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

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

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

Family Bonding Time, Motherhood, Parenting, Praise God, Uncategorized

Thank You Lord for the Gift of Motherhood

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Sweet little girl.

A nasty old nightmare has awakened you.

Steeling our sleep.

Lying next to you in your bed…

Soaking in this precious moment.

As I wait for you to drift off to sleep…

I watch you breathe…

Caressing your baby soft cheeks.

You make my heart smile,

As you gently rub mommy’s hair.

My heart over flowing…

In this precious moment… Losing sleep not the slightest concern.

I see your youthful beauty.

As I tenderly rub your forehead. I feel your silky baby soft skin.

Your sweetness takes my breath away.

You behold such an inner beauty for one so young…

Where does your ability to love so tenderly come?

Such tiny little fingers and toes.

Yet, A heart so big for one so small.

Tears of joy escape my eyes.

Praising God for the gift…  for the joys of motherhood!

I lift a praise up to the father…

Thank you Heavenly Father for the gift of my daughter.  Thank you for this unexpected moment.  I will always cherish these middle of the night moments, the house silent, and the only one’s awake… You, me, and our sweet little girl.  I praise you for your goodness and and love!  Thank you for the love I feel from the arms of this tender sweet child you created.

Lord, Your creation is truly wonderful!

Thank you,

From the deepest gratitude of this mother’s heart!

Crystal

Family Bonding Time, Motherhood, Parenting, Praise God, Uncategorized

Today’s Joy in Raising a Tween

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All my life I have heard people’s nightmare stories regarding raising their teenage children. I would be lying to say that I haven’t been frightened as a result of their stories. These stories have at times caused me to dread my four children becoming teenagers. My oldest son is almost a teenager, he will be 12 in a few short months. Tonight, as I sat back and observed him, I was filled with pride. He is a super good boy! He is making more grown up jokes, his conversations have become more in depth and interesting, he loves the Lord and tries his hardest to please Him, and he is a joy to be around. I am truly enjoying this tween age! I love watching him through this process of becoming a man. I am enjoying this new and exciting phase!

This doesn’t mean I will never tear up from time to time, as I observe my first baby grow into a man, but I couldn’t be more proud of my son. At times, I observe his mannerisms and think, “Wow! Is this really my son?” Today was the first day, I could say to myself, “I am looking forward to watching my children grow up, become teenagers, and adults. I pray daily, for my children to follow God all the days of their lives, and for them to one day find a loving and Godly spouse! Today… I’m okay with this next step! Actually… I think I’m looking forward to the teen years. This feeling will most likely change from day to day… but today… I’m looking forward to all the exciting adventures ahead in parenting my children… and “yes” I am looking forward to the teenage years.

Proverbs 22:6 “Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will never depart from it!”

Blessings,

Crystal