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, 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,

Crystal20140614-143728-52648448.jpg

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, 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

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

Encouragement for a Weary Heart, Praise God, Trusting God

Written From A Heavy heart

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This blog post is not an easy post for me to write, but my heart is heavy!  My spirit is sad!  My heart is breaking for this world!  My heart breaks for people who lack faith in God.  Those who face each day, with a void so vast, and an emptiness so debilitating.  The problem is, these people are blind to their own emptiness.  They look around, they’re disparately yearning, reaching, and striving for anything to complete them.  Yet, everything they find, only temporarily eases their emptiness.  

My heart is breaking….  When I sit back and observe people wandering aimlessly and living a personal life of self-destruction, it breaks my heart.  I “stop” and ponder, how does it make God feel?  I pray daily for lost souls. To pray… it’s all I can do!  

Right now, the thing that is “most” heavy on my heart, are the people who say they’re Christians, yet live defeated lives. They claim to walk with the Lord, they put on the outer, “look at me, I’m going to church routine”, yet, they still seem to be wandering aimlessly.  

People often put words in God’s mouth, “God told I am supposed to….”, only to turn around and abruptly move to yet another, “God told me I’m supposed to…moment”, yet, they never complete any of the “tasks” God told them to do.  They’re fickle…  Continually swaying.  Like the autumn trees.. Swaying… tossed about… yet to end up back on the ground.  

Correct me if I am wrong but, I have been reading my Bible for twenty years…  If God called someone to do something… They “eventually” completed the task.  Usually, the individual fought the calling, and thought, “God… me?  I can’t, I’m simply not strong enough…  I think you’ve got the wrong guy!”  Let’s name a few… shall we?  Jonah… He outright disobeyed God and was thrown into the mighty waters and swallowed by a fish, only to be spit out on the ground in Ninavah, right where he refused to go.  Mary the mother of Jesus… she didn’t eagerly take on the challenge.  She was scared, confused, humble…. Yet, she obeyed God in humility and gave birth to the “Son of God”.  Noah… Built an ark like an idiot, facing the risk of being placed in the local mental home. Yet, Noah completed that life-saving ark, and showed everyone… “God is who He says He is!” God can do what He says he can do! I can do what god says I can do!” Get the picture?

Why do people say, God told me to….,  Only to add another “incomplete” to their list of “God told me too’s”?

Maybe… Just maybe, it’s because… GOD NEVER TOLD THEM TO DO IT, IN THE FIRST PLACE!  

Maybe they are just aimlessly wandering…. trying to meet their worldly needs, rather than completely surrendering to the Father.  Just a thought!

My heart is breaking, because all around me I see “so-called” believers living in mediocrity. Comforting their desire for “hope” in the luxuries of the world, rather than truly desiring God and seeking wholeness from the  maker of the “whole” world. I see it and it breaks my heart.

Friends, I have been a Christian for twenty years and I have learned throughout this life, that there is no hope, outside of God’s hope.  I see “so-called” Christian church girls dressing immodestly to attract attention, from who?  Aren’t we as Christ followers, supposed to desire the attention from God?  God is not attracted to your cleavage, or your six pack. What about those of us who are chasing after material possessions… more money… bigger house… expensive clothes and jewelry?

Why… Is God not enough?  As believers, He’s supposed to be all we need, but do we live that way? What about the music we listen to?  The movies we watch?  The people we hang with?  Do they direct us to the Father, or do they become mountains to climb, and hindrances in our path to reaching the foot of the cross?

When will we start living like we “really” believe?

Friends… Everyday… I surrender to Him!  I have learned…. that life outside of His will… Is PAINFUL… MISERABLE…  and UNBEARABLE!!!  

I have attempted to live life, to please me, and each time it’s left me empty!

I have experienced the blessings, the healing, the wholeness, the peace, the joy, the overwhelming love… the result of true surrender to God.  

Friends…. Listen…. God’s love is real! His love is pure… Satisfying… And “everything” your desperately longing for… Will you surrender? Will you hand the wheel over to the Father? Will you allow God to reveal the bountiful blessings He longs to bestow upon those who believe… To those who surrender to His will?

Trust me… YOU WONT BE SORRY!

Romans 8:28, “All things work for good to those who love Him, to those who called according to His purposes.”

Blessings,

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, Praise God, Trusting God

When To Confront

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You ever get the feeling someone is judging you and they don’t know you enough to judge you, in the first place? Have you ever been hurt by another’s casual and unplanned attack on your personal character? Don’t get me wrong, I am a sinner, and I have a lot of becoming more like Christ to do. I will be the first to admit, I have a tremendous amount of spiritual growing up to do. I will also be the first to admit, I love God and desire with all my being to please Him. I will also admit, I don’t enjoy being confronted. However, I have a heart that desperately longs to grow in my faith and to recognize and fix any characteristics that hinder my walk with The Lord.

Let me say, I am shocked by a few people in our midst, our churches, our families, and in our lives whom feel it is their place to inform others of their character flaws. I am going to school to be a Christian counselor. I would like to pass along a vital nugget of wisdom I’ve acquired through my studies. (Not just through my studies, but through God’s word.)

Are you ready?

There will be a time when we are called by God to confront sin in other believers! These are necessary points to ponder before we confront anyone of their sin or personal character flaws.

1). We should NEVER confront sin in another person, unless we have CLEARLY heard, The Lord informing us to confront. More often than not, it is people just being plain petty, judgmental, and attempting to micromanage the world. God himself doesn’t micromanage his creation, therefore, why do His followers feel it is their place to micromanage their friends and family members.

2). We must NEVER cause harm to another person. As a counselor in training I take a pledge, “To NEVER” cause harm to my clients. Confronting someone, before God has prepared their hearts to receive the confrontation. may cause irreparable damage to that persons spiritual walk, self-esteem, and frankly their relationship with you.

3). The relationship between confronter/receiver, MUST be strong enough to withhold the confrontation. Several examples would be the counselor/client, friend/friend, husband/wife, and pastor/parishioner relationships. In other words, the receiver has to come to a place, where they know you genuinely care about them and deep trust is built into the relationship, prior to the confrontation.

This next one is EXTREMELY important… Put on your attention caps!

4). Anytime we feel lead to confront anyone, we MUST do so in humility. God NEVER calls someone to confront without a personal heavy dose of humility on the confronter’s part. Let’s face it, we are all sinners, we’re all in desperate need for a Savior, and NONE of us is better than another.

5). We MUST… MUST…MUST… MUST only confront in love. Confronting another is a serious matter and confrontations are never taken lightly. The receiver MUST know the confronter genuinely cares for their well-being and loves them unconditionally.

Matthew 7:1-5

“Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.”

Galatians 6:1-2

“Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.”

1 Corinthians 13:1-13

“If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing. Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful;”

Friends, I pray you be blessed today! And remember, we are all sinners, and we NEED to practice forgiveness. People will hurt us and it is essential we extend the God’s grace, to others in our midst!

Blessings,

Crystal