Uncategorized

Love Proves Greater, In the Midst of Life’s Greatest Trials

My Valentine’s gift from my one and only sweetheart! Such a special gift and abundantly meaningful after a full year of joy and precious memories; in addition a tragedy in the family, tremendous trials in life’s battles, and heartaches greater than the average year.

This year… Love has proven greater… on the upside of life’s trials and struggles… I see a love more enriched through commitment to God and one another!

We’ve laughed together!

Explored the World together!

Journeyed family tragedy together!

Hurt together!

Shared life’s greatest joys and trials together!

Love Proves Greater, In the Midst of Life’s Greatest Trials

A dozen roses… more meaningful in the depths of love!

Feel good feelings and butterflies come and go… true love is much greater!

True love is deeper… roots run deep into the soil of God’s word and grows pure when it’s foundation rests in the hope of Jesus Christ!

Made stronger in the midst of life’s trials, when committed to living, loving, and serving God and one another!

Marriage is full of bliss… only when ordained in Heaven, held together by prayer in times of trial, together praising and thanking God for the gift of one’s soul mate! Made in His image, to love one another! This kind of love is greater than looks, Earthly pleasures, or worldly gain!

This love is a spiritual love… made stronger through a Heavenly and sacrificial focus to present one another to God without blemish.

This kind of love is only possible… as surrendered vessels of His unconditional love and the Spirit of God himself.

God uses this unconditional love to heal the heart of the broken!

God allows this type of love… only when His children obey his commandments… and maintain a teachable and discernible Spirit!

There is only one greater love on Earth… The Holy, undefiled, unconditional, and perfect love of the Father, Son, & Holy Spirit.

God’s perfect and Holy plan for marriage… Is a beautiful symbol of God’s perfect and true love… A perfect symbol of how Christ loves and gave his life for the church! God’s plans are always perfect and good! No Earthly person, place, or thing can even slightly compare to the perfectly fulfilling love of God!

Happy Valentine’s Day! To my one true Valentine and greatest gift on Earth!

Thank you for loving me well! Most of all, thank you for being willing to surrender your heart and will to Christ’s purpose and plan for our marriage! Thank you for maintaining our marital commitment before God himself! Our vows taken with great commitment and as a covenant to God himself! “To have and to hold from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death us do part, according to God’s holy law.”

I am blessed to be loved with a love ordained in Heaven! To be loved by a God-fearing man!

Uncategorized

Congratulations Robby!

This amazing young man officially and successfully finished the 12 grade yesterday! With an amazing 4.0! What can I say, he is one amazing individual! He loves God, has a heart to obey God’s word, and is one all around fun and caring person! He has always had a sensitive heart to God and the things of the Spirit.
This memory from my archived blog brought tears to my eyes! It was indicative of his heart for God! He wrote an essay that he read before the baptism called… “Jesus is my body guard!” From an early age, he understood God in a deep, intimate, and powerful way! He is much like his father, would be considered an older and wiser soul from a young age! I am so thankful to be his mother! Raising a strong-willed and independent child certainly comes with it’s challenges. I desperately need God’s wisdom, patience, and unconditional love, as I attempted to raise each one of my children.
What can I say? Robert IV is simply a blessing to me! I am encouraged by the depth of his personhood and love for God and God’s children1.
In the past year, I have seen him mature spiritually in profound ways! He has a strong spirit, but at it’s core he’s teachable and longs to have a heart more and more like Jesus Christ! He is brave! Courageous! Firm in his spiritual morals and beliefs!
Watching your children grown up and love, serve, and live for the Lord… There is truly no greater joy! I know God has great plans for this young man! I am so honored to be a part of the beautiful path that Jesus has him on!
“I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.” 3 John 1:4
Congratulations Robert Ridlon! I am so proud of you!
Uncategorized

Happy 15th Birthday Christopher

15 years ago this young man came rushing into the world! Funny thing is, he hasn’t rushed at anything since. He’s more slow & methodical, deep, intellectual, easy-going, and so unbelievably hilarious! He’s not photogenic in the slightest and his pictures used to drive me crazy. Since I’ve come to better understand “who he is” the silly in his photos are now met with joy & laughter! Christopher has far outdone any expectation I had, of the type of person he’d grow into. I’m thankful wisdom, God’s continual guidance, and my dear husband helped me to back off enough “at the right times” to allow him to be molded into God’s perfect design for him! He’s so much more amazing than I could have ever imagined! He’s truly a gift to our family & others. He loves God, has tremendous love and empathy for others, he’s the most non-judgemental and accepting human I’ve ever met! 15 year ago today, this fun guy joined our family! I can’t believe he’s old enough to get his permit and I know teaching him to drive is going to be a series of hilarious memories! More than all that, I Can’t believe he’s 15 and 6 feet tall! We couldn’t be more proud of Christopher! He is one fine, upright, smart, & God-fearing young man!

If you see him today… be sure to tell him “Happy Birthday!” He’s a natural encourager and I would love for him to be on the receiving end of lots of encouragement today!

Happy 15th birthday Christopher! I love you and I am sooooooo very proud of you!

Uncategorized

Grief Comes in Waves

Grief has a way of hitting you out of the clear blue!

Today, sitting in the lobby waiting for my allergy shots, I fight tears! I still can’t believe my niece is no longer wandering this Earth! I think I’ve come to grips with her death and out of the blue it hits me like a rushing wind! The pain in my heart flares back up, the tears flow endlessly, and I work through the current wave of grief all over again! Grief isn’t something that can be placed on a time table! It is different for every single person.

Thankfully, life has calmed down recently and the peace I feel in my heart has been a true blessing! However, when the storms of life stop blowing, other storms being pushed down and put aside begin to stir! This bout of grief won’t due me in, but so it is with grief! You have to feel it, to heal it! It doesn’t just disappear. It’s something you learn to live with it.

The stages of grief by Elizabeth Kubler Ross are Shock, Denial, Anger, Depression, and finally acceptance! I’m thankful for these stages and use them often in my work with grieving clients. However, I find them confusing at the same time! Seems to me, once you move through a stage, it should become a thing of the past! Not so, they come and go! I felt I was already at acceptance recently, and today went all the way back to shock! I just can’t believe it!

The Bible says, “We grieve like those with hope!” God’s word keeps me going! Encouraging words from loved ones and strangers! God’s provisions along the way! And… songs! Songs become good for my weary soul! This song was a blessing to me this morning!

I certainly miss her! I would love to see her face and hear her voice! Songs like “Face to Face” remind me that her death is not final and I will see her face and hear her voice again in Heaven one day! For now, my comfort is that she is dancing with the angels and experiencing true peace and everlasting joy!

Blessings, Crystal

Uncategorized

Lessons Learned from Remembering 2019

As I’ve pondered 2019 in depth, God has revealed several important concepts to my heart. This has come at just the right time, partly through personal prayer & Bible study, and through a sermon I heard today! I was convicted of how I have failed to remember God’s blessings this year, in the midst of many heart-wrenching trials. Just this week, I caught myself telling someone “I am soooo glad 2019 is a thing of the past!” I was convicted in my spirit immediately!

Although, 2019 brought many hardships, griefs, and at times pain that weighed my spirit heavily… There were amazing blessings in 2019! However, in the midst of these struggles, I allowed Satan to sway my focus on the negative aspects of life. As much as I hate to admit it, there were times Satan lead me to doubt God’s plan! And… times when it took everything in my inner being to say out loud “I trust you, even in this!”

Life is hard at times and this year I’ve encountered several trails that have knocked the wind out of my sails, for days, weeks, and even months at a time! In my personal life this past year, I’ve encountered many difficult trials! This year, my resolution is to remember God’s goodness! To focus on His precious promises, especially when Satan tries to torment me! That’s when I need Jesus the most! I will memorize Psalm 124 and will speak these truths out loud! When the storms of life start to overtake me, I will lift my eyes to God! I can’t imagine living this life, without God by my side! “If God is for us, who can be against us!”

Join me in writing a list of all the wonderful blessings God has given you in 2019 and how he has been by your side through it all! What a great way to force our hearts, mind, & souls to refocus on the good of God’s abundant love, provision, and blessing! This is cognitive behavioral therapy in action! Join me this year, in making a point to

force ourselves to focus on God and his precious promises, especially when life hurts,

Blessings, Crystal

Uncategorized

New Year’s Resolution 2020

New Year’s resolution…

Couldn’t have said it better myself!

Resolution based off of today’s devotional reading…2 Peter 1:3-11

My heart and goals for 2020!

To fully comprehend that God will meet every need of my heart! To trust in His promises, rather than doubt Him due to my own insecurities. It is only when I fully grasp this concept, that I will experience true peace and joy! This is the recipe for managing the evilness rampant in the world around me! I will make every effort to add to my faith, good deeds! To goodness, continued understanding & built knowledge of God’s word! As I acquire Biblical knowledge, the result will ensure greater self-control! Once self-control is matured, I will be better able to perseverance under pressure and in the midst of hardships! As I persevere and walk closely with God, surely the fruits of the Spirit will be more prevalent in my life! This, will allow me to experience greater love for God’s people, and greater ability to love those who are difficult to love! Through these steps, I will possess the very nature “Christ-likeness” that is essential for Godly living! Living out these Biblical steps to Godly living, will strengthen my faith and my resolve! Only then will I be fully able to live the productive, effective, and victorious life God so richly has planned for those who love him!

Blessings, Crystal

January 1, 2020

Uncategorized

You’ve Moved Onto Your Heavenly Home

My niece & her kiddos moved to Bloomington a few years ago, she wanted a new environment to get her life back on track! I thank God from the bottom of my heart for these 6 months! Our relationship grew so much during the time she lived close to us! I was soooooo proud of her! She learned so much during this time and every week she took her children to church! We loved having her sweet family attend church with us. Shortly after she moved to Bloomington, I dedicated this song to her! She (we) loved this song and she’d tell me how much she could relate to the message! We always played it in the car while driving to lunch. Man, I sure miss those lunches! I sure miss her! I am so thankful for this special memory and this song! She and I would tear up and I’d tell her how proud of her I was… I have always been so proud of her!

We were all so heart broken when she decided to move away from Bloomington, still chokes me up thinking about it. When Robby and I visited her in the hospital in Peoria, she was still in a deep coma and didn’t really respond to our presence. Except for when we played “I’m Movin On”. Her heart rate went up, she tried to open one of her eyes, and she heard and her body responded to the song! Last time I visited she was semi-conscience and she tried to smile and got emotional when hearing the song. Music is powerful to the soul and connects souls in ways words sometimes can’t!

Little did I know, this song would end up with a new meaning! You’ve moved onto “the best” place! Your eternal home! I am so happy for you and I can’t even imagine the reunion your having in Heaven today! My heart aches, I will continue to grieve, and I will feel pain! The joy I feel for you being in the presence of the Lord and your loved one’s who’ve gone before, is what will keep me going! Knowing I will see you again one day, gives me the ability to grieve with hope! I miss you, my dear sweet Catelyn! My, first girl! My, shadow! Our hearts have always had a special bond, even when things got messy, there was always a unique and special bond between us! Rest In Peace Catelyn! I love you!