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Perfectly Modest

I’m a serious advocate for modesty, especially modesty in little girls. I’m not “legalistic” in my approach to live or teach modesty to my little girl. I believe the issue of modesty is on a spectrum, from legalistic don’t wear make-or jewelry and only wearing long skirts, etc… to… dressing in a fashion that leaves little to the imagination. I try to remain somewhere in the middle of the spectrum, while ensuring my focus remains on Christ! After all, one day I will stand before the throne and will have to give an answer for the way I chose to live my life and raise my children. For this reason, I’ve made a decision to instill modest values into my little girl’s heart from a very young age (actually from birth).

I recall receiving a baby bikini for a shower gift, while I was pregnant with my Sweet Caroline. I remember the internal struggle that began before my daughter entered into the world. I thanked the individual for the gift, but my little girl never wore that bikini. Why??? It is essential to begin teaching modesty at birth and I never wanted her to say “You let me wear that bikini when I was a baby, I saw it in that picture!” I wanted her to know I took a stance for Jesus toward modest living way before she was born! I never want her to see my values and morals shifting! I wanted her to see a mother who was grounded in her convictions, rooted in her love for God, in her desire to serve and obey the Lord. I want her to remember a mother who was able to take a stand in a constantly changing world! Listed below are a few reasons for my conviction toward modest living, for myself and my daughter!

1.) There are perverts all over and they look at little girls in indecent manners, even if we don’t think they are! All the more reason, I refuse to allow my little girl to be the object of that kind of negative attention.

2.) I am teaching this little girl to value herself for who she is on the inside, not to find her value in her outer appearance!

3.). I’m teaching this little girl that you can dress cute, be cute, and look adorable, while dressing modestly… and fashionably!

4.). I’m teaching her to walk proud and to be proud of who she is and most importantly to always remember “who’s she is”… A child of God!

5.) I want her to one day find a man who will love her for who she is on the inside! A man who will respect her for a commitment to purity!

6.). I desire to protect her in anyway I possibly can, I believe the first step is to ensure she’s dressed modestly in public.

7.) I want her to learn the importance of standing strong, by taking a stand by refusing to succumb to society’s pull toward revealing as much skin as possible.

8.). I want this little girl to positively change the world! Changing the world begins with taking a stand in our personal lives!

9.) I want her to grow up and be proud of the values we’ve instilled into her life! Hopefully, to be proud enough to pass them onto her future children!

10.). Personally, I think she’s one of the prettiest little girls I’ve ever seen! I want her to feel pretty, loved, and cherished because she is a daughter of the King! I never want her to value herself based off of the negative attention that comes from the world, which will only lead her to a life of insecurity and unhappiness!

1 Peter 3:2-3 “Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.“

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Fear Is A Liar

Today has been a less than ideal day!  Occasionally a rotten days is inevitable!  Locked myself out of my office, negative thoughts pushing their way through the recesses of my mind, and just “stuff”.  As I sat in my quiet office after “the being locked out crisis”, feeling like a major idiot for leaving my key in the office.  I turned my focus on seeking the voice of God in the midst of my “soon to be” tailspin!  In all honesty, I can’t even begin to explain all the negative thoughts bombarding my peace of mind this afternoon!  I can say with certainty I was allowing Satan to wreak havoc on my state of being.

This tailspin of my mind continued for several hours until, I finally recognized the familiar tactic of the enemy.  Determined to fight the unwanted and painful thoughts and emotions of the day, I retreated to a quiet place and bowed my head over my desk!  The Lord lead me to John Chapter 10, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have that they may have life, and have it to the full.”  In addition, the worship song playing on my computer was Zack William’s new hit, “Fear is a Liar!”  Here are the powerful lyrics of this timely played song… The link to the song will be posted at the bottom of the post!  Perhaps, you need the same reminder today!

Fear Is A Liar, by Zack Williams
“When he told you you’re not good enough
When he told you you’re not right
When he told you you’re not strong enough
To put up a good fight
When he told you you’re not worthy
When he told you you’re not loved
When he told you you’re not beautiful
That you’ll never be enough
Fear, he is a liar
He will take your breath
Stop you in your steps
Fear he is a liar
He will rob your rest
Steal your happiness
Cast your fear in the fire
‘Cause fear he is a liar
When he told you were troubled
You’ll forever be alone
When he told you you should run away
You’ll never find a home
When he told you you were dirty
And you should be ashamed
When he told you you could be the one
That grace could never change
Fear he is a liar
He will take your breath
Stop you in your steps
Fear he is a liar
He will rob your rest
Steal your happiness
Cast your fear in the fire
‘Cause fear he is a liar”
He can be terribly convincing at times!  He has a manipulative scheme and it begins with ruining days, then turns into destroying lives.  Thankfully, as Christ-followers we can rest knowing the battle has already been won!  To fight the Devil’s schemes, we need only say one word, “Jesus!”  Romans 10:13 “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved!”
Thankfully, fear hasn’t won the victory!  Christ has won the victory!  The moment I took my eyes off the problems and decided to focus on God’s word, my very bad day was turned upside down!  This my friends is the power we have through Christ!

 

I am thankful for the power of the Holy Spirit in my life!  I am thankful God speaks to my heart, in the midst of the weakest moments through scripture and songs inspired by the Holy Spirit!

I’ll end today’s session with a message I have implanted deep into the heart’s of my children.

Back away Satan, my heart belongs to Jesus!”  

Blessings, Crystal

 

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The Gift of Presence {Father’s Day Post}

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As I looked through photos for this Father’s Day post, I was reminded of the amazing gift of {presence} my husband has graciously given to me and our kids.  His presence within our family is a wonderful blessing; a true gift!  As a father, he spends time with his children, he talks with them, plays with them, teaches them, and is present in everyday activities within our family!  We are blessed to have this man leading and guiding our family!

He not only teaches, but gently leads!

He not only provides, but comforts!

He not only guides, but listens!

He not only is present, he makes time for each child (including making time for his wife)!

He is not only available, he sacrifices on our behalf!

He not only loves, he has a special unique relationship with each one of his children!

This amazing man could teach a class or write a book on “How to be a loving and God-fearing father!”  Our children have amazing gifts & talents, a great ability to love, a great wealth of knowledge, and wisdom well beyond their years because of the loving relationship they share with their earthly father!

Most importantly, because of their earthly father’s example on Earth, they have a beautiful picture of God’s love for his children!

Today, I’d like to be the first to say…

Happy Father’s Day to one fantastic dad!  Thank you for loving, cherishing, and gently guiding our children!  I see the reward of your efforts in their level of security, in their confidence, in their smiles, in their desire to grow up and be just like you… their wonderful father!

Robert you are loved, admired, cherished, and greatly appreciated!

Hapoy Father’s Day!

Love,

Crystal

 

 

 

 

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Happy 18th Anniversary

This video says more in 4 minutes than I could every say! A picture is worth a thousand words!!! 18 years ago we followed God’s leading to the alter, not fully knowing what the future held. We vowed before God and loved one’s to spend the rest of our lives together! Looking over pictures from 18 amazing years of marriage, tears filled my eyes and joy filled my heart, as I was reminded of the many blessings we’ve shared together! Together, we’ve traveled, had four amazing children, laughed, fought, moved, and helped each other achieve our dreams! I’m thankful for the 18 years we’ve shared! I look forward to a million more in the future!

Click below to see 18th Anniversary Video…

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=f9wMV0wut24

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Proud Momma Moment

My oldest son, Robby is 16 years old, and will be getting his driver’s license in two very short days! He has his own lawn mowing business, job as a lifeguard this summer, and he is actively involved in his youth group. While on vacation this week, I was able to spend time observing his character, listening to his heart, and even learned some valuable lessons from our conversations. What can I say about this amazing teenager? I couldn’t be more proud of the young man Robby has become! He has a heart for serving God, he has a deep rooted sense of loyalty and commitment to his family and friends, and he is the hardest working teenager I’ve ever seen! He refuses to quit and pursues every dream or goal placed before him! He does life well, whether it’s in school, his personal life, managing relationships, spending time with his family, or his entrepreneurial world; He succeeds!

One thing I know for sure… He is one great catch! The young woman God chooses for this guy at the right time, will be one lucky lady! She will be treated as the Bride of Christ, respected, well taken care of, and loved fully! He’s never taken an interest in girls, as he is fully aware of the important factors in choosing a Godly mate. He waits patiently, loves deeply, and aligns his thoughts and actions with God’s word, all while seeking Godly council.

This week I’ve been blessed to spend quality time talking and walking with him on the beach! What I discovered? What an honor it is to see the fruits of your labor, undeserved really, mature and produce such strong Godly character and love for others! I’m one proud momma!

Proverbs 22:6 “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”

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Lessons in Humility

Tonight, I messed up!  I admit it, I failed to pause and responded out of frustration. Without going into the entire story, let me just say, my flesh got the best of me this evening!  To be honest, the weight of my failure tonight is quite heavy!  This evening, I responded to a situation in a manner that left me completely dismayed.  It’s not a new issue, actually it’s a long-running issue that I’ve been trying to manage. Actually it’s an issue I have poured my heart out trying to fix for many months, through prayer, guidance, and countless discussions.  Yet, despite my best effort the problem continues to rear it’s ugly head.  It’s a relationship issue, not in my immediate family, but in a family very dear to my heart!  The tears I’ve cried this evening are numerous and the moment I think the tears have stopped, they unexpectedly begin again.  At this point I sit in the living room alone at 1 a.m., while my entire family sleeps.  I’m wide awake struggling to differentiate worldly sorrow from Godly sorrow, at this point my thoughts and emotions seem to be colliding.  The confusion I feel lead me to cleave to the living room couch to pray fervently, open God’s word for wisdom, and ultimately to write this blog.

Immediately, upon sitting on the couch to pray and search the scriptures, God placed this scripture on my heart…

2 Corinthians 7: “Even if I caused you sorrow by my letter, I do not regret it. Though I did regret it—I see that my letter hurt you, but only for a little while— yet now I am happy, not because you were made sorry, but because your sorrow led you to repentance. For you became sorrowful as God intended and so were not harmed in any way by us. Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.  See what this godly sorrow has produced in you: what earnestness, what eagerness to clear yourselves, what indignation, what alarm, what longing, what concern, what readiness to see justice done. At every point you have proved yourselves to be innocent in this matter.”

Here are a few of the thoughts battling inside my heart and mind at the present time…

“What kind of Christian counselor loses their composure?  Perhaps, your just a fraud and shouldn’t be counseling people at all?  You can’t handle everything in your own life, how can you manage things in other people’s lives?  You let everyone down!  Your a loser!  You might as well quit trying, you always mess everything up!” 

Upon reading 2 Corinthians 7:8-11, I recognize immediately the negative thoughts are coming directly from Satan himself, the very one ultimately responsible for the conflict from the beginning.  This is the epitome of “world sorrow” at it’s finest!

John 10:10 “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”

Satan hates Christian relationships and he exerts tremendous energy into destroying all good and wonderful aspects of God’s perfect plan.  This sudden, yet familiar, struggle jolts my awareness and ignites anger within me toward Satan!  At this point, my anger and hurt is directed at the one orchestrating all the conflict and friction, Satan himself.

Other thoughts bombarding my spirit, mind, & soul consist of:

Crystal, you failed to “practice the pause”!  You failed to stop and pray before responding!  I am here for you, all you need to do is reach out for me, I am here to give you wisdom and to give it abundantly!  Crystal, I am your strength!  Seek Me!  Ask for my forgiveness!  Ask others for their forgiveness.  Sweetie, you must now begin to forgive yourself!  You are not perfect, I am still in control!  Make it right!  Take responsibility for where you sinned! Learn from your mistakes!

As I write out these thoughts, I see God has been speaking to me and hasn’t left my side, even though I messed up big!  He also didn’t praise my bad choices, but he lovingly and gently showed me where I had sinned, reminded me of his truths, and guided my heart in the process of righting my wrong!  This is “Godly sorrow” and it is painful in a hopeful way, in a way that pulls you towards repentance, healing, and peace.  “Godly sorrow brings about repentance, that leads to salvation, and leaves no regret.”

Tonight, I was reminded that in my own strength I will falter and fail miserably!  I was reminded of the importance of “never” embracing my fleshly desires, but taking time to stop, pray, and listen before responding in difficult situations.  Tonight, God gave me a healthy dose of humility and it was painful and hard to swallow!  The most astounding thing is how God used my failure to teach me very important life lessons.  He reminded me how desperately I need him. Tonight, God showed me that even when I mess up, he will never leave me, nor forsake me!

Micah 6:8 “He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.  And what does the Lord requires of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.”

Friends, I am not sure if you have ever messed up in this manner, or if you’ve ever lost your composure in a relationship or conflict.  Somehow, I feel I am not exactly alone in my “occasional” mishap and inability to manage my emotions 100 % of the time. The issue isn’t whether we’ll mess up from time to time, we’re human we will make mistakes!  The most important thing to remember is the importance of letting down your hurt, pride, and bitterness; To allow God to reach inside your heart and teach you his ways.

It is is my prayer that my transparency, regarding the lessons God taught me in the midst of my failures, will help you in some way.

1.) We all make mistakes!

2.) We all need the Lord.

3.) In our own strength we will fail miserably.

4.) God still loves you, even when you fail.

5.) God can and will guide you through the path of making right your wrongs.

6.) God will use our greatest mistakes to teach us some of our greatest life lessons.

7.) Worldly sorrow will bring you down and render you ineffective.

8.) Godly sorrow brings about repentance, leads to salvation, and leads to eternal life.

9.) Your not alone!

10.) Growing spiritually requires us to be teachable, especially when we’ve failed.

Finally…

Romans 8:25-30 ” In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.  And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.  And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.  For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.  And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.”

Blessings in humility,

Crystal Ridlon

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An “Authentic” Mother’s Day Message

There are only a few things in life that really irritate me. One thing that irritates me the most is when people are “fake” or “inauthentic”. I remember as a teenager seeing my family arguing and being superbly angry… then leaving for church and watching as these furious faces turned to gay smiles and laughter. I remember feeling dumbfounded and confused! I also recall these happy gay faces turn right back to anger and fury once we were in the car headed back home.  This is not who I am… I am not fake and I am NOT good at hiding my emotions! So, today I’ve decided to stay home from church.

Let me explain, today is Mother’s Day! This is supposed to be a happy day, a together day! Having woken up to a, let’s just say, a less than celebratory Mother’s Day… My feelings were crushed! Honestly, I’ve been fighting back tears all morning! I mean, I don’t want to ruin my freshly plastered make-up. So I’ve been fighting and I mean pushing back the flood of tears that are trying so desperately to pour from my eyes. Here’s the thing… I don’t think of myself as a woman with super high expectations. Is it expecting too much to want to be acknowledged and to feel cherished one day a year. My expectations consisted of a few flowers and a card or two on the table when I came down Sunday morning for coffee. Is that a lot to ask for on Mother’s Day??? Not sure why this hurts more than other forms of rejection. Perhaps it’s because I get “very little” appreciation for the many things I do throughout the year. Perhaps it’s because I grew up with a less than ideal childhood and have spent my life working hard to be the best mother I could be.  It’s easy to take for granted the most amazing gift a child could be given… a caring, Godly, and sacrificial mother.  Unless, you know what it feels like to long for the very thing everyone around you seems to take for granted. What I would have given to have a mother who was able to care for me in that manner? Perhaps it’s because I truly sacrifice so much of my life, my thinking, my emotions, my time, my energy for my husband and four children.

Perhaps it’s not an unreal expectation!  I don’t know all the answers, that’s for sure! Nor do I understand why my husband can sacrifice an entire weekend thinking about and building a sand box (which is an awesome thing for my kids and makes me very happy, but can’t seem to add in picking up flowers and purchasing a card to his list).  Or why my 16 year old is such a hard worker and spent his hard-earned dollars buying gear this week for his lawn mowing business (which I’m beyond proud of, But, can’t seem to muster up $10 for flowers and a card.) Is this wrong of me to think these thoughts? Is it wrong of me to skip church because my heart feels crushed? Maybe so! Yet, I am human! I am made up of flesh and blood! I do bleed when cut! I cry when hurt!  I feel sad when forgotten. And… selfishly, I do have minimal expectations for Mother’s Day!

I wish I was a completely selfless mother who could handle these types of Mother’s Day struggles with grace and thankfulness.  Regardless, I’m not there yet! Perhaps, it’s something I need to aspire for… but I’m just not there today! So for today, I’ll stay home from church, even though it breaks every fiber of my heart.  I’m just not able to plaster on a fake smile, when my heart is hurting!  And… I don’t wish for this ability either, because I hate inauthenticity!

Maybe, next year I’ll be a little more mature! Maybe next year I will have grown spiritually and be able to better handle the lack of appreciation.  Maybe next year, I will have developed defenses to help keep my heart from being hurt to this extent. Maybe next year, I’ll be a mother that can be appreciated.  Maybe, next year my family will have seen how hurt I was and actually do a little thinking and planning.

I guess we’ll just have to see what next year brings…

Today, has not been the Mother’s Day I’d hoped imagined.  Please know I’m not defeated! Sad and disappointed… but not defeated! I’ll get through today and things will return to normal tomorrow.  I’ll find it in my heart to forgive and will not hold a week long grudge, because that is not who I am.  I will allow myself to feel what I feel today, I will allow God to speak to my heart!  Most importantly, I still love my husband and my children unconditionally!  My love and affection has not, nor will it ever change!  I will allow myself to be hurt today… because I couldn’t stop it if I tried!

I take pride in being authentic and this blog post is definitely authentic and raw.  If this post bothers you, “I am sorry!”  I really wish I had a different outcome for Mother’s Day today…  If you relate to this blog in anyway, “I hope it helps to know that even the happiest and loved mother’s occasionally have a rotten Mother’s Day!

Perhaps, some of you mom’s have experienced a similar Mother’s Day. Perhaps, this is your Mother’s Day every year. Perhaps, you’d give anything to be a mother.  Perhaps, you recently lost your mother and will have a bittersweet day of grieving in the midst of trying to find joy.  If so, I feel for you today!

Know that your not alone! Know that what you do matters… even if it’s not appreciated on one special day in the year! After all, “The hand that rocks the cradle, rules the world!”

P.S. I know deep down that I am loved. I know that my children and husband would really struggle without me around. I know that deep down they know it too! I also know, that although I’m not perfect, I am a wonderful mother!  Perhaps, unless your a momma you just can’t understand what our hearts feel on this “special day”. Perhaps, my sweet family lacked planning because they are unaware of how deeply a lack of acknowledgment would hurt me.  I know if they understood my heart… I know they’d be more determined to make this day special!

Happy Mother’s Day!

(Wish this could have been a happy, peppy, feel good message. But let’s face it… life isn’t always happy and peppy! Right?)

Love, Crystal