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Grieving During the Holidays

The past several days , with the holidays, I have been thinking a lot about my niece Catelyn! This time last year she had been in a coma for 4 months and we were beginning to say our goodbyes, as her body began failing. Her accident was life-changing for me… Seeing her the first time lying lifeless in that hospital bed, was the most traumatic moment of my life! I’ve spent hours and hours in therapy processing the trauma from her accident and her loss. Thankfully, I have found peace and healing… But the grieve doesn’t go away! It is a life long journey learning to live without someone you loved!
This young lady was more than a niece, she was more like a daughter! She was born when I was 11 years old and I pretty much raised her, as her mother and my mother lived their lives for themselves! I took care of her as an infant, taught her to walk and talk. Sadly, I resented her at times, because her birth in many ways meant the end of my childhood. Trust me, this was short-lived! When I moved out of the house at age 16, God quickly convicted my heart, that this sweet girl needed me! I tried to make it home every weekend during my college years to ensure she made it to church. She wanted to be like her aunt Crystal! She told others and I was so proud to be someone she could really look up to! I never wanted her to be like me, I only wanted her to become who the woman God created her to be! This was always my prayer for her! There wasn’t a part of my life she wasn’t part of and the photo albums prove this fact! She lived with us for a year when she was in high school. The memories are abundant! Tears still flow when I see her pictures and recall the countless memories we shared together! We lived through many hardships, precious moments and tender moments together!
Sadly, Catelyn and I often had a tough relationship as she grew older and made decisions that she knew I didn’t approve of… This is the stuff that haunted me after her death! The very thing that grieved me the most! I have peace over these difficult years and know that this old unGodly world, has a way of trying to destroy God’s perfect plan! The enemy won many battles, but he didn’t win the war! She is with Jesus! We made peace and I am forever grateful for the final moments to have shared love, hearts, and most importantly I was able to for the final time share Jesus with her!
I NEVER stopped loving her or praying for her! I NEVER gave up hope that she would get her life together and surrender to God’s will for her life! Sadly, this hope and prayer never came to fruition on this side of Heaven. This makes me sad… I know one thing for sure… If love could save a life, my sweet girl wouldn’t have died so young! She’d be living a confident, joyful, and happy life today! I give God thanks that she will be in Heaven and I will see her again one day! The relationship will be perfect! I look forward to hugging her and telling her how proud of her I am! Her last moments will be forever cherished! Even though my heart ached… broke… and struggled to even catch a breath.
I miss you, Catelyn Michelle! My heart still grieves your loss and breaks every time I remember that your gone! I thank God for the times we shared together and the many memories we shared together! I am sad and miss you terribly! Your little girl face will forever be ingrained in my mind!
Holidays have a way of bringing loss and grief to the forefront. Praying for all those who have lost someone special to them!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0HsAluBAySI

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Letting Go

This amazing man started a new job this week! He is working for Thrasher Foundation & Repair in Springfield. He traveled the first week and drove all over Missouri and Kansas and was gone for several days.

It was so very hard for this momma to let her child go and I fought emotion the entire week. I know holding him back wouldn’t have been God’s plan! Letting go is the HARDEST part of being a momma! I worried and took my worries to God in prayer and I did this about a hundred times since he left on Wednesday morning for his first week of work. A few times I got ready and my heart was overwhelmed with the grief of watching your child leave the nest. I’m thankful he’s not completely leaving the nest yet and he’s leaving for a few days and coming back.

There was tremendous joy, as I heard his stories and observed the excitement he had about getting such an awesome job!

I am so very proud to have such an awesome young man for A son! I am proud of the way he makes the world a better place, with his Love for God, people, and bringing kindness to a world in desperate need!

Great job, son! I’m proud of you! Robert Ridlon

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Word Of Discernment; America We’re Headed For Dark Days

Americans, my heart has been troubled for several months over the direction our nation is headed. Sadly, we are taking for granted the freedoms we have in America! This is terrififying to me at the deepest level! I know the feeling of being trapped, helpless, scared, and controlled! Being imprisoned, trapped, helpless, unloved, and controlled is the worse feeling in the entire world! I was raised in a home where I continually felt controlled, scared, trapped, and helpless! These are the worse feelings I’ve felt in my entire life! I have spent the duration of my life trying to overcome these difficulties from my childhood.

When I turn on the news today, I experience flashbacks to my childhood! The screaming, violence, hatred, riots, looting, attacking, name calling, cursing, and vulgarity were a regular part of my upbringing! It was Satan fueling the violence and pain in my childhood home and it is Satan fueling the violence on the streets, in the government, and in our culture! To think of living in a country where the government or one political agenda is in control, triggers tremendous fear of being controlled and helpless! Living for Christ has been the conduit that has set me free from many forms of bondage! Sadly, many feel that surrendering their hearts to Christ is an act of powerlessness and confinement! It is the exact opposite, it is freedom, peace, joy, purpose, meaning, and faith knowing God is in control!

It saddens me to see America moving into a time, ever so gradually, of persecution, famine, and a complete lack of freedom. In fact, we’re already there! People are no longer allowed to attach a flag to their vehicle or put a sign in their yard, without getting them removed, vandalized, and even burned down! The people acting out these acts of violence are full of hatred, anger, and a complete lack of joy and peace! It’s terribly sad to see happening all around our great nation! The government is forcing mask mandates and even scarier, shutting down our religious freedoms, by shutting down our churches! We need the church! Without the church, our very foundation is headed to extinction and the Father of Lies “Satan himself” is behind the very movement! This is control of a very overt and scary form! Satan is attempting to lead us to a place of chaos, conflict, and I believe complete disunity down the middle! I’m warning people now, I’m not the type to announce prophetic words onto the world, but my spirit is discerning hard days coming soon!

Days of persecution, tremendous fear, and absolute chaos are among us and most of us are asleep to it! WAKE UP!!! Christians or so-called “Christians” are falling for the movement for the sake of being “woke” and aren’t paying attention to the demonic agenda under the surface! This is a Satanic agenda that far too many aren’t paying attention to and are falling for the “woke” movement in the worse way! We must be aware! We must stand up and fight! Religious freedom, political freedom, freedom of speech is no longer tolerated by a vast majority of people; Except when it comes from the side their on! This is frightening people! This should terrify you!

Our forefathers fought considerably for the freedom’s we have today! Sadly, I believe we’re headed back into a time of having our freedom thwarted. In fact, we’ve had many of our freedom’s threatened for many many years and most people are blind to it! To stand for God’s word and principles is no longer tolerated and is considered “hate speech”, and God’s word is the only way to truth and true freedom! Satan knows this and is pushing the narative stronger than ever! He’s called the master manipulator in scripture for a reason!

We can “feel” powerful emotions and they often feel like truth! Friends, feelings are fickle and can’t be trusted! We must have a steady guide, a moral compass, and the only one we have is God’s word! Anytime inconsistencies are prevalent, Satan is behind it! This is a plea from a fellow sister in Christ!

I am warning you today, that life as we know it is soon to change drastically and you won’t know what hit you! I’m not looking forward to these days, I’m frightened at my core, but I also know dark days are prophesied in the end days in scripture! I’m gearing up for the battle, just as Jesus geared up for dying on that Old Rugged Cross! It was gruesome, terrifying, and outright scary… It was the Father’s will!

Jesus was prepared! Friends, I’m fearful most of us aren’t! Time to get ready! Life as we know it will be drastically changing! When we are prepared for the battle ahead, there is no fear! Jesus wasn’t fearful, because he was ready for the battle that was before him!

The intention of this post isn’t to scare you, but warn you to be equipped for the battle’s that inevitably lie ahead! An army ill equipped and unprepared should be terrified! Given the proper warning we have time to prepare! The question is… Will you heed the warning and get right with God and prepare your heart for the battle ahead? Will you quiet your heart and ask God to show you the truth? The choice is yours! Fear or preparedness? I choose preparedness and proper training by the best trainer ever known, The Lord and Savior!

Praying for you today! Praying for our nation! Praying for our world!

Blessings, Crystal

2 Timothy 3:1-5 “But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people.”

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Peace In The Midst of Election Day 2020

I woke up early this morning to vote with my husband and my 18 year old son! It was an exciting day for many reasons. The most exciting part of today was being able to vote the first time with my 18 year old son, who has a tremendous love for God and a great passion for politics.

Shortly after arriving home and getting the pulled pork in the crock pot for dinner, I sat down and noticed a deep sense of peace in my spirit! As I sat on the couch in the living room, a verse came to my heart and mind. I couldn’t think of a more fitting verse for Election Day 2020.

Philippians 4:6 & “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

Several nights ago and over the past several months, I’ve encountered anxiety over the results from today’s election. The world is watching, because they know the condition of America drastically impacts the rest of the world! This day is a momentous occasion in our great nation! There is much resting on today’s election, therefore it is a time for considerable prayer and fasting!

I found myself surprised this morning by the level of peace I felt in my soul! I was shocked by the level of peace I felt in my spirit, as I sat down to pray, read my Bible, and think.

My spirit is at rest… Why??? Because, I know I’ve done my part. I’ve done what God has called me to do regarding the election. I’ve seen thousands and thousands of others doing their part and I know we’ve fought the good fight! I know the rest is up to God! The outcome of the election will be a result of God’s greater plan, which our human finite minds can’t possibly fathom or comprehend.

Therefore, today I can sit back, pray, and rest in God! In fact today I plan to relax and take it easy! Regardless of the election results, I know that tomorrow morning will come and with it a peace that surpasses all understanding, because I know that God is in control!

My heart breaks for the millions of Americans who are finding their spirits overcome with fear and anxiety as they await the results of today’s election. I want to encourage you to be sensitive and understanding with others, regardless of the side you find yourself on, many people will feel a wide array of emotions… From excitement to devastation! Let’s be Jesus to those who are hurting and help one another and encourage each other! This is what the gospel is all about, loving God and loving each other! Our two greatest commandments are to love God and love one another!

“God is not the author of confusion. God is the author or peace and a sound mind!”

Praying you will have peace in your spirit today! Praying for mercy for our country! Praying for the results of the election!

Blessings, Crystal

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Political Anxiety & Passion to Pray

This evening I am reminiscing of the days when I didn’t care about politics. Remembering the ease of “ignorance and not caring”. Recalling my younger years when politics didn’t keep me awake with anxiety at night. Although it was easier to be ignorant to political issues, it wasn’t where God wanted us to be.

We need to understand the political culture and the implications of political agendas. We shouldn’t be obsessed, but we should be in the know! We must know how to pray! We must understand and have knowledge of the condition of our nation, in order to know how to pray! In order to know how to pray, we must have knowledge and understanding of politics. Even if it causes us a little extra anxiety, this way we have a deep yearning to pray for our nation!

Over the next several days as election day approaches, I will be praying fervently! Any angst I endure, I will use for passion to lead me to the cross to pray for our country! Please join me in praying for our country over the next two days and continuing into the following weeks, months, and years ahead.

Blessings, Crystal

Romans 13:1 “Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.”

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God’s Plans Always Prevail

God knows what we need to hear, just when we need to hear it! I love serving a God who cares deeply about the things that concern His children!
God has proven this truth to me many times! I thankful that man’s sinfulness and pride doesn’t determine our outcome! God’s promise to His children and his plans will ALWAYS prevail! Thankful to serve a God who is always bigger than any system and the final authority over everything! Friends, if your finding yourself in a difficult situation, lift your voice to the Lord! He knows your heartache and will move mountains to ensure his children are cared for and he will grow and strengthen you in process!

Blessings, Crystal

Genesis 31:6 & 7
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Earnestly Seek God

Opening God’s word in the morning is the greatest blessing and way to begin your day! Recently, I’ve been reading slowly through Psalms. Such profound authenticity, compassion, comfort, & wisdom is found in this wonderful book!

The thing that has stood out to me the most about Psalms, is the manner in which it boldly, yet discreetly gives insight into how to live our lives abundantly! Typically, this is offerered in gentle “action” statements, that can easily be missed if reading through swiftly.

The action statement from my reading today that stood out the most, is found in Psalm 63:1-8…

“You, God, are my God, earnestly I seek you, in a dry and patched land where there is no water. I have seen you in the sanctuary and beheld your power and glory, Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you. I will praise you as long as I live, and in your name I will lift up my hands. I will be fully satisfied as with richest of foods; with singing lips my mouth will praise you. On my bed I remember you; I think of you through the night. Because you are my help, I sing in the shadow of your wings. I cling to you; your right hand upholds me.”

Wow! This passage shows tremendous emotion, dependence on God, and a desperation to seek Him! It begins with “EARNESTLY I SEEK YOU!”

When is the last time you’ve “EARNESTLY” sought God???

Often, I hear people question God’s realness and ask why He never speaks to them. I believe the answer to those questions, typically lie in the “action” statements throughout scripture. People want God to deliver them, help them, and save them… But, sadly they don’t want to surrender their lives over to Him! They don’t want to discipline themselves to build their relationship with God! They WANT God, but don’t NEED Him! They desire joy, but don’t actively pursue God’s abundant joy! They want Him, without actively desiring Him!

The Bible clearly shows an action part on our end…

WITH ALL YOUR HEART…
SEEK HIM…
LOVE HIM…
FOLLOW HIM…

We can’t build a relationship with anyone who we regularly push away, fail to make a priority, rarely speak to, or never take time to intently listen to their heart!

Trust me, when we put into practice the “action” piece in our relationship with God, he will show up in mighty ways! In fact, he will begin to regularly knock your socks off with answered prayers, provisions, and guidance!

He will meet you in your surrender!

Friends, earnestly seeking God is a lifelong journey! At times I’m on fire for Him and other times I grow weak in my seeking of Him! After a short time of wandering on my own, I feel it deeply and it feels like, I’m living a spiritually dry and parched life, as if I’m spiritually dying of thirst!

The good news… the GREAT news is this… Once I begin to “earnestly” seek Him, he shows up! He quenches the spiritual thirstiness and neediness of my soul! He’s amazing like that!

I can’t imagine living this life without a Savior!

Earnestly begin seeking Him today! You WILL begin to see the direction of your day, week, year, and life change! You WILL begin to see Him show up in mighty ways!

Blessings, Crystal ❤

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Watch For God

Psalm 59 spoke loudly to me this morning! There is no better way to begin a new day, than in God’s word and allowing Him to lead and direct your paths! He rewards obedience!

The verse that particularly stood out today…

Psalm 59:9 & 10 “You are my strength, I watch for you; you, God, are my fortress, my God on whom I can rely.”

God is telling us in this passage that he’s got our back, he’s our shelter in the storms of life!

He also is quick to tell us, he requires “action” on our part! We are to “watch” for Him! We must be mindful of His presence and always looking for him to show up in our everyday lives!

So often, I fail to actively “watch” for God and get frustrated when he doesn’t quickly fix the problems surrounding me. Once I stop and acknowledge his presence, I see him at work in the midst of the trials of this life! Occasionally, he answers a prayer request ASAP, and I absolutely love to see these immediate answers to prayer requests! Other times, he allows a concern to linger for awhile, but reveals his presence, love, and compassion in the midst of the storm! I have learned that it is during these longer trials, that God’s presence is revealed in the most powerful ways!

Friends, Are you in the midst of a struggle today? I encourage you to actively “watch” for God! Once He knows we’re seeking Him, he reaches out to us! “Seek and you will find!” Call out to him! Look for him in the nighttime sky and the sunrise! Watch for him in the eyes of people, in the simple blessed moments of special family, friend, and life moments!

He’s there! He’s waiting! He Is longing for you to call out to Him! He’s ready to help you through this trial!

Blessings, Crystal

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Steadfast Peace In the Midst of Chaos

In our nation there has been tremendous unrest, tension, violence, hatred, and wide discrimination across the board! I can’t turn on the news anymore without my heart breaking and my gut sinking! I’m sure you’ve felt the very same feelings, regardless of what political side your on or what is going on in your personal lives. We all have one thing in common, we’re all distressed! In the midst of a pandemic, we’re also dealing with the issues facing our nation, the difficulties in our personal lives, and the stress of an upcoming election. Conflict is rampant in the news, our cities, and even in our own homes and churches. Where can we find peace in the midst of the chaos surrounding us? We can always find “peace” at the end of ourselves! When we “STOP” the running, worrying, spiraling, and busyness and truly sit at the Lord’s feet, something miraculous happens.

At the end of ourselves, when we run into His arms, He receives us and shows us the way!

Mathew 7:7-8 says, “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye. shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh. findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.”

Our job is actually easy… All we need to do is “ask”, “seek”, and “knock”. It’s only difficult because it requires a laying down if our pride and coming before God humbly asking, seeking, and knocking for His interceding! Through this process, the God of the universe settles our hearts and minds!

He truly does care about each and everyone of us! He gives us strength, wisdom, and peace. He’s a Mighty shelter from the stress rampant all around us!

Friends, the Lord rewards obedience!!! This morning Satan tried to lure me away from scripture with a storm, fatigue, stress of home buying/selling, worries about our nation, work, etc. Today, rather than obeying the flesh and heading back to bed, searching the web, or working to get things done. I ran to God! The peace and joy on the other side is wonderful!

Are you anxious, weary, downtrodden, out of sorts, irritable, worried, fearful….? Take it to God! He’s ready to receive you into His arms and show you the way to eternal peace and joy!

I encourage you today to read Psalm 57… “Have mercy on me, my God, have mercy on me, for in you I take refuge. I will take refuge in the shadow of your wings until the disaster has passed… Be exalted, O God, above the heavens; let your glory be over all the Earth… My heart is steadfast, my heart is steadfast; I will sing and make music!”

In the midst of a personal battle, a family battle, a church battle, a national battle, or a worldly pandemic…. We can remain “steadfast”… but only when we seek God with all our hearts!

Blessings, Crystal

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Finding Peace in a World Desperately Lacking

Today I woke up and felt discouraged with the issues surrounding our world and nation. This morning I had decided over coffee to hold off on my quiet time and spending time with God, until later in the afternoon. As the day went on, I found my soul on edge, sad, and definitely discouraged!

Fighting tears, I told my husband I was discouraged about everything in our culture and the implications of the virus; He lovingly responded by saying, “Seems like you need to spend time with God and read your Bible!” He was soooooooooo right!

Several minutes later, I took my daughter to the pool and opened up my devotional and Bible to find God was speaking right into my discouragement! Within moments he spoke right into my lack of focus on God and reminded me of the beautiful surrounding me!

Spending time with God didn’t make the virus disappear, or the pools and playgrounds reopen, or make all the tension and conflict in the world disappear! It calmed my soul, by giving me a God- centered perspective, rather than a worldly discouragement.

Yes, our world seems like it’s out of control! Yes, our nation feels like it’s gone completely mad! Yes, it feels inconsistent in rules, regulations, and what is acceptable for different groups of people! Yes, if I continue to focus on the news, Facebook, the closed pools & playgrounds around our nation, the disgruntled people from all political sides, and the struggles in our midst; I will feel downright discouraged, depressed, and frustrated! I will feel no peace, if I fail to seek God! When I seek God, I find a deep inner peace!

In fact, if I seek God’s face through reading my Bible, prayer, and worshiping him through song and nature; I will feel like rejoicing! I will have heathy and appropriate emotions and reactions to the world’s events! I will not be overcome with negative emotion, because I will have a deep peace and assurance that God is in control!

Today, I am thankful for a God who understands, loves unconditionally, is always in control, provides stability in the midst of instability, and calms his children in the midst of life’s storms and tribulations!

Friends, take some time and focus on Jesus today! Read his word, talk to him, worship him; You will find instantaneous peace in a world gone mad! You will find peace in a world of brokenness, tension, sadness, discrimination, and heartache!

John 14:27 “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”

Blessings, Crystal