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Should I or Should I Not? Facebook Etiquette

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Venting on Facebook can certainly be tempting at times…. Friends, when we are angry and hurt, even when our feelings are warranted; Venting our frustrations on FB will not solve our problem. Let me repeat, venting our frustrations on FB will NOT solve your problem! Actually, it creates a bigger problem, with more resentment and bitterness. When your feeling offended and make a point to be understood and heard on Facebook… Your desired outcome will never be achieved. Sure, there will be a few people who agree with you, but the damage it does is permanent. I can pretty much guarantee this approach is NEVER effective.

Friends, when we post anything on social media, we should make sure it’s done with good intentions, in love, and never to “get our point” across. Let’s face it, we live in a broken world and as believers, Christian’s will face tribulation in this fallen world. As tempting as it is to respond in anger and hurt, we must respond in love as Christ. If you want people to change, respond to criticism in love… Wow! This approach has short term and long term changes! We may not see the changes immediately, but in the eternal picture we’re always making a positive difference, when we choose love over hate!

Trust me, I am not writing this as someone who has it all figured out. I am writing this post from a place having had to learn some hard and painful lessons many times, regarding posts on FB! Sadly, I’ve lost friends over posts in the past! I’ve hurt people I love, due to ill thought out and prayed about posts!

We as believers, must decide to exercise grace over hurt. We must take our hurt, pain, and frustrations to God in prayer! Hand your hurt over to God and see how quickly he changes your heart! Friends, God knows your heart! He knows how hard you try! Most importantly, he knows how it feels to be despised and rejected by men. Hand your pain over to him!

God has so many truths on this issue in scripture… One of which is… “In this world you will have trouble, but take heart, I have overcome the world!” We can respond in love, while holding the same boundaries! This my friend’s, is a learned art! A practice learned by continually surrendering our hurt, pain, and frustration to God. Feeling his unconditional love and forgiveness and then being able to extend the same grace and love to others who hurt and criticize us.

Remember this truth from God’s word when people attack you or criticize you…. “Your battle is not against flesh and blood!” The battle was and never has been about you or them… This is a spiritual battle! God allows us to endure these battles, because it’s an opportunity to mature our faith, grow our perseverance, and build our character. Each conflict we endure as believers, is a way to show God’s love to the world around us! Respond to hate, with love! This is the most powerful tool, God has given to us as believers! Blessings, Crystal

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A Mother’s Love

A mother’s love for her child…  There’s no deeper love on Earth!  It’s this love that allows a mother the strength to lift a car off a child.  It’s throwing herself in front of a car, without a thought, to protect her child.  It’s the intense pain a mother feels, when she observes her child suffering from illness or injury… It’s the deep longing inside her, begging God to allow her to face the pain instead!  It’s the ability to selflessly consider their needs above her own!  It’s a mother’s love that allows her to remain steadfast under pressure, as her child begs and at times {despises} her for saying no!  

A momma’s love for her child is indefinable and immeasurable!

Motherhood is filled with great intensity of emotion, as she watches her babies grow up. It’s the joy and sadness felt each and everyday, realizing her babies are another step closer to leaving her nest… empty.  

It’s a mother’s love that allows her to pull back, as they fight for independence. Sacrificing her innate motherly instinct to hold tighter… pushing down her desire to pull them closer out of fear of them flying away. It’s a mother’s love that hushes her desire for control, for the sole purpose of providing space and freedom for her children to grow into the adults God intends for them to be. It’s the tears that flow relentlessly with little understanding of the cause… questioning whether they’re tears of joy… sadness… grief… fear… or all of the above!  It’s the way a momma often wipes tears from her cheeks… While remaining on autopilot to ensure everyone and everything is taken care of for the day!

Motherhood is real! It’s vulnerable! It’s joyful! It’s genuine! It’s messy! It’s painful! It’s terrifying! It’s exciting!

The depth of a mother’s love is greater than the deepest place in the ocean waters.  It’s this love that causes a momma to lose sleep at night, as tears pour from her eyes, worrying about her children.  It’s love that pushes this mother to become the very best version of herself possible. It’s love that causes a momma to spend endless hours feeling excruciating guilt over mistakes made in raising her children!  It’s a momma’s love that causes her to feel guilt…  even when she knows she’s making the “right” decision for her child.  

Simply put… A momma never feels good enough to parent her babies!  She’s always striving to become better, stronger, more patient, and more loving!

It’s love that forces a momma to her knees, in the wee hours of the night, as she bows her head in prayer for her children! It’s a momma’s love that would fight off a full grown bear, to save her child from danger!  It’s a mother’s love that would work tirelessly to provide for her children.  It’s a mother’s love that would starve to death, to ensure her child survived. It’s the reason a mother often turns her face, as she cries, in the attempt to be strong and confident.  While, inside she feels not an ounce of confidence or strength.  It’s a mother’s love that fights for her children! It’s a mother’s love that stands up to evil, even if it means facing rough waters. It’s this love that refuses to give up and advocates for her children’s well-being.  

There’s simply no way to define the power of a “mother’s love”… Try as we might… There aren’t enough words in the English language to adequately describe a mother’s supernatural ability to love her children.

A momma’s love is unconditional… It’s an overwhelming and confusing mix of any and all emotions. A momma’s love is a well of intense emotions… that replay in repeated cycles all throughout her days!  

What can I say?

It’s a momma’s love!

Blessings,

Crystal

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Are You Growing Bitterness or Growing Faith?

Anxiety has the potential to steal our joy, ruin our relationships, and destroy our lives! Anxiety is none other than Satan himself lying, conniving, and trying to lead us to destruction! In fact, he is working harder than ever and is attacking the minds of people all around the world, in our communities, our churches, and in our own homes! Satan is in the business of preaching {stinking thinking} and we must fight him off with the Lord’s strength! Anxiety tells us that we’re worthless, we have no hope, that there is no one who cares about us, etc. If we listen long enough we will begin to believe Satan’s lies and then begin behaving in a way that creates our very own self-fulfilling prophecy.

“We think what we think… which causes us to feel what we feel… which causes us to choose what we choose!”

We get to choose!!! We control our minds! Our minds DO NOT control us!

Life will be hard at times! People will hurt us! We will hurt other people! In fact, often our own poor decisions are the very thing that causes us our worse pain! However, if we surrender our lives, our hearts, our relationships, and our pain to God… We will begin to see God use our brokenness for His glory! In fact, we may even get to the point where we can thank God for the pain we experienced in our lives! I am!!!!!

The Bible says “In this world you will have trouble, but take heart. I have overcome the world!!!”

God uses our brokenness and valleys as a conduit to increased faith and growth!

James 1:2-5 “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”

The only requirement is that we allow God to use our pain to help us heal, rather than allowing Satan to use our hurt to build bitterness in our hearts!

The choice is always ours…

Grow our faith or grow our bitterness!

What will you decide today?

Blessings,

Crystal

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Watching Kids Become Adults… My Amazing Christopher!

This is Christopher! He is in the 8th grade! What can I say about this kid??? He’s just amazing! He helps make lunch for his little sister almost daily, he always wakes up early for school and has his brother and sister’s breakfast on the table (mostly because he does NOT want to be late for school), he is working so hard at school and his goal this year is to make A honor roll, he puts away the dishes from the dish washer daily, he always offers a helping hand, he always wants to do the right thing, he is funny, he has a caring heart, and he’s one wondeful human being! He’s our quiet middle child and he can easily get overlooked… I am learning the importance of paying close attention to this young man, he is an amazing kid… he is full of wonder and brings so much joy to my life! He’s grown so much this year in his faith and relationship with God, academics, and maturity! Watching him become an adult is an honor! I love you Christopher Lucas! I couldn’t be more proud of the young man your becoming!

Deateronomy 22:6 “Train up a child in the way they shall go and they will never deaprt from it!”

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Hope Over Difficulty

I love the movie “Hope Floats” with Sandra Bullock. The movie has been around for a long time, in fact I believe it came out when I was in high school, so it’s over 20 years old. Anyway, I love the movie for many reason, but the thing I love most about the movie is the very last scene. The last scene Bernice is walking and holding hands with her mother and they are smiling and happy. This was a powerful moment in the movie, because prior to this scene the family was quite heart-broken and sad. The watcher gets to see a broken mother/daughter go through the pit of brokenness and find joy and meaning by the end of the movie. Their brokenness was due to their husband/father walking out on them for another woman. If you have not seen the movie, it is a must see!

Here is the quote from the end of the movie…

“Bernice Pruitt: My dad says that childhood is the happiest time of my life. But, I think he’s wrong. I think my mom’s right. She says that… 
[Bernice’s voice fades as Birdee takes over]
Birdee Pruitt: [laughing] Childhood is what you spend the rest of your life trying to overcome. That’s what momma always says. She says that beginnings are scary, endings are usually sad, but it’s the middle that counts the most. Try to remember that when you find yourself at a new beginning. Just give hope a chance to float up. And it will, too…

I love this scene! In fact I use this scene in my office with clients, as a way of showing that all too often our lives start out scary and painful; Yet, God had bigger plans for us and wants to change our story from broken and painful… To victorious and joyful!

The key is … us! We get to choose the way our stories end. Will we allow our painful childhoods to hold us captive and forever stuck in bondage; or, Will we surrender to God and do the necessary work to heal from our painful pasts! It is completely up to us!

My job as a counselor is to help people regain hope and to help them find the necessary tools to achieving victory over the brokenness of their pasts and their own sin!

Friends, perhaps your life didn’t start out so well!  Perhaps you faced abuse and pain a a child.  Regardless of how old you are, there is hope for healing over childhood brokenness!  There is always a chance to gain victory over your life!

Proverbs 3:5-6 “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;  in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.”

Blessings, Crystal

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Confused By God’s Behavior

The assigned reading for my BSF study today was Joshua Chapters 5 & 6.  Bible Study Fellowship (BSF), is a worldwide non-denominational Bible study- an amazing place to learn about God’s word, they have studies for women, men, children, and teenagers.  Several years ago I visited BSF with very little understanding of the program.  I recall walking into the church expecting, superficiality, judgement, and a lack of authenticity.  However, I found the exact opposite of what I expected.  As I walked in women flocked to greet me, to lead me to my destination, and accepted me into the community with open arms.  Most importantly, I found a level of scripture reading I haven’t received in any church or arena to date, the study was purely based off of Scripture.  In fact, within the first month I grew to love being in God’s word, developed a passion and yearning to know and understand the truths found in the scriptures, and my heart was changed/renewed.  After a long period of struggling, needing a reminder of the basics of the gospel and who I am in Christ;  I was able to go back to the basics of the gospel (the BSF study at the time was John).  Within the first month my faith was renewed, hope was restored, and I once again remembered exactly who I was “A Child of God”!  My heart had been battered and broken down slowly for several years and the solid biblical teachings of the Bible, helped me to find my grounding and hope!  God knew what I needed, when I needed it most!  Sorry,  I wasn’t anticipating this blog post turning into a mini commercial for BSF, but it is a program I would gladly advertise any day!

Moving on…

Today’s passage is found in Joshua chapter 5 & 6-

Funny story- After looking at Joshua 5 & 6 and reading the words, I initially found myself struggling to understand or draw any nuggets out of the text.  Seemed like am boring Old Testament passage that would have bore me to shreds in the past.  However, BSF has this way of asking tough questions that forces you to dig into God’s word to find answers.  This socratic method of learning has helped me to discover meaning and applicable answers to my present day life each and every time I read God’s word!

God shows up to Joshua in the form of a “Commander from the Lord”… Which is God, because Joshua is told to take off his sandals for the place he was standing was Holy Ground!  Joshua in the presence of God fell facedown in reverence to God (which is typical of the human response to God’s overwhelming power and sovereign grace).  The Lord gave Joshua very specific directions regarding taking over the land of Jericho.  In the picture above you will see the exact words from my NIV Bible and the commands given to Joshua.

As I read the commands God had very clearly given to Joshua in Chapter 6, I found myself confused!  Thinking to myself, “What kind of battle plan is this?”  Friends, I would have been terrified of going into battle with a place where no-one who went in, ever came out, with the commands given by the Lord to Joshua!  As I continued reading and processing; looking for understanding:  The meaning suddenly hit me, like a heavy encyclopedia to the head… God was giving commands as a sign of testing their obedience, the directions had very little to do with the siege of the city.  The city was successfully taken by Joshua and the Israelite’s because of their obedience to God and trust in His perfect plan!

As I thought back on the events of my life and the times when God seemed to make little or no sense.  Friends, there have been many times when I felt he was asking me to walk around cities, remain silent, and wait for His perfect timing!   I wish I could say I was stronger in these moments – or that I was always courageous and obedient.  However, that would be a lie!  At my core I am a big baby; I struggle with questions, doubts, impatience, and have even gotten downright angry with God at times.  I can promise you this;  Never have I looked back in hindsight at God’s provisions and felt he had failed me!    In the process, I have always come out stronger, closer to Him, and my faith has always grown through these difficult times.  I have learned he is more than capable of handling me;  He is patient and desires all to know him intimately.  I wasn’t always able to see or understand how God was working during the seasons of difficulty in my life.  After the season came to a close, in hindsight I could always see his hand working in mighty ways!  God is looking for hearts of surrender and obedience!  He is not looking for perfection, intelligence, or talent – He is looking for hearts who will trust him in the battles of life!

Friends, Are you struggling with the inability to fully understand what God is doing in your life or the lives of the people you love?  Are you feeling overwhelmed with the demands of life?  Are you fearful of health screening results or tests?  Have you been waiting on a much needed job, answer to prayer, or a broken relationship to be mended?  You are not alone!

If you’ve lost hope today, let me lend you my hope for awhile!

“God is there!  He is more than capable!  He is working things out according to his good and perfect will!  He is in control, even when you feel life is out of control!”

Let’s determine to be a Joshua in a world full of anxiety… Focus on God in the midst of the trails and battles in your life!  You too, will eventually see… “He was always by your side and in control of every facet of your life!”

Blessings, Crystal

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My Best Friend

This guy is my best friend! Even though I can be difficult, emotional, and down right needy at times… Somehow he always has my back! He reminds me that God is in control, when everything is is spiraling out of control! He tells me I am loved, when I don’t feel lovable! He tells me I am special, when I feel unseen! He makes me feel grounded, when nothing in life seems certain! He is my safe place on this Earth! My favorite place to be! My best friend! He’s my person! Thankful for the blessing of being loved, even during my weakest moments!