Family Bonding Time, Learning to Love Your Husband, Motherhood, Parenting, Praise God, Trusting God, Uncategorized

God’s {Perfect, Pure, and Real Love}… Walking… {Right in front of me}

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Am I the only mother who continually compares my self to {all} other momma’s in the world? Am I the only mother, who feels regular guilt because I’m not participating in arts and crafts with my children? Am I the only mother who feels immense pressure to be like {her}? I dont look like {her}, I’m not as {well-liked} as {her}. My house isn’t near as clean as {hers}? Why can’t my body look like {hers}.

Am I the only mother who fails to see myself through God’s eyes, rather than through the eyes of my worst critic {myself}? Am I the only mother, who desperately needs regular reminders of God’s love for {me}?

Is it possible…?

All mother’s struggle to some extent with self-worth. All mothers desire to be the best {mothers} they can be. All mothers need encouragement. All mothers are their very worst critics. All mothers are imperfect? All mothers need reminded of God’s love.

Friends, this morning I was {once again} being my worst critic.

Walking around the house, my thoughts continually pounded down my spirit…

Your house is a mess. Why don’t you play with you kids more, like the other moms you see on Facebook. Why don’t you look like… why don’t you portray yourself like… Why can’t you be more like {her}?

This is honesty friends. These were the thoughts whirling around inside my head {this} morning.

Finally…

I put my kids’ shoes on, my shoes on, and we went on a {peaceful} walk. Walking in God’s creation… God’s love hollers through the trees. {I Love You, Can you hear me? I said, ” I Love You! Are you listening… to me? I {really}, love you!} His love reaches my senses, through the cool and gentle breeze that blows over my skin.

His love, literally surrounds my senses…

I inhale the fresh… spring air… God’s fuel… for my weary soul.

I exhale… bottled up stress.

I let it all go… the comparisons, the negativity, and the desire to be more like {her}.

Suddenly… I {really} see in front of me.

My five year old boy, is walking, hand in hand with his baby sister.

A picture’s worth a thousand words!

I snap a picture.

God’s reminder… of his love!

Suddenly… I don’t want {her} life!

Realization…

{washes— over my entire being}…

I’m living a dream…

Right now… in this moment.

In my home. Beside my husband… With my beloved children.

This is {Heaven}… on Earth.

Thank you Father, for the reminder of your love. For speaking {beauty} and {love} into my spirit. For continually blessing me, and the constant reminder of the blessings surrounding my life! Friends, if we have life… if we have breadth… His blessings… are never far. We just have to stop looking {around} and simply look… [up]!!!

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. Romans 12:12

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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Family Bonding Time, Learning to Love Your Husband, Motherhood

Clean Home… Happy Kids… Managing Priorities

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Five winter coats blocking the stairs. I yell at my kids, “Boys get down here and hang up your coats! I’m not a slave, I am a mom!”, as they look at me with a shocked look. This is my life… This is my daily routine… My world!

Friends, I am a neat freak (or shall I say a “wanna be” neat freak). I have the ideal picture of my desired home’s appearance. I want the floors clear of debris, shiny, and clean. I want the kitchen spotless, with no dishes in the sink, absolutely no crumbs on the counter (this drives me insane, just wipe off the stinking counter), I like the refrigerator organized and clean (no old left-overs, screaming, “Empty me, please!”), I desire the bathrooms smelling clean and no mis-aimed urine (I could tell you some interesting stories of all the random places my boys’ have managed to spray), and clean bedrooms, organized closets and drawers, the beds made, and fresh sheets. Get the picture… I like neat… I really like neat! Actually, I’m pretty sure, “I love neat!”

This morning I began to think, “When my kid’s are grown, my home will be spotless. Then I will long for the mess from my child-rearing days, and I recalled the wise counsel from countless mentors and friends. I have taken these words to heart, and have allowed my home to take second place to my adorable family. I don’t want them remembering, I cared more about a clean house, than I cared for them. Yet, I will outwardly admit, I still long for a clean house. I dream about shiny floors, and organized bedrooms.

Suddenly, standing in the hallway, vacuuming up dust from my previous vent cleaning expedition, I remember my friend. My college roommate, who has been on my heart and mind continually. One month ago, I heard the most tragic news in the media. Imagine the shock, when I realized the story was about my very own friend. A girl I lived with for 6 months, now a woman… a wife… a mother (like myself), tragically lost her husband, and two of her five children. Standing in the hallway, I turn off the vacuum cleaner, and the tears begin falling down my flushed cheeks. I look down the hall and see my happy little girl, throwing my clean and folded laundry onto the floor. Suddenly “NOTHING” else mattered, but my sweet little girl, my husband at work, and my boys at school. I picked her up, and looked at her, as I thought to myself, “Wow! She is beautiful! She is a gift… a treasure from above!”

As I walked around the house cleaning, and every so often tickling my sweet toddling baby. I thought to myself, “As much as I love a clean home, I don’t love “ANYTHING” more than my family… my husband… and my beautiful children.”

Friends, Is today a good day for a priority check? It was for me!

(Luke 12:34 “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”)

Please join me as I daily pray for my friend Sarah, and her children “Kate, Finn, and Elise”!

God Bless,

Crystal

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

Aspirations… Dreams… And Discerning God’s Direction

Write a book.

Sing professionally…

Earn a degree…

Start an award winning blog…

Begin a Bible study…

Or a Christian mom’s group…

What are your aspirations?

Lately, I’ve been thinking about my life. Not “lately” but forever… all the time.

I’ve wrestled with who I am… who does God want me to be… who do I want to be… am I all that I should be… all that God desires me to be?

Married at 22… first baby at 24.

A homemaker… my world.

Is this enough? Is this all God desires of me?

Can I be content?

Here…Now?

Dreams… So many dreams… ideas… aspirations.

How do I make sense of all these thoughts… these ideas… these dreams… all these desires?

How can I separate, these thoughts crowding my mind?

How can I determine… which thoughts to throw out… which desires to give wings… which ones to put into action?

Is it fear?

Does fear disable my ability to progress? To use my voice to glorify God… to use my fingers to type a life-changing book? To use my words… to share the “truth that saved me”? To begin a much needed mom’s group?

God in his word… called people… despite their fear.

Moses… He doubted his ability to lead the Israelite’s into the Promised Land. He submitted to God and called out to God for help.

Out of fear, Jonah disobeyed God. Although being swallowed by a whale doesn’t sound like fun, God used him. He taught Jonah, that if he calls him to do something, he will help him accomplish the task.

God doesn’t have a history of calling the best… the popular… or the arrogant. He has a history of calling the weak… the doubtful… and the fearful.

I struggle to discern… God’s calling on my life.

Few things I am certain about in my life…

*I am open to his calling.

*I am waiting for his direction.

*I have not “arrived”.

*He desires for me to love my husband. To be his helpmate… to walk alongside him. To grow old with him… to respect him… and to be his best friend.

*He has blessed me with four beautiful children. He has called me to train them up… teach them Biblical principles… and to respect those in authority.

*I need him….

*I long for his peace…

*I can’t face any facet of this uncertain life, without him.

*I need his daily doses of wisdom, like the oxygen that keeps me alive moment by moment.

* There’s no where I’d rather be, than in the center of His will.

My heart has much to learn about God’s love… God’s will for my life.

At times his direction may not seem clear.

Maybe… Just maybe.

It’s all part of the process… the journey… the plan for my life.

Could it be?

He’s teaching us…

Preparing us.

Could it be?

His avenue for directing us to our Heavenly destination.

Learning to Love Your Husband

Loving Your Husband, Despite the Distractions of the World

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All morning I have been thinking about my love life. It’s true, even mom’s with four children, have a love life. I know, you must be shocked!

Maintaining my love life, becomes harder as life becomes more complicated. Life… Kids… Commitments… Worry… Cleaning… and Everyday concerns. All these distractions, distract me from adequately loving my husband. I’m not the only woman with this “issue”. Actually, I think “most” women suffer from this condition.

I am the luckiest woman in the world. My husband is amazing! He’s downright good looking, he loves me, he supports me, he’s funny, he is the most wonderful father, he is a great provider, and most importantly he loves and serves God.

This afternoon I was reading Song of Songs (that will get you thinking, about the condition of your love life). I was reminded of our dating years. I remember longing for his presence. I remember the excitement that overcame me the night before I knew I would get to see him. I remember being too excited to sleep. I remember our intense physical affection, and how much I longed for him. I remember impatiently waiting for our wedding night. I remember wishing he was beside me, when I closed my eyes. I remember dreaming about him and our future. I remember… I will never forget!

Twelve years have passed, and our marriage has been through many highs and lows. We’ve encountered several big moves (one three year move abroad), jobs, graduate school, illness, economic hardship, four children, and many sick kid moments. Song of Song’s is a chapter in the Bible which speaks of “erotic” or “passionate” love. It’s funny how our love has changed. The intense feelings spoken of in Song of Songs, are still present. Although these feelings now present themselves differently. Every morning when he leaves for work, my heart dips. I think about him all day, and I miss him. My favorite sound each day, is hearing the garage door go up, and watching him pull up the drive. When life kicks my tail, and I feel lonely and frustrated, I long for his embrace. No one else, can love me the way he does. I long for his touch! I long for his embrace. He is my best friend, and my biggest helper.

I am a feminine creature. If there is a generalization regarding women, it’s me (except, I am a good driver). I love deeply… I think too much… I desire to be beautiful… I long to be loved… I want to be a princess (not a queen – they have too much responsibility), and I can’t mentally separate life’s issues. If something is wrong, a relationship broken, or someone is sick, it affects my entire world. Including, how I show love to my husband.

I should take this opportunity to send a quick message to my husband and best friend… “Robert, I love you! I am honored to be your wife. I am thankful for all your do and how wonderfully you provide for our family. I want to apologize for being side-tracked, and for not giving you the attention and love you need. I know I have ADD tendencies and I get easily distracted, and for that I am sorry! I love you! I’m thankful for you and our marriage!”

As time sneaks away, I realize how time changes us. Time changes our love life, our physical ability, our children, our priorities, our relationships, our maturity level, and our spiritual growth. Through the years we have become adults, parents, teachers, friends, and leaders. Through it all, our love has evolved. Evolved into something deeper, more beautiful, more dependent on God… A deeper commitment to love one another… Even when the going gets tough! Our love is not solely “erotic” or “passionate”, our love goes way beyond the world’s definition of love. The two of us are soul mates, best friends, and lovers. Our life experiences pushes us together and our love for God continues to be the glue of our marriage. Our soul’s are woven in ways we can’t fathom or comprehend. God’s love unites us… He is me, and I am He… We are one!