Category Archives: Healing & Forgiveness

And another thing…. <3

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For those of you who wonder why I pick the pictures I do…this critter was resting on the path as I walked in beautiful Miami last year.

Here I was, enjoying the sun and warmth and green of Florida in February when this thing, that was just being what it is, kind of added a new element of yuk to my happy.

If you are cool with snakes and lizards and all things reptile, God bless you. In my rational mind I know they serve a purpose and were created by the same amazing Creator as I was…but I would prefer they stay completely out of my sight and presence.

Thank you very much.

And now I am going to jump to the topic of today which is forgiveness and just keep that visual of my scaly, path-sharing nemesis in mind.

Today I did a Facebook live thing on Session 6 from Finding God Faithful and shared about the video teaching this week.

Kelly opens with a conversation she had with a young participant in the Joseph study who asked her when she thought Joseph forgave his brothers.

As she pondered it with this teen, they mused if it was when he was making the trek to Egypt as a purchased slave…was it in Potipher’s house…or in prison? Was it when Pharaoh got involved and Joseph could begin to see God’s plan working out? Or was it when he saw the brothers standing in front of him asking for food for their families?

Kelly shares that they agreed it had to be all of the above.

She talks about how at each stage along the way of the 22 years between the time the brothers first threw him into the pit until he faced them again in the role of Pharoah’s right hand man, Joseph would have worked through a process of forgiveness.

He would have had to go to God over and over with the hurt and the questions and the pain of what had happened and what might have been; facing what was taken from him and yet keeping his heart tender and renewing his trust that God was still sovereign.

She states what we all know but sometimes need to be reminded of…

Forgiveness is a process.

Often when the hurt rises up again in some of my personal stories of betrayal, or I am reminded, because of an old photograph or a conversation, that a choice was made by another person and now I live with a loss of some kind…I tend to berate myself and consider that my “forgiveness” was phony.

Like that lizard up above, I can be going on and think I have moved past the pain and am walking in forgiveness when suddenly something pops up along the path and reminds me afresh of what was taken from us.

I love the way Kelly’s study and video remind me that our stories are on-going and even when we forgive someone, there will be places where we have to lean back hard into God and deal with a new reminder of how we were wronged.

I think of the ways I have hurt others or let them down and I would hope that when they remember my offense, they would not hold it against me all over again but would find the strength in God to forgive me and extend me grace and mercy.

I want to do the same.

And the reason for all of us to do this is because Christ died ONCE for ALL.

Think about that.

He doesn’t die every time one of us sins.

He died ONCE.

And we live in THAT amazing grace and forgiveness all the time.

So that out of that mercy, we can extend mercy, grace and forgiveness…

every time we are reminded of the offense.

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One baby step at a time until we finally make it home <3

Best Battle Strategy Ever <3

*repost from September 11, 2017…still true for me this morning as we remember those who bravely gave their lives to save others <3

While there are high schoolers who were not even born on that infamous day 16 years ago, I well remember the phone call from a friend asking me if I had the news on.

This was pre-smart phone days when we used wall phones to communicate and one by one, America found out that airplanes full of people had become a new form of weapon.

I remember sinking to my knees on the floor of our family room as the newscasters tried to explain how a plane had just flown into the side of a building, even as they realized another was headed to do the same to the sister tower.

In horror and with desperate prayers to God, many followed the events of that morning.

I do believe the increasingly less effective methods of destruction were in direct answer to the prayers of those around the world as this well-planned attack became exposed.

We have been told that across Maasai-land, our Kenyan brothers and sisters were in prayer for us as well.

Many around the world were interceding for us that day.

There is an enemy that seeks to destroy all that God has created.

And while we often want to put some tangible face to this foe, scripture tells us that our enemy is not flesh and blood.

Yes, the enemy works through people…through ideologies and governments and systems; through terrorists and agendas and despots; through exploitation and greed; through the exaltation of “self”…

I am reminded of the “I will’s” of pride outlined in Isaiah 14:13 – 14…

I will ascend into heaven

I will exalt my throne above the stars of God

I will also sit on the mount of the congregation

I will ascend above the heights of the clouds

I will be like the Most High

Playing God.

A dangerous game for anyone, with tragic repercussions for all.

The hallmarks of such thinking are destruction and devastation and death.

So for our nation today, I pray that we would learn well to remain humbly before the God who blessed this land with resources and with His Spirit.

I pray that we would enter into all warfare under His direction and counsel, availing ourselves of His guidance so freely given to those who seek His face.

I pray for those who still mourn the loss of lives in personal ways, for those first responders who showed true heroism and courage.

I pray for those who still suffer today from the physical and emotional sacrifice they gave to enter into a different kind of battle as they inhaled ash to find survivors.

I pray for those who are today fighting another unthinkable kind of warfare as rains and winds and fires sweep various areas of our nation.

I pray that we would be a nation that recognizes the power of prayer, not only for our own country but for the many many people who suffer around the world.

Devastations of man and nature abound around this globe and many do not have any kind of resources with which to bring aid to their people.

May God’s mercy and grace be poured out over us as we lift our hands to Him and invite Him to come and work in ways that only He can.

I hope you will come back tomorrow and each day this week as we look at what God says about winning battles His way.

Be blessed today in all that you do, as you bless others <3

 

 

The real reason misery loves company <3

Well, we  had a wedding this weekend and also managed to cram in a whole bunch of life and love and family and such in around it.

It is way more than I could possibly put into words worth reading on this second “Monday” of the last week of May, so here is us, cleaned up and looking our bestest and then I am going to kick off this short week with a story of how last Thursday went down. 

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Because we had a rough start, to say the least. 

I was up north for the day and Joel seemed particularly sad that his mommy had headed off to work. 

He went and got a blanket and pillow and all the stuffed animals he could haul in one trip and set up camp on the family room floor. 

I just assumed he was tired and extra sad because his daddy was out of town and mom had worked a full day Tuesday as well, so I just gave him his space. 

A short time later, he produced evidence….literally…that he was not just missing his parents but was also harboring a virus. 

A virus that he released on the carpet just a few feet from the tile floor….so I cleaned up the first of several messes and set about tending our little guy whilst keeping his sister from bodily injury as she seems to climb on everything and is attracted to all things potentially dangerous. 

It was a long day, and the poor little guy was just miserable. 

After the boys got home from school, I sent them outside to play and hopefully avoid whatever Joel was sharing with Caroline who would.not.stay.out.of.his.face. 

I would run to the door to check on them between hugs for Joel, switching loads laundry and pulling Caroline off of tall furniture and away from her beloved JoJo. 

At one point, Graham called in from the garage to let me know a school friend had ridden his bike down to shoot baskets. 

I went out to confirm with his buddy that mom was aware of his visit, when Joel appeared at the door calling for us. 

I found him sitting on the step, asking if I could get Landon’s attention so he could tell him he was sick. 

Have I mentioned before that Joel is my Achilles’ Heel?

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I don’t know what it is about the combination of his face and personality, but the little guy melts me to putty. 

I was not sure how much sympathy this second grader was going to be able to muster, but I asked him if he could come see Joel and God bless him, he did. 

With raw tears forcing him to strain to get the words out, Joel spouted out in two short sentences the account of his battle with the flu that day. 

I held my breath to see what kind of response he would get, and thanked God with my whole heart when Graham’s friend listened sweetly, nodded his head and agreed that is not fun and hoped he felt better. 

The two older boys went off to play as I scooped our little wounded soldier back up and carried him to the couch for more cartoons. 

And I learned two things about us humans from that. 

There is a need in us to tell our painful stories to someone. 

And there is a grace gift when that someone just listens. 

Not trying to fix or analyze or compare their own woundings…just a quiet presence to stand willingly in the face of someone else’s misery and receive it with kindness. 

There is a whole lot of pain out there around us and a whole lot of pain inside us at times. 

Finding the right balance of sharing our woes and receiving that of others is an effort we might prayerfully seek to maintain in the midst of a loud and antagonistic world. 

Blessed, truly, are the peacemakers <3 

Easy come, easy go <3

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Friday has rolled around again and let me tell you the past seven days have hurtled past in a blur of activity and responsibilities. 

I knew my time at home would be shortened this week as I only had Monday to accomplish any necessary tasks and we are headed to our nephew’s wedding this weekend.

One of the things I wanted to get done was plant flowers outside. 

I made two trips to the garden center and stayed on task, completing my project as the sun began to set Monday night.

True to my nature, I moved planters around multiple times and debated on what to put in which one with an incredible amount of overthinking. I finally got them the way I thought they looked best and when I opened the back shades on Tuesday morning I almost wept at how beautiful they looked. 

After being gone to either work or helping with the Fab Four up north the next three days, imagine please the utter despair I felt last night when I returned home after being gone 24 hours and looked out at empty planters save a couple of sprigs of ivy and one lone begonia looking back at me forlornly from the corner of our patio.

It seems our little rabbit family had a smorgasbord while I was away. Thankfully the pots off to the sides had flowers that were unappealing to these fellows…but they certainly gorged themselves down to the roots on the petunias I had placed to be my view during morning quiet time.

If you know me at all, you know I love the animal kingdom in a very conditional way. 

As long as critters behave, keep to their boundaries and do not damage or infringe on my space…great. I am all for them.

But when they dig up things, leave their waste matter scattered hither and yon on our property, and act like…well…animals…I get a little annoyed. 

The bunnies have been an exception. 

There is something about their soft fur and sweet little ears and faces that has softened me. 

So I didn’t feel angry at them. 

I just felt incredibly sad and defeated because I had worked so hard and it was like a slap in the face that these fuzzy critters that I have grown quite fond of decided to feast on the fruits of my labor. 

My investment of time, creativity and money was devoured and I was deeply disheartened at the loss. 

Maybe someone or something you love and care for has suddenly munched your petunias down to the roots recently. 

Maybe like me, you feel a sadness that does nothing to diminish your love. 

You aren’t angry. You aren’t feeling betrayed really. 

It’s just the nature of life and the course it has taken today leaves you feeling like the thing you thought you had accomplished just vanished into thin air. 

Your labor appears to have been in vain. 

I hope you know you are not alone. 

I hope you know that the God who made the petunias and the rabbits that love them and made them fluffy with  brown fur and big eyes that make me smile every morning as I watch them scamper around our yard is the same God who made me and knows the odd sadness I feel looking out at what is no more. 

I hope you know He will give us strength to go find some new plants, so to speak…geraniums I hear are not appealing to rabbits…He will give us wisdom to fill the empty places with something new that is good for us without harming the ones who, just because that’s what they are…petunia eating critters…did what they do. 

I hope you know that your efforts are not wasted and I hope you receive back more than you gave away. 

God bless you today. 

You are loved greatly <3

Reflections from Ash Wednesday <3

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I am writing this at the end of the day … unusual for me but will be out the door early tomorrow morning and my heart is full. 

We found an Ash Wednesday service being held at a Lutheran Church not far from our home so we headed over after dinner. 

It was somber and reflective and it focused around an old forgotten hymn of their church. 

Stricken, Smitten and Afflicted

Yeah.

Not exactly what the praise team usually starts out with on a Sunday morning. 

The lyrics are heavy. 

But that is what Lent calls us to. 

It calls it to put a pause on the spinning days of our lives and it reminds us that one day it will all end.

It will end for us individually and there will be a final end of all things. 

All the seasons and lives and culture shifts and governments that were destined to be will be finished and we will stand in judgment. 

Everything and everyone who seemed to important won’t really matter so much after all.

We went down for communion and before we ate the bread and drank and cup and remembered what has been done for us, we were looked in the eye as ashes were brushed on our foreheads. 

From dust you came. To dust you will return.

It’s not the message I get on my social media feeds and from magazine covers. 

It’s not what people tell me when I tell them I’m 60 and they exclaim that I sure don’t look it. (Hopefully)

It’s not what I tell myself when I make plans for tomorrow and next week and ten years from now and try to do all the right things to slow the aging that is inevitably progressing despite my best efforts. 

But I know it. 

I’ve stood by enough graves now to know. 

Young, old…ready or not…to dust we will return. 

I will return to dust…

I will go the way of all men and women born on planet earth…

and I will stand in judgement for every thing…

good, bad…intentional, accidental…

thought and word and deed…

the bad I did, the good I failed to do…

the wasted time and errant wanderings…

all of it…

along with the good I managed to do and the evil I avoided…

and the heart that motivated every single moment. 

The ashes on my forehead, like the ashes of all those around me mark me for what I am.

But Christ. 

He finishes my story as only He can.

Because I am also marked as His. 

I bear His grace and He bears my scars.

His blood bought my forgiveness. 

His death bought my life. 

That is how we do Lent, my friends.

We remember <3