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Infinite Seasons 


“This too shall pass!” We’ve all heard the quote. Have you ever experienced, what seemed to be an “infinite season”? A season of heartache and trial that drudgingly seemed to go on and on? These are the times in our lives that not only test our faith, but when the trial is over, we find our faith is stronger and deeper. We’ve all experienced unanswered prayers, resulting in trials that last longer than we feel we can manage.  We’ve endured moments that take our breath away, from the hurt felt within. I don’t know about you, but personally, these times challenge me in ways that causes me to ponder quitting, giving up, and occasionally leave me  questioning “If God really loves me?”  I know right! How can we fervent and devout believers in God, ever doubt his unconditional love for his children? It seems God was well aware that his beloved children would encounter difficult, painful, and heart breaking periods that would cause us to question our faith.  
Praise God, he knew we would need a way to hear his promises, love, and tender care for his children..  
In His word “The Bible” we find these intimate life giving words…
Psalm 23:1-6 (KJV) “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.”
Joshua 1:9 “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”
2 Corinthians 12:9-10 “But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

2 Corinthians 4:16-18 “Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”
2 Corinthians 4:8-9 “We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.”
James 1:2-4 “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”
The Bible is full of verses that encourage us in our times of struggle, pain, and weakness. This is not a coincidence! God created his children and the master knows his creation intricately and intimately! He knew our every hurt, emotion, and need.  
Are you like me today, losing hope in the midst of a heart breaking situation? Is there a difficult season in your life? A season you’ve cried out to God to resolve? And yet, the struggle endures!  
What is your infinite season of suffering?  

A terminal loved one?
A struggling child?

A hopeless marriage?

A financial crisis?

The struggles and trials on Earth are not only inevitable, but often a common occurrence for every human on Earth.
Is there hope? 
Always… No matter how bleak and hopeless the difficult seasons in life may be. We must not lose hope, there is always hope!  
We may not get our answer today or tomorrow, or even next year!  Eventually we will have answers to life’s struggles, even if it’s after we get to Heaven. 
However, let me tell you from personal experience, even in the midst of the longest struggle, God offers comfort, miracles, and reassurance of His presence along the journey!
Never have I struggled through a difficult period in my life, when I couldn’t look back on the other side, and acknowledge his presence and love in the midst of the trial. Actually, looking back it is obvious that God always showed up, in the midst of the most trying and difficult moments along the strenuous journey!  
Friends, if your in a difficult place today! If you’re struggling with losing hope? If you’re thinking you can’t endure another moment, another day, another minute? I’ve been there! In fact, I’m there now!
Let me speak into your weary heart and into my own weary and broken heart… 
God is real! He truly cares and loves his children unconditionally! You are not alone, even if you feel lost,  afraid, and left out in the dark alone.  
Let’s try something together.  A little experiment…  
Ready?  Take your eyes off the problem, the heart wrenching circumstance, the sick family member, the financial burden, the failing relationship,  the struggling child…  Now… look up to Heaven! Feel the pangs of peace wash over your soul. Cry out to God!  Tell him your heart is breaking, tell him you need him, tell him you can’t handle the pain in life right now, and tell him of your fears.  

After all, He already knows how your feeling! He knows your fear! Your pain! He knows that your struggle is real!
Dear friend, he’s waiting for you to call out to him! His arms are open wide! He’s ready to catch you!  
In all honesty, I’m at a point along this difficult journey when I feel I’m about to collapse under the pressure, pain, and uncertainty of the life’s tribulations.
I don’t know about you, but… I’d much rather fall into the loving arms of God! Wouldn’t you?
Together let’s…

Lift our arms to Heaven!
Lift our voices to the Father!

Lay down our pride and admit the struggle is more than we can carry alone!

Allow God to come into our hearts, into the most broken and fearful recesses of our heart!

Allow him to heal!

Allow him to show off a little!

Trust him to carry our pain!

Come on friends, don’t hesitate!  Lay it all, all of it, the pain, the fear, the anger, the hurt, the loneliness and hand it over to the maker of Heaven and Earth.  

He alone can carry our pain!
He alone can turn our pain into rejoicing!  

Friend, Today I want to take a moment to pray with you, to pray for me.  
Dearest Heavenly Father, You know the deepest recesses of our heart! You know how much our heart is breaking! Lord, you know we need you! Lord, please come! In the midst of this difficult season, on this long journey, please be our guide! We need you Father! This world is scary! It’s big! It’s overwhelming! It’s more than our measly human lives can manage! Lord, be our strength in our weakness! Be our hope in the midst of hopelessness! Be our Savior, in the midst of this trial! We need a Savior!  Not only once, but sometimes every day! Lord, we trust you! Even when we feel helpless and lost! We will trust you! Thank you Lord for being there to catch us! To lift us up!  Lord, thank you for loving us!  Thank you for your word!  The life giving, soul cleansing, and heart renewing words of the Bible!  Thank you for being there to catch us when we fall!  Lord, we love you!  We trust you, even when our worlds seem dark, scary, and lonely!  We trust this in your promises to save, heal, and comfort!  We love you Lord!  We thank you Lord!  

Your beloved daughter, Crystal 

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Disliked

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Am I the only woman in the world  whose felt “disliked” at times?   I’m being honest here, I need to know…  Am I the only woman who struggles with concerns of whether people like me?

The only girl who’s felt less than, in a world focused on popularity, beauty, and perfection?

A woman in the community, a woman in the church, a mother, a family member, and the wife of a hardworking man.

As much as I admit it, there are times this fear of being disliked, causes me considerable distress.  I try my best to be liked, to please everyone, to be this amazing, popular, loved, and perfect woman.  Yet, my efforts seem fruitless!  I’m simply chasing after the wind. Ecclesiastes 1:14 “I have seen all the things that are done under the sun; all of them are meaningless, a chasing after the wind.”

This aspiring for perfection thing, is simply leaving me feeling inadequate and less than.  I when I stop to really think about my inadequacies, my efforts prove futile.  Simply because, I am not perfect.  I wasn’t created to be perfect!  God created me, knowing I wasn’t going to be perfect, knowing I would fail, and at times I fail miserably.  I’m pretty sure he also knew I’d often times feel less than.  Could he have allowed these feelings?  As a means of ensuring I’d fully understand that he alone is able to fully understand and comfort my heart?  

Am I the only woman who fails to achieve the goals set before me?  The only person who goes to bed after a long day, questioning whether I made those around me happy?  Whether I made a difference in someone’s life?  Whether I built or hurt relationships? Whether my children went to bed feeling loved and cherished?  Whether my husband felt respected and loved?  Whether the women in my church and community call me friend?

All these emotions!  All these expectations!  All these fears!

I start each day rolling out of bed, a morning person, I am not.  I wake my four children and begin the familiar process of getting them ready for school.  During our morning routines, on most days, my children are not happy with me!  They hate it when I wake them from their warm beds, they yell, “No!  I am tired, you’re making me miserable!  Why do you have to do this to me?”  This grumbling often continues until I kiss their foreheads, as they walk onto the bus.  Again, disliked!  Like all husbands and wives, we have our moment’s when we get on each other’s nerves, and fail to meet the other’s expectations.  Again, disliked!  Standing at the check out line, an old man in front gives me a dirty look, apparently not thrilled with the fact I decided to have children.  I walk into the church, notice women chatting and laughing in groups all around me, and at times I feel left out.  Again, disliked!  The hardest days, are the days when I feel disliked by God.  When prayers, go unanswered.  Desires of my heart, withheld.  Pain within my heart, remains.  Again, disliked!

In my heart, I try to hold it together!  I read the scriptures, I read mommy blogs, I read better yourself books, and I pray. On most days, I handle life’s challenges quite well!  Yet, I have days when I struggle!  I allow myself to wallow in my pain for a period of time, until the ache becomes more than I can tolerate. God whispers into my heart, “Stop, listening to lies from the Devil!  Start, listening to me!  Tell me how you’re feeling!”

When life’s difficulties seem unbearable, I cry out to the Father!  As God speaks into my soul, I feel pain’s tightened grip, release.  The hovering gray cloud above my head, offers a glimpse of light.  Satan’s lie, telling me I’m  disliked slowly fades away.  This lie that began the entire debacle, is met by God himself!  Suddenly, the truth of God’s love for his daughter, prevails!

Trust me, I am well aware that there will be and are people in my life who dislike me. People, who may never like me, regardless of my efforts.  I realize, there will continue to be days when my children dislike me!  Days when my beloved husband dislikes me! Days when ladies within my community and at my church dislike me.

Hearing the still small voice of God within my soul, changes my heart, offers me a fresh perspective.  The heaviness within my heart is filled with love, peace, and comfort.

Suddenly, the fear of whether this world likes me, is no longer a concern.

I know that I am truly loved and liked, by the most amazing person who ever walked this Earth, Jesus.  I am loved by the creator of this world!

My heart is at peace!

You see, in my pain, in my wandering…  I was reminded of the truth, I am not the only person who’s walked this earth who’s felt disliked, unloved, and unappreciated!

Jesus, God’s son, experienced the same hurt!  He understands my pain, because he personally felt the world’s agony and rejection.  Isaiah 53:3 “He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain. Like one from whom people hide their faces he was despised, and we held him in low esteem.”

If the only perfect man who ever walked the soil of this earth, was despised, rejected, and held in low esteem; than my efforts to be well-liked by this world are certainly fruitless!

I no longer care about the popularity of the world!

I care about pleasing God!

I determine to spend time getting to know the only one who can sustain my soul.

My Heavenly Father!