Category Archives: Healing & Forgiveness

Gifts in the hard places <3

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Hey and happy Friday! 

On Wednesday I did something that made me feel like a kid again. I had a filling replaced. I grew up on Slow Poke suckers and other sugary, chewy candies in the days before fluoride was added to toothpaste and water. As a result, cavities and dentist chairs have been a part of my story. I thought we had crowned all that was left, but apparently one molar hiding in the back was still sporting silver and was needing an upgrade. 

As I sat in the chair and braced myself for the numbing, I fought panic like I always do. Around five years old or so I had an abscess above one of my baby molars. My mom took me to a dentist who was apparently not a nice man because he ended up just pulling the tooth without any means of numbing. If you know anything about baby teeth, the molars are the last to go so this was not an easy or painless process. The result is that, while I am fine with my bi-annual cleaning appointment, any thing more complicated takes me right back to that chair and I have to fight fear. 

Since I am getting along in years, I felt compelled to tell our young, kind dentist why I was being such a baby. He was sweet and patient and talked me through it all. What I didn’t tell him as he worked away in my numbed mouth was something else that happened and always accompanies the traumatic part of that day. 

My mom was in the waiting room and could hear me screaming and crying. They were restraining her and if you knew my mom, she was tiny but mighty. She was furious when they finally let us be together and she told them whatever follow up was needed we would not be returning to them for it. I have a tender memory of the rest of that day as my mom sat holding me in a rocker. I can remember resting my head against her, the feel of the afghan my aunt had knitted for her and that she just stopped everything and held me.  

You have to know. My mom was not a hugger or a holder. She had her reasons and she showed love in other ways, but physical touch was not one of them. She also didn’t just sit and do nothing. She was always busy with projects or crafts or work around the house. So that day stands out as one where my mom set aside her schedule and her norm and just held me. I treasure it and though I don’t think often of it, it came to the forefront and brought me comfort. 

As I sat there with water spewing around and the sound of drilling and filing, I realized that as awful as that event was to me as a child, it brought about one of my most precious memories of my childhood. 

We are going through some ugly times as you may have noticed. On top of the Covid and the violence and the hatred and the conflict, we have personal issues that seem to be mounting up at alarming rates. But in the midst of it, we are experiencing some of the holiest of moments with family and friends. The darkness of these times seems to accentuate the beauty of things that we would not be experiencing if life had just gone on as we knew it. 

The fire is hot and the trials and testings are real, but when we come through we will be refined and we will carry out treasures untold. God is so good to us. He really is. Continue to hold fast to the Hope that we have in Christ. I pray for you to begin to see in the midst of this difficult season the glimmer of the gems He is giving us each day. 

Blessings. 

You are deeply loved <3

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A deal’s a deal…<3

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A deal is a deal and I said I would stop in here as many mornings as I can like I used to. The schedule is tight today so the message will be short and sweet. 

We had a little issue with leakage in our kitchen are this past weekend. I called our trusted plumber and he came and fixed the obvious problem which was a leaky faucet. After he got that installed, he checked over all the pipes and such and determined that some do-hickey called a “trap” had been installed incorrectly. 

After a short time, the whole drain system was re-configured and we are in good order to move into the future. 

The point is this: sometimes our problems keep reoccurring because the basic plumbing has been installed wrong. 

We will keep having issues if we don’t get the faulty framework properly aligned. 

Sometimes that means a good season of introspection, conviction, confession and repentance. 

Sometimes that means we need to find a good, solid, biblical sound counselor. 

All the time it means we need to bathe, in prayer and application of God’s word, our recurring patterns that bring defeat to us on the daily. 

We were meant to be growing and thriving and reflecting God’s glory. 

But we are bent. 

Let’s bring the broken places to the One who made us and who knows where we need to be fixed. 

Blessings…carry on…have a great Wednesday <3

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The most beautiful thing…<3

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We are experiencing one of those rare summer mornings in the Midwest where there is no humidity, a light breeze, a clear sky and just the slightest chill in the air. 

For us it is like a day in February when the sun shines brightly and it warms enough that we can actually take a walk without danger of frostbite to the face and we are reminded that spring will come again. 

If your heart is oriented to this part of the country, these few days are hard-earned and pure delight and more than make up for the more brutal ends of the spectrum.

And I am one of those crazy people who say this is why I would never move to a more year- round temperate climate. I wouldn’t miss the Midwest for all the other choices in the world. 

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Sitting on our patio this morning, I had to slip my running jacket on… (and by running jacket I mean an athletic jacket that I wear to sit and sip coffee whilst I read on the patio or stand at a ball game in the spring and fall and watch younger people run)… as I worked my way through some of the most powerful and exciting pages of the book of Isaiah. 

As I read 53 through 58, I about ran out of ink with all my underlining, heart drawing and note making in this new Bible I have never used for a read-through. With having attended the Greenville College Messiah concerts a ton of Christmases over the years thanks to our violinist daughter, I actually sang some of these verses as I read them. 

Which can be somewhat annoying and distracting since Handel did that over-repetitious rendition and so sometimes I am hung up on a verse just having that play through my head in music -box fashion. But I digress…

digress…digress….yes, I surely digresseth. (that will make you laugh if you have ever listened to the Messiah…but if you haven’t just shake your head and move on)

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As I read the familiar and prophetic opening verses of Chapter 53, I was struck as I always am by the description of our Lord and Savior.

Isaiah had no idea who he was describing, but in obedience he wrote the description of the Messiah as He would appear to us. 

He grew up before Him as a tender plant, and as a root out of dry ground. He has no form or comeliness; and when we see Him, there is no beauty that we should desire Him. He is despised and rejected by men, a Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him; He was despised, and we did not esteem Him.

Isaiah 53: 2-3 NKJV

I wrote in the margin of my bible this morning…

How contrary to our way of assessing success, power and majesty. 

I had to stop and just think on that description of Him. 

I am somewhat addicted to beauty.

I seek it in the natural world and I appreciate it greatly in the creative arts of humans.

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I always catch my breath and give God the glory for it because I know it is His hand behind both nature and the arts, but He chose to deliver His Son to us without the beauty I crave. 

Oh, He is beautiful…indeed He is the most beautiful…but if I were to see His incarnate self as a man here on earth, I would not have seen the perfection of form and loveliness of features that I tend to associate with the beautiful of this world. 

And I shudder to think that I would have looked on Him and not seen this Man of sorrows…acquainted with grief…as my Savior. My Lord. 

So I read on this morning and my foolish, often deceived heart, once again affirms the most beautiful Truth known to our human race. 

Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed Him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgression, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed.

Isaiah 53: 4-5 NKJV

I fall humbled before Him and ironically, speaking of music, yesterday we heard a song on the radio as we were driving home that was somewhat Handel-like in its use of repetition. 

Four men singing the same line basically over and over…He was pierced for our transgression, crushed for our sins, the punishment that brought us peace was on Him and by His wounds we are healed. 

I heard the song over and over in my head as I read those lines this morning. There is nothing wrong with that playing on the repeat all day. 

Nothing at all. 

In this world, there is no better place to live out the Gospel than from my knees remembering that by His wounds, I have been healed and forgiven. And only by His wounds. 

Here is the link to the recording of By His Wounds recorded by Mac Powell, Stephen Curtis Chapman, Brian Littrell and Mark Hall.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wdLT-vvheV4

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