Category Archives: Encouragement

Even if ……

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This morning my reading was in Habakkuk. 

A short book and the devotion that accompanied my reading suggested taking time to read the whole thing, so I did. 

This minor prophet is asking God why He is allowing what is evil to overtake the people who belong to Him and God answers. 

He has raised up an enemy army who will storm in and He is allowing a big mess to come to fruition because the people have made choices and decision and set a course outside of His will and so He is letting them live the consequences. 

And if you think that sounds like God is unfair and unkind and mean and vengeful…remember the times you heard your parents say or have now said to your own little rebel something to the effect of ….

“You have made your bed, now lie in it”…

and you wished with all your heart they had chosen differently and you cry hot tears watching them suffer…

but for the love of their souls, you let them reap what they sowed so they hopefully will learn a lesson and choose right the next time….

and then ask if God is unkind. 

Habakkuk asks God why and he listens to God’s answer.

Like many of the prophets, the suffering Habakkuk was enduring was because of corporate disobedience of God’s people. The punishment was not necessarily his own actions, but because he identified himself with those who belong to the Lord, he accepted the consequences as his own.

 And he lands on this beautiful verse to close out the book:

Though the fig tree may not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines; though the labor of the olive may fail, and the fields yield no food; though the flock may be cut off form the fold, and there be no herd in the stalls – Yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation.

Habakkuk 3:17-18

The writer of the accompanying devotion in my study this morning suggested writing out that verse by adding your only “even if’s.”

I did it and they were so personal, I didn’t even use my pen to record them. 

In pure fellowship and communion with my Savior, I simply said …

Even if…and I named off the things that are my deepest hopes…

Even if…this thing…that thing…

remains unchanged

bears no fruit

is completely void of a yes from You

Yet..

YET…

I will choose to rejoice in the LORD

I will take JOY in the God who saved me <3

He is worthy of our praise whether things are as we hoped they would be or not.

He is worthy of our praise when we are being disciplined, corrected, or redirected.

He is worthy of our praise whether our circumstances are great or alarming.

The choices that led us to consequences, whether ours or someone else’s, may be out of our control…but the choice to say…Yet…Yet, I will rejoice in You..no matter what…that is all on us.

How will we choose today?

Monday thoughts <3

www.laurareimer.net

We had a full weekend that started with a Trivia Night for the women’s ministry on Friday and ended with catching up and much laughter with some friends last night at a Mexican restaurant because…while we don’t need an excuse to eat chips and salsa…Cinco de Mayo is a real thing here on the prairie.

Thrown into the mix was an attempt at a garage sale, multiple trips up north for ball games and a wonderful message from our pastor to youth and families, Heather (do yourself a big favor and listen to it here —> https://www.firstdecatur.org/messages/the9/ but make sure you have a pen and notebook handy because you will want to pause and jot notes!)

And it may not be up on the site yet, so be sure and catch Pastor Wayne’s sermon from last week while you wait <3

Today is stacked full to the brim, so for our time together I want to share a prayer I found in the journal pages part of this wonderful book. 

The book was a gift from my dear sister-in-law Sonja at Easter 2003 and I recently rediscovered it to use for my prayers each morning. 

Written by Rosemary Jensen, who was the director of BSF International for twenty years, it is broken down into 31 attributes to pray…just perfect to work through in a month. 

Here —–> https://www.amazon.com/Praying-Attributes-God-Personal-Worship/dp/0825429420

This is a prayer I wrote in response to God’s attribute of “Glory” on January 6, 2008 and I hope it blesses you. 

Based on this verse, words in parenthesis are my own summary of the previous verses:

All of this (“this” being any of the trials and sufferings that come in life, because of Christ’s work in us and our own death to sin so that we are raised to life with Christ) is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God. 

2 Corinthians 4:15

My prayer response:

Heavenly Father – all the situations around me, involving me, affecting me – were designed/are designed for my benefit. 

Not for my advantage

but my benefit [archaic; an act of kindness. Something that promotes well-being; useful] …

so that the grace YOU have given me will flow through me to others (Rivers of Living Water) ——>

and this will cause them to thank You and bring glory to You.

It is NOT about me – it is ALL about You.

In Your name, do this work in me today <3 

Laura Reimer 1-6-2008 <3

What I Discovered yesterday <3

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If you have journeyed with me for any length of time, you know that few things test me like a call to some customer service department. 

I prepare mentally and spiritually as I track down the 800 number from a website and I vow to be a good example of the hands and feet and mouth and attitude of Christ, but after following numerous voice prompts and menu options that have changed…and attempt to understand what the person on the other end is saying…I often fail miserably.

And while these can prove to be refining experiences and wonderfully humbling opportunities for me to share with you just how shallow and impatient I remain as God continues to aid me in the removal of my flesh nature, I had a refreshing customer service experience yesterday and since it is continuing to pour down buckets of rain on us here in the Midwest, I thought maybe you could use some positive in  your day. 

After looking over our Discover bill this week, I had a charge that made no sense. 

The name of the business was unfamiliar though it showed the location of the community we live in. 

I asked Russ if it rang a bell with him and it did not. 

I looked at the date of the charge on the main calendar and showed nothing significant other than I worked that day. 

So I called the company and followed a couple of prompts that led me to a short wait and a gentleman who identified himself by name and located in Phoenix. 

I explained my dilemma and he pulled up my account without asking me for my blood type, firstborn child and some cryptic password I gave in a moment of weakness back in the early 90’s when we opened the account. 

He used some commonalities found in the name of the company and asked if I could remember purchasing any periodicals or perhaps a subscription to a newspaper at that time. 

I could not and so he asked me if I would mind holding while he transferred me to someone who would be able to look further into the charge. 

I waited another short amount of time and was greeted by a woman who identified herself by name and her location in Atlanta. 

She was also very pleasant and began to ask me more detailed questions about possible businesses in our area and also suggesting places I may have been based on the name of the account that charged me. 

As we eliminated salons and photography, she also told me that the merchant had used a square to run my card. 

This clicked and I grabbed my personal planner. Turning to the date of the charge, I saw where I had attended an event at the local library that evening and had purchased a book from the author. 

Here is the fun part. 

As I exclaimed,  “I found it!” 

She excitedly responded with curiosity to know what it was. 

I actually felt ridiculously like the Discover commercials and envisioned myself on the other end of the call. 

It was weird, but definitely better than me mincing words through clenched jaws like I usually am on one of these types of exchanges. 

We verbally high-fived each other and said our goodbyes. 

And I learned a few things about what good customer service looks like and why I get so frustrated sometimes and how I can make sure I am not the one who frustrates others. 

So here are some tips for dealing with someone like me who is having a moment and needs some help:

  1. From the beginning of both conversations, the representatives of this company identified themselves and reinforced the claim that their employer portrays through advertising campaigns – that they want to make sure I understand the charges and terms on my bill.
  2. They didn’t have the direct answer, but worked with what they know to help me discover (no pun intended, honest) the answer for myself.
  3. They did not patronize me. They kept assuring me this is a common problem and they wanted to work with me to help me remember what the charge may have been while offering further support to me if it was not a valid charge. I was valued and validated as a person who is a customer of their company.
  4. I got the impression that they love their job and helping customers figure these things out is their jam and a win for me was a win for them. 

And it makes me think of my work in sales and how I relate to the people who come in our store. 

And my public face as a Reimer.

And a human being on planet earth. 

And a representative of the Body of Christ.

Do I identify myself and my mission to everyone who meets me, maybe not verbally, but is it in the forefront of all my interactions?

Do I treat others with respect and coming from an understanding of all that I represent, with an attitude to help and come alongside with the appropriate support and care needed in each given situation?

When I have surpassed the level of my ability to help someone, do I invest some thought into pointing them to the next level of expertise needed and then release them to the care of that one?

Do I love my calling…do I honor the values and beliefs I represent?

Is my life being lived out in the same way I “advertise” it to be? 

Do I keep the main thing, the main thing and am I diligent to keep my heart tender so that I don’t become cynical and hardened and leave those God places in my life with the impression that I will be laughing about them in the break room after we have finished our time together. 

Good lessons for me Discover company. 

Thank you for being what your commercials portray you to be. 

Happy May Day <3

www.laurareimer.net

Happy May Day!

In honor of May Day consider yourself the recipient of one of my favorite childhood traditions. 

I just hung a handmade construction paper cone with either a paper handle stapled on or a pipe cleaner twisted through holes punched in the side. 

It is randomly stuffed with some dandelions or violets or, if you are lucky, some lilac stems my mom cut off the shrubs for me to use. 

I rang the doorbell..and then I ran and hid and watched you open your door and find it. 

I may have written my name on it with crayon too…because, you know me…I do like to get credit for the good stuff…

And if it made you smile and feel loved, mission accomplished. 

Now go and do likewise. 

Spread some love today. 

It doesn’t have to be fancy or perfect. 

Just you. 

Showing up the way God made you…with your crayons and your wildflowers and your ego. 

Yes.

Imperfect, flawed…wonderful you…just showing up in the lives of those you love and risking how you are received…

love well today, because you are well loved <3

Friday thoughts <3

www.laurareimer.net

Before I even jot down today’s little thought for you, I want to wish our Sarah a very happy birthday <3

I do not know where the years have gone, they have flown on wings to be sure. We miss being with our various people on their special days, don’t we? So hopes and prayers for all good things to come her way today as we celebrate long distance. 

Hmmm….no good way to jump from that little announcement to today’s thought so we will shift gears rapidly.

During our visits to St. Paul’s for the Lenten series, I picked up their version of Our Daily Bread type daily reading. It is called Portals to Prayer. 

I set it on my nightstand and have been enjoying a short reading at the end of the day. 

Yesterday’s writing was based on Titus 2: 11-12: 

For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness, and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in the present age. 

The thing about ungodliness in our present age is that we can get lulled into observing such mammoth examples every single day in others, that we forget God is interested in doing things on a more focused and personal level in His children. 

The devotional writer defined “ungodliness” as living our lives without acknowledging God and pinpointed how easily this is done as we get caught up in the busy-ness of doing our daily business. 

Often in my sheltered and well-protected daily life, ungodliness can seem like something that is more of a problem for those clearly embracing sin or convinced there is no such thing as sin or who are deceived and deceiving others about sin.

Ungodliness is a term for those who mock God or disregard that He exists or those who are blatantly and outwardly opposed to any form of conforming to God’s word in Scripture. 

But the focus of this devotion was a revelation of simple ways I need to renounce ungodliness in my own life by:

<3 Taking time each day to think and pray for guidance 

<3 Trusting Jesus even when I hit a wall in the middle of the day

<3 Taking time to ask if my current efforts are in line with His will for me or motivated by my own selfish ways

As I read that list, I am convicted deeply.

Most days I do start with a quiet time that involves reading, study and prayer…but when I put the books back on the shelf and refill my coffee to head in and get ready for the activities of that day…I confess that I take over and either push forward or stall based on my own thoughts and preconceived plans. 

3:00 is usually when I hit my wall. Whatever I haven’t accomplished looms as an impossible to scale mountain and the stream of negativity is unleashed as I grouse, complain and berate myself.

And  yes…often this is the result of not checking in with God throughout the day nor making sure my choices were fueled by His will. 

And God calls THIS ‘ungodliness’

As we move from the season of Lent into the busy-ness of May and then summer activities, what a great reminder to continue to keep our eyes on Christ and His example all throughout each and every day. 

Simple prayers and dialogue with God as we move from morning to noon to evening will help to keep our hearts and minds aligned with Him. This discipline will do wonders to maintain that close relationship and fellowship gained for us by His sacrifice and resurrection. Living daily and hourly in His mercy and grace empowers us to be true sons and daughters. 

Our faith journey is a work in progress…step by step. 

So here is my takeaway – when I am confronted by glaring “ungodliness” in the world around me, I pray that will trigger in me a reminder of my own tendency to try and do life without God’s guidance and presence and will prompt me to pray for the ability to see and know the right choices for me.

I cannot do anything to change others, but I can open myself to be transformed and changed by the God who made me, knows me and loves me.

Be blessed today as you seek to draw nearer to Him <3