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Happy 15th Birthday Christopher

15 years ago this young man came rushing into the world! Funny thing is, he hasn’t rushed at anything since. He’s more slow & methodical, deep, intellectual, easy-going, and so unbelievably hilarious! He’s not photogenic in the slightest and his pictures used to drive me crazy. Since I’ve come to better understand “who he is” the silly in his photos are now met with joy & laughter! Christopher has far outdone any expectation I had, of the type of person he’d grow into. I’m thankful wisdom, God’s continual guidance, and my dear husband helped me to back off enough “at the right times” to allow him to be molded into God’s perfect design for him! He’s so much more amazing than I could have ever imagined! He’s truly a gift to our family & others. He loves God, has tremendous love and empathy for others, he’s the most non-judgemental and accepting human I’ve ever met! 15 year ago today, this fun guy joined our family! I can’t believe he’s old enough to get his permit and I know teaching him to drive is going to be a series of hilarious memories! More than all that, I Can’t believe he’s 15 and 6 feet tall! We couldn’t be more proud of Christopher! He is one fine, upright, smart, & God-fearing young man!

If you see him today… be sure to tell him “Happy Birthday!” He’s a natural encourager and I would love for him to be on the receiving end of lots of encouragement today!

Happy 15th birthday Christopher! I love you and I am sooooooo very proud of you!

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Grief Comes in Waves

Grief has a way of hitting you out of the clear blue!

Today, sitting in the lobby waiting for my allergy shots, I fight tears! I still can’t believe my niece is no longer wandering this Earth! I think I’ve come to grips with her death and out of the blue it hits me like a rushing wind! The pain in my heart flares back up, the tears flow endlessly, and I work through the current wave of grief all over again! Grief isn’t something that can be placed on a time table! It is different for every single person.

Thankfully, life has calmed down recently and the peace I feel in my heart has been a true blessing! However, when the storms of life stop blowing, other storms being pushed down and put aside begin to stir! This bout of grief won’t due me in, but so it is with grief! You have to feel it, to heal it! It doesn’t just disappear. It’s something you learn to live with it.

The stages of grief by Elizabeth Kubler Ross are Shock, Denial, Anger, Depression, and finally acceptance! I’m thankful for these stages and use them often in my work with grieving clients. However, I find them confusing at the same time! Seems to me, once you move through a stage, it should become a thing of the past! Not so, they come and go! I felt I was already at acceptance recently, and today went all the way back to shock! I just can’t believe it!

The Bible says, “We grieve like those with hope!” God’s word keeps me going! Encouraging words from loved ones and strangers! God’s provisions along the way! And… songs! Songs become good for my weary soul! This song was a blessing to me this morning!

I certainly miss her! I would love to see her face and hear her voice! Songs like “Face to Face” remind me that her death is not final and I will see her face and hear her voice again in Heaven one day! For now, my comfort is that she is dancing with the angels and experiencing true peace and everlasting joy!

Blessings, Crystal

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Lessons Learned from Remembering 2019

As I’ve pondered 2019 in depth, God has revealed several important concepts to my heart. This has come at just the right time, partly through personal prayer & Bible study, and through a sermon I heard today! I was convicted of how I have failed to remember God’s blessings this year, in the midst of many heart-wrenching trials. Just this week, I caught myself telling someone “I am soooo glad 2019 is a thing of the past!” I was convicted in my spirit immediately!

Although, 2019 brought many hardships, griefs, and at times pain that weighed my spirit heavily… There were amazing blessings in 2019! However, in the midst of these struggles, I allowed Satan to sway my focus on the negative aspects of life. As much as I hate to admit it, there were times Satan lead me to doubt God’s plan! And… times when it took everything in my inner being to say out loud “I trust you, even in this!”

Life is hard at times and this year I’ve encountered several trails that have knocked the wind out of my sails, for days, weeks, and even months at a time! In my personal life this past year, I’ve encountered many difficult trials! This year, my resolution is to remember God’s goodness! To focus on His precious promises, especially when Satan tries to torment me! That’s when I need Jesus the most! I will memorize Psalm 124 and will speak these truths out loud! When the storms of life start to overtake me, I will lift my eyes to God! I can’t imagine living this life, without God by my side! “If God is for us, who can be against us!”

Join me in writing a list of all the wonderful blessings God has given you in 2019 and how he has been by your side through it all! What a great way to force our hearts, mind, & souls to refocus on the good of God’s abundant love, provision, and blessing! This is cognitive behavioral therapy in action! Join me this year, in making a point to

force ourselves to focus on God and his precious promises, especially when life hurts,

Blessings, Crystal

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New Year’s Resolution 2020

New Year’s resolution…

Couldn’t have said it better myself!

Resolution based off of today’s devotional reading…2 Peter 1:3-11

My heart and goals for 2020!

To fully comprehend that God will meet every need of my heart! To trust in His promises, rather than doubt Him due to my own insecurities. It is only when I fully grasp this concept, that I will experience true peace and joy! This is the recipe for managing the evilness rampant in the world around me! I will make every effort to add to my faith, good deeds! To goodness, continued understanding & built knowledge of God’s word! As I acquire Biblical knowledge, the result will ensure greater self-control! Once self-control is matured, I will be better able to perseverance under pressure and in the midst of hardships! As I persevere and walk closely with God, surely the fruits of the Spirit will be more prevalent in my life! This, will allow me to experience greater love for God’s people, and greater ability to love those who are difficult to love! Through these steps, I will possess the very nature “Christ-likeness” that is essential for Godly living! Living out these Biblical steps to Godly living, will strengthen my faith and my resolve! Only then will I be fully able to live the productive, effective, and victorious life God so richly has planned for those who love him!

Blessings, Crystal

January 1, 2020