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The Gift of the Present for Christmas 2014

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Another Christmas will soon pass me by. The joys of watching my children sleep under the Christmas tree, making our traditional Christmas cookies, and opening their presents will soon be just another memory. So often I wish I could freeze time, make my little treasures remain young, innocent, and full of life. It’s a good thing I don’t have power to freeze time, because I certainly would. As I gaze upon their sleeping full of excitement faces, I thank God for the gift of my children. I thank Him for the joy of Christmas! I thank Him for the gift of His son! I praise Him for the meaning and hope that lies behind Christmas, the celebration of the birth of “The Savior of our souls”. Thank you God for this moment… For the gift of the present… The gift of the peaceful and contented smiles beaming across four little sleeping faces, the faces of my children lying under the Christmas tree!

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A Day In The Life Of A Christian Mommy’s Thoughts

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Alarm rings… My first thought… “Ugh… It’s so early…  I hate mornings…  Do I really have to wake up?  I really need to get out of this bed… but I can’t, I’m soooooo tired…  Oh… boy, what is that loud banging above my head?”

{Thud} {Thud} {Bang}…

“Seriously, why must I wake up to loud banging everyday?  I should really need to get up and get control of those boys, before someone gets hurt.”

At this point… I groggily and grumpily climb out my bed… My ever so comfortable… warm… bed.  I drag my feet to the bottom of the stairs… In a loud voice I yell…  “Boys…  What is going on?  Why do I hear all that banging…  You know the rules….  Calm DOWN!”

At this point there is a nudge… a gentle nudge… Within my heart…  {Crystal…  What happened to good morning kids?  Are these the memories you want your children to have as adults?  The fruits of the spirit is love, joy, patience, kindness, gentleness, forbearance, goodness, and self-control!}

“Oh yea… right!”

Coffee in hand…  Walking around the house…  Chasing down shoes…  Finding backpacks…  Moments of tenderness, mixed with moments of irritation and frustration.  I notice the clock.. yikes… I yell across the house,  “Kids your late…  Let’s go!  Your going to miss the bus!  [NOW]…. Let’s go!”

Again that gentle nudge…  A whisper from within… {Crystal…  Grab their little hands…  Pray with these little ones..  Entrust them into my care for the day… Pray they make good choices.}  Depending on “how late” the kids are for the bus, this vitally important task may or may not get accomplished.  If it does…  I think…  “Awesome job Crystal…  See your a good mom.  You sent your kids off in prayer…  You listened to God…  Your teaching your children to love and focus on God.”  If the morning prayer doesn’t get said…  I think to myself… “Crystal, you are a terrible mother!  What if something happens to those boys at school today?  What if they are faced with peer pressure…  you should have made time to pray for them.”  I think to myself, “Ugh…  I will try HARDER to make time to pray tomorrow!”

I watch my little ones walk to that big yellow bus…  Suddenly… they look so much smaller from afar than they did when I kissed them goodbye.  I ponder, “They are so little…  Why can’t I be more patient… more organized… more…..?   These days are flying by…  I need to cherish these moments… I need to journal… I need to scrapbook… I need to…”

I wave goodbye to that big yellow school bus, filled with tired and sleepy kiddos.  I turn around and walk in the house.

The day progresses…  Everywhere I look I see reminders of my children. “Ugh… shoes on the steps, waffle pieces glued to the floor with syrup…  Thinking to myself… “I should really feed them more healthy foods.” Walking to the living room I step on a Lego. “Ouch ouch ouch… Why can’t they pick up their junk…?”  I grab the laundry basket and walk up the stairs to their bedroom… I immediately spot a pair of dirty underwear under the bed… (hey, this is my story… and my kids have been known to find secret places to hide dirty underwear).  I bend down to pick up the underwear and notice my six year old boy’s teddy bear lying on his bed, Mr. Bear, the teddy he has slept with every night since he was born.  I sit down on his bed…. Hold that raggidy old bear up to my face…  I hug it… I smell it… “Wow… that stinks… this thing needs washed!” Looking around their room…  I see memories everywhere… fond feelings of love erupts from deep within my spirit.  As I sit on Daniel’s bed… holding Mr. Bear… I pray, “Lord, I love these little people you have blessed me with!  I thank you for placing them in my home!  Please, Lord help me to love them better, to be a more loving, caring, and patient mother!  I can’t do it on my own!  I know I need you!  Lord, help me to notice the joyful aspects of mothering, rather than continually seeing difficulties and struggles.  Help me to notice the blessings and to cherish these days I am blessed to stay home and raise these little ones. Thank you for blessing me with these little ones!”

My day continues…  Pouring myself my 4th cup of coffee…  My daughter says, “Mommy, I want to have a tea party!”  In her sweetest voice she looks at me and says, “Mommy, will you please have a tea party with me?” Thinking to myself, “I don’t have time for a tea party right now… I have laundry to do, the floor needs mopped, I need to make lunch. I need to….”

Again the gentle nudge…  {One day you will long to have these days back!  Make time for a tea party!  Pick her up kiss her, tell you love her…  that you {cherish} her!  Tell her you would love to have a tea party with her.}  I pick her up… I look into her big blue eyes and say, “Caroline, I love you so much!  Let’s go play for a few minutes… Okay?  We can have a tea party, then mommy has some work to do…  Okay?”  The joy that fills my heart as she looks at me with those big blue eyes… eyes filled with such love and tenderness… overwhelms and delights my soul.  “Thank you Lord!  I love this little girl so much!  Thank you!  I am so blessed!”

The day continues on in like fashion… lunch, nap, a little shopping, cleaning…

Four O’Clock roles around quicker than I expected.

The big yellow bus drops off 3 VERY rowdy boys at the end of my street.  They run home eager to see me, eager to play outside, and eager to be home.

I ask them about their day…  And offer them a snack.  Within minutes they run off to play outside.

Dinner hour approaches…  [Yep… I’m not even going here!]  Let’s just say…  I don’t care to share what goes on in my head during the dinner crunch… It’s rarely pretty!   And typically I’m not patient or loving!   Your laughing…  Because you know???… You know just what I am talking about!

Dinnertime is a time to chat, share our day,.. Usually we have to calm the kids down, tell them not to fart or burp at the table… we have to listen to them whine about not liking the food.  Every once in awhile…we have a nice conversation.   Usually we share lots of laughter.

Bath time is mixed with a tired mommy… Chores… And overly hyper and rambunctious children.  Our evening routine continues. Finally… we’re all sitting sitting in circle for family time, a child or two on each parent’s lap… We go around the circle and share “one good thing and one bad thing about our day… We laugh… We pray. I love my kids’ big bear hugs… Their my favorite part of the day. Especially, my 6 year old… he gets the award for the best hugger.  He holds tight… and never lets go.  This makes me laugh as I have typically have to tickle him to get away.  The day ends… [Just kidding]…  Ya’ll know… it’s never that easy. [The children get out of bed 100 x’s (or at least it feels like 100 x’s)… they have to go to the bathroom… they need a drink of water… their scared… they fight… they jump… they bounce… they…]  It seems the children will [never] fall asleep.  Before you know it… silence… they’re asleep.

After the silence hits the house.  I begin… planning for another day… another day like today… [tomorrow]. Tomorrow the same thing… the same routine… the same struggles… the same joys.

I finish up the laundry… finalize the nightly cleaning… all in preparation for [tomorrow].  The beautiful gift of [tomorrow].

Exhausted I climb into bed… Pondering the day.  The lights go out and my brain processes the day.  Closing my eyes… I lift a final prayer to the Father…

“Dear Lord,  I am exhausted!  I am truly thankful… and truly exhausted!  Thank you for today!  Thank you for my husband and my children!  Lord, please help me tomorrow… to be a better mother than I was today.  Help me to be more patient… more loving… to spend more time with the children… to notice the blessings… to see the beauty in my job as [mom].  Thank you for this feeling… the feeling of knowing all is well.. the kids are healthy… happy… and knowing there is love in this home.  Thank you for loving me… for loving them!  Amen!”

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Lord, Without You… I Couldn’t Survive!

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Lord if you ever left my side, I wouldn’t make it.

I certainly couldn’t survive.

You are my rock…

My Fortress…

My Comforter…

My Savior…

 

Lord, You never abandoned me…

When others fled… you remained…

Lord, You have always remained faithful.

 

You love me with my limp… the leftovers from an abusive childhood.

My little girl limp never scared you away…

My childhood defense mechanisms…

Never scared you away.

My tears…

My failures…

My emotional outbursts…

Never scared you away!

 

Lord, Despite my brokenness..

My Sinful heart…

My failures…

My mistakes…

You stayed… Always remained.

 

You always walked by my side.

Always encouraged my weary spirit.

You looked beyond the outside…

You saw my heart…

 

You saw beauty before I saw beauty.

You saw beauty when the world saw only brokenness.

You saw who I would be…

In time… one day… who I would become.

 

The little girl deep within…

The wounded little girl…

You’ve never forgotten her!

You continue to walk with her…

Throughout the healing process into her woman years!

You never left her side.

You never will leave her side.

You desire to see her heart restored!

 

Lord, I know you will never leave me,

Behind my self-made protective wall.

The wall this world has forced me to build.

Lord, You desire to be that protective wall…

To shield me from pain.

 

Without you Lord, I would be lost.

Without hope…

Without peace…

Without joy…

 

With you Lord, I am an overcomer.

With you Lord,  I’m discovering true healing.

With you I have hope of a future.

With you…

I can!

“Live Victoriously Under the Umbrella of your love!”

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My Honest and Authentic Prayer to the Father

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Friends, One thing you will find on my blog is 100% authentic honesty.  I have never been a good pretender, if something is not right inside my heart, it is evident on my face.  Over the years, I have tried to hide my feelings and emotions.   I have learned… “I can’t!”  I have heard many people over the years tell me, “You are transparent!”  It is true, usually transparency is a good thing, but at times it is not so good.  Those closest to me, always notice when something is bothering me.

Since, I am not a good pretender and honesty is my best tool…

Let’s be honest… shall we?

This past year has been enriched with turmoil, difficulties, relationship struggles, and pain.  At times I felt guilty because my inner turmoil seemed unbearable.  As a graduate student training to be a counselor, I realized I was fighting depression.  Depression is not something I typically succumb to… but it was a real concern.

One night at church… I sat in choir attempting to sing praises to God… but I couldn’t.  For the first time in my life, I couldn’t sing praises to God.  I left the choir room and found a corner in the church and fought tears as I wrote a letter to God.  As the words exited my heart and entered the white screen on my smart phone.  I couldn’t believe the message… the prayer… the hurt and anger I was spewing toward God.  I felt like a terrible Christian!  I felt guilty as if I was being disrespectful to God!  After all, I wasn’t counting my blessings or giving thanks.  Throughout my developmental years I was never allowed to share my heart, my hurts, or my feelings with anyone.  At least not without fear of some kind of retribution.

Here is the honest and unaltered prayer I wrote to God..

“Lord, You are the lion that resides in my soul.  You are my voice, my strength, my desire, and my hope.  I sit here on the carpeted floor, in agonizing pain.  The turmoil within is threatening to escape through countless drops of liquid escaping from windows of my soul.  Lord, my roar is gone.  I feel weak, afraid, timid, rejected, and in need of strength. The hope I’ve held onto throughout my life and all my trials is dimmed and barely noticeable.  I’ve fought… I’ve stood up to the pain of my childhood… I’ve taken the difficult steps set before me.  Steps you said were to help me achieve true healing.

The pain from my childhood. .. will it forever haunt me?  Will the abuse I encountered as a child forever… continue to place constraints on my relationships… hinder personal growth… speak lies into my heart.  The fear and control I endured throughout my childhood and adolescent years,  will I ever find freedom from it’s steady grasp?

Lord, with everything I am… I have served you… even when life seemed hopeless… I clung to you.  You held me… you offered hope. .. were you “really” there or did I simply make you up… out of a hopeless frenzy to survive?  I’ve encountered pain… terrible pain… deep… intense pain.  I lived in fear… years of anxiety and despair.  This pain I suppressed all in an effort to survive…  In order to survive I was forced to suppress all the years of trauma, rejection, ridicule, and brokenness that I endured.

Lord, now you want all this brokenness conquered?  These steps you’ve set before me… intended to free me of bottled up pain and bondage.  Each step is weakening my strength.  The wall of protection I built as a child, in an effort to protect a little girl’s heart.  Each step you place before me seems bigger than the last. Each step taken… strips away another protective brick… leaving me terrified, afraid, and vulnerable.

I trusted you to fill in those empty and vulnerable vacancies.  I feel exposed, naked, and tender!

Lord, I’m angry!  I’m mad!  I’m hurt!  I’m broken!   I’ve trusted you in the face of abuse.   Lord, do you know my heart is breaking?  Do you know I’m tired?  Do you know inside I feel broken?   Fragile?  Do you really know … are you really there?  I can’t feel you!  Why do you seem so far away!  Have you turned your face from me?

Lord, it seems you have let me down!  Did I really say that?  Is it okay?  Is it okay if I’m truly honest with you? I have nothing left within me… no more strength, no more fight, and no more resilience.  All that remains is my honesty, brokenness, and humanness.

You called me to the daunting task before me.  I am certain… I know… I heard your gentle and relentless heeding deep within the sanctuary of my heart.  You insisted I take this step… I was terrified… in fear I trusted you.  I told you I couldn’t do it… I told you I didn’t have what it took… I told you… I wasn’t strong enough.  Yet you were relentless.  I fought your relentless heeding… but you continued to call my heart.  You told me you’d be my strength…  You told me you would open the right doors when it was time… You told me you’d be with me every step of the way. I trusted you!  So…. I stepped out in faith and followed you.  I obeyed you!

Now… it feels you’ve left me stranded to fight this battle on my own.

Lord, I need you!  I am sorry for my anger!  I long for you strength!  I need your peace!  I NEED YOU!

Please, fill in the broken places of my heart!  Take my authentic prayer and weary spirit and make me strong in you!  Make this pain, frustration, and fear something truly beautiful!  Turn this broken prayer into something wonderful… a miraculous sign of your presence in my life!

Your Daughter, Crystal”

Romans 8:28 “All things work for good to those who love the Lord, to those called according to His purposes!”

Isaiah 40:31 “But they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.”

John 14:1 “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me.” 

Psalm 28:7 “The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and I am helped. My heart leaps for joy and I will give thanks to him in song.”

Friends, It is NEVER a sin to bring our brokenness, anger, and fears to God.  As I approached the throne of grace in utter weakness, seeking God like never before, something miraculous happened within the deepest places of my heart.  God began to heal my wounded spirit!  My heart was emptied of pent up bitterness, hurt, rejection, fear, and bondage.  I still have a long way to complete healing… but I am headed in the right direction. Do you need to have an honest talk with God?  There is no time to waste… find a quiet place and pour out your hurts, fears, and anger to the God who can and actually longs to handle ALL of it!

Blessings,

Crystal

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Thank You God for My Husband

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This morning, for no reason in particular…. I am feeling extra thankful for my husband.

My husband is one of the most humble people I know… He never draws additional attention to himself.  He is my {unsung hero}!  He quietly serves his family!  I have seen his heart being drawn to help someone and have observed the Lord bless the situation.  My husband is one of the few men I know, who watches his wife pull into the driveway too fast, watches the mailbox fly across the driveway, see’s the dent in the car, and {first} asks, “Are you okay?” — and then erupts into laughter.  He is one of the few men who writes random sweet notes to his children before leaving for work… telling them he is proud of them… and that he loves them.  Not to mention that he has handshakes or {gestures} he does with each of our 3 boys {all different}, and every night he says goodnight to them in their own special language. Our youngest child, Caroline, has a special relationship with her daddy.  She loves him!  He is tender and playful with {only} little girl.  He is a gentle and caring father!

Have I mentioned how much he loves God?  He has attended Bible study almost every week at 6:30 a.m., since he was in high school.  That is commitment… my friends!  Occasionally on Sunday mornings, several of us may be reluctant to attend church, due to fatigue or laziness.  My husband gets out of bed, gets dressed, and more often than not dresses the children, so that I can get ready.  {Over the years he may have put a few of the kiddo’s outfits on backwards, but we always get a good laugh out of it.}  My husband is committed and weekly insists on taking his family to church.  When I am out of town on a Sunday, he still wakes our kiddos, dresses them, and takes them to church.  My husband prays with me and with our children. {He is the real deal!!!}

Today…  I want to tell my husband…  I love him.  I am truly thankful for the sacrifices he makes everyday for our family!

Today… I spread the news…

{My husband is WONDERFUL and our family is BLESSED to have such a loving man leading our family in love.}”

You are my {unsung hero}!  I love you!!!

Hebrews 5:12  — “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.”

Ephesians 6:4 — “Fathers should bring children up in the training and admonition of the Lord. This includes bringing the children to all meetings of the church, and also teaching them God’s word at home (Deut. 6:6-9).”

Today I am Blessed & want to thank God for the gift of my husband!! 

Crystal