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Is God Your “Bouncer”?

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Standing in Walmart, waiting to check out, my first son began screaming bloody murder.  I was a new mother, my little man was 5 months old, in an attempt to make him happy I began using all the tools in my “mommy” tool box.  Let me just say…  My first son was… one tough baby and toddler.  He was strong-willed, beyond the definition of “strong-willed”.  Calming this child when he was mad, was never an easy task.  Standing there in the check-out lane, I began bouncing my little one in an attempt to calm his wailing screams.  At that moment, a middle aged woman walked up to me and said, “You know that it’s not good to bounce your child up and down!  Bouncing them hurts their belly.  Right now your actually making that baby cry!”  Let me just say, I was beside myself!  I didn’t say a word, I just walked out to the car, strapped my screaming son into his car seat, and sat behind the steering wheel and bawled.  

Sitting in Bible study a few days ago, the women in the room were discussing the way God knows each one of us individually, and knows how to guide, direct, and comfort each one toward their own individual bent.  

My mind flashed back to that moment, almost 12 years ago, when that rude woman sent me to my car bawling.  It was as if the Lord, was sitting right there next to me.   He spoke such profound wisdom into my heart.  “Remember that time, that woman in Walmart, who told you, your baby was crying because you were bouncing him?”  In my heart, (not out loud in the group), I responded, “Yes!”  God spoke these words into my very soul, “Crystal, You know your child more than anyone else in the world!  You knew how to calm him back then and you still know “best” how to calm him when he is upset.  Crystal, you know how to calm your babies!  That’s a unique and special bond I’ve given to a mother and a child!  Crystal, Guess what?”  Thinking to myself, I responded, “What?”  God whispered into my soul, “I am your bouncer!  I know how to calm you in away, no other person, place, or thing ever will!”

Let me just say…  Tears welled up in my eyes and as I shared with the women in the group.  I told the women in the study what God spoke into my heart! 

Today, friends I ask you…  Is God your bouncer?  Do you allow God to comfort and pacify your soul?  Do you head to God when you are sad, hurting, or afraid?  Do you allow God to use the special tools he alone knows, to calm and satisfy your needs?  

Or do you head to worldly and temporary misfits, such as food, drugs, sex, shopping… you fill in the blank____________?  All in an attempt to satisfy your needy spirit?  

We are all guilty to some degree, of seeking fulfillment outside of God’s comforting hands.  

I want to learn to sprint to the Lord, when my heart is in dire need of comfort.  As I learn this vital lesson and dependence on God, maybe I’ll begin to notice changes in my life…  Maybe the scale will begin dropping unwanted pounds, my debt will decrease (thus making a happier hubby), codependent relationships will cease, and I will be fully satisfied.

Friends, let me ask you again, “Is God your bouncer?”

Romans 15:13: “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”

2 Corinthians 1:3-4: “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.”

Philippians 4:6: “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done”.

 

Blessings, Crystal

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Godly Sun Beams for our Physical and Spiritual Selves

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This morning…  I drove a good friend and her family to the airport.  Goodbyes certainly don’t come without sadness!  The drive was early and as I pulled into my garage, the sun was just starting to peak into existence.  Walking into the house I was ecstatic that my husband and children were still in bed, so I hopped into bed next to my hubby and fell right to sleep.  My husband is the BEST and got up with the kids so I could get a little more sleep.  My room can be quite dark, when the blinds are closed and the curtains pulled shut it’s like night.  Makes for a good sleeping atmosphere.  After sleeping off my sleepiness, I hopped out of bed, pulled open the darkened curtains in my room, and opened the blinds.  As I twirled the rod, the vibrant sun rays poured into my face!  I stood there in the Sun, soaking up the life-giving beams of God’s natural light.  As I stood there and thanked God for the sun on this -9 degree day, I literally soaked in the moment, the warmth of the rays, and actually had to eventually force myself to walk away from the window.

As I stood in the window, with the sun providing a spotlight covering over my body, I realized how much this moment was indicative of my relationship with God.  God like the sun is the source of energy and strength for the world, for my weary soul, and my life-giving breath.  I need the rays of the Sun for survival on this Earth, I need the life-giving radiant love of God to face each day!  Basking in the sun, is exemplary of the warmth I feel igniting in my soul in the presence of the Holy Father!  

How could I not smile in the midst of a moment of pure and awesome peace?

How could I not lift my hands to the Father in praise of His mighty creation?

Analogy?  

The sun is a depiction of God’s characteristics.  The sun is warming…  The sun is powerful…  The sun is overwhelming…  The sun is mighty…  The sun is warmth to our bodies…  We can’t possibly thrive physically without the sun.

God is the creator of the sun!  His love is warming…  His love is powerful…  His love is overwhelming…  His love is mighty…  His love warms our souls…  We can’t possibly thrive without His love.

Friends, take a moment today to soak up the Sun rays and feel His warmth from the inside out…  Take a moment to soak up God’s overwhelming love!

Blessings, Crystal

“Thank you Lord for the special little (BIG) moments in life!  These moments we so often take for granted.  However, when we recognize your gift of these special moments, we are filled with the peace of You!” 

Galatians 2:20 “I have been crucified with Christ, it is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me.  And the life I now live in the flesh SI live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”

 

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The Beauty of Barbie, From “My Daughter’s Viewpoint”

 

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Caroline fell in love with these two Barbie dolls at Target yesterday.  These are her first Barbie dolls!  We opened the box after her nap and she played with the dolls for 24 hours straight.  The Barbie’s are now a close second to her favorite baby doll, Baby Grace!  She immediately took to the dolls, referring to the Barbie as “Mommy” and the little girl Barbie as “Caroline”.

Caroline, has no doubt that her mommy is as beautiful as this Barbie.  All the while, I’m thinking, “I’m not Barbie, trust me!  I look nothing like that doll!  What I would give to have the body of that Barbie doll!”  As I tear myself to shreds comparing myself to this Barbie doll, my daughter isn’t thinking any of my self-defeating thoughts.  As a result of watching my sweet girl playing with these Barbie dolls, I realized my daughter doesn’t see my aging skin, the extra pounds, or my wrinkled skin.  All she see’s is beauty!  She loves me unconditionally!  As I write this I wipe a few tears away, as I recognize the depth of the bond between a mother and a daughter.   

Be still my heart!  

This beautiful depiction of two Barbie dolls being hand-puppetted around at the fingers of a sweet two year old girl, simply melts my heart!

Seeing her genuine love and adoration for her mother, makes me want to be the most Godly mother possible.  She makes me want to be healthy, emotionally whole, and kind-hearted!  

As my heart is overflowing with love…  I praise God for His beauty in our lives!

Lord, Thank you for the blessing of my daughter!  I cherish every song we sing, tea cup we share, hug embraced, butterfly kisses at night, and the admiration in her eyes to be just like her mommy!  I thank you for this time, to be able to interact with her in such simple and tender manners.  Lord, help me to hold these joyful memories, deep within my heart, soul, and memory!  Help me to always remember these special moments!  Most of all Lord, help me to be a Godly mother!  I want nothing more for my little girl to see “You” when she looks at me!  I want to teach her how to be a Proverbs 31 woman.  Lord, I will fail!  I do everyday!  However, Lord I pray you cover me in grace as I mother this true gift crafted in such beauty by the molding of your hands!  Lord, all I have to say is, “Wow!”  You are awesome!

Your Daughter, Crystal (Mother to Sweet Caroline)

A true picture of my daughter and I.  So much more beautiful than two Barbie dolls!

 

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Strangely Dim

 

Friends, God is Amazing!

Almost a year ago, in the middle of preparations for applying for graduate school to earn a degree as a Christian Mental Health counselor, I recall an inner battle raging within my heart.  I want to share this struggle with my fellow blog followers.  This is how God showed me that He would be my strength and provide the way!

You see, I was raised in a painful and dysfunctional home and often I second guess my intelligence.  Driving home on a snowy and dark evening, I suddenly became very afraid of the idea of graduate school.  My heart was breaking, I was utterly terrified, I was seriously doubting my abilities, and began crying out to the Lord.  “Lord, I can’t do this!  It’s too hard…  I came from stupid (hey, these were my actual thoughts and I take pride in being as honest as possible)!  What makes me think I can come from my family and think I can possibly become a Christian counselor, a real licensed counselor?”  These were my honest thoughts!  As I drove, the tears flowed endlessly from my eyes and I told God, “I’m scared, I can’t do this!  I’m not smart enough!”  God spoke into my heart, “Crystal, did I not bring you out of that dysfunctional environment.  Did I not guide you out of that wilderness?  Do you think this process is going to be any harder than the pain you endured throughout your childhood?  Have I not saved you?  Haven’t I walked every step of the way with you?”  Suddenly an unknown song came on the radio…. New songs immediately peak my interest, so I turned it up.  The song God sent to me “at just the right moment” was written by Francesca Batestelli, the title “Strangely Dim”.  I am going to share this song on my blog!  Please take time to listen to the profound wisdom sang through the words of this beautiful and fun song!

Strangely Dim

The Words…

I’ve had all these plans piled up sky high
A thousand dreams on hold
And I don’t know why,
I got a front row seat
To the longest wait
And I just can’t see
Past the things I pray
Today

But when I fix my eyes on all that You are
Then every doubt I feel
Deep in my heart
Grows strangely dim
All my worries fade
And fall to the ground
Cause when I seek Your face
And don’t look around
Any place I’m in
Grows strangely dim

Sometimes where I stand
On this narrow road
Is in a raging storm
Or a valley low
But oh

When I fix my eyes on all that You are
Then every doubt I feel
Deep in my heart
Grows strangely dim
All my worries fade
And fall to the ground
Cause when I seek Your face
And don’t look around
Any place I’m in
Grows strangely dim

I don’t know, I don’t know
What tomorrow may hold
But I know, but I know
That You’re holding it all
So no matter what may come

I’m gonna fix my eyes on all that You are
‘Til every doubt I feel
Deep in my heart
Grows strangely dim
Let all my worries fade
And fall to the ground
I’m gonna seek Your face
And not look around
Til the place I’m in
Grows strangely, strangely, strangely dim.

Today, nine courses later.  A better GPA than I could have EVER imagined!  I am proudly announcing that God is successfully guiding me through this process.   I keep reminding myself, “When I fix my eyes on all that You are. Til every doubt I feel deep in my heart, grows strangely dim.  Let all my worries fade, and fall to the ground.  Cause when I seek your face and don’t look around… Any place I’m in grows strangely dim!”

I am taking this day to personally , “Thank the Father for His love and guidance!”

At the start of every new class, doubt attempts to take root in my heart, and I go back to this song.  To that divine moment in the car, driving home, with tears flowing… that moment when God spoke into my heart.  When I keep my focus on Him, it’s true… Everything else grows strangely dim!  The only obvious thing becomes His voice, His presence, His love, and His strength!

Friends, Have a Wonderful Day!  Have I ever mentioned how truly thankful I am for you, my fellow friends and readers?  Thank you for allowing me to share the amazing love of God and the way He provides, calls, and loves me in this process, I call “Life”!

God Bless,

Crystal

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Lord, Be My Strength! Quiet my fears!

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This past March I heeded the calling of the Lord, leading me into Christian counseling.  In March I began taking courses in the process of earning a graduate degree.  Yesterday, I began taking two new courses, this would make my 8th and 9th course.  As I sit here this afternoon, feeling the all too familiar “fears and anxieties” associated with the beginning of new classes, I realize my utter dependence on God for strength.  I recall his initial heeding, His gentle and relentless tug on my heart, and His guidance throughout the application process and the overwhelming anxiety I felt as I began this “huge” endeavor in the first place.  I remember my personal counselor saying, “Crystal, don’t try to walk through all the doors at once.  God will open one door at a time.  The other doors are closed, until God calls you to enter through them”  

I keep following, trusting, and have observed these predestined doors being opened at just the right time.  However, at the start of each new class, I feel the doubt of Paul, when he walked on the water…  I feel like Moses, being called to guide the Israelites out of Egypt, I relate to Noah running from Neneveh. Today… the doubt, fear, and anxiety has been working overtime as I overlook the course requirements, papers, and quizzes.  This fear is real, it maintains the potential to scare me off running.  Satan is sly like that…  It amazes me how he will go to all extents to scare us away from obeying God’s call!  Satan “certainly” does not want me guiding hurting sheep to the unconditional love of the cross.  

Will I allow Satan to scare me out of God’s calling over my life?  Will I allow Satan to make me a quitter?  

I WILL obey God!  I WILL cry out to Him in my despair!  I WILL seek needed strength from God’s unending pool!  I will call out to Him for help!  I WILL “Trust and Obey”!  For there’s no other way!

Deuteronomy 13 & 14 “It is the LORD your God you must follow, and him you must revere. Keep his commands and obey him; serve him and hold fast to him”

1 Peter 4:11 “If anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God. If anyone serves, he should do it with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.”

Dearest Father in Heaven,

      I thank you for your love and guidance!  Lord, I know I am following in many of your servant’s footsteps and cowering in fear.  Lord, I need your help!  I need your peace!  I need your wisdom!  I need you to help me to accomplish the next task you’ve set before me!  Lord, I know I am frail, not smart enough, and I need you to guide me!  Like so many who’ve gone before, I am completely reliant on you to walk this path with me.  Lord, be my strength!  

Your Beloved Daughter, 

Crystal

 

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Happy 9th Birthday Christopher

 

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Christopher is turning 9 in a few hours.  This little boy has forever changed our lives and added so much joy and laughter to our home.  I am enjoying watching him grow into a wonderful young man.  Looking at pictures through the years, I am mixed with sadness and joy as I see this growth transpiring.  Saying goodbye to the wonderful memories of yesterday makes me teary eyed and sad.  Saying hello to the future is a blessing and filled with excitement!  I know our Christopher will go a long way in his life…  

 

Nine Reasons Christopher Will Be Successful Throughout His life

1.  Christopher loves God and loves learning about God.

2.  Christopher is “really” smart.

3.  Christopher LOVES to read.

4. Christopher is a hoot.  He makes EVERYONE laugh!

5.  Christopher has a tender heart.

6.  Christopher tries hard to follow the rules.

7.  Christopher is a “serious” thinker.

8.  Christopher has survived life with an older and younger brother… and a baby sister.  “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”!

9.  Christopher is a good builder!

We love you buddy!  We thank God everyday for putting you in our family!  Thanking God for blessing us with such a terrific boy nine years ago!

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Where I Meet With God? In the Midst of the Cold, Long, and Dreary Days of Life

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Today… Another gloomy, cold, and dreary day.
I long for the sun.
I long for Sun’s rays to soak into the clogged pours of my restless soul
To feel the warmth of God’s mighty creation… As it infiltrates my emotionally depressed state.
I dream of sitting in the sand. Hearing the rushing waves crash into the earth’s grainy soil.
To sit alongside the mighty sea… Is where I feel most intimate with the Almighty Father.
It is here… The Almighty counselor speaks profound wisdom into my being.
It is here… The Savior reminds me of the miracle of life… Of his creation.
It is here… I meet with God.
It is here… I feel true and undefiled intimacy with my God.
It is where… I long to be!

The mighty sea… The warmth of the Sun’s rays… a thousand miles away.
Distance too far to presently travel…
Where can I meet with God?
Where can I feel this undefiled intimacy with my Father whom I so desperately need?
Where can I seek His presence in the most fulfilling manner?
Where can I feel whole and complete?

The long months of winter are slowly stealing the energy from my body, mind, and soul.
The singing of the birds has ceased…
I long for the familiar and comforting spring happy hymns.
All of creation longs for new life to sprout.
My soul longs to be in the middle of creation…
To feel the warmth of the summer sun…
To feel the softenss of the spring breeze…
To smell the aroma of new life budding.
To hear the sound of children’s laughter as they swing from God’s original playground…
The trees that provide hours of shade, fun for children, and oxygen to sustain life giving breath.

Lord, winter is long.
I have no control to rush spring into present.
I need you to breathe warmth into my being, in the midst of the snowy cold air…
I need your spirit to warm my soul.
Lord, sing your love to me.
Remind me of the warmth of the Sun… Remind me of the joy… Remind me of the seasonal change that has taken place inside this wounded soul. Remind me of the healing, you’ve already completed… Remind me of your love.

Here in these winter cold months.
I will reminisce of warmer times.
I will picture myself sitting alongside the mighty sea.
I will remember the sound of the mighty waves…
The voice you used to serenade my needy soul.
When I am tempted to forget… Your goodness… Your grace… Your love…
I will remember the love song you sang to me…
Through the beautiful voice of the sea…
Singing into my longing heart… “Well done my good and faithful servant… Well done!”

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Pain is Real… But… God is Bigger Than Our Pain

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Pain is real!  It is truly real!  Every human being who has ever walked this Earth, has felt pain in such real and often unmanageable doses, that life can seem unbearable at times. Tonight, I sit here…  My heart feeling sad. Not sadness in a “I can’t face life kind of way”…  But the pain is real nonetheless…  This pain and discomfort has been real and present in my life over the past few weeks.  There has been many moments of joy… but there has been some real hurt going on in this heart of mine.  So… Tonight… I disappeared into my room.  I realized… this heart of mine needs God in BIG doses!

 I NEED God… My heart has been breaking because I haven’t been as focused on God as I usually am.  My children are home… My husband is home.  The holidays.. The snow.  So many blessings in life are simply distracting me from quality time spent with God.  So… I disappeared…  Pulled up some sermons I borrowed from a good friend.  I turned on some good quality worship songs.  After four hours of focusing on God and His blessings… Suddenly the pain in my heart began to fade away and the only REAL thing left in this heart of mine… Was God’s amazing LOVE!  His awesomeness!  His unlimited power in my time of need!  

Friends…  I realize the only thing that is more real than our pain… Is God himself.  He is REAL… So very REAL.  You know what I realized tonight… The only way to manage my emotions and my pain is to take them directly to the One who is more REAL than anything in this world… in this universe… in my heart.  His love is so very REAL.  This hurting heart… Has just been reminded of God’s REAL and unending love.  Suddenly… the pain is gone.  It it’s place is true and utter praise for the Creator of the Universe.  A heart of gratitude for the Giver of all good gifts.  He is so very REAL in my heart.  I feel Him… His love pumping hope and joy into my heart.  

Friends… take it from me… God is more REAL than your pain…. and your pain is REAL to the  Father who loves you greater than any of us can fathom.  He has the power to heal… And He will provide strength in your heart that will allow you to face all the days of your life.  In the good… the bad… and the ugly… God is there!  He is REAL!!!

 

Isaih 40:31 “but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”

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No Matter How Much Icing We Use… Sometimes We’re Still Unable To Solve All of Life’s Problems

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Struggling emotionally…

The scariest feeling…

The feeling of a lack of control.

 

Frantically I begin cleaning…

Trying so hard to hold back tears.

 

In the midst of my pain…

My family is working…

Four child-sized fingers…

Struggling to glue together the walls of a ginger bread house.

Yet, the icing lacks strength to hold up the walls.

 

My husband walks up to me…

His words…  Life into my hurting soul.

Crystal… You clean when you feel you have no control.

Sweet heart… Sometimes no matter how much icing we use…

We’re still unable to solve all of life’s problems.

 

My desire for strength and toughness.

Collapses…

Hugging my husband…

My tough exterior falls.

I cry in His arms.

His truth… Reaches deep within my heart.

 

We hug…

Our four children join into a family embrace.

God allowed this moment to remind me of the important things in my life…

My God…  My husband.. My children.

Peace replaces the fear…

 

Suddenly… I’m comfortable with this lack of control.

I’m okay with not being able to ice together…

All the broken pieces of my life’s heartaches.

 

Why am I okay?

Because I know that God is in control.

He beholds the “right” icing that will one day glue all the broken pieces back together.

 

So…..?

I will wait patiently on God.

Knowing that He is already preparing the glue.

To solve the heartache of life’s struggles and pain.

Family Bonding Time, Motherhood, Parenting, Praise God, Uncategorized

Today’s Joy in Raising a Tween

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All my life I have heard people’s nightmare stories regarding raising their teenage children. I would be lying to say that I haven’t been frightened as a result of their stories. These stories have at times caused me to dread my four children becoming teenagers. My oldest son is almost a teenager, he will be 12 in a few short months. Tonight, as I sat back and observed him, I was filled with pride. He is a super good boy! He is making more grown up jokes, his conversations have become more in depth and interesting, he loves the Lord and tries his hardest to please Him, and he is a joy to be around. I am truly enjoying this tween age! I love watching him through this process of becoming a man. I am enjoying this new and exciting phase!

This doesn’t mean I will never tear up from time to time, as I observe my first baby grow into a man, but I couldn’t be more proud of my son. At times, I observe his mannerisms and think, “Wow! Is this really my son?” Today was the first day, I could say to myself, “I am looking forward to watching my children grow up, become teenagers, and adults. I pray daily, for my children to follow God all the days of their lives, and for them to one day find a loving and Godly spouse! Today… I’m okay with this next step! Actually… I think I’m looking forward to the teen years. This feeling will most likely change from day to day… but today… I’m looking forward to all the exciting adventures ahead in parenting my children… and “yes” I am looking forward to the teenage years.

Proverbs 22:6 “Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will never depart from it!”

Blessings,

Crystal