Family Bonding Time, Motherhood, Parenting, Uncategorized

Childlike Faith

 

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This afternoon when I picked up my 4 year-old daughter from preschool, I noticed she had a Princess brush in her hand.  As any normal mother, I noticed immediately that the brush didn’t look like it came from our home.  I asked my daughter and she insisted it was hers.  Knowing the brush was not hers, I realized this was an important teaching moment.  I whispered into her ear, “Caroline, if you take this brush knowing it doesn’t belong to you, you will be stealing.  God tells us we are never to steal.  Stealing is disobeying God.”

Unfortunately, the lesson didn’t sink in immediately.  I left the brush at the school and told her we would talk to daddy, if he said the brush was hers we would pick it up on Monday.  Caroline was very upset and cried profusely for about 1o minutes.  (In her defense it was a pretty amazing brush, pink with a little diamond, Aerial, Cinderella, and Belle.)  I dropped the topic of the brush and she didn’t bring it up for several hours.  Later that night, after our family swim night at the YMCA, we were combing and drying her hair.  As I combed her hair, she said, “Mommy, the brush wasn’t mine!”  Immediately I gently stroked her hair and looked into her eyes, “Thank you Caroline for being honest!  I am so proud of you!  You know what that tells me about you?”  Caroline, “What?”  “It tells me that you have a beautiful heart.”  Caroline responded, “Mommy, does it mean I didn’t disobey God?”  “Sweetie, God is so proud of you!  He loves you!  You were honest about the brush, so you didn’t disobey God!”  I hugged her and we both walked out of the locker room holding hands.

As I pondered this event throughout the evening, I couldn’t help but feel extremely proud of my daughter.

I thought to myself, “I am not a perfect mother and I make more mistakes than I can keep track of… but I love the fact that my children are sensitive to the matters of God.  My greatest desire for my children is that they will understand God’s love and understand the importance of obeying God’s word early in life.”  BINGO!!!  This parenting moment brought joy to my heart!

The Bible iterates the importance of teaching children about God.  There is no greater joy for a Christian parent, than the moments when you see your children grasping the concepts of the Bible.

I am so proud of my sweet daughter!  I couldn’t imagine raising my children in any other manner.  John 14:6 “Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”  Proverbs 22:6 “Train up a child in the way they should go and they shall never depart from it!”

Could it be that my daughter’s story, is what God is referring to in Mathew 18:3. Mathew 18:3, “And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.”

I pray, I will have childlike faith all the days of my life!  I pray my children will be sensitive to the matters of God all the days of their lives.  I thank God for the opportunity to raise my 4 children according to God’s word!

Blessings, Crystal

 

 

 

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

Happy Father’s Day 2014… To My Heavenly Father

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Father’s Day has never been my favorite holiday.  In fact, it’s a holiday that used to cause deep-rooted sadness in my heart. Father’s Day is a “wonderful” day for people who were blessed with wonderful fathers, but for those of us whose fathers rejected, abandoned, abused, or neglected us…  It was certainly not enjoyable.  I wasn’t blessed with a wonderful father and my step-father physically and emotionally abused me for years.  Therefore, much of my life I dreaded Father’s Day.  My biological father outright rejected me.  He knew where I was, he had my phone number, and could have contacted me anytime, yet he failed to stay in contact. My biological father “chose” to pretend I didn’t exist.

As a little girl, I remember hearing the phone ring and praying over and over again that it was my dad on the other end.  I always longed for him to call me…  I longed to hear him say… “I love you!”, “I am proud of you!”, “and “I want you in my life!”  The long-awaited phone call I dreamt of for years, never came and to this day my biological father continues to reject me.

Every year I dreaded Father’s Day.  It broke my heart  to see other little girls sitting on their daddy’s laps, being swung around in the strong and supportive arms of their father, being loved on by their daddy’s, and being told they were beautiful.

The thing that broke my heart the most was knowing that these other little girls daddy’s “chose” to love them, spend time with them, and make them a priority.  This meant only one thing…  my father didn’t “choose” me… he didn’t want me.  He chose not to love me and chose not to have a relationship with me.  For many years, I thought there must be something wrong with me…  I must have been ugly… unlovable for my father to purposely choose not to love me.  I recall feeling… I wasn’t “good enough”… “beautiful enough”, or “lovable enough”… to be loved my my father.

One day this pain in my heart began to change.

In a small Baptist church, I found God.  God called me to himself.  The God of the universe…  the “GREATEST”, most “LOVING”, and most “CARING” Father “chose” me.  He really “chose” me!  It was the first time anyone had ever “chosen” me.  Being “chosen” changed my life!

The act of being “chosen” by someone as important as God “The Father of the Universe” was life-changing.  I treated God like the father, I never had.  I cried out to him, begged him to hold me, and sought him for help in times of trouble.  I needed Him!  Nothing else made sense, no one else seemed to care, and so….  God became my father.  Not just my Heavenly Father, but he became my earthly father too.

As my faith grew stronger, God became real to me.  I began seeing him and feeling him in my everyday surroundings.  I cried out to him for help and help was provided, prayers were answered, and overtime the pain in my heart hurt less.  As time passed, my heart began to heal.

I no longer dread Father’s Day…  I no longer cry because my heart is breaking on Father’s Day.

Today is Father’s Day 2014…  I am 36 years old.  I’m happily married to a Godly man who also “chose” to love me!

My husband and I are blessed with 4 wonderful children.  I love watching my husband love on his children, our children love on their daddy on Father’s Day…. and everyday in between!  I praise God my children are blessed with a wonderful and loving earthly Father, who continually points them to the Heavenly Father.

Most importantly, today I am thankful God “chose” me!  At the age of 15…  God called me to himself.

God is the best father and he “chose” me!

My heart has been healed.

I contribute my healing to God…  My Heavenly Father, who “chose” me.

I no longer dread Father’s Day.

Father’s Day is a day I am honored to celebrate my Father in Heaven.

Today…  Father’s Day 2014…

I would like to say to my Father in Heaven…

Thank you for loving me!

Thank you for healing me!

Thank you for “choosing” me!

Your Beloved Daughter,

Crystal Ridlon

Family Bonding Time, Learning to Love Your Husband, Uncategorized

Stand Firm

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For many years, my husband has made a habit of reading a monthly men’s devotional called “Stand Firm”.   Today is Father’s Day 2014.  On the couch I noticed his “Stand Firm” devotional. I thought to myself… I’m proud of my husband who has always made a habit of spending time with God. My husband takes the title of his devotional seriously. He has made a habit out of “Standing Firm” in his life. I’m thankful today for my husband who is committed to “Standing Firm” in his commitments… His commitment to God… His wife… His children… His parents… His job… and His faith.

Our family is blessed to have a husband and father who knows what he stands for… Makes commitments and sticks with them… Follows God faithfully… Provides for his family… Loves his wife and children… And makes each one of his family members a priority.

This Father’s Day 2014,  I would like to say one thing to the love of my life and the father of my children.

Robert W. Ridlon III, Thank you for “Standing Firm”!

Love, Crystal (Your Beloved Wife)

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Family Bonding Time, Praise God, Uncategorized

Try God… He “REALLY” Works

I woke up this morning in a super grumpy mood… My whiney little girl… Whose recovering from a bout with the stomach bug… Certainly wasn’t helping my mood… Neither were my younger two boys banging the floors of their room above my head or my messy house screaming to be cleaned.

It didn’t take me long to realize how desperately I needed to spend time with God.

I’m learning friends… Slowly but surely I’m learning.

As I began snapping grumpily at my children… trying desperately to find a quiet moment to pour myself a cup of coffee and to sit on my front porch swing and enjoy the beautiful day God has provided… God again whispered into my heart. Invite the little… “Loud” people to join you in reading my word… Listening to the calming serenading of my beautiful birds… Invite them to pray to me… Invite them to sing praises to Me… I am!

Today we read from Psalms…

1You have searched me, Lord,
and you know me.
2 You know when I sit and when I rise;
you perceive my thoughts from afar.
3 You discern my going out and my lying down;
you are familiar with all my ways.
4 Before a word is on my tongue
you, Lord, know it completely.
5 You hem me in behind and before,
and you lay your hand upon me.
6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
too lofty for me to attain.
7 Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?
8 If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
9 If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,
10 even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast.
11 If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me
and the light become night around me,”
12 even the darkness will not be dark to you;
the night will shine like the day,
for darkness is as light to you.
13 For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place,
when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed body;
all the days ordained for me were written in your book
before one of them came to be.
17 How precious to me are your thoughts,[a] God!
How vast is the sum of them!
18 Were I to count them,
they would outnumber the grains of sand—
when I awake, I am still with you.
19 If only you, God, would slay the wicked!
Away from me, you who are bloodthirsty!
20 They speak of you with evil intent;
your adversaries misuse your name.
21 Do I not hate those who hate you, Lord,
and abhor those who are in rebellion against you?
22 I have nothing but hatred for them;
I count them my enemies.
23 Search me, God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
24 See if there is any offensive way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting.

Spending time with The Lord with four children isn’t “easy” but there’s something about the process that calms my spirit and the Spirit’s of my children. Although, much of the time I’m redirecting and insisting they be better listeners etc… After time spent focusing on God our spirits are calmer. Today we ended by praising God for one awesome aspect of His creation… The beautiful flowers… The large tree in the front yard that is good for climbing… And for Daniel’s (my six year old’s) funny little facial expressions that always makes me smile. Before releasing the children… We sang two praise songs.

You know… This process of spending time with God is ultimately effective in regaining control of hyper kids, changing this momma’s bad attitude, and the overall calming of spirits. You know what… It’s so much better than yelling, spanking, and feeling guilty later.

You know I’m learning something in my old age… This God thing REALLY works…

That my friends is why I love Him and serve Him to the best of my ability!

Because…

God “REALLY” Works!!!

Next time your children are out of control, next time you feel on the verge of losing your temper, next time your spirit is uneasy….

Try God… He works!

Blessings,

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Family Bonding Time, Motherhood, Parenting, Uncategorized

Embracing “Un-popular” Parenting Decisions… The Process of Creating “Successful” Adults (Part 1)

While iPhones, TV and video games are great for distracting children in a pinch, increasing evidence shows that too much screen time can potentially cause childhood depression and increase the risk for attention problems later on.

A Great article to check out…  http://www.sheknows.com/parenting/articles/963474/can-screen-time-cause-childhood-depression.

 

As a family we have made decisions that are “unpopular” in our society, amongst friends, and even with our children.  In all honesty, I can’t say with resounding certainty that these decisions are “perfectly right”, but I can say with certainty that they are “perfectly right for our family”.

Over the next couple of week’s I am going to do a series called…

Embracing “Un-Popular” Parental Choices…  The Process of Creating “Successful” Adults

1.)  We don’t allow our children regular internet access.

This is one decision we have received slack from friends, family, teachers, etc…  I’ve heard it all, “you have to embrace the times, technology is the present, the future etc…”.  If my children have a project or a specific reason for needing to be on the internet we allot time for these occasions.  However, you won’t find my children roaming the internet, building their own websites, playing mindless games on the computer.  You will find my children asking for permission to use the computer and us setting a side a time for this use.

Why are we reluctant to allow our children to fully “embrace” technology…
I’ve heard several people say my children won’t develop adequate “technological” knowledge to be successful in their lives and future careers. Our response:  My husband and I neither one had access to computers until we were in college.  My husband is a successful PhD professor at Indiana University.  I am attending graduate school for to be a Mental Health Counselor.  We are happy, we are blessed with the most wonderful children, and “enough” material possessions to allow us to live comfortable lives.  The point I am trying to make is:  My husband and I didn’t grow up with a  computer access, the latest technological advances, and I feel we turned out pretty well. We’re not enormously rich, but we are rich in blessings, and blessed above and beyond our needs on Earth.  Therefore, we do not feel our children’s long-term success lies in time spent on the computer.  We believe our children’s long-term success lies in living in the real-world, playing with their siblings, interacting with friends at church, school, and in the neighborhood, playing outside, learning to relate/interact with others, spending time “talking” to our children, good quality family time, and teaching them respect in a society, where respect is a almost forgotten.

Again, like I said, I can’t say for “certain” that this {un-popular} decision is the  “perfectly right” choice, but I can say with “certainty” that our children are well-rounded kids, respectful in school/church. well-behaved in public (for the most part), involved members of our family unit, and at this point not technologically incompetent.

This is the “choice” that works for us, not necessarily the right choice for all families.

However, I do believe there is something to be said for limiting children’s time with technology, for the sake of developing the most well-rounded and successful adults.  

Too much of anything is…  TOO MUCH!!!

Deuteronomy 6:7 “You shall teach them (God’s word) diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.”

Proverbs 22:6 “Train up a child in the way they should go and when they are old they shall never depart from it.”

Blessings,

Crystal

Encouragement for a Weary Heart, Family Bonding Time, Motherhood, Praise God, Uncategorized

Help Me, Help Them… “I’ll Praise You In This Storm”


In the worst of circumstances, I can still see God’s blessings and goodness!  At times I may have to look harder, but their there, nonetheless.

This week my family has been dealing with this new strain of Norwalk Virus, I think the name is Sydney, or it’s originated in Sydney… Something like that.  Anyway, it’s a nightmare bug.  Apparently it’s entirely too easy to catch, spreads through the air, lives FOREVER (maybe not forever, but 3-5 days ) on surfaces, and it literally takes it’s toll on the body.  It all started with my 6 year old Daniel, next my 9 year old Christopher, then me, and tonight my oldest son Robby.  Problem is the man of the house is out of town for a conference, that leaves me home sick with fever and a stomach virus, attempting to care for 4 children, 3 of which thus far has the same nasty bug. Needless to say, it’s been a rough couple of days.  I am so sick (literally sick) of nasty bodily secretions.  All day, I’ve dragged myself around the house, trying my hardest to keep my children well hydrated, and clean.  All the while, I have a fever and have been down with this terrible illness.

Tonight, I finally get all the children to bed.  Throughout the evening, until the wee hours of morning, I have been running up to clean bowls, check temps, and attempt to hydrate dehydrated children. However, as I sit in bed holding my own stomach.  I think to myself, “I love these little ones, so much!  I am so lucky to have such sweet, fun, and happy children!  It is an honor to care for these little people.  Thank you Jesus for the gift of my life!”

Although, I prefer to praise God when life is running smooth, I “choose” to “Praise Him in the Storms”!  Today and tonight, has definitely been a storm.  My oldest whines, “Why did God have to make sickness?”  I respond, “Honey, God didn’t make sickness, sickness is from Satan, but we can allow sicknesses to make us bitter, or we can allow it to turn us to God!”  Tonight, I have talked to God extensively… Asking for patience…  Pleading for healing…  And despite feeling ill, God has provided the necessary strength to help me, help them!

Tonight, God has been with me.  Although the hubby is away, although I am feeling feverish and nauseated.

God has answered my prayers…

He is helping me, so I can help them!

They are all hydrated, asleep, and all four of them KNOW they are loved and cared for!

“Thank you Father!

I praise you in this storm!”

Crystal