Trusting God, Uncategorized

How To Use Facebook, Without Allowing Facebook to Bring You Down

Lately, I’ve had several conversations with friends about Facebook.  Speaking openly and honestly with friends about Facebook’s pro’s and con’s, has encouraged me to write this blog.

Seven Things to Keep In Mind As You Utilize Facebook

1.  If Facebook makes you feel bad about yourself, you close your account.

The world is constantly hurling bombs at us.  Many of these bombs we can’t control.  We can control whether we have a Facebook account.  It’s as simple as a few clicks of the mouse.  Voila… no more Facebook bombs.  (I want to assure you understand I am not throwing stones, I just want my readers, my friends, and my family members to feel good about themselves.)  In the same way, I don’t desire my children to get hurt by the people around them, I don’t want to see you hurt either.

2. We can control who we friend, who we delete, and much of what comes through our News Feed.

A few months ago, I left my computer running on my Facebook page, and found my 10 year old scrolling through my news feed.  I’m not sure all that he saw, but I realized one thing….  I care more about my child’s future, what he sees, and the information he perceives, than I do about hurting a long lost friend on my Facebook friend list.  I posted on my page, “I must inform you that today I found my son scrolling through my news feed, and it suddenly hit me that I must cleanse my news feed.  If you are a person who regularly post’s improper pictures, or words than you will be removed from my friend list.  It’s nothing personal, I’m just an over-protective mother, protecting my little ones.”

3. We must decide… Why do I have a Facebook account?

As for myself, I find Facebook to be a great ministry opportunity.  I can post scriptures the Lord has placed on my heart, send encouraging messages to friends, and keep in touch with loved ones all over the world.  I have even seen God use His people for His good works through Facebook.  Are you using Facebook as a venue to whine or complain?  To be honest, I get quite annoyed with whiners on Facebook.  (I have been guilty of this in the past as well, and I even get annoyed with myself).  Especially as Christians, our sole purpose for everything we do should be to glorify God.  Before I post a comment, I ask myself these things.

* Is this post negative?

* Will this offend or hurt someone’s feelings?

* Am I complaining for the sake of complaining?

* Will this hinder my reputation as a believer?

* Does this post glorify God?

4.  We must realize, people “typically” post their grandest side, and not all their ugliness.

In my conversations with  friends, I have maintained one crucial theme…  “We are human, and we compare ourselves to those around us.”  Moms, although many of us look like the perfect mothers on Facebook, let me be the first to confess.  I am not a perfect mother.  I lose my temper on my kids, I snap at them when I should hold them, and daily I must confess my sin before God.  Not a single one of us is perfect.  Christ himself, was the only perfect human who ever walked this Earth’s soil.   I post perfect little pictures of my sweets, I blog about special moments I share with my kiddos, but I usually don’t share my biggest failures.  Our biggest failures…  we tend to keep to ourselves, we may share with our closest friends, but we don’t want the world knowing all our weaknesses.  When scrolling through Facebook, we should take the good as examples, and maybe gain some ideas from those around us.  If you are doing your best as a mom, if you are loving your little ones with all your heart, if you are seeking God’s will as your raise them (Deuteronomy 22:6 “Train up a child in the way they should go, and when they are old they shall never depart from it”)… than you are a good mom.

5. Susie Homemaker quilts, bakes, cooks, makes scrapbooks, has an immaculate house, maintains an amazing and popular blog, has a prestigious job, sews, sings to her kids, reads to her kids, etc….  Get the idea!  We need to realize “Susie Homemaker does not exist.”

We need to stop putting extreme pressure on ourselves.  Our children are enough pressure, and raising them is often more than we can handle.  I am most guilty in this area.  I want to do it all, I want to be like Anne who bakes wholesome bread, and I want to be like Crystal who gently sings to her children all the day, I want to be like Eve,  her home is spotless,   I want to sew like Gretchen, and I want to blog like Melanie, and I want to be fit like Brandi.  STOP!!!!!!!!!!!  God made you the way you are!  He loves you despite your burnt bread, he loves you despite the fast food you feed your kids, he loves you! I know it must break God’s heart, to look down and see us moms trying our hardest to be everything  He never intended for us to be, and not focusing on who He  intends for us to become.

6. We need to give a little grace.

We are all a work in progress.  (Ephesians 2:10′ “We are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works.  Which he has prepared in advance for us to do.” As we scroll through Facebook, we see all levels of God’s progress in our friends.  Some are new believer’s, some don’t know what they believe, some are seeking attention, some are whiners, some seem to only complain, some seem to have saintlike faith.  Despite where people are, we need to focus on ministering into their lives.  We are called to be the hands and feet of Jesus.  Is this our focus as we socialize with our Facebook friends?

7. Most importantly, we need to find our worth in God alone.

The reason Satan uses Facebook as a weapon to harm us, is because He knows we are people of insecurity.  Several years ago, after scrolling through Facebook, I felt terrible.  I’ll never forget the horrible thoughts I had playing in my mind.  I felt ugly, rotten, mean, unloved, unwanted, and I really thought to myself, the whole world hates me.  At that moment, I hated myself.  God spoke into my heart, as he desired to comfort my sobbing heart.  “Crystal, STOP, I love you!  Why are you seeking your self worth, your esteem through Facebook?  Really?  Do you trust me?  Do you not know of my affection for you?  You must not look to this world for your security, for your worth.  Look up I will show you how much you mean to me, I will show you your worth, I will love you!  Stop… Please stop, looking to the world for fulfillment.  Look to me, I desire to fulfill you.  I love you, my precious daughter!”  I remember writing in my blog, as I cried out my very own psalm to the God of Heaven and Earth.  Admitting my sin, and seeking His love, to fill my emptiness.

If you gather anything from this blog entry, it is my prayer you will know God loves you.  I pray you will know God’s love intimately, and you can use Facebook as tool to glorify God, and not allow Satan to use it as a tool to torment your spirit.

Friends…  Do you know how much God loves you?  He made you!  He sent His son to die on a cross for YOU!  Who cares if you don’t quilt, or cook delicious meals, or if you don’t look like a super model.   God doesn’t!

Motherhood, Uncategorized

Be There, Really “Be There”

Grasping my fingers… her wobbly little legs… slowly achieve the new status of “walker”.

She loves the outdoors… and I love watching the pleasure written all over her face, as she observes God’s creation.  The trees… the sky… the bouncy clouds… the grass… the tiny ants… everything is new… and amazing… to her eyes.

Arching over to walk alongside her tiny little body, she holds onto my fingers for balance.

She needs me… in every way… she needs her mommy.

Delighting in the moment… cherishing my little girl.  I fast forward my thoughts into her future.

Today… I hold her itty bitty hand in mine.

Tomorrow… I will nervously watch in anticipation as she disappear’s into her kindergarten room.

And before I know it… I will be the mommy, left sobbing in the car… as she disappear’s into a world of higher education… a world enriching her with experiences… and revealing to her heart… who she is… and the woman she will become.

As hard as I try… I can’t stop the day’s from flipping through the calender.  I can’t conserve her youth.  I can’t control time.

I can… enjoy today.  I can… make mental video’s on my heart.  I can…. engrave her sweet smile onto the impression of my soul.  I can teach her… support her… and walk alongside her into her future.

Dear Readers,

We’re busy mom’s, busy dad’s, and outright busy people.  We have agenda’s, and appointments vying for our time and attention.  Time… and life can’t be stopped.  However, we can ensure our time with our little ones is “quality time”.  When we are playing with them outside, when we are feeding them dinner, when we are playing in the playroom, we can “be there”.  Be there, and impart into our “forever” memories, these special moments, and cherish their youth.  For tomorrow… they too… like us… will be moms… dads…. preachers… teachers… missionaries…  they will be the next generation of adults.

Motherhood, Uncategorized

What If It Were Today?

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My four year old and I standing on the side of the road, looking into a fresh green, flowery and beautifully decorated meadow.  The fresh, fall, cool breeze blowing into our faces.

“Daniel, look out there?  Do you see the tall blades of grass, blowing God’s love to us?”  To my surprise, he has a serious look of amazement streaming across his tiny little face.  He responds in a serious tone for a child so few years, “I see mommy!”

God’s love permeates throughout my entire being, and I ponder my desire for this little boy, to know and truly comprehend the depth of God’s love.

Upon reflection, I turn… face the wind… and put my arms out like a bird.  “Can you feel God’s love?  Put your arms out little one, and feel the cool, gentle breeze.”

My sweet boy, lifts his arms to Heaven  and faces the wind.  The sweetest, most adorable, and refreshing grin washes over his face.

“I feel it Momma!”

I lean over, bending down, I look into his little eyes, as I cup his chin with my motherly hands.  “Daniel, God loves you, so much!  He made the beauty in this meadow, he made mommy, daddy, he made you, he made us all, and he made everything.  He so loves you, handsome boy, and I want you to know that, okay?”

He looks into my eyes, and responds in the softest voice, “I know mommy!

We retrieve his baby sister in her stroller, and continue our walk.

The seriousness and softness in his tone, grabs my attention.  “Mommy, I don’t want to go to Heaven.”

In shock I respond, “Why, don’t you want to go to Heaven?”

Grabbing my hand tighter he replies, “I love you, mommy!  I don’t want to die, and I don’t want to leave you!”

Fighting back the emotions, swelling my heart, I answer Him, “Honey, we all have to die on the Earth.  We never know when, or how.  When God lives in our heart’s we have His promise of “forever” life.  We will see those we love again, and walk alongside them in Heaven.”

As we walk a relaxed pace.  He responds, “Mommy, what if God takes you to Heaven?”

The emotional extent of his question… is relentless.  My heart begins to quicken…  Thinking, what if he does?  What if today was my last day, with my little man?  I can’t honestly say, that won’t ever happen?  I don’t want him to live in fear.  Lord, how do I respond to such a question?

God whispers into my heart a response to his heart breaking question.

Halting our walk, I get down of my knees, and I hold his little hands in my own.  I speak into his soul, “Honey, I’m not planning on going anywhere for a long time.  Don’t worry, I don’t think God intends to take me home for a long time.  But when He does, I want you to remember…”

I take my pointer finger and point straight to his heart. “He will always be, right here, inside your heart.  You’ll never be by your self.  Okay?”

To my relief, he’s content with that answer.  I pick him up and give him the biggest squeeze, and tell him of my love.

At this point, my neighbor’s dog begins to bark wanting Daniel to pet him.  He walks away to pet the little white dog.

The conversation has ended.

But the questions left on my heart, are just beginning!

What if today was your last day on Earth?  Would you talk to God more?  Ensure He knows the extent of your love? Would you whisper, heartfelt “I Love You’s”, into your husband’s ear?  Would you hug your children tighter… longer.. and tell them the extent of your love?  What’s stopping you?  Go love… show your loved ones, how much you love… cherish… and enjoy being a part of their life!

Blessing,

Crystal

Family Bonding Time

Apple Picking Time

Apple picking is my favorite family activity.  We pick our apples at Anderson Orchard, in Mooresville, In.  As you can see we all have a blast.  We have taken many fall pictures at this orchard.  This year was special because we have a baby girl running around and eating apples.  Quite the change from three little boys.  We had a lot of fun, and I just had to share our pictures.

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Encouragement for a Weary Heart

The Mystery of God’s Unknown Plans

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Yesterday, I had the honor of attending the Indiana University football game, as a guest of my husband.  Every year the business school invites all staff and faculty to attend a gathering in a special banquet room, which exits onto the football field.  I had a great time, for several reasons.  The first reason is at the top of every woman’s list, free time alone with the man I love.  Secondly, it’s a rare opportunity I have to communicate with his coworkers, and come alongside him, as his other half.  Third, I love Indiana University sports, and although I prefer watching basketball, I’ll take a free ticket to watch an I.U., game any day.

I couldn’t help but think, “Will this be the last time I see these people?”  Currently staying at I.U. next year is not in our cards, and we’re awaiting multiple responses to applications, all over the United States.  Let me just say, “I despise goodbye’s!”  I have a social personality, and I like the people he works with.  I found myself asking several people, “Will this be the last time I see you?”  Their responses was almost comical, “Uh… what… why?”  Needless, to say it was a bittersweet evening.  The knowledge that this is most likely goodbye, without a goodbye, was a strange feeling.  To my recollection his coworkers like us, even care for us.  I know they don’t want to see us go, but there’s one problem, there’s no job.

Robert and I walked 20 minutes back to the car, as we walked away from the football stadium, the loud and crazy students, and the little kids dressed in red and white, I realized, “I love this place!”  I love the environment, I love the excitement of the students (although at times too crazy), and I love the pride of those supporting Indiana University.  I love being a part of Indiana University, it feels more like a subdivision, and less like a place of work.  Like a place you live, rather than a place you “have to be”.  This recollection is funny, as I recall 12 years ago, marrying my husband, and moving to Bloomington for the first time.  Moving away from my home of 22 years, and everything I’d ever known, and stepped out in faith.  I remember feeling scared, overwhelmed, and out of my comfort zone.  I remember thinking, “this is not my home, this will never be my home, and wow… I really want to go home.”  As I walked next to Robert, we chatted, and I thought to myself, “When did this over-sized university become my home?”

Lately, the thought of our impending departure, to an unknown destination has been crowing my mind.  Maintaining my focus, has proven a difficult task.  However, I know one thing for certain, “God loves me and my family.  He truly has our best interest at heart.  If he wants us to stay at I.U., He can and will make a job for him.  If he has a job picked out for us in Timbuktu, then He will be there guiding us every step of the way.  Who knows, Timbuktu may become the most amazing home, yet.  The mystery of God’s plans, draws me closer to Him.  Reveals my need for a Savior.  I know He has a perfect plan for us.  I can’t comprehend His unknown plan, just like I couldn’t comprehend as a new bride referring to Bloomington as home.  All we can see is the present, we can plan for the future, and we can develop faith from the past.  He’s perfecting my faith today, as I remember his faithfulness in the past.

What about you, my readers… my friends?  Are you struggling with God’s unknown mystery today?  An impending move… the uncertainty of a loved one… a financial crisis… the fear of the future?  How will you respond?  Will you grow bitter?  Will you stress, and make yourself sick?  Will you hold on ever so tightly, refusing to allow God to show you, your new “home”?  O

Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for you to prosper and never to harm you.”  Will you… like me… trust Him, and the unknown mystery he awaits for you?

Uncategorized

The Flame Within Me

It’s time to take my blog to the next level.  I want to show the world the love God has so graciously bestowed upon me.  Friends, he doesn’t pick and choose who he loves, and who He wants to save from the pit.  He desires to save each and every one of us.  Will we open our heart to Him?  Will we experience the “flame” of love he desires for us to experience?  Psalm 104:4 “The winds are your messengers, flames of fire are your servants”.  I choose to be His messenger, to be his servant, his wind, and his flame.  I write from an honest, and vulnerable heart.  Writing as I speak to my Father, and what the Father speaks to my heart.  It is my prayer that this blog will be a beacon pointing you toward Heaven, and as you walk with me through “my journey of faith”, it is my prayer that your heart will be blessed.

God Bless,

Crystal