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Springtime Snow

 

It’s not what we were expecting, a snow storm on the first day of spring.  A snow storm was harder to swallow, because here in Indiana we had a day of warm sunshine, followed the next day with snow filled tree limbs.  Indiana weather is extremely fickle and constantly changing, those of us who struggle with change, really struggle living in the Hoosier state.  Social media is going crazy with “snow in spring” comments and small talk the past several days has consisted of folks in shock of this sudden snow storm.  This early spring snow isn’t all that unique, I recall at least one Easter in Indiana with snow on the ground.  I remember years ago, two little boys eagerly looking for eggs inside closets, toys, and underneath furniture, simply because it was too cold and snowy to be outside.

Friends, God’s beauty in our lives almost always happens in the {unexpected}.  Think about it, the moment you meet that perfect partner, after years of fearing you’d spend life alone.  That moment when you see a positive sign on a pregnancy test, not quite ready to be a parent; but when that sweet baby is placed in your arms the joy you feel is indescribable.  Sitting beside someone you love dearly as they enter into the gates of Heaven, the pain is intense, but a deeper joy within is immense.  When your dream goes unanswered, but God shows you later that His plans for you far outweigh any dream you could have imagined!

The snow storm that hit yesterday, was certainly {unexpected}.  In keeping with God’s very nature, he turned the {unexpected} into something truly beautiful and stunning!

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Today’s white covered Earth certainly wasn’t expected, the beauty of the dangling snow covered limbs is awe-inspiring.  Looking down our long winding driveway, it seems like we’re in a present day Narnia.  There’s nothing like the beauty I see today, standing outside on the second day of spring, gazing upon a wintry blanket of white.

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I miss the warm 60 degrees we felt here in Indiana just two days ago, but I refuse to “Lose the forest, for the trees!”  I choose to be thankful for the beauty each day brings!  Spring will come soon enough, then summer, then fall, and winter will roll around again! It’s the beauty of being alive!  I recall loved one’s lost in the last year and others who are struggling with illness and hospital walls the only thing they see on this gorgeous day!  As I gaze upon God’s beautiful artistry, I say a prayer for those who are fighting for their lives, others who are sitting at the bedside of someone they love, and for those who are finding little hope in the midst of emotional darkness.

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Thank you God for the beauty of a wintry white entrance into spring, even though your timing may seem a bit off, we can’t deny the mastery of your artwork.  The land you’ve blessed us to live on is absolutely gorgeous,!  The children are loving the soft, fluffy, perfect for snow ball making snow!  I thank you that even though we don’t understand your plan, that we can trust in your plan with confidence, knowing that nothing happens outside your control!  Lord, I am thankful that there’s not a day I journey this Earthly path alone!  I thank you for revealing your glory through nature, especially in the most unexpected ways.  Thank you for loving me!  And extending grace and mercy to me each and everyday!

Psalm 145:5 “On the glorious splendor of your majesty, and on your wondrous works, I will meditate.”

Psalm 96:11-12 “Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice; let the sea roar, and all that fills it; let the field exult, and everything in it! Then shall all the trees of the forest sing for joy.”

Psalm 8:3-4 “When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him?”

Philippians 4:8 “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.”

Friends, Is God showing up in expected ways in your life right now?  Are you struggling with a pain so raw, so real, that you are finding it difficult to endure daily life?  Are you praying for God to heal a sick loved one?  God will use each and every pain in your heart for his glory!  Are you struggling underneath the hopes of a dream unfulfilled?  God is in the business of showing up in the most {unexpected} moments of our lives.  Don’t lose hope, just look up and keep trusting God!  You’ll find him in the {unexpected}!

Love, Crystal Ridlon

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Erupt or Look – Up “To Fulfill the needs of the Flesh or to Fulfill the Greater Calling”

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Today has been one of those days… when it seems everyone and everything is against me!  These are the days that seem to test my patience the most.  It’s the day when a lot of tedious encounters seem to pile up, almost like an overflowing volcano.  Feels like the world around me is working overtime to get my inner volcano to explode.  Trust me, I’ve had my share of days when my volcano has erupted.  I hate the destruction that my “erupting volcano” leaves in it’s path; sad children, frustrated husband, etc.  My volcano has erupted more times than I care to admit and I always end up feeling terrible afterward, when I’ve calmed down and observe the aftermath of my fury.

Today began as such… Without going into my “poor me” morning,… Despite my fleshly desire to vent in anyway possible the wrong that’s been done to me today… I allowed God’s still small voice to speak to my heart.  As I entered my offie today, I had two spare hours due to a no-show and a last minute cancellation, rather than taking this time to pout, I allowed God to draw me to His word.  The pull toward God’s perfect plan, requires tremendous effort, in order to break the cycle of our fleshly desire to vent our frustrations to the world. God uses scripture to speak truth into my heart on a regular basis… Today’s scripture…

Ephesian Chapter 4:1-6 “As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received.  Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.  Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.  There is one body and one spirit – just as you were called to one hope when you were called — One Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.  But to each on e of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it.”

This isn’t the first time God has gently drawn me to this passage, in fact, he drew me to this exact scripture last week.  This is how God most often speaks to my heart; through a gentle nudging of the soul to seek Him… to seek His word!  Suddenly, my entire day was altered as I allowed the Holy Spirit to convict my soul.  My frustration began slowly fading away, as the Lord’s conviction began to “right” the attitude of my heart.  Somehow, the Lord’s conviction was all it took to grab the fibers of the fleshly roots tugging at my soul, causing bitterness, anger, and frustration to build.  Sitting at my desk, with calming worship music playing in the background and my peppermint essential oils diffusing into the air, I surrendered to God’s better plan.  With my Bible sprawled out across my desk, God began to speak to my heart straight from his word, suddenly my heart is at peace!  Not only was my heart at peace, God in his firm but gently convicting manner, replaced my frustration toward His people with compassion.  In fact, the very people that crossed my path this morning infusing frustration into my spirit, became a different kind of burden.  God replaced my frustration with a burden to pray for the very people who originally frustrated me.  This is when I am reminded of the powerful God who reigns over all, the only one who holds my heart in the palm of his hands.  My Heavenly Father who loves me wholly and completely, despite my worldly mannerisms.  Several scriptures came to my heart as God began tenderly pointing me toward him, rather than focusing on all the problems in the world.

1 John 4:12-13 “No one has ever seen God, but if we love one another, God lives in union with us, and his love is made perfect in us. We are sure that we live in union with God and that he lives in union with us, because he has given us his Spirit.”

Mark 12:30 “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.  The second is this: Love your neighbor as yourself.  There is no commandment greater than these.”

Sadly, I am a slow learner!  God has been teaching me this very lesson for 25 years, to love others, more than we love ourselves.  Folks, in all my years of following Christ, I’ve learned on profound truth… I CAN NOT love people in my own strength… I am only capable of truly loving people through God’s Spirit residing within me.  Friends, we certainly CAN NOT love difficult people in our own strength… but we absolutely can love when we allow the Spirit to love through us… which is done by surrendering to thyself and allowing God’s will to take over our fleshly desires.  Simply put… “We must die to ourselves daily!

Blessings,

Crystal Ridlon