Encouragement for a Weary Heart, Family Bonding Time, Learning to Love Your Husband, Motherhood, Parenting

Few Days Away From Facebook

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I deleted Facebook applications from my iPhone and my iPad for several days. I felt my spirit needed a break. My break only lasted a few days and that’s okay. All I needed was a few days.

A few days to realize a few VERY important things.

1.) {EVERYTHING IN MODERATION} goes for Facebook, too!

I was too focused on everyone else’s business and not focused enough on my own business ( my family, my self, my spiritual life, my friends).

2.) {NEEDED TO SET LIMITS} I needed to establish much needed boundaries and set time limits. Too much, is too much!

3.) {SILENCE IS GOLDEN}. When the children were napping, outside playing, or I was resting before going to sleep, I would check Facebook. Guess what? Facebook is loud! Not loud in the decibel sense, but loud in the mentally over-stimulus sense. So much screaming for my attention and I wasn’t taking time to listen to God, to think, to feel regular emotions from my own world. Facebook must not overtake my quiet times! I NEED quiet time, like the air I breathe!

4.) {MY TANK WAS EMPTY, I NEEDED TIME TO REFUEL}. Spending inordinate time on Facebook maintains the potential to leave me suffering from extreme burnout. I believe God knows we are human and we can only {handle} so much. To be anything for others, we must be certain our own tanks are full, otherwise we will crash and burn. We don’t think of Facebook as being too much, but for those of us who take things to heart and truly care about the needs of others, Facebook can throw too many emotions in our direction and if we’re not filled ourselves, we can deplete our resources and prove invaluable to our husbands, children, family, friends, and others in our physical presence. Word to the wise, take time to refuel!

5.) {FACEBOOK IS A BLESSING}. Facebook allows me to stay in contact with good friends from Korea, Boston, St. Louis, local friends, and people I love all over the world. I am thankful for this form of social media which allows me to stay in contact with people I care about.

There you have it, what I’ve learned from a few days away from Facebook.

Oh, and I decided to homeschool my sweet Daniel who is currently in kindergarten. He is excited! I am excited! His books came in the mail today, we’ll see how excited he is tomorrow, when we begin our work! Here’s to being able to have the best of both worlds! My older two are in public school doing well, and I have the opportunity to experience the joys and struggles of a homeschool mom. I’ll keep you posted on how homeschooling is goes!

Now for a few minutes to rest before the older two monkeys get home from school!

Blessings, Crystal

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

Taking a Break From Facebook

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I’ve decided to delete my Facebook apps. Those of you who know me personally, know that I am a true advocate of Facebook. I have friends all over the globe and Facebook allows me to keep in touch. Lately, for whatever reason, I’ve been feeling “blah”. I haven’t been able to pinpoint what is causing the feeling, and decided to pray. The Lord has put it on my heart to take a break from Facebook. I’m not sure why, but I’m certain that God’s will is where I want to be. I look forward to learning the life lessons God wishes to teach me throughout this time.

It’s been about 6 hours since I’ve deleted my Facebook applications. I keep picking up my iPhone and iPad fully expecting to see a Facebook notice and remembering, “Oh, yea, I deleted my Facebook apps!” In six hours I have realized how much my mind tends to wander to this addictive blue and white app. I’m not sure, but in a way I can escape my own world and enter into the worlds of all my friends on Facebook. The problem is, I need to be “here” in my world. I must be fully present in my relationship with God, in my own home and in my relationships with my husband, my children, and my friends.

How long will this break last? To be honest, I’m not sure! It could be a few days, a week, a month, or a year! I know I need time to refocus my attention back on my primary priorities, God and my family! I’m truly expecting to experience a revival of my spirit. I can’t help but ponder the way Satan will use anything in our lives to distract us from focusing on God. I refuse to allow Satan to use Facebook to distract me from focusing on Jesus. Don’t get me wrong, often God speaks to me through Facebook, but right now I need to spend time allowing God to speak directly into my heart. Don’t worry, you know me, I’ll keep you updated on what God teaches me through this time!

Blessings,

Crystal

Encouragement for a Weary Heart, Praise God, Trusting God

“I’m Here”

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Friends,

Have you ever had a terrible, rotten, and no good day? It seems everything that could go wrong, goes wrong. A few weeks ago, I had one of those terrible, rotten, no good days. The pressure of life just kept piling up. Finally when I reached my limit, I retreated to my bedroom and bawled like a baby. The tears fell and continued to fall. I laid there and asked God, “Why? Why do I have to feel like this? Why do I feel so alone? Why?” In the quiet of my bedroom, God answered, “I’m here!” He could have spoken a thousand words into my soul. However, at that moment, all I needed to hear was, “I’m here!” There are times when I feel like, I don’t belong, and I don’t fit in. You know what? In those moments, the most calming words to my soul are “I’m here!” We need to know, we’re not in this all alone. We need to know someone has our back. In those precious moments, God calmed my soul. He comforted my heart and made himself real to my weary spirit. Friends, He’s there, He’s really there! He’s always been there! He’s ALWAYS there. even when we feel like He’s not, He’s there! Do you need a reminder today, that He’s there, your not alone, and He’s got your back?”

“I’m here!”, God

Romans 15:13, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”

John 3:16,”For God so loved the world that he have his one only son, Jesus, so that whosoever will believe in His name, shall not perish but have everlasting life!”

Encouragement for a Weary Heart, Family Bonding Time, Motherhood, Parenting

Crystal’s “Turn the Table” Over Moment

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I’m frustrated.

You thinking… Wow… Not like Crystal to blog about something negative or out of frustration?

Let me clarify: I’m not saying I never feel negative or frustrated, just ask my husband and children.

However, right now I have a bone to pick.

Usually, I decide to wait until my frustration passes but right now… This is a “Jesus turns over the table in the temple” kind of moment. My husband has been in China for almost three weeks and will remain there for three more weeks. I am a mother of four children ranging from 11 – 1, not to mention a graduate student perusing a degree in counseling, and this is the LONGEST I have ever been away from my best friend and help mate. Needless to say… I’m missing him like crazy, feeling terribly lonely, and not getting the regular breaks my husband blesses me with. Since he left, I have had a few bad moments as a mother, I have cried a few tears, but all in all I’m hanging in there. Simply, trying to make the best.

Well, if you care to proceed… Here’s my soap box saga for tonight.

I’m sick of “certain “people dogging mothers.

A recent article I saw was something like, “Hey, that mother with the iPhone, put down your phone and swing your Kid.” Revealing a picture with a mom pushing her baby in a park swing and looking at her iPhone.

SERIOUSLY?

How in anyway is this uplifting, encouraging, or helpful?

Hey, is the baby taken care, is the mother beating her child, is there any obvious signs of neglect surrounding the child?

You know what I say, and I don’t ever say this… I say “Shut-Up!”

(Sorry – for the current day profanity that was not profanity when I was brought up.)

Give mothers a break! Stop looking for “something”…. “anything” to criticize.

Do you know how many children would love for their mothers to take them to the park and push them in the swing?

So what? The mother is multi-tasking… I’m certainly guilty of that.

Another article I read tonight that I found infuriating was titled… “The Worst Trend Ever”.

This article talked about how mothers are starting to post funny stories about their failures as a parent and how we need to take our sin more seriously! Mother’s shouldn’t admit failures but take them to God and take them seriously before the throne.

The worst trend ever?

Really?

I think not!

I think the big holes through the earlobe, the over abundance of meth labs, women showing EVERY part of their skin, sagging britches, and of course the mullet were TERRIBLE trends.

How is it that mothers being authentic and genuine in the face of their friends and mentors is the WORST trend?

How does the author of this article know the heart of “all” the mothers she’s writing about and their Facebook posts? As for me… I take my sin “very” seriously! (I admit it… I yelled at my child tonight… While preparing them “boxed” macaroni and cheese for dinner. I lost my temper… I actually made my son cry.).

However… Guess what else I did. I called my little boy down the stairs, sat him on my lap, squeezed him tight and I cried with him. I did… I told him I was soooo sorry. I ask him to forgive me. I asked God in front of him to forgive me and help me to be a better and more patient mother. I had taken away his swimming privileges… And guess what? I extended that naughty little boy grace and I still took him swimming, even when he didn’t deserve it. Just like Christ continually extends grace to me.

Guess what else I did? I read to, laughed… hugged… kissed… sang… prayed… encouraged… and loved my children.

Lord, help me! (No, I’m not taking the Lord’s name in vain for those of you “thinking” bad of me.). I’m actually praying!

Here’s the heart of the matter.

There are some SUPER terrible mothers out there.

STOP… STOP… STOP… Putting down the good ones, the ones who are willing to admit their weaknesses in order to become better moms.

The ones who get off their butts (Oh, sorry… I forgot, I’m a Christian, apparently I’m not allowed to say butt.) and actually take their kids to the park and gently push their baby in the swing. (Even if they are on their iPhone)

STOP… STOP… STOP… Putting down the moms who can openly admit their frailties (You know… the ones who don’t beat their children to a pulp and actually love… care… and provide for their child’s needs)

DO… DO… DO… Let mothers be human. Allow them to make a few mistakes (without additional ridicule).

DO… DO… DO… Encourage mothers who give every ounce of their energy…and prayers to their children.

So what? Moms sometimes post stories about their failures and maybe add a bit of humor.

So what? Moms are realizing that all mothers aren’t perfect!

Back in the day… People went outside more. They mingled with their neighbors. The older women spent time teaching the younger ones. Now… We have the Internet. Now… Younger moms have few helpers and mothering role models. We no longer hang out with fellow friends on our block. We no longer look for ways we can help the struggling mother with four children.

Now… Society has provided another resource for mothers…albeit not nearly a suitable substitute to warm and caring human bodies extending a helping hand in love. Society has offered mothers social media sites such as Facebook.

Philippians 4:19, “And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.”

Could it be that God is meeting the needs of mothers through this present day venue?

Do we help young mothers… Or do we sit back and judge?

We refuse to offer a helping hand… A word of encouragement. A sit down over hot tea to pray for strength and wisdom.

Guess what?

None of us will EVER be perfect on Earth.

Guess what?

Your a mom.

Guess what?

God loves you!

He sees your heart and knows the time and energy you exert while raising your children.

I feel better now!

Blessings,

Crystal

Encouragement for a Weary Heart, Family Bonding Time, Trusting God

Good Ole’ Lemonade Days

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Everyone has bad days.
Today was one of my “bad days”.
I opened my eyes and felt the nasty pang “I’m going to cry!”
Went to church… All in attempt to serve God… And feel better.
Yet… I escaped to the ladies room to secretly wipe away the unwanted drops of emotion.
The last thing I wanted was for people to see my vulnerability.

You see… We live in a world of “individuality”.
We’re Americans.
We’re strong… Independent.
We’re Christians.
We’re strong… Independent.

We’re taught to smile and nod.
Never show weakness.
Never give in to defeat.
We need nothing or no one.
We’re never to ask for help.

We’re told to put a smile on our face.
To strive for more.
This need for more…
Leaves us lonely.
Reaching for empty securities.

What happened to the good old days.
The Andy Griffith kind of days.
Mingling in the streets.
Neighbors helping neighbors.
Singing to a softly strumming guitar on the neighbor’s white picketed porch.

Maybe I’m discontent.
Attempting to attain an unreachable level of friendliness.
I yearn for simplicity.
Drinking lemonade in the shade.
Swimming in the ole’ creek bed.

Today feels so complicated.
Can’t say anything.
For the fear of offending another.
Can’t do anything.
For the fear of being judged.

Simple… Lemonade kind of days.
Are they too much to ask for?
Maybe… I’m longing for Heaven.
Desiring the “belongingness” of my Heavenly home.
To be in the God’s Holy presence.

For now…
I’ll take time to drink “sugary” lemonade.
I’ll rest in the shade with my family.
Scripture in hand…
I’ll take time to soak in the pleasantries of the gift of life.

Encouragement for a Weary Heart, Trusting God

Living a Victorious Life Through the “Almighty Counselor”

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I look in their faces… No matter how hard I try I can’t see their hearts.

So many people… So many souls.

Their eyes are a window into their souls.

Usually… I can read the emotions of the eyes.

In their eyes, I can see anger… Fear… Sadness… Joy.

I can’t see “why” their feeling, what their feeling.

No matter, how hard I try I can’t “know” their hearts.

So many people… Only one Holy God.

How can God know each and every single human heart.

How is it He truly cares for me… For you… For all the souls on this Earth.

Again… I don’t know how He does it!

I just know… “I’m glad He does!”

I pray… Lord, “Teach me to be a counselor.

A Godly… Understanding… Encouraging… Loving counselor.

Give me a supernatural understanding through Your Holy Spirit.

Help me to love your people… In a Godly and unconditional way.

Help me to look beyond their quirkiness…

To “truly” see a glimpse into their heart…

Give me an understanding of their spiritual condition…

Guidance to speak your words… Into their spirits.

Lord… When your people sit before me… Yearning for “healing”…

Speak through me… Speak into their hearts!

Lord… Help me… To help them…

Live a victorious life, through an intimate relationship with you, their Almighty Counselor.”

Encouragement for a Weary Heart, Family Bonding Time, Motherhood, Parenting

Lessons From a Five Year Old

My son Daniel was playing at his friends house yesterday afternoon.  His friend’s mother is one of my best friends.  My cell phone rang and it was my friend.  She said, “Crystal, I don’t wan’t you to freak you out but I need to call 911 for Daniel.”  Her son playing around threw a music cymbal and it hit Daniel on the nose and up towards his eye.  I could hear fear in her voice, despite the fact that she was trying so {very} hard to remain calm.  Her four children were frantic on the other end and Daniel was hysterically crying.  Needless, to say… I jumped into gear.  Jumped in the car and sped through town to get to my sons side. To make a long story short…  He ended up having to be sedated and a plastic surgeon was called in to repair the damage.  It was a traumatic experience for my little guy.

Here’s the lesson I learned from my five year old.

Please take a minute to watch this video before continuing to read this blog post.  You will be blessed… Trust me…

 

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In this video he’s just coming out of sedation.  He told me that his friend threw a {torcher} at him.  A {torcher} is Daniel’s made up word for cymbal.  I asked him, “You still love him?”  His response was a pure example of the love we’re supposed to have as followers of Christ.  He says, “Yep… He’s still my best friend.  And even if he throws something else at me, he’ll still be my best friend.”  {Tears}

I’m amazed at the depth of his love for his friend…  I’m amazed with his simple childlike love…  His astounding childlike faith…

Friends, if only we could be more like my five year old.  If we could so easily forgive… Forgive people for their humanly mistakes… and their frailties.  This world would be a much more enjoyable place… friendships would be deeper… families closer… marriages stronger.

When people inadvertently throw {torchers} in our direction.  Can we forgive their mistakes?  Can we allow people to be human?  Can we love them with the love of God?

Some of the most astounding life lessons… I’ve learned from God’s little people.

How about you?

Encouragement for a Weary Heart, Family Bonding Time, Motherhood, Parenting, Trusting God

If I Withhold Faith, I Will Behold No Hope

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A couple of nights ago, I was sitting in the living room, surrounded by my family and guiltily stressing about my graduate level research papers. Earlier, that afternoon I had noticed a friend requested prayer for her daughter on Facebook. Despite, my stress over my research papers due that evening, I continued to check Facebook for further updates on the condition of my friends daughter. I opened Facebook, in the midst of blood beating anxiety over the completion of my papers, and the status update I read [literally stopped me in my tracks].

My mind couldn’t grasp the information I had just read. [Thinking, surely I read that wrong, I read it twice, and three times.] My friend’s sweet, beautiful, and tender two year old daughter had been diagnosed with Neuroblastoma, a form of childhood cancer. Emotions welled within me, and I couldn’t make sense of such sadness. The thoughts whirling within my mind, included anger… fear… unbelief… anxiety… and uncertainty. A world of chaotic emotions washed over my soul. A whirlwind of emotions that I couldn’t even begin to describe in written word.

I put down my computer, and retrieved into my bedroom. I phoned a close friend. The two of us talked, planned, and prayed for our friend’s family. This friend, is one of those friends you can call, and can make your sadness, fear, and stress seem frivolous. [Not this time!] She couldn’t make it better, I couldn’t make it better, and the two of us together couldn’t make it better. Once we realized our words… pretty much were helpless… we decided to end our phone call in prayer.

We prayed! I’ve prayed continuously since the moment I heard the disheartening news. My family prays together. We’ll continue praying through the months that lie head. [Prayer… It’s all we can physically do. This situation is out of our control.] So we pray!

I am a strong believer, and faith in God comes as natural as the air I breathe. [Not this time.] [Not the evening, I was sick in bed with Pneumonia and read on Facebook, that my college roommate lost her husband and two of her five children.] [Not the nights I sat next to my little ones’ hospital beds.] [Not the evening my husband was stuck in Tokyo, during the largest Earthquake in 100 years and I wouldn’t find out for many hours that he was safely flying over the Pacific.]. During these moments I have to [choose] faith.

Throughout my 20 years of being a Christian, I have experienced difficult times. Times when my immediate inclination was fear, anger, and unbelief. During these times, I realized… I have nothing else… [But faith]. So… I place my trust in Him. After all, he has never let me down! When trials come rushing in my direction, and my view of Heaven is diminished from fear, anxiety, and disappointment, I will rely on Faith. [Faith… Even when chosen, out of desperation], has never let me down.

[God has NEVER let me down!]

It was good for me to be afflicted so that I could learn your statutes. Psalm 119:71

Now the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ Jesus, will personally restore, establish, strengthen, and support you after you have suffered a little. 1 Peter 5:10

Human suffering is universal; no one escapes. It is ubiquitous!

If I withhold faith, I will behold no hope!!!

Blessings,

Crystal

 

Encouragement for a Weary Heart, Trusting God, Uncategorized

I Wish There Were Visiting Hours in Heaven

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Sleeping… Dreaming…
I’m in your home. Unfortunately, you aren’t there, sitting by my side.

You, remain everywhere.
In your home, in my memories, within my heart.
Your familiar smell, your booming… southern voice.

At times you seem so close, your soul… closely intertwined with mine.
Right now… This very minute… Your Heavenly residence seems too far away.

Growing up fatherless, in a world, faced with unprecedented instability…
You were a regular face… A constant redeeming presence… God to a little girl’s soul.
A positive role model to my inner child.

I told you of my love.
In my wedding pictures… Your presence, at my side.
You were there… You surely cared.

I remember… I can’t forget.

Five months ago, God called you home.
As I held your hand… Sang hymns softly in your ear… You slipped away.
I couldn’t make you stay.

Why did it take your passing… For me to see.
To truly understand the depth of our bond.
To fully comprehend the impact your life had on mine.

So many hugs… Left unhugged.
So many conversations… Left unsaid.

I long for another hour… Another day.
All that’s left are your worldly possessions, the impact you had on my life.
The numerous impressions, you made on those left behind.

Your heart always tender, giving, and gentle.
Your hugs were strong, safe, and comforting.
Your voice so deep, reassuring, and steady.

Your gone now, this fact, this dream, once again jolts me back to real life…

I wish there were visiting hours in Heaven!

Encouragement for a Weary Heart, Learning to Love Your Husband, Motherhood, Parenting, Praise God, Trusting God

Follow Your Dreams

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God has been preparing my heart for the “counseling” mission field. God placed this desire within my heart many years ago, and has been preparing my heart for this mission. In the past year, this desire has become a continual nudge within my spirit. Once I realized my desire was a “holy desire”, a “calling” from God, I spoke with a Godly mentor, my counselor, about the restlessness going on within my heart. She told me it was time to put some “feet into my prayers”. She said, “God wants you to take the first step in obedience, He wants you to walk through the first door. Don’t attempt to walk through all the doors at once, He hasn’t opened those yet. Take the first step, first!”

That evening I spoke to my husband, and he agreed it was time for me, to take the first step!

Once I heeded the call, I applied to graduate school at Liberty University. Everything happened so fast, and all my dreams were suddenly put into action. I’M A GRADUATE STUDENT!

Friends, this is a dream come true! Getting a high school diploma was a big deal in my family. I was the only member in my immediate family who received a college degree, and now God has prepared my heart for a Masters In Marriage & Family Therapy. I am truly humbled! Who would’ve know that this little blond headed girl, would overcome such adversity, and with God at her side, “Counsel, His sheep.”

I can’t see into the future, but I can tell you, “I LOVE MY CLASSES!” I love what I’m learning and I can’t get enough! For now, this is evidence that I am right where God wants me.

Graduate school is a huge endeavor! First and foremost, I am a wife and mother, and it is my prayer that God will help me succeed in all my duties! So far, so good!

Prayers much appreciated as I endeavor this new challenge! God is so good!!!

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