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

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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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Learning to Love Your Husband · Parenting · Praise God · Uncategorized

My First and Last Love… Happy 14th Wedding Anniversary

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First time you held my hand…  The moment… forever ingrained in my heart.

The feeling… I will never forget…  I can’t possibly forget…

I recall the powerful surge, the force of true and unconditional love shooting through my fingers… Landing in the center of my heart.

Your touch created emotions in my soul so deep…  so tender… so real.

I remember…

Driving home from “youth camp”…  The place our eyes first met.

I announced confidently…  “One day I’m going to marry that boy!”

I remember the rebuttals…  from fellow passengers…  “No you won’t…  He’s just your first love!  It will pass.  You’ll see!”

Over the next 6 years…  God continued to join our hearts together.

Random meetings at youth events…  Random phone calls…  Random chance meetings…

Your face… your “first-love” boyisms… Left a tremendous impression on my heart.

That boy…  I fell head over heals for…  Never forgotten.

We fell in love… so young….

16… 17…  too young for a future united together.

I recall many nights…  Thinking of you… Missing you…  Longing for your hand in mine…  Missing your arms holding me…  I’ll always remember the overwhelming sense of belonging I felt in your arms…   Protection from a world that left me broken… hurt… and fearful.

Many a nights I sprayed your cologne on the teddy bear you gave me.

That teddy bear was loved…  held… and comforted me many lonely nights.

Twenty year later….

The same teddy bear now sleeps with our little girl…  Our fourth child.

Sweetheart…  What we share… our love… is a gift from God himself.

Our love has changed the world…

Four beautiful children have blossomed from our hearts being joined together…

So young… so in love.

All those years…

God continued to join together our young hearts.

My dear…  Today is our 14th Wedding Anniversary.

But it is also my 21st anniversary of first meeting the “love of my life”!

You are so much a part of me…  The Bible says “One Flesh”.

That is how I would describe our love… our relationship… our marriage…

One flesh… United in love…  United from God Above!

Happy 14th Anniversary Robert William Ridlon!

I love you!

Crystal

Encouragement for a Weary Heart · Learning to Love Your Husband · Motherhood · Praise God · Trusting God · Uncategorized

Life’s What Happens When You Have Other Plans

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Life’s what happens when you have other plans!

A good friend, mentor, and mother figure has stated this quote to me, on countless occasions. Needless to say, it’s not my favorite thing to hear, but I will admit it is the truest statement, I think I’ve ever heard.

Do we plan on a loved one getting cancer? Do we plan arguments with our spouses? Do we plan on our children getting sick? Do we plan on loved ones unexpectedly dying? Do we plan on giving up on a friendship, in which we’ve put much effort into, only to realize the friendship has been one-sided the entire time? Do we plan on our children throwing tantrums in public places?

No… we don’t plan these things. We plan for the opposite, yet, “Life’s what happens when you have other plans!”

Let’s admit it, life is not easy! Life is not always filled with good feelings, every friend won’t end up a true friend, loved ones won’t always be healthy, our marriages won’t always be effortless bliss.

Our children will suffer, our relationships at times will suffer, and “we” will suffer.

Am I the only human being, who faces insecurity? Who worries about what others think about me? Who wonders if I’m good enough? Who wishes for abundant friendships? Who dreams dreams that will never happen?

If your “truly” honest with yourself… Your life’s not all flowers and perfection, either?

What makes life worth living, when the hard times, hit us square in the face? When the doctor has bad news? When our children are sick? When our marriages struggle? When our friends, turn their backs on us? When our spouses leave?

There is hope in the midst of our suffering!

There is hope for our broken hearts, marriages, and relationships.

Where can we find hope? Peace? Relief from the trials of life?

Let’s face the facts…

Life at times is tough!

Our hearts will be broken!

Friends will betray us!

Our loved ones will get sick!

Life is not “always” a walk in the park!

Yet, we can find everlasting peace, in the midst of life’s trials.

Nehemiah 8:10 “The joy of The Lord is our strength!”

Acts 2:28 “Thou hast made known to me the ways of life; thou shalt make me full of joy with thy countenance.”

Isaiah 26:3 “You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.”

Psalm 68:19 “Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior,
who daily bears our burdens.”

How do you face the trials of this life?

Where do you find peace?

My peace is found in the Creator of my heart!

In the nail scarred hands of Jesus Christ!

Please watch this music video by Laura Story, Perfect Peace, and be blessed!

Blessings, Crystal

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

Family Bonding Time · Learning to Love Your Husband · Parenting

Lessons I’ve Learned From Temporarily Single Parenting

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My husband has been teaching in China for a little over four weeks. We have 12 more days until he will be home. Lessons I’ve learned from my six week stent of single parenting.

1. Dads are needed!

Despite what the world teaches about men being useless and continually making men out to be dumb… I tend to differ. My man is wise, respected, and loved by each member of our family. I am not near as good of a parent alone as I am with him by my side.

2. Single moms have a tough job.

Folks, this single parenting thing is for the birds. The pressure has all been on my shoulders and I’m truly on duty 24/7. Talk about stressful. If you come across a single parent, be God in flesh to her. Simply, knowing someone is thinking about you is an awesome encouragement and makes a big difference.

3. I’ve realized how much I’ve taken my husbands support for granted.

On a regular basis I have found myself frustrated with things I feel my husband hasn’t helped adequately with around the house and with the kids. The lack of his presence has reminded me, that his presence is EXTREMELY helpful. I’ve also been reminded of how wonderful of a father he is to our children and what a supportive husband he is to me.

4. I realize how many wives, critique everything their husbands do and don’t do (myself included), rather than praising and being supportive.

I have a whole new appreciation for the place in our family my husband holds. His absence has helped me to see how helpful he is around the house. I am going to make it a point to praise him for being a wonderful and Godly man.

5. Life is boring without him.

The kids and I miss his upbeat demeanor and his humorous nature. Often I take his humor for granted. I miss the continual joking and laughter dad brings into our home.

Say thank you to your husband today! Take a moment to hug him and tell him all that you appreciate about him. I can’t wait to hug my husband and tell him how much we have missed his presence in our home.