The Lifeline of my Weary Soul

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I’m thankful this day is coming to a close!  All day it’s been a struggle to find peace, patience, clarity, and any resemblance of order.   The struggle to find peace within my soul, has stolen my joy and created a long and unbearable day.

In the midst of my struggle, the Holy Spirit intervened, softly and tenderly speaking my name.  I vaguely heard the quiet murmur of the Holy Spirit speaking, in the thick of my overwhelming emotions.  Once I sat in bed after a long day of confusing thoughts, endless commotion, racing thoughts, constant mistakes, and a complete lack of patience.

My children were abnormally rowdy today, the house was messy, and the world around me seemed unusually hectic.  After sending the children to bed, the stillness of the evening settled in.  As all God’s creatures fell into a quiet slumber and the noise level began to drop, I slowly regained my equilibrium.  Immediately, my eyes filled with tears, as I began to clearly hear that still small voice speak; Calling me to sweet surrender!  It didn’t take long to gain my attention, as my heart was in need of an attitude change.  Immediately, I knew there was nowhere else to turn, except into the tender arms of Jesus!  As the weariness welled up within my soul, I fell into my pillow, drenching my cheeks in a full release of pent up emotion.

Occasionally, I find myself fighting the trenches of a bad day!  Too often, I struggle to remember to seek refuge, immediately in the arms of the Father.  Forgetting to utilize my greatest lifeline first and foremost, makes for an extremely long and difficult day!  As the night time closes in, my soul yearns for answers to the day’s trials.  In the quiet of the darkness, I hear the voice of God!  I hear his still small voice beckoning my tired soul to find refuge in his arms.  In the presence of God, the racing thoughts cease, my heart rate returns to normal, and the heaviness on my chest is lifted.

I want to kick myself for being a slow learner!  I want to shame myself for being ignorant of my own spiritual necessities!  I want to beat myself up for failing to seek God first thing in the morning!  All the while, the still small voice whispers into the depths of my soul; “No, sweet child!  Listen…

The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.  “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep.’”

Isaiah 43:2

Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.”

Revelation 21:4

“And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.”

Isaiah 43:1-3

Once I came to the end of myself and surrendered to the Lord of my heart, peace slowly began to return to my soul, and my heart once again felt settled.

Friends, Life is not easy and each one of us will have difficult and trying days.  As a believer I continue to learn the importance of leaning on God and handing over the fights of my life!  I am certainly not perfect, my heart breaks, I make daily mistakes, I struggle with my own sin nature, I have deep-rooted insecurities, and I am most often my own worse enemy.  My soul has a long journey toward the destination of “whole & complete” and some days healing looks really far away.  I know where to go when the days are long and hard; Straight to the arms of Jesus!  I know where to find my lifeline!  Once I give up my personal fight and surrender control over the unmanageable areas of my life, God shows up!  My God is the greatest, most stable, and most trustworthy lifeline on Earth!

Love,

Crystal

 

 

Happy 6th Birthday Sweet Caroline


Sweet Caroline, today you turned 6 years old… Wow!  It seems like only yesterday we brought you home for the hospital, a tiny 6 pound baby girl.  I loved you from the first moment I knew you were growing within my womb.  I cherished every moment watching you grow up and blossom into the amazing & intelligent 6-year-old girl that you are today.  I recall making a commitment after you were born, to refrain from needless busyness.  I wanted to cherish the baby years, as I had learned from experience that the precious baby years fly by too fast.   I refused to allow anything not necessary to distract me from cherishing every single moment!  You were my last baby, my only little girl, and I was blessed beyond anything I could have ever fathomed!  You’ve made me laugh, brought tears of joy to my eyes, and have shown me a deep, real, and innocent understanding of God’s love!  I adore the way you’ve always yearned to learn more about God! I’ve cherished our many talks about God and I love the way you ask countless questions, as you attempt to make sense of the world in which we reside.   Little girl, you are loved!  You are special!  You are smart!  And… you are a true blessing!  

I love you, daughter!

Mom

Peaceful Bedroom


My bedroom is an ever changing project.  I always tell my dear husband, “If you don’t like the furniture set up wait a few days, it’ll change!”  I am easily bored, one of the many ways my ADD affects my life!  I must admit this is one of my favorite bedroom looks to date.  Moving out one nightstand and placing the bed against the wall, makes the room look larger, more open, & tidy!  


This quilt was an amazing Amazon deal, normally $120 dollars, only $40.  I love the vibrant colors, as it lightens up the room, and allows me more freedom to explore with fun purples, pinks, blues, and greens.  

This adorable cabinet has been a versatile piece in our home for many years, from kitchen, bathroom, hallway, and now in our bedroom.  Love the extra counter space for my fan, lamp, and petal diffuser.  All my electronics and charging wires in one place.  An easy way to hide away clutter, behind the doors of this adorable little cabinet.  



What can I say, “I love curtains!”  Love the look of elegance over the closet.  


All while hiding the inside of the closet.  


My favorite aspect of this room’s set up is the openness.  This room is actually quite small, but this set up makes the room look huge.  Which, ultimately makes me feel less confined and peaceful!  


Love the outcome and the room has an amazing calming effect on my soul.  The aesthetic environment of this room establishes a simple, yet, serene feel.  My quiet place; My bedroom is my place to pray and hear the Holy Spirit speak to my heart!


Thanks for taking time to check out my blog!  

God bless, Crystal 

Mathew 6:6 “When you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.”

Sweet Caroline; From Baby to Little Lady


From baby to little lady… How in the world did this happen? She’s growing up way too fast and despite my attempts to cherish every moment, she continues growing like a weed! I can’t slow her down, nor would I want to! She’s like a mighty & fierce spirit, yearning to discover God’s plan for her life! She’s sensitive, but strong! Tender, but uniquely stubborn! Loving, but never dependent! She loves to learn about God and has an innate desire to be God’s little princess! This child is amazingly confident, in all the right & wonderful ways! Her ability to understand such an infinitely loving God, is childlike and surreal! The beautiful confidence this child naturally radiates, makes me feel like the best momma in the entire world! Because, despite my deep-rooted insecurities, this little lady is growing up free from the bondage of insecurity! As a look into her big beautiful blue eyes, I see grace! I see a beauty so deep! A heart so genuine! I see a resemblance of the little girl I always dreamed of being! A little girl fully loved, cherished, and adored! A little girl blessed with the gifts of a Godly home, loving parents, and secure attachments! She’s such a smart, intelligent, and talented litttle girl! After almost 6 years I occasionally still have to pinch myself, as I wonder if I’m living a wonderful dream, with the most perfect daughter God could have ever given to me! I’m not dreaming, but I am extremely blessed! Extremely grateful for the blessing of my daughter, my friend, and one of my greatest accomplishments on Earth! Sweet Caroline, my heart spilleth over!!!  

Caroline’s Room Organization

Caroline loves to play with her toys.  I love this aspect about my sweet girl, but she has the hardest time keeping her room organized.  In fact, this child figures out away to make the biggest messes, despite my many organization efforts.  Therefore, I put away all the separate plastic bins and attempted to make it easier for her tidy up, by replacing them with these large baskets underneath her bed.  The round plastic baskets were 97 cents at Walmart, the larger square basket was under $5, and the wicker basket we’ve had around the house for many years.  By far her favorite toys is her Barbie stuff and she has a ton of Barbie stuff, thus I placed all the Barbie stuff in the large wicker basket.  In addition, I purchased these bed risers to lift her bed off the ground, to make room for larger storage underneath her bed.  The “little tiny” toys, like Shopkins & trinkets, I put on the very top of her closet.  Now she can’t get out tiny toys without an adult getting them down for her. We’ve had one sleep over down and she’s successfully, for the first time been able to tidy her room by herself!  Finally, we’ve found a system that works in this little girl’s room!

Scared To Death

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A month ago, my family and I were heading to the coast of GA to spend a week on the ocean.  We were driving on a busy interstate, nearing the GA coast and eagerly anticipating our arrival on Jekyll Island (a familiar family vacation destination), when we were {scared to death}.  As we drove along on the interstate, keeping up with traffic at a healthy speed, this two door Ford Focus came out of nowhere, estimated speed 130mph .  Our family van in the far left lane, as we approached another vehicle to pass in the right lane.  Out of nowhere and certainly without warning, this Ford whizzed up on our right almost hitting the bumper of the car in front of us.  HIs intention, was to get in front of us and each car driving on the interstate that day.  With less than a car widths distance between our van and the car in front of us, the little Ford suddenly swerved in front of us causing me (the driver) to break hard, jolting each one of us in the car.  As we all gasped out loud, hearts beating wildly in our chests, and our amygdala’s fully triggered by the near death experience; Thoughts and emotions began overtaking my soul.  All of a sudden, I opened my mouth with tears running down my face and handed out the lecture of all lectures to my four children.  {Always turning momentous occasions into a spiritual lesson}

“Each one of us in this car could have met Jesus today, do you realize that?  This was a close call and God  {thankfully} was not ready to take us to be with him in Heaven today.  As a Christian counselor, I hear people say all the time, I’ll get my heart right with Jesus another day, maybe next month or next year.  People are always assuming they will live forever!  We are NOT promised tomorrow or even today… we must always be ready to meet Jesus.”

Looking back at the children I know are awaiting spiritual decisions… I looked into their eyes, via the rearview mirror, asking them directly…

“What about that baptism you’ve been holding off?”

“Do you know for sure if you were to die today, that you’d be in Heaven with Jesus?”

“Kiddos… Are your relationships strong?  Have you made sure to tell the people you love, how important they are in your life?  We are {NEVER} promised tomorrow!  We {MUST} be ready everyday to meet the Lord, in case it were our time to depart from this world.”

As tears fell frown my eyes and my nervous system worked overtime to return to {normal} after the close call…  I looked back at my kiddos and observed serious contemplation written all over their faces.  My lecture continued…

“I want each on of you to know how very much you are loved!  I love you!  Daddy loves you!  Most importantly, God loves you!  I’m so glad we prayed for safety before leaving our home this morning and let’s take a moment to thank God for protecting us.”

After my husband prayed… We turned the radio onto the oldies, the kiddos began playing their games, and slowly returned to the relationship dynamic in the van;  This momma’s heart and mind remained deep in thought for several hours after the event.

What about you my friend?  Are you ready to meet Jesus?  If your time on Earth were to come to an end today, would you be spiritually ready to face the eternal judge?  Are there relationships you need to mend?  People who need to hear your feelings?  Are you putting off a decision for the Lord?

Take it from my family’s {scared to death} moment…  We are not promised this afternoon, tomorrow, next week, next month, or next year!

Today is the day!

Proverbs 27:1 “Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring.”

James 4:14 “Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.”

Blessings, Your Friend Crystal Ridlon LMHCA

His Strength is Perfect

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As a counselor, my job requires me to enter into the “messy” of people’s lives.  The “messy” varies in degree of severity and intensity.  The most painful aspect of entering into the “messy” of people’s lives, are the moments when I feel completely unqualified to “fix or solve” the painful areas in my client’s lives!  These are the moments when love and compassion, isn’t enough to make a positive impact!  When trust, rapport, and understanding isn’t enough to put a smile back on client’s faces!  When the “learned text book material” isn’t enough to lead clients to healing!  When your faced with your own humanness, weaknesses, pain, brokenness, and insufficiencies.  Somehow, Satan uses this inner struggle to make you feel like a failure in the ministry, God himself called you into!

Today, wasn’t my strongest, bravest, wisest, or most knowledgeable day!!!  Today, I felt scared, confused, and weak!  Today, I was left questioning my ability to help anyone!

After enduring the hustle and bustle of graduation traffic, rude baristas, and my own inner struggles;  I came home and cried into my pillow!

Once, my tears allowed for the exit of repressed emotions, God whispered this old song into my heart!  A song I listened to for countless hours as a hurting and broken teenage girl.  God used this song to pull me through the roughest, darkest, and most lonely nights of my teen years!  There were many nights when the only thing that kept me from taking enough pills to end all the pain, was a loving God!  A God who held me through the pain, wiped away all my tears, and slowly began the process of healing a broken-hearted little girl!

I am alive today… for one reason!!!

GOD!!!

{God became my strength, when my strength was gone!}

In all honesty, there were times when my strength to live, seemed to hang on by a thread!  The pain was intense!  The pain was real!

Despite, the realness of the pain, God’s strength, love, and compassion was greater!  God, literally became my reason to live!

At some point during my early years as a believer, I began to understand the depth of God’s power and strength; my heart grew stronger and my resolve increased!

My resolve;  To survive, thrive, and live my life sharing the saving power of God’s unconditional love!

God reminded me tonight, in the midst of my own struggle and doubting; that I am not capable or qualified to save hurting souls! I absolutely don’t have the ability to save my clients, nor did I have the power to save my own broken and battered spirit!

He reminded me through the words of this familiar old song, “His Strength Is Perfect”, by Steven Curtis Chapman.

He reminded where strength originates…

Philippians 4:13 ” I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength!”  

I was reminded tonight, “I absolutely don’t have what it takes to be a Christian counselor!”

He does!!!  He has the strength, wisdom, unconditional love, and knowledge required to win the heart’s of His children!

My job;  To love!!!  To pray for and with my clients!  To seek wisdom!  To fall on my knees when I don’t know the next step!  To be there and available!

Most importantly;

To continually lead them to the God who healed my soul!

I admit!  There’s nothing special about me!  I am human!  I am “messy”!  I am confused!  I make mistakes!

The only thing that sets me apart; Is my calling!

My resolve;  To be the hands and feet of Jesus and to lead hurting souls to the “One True” Healer!  To direct anyone who crosses my path to God!!!  

 

John 13: 34 & 35  “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.  By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

Mathew 4: 19 & 20 “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.  At once they left their nets and followed him.”

Blessings, Crystal Ridlon Master’s Level Therapist