I Was Wrong about Love: A Tribute

I interrupt my scheduled, planned, all things upcoming Put Your Warrior Boots On
to post maybe the words closest to my heart in years. Thanks for understanding.

My father went to be with Jesus on April 2 at 9:53 am, where I witnessed with my own eyes his earthly departure. I could write many things about this – about holding people you love while they are here and saying what you need to say and they would all be true and maybe someday I will. I could write a tribute to my daddy — about how much I love this man, my longest, dearest love…in some ways I already have (read my book {w}hole) and maybe someday I will, again. But for now I most need to tell you this.

When my daddy first starting walking towards heaven, we didn’t know it. We just knew he had a shuffle, and that was different from his normal fast gait.

We misunderstood it. Maybe it’s because he’s a little overweight we said in whispers. He didn’t walk enough after that hip surgery. I wish he had walked more because I’m sure that’s what did it. We loved him so deep, we just wanted the reason why.

Sometimes we judge things we don’t understand.

Mostly because of that crazy fear. If we see things that scare us we just figure out a way to judge it and that makes the fear easier because then the opinion and pride protects us like a superman cape. It’s easier to judge than to feel. It’s easier to judge than to sort through the time and healing to understand.

When I was little, about the time my daddy wore the superman cape speaking of, I lived a simple country life of family and church. I loved no one more than church people, except for my family and God. But one day, and I honestly can’t remember which one, I realized the church people wore human clothes when I overheard a woman whisper something not nice about my daddy one Sunday in a pew behind me. It was then a part of my brain that wasn’t full grown said, “people don’t really love you. How could they, if they don’t love your favorite person in the world?”

I brushed the thought off but it stayed, nagging, for years. I still giggled at my favorite deacon and twirled my dress in the church but the thought never left and then years later I overheard more hard grown up church people things and the “people don’t love you” seeped even deeper. Ever loved people so deep and not liked them at all at the same darn time? It’s downright confusing. Add religion to the mix and it gets nuclear level messy.

The pain decided, then, as most bad decisions are made, to say to friends as an adult with the teasing voice “I don’t like people” – part introvert problems, but mostly, too, that easy way to avoid the scary. If I didn’t like people they couldn’t disappoint me. I couldn’t disappoint them. It was a perfect, emotionless marriage.

But God has a way of turning the tables on all that – our early junk and Satan’s ugly whispers and the mess, doesn’t He, now?

Ok so you want me to say it out loud, something I’ve never said before? I’ve always secretly just wanted people to love me. Especially church people, since I loved them from the start so pure and deep. I just wasn’t sure they ever would, for real, and if they did, if I could take them back, after how they rejected me before. Funny how we hold on to those not yet grown childhood perceptions…how even years later we ask people who never did anything to pay for their sins.

But Jesus has been plowing this field in my heart for years, convincing me over and over through graciousness and lavish love that when that thing happened in my brain as a little girl that one day I can’t remember the exact date of so very long ago, I was wrong.

I was wrong about people not loving me.

I was wrong about me not being able to love people back.

I think maybe someone reading thinks wrong about these things, too.

Most of us are just scared we will get hurt or do the hurting or become disappointed or disappoint so we judge or hold back or say we don’t like people because it’s easier that way. But it’s really not. Because we don’t mean it, not at all.

What we really mean is please love me deep. I need it.

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And then one day when I’m not little anymore, my daddy walks all the way to heaven.

And people start loving me so tight I can’t breathe. Cards, flowers, food, texts, hugs, eyes that look into mine and I see tears falling down their face, too, like they loved him as much as me. Plowing, plowing, plowing, some more.

And I remember that little girl. And I whisper to her, we were wrong.

They loved us all along.

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My friends, though I can’t personally thank every one of you for every act of kindness you’ve shown to me in the days since my beloved father went to heaven, please accept this blog post as a love letter to you. 

 

Daddy, this is also my love letter to you. You already know all the things, because we talked about them, didn’t we? With great joy, your LisaGirl.

 

From the beautiful home going celebration of my father, Dr. James Reimer…a special introduction from my mother, Kathie, of the speaker…my father, himself. How amazing it was for us to have found this jewel, my father’s last recorded preached message at a Sportsmen’s Event in Enid, Oklahoma, at his beloved former church, Emmanuel Baptist, where 50 men came to know Christ. We felt it most appropriate that the master orator preached his own home going message. I share it now, with you, because you are my friends and I love you. Praying it will mean something to you, as it did to us.

So You Want to Be Strong?

I see all these things on social media lately, saying do this to be strong or do that…memes that circulate cheering us for finally being heard women as if women with a voice were something new all of a sudden.

Just ask my momma- I have been speaking up for myself since I was little and wore exactly what I wanted, including those jean gauchos over and over, again. My cute Dorothy Hamill cut had them all underestimating. Dawn was never my middle name. Strong was.

But right ideas can come in wrong packages, and sometimes trying so hard to make a statement proves nothing but the hard trying and the desperation to prove what needs not be proven when it’s really there.

Please hear me clearly: I want us to be strong. I just want us to be the right kind so it will last and influence and draw people to Jesus rather than promote some burning need in self.

The truth is, we don’t have time for a manufactured strong. We need the real kind to deal with this world’s level of crazy.

The wrong strong says:

  • I must be brave. I must muster up some type of human awesome in a moment of fear or opposition.

The truth? Our human bursts of brave won’t be enough to cut it in this tough world. Anything in our strength has an expiration date attached to it. Eventually, we will need more than our brave can offer.

  • I must be loud. I must speak up, always say my piece, say what I feel without regard to consequence.

The truth? The book of James in the Bible says we are responsible for what we say and how we say it. Strength is a huge ship turned by its tiny rudder, not sailing into wild winds. (James 3)

  • I must be true to myself. I must focus on me as my greatest love, do what works for me, answer to myself.

The truth? This is humanism at its finest. Being true to ourselves is not strength, it is self worship. It is a paper tiger mindset, which can lead to endless roads of heartache. (It is also not the same as living a life of truth, setting healthy boundaries, accepting and loving ourselves, all of which I joyfully endorse.)

  • I must be unapologetic. I must never apologize for anything I want to do or act on and never give concern to the people who differ in belief from me.

The truth? “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves…” (Phil. 2:3 NIV); “Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord.” (Hebrews 12:14); “Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.” (James 5:16)

I know. Some of these things don’t feel wrong. They feel right. They feel good. They feel very now, very in, very earned, especially among we who have age to thank for bringing out some I’m grown and can now do what I want in us.

But we know by now that feelings can’t be the boss of us if we want to live well.

And if the point is to be truly strong and if this isn’t it, don’t we want to know?

I don’t want to miss true strength because a cheap substitute stole its identity. Then I go through life thinking I’m something I’m not only to find out it was all just awesome material for a meme.

No, I want the real strong. I want Jesus Strong.

 

Jesus strong is:

~a steadfastness…that cannot be moved by circumstance or popular opinion. When everyone else says yes, Jesus strong helps us say no. It’s a steadiness that people are drawn to because it offers stability in the midst of reactionary lives.

~a wisdom…that goes beyond education or IQ. Jesus strong people are wise. They have sage things to say and a consistent message that points in one direction — His.

~a depth…that understands and sees and gets the bigger picture and draws people in to that maturity.

~a boldness…that goes beyond natural personality or personal angst or vendetta and is driven by love and commitment to the Gospel.

~a passion…that catches on, inspires, sparks and ignites.

Friends, it’s not about memes or jean gauchos. It’s about what kind of strong do we want: the kind the world is selling that exhausts and expires…or the kind that comes from the real place, the life-giving place that will last?

 

I choose Jesus Strong.

**For much more on this, sign up for my FREE 5-day Study called Jesus Strong! Sign-up and info here: Study starts Monday, April 10 with 5 days of emails to your inbox and 3 days of Facebook lives to go with! Don’t miss this!

Free 5-Day Bible Study

Feeling like you aren’t sure how to be strong, truly strong in this day and time? Struggle with standing up for what you believe, having a strong mind, loving people, having discipline and being able to be strong in the midst of your trial? We will cover these things and how to walk Jesus Strong in them. During the 5 days, I will be joining you via Facebook live at least 3 times, where I will teach a follow-up lesson and be joined by some amazing special guests! Begins April 10.

Now is the Moment to Stop Living Below Your Potential

Now is the Moment to Stop Living Below Your Potential

Visit any gravesite and you’ll see an earth-load of buried potential.

What once was and was realized…what once was and yet, never was.

Eyes that took in the world, arms that held babies and legs that danced closely with strangers…belly laughs and tears of unspoken empathy and bitter hearts that died without ever picking up the phone and making that one relationship right.

The whole lot of us get the chance to live, once we arrive here on earth. Some of the cards were dealt better for some than others from the start but at a certain point, we get to choose our own and sometimes lay the wrong ones down and other times play the perfect ones at just the right time.

(None of it is chance, by the way, no matter what it may look like. We get to choose things and there is that thing called free will, but all of it has a design and plan because of our Creator, Jesus.)

I think about these gravesites a lot lately because my father is sick and is going to need one, soon. I drove there recently, to see where he will one day lie, not really there but the shell in the ground after the soul goes to greet Jesus.

And I think about the potential represented in each headstone and if what God had planned ever came true for this name I don’t know or if death came first.

And how the truth is, so many people, beautiful people that God created by His very thought and breath, with hand picked gifts and talents, lived and died with those gifts never being exercised because silly things like comfort and fear and insecurity ran their life, instead.

  • Comfort…that secret bully that seems so nice at first and promises big but always underdelivers. Really, it’s more sinister than that. It captures and then it enslaves. Potential has been killed in far too many people because comfort ran the life. What a cruel twist of irony that the thing we most run to is the thing most likely to ruin our lives.
  • Fear…well, we know this one is bad, now don’t we, but we don’t hate it enough to let it go. It’s kept us from our potential for years – all the things we want to do but are too scared to do it. How many people who now live in those gravesites said they were scared and never did anything about it while they were here, I wonder? And how many of those fears were actually something to be afraid of…or were they things that just kept them from a better life while life was still here?
  • InsecurityI can’t are the famous words, I think, of us all in one way or another. We are insecure to try because we are more confident we will fail than we are that God will sustain us. Most of all, our life focus is inward. So all we do lies in our belief of how much we can handle. Turns out, we can’t handle much.
~We live like people who do not have power…but we walk in the authority of God.
~We live in a tone of despair…but we have every reason to hope.
~We live like victims in this mixed up world…but we have the Word to guide us.
~We live comfortable…when Jesus tells us to abandon all for the sake of the Gospel.
~We live fearful…when Jesus says to take heart, for He has overcome the world.
~We live self-focused and insecure…when Jesus says to fix our eyes on Him, the author and finisher of our faith.

This living below our potential thing is no good for us, anymore. It never has been, but especially, now.

And listen…it’s not about feeling guilty over all this — you know that, right? Guilt has never helped one step be made forward and the point of this post is the now factor, the opportunity, the let’s make much, my friends, of our beautiful, glorious life. Guilt will just thwart that mission.

One day you and I will lie in our shell in a coffin underneath the dirt in all our potential. Who God created us to be, what we did with our life, and what we never did that He had for us to do that went unrealized.

It doesn’t matter about yesterday and what we did with it so much as what we decide to do now, today.

Your potential awaits, my fellow believer.

What will you do with this life He handpicked for you?

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The #1 Fear You Were Never Meant to Have

The #1 Fear You Were Never Meant to Have

I don’t know a single fearless person.

I know some strong people, courageous folks, those tough guys who open pickle jars for we muscle challenged. (God bless them.)

But a completely fearless person on this earth I have yet to find.

Even in our very best brave moments we are no match for the constant pounding of this scary, crazy world. If we don’t depend on something deeper, we are in for deep trouble. (I’ll tell you more about what I think about this word brave in Put Your Warrior Boots On, very soon. Hint: it may surprise you.)

Jesus never wanted us to live with fear. It’s never been His intention, though He knew our flesh would constantly pull us to this posture. Over and over again in His Word He tells us why we don’t have to live with it (John 16:33b), what to do with it when it comes (Psalm 56:3) and what will combat it most of all (I John 4:18).

When we constantly struggle with fear we expose how deeply we depend on self. And yet Jesus knows, in our natural man, it will come natural.

Out of all the fears we were never meant to have, there is one that stands above the rest. It is a fear that determines the way we view our entire life and everything flows from its belief system…

The fear that in this life, we won’t have victory.

This is what most of us walk through life believing.

We won’t say it, because that’s not spiritual. We know better than to say it out loud, for people will scold us and tell us to think more positively than that. But the way we deal with trouble, respond to the news in culture, scrambling around like mad, this way and that — trying to control our lives so we can protect ourselves and those we love — it’s obvious that we do not understand how this Jesus story goes.

I just want to remind us today: the battle is over and Jesus won. As believers in Jesus, we walk in His authority. You and I are on the winning side.

How tragic for us to be in this position and squander it everyday with our irrational fears of being taken down by a world that is weaker than our God.

How sad to waste our life by never realizing the life of the victor, the life Jesus Christ intended us to have through His sacrifice.

I want us to live better. Jesus expects us to live better. He died, so we could.

  • We must stop settling for fear. For some of us, it’s become a way of life. We are used to the grind of the fear-driven life, to the point we don’t crave freedom from it like we should. Until we get to the point we see what our fears have cost us, we will not hate them enough to let them go. Fear has cost us peace of mind, true spiritual growth, doing things for God we long to do, releasing those we love to do things God has called them to, as well (parents, that is often our big struggle). My friend, never settle for the grind of a fear-driven life.
  • We must admit we are depending on self, not God. It’s hard to own this, but we must if we want to free ourselves from it. Own our stuff, humble ourselves before God in complete honesty and repent of this. At the core, it’s a self-focus issue.
  • Practice the victory life. It is a powerful thing to saturate ourselves in the Bible (and support reads) that help us remember the victorious life that is ours. Memorize Scripture. Pray for victory from fear. Do things everyday that remind you, “God wins. Therefore, I win,” declaring to and conditioning your mind to believe it.

Jesus wants us to know and believe in our core, that no matter how it looks in this world, as believers in Jesus Christ we function from a place of victory.

Anything else was never meant for a child of God.

 

 

 

***I always love hearing from you on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram — we have such a vibrant community in all those places, so please join us there! I read every comment and often respond, as time allows…so many rich things you say inspire me and others who stop by and read. THANK YOU and KEEP THEM COMING! I love seeing you share memes from this community as well, so here are some quotable from this post for you to share with YOUR circle of influence! p.s. Love ya’ll.

Sharables

When Jesus Doesn’t Calm the Storm

When Jesus Doesn’t Calm the Storm

Hi friends!

I need to tell you a few things about Adam Weber, the guest writer of my blog, today. 1) He’s the founder and pastor of one of my favorite churches in America, Embrace Church. Anytime they ask me to speak there, I say yes. Warm, thriving, Kingdom-focused. These are the words that come to mind about Embrace. Oh, and he’s like 30. Ok maybe not 30. But close. I’m actually not sure but you get the picture: young to lead a dynamic 6-campus, one of the fastest growing churches in America. I attribute it to his humble heart. 2) He’s my friend. Not all pastors where I go and speak become my true and legit friends. Adam became one. 3) He’s written a book called Talking with God that is a really important book I hope you will go out and buy. It de-complicates prayer, which is something I’m passionate about, especially right now. Did I tell you I just finished writing a book called 5-Word Prayers? Right. I did. Coming in October. Adam and I are on such the same wavelength.

I asked Adam if I could share this post with you because it’s beautiful, and it’s something I needed to read. 

I’ve had some storms I’ve wanted Jesus to calm lately. How about you?

 

 

 

When my oldest was born, we lived hours away from family. I was a rookie dad, and when it came to the birth of tiny humans, all I knew was that it was supposed to all happen like clockwork. We did the pre-baby classes. We were ready. Just go to the hospital. Labor. Baby comes. Baby cries. Mom holds baby. And there would be nothing to worry about, right? Which was true. Until it actually came time for Hudson’s birth.

My wife Becky was at work when her water broke. I picked her up, and we drove to Saint Joseph East hospital in Lexington, Kentucky. All was great until near the end of labor. Hudson’s heart rate started going all over the place, and the doctors decided he needed to come out sooner rather than later.

As he was coming out, it became clear that something was terribly wrong. I could see it on the faces of the nurses. Out of nowhere, fifteen different people, doctors and nurses, appeared in the room. The heart monitor was beeping, and Hudson was blue, not making a sound.

Wasn’t he supposed to start crying? Then I saw it. The umbilical cord was tightly wrapped around his neck. Instead of handing us our baby to hold, they quickly took him away and a team of people worked frantically to help him breathe.

In that moment, my heart was torn into pieces for someone I had seen for less than a minute. I was scared. And broken.

All I could do was cry out. Literally, I was crying as I prayed. I didn’t even think about it. The words just came out from the deepest part of me.

God, are you sleeping?

Is he going to be okay?

Would you be with my new son?

Help him to breathe, Lord.

Father, I’m scared!

If you struggle to “pray,” do you know how to yell? Can you scream? Have you ever cried out to God? Shouted at the sky? Shaken your fist in the air? Maybe you’ve been praying for years and didn’t know it.

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The night Hudson was born, I cried more than I thought was humanly possible. My eyes hurt because I cried so much. Thankfully, the next morning Hudson was cleared by the nurses and I was able to hold my healthy son. I give thanks for Hudson daily, and I only wish every story ended like this. I wish the storm was calmed every time. Sadly, that’s not the case.

What happens when the storms come, we cry out to God, and the worst still takes place? What happens when it feels like God is silent?

Have you been there before? Have you endured a storm that seemed to shake everything, including the foundation of all that you know about God? I without question have been in this place.

Sometimes I don’t pray because I question whether it will change anything. Does it really matter if I do? Other times I don’t pray because I don’t want to be disappointed by God. What if I pray and nothing happens? Will it shake my faith in prayer? Will it shake my belief in God?

For the past five years, my dad has had a pain issue. The pain has completely altered his life. He went from being one of the most active, healthy people I’ve ever known to lying in bed a majority of each day because of the pain. Mom and Dad now have a bed in their living room so he doesn’t have to be alone in the bedroom during the day. He walks with a cane. He is in constant pain. It’s horrible.

I can honestly say that I’ve never prayed more faithfully for anyone in my life. I’ve prayed for years that he would be healed. On my knees, crying out, yelling at God—I’ve done it all. Yet in spite of my cries, Dad’s condition has continued to worsen. Even now, I cry just thinking about it. I want so much for him to be healed.

I could attempt to explain the unexplainable. I could offer reasons and explanations to your questions and mine, but at times there simply aren’t any. None that satisfy. I’ve found that trite answers only cause more hurt than good.

When I ask my dad his thoughts on what he’s going through, specifically the times his very life has been in jeopardy, he’s the first to admit that he has questions too. At times he cries about it. Having had to retire early, he’s worried about finances. If something were to happen to him, he worries about my mom being alone. Yet he’s also quick to say that more than ever before, he realizes that God is truly good, that he’s in control of all things, and that he’ll provide everything we need. He’s realized that even death itself isn’t a bad thing.

A few years ago, Dad had a surgery and had complications afterward. He had to go back into surgery again that same day. Before being wheeled into the operating room for the second time, at one of his worst moments, he asked my mom to play the song “10,000 Reasons” on her cell phone so he could listen to it.

It’s a song that talks about praising God, and all the reasons that we have to thank God, regardless of what we’re facing. Matt Redman reminds us that though our days may draw to a close, our souls will still “sing your praise unending.”

I can’t say it any better. I guess my dad is choosing to focus on Jesus in the midst of the storm. In the end, isn’t that what storms do? They remind us of what’s important. They remind us who is in control. They remind us to keep focusing on the main thing—Jesus. And if we keep talking with him through the storm, we might come to understand that he’s all we’ve ever really needed.


Adam lives in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. He likes typewriters, drives a Rambler, cheers for the Cincinnati Bengals, has 4 chickens, and a dog named Daisy. He’s the Lead Pastor of Embrace, a 10-year-old church that has grown to 6 campuses in two states.He and his beautiful wife, Becky, have four kids. Fun fact: He once made worldwide news when a turkey vulture fell out of the sky and onto his back porch during an ice storm. Google it.

To order Talking With God, CLICK HERE.