

He asked me if I stick to vague references about heart issues or if I am gut honest when I journal.

Short answer?

Gut honest. 

I believe that writing out my thoughts, ugly and raw … deep and pondering…working through all of what is crowding out God in my heart, soul and mind…is part of the journaling process. 

It helps me clear away the fluff and often reveals pride or guilt or whatever isn’t of God and makes room for Him to do what He does…

convict, rebuke, comfort, forgive, restore, edify, counsel, speak into this life that He gave me. 

And there is another reason I express myself in journaling with bold transparency. 

There are days I run across an entry and as I read the words I wrote with my own hand, farther down the road of this journey, I sit in humble gratitude for how God took those thoughts the day I wrote them and He held them tenderly and faithfully and because I owned what I was feeling…

He did His thing and I do not feel shame for what I misunderstood about His goodness. 

My honest outpouring was a child crying out to her Abba Father. 

And while I may not get an answer right after I write out my heart and my questions…over time, He worketh <3

I ran across a confession I wrote in the margin of the No Other Gods study today. 

I wrote it in a hard season of deep hurt three years ago. 

In the midst of painful loss and transition, as I cried out to God, He revealed to me things that were buried in me that needed to be dug up and removed. 

Today I read with humble gratitude the exchange I had with Him that day and I can mark the growth that has come three years later. 

Little bits of fruit here and there on a tree that dug her roots into His mercy and grace and took life from His living water as we limped through a rough time. 

Perhaps you are not one who takes up a pen and writes out your thoughts, but it is the only way I know to record mine so that I can remember what God has done for me. 

He is great and awesome and yet so very kind and personal. 

Know Him. 

The hardest part about seasons is when they change….<3

 I am writing to you from Atlanta, Georgia this morning…how odd is that?

Back when I was a young girl with all kinds of possibilities swirling around in my head for what I wanted to be when I grew up, I thought being a buyer for a store sounded like an amazing job. Being paid to shop?

Yes, please. 

I also thought being a stewardess sounded ideal because, again…paid to travel?

No brainer.

Or a teacher because my stuffed animals made great students as I stood before my little chalkboard in the basement and handed out assignments.

But my heart’s deepest desire was to be a wife and a mom and to maintain a home and God gave me that, while allowing me to work part time jobs here and there that have given me much fuel to entertain you.

He also allowed me ample shopping for groceries and kiddo’s clothes and such.

 And I have been blessed with so many travel opportunities without having to push a drink cart down a narrow aisle.

Although I still wistfully envy watching them gracefully point out the exit doors, emergency lighting down the center of the plane and demonstrate how to put on your oxygen mask.

All that being said; here I am, a few days away from turning 61, experiencing what it is like for someone to be a buyer for a store.

I have been given the opportunity, this late in the game, to accompany my dear friend and “boss” (she laughs when I call her that) on her annual buying trip to the Americas Mart. 

And let me tell you…

I thank the good Lord He didn’t answer my whim to do this full time for some department store many years ago.

He knows me and… while this has been a wonderful experience and so interesting and fun and yet definitely hard work… I think how much I would have missed as I watch full time buyers making selections for their stores and I think of the pressure this kind of career has brought on them.

God wired them for it, bless them…but this lady right here is thankful for her smaller town and time to ponder and study and the way God let me teach.

Not in front of a chalkboard in a school house though.

God allowed me to fulfill that dream on Sunday mornings in front of a variety of adults at my church for so many years.

And now that season has come to an end, my friends.

Last Sunday I let those who attended know that I will be stepping down from teaching our class as of the end of summer.

Years ago the pastors asked me to come up with a name for the group that showed up to let me facilitate their learning and since we were meeting in a room where the equipment for a renovations project was stored, I said we were the “Under Construction” class. 

I liked it because, while it did describe our classroom full of ladders and paint cans, it also fit my philosophy about this Journey…we are all works in progress…God is continually refining us and making improvements to fit us to look more like His Son. 

This little blog grew out of a weekly letter of encouragement I sent by email to a few people. It grew in number over the years as it would get forwarded and people asked to be added to the list.

Those will continue as will this blog, because I am not finished encouraging those who God might send my way <3

If you attend our class (or ever attended over the years)  and were not there on Sunday, please know how deeply loved you are and how thankful I am for each one of you.

You were more than just someone who sat in a chair for an hour and listened to me ramble…you are an extension of the Body of Christ and an answer to prayer that God could use someone like me and I am so thankful that you are part of my story and allowed me to be part of yours. 

You are my family and my friends, my brothers and sisters. 

Group hug and I will chat with you next week..

because for now…

I have miles to go…

literally…

before I return to this room tonight to sleep <3

Fear of heights <3

www.laurareimer.net

So I got to come to Atlanta and go the the AmericasMart and it’s pretty amazing.

Three buildings the size of … I don’t know….a small airfield maybe…I might be exaggerating but not by much.

Twenty plus floors, each loaded with show rooms of all the things…but one tiny glitch.

Unless you want to go allllllll the way back down to planet earth to pass from one to the other you have to cross this death bridge of glass suspended over thin air.

Kind of like the sensation Spider Man must have on his nightly outings.

See that foot in the picture.

That’s the tennis show of a man who had to be my senior by maybe five years or more.

That’s as far as he will go out on it he said.

And he works there.

I got a few inches further and just looking out to the side of that building in the background took enough years off of my life that I am now technically older than the owner of the black aforementioned tennis shoe.

Oh I will cross that bridge tomorrow.

Make no doubt.

I once conquered my fear of heights in the presence of our daughter Sarah and there is no way I will go back on a victory.

It won’t be pretty…and I may be extremely focused on my own feet as I make my way across that span of fear…but I will do it.

A victory over something doesn’t mean it will never threaten to try to take you out again…it just means you know your God got you through it the last time and He will be there, rock solid, all the times you face your giant again…and again…and again.

And when I get to the other side, I will be stronger than I was the day before and I will know that with God…all things are possible.

Stand up to your fear by falling down before you God.

Group high five and I will see you tomorrow <3

Don’t be that tree <3

www.laurareimer.net

We are calling this Fronday because with having the Fourth off yesterday and feeling like we had a glorious weekend day…we are back to work this morning…it looks like Friday but feels like Monday…how about you?

I got to see all kinds of red, white and blue bedecked people on Facebook enjoying festivities, but ours was kind of brown.

www.laurareimer.net

Brown paint for our much needed refresher of a fence that runs along the back of our yard.

Brown ribs and baked potatoes and even browned spots on the corn we grilled for dinner.

And a brown Rose of Sharon tree that didn’t make it through our crazy winter this year.

With sawing and digging and much sweat equity, we got it out and now there is just a flat area of landscaping rock that hides the fact it ever even existed. 

Sometimes as we go through the motions of life, we can wonder if all of our efforts will even matter. As we get older and a youth-driven culture makes us feel marginalized, it’s tempting to just seek ways to be comfortable and ride this thing out, isn’t it?

But that is not God’s idea for you or for me. 

Psalm 1:3 offers us the idea that we can be like a tree that is planted by rivers of nourishing water, bearing fruit in season…not whithering and prospering in all we do. 

But it is conditional. 

This promise is for the one who does not live by following ungodly counsel, doesn’t walk in the ways of sin and doesn’t become one filled with scorn. No, this fruit-bearing, non-withering life is found by delighting in the Lord and meditating on HIM day and night and then, THEN…that one will be like this tree that doesn’t have to be dug up and pitched out by the curb.

We also find, in this passage from Jeremiah, God’s best plan for living a life that continues to thrive and not only be fulfilling but also leaves a legacy of faith to those coming behind us :

“Cursed is the man who trusts in man and makes flesh his strength, whose heart departs from the LORD. For he shall be like a shrub in the desert, and shall not see when good comes, but shall inhabit the parched places in the wilderness, in a salt land which is not inhabited. Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, and whose hope is the LORD, for he shall be like a tree planted by the waters, which spreads out its roots by the river, and will not fear when heat comes; but its leaf will be green, and will not be anxious in the year of drought, nor will cease from yielding fruit.”

Jeremiah 17: 5-8 NKJV

We live in times of great confusion and conflict abounds. 

It is more important than ever that you and I grow in our pursuit of trusting God for all things and examining ourselves for areas where we are acting more like our culture than our Savior.

When we study His teachings and draw nourishment from the living water He provides, we WILL bear fruit…we WILL remain prosperous….we WILL provide shade for others in a dry and weary land. 

As the summer heat continues to develop, maybe we could use that as a reminder to continue to remain firmly planted close the source of refreshing that is eternal. Our time here is short but the seeds we sow through our prayers and our actions will live on long after we are gone.

Be blessed today in all your greeness….you are a lovely planting of the Lord <3