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When Reconciliation on Earth is not a Possibility; Reconciliation In My Heart is a “Very Real” Possibility

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Sometimes peace is found through the most unexpected means and strangely in a manner you may have least hoped to acquire it.

This week, peace came to me through a broken heart.  It’s true…  My heart was crushed… And peace was the end result.

The scriptures states, “As far as it is among you, be at peace with all men!” Thus, I made a difficult phone call, in the attempt to reconcile a relationship.  The reconciliation I sought, was not mutual…  In fact, my heart was broken.  Uncontrollable sobs escaped my heart…  Yet, the sobs were healing an escape for pent up emotions buried deep inside…  Although, the reconciliation was not mutual, I made myself vulnerable to heart break and took responsibility for faulty behaviors on my behalf.  

As hard as it was to humble myself to admit my deepest feelings, fears, and pain…  As hard as it was for my vulnerability to be stomped on by embittered words…  As hard as it was to not find desired reconciliation after such a phone conversation, in the end my personal “bitterness” vanished.  Where bitterness had once taken up space deep within my heart, peace replaced the feelings of anger, bitterness, discomfort, and pain.  The end result…  Peace…  “The peace that passes all understanding”!  

In the end peace, healing, and unity wasn’t achieved.  However, peace, healing, and unity was achieved in my heart.  All that mattered was that God’s “peace” was ultimately attained, even if it is was only within my own heart.  

One day I will stand before the throne and face God…

If I seek Him in the process of taking ownership for my failures, seek reconciliation amongst others, and most importantly seek His will in loving, forgiving, and living…  I can find peace.  

I must realize… and I must remind myself often…  That I am not perfect, those around me are not perfect, and healthy relationships require ownership of mistakes and an ability to “truly” forgive.  

{Living a life of deep-rooted bitterness only poisons the soul, but a heart determined to forgive is a heart at rest.}  

Bitterness utterly poisons the soul…  It’s a painful and horrible way to live.

I want a heart at rest…  A peaceful heart.

Only a heart filled with the Holy Spirit maintains the ability to love completely and forgive whole-heartedly.  As God is the only source of unconditional love and forgiveness.  A heart longing to be more and more filled with God’s spirit, is a heart capable of unconditional love and forgiveness.  I can rest assured his final words to me will be…  “Well done my good and faithful servant.”  Romans 12:8 “As far as it is up to you, live at peace with all men.”  

As far as it is among me…  I am going to trust God to guide me into the process of living at peace with all men!

 

Dear Lord,

      I praise you for you are amazingly peaceful!  I thank you that you have designed in your word a path to attaining peace deep inside my heart.  I thank you for guiding me through the necessary steps for replacing the bitterness that was poisoning my soul, with the peace that surpasses all understanding.  Lord, I thank you for loving me so much, and for always being available to pour wisdom over me.  I thank you for the peace I feel in my spirit.  I thank you that even though reconciliation may not always be a possibility on Earth, reconciliation and unconditional peace is a “very real” possibility in my heart, due to your unconditional love and forgiveness.  Thank you for being the God who saved my soul and still finds time to handle my brokenness.  

Your Daughter, Crystal 

 

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What Amount of the Holy Spirit Do You “Really” Want?

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Sitting in church service…  The pastor made a comment that resonated with my soul and I continue over past weeks to ponder the profoundness of the words.  He said…  “We can have the Holy Spirit in our hearts in the amount we want Him.”  Hmmmm…..

What does this mean?

Let’s take a look at some scriptures…

John 14:26 “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.”

The Holy Spirit is a…

Helper.  A teacher.  A reminder.

Galatians 5:22-23″But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.

Those filled with the Holy Spirit will exhibit the fruits of the spirit…

{Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, and Self-Control.}

This does not mean we will be {perfect} but it does mean that those who say they follow Christ should portray all of these characteristics in a growing degree everyday.

John 14:15-17 “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.  And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him.  You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you.”

If we are believers…  {If we love God}…  We will keep his commandments.  Within our hearts we will maintain the spirit of truth…  we will obey.  We will {KNOW} him, his voice, his commandments, his purpose for our lives…

{If we KNOW him…  We will WANT him in bigger doses…  Nothing else will fulfill our deepest needs.  We will WANT nothing else more than to obey and follow {HIS} plan for our lives.  {We will listen intently to the whisper of the Spirit within our soul.}

Romans 5:3-5 “More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.”

If we spend time reading God’s word, praying and listening in prayer, and focusing on minds and hearts on the things above…  We will… Others will begin to observe character changes in our lives.  We will begin to behave in a Christ-centered manner and when we sin {which we certainly will} we will take responsibility for our misbehavior and take steps to make right our wrongs.

Friends…  I have learned and am learning how {very real} our God is….  He’s alive!  It saddens me to see “so-called” Christians live their lives according to their own will, all the while stating it is the will of the Father.  The Father’s will is perfect!  Unfortunately, he doesn’t want us filling our minds with filth…  scary books and movies filled with darkness… provocative movies and books… Un-Godly romance novels and books.  Friends, that tempt us to follow the world, rather than God.  He wants us spending time in nature… reading His word… taking time daily “moment by moment” to spend time with HIm.  He doesn’t want us hurling insults… anger… bitterness onto other people.  This is NOT Christ’s way!  He wants {our hearts}… {our complete focus}.  He wants ALL of us!!!

Friends…  I leave you with this final word…

“You can have the Holy Spirit is the amount that you want Him!”  Don’t waste your time focusing on the things of the world, attempting to fill a void… a fleshly desire for fleeting and ultimately peace thieving quasi-fulfillments.

Join with me today…  Change your focus to the things of God.  Ask Him to give you a desire for more of Him, less of you, and peace that surpasses all understanding.

Philippians 4:7 “And the peace that surpasses all understanding will guard your heart and minds in Christ Jesus!”

That’s my desire friends…. {PEACE}…  God’s Peace,

Join me… As I begin the process of seeking the Holy Spirt whole-heartedly!

Blessings,

Crystal

Encouragement for a Weary Heart, Family Bonding Time, Learning to Love Your Husband, Parenting, Praise God, Trusting God, Uncategorized

Happy Father’s Day 2014… To My Heavenly Father

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Father’s Day has never been my favorite holiday.  In fact, it’s a holiday that used to cause deep-rooted sadness in my heart. Father’s Day is a “wonderful” day for people who were blessed with wonderful fathers, but for those of us whose fathers rejected, abandoned, abused, or neglected us…  It was certainly not enjoyable.  I wasn’t blessed with a wonderful father and my step-father physically and emotionally abused me for years.  Therefore, much of my life I dreaded Father’s Day.  My biological father outright rejected me.  He knew where I was, he had my phone number, and could have contacted me anytime, yet he failed to stay in contact. My biological father “chose” to pretend I didn’t exist.

As a little girl, I remember hearing the phone ring and praying over and over again that it was my dad on the other end.  I always longed for him to call me…  I longed to hear him say… “I love you!”, “I am proud of you!”, “and “I want you in my life!”  The long-awaited phone call I dreamt of for years, never came and to this day my biological father continues to reject me.

Every year I dreaded Father’s Day.  It broke my heart  to see other little girls sitting on their daddy’s laps, being swung around in the strong and supportive arms of their father, being loved on by their daddy’s, and being told they were beautiful.

The thing that broke my heart the most was knowing that these other little girls daddy’s “chose” to love them, spend time with them, and make them a priority.  This meant only one thing…  my father didn’t “choose” me… he didn’t want me.  He chose not to love me and chose not to have a relationship with me.  For many years, I thought there must be something wrong with me…  I must have been ugly… unlovable for my father to purposely choose not to love me.  I recall feeling… I wasn’t “good enough”… “beautiful enough”, or “lovable enough”… to be loved my my father.

One day this pain in my heart began to change.

In a small Baptist church, I found God.  God called me to himself.  The God of the universe…  the “GREATEST”, most “LOVING”, and most “CARING” Father “chose” me.  He really “chose” me!  It was the first time anyone had ever “chosen” me.  Being “chosen” changed my life!

The act of being “chosen” by someone as important as God “The Father of the Universe” was life-changing.  I treated God like the father, I never had.  I cried out to him, begged him to hold me, and sought him for help in times of trouble.  I needed Him!  Nothing else made sense, no one else seemed to care, and so….  God became my father.  Not just my Heavenly Father, but he became my earthly father too.

As my faith grew stronger, God became real to me.  I began seeing him and feeling him in my everyday surroundings.  I cried out to him for help and help was provided, prayers were answered, and overtime the pain in my heart hurt less.  As time passed, my heart began to heal.

I no longer dread Father’s Day…  I no longer cry because my heart is breaking on Father’s Day.

Today is Father’s Day 2014…  I am 36 years old.  I’m happily married to a Godly man who also “chose” to love me!

My husband and I are blessed with 4 wonderful children.  I love watching my husband love on his children, our children love on their daddy on Father’s Day…. and everyday in between!  I praise God my children are blessed with a wonderful and loving earthly Father, who continually points them to the Heavenly Father.

Most importantly, today I am thankful God “chose” me!  At the age of 15…  God called me to himself.

God is the best father and he “chose” me!

My heart has been healed.

I contribute my healing to God…  My Heavenly Father, who “chose” me.

I no longer dread Father’s Day.

Father’s Day is a day I am honored to celebrate my Father in Heaven.

Today…  Father’s Day 2014…

I would like to say to my Father in Heaven…

Thank you for loving me!

Thank you for healing me!

Thank you for “choosing” me!

Your Beloved Daughter,

Crystal Ridlon

Family Bonding Time, Learning to Love Your Husband, Uncategorized

Stand Firm

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For many years, my husband has made a habit of reading a monthly men’s devotional called “Stand Firm”.   Today is Father’s Day 2014.  On the couch I noticed his “Stand Firm” devotional. I thought to myself… I’m proud of my husband who has always made a habit of spending time with God. My husband takes the title of his devotional seriously. He has made a habit out of “Standing Firm” in his life. I’m thankful today for my husband who is committed to “Standing Firm” in his commitments… His commitment to God… His wife… His children… His parents… His job… and His faith.

Our family is blessed to have a husband and father who knows what he stands for… Makes commitments and sticks with them… Follows God faithfully… Provides for his family… Loves his wife and children… And makes each one of his family members a priority.

This Father’s Day 2014,  I would like to say one thing to the love of my life and the father of my children.

Robert W. Ridlon III, Thank you for “Standing Firm”!

Love, Crystal (Your Beloved Wife)

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Family Bonding Time, Praise God, Uncategorized

Try God… He “REALLY” Works

I woke up this morning in a super grumpy mood… My whiney little girl… Whose recovering from a bout with the stomach bug… Certainly wasn’t helping my mood… Neither were my younger two boys banging the floors of their room above my head or my messy house screaming to be cleaned.

It didn’t take me long to realize how desperately I needed to spend time with God.

I’m learning friends… Slowly but surely I’m learning.

As I began snapping grumpily at my children… trying desperately to find a quiet moment to pour myself a cup of coffee and to sit on my front porch swing and enjoy the beautiful day God has provided… God again whispered into my heart. Invite the little… “Loud” people to join you in reading my word… Listening to the calming serenading of my beautiful birds… Invite them to pray to me… Invite them to sing praises to Me… I am!

Today we read from Psalms…

1You have searched me, Lord,
and you know me.
2 You know when I sit and when I rise;
you perceive my thoughts from afar.
3 You discern my going out and my lying down;
you are familiar with all my ways.
4 Before a word is on my tongue
you, Lord, know it completely.
5 You hem me in behind and before,
and you lay your hand upon me.
6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
too lofty for me to attain.
7 Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?
8 If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
9 If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,
10 even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast.
11 If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me
and the light become night around me,”
12 even the darkness will not be dark to you;
the night will shine like the day,
for darkness is as light to you.
13 For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place,
when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed body;
all the days ordained for me were written in your book
before one of them came to be.
17 How precious to me are your thoughts,[a] God!
How vast is the sum of them!
18 Were I to count them,
they would outnumber the grains of sand—
when I awake, I am still with you.
19 If only you, God, would slay the wicked!
Away from me, you who are bloodthirsty!
20 They speak of you with evil intent;
your adversaries misuse your name.
21 Do I not hate those who hate you, Lord,
and abhor those who are in rebellion against you?
22 I have nothing but hatred for them;
I count them my enemies.
23 Search me, God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
24 See if there is any offensive way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting.

Spending time with The Lord with four children isn’t “easy” but there’s something about the process that calms my spirit and the Spirit’s of my children. Although, much of the time I’m redirecting and insisting they be better listeners etc… After time spent focusing on God our spirits are calmer. Today we ended by praising God for one awesome aspect of His creation… The beautiful flowers… The large tree in the front yard that is good for climbing… And for Daniel’s (my six year old’s) funny little facial expressions that always makes me smile. Before releasing the children… We sang two praise songs.

You know… This process of spending time with God is ultimately effective in regaining control of hyper kids, changing this momma’s bad attitude, and the overall calming of spirits. You know what… It’s so much better than yelling, spanking, and feeling guilty later.

You know I’m learning something in my old age… This God thing REALLY works…

That my friends is why I love Him and serve Him to the best of my ability!

Because…

God “REALLY” Works!!!

Next time your children are out of control, next time you feel on the verge of losing your temper, next time your spirit is uneasy….

Try God… He works!

Blessings,

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Learning to Love Your Husband, Parenting, Praise God, Uncategorized

My First and Last Love… Happy 14th Wedding Anniversary

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First time you held my hand…  The moment… forever ingrained in my heart.

The feeling… I will never forget…  I can’t possibly forget…

I recall the powerful surge, the force of true and unconditional love shooting through my fingers… Landing in the center of my heart.

Your touch created emotions in my soul so deep…  so tender… so real.

I remember…

Driving home from “youth camp”…  The place our eyes first met.

I announced confidently…  “One day I’m going to marry that boy!”

I remember the rebuttals…  from fellow passengers…  “No you won’t…  He’s just your first love!  It will pass.  You’ll see!”

Over the next 6 years…  God continued to join our hearts together.

Random meetings at youth events…  Random phone calls…  Random chance meetings…

Your face… your “first-love” boyisms… Left a tremendous impression on my heart.

That boy…  I fell head over heals for…  Never forgotten.

We fell in love… so young….

16… 17…  too young for a future united together.

I recall many nights…  Thinking of you… Missing you…  Longing for your hand in mine…  Missing your arms holding me…  I’ll always remember the overwhelming sense of belonging I felt in your arms…   Protection from a world that left me broken… hurt… and fearful.

Many a nights I sprayed your cologne on the teddy bear you gave me.

That teddy bear was loved…  held… and comforted me many lonely nights.

Twenty year later….

The same teddy bear now sleeps with our little girl…  Our fourth child.

Sweetheart…  What we share… our love… is a gift from God himself.

Our love has changed the world…

Four beautiful children have blossomed from our hearts being joined together…

So young… so in love.

All those years…

God continued to join together our young hearts.

My dear…  Today is our 14th Wedding Anniversary.

But it is also my 21st anniversary of first meeting the “love of my life”!

You are so much a part of me…  The Bible says “One Flesh”.

That is how I would describe our love… our relationship… our marriage…

One flesh… United in love…  United from God Above!

Happy 14th Anniversary Robert William Ridlon!

I love you!

Crystal

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Invite The Kids To Join You… As You Meet With Me

The children went to bed later than normal last night.  Three of the four woke up in rotten moods.  Complaining, grumping, yelling at each other, and “honestly” it seemed they were trying to ruin my morning.  I sat on my front porch, Bible in hand, and attempted to have a moment of quiet.  I longed to hear the sound of the birds singing…  The stillness of the morning breeze…

But…

The {sounds of grumpy children} continually interrupted every attempt to soak up a few quiet moments with God.

In frustration…  I huffed inside and yelled up the stairs…  As I started to yell..  God spoke into my heart…  Call them to the porch…  Read my word to them…  Introduce them to my creation…  {Invite} them to join you as you meet with me. Peace calms frustration “Kids…  Sit down…  Let’s take some time to focus on God.  Sometimes when we’re grumpy…  It is a sign that we need to spend time with God…  that we need to take some time to read His word, experience His creation, and talk to God!”  

The three boys fidgeted, mumbled, and griped…  However… In several minutes they began to calm down…  All of us listening to the beautiful vocals of the birds…  Bible in hand…

God lead me to Psalms 8…  We began to read…

 

Lord, our Lord.  How majestic is your name in all they earth!  An old hymn came to my mind…  

We sang…

“O Lord, O Lord…  How majestic is your name in all the Earth!  O Lord, O Lord…  How majestic is your name in the Earth.  Oh Lord… We praise your name!  Oh Lord…  We glorify your name!  Prince of peace mighty God…  Oh Lord God our Father!”

The third time singing…  The kids caught on and began singing in unison.

We continued reading Psalm 8…

Lord, our Lord.  how majestic is your name in all the earth!  You have set your glory in the heavens.  Through the praise of children and infants you have established a stronghold against your enemies, to silence the foe and the avenger.  When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place.  

{Kids look around…  God is everywhere.  Look at the trees and the bright green grass.  Can you see Him?}

{Can you feel Him?  He’s in the gentle still breeze…  the peacefulness in the field.  We can feel Him!}

What is mankind that you are mindful of them, human beings that you care for them?

{What are human beings?  The oldest child responds in a know it all tone…  “We are human beings!”  So… God cares for us…  Human beings?  He {really} cares for us!}

 You have made them a little lower than the angels and crowned them with glory and honor.  You made them rulers over the works of your hands, you put everything under their feet. All flocks herds, and the animals of the wild, the birds in the sky, all that swim the paths of the seas.

{Guys…  Did you hear that?  Listen again…  We have crowned with glory and honor…  And God made {us} rulers over the works of his hands… over His creation.  What does this mean?  “Robby, what does this mean when you are mowing the grass?”  He responds, “We are {rulers} over His creation.  So when I am mowing the grass….  I am ruler over the grass.”  I say, “Robby that is exactly right.  He has entrusted you to care for his creation… the grass. What an honor!!! Daniel and Christopher, he has made you rulers of your room.  You are to care for your room as rulers.” You know? God must really love us, to make us {rulers} over His creation!}

 Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth.”

I instruct each child to say…  “Thank you God for ___________!”  Robby (12 years old), “Thank you God for the beautiful trees and green grass.”  Caroline (2 years old), “Thank you ummmm…. for princesses!”  Daniel, “Thank you for the flowers and for toads.” Christopher, “Thank you for the tadpoles that turn into frogs.”

As we closed our family porch time…  I prayed…

Oh Lord, our Lord…  How majestic is your name!  Thank you for being so real to us…  Thank you for your love!  Thank you for your beautiful handiwork.  Thank you for trusting us enough to make us rulers of your creation.  Help us to care for your creation with tenderness, compassion, passion, and care.  Help us to do our best.  Take our bad moods and change our attitudes to see the beauty, your goodness, and our blessings all around.  Thank your for your Word!  Thank you for my children, Robby, Christopher, Daniel, and Caroline!  We love you so!!!  

Oh

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