Category Archives: Journey through Lent 2019

Outtakes from the Journey <3

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Do you love when movies or shows play the bloopers at the end? 

The imperfect flubs that happened in putting together the unflawed movie or show we just got so wrapped up in?

Those serious and talented actors messing up their lines and falling into fits of giggles?

It puts all the drama into perspective and helps us realize we are all playing on the level ground of humanity. 

Last week I really wanted to honor God in a non-distracted way for your visits to this little slice of the internet. 


I wanted to help you and me maintain our focus in a devotional way and reflect on Christ alone, but I today I wanted to share a couple of bloopers from the Journey.

One was last Thursday when I had all four kiddos for the entire rainy day and decided we needed to get out of the house since unbeknownst to them, they were arising before the crack of dawn to drive to an airport and fly to Austin for Easter. 

We loaded up and headed to the Children’s Museum.

As we pulled into the parking lot three school buses were dumping a bazillion kids out to line up and head on in to the same square footage. 

Lola switched her mind right quick and before we unbuckled, the van pulled out and headed to the library. 

My crew wasn’t too excited but I built it up pretty big and as we pulled into the parking lot, I decided to take advantage of an end spot to save at least one side of the car from door dings. 

I pulled Caroline out of her car seat and headed around to get the boys when I realized the rear tire was precariously perched somewhat on…somewhat off of a curb. 

A mom was getting ready to unload her kids one space over so I asked her if she could hold Caroline while I backed the van off the curb and parked better. 

I am not sure who’s face looked sicker…mine or hers as we heard the sound of the bottom side of the van hit the curb..but I am pretty sure it was mine. 

The van was stuck solidly on the concrete with the front tire one quarter down in the muddy muck just in front of the dang thing. 

I took Caroline, pulled three curious boys out onto the sidewalk, called the tow truck…FaceTimed Rachel on accident…she was at work…didn’t answer thankfully, snapped a pic and my phone died. 

So there we stood. 

Waiting in the drizzle. 

Afraid to get back in the van. 

Praying for the tow truck to come.

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Borrowing another woman’s phone to call mom as I knew by now she was worried as to why I would call her at work. 

Long story short – the truck came…they have towing insurance…the guy who pulled us out already knew who we were because Rachel used to work with his wife and the wife had warned him we were special customers and there was no damage to the van.

We were the heroes of the young moms in the library once we finally were able to go in and find a charging station. 

The mom who had held Caroline confessed she did the same thing a couple of week’s ago. These young gals gave me a huge pep talk about being willing to have all four out even if everything had gone well and one offered to go get me any beverage of my choice.

Hilarious.

There were plenty of other things that went down to keep us humble and remind us life is a marathon not a sprint, but I want to share with you that even as I wrote daily and sincerely about Jesus who has my whole heart…there were moments when my faith did not feel strong. 

Sometimes I doubt His power…sometimes I doubt His willingness…sometimes I doubt His goodness…sometimes I let all that I can see with my eyes be all that there is. 

Last night I had some extra drive time and I listened to a couple of Easter sermons from different churches. 

As I listened, my faith was built up, so after the amen I just rode in silence and I asked God why I can’t feel that faith-filled all the time. 

And in the dark amongst the headlights of fellow travelers, the truth of that statement we all like to make but struggle to understand anchored a little more solidly in my soul.

We walk by faith and not by sight. 

Truth is not changed by how I “feel.”

I have no more “faith” when I am feeling strong then I do when I am feeling weak.

My faith is not based on my feelings at any given moment. 

When we are all gathered in the fellowship of believers on a Sunday morning or standing alone in the market place of scoffers on Monday, our faith is unmoved by how we “feel.”

Maybe you need to hear that today. 

Your faith is not dependent on your current situation. 

If you have received Christ and have passed through the waters of His baptism…your condition is saved, your position is secured. 

You are a child of God. 

Saved.

Healed. 

Restored. 

Whole.

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Born again into an unshakable faith…even when your knees are shaking and your feelings are screaming anything but the truth. 

Easter Sunday <3

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Easter Sunday

We have arrived!

It has been forty days since Ash Wednesday.

We have chosen some fasts perhaps. Read a little more Scripture than we normally do. 

Offered our hearts to be cleansed more…opened our minds to be renewed more.

Contemplated the events of Holy Week from a new perspective, and now we celebrate. 

This year our family is doing something on Easter that we haven’t done in a very long time. 

We will all be together. 

For the past several years this has only happened one time every year. One short few hours on Christmas Eve when all the whole tribe is in one place together at the same time. 

I dare say as my tears flow every Easter and as they are surely spilling out even as I type those words, we do not stand a prayer of a dry Easter here in Austin. 

It has been a “pinch me I must be dreaming” day for this mom and I can say that we did not rest….not for a moment. 

And God willing and the creek don’t rise, we get to do it again in May for a wedding and June for a birthday. More than I could ask or imagine.

We packed all the life and fun and togetherness in that we could. 

But I want to end this journey through Lent as we began so I will turn the last few thoughts of this to the first Resurrection Sunday. 

All four Gospels spill out the details as if they were telling it for the very first time. 

To the hardened, cynical eye it may sound like they are telling conflicting stories, but this is not the case. 

Just as each one of us here in my family could give you the story of the events of today as we visited a zoo, children’s museum, ate various meals and hopped in and out of cars, our stories would be all true…but from different perspectives and angles. The details would be inconsistent from one to the next. 

The one thing we can definitely know is that the grave is empty.

Jesus is alive and he didn’t look like something that crawled off the set of the Night of the Living Dead. 

He still bore the marks of crucifixion in his hands, feet and side but He was healed from the other wounds inflicted on Him. 

No scars from the crown of thorns…no scabs from the scourging…no bruises from the beating.

Just Him…alive and triumphant, but always and forever bearing the proof that our sins were nailed to the cross forever. 

Paid in full.

Hallelujah! 

He is Risen….

He is Risen indeed <3

  • Scriptures:
  • Matthew 28: 1-15
  • Mark 16: 1-11
  • Luke 24:1-33
  • John 20: 1- 23

Saturday <3

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There is not much reading for today.

So little in fact, I decided to include the short portions of Scripture that tell how Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus got brave and went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. 

How they wrapped His broken and beaten frame in fine linen, layered and treated with myrrh and aloes…a hundred pounds, mind you…and then laid Him in a tomb just as the sun was slipping away so that they could be home for the Sabbath. 

I think about these two men gently and lovingly tending the remains of this man they had loved who had touched lepers and healed the blind, had welcomed the unlovely and the outcast and invited them into His family. 

I think of the physical labor involved in lifting the spices, carrying Him, wrapping Him and then lifting Him onto the place made for the corpse and the weight of the pain in their hearts and souls.

I think of Nicodemus and how he once snuck off in the dark of night to talk to Jesus full of fear to be associated with Him and now boldly going to Pilate and asking if he can give Him a proper Jewish burial. 

I think of the women and the disciples, raw with grief and lack of sleep.

In the first stages of shock and completely broken, they observed the Sabbath rest.

We have been there haven’t we all to a certain degree?

The day after the worst possible thing we could imagine happening and we wonder how we are still breathing as the crushing of immeasurable sorrow presses every ounce of joy and hope and life out of us. 

Activities and conversations that used to be normal and automatic now seem strained and pointless because we are sure our heart, soul and spirit have been irreparably shattered.

 But our mind won’t stop.

It keeps going over the details and the what if’s and what now’s.

It is like life has become a cruel joke as we go through the motions of regular routines knowing that everything has changed drastically and yet the world is moving along just as it did every day before we lost something dear to us.

We do not even know where to place our feet to move forward into what tomorrow will now look like for us. 

Surely it was like this for them.

And even more so.

But they rested. 

Because it was the Sabbath. 

Because they knew one thing…if He was still with them, He would have rested. 

And so in the familiar place of obedience and the resolve to follow Him they did nothing except rest and wait <3

  • Scriptures:
  • Matthew 27: 62-66
  • Mark 15:42-47
  • Luke 23:56

The Passion Week Day 6

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The details of the events of this day can make the head spin as Jesus is transported from one leader to another and at each point, riddled with questions and beaten, spit on, humiliated, scourged, mocked and abused. 

From all accounts and our own common sense, after such treatment He was basically beaten to a pulp…

unrecognizable…

as blood would have been dripping down His face, from His back and sides and limbs.

Add to that a rough hewn cross slammed down on raw flesh as the crown of thorns dug deeper into His matted hair, temple and forehead. 

He was weakened from lack of food and drink on top of it. 

So for today’s mediation, my mind rests on Simon of Cyrene. 

Three of the four Gospels tell of his forced shouldering of the Cross of Christ. 

Two say he was going out of the country and just passing by, one mentions he was the father of Alexander and Rufus. 

And I try to fill in the gaps. 

Was this dad walking into Jerusalem with his two sons the day before Passover just minding his own business?

Perhaps wondering what was all the commotion as people were lining the street and then he sees another Roman prisoner stumbling along under the weight of a cross. 

Maybe he tries to shield his sons’ eyes from the brutality.

Or if they are older perhaps he tells them this is what happens to those who cross the Roman government and let that be an example to you, my sons.

When all of a sudden, he is seized by these soldiers and pushed alongside this blood covered human and forced to get in step with Him. 

John says Jesus carried His cross to Calvary so we must assume it was in tandem with this man named Simon. 

I wonder if Simon was a believer or even a Jew. 

I think of how his clothes and skin rubbed up against the oozing flesh wounds and sweat and filth of our Savior. 

I wonder if the thorns didn’t bump against his own cheeks and into his head as they were pressed together under the weight of the cross. 

If his blood and sweat began to mingle with Christ’s.

I wonder if his sons followed along weaving in and out of the crowd trying to catch a glimpse of their dad, wondering how much more the soldiers would demand of him and would they be walking away together or would their father suffer the same fate as this prisoner.

I wonder if they stayed to watch while the soldiers nailed Him to the Cross and I wonder as they walked away and later heard the stories of the empty tomb and His appearing to so many, healed and whole with only the permanent holes in his hands, feet and side if Simon questioned why he, out of all the world, had been chosen to bear that very-different-from-any-other-in all-of-time-and-eternity Cross alongside Jesus. 

I wonder what methods they employed as they tried to get the blood stains and mess cleaned out of his hair and skin and clothes and erase the terror and fear of that day from their hearts and minds.

And I wonder. 

Is His blood evident on me and in me…in all I do and all I say and all I think and all I am? 

It may not be perfectly displayed to those around me, but it is evident to the only One whose opinion matters. 

When God looks at me, He sees His Son’s sacrifice that covers me and paid the penalty for me. 

This is the promise for all who have received Him as Lord and Savior. 

For all who were yanked out of the crowd and summoned to take up His Cross and walk beside Him.

I hope you will read the passages associated with the day of Christ’s death and then I hope you will celebrate His Resurrection and the new life that is ours because of His sacrifice. 

Scriptures:

  • Matthew 27: 1-61
  • Mark 15
  • Luke 22: 66- 23:55
  • John 18:28 – 42

The Passion Week Day 5

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When I was a kid I thought they were saying it was Monday Thursday, and I was so confused. 

As I got older I realized it was Maundy Thursday which helped a little because I figured out it wasn’t a new blended day that came once a year for me to keep track of. 

At all ages though, for as long as I can remember and even before I knew the deeper meaning, I got that it was a somber day of remembering.

 Growing up our churches did not shy away from too many services in a week and so we were there for Maundy Thursday where we shared the Communion together in a darkened sanctuary. 

And we reconvened for another somber service on Good Friday. 

My mom wouldn’t let us eat meat on Good Friday and she frowned on any kind of fun or frivolity and I was ok with that. 

I was born with an old soul and heart drawn to quiet and reverent worship. 

Sarah once told me I probably could have been a nun if they would have let me still marry Russ and have our family. 

So true. 

So as I read the passages surrounding the Thursday of Holy Week, I find detailed and much similar information in the four Gospels, although Luke and John add some extra pieces that are intriguing, with John including the most narrative of all. 

There are so many different parts to this whole day and evening and I pray to land on just one that would be a place to ponder together before we head out into whatever Thursday will look like for each of us. 

In all four accounts, when Jesus is taken to the high priest and put on a mock trial with dishonest witnesses and yet still they cannot prove Him guilty…

they finally declare Him to be who He is and when He does not disagree…

they spit in His face…

blindfold Him…

beat Him…

and then taunt Him with jeering for Him to prophecy who just hit Him.

Read that again. 

Slowly.

Picture it. 

Picture the perfect and sinless Son of God who just came fresh from washing the feet of His disciples before they ran off and left Him to be taken to this place of injustice. 

Picture Him with the spit of men dripping down His face and a cloth thrown over His eyes as one by one they slapped Him and beat Him and mocked Him. 

And remember and know and declare.

This is your King. 

This is your God. 

Willing to be humiliated.

Willing to be falsely accused, beaten, mocked and crucified.

For us.

Today on Maundy Thursday 2019, I will be tending those little grands I love with all my heart. 

I have things packed in a bag to help make our time together special. 

Meditative silence and deep pondering of the Scriptures will have to be set aside as I chase bikes and kites, color eggs and put stickers on foam crosses and I will invariably settle some argument and reinforce the rules and try to remind them in little ways of why Easter is such a big deal. 

They won’t get it yet.

They won’t get it all completely understood and neither will I.

I have to remember the little girl who used to think it was Monday Thursday and only grasped bits and pieces but grew to love her Lord to the point that to think of Him being treated so cruelly produces hot tears.

 Every. Single. Time.

I pray they grow each year in their understanding of His love for them. 

I pray we all do <3

Scripture:

  • Matthew 26: 17-75
  • Mark 14:12-15:72
  • Luke 22:7-65
  • John 13:1-18:27