Category Archives: Refined by the Word

It’s that time of year again <3

www.laurareimer.net

All week long on social media I have seen pictures of kiddos heading back to school around the country. All ages and stages as parents are sending preschoolers through college age (and some of us now have children who are TEACHERS going back to school!) with their back packs and dorm rooms and such. 

This morning our family text thread came through with our two little guys laden with first day of school supplies and headed off and I have to say they look quite ready though the picture seemed a little blurry but that may have been from some watery matter in my own eyes as I zoomed in on their faces. 

It is human nature to reminisce back to our time sending little ones off and this memory has been popping in my head so will share. 

Somewhere in Rachel’s first foray into the halls of education, I had the habit when I picked her up of asking her if she had a good day. 

Her answer was rarely a resounding yes.

Mostly it had just been ok and sometimes it was not good at all. 

I would listen to whatever stories she felt like telling, which were scant on details and never as fully fleshed out as I would have loved to hear so I could analyze and counsel and all the things annoying moms like me tend to do. 

The next morning I would send her off with “I hope you have a good day!” and I would pray for God to bless her with a good day but at pickup time, it was usually just ok. 

This went on for a long enough period of time that I began to ask God why oh why could this little one not have a good day most days, and He answered my question with a question which I notice He seems to take great pleasure in doing. 

As I queried Him on this subject, I felt the response was…”Did YOU have a good day, Laura?”

Well..I said…it was ok.

Really?

Yes…because most of my days were a mixed bag.

Great moments, good moments, hard moments, frustrating moments, downright awful moments all blended in between a whole lot of just ordinary moments. 

And when I averaged it out at the end of the day it was … ok. 

So as I sat pondering this perspective, I felt the nudge that perhaps instead of praying for her to have a “good” day every day, I pray for the ways God might meet her in the various moments and that He would strengthen her in the tough ones and teach her in the awkward ones and protect her in the bad ones..etc etc.

I also realized that I was letting her experiences define my success. 

I had begun to equate my sole purpose as raising a child who had nothing but good days. I thought about how much pressure I seemed to putting on her because I felt like I had failed if she was not happy. 

Oh dear. 

As if my whole purpose and existence depended on the happiness of our children. 

Wow. 

That’s a lot of pressure on another human being, right? 

As I have had the opportunity to go through Kelly Minter’s “No Other Gods” study for the second time this summer (did it the first time in 2016), I see that this is one of my areas of struggle that will probably never completely go away.

It is the place where I am prone to set up an idol, and thus a place I have to be vigilant to clean house on a regular basis. 

I am so thankful for the painful process God works me through every time I take the right and godly gift of being a mom to three people and turn it into the basis for my existence and give it place in my heart that is only meant for God. 

I love them with a fierce love, but they are not MINE. 

They are the children the Lord has blessed Russ and I to bear and to raise and to encourage and support…but their lives belong to the One who gave them to us to parent…not to own, worship or place our identity in. 

Each of us struggles with different temptations to make good things our gods. 

It is worthwhile to ask God to reveal them to us and then to cooperate in the painful process of putting them in right perspective and priority. 

Sorry. Not sorry.

www.laurareimer.net

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 selfish part of low self-esteem…ouch….<3

www.laurareimer.net

I am enjoying catching up on my morning favorite reads and devotions and today I was blown away by the pages I covered in that book from my aunt’s library that I discovered this summer.

Walking Wisely by Charles Stanley and published in 2002, it is still relevant to today because 1. biblical truth and 2. human nature….don’t change.

In the chapter I am reading, he has written about eight benefits of wisdom. 

#6 addresses the effects of godly wisdom on our self-image and I am thinking if this was an issue in a book published in 2002, than whatever we have been doing in the ensuing 17 years has not enhanced and helped us out of that black hole.

In the opening paragraph of this section he marvels at the number of books that are being published and the seminars being held on the topic of self-esteem.

Oh Charles…you had no idea that we would be adding blogs, Instagram stories, tweets, printed t-shirts and coffee mugs and billboards by 2019.

But have we moved any closer to the truth that unless we find our identity in Christ alone we will always face a big void in this?

No.

Have we grown any closer to just embracing the truth of the Proverbs 8 passage he uses to anchor this section of his book…

“Now therefore, listen to me, my children, for blessed are those who keep my ways. Hear (listen and obey*) instructions and be wise, and do not disdain it. Blessed is the man (and woman*) who listens to me (obeys*), watching daily at my gates, waiting at the posts of my doors. For whoever finds me finds life, and obtains favor from the LORD.” Proverbs 8: 32-35

*indicates my additional paraphrase added to verse

And who is this “me” that we are to seek and listen to and keep the ways of?

Godly wisdom….found in the pages of Scripture and prayerfully asking the Spirit to lead us into understanding as we read and ponder what is written and then obediently look for ways to apply truth to our daily lives. 

And how would this help with the self-esteem issues that plaque us?

Charles Stanley writes:

“If you genuinely believe that God desires to bless you and that He approves of you and loves you unconditionally,  you must ask yourself, ‘On what is my poor self-image based?’ You’re going to have to draw your own conclusions – your poor self-image comes from lies of the enemy or lies from other people. And you must take responsibility for the fact that you have bought into those lies and continue to accept them as truth.”

Walking Wisely, Charles F. Stanley; 2002 Thomas Nelson Publishers page 59

How do we apply this in a practical way in 2019 – a way that we all at various points can relate to?

If I base my self-worth and value as a human being on how everyone else around me is doing that is better or worse than how I am doing it….(whether it is based on what I know to be true or am perceiving to be true), then I am buying into a lie.

I am using other people as a measuring stick for my value. 

And reading an empowering post of a quote that tells me something good about myself is only going to carry me about as far as the next post that shows someone doing life better than me and then I am back to ground zero.

Instead, Charles Stanley offers us a dose of truth to get into our bones and gut and heart so that we know who we are before we ever head out into the day. 

“The person who seeks godly wisdom comes to believe, ‘I am blessed by God. God loves me and approves of me. I am saved by the blood of Jesus Christ, filled with God’s Spirit, and on the basis of what Jesus has done for me and the Holy Spirit continues to do in me, I have favor from God. All of God’s promises pertain to me. All of the talents that God has built into my life are worthy to be developed and used. God has a plan for my life and it is unfolding. God is refining me, preparing me, and molding me into the likeness of Christ Jesus. I belong to Him forever, and He is my loving Father who is continually seeking my good.’”

Walking Wisely, Charles F. Stanley; 2002 Thomas Nelson Publishers page 60

I have read that over and over this morning and every time I feel His love and care for me pouring over me. 

Believing this to my core will change how I see my own self-worth and then will affect how I treat others. 


If I believe this about myself, then I can love and care for others more effectively because I am not threatened by how I am received. Whether I am cherished or cast off matters not if I know where my value is found.

Such a good word!

Bless you as you go about your day choosing to believe the truth about you instead of the lies that would derail you!

Monday thoughts <3

www.laurareimer.net

Oh it is good to be home! 

I sat a little extra long with my coffee, journal, Bible and prayers this morning and now have a list of things I need to tackle, so a quick thought and we are off and running for a Monday.

With being gone last week, I didn’t really share any thoughts on the No Other Gods study…so I had to smile this morning when one of my first Scripture references in one of my morning devotion standard reads was this one…

“You saw no form of any kind the day the LORD spoke to you at Horeb out of the fire. Therefore watch yourselves carefully.”

Deuteronomy 4:15

The attribute of God for the passages today was focusing on “Invisible”

How do you feel about that?

Probably like me, you wish that wasn’t a quality of God we have to deal with.

Giant crosses hung in front of the church surrounded by smoke, lights and a lot of people who think like me

A breathtaking sunset

Tiny fingers of our first grandchild gripping my pinkie

All the faces of all our people gathered around the table 

Shiny things

Good things

Visible things

These are blessings I can touch and taste and see.

www.laurareimer.net

How difficult to realize we can give all we hold dear to be thrown into the fire and when a golden calf just pops out…we figure it must be from God and suddenly….we have strayed into idolatry. 

But God reminds us.

He does not “appear” out of the fire. 

He is invisible. 

He will not satisfy our need and desire for an image. 

He is too big for that.

He is greater than the little gods we have made up in our hearts.

Out of good things we fashion a god who can satisfy our immediate need and we can somewhat control and manage and manipulate.

But He refuses to play by our rules.

www.laurareimer.net

I am so thankful.

The blessings He has bestowed upon me have come in many shapes and sizes and have been both mind-numbingly beautiful and soul-piercingly difficult. 

But not one of His blessings can save me. 

He is God and there is no other. 

He will show Himself to me by covering His face because He is so glorious I cannot handle it. 

And this is more than enough for me <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