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Be Strong & Courageous

Today several “firsts” of the year events took place today. 1. First pumpkin spice latte of the season. Yummy! 2. Started another great year of Bible Study Fellowship (BSF). This year’s theme is, “People Of The Promised Land” Part I. The lecture was amazing and I am confident that this year BSF will be a wonderful place to grow, learn, and mature as a believer!

So far, it’s been a great fall day!

Sitting in my home in the woods, working on my first Bible Study worksheet of the year for BSF, I am drawn to the many wanders surrounding me. Sitting in the living room, with my windows open, birds singing, my dog incessantly barking, and the sound of the wind blowing through the endless number of trees encompassing our home, I am hushed in the presence of God.

Living out in the country is soooooo quiet! Although, I love the peace and serenity of the country. After 2 years, I still find myself struggling with one aspect of country living; the lack of movement from people living life around me. I’ve never lived in the country and for the most part I am a “neighborhood girl”. The quiet of the country for me is a blessing and a curse (or just something i’m learning to get used to). Actually, the country is not quiet, it’s simply different noises, resulting from the creatures of the forrest living their lives to the fullest. This afternoon I came home to a quiet house, my husband is working and my children are at school!

For a moment, I find myself disoriented with the noises and scenery around our home.

Once, I get focused on reading and processing God’s word, I easily forget the fact that I’m alone in the woods. This was especially true today… God says to Joshua chapter 1 “I WILL NEVER LEAVE YOU OR FORSAKE YOU! and to “BE STRONG AND COURAGEOUS!” As I read this amazing passage of scripture I was reminded of one important fact… “Although, I am in fact alone in the woods, I know that “I am NOT alone! I know that, “God is with me and is my best friend, who will never leave my side!”

As this awareness washes over my spirit, I have a sudden realization… “I appreciate the nature surrounding me more, when I stop and remind myself that the artist of the beautiful scenery surrounding me, is sitting right here next to me! Wow!”

Friends, do you like me struggle with being alone? Maybe, your struggle is being around people? Regardless, of the specifics of your struggle, always remember whether in the woods alone or an over crowded mall, “YOU ARE NEVER ALONE!”

Have a wonderful day!

“BE STRONG AND COURAGEOUS! GOD IS WITH YOU!”

Blessings, Crystal

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Overwhelmed By the Heartbreak’s of Life

Today I am a woman of few words… Last night I heard news that left me and many heart-broken. I was called in this morning to provide grief counseling in a school, this is when my words fall short. There are no words… only feelings… OVERWHELMING feelings! When I struggle to find words to comfort my soul and the soul’s of those in my presence.. God guides me to the comfort found in his Word!

Today, I don’t know what your heart is feeling, I don’t know the pain and heartache you struggle through daily, but I remind you “GOD KNOWS!” He knows! He cares and he loves you! Despite the lies of the enemy, you are not alone in this world, and you are loved! You are enough for a loving, perfect, wonderful God to send his very own son to die for your sins, all for the purpose of saving your soul!

Today will be a short post… Simply due to a loss of words. God is always near the broken hearted and is our strength and our Salvation! He is the well that never runs dry!

Friends, I don’t know what your struggle is today, I do know the Lord is walking with you and you never have to walk alone!

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Trust & Obey

This afternoon, I’m finally finding time to meet with God and read his word! Sitting in this amazing coffee shop, with this even more amazing coffee, lovely hymns playing on my ear buds, and amazinger {made-up word, don’t worry 🙂 } blueberry plum crumble cake, I’m feeling pretty close to Heaven!

The past several weeks my heart has been overwhelmed with the demands of life. As a mother, wife, friend, studier of a tough exam, and counselor, my plate is over flowing. One struggle I’ve been working through, which is sadly all to familiar in my life, is the pain I feel watching people rebel against a loving and saving God. Seeing the present day hell people are living in {unnecessarily} and being unable to save them from their bondage, this truly breaks my heart! Throughout my life, I’ve learned that you can beg, plead, and cry for someone to see the truth and until they are ready, they will reject your best intentions. I must remember in these moments, as God has been teaching and reteaching me over the years is this one vital concept…

“If people reject God, the creator of the universe, their Savior… They will certainly reject my pleading and guidance! My job is to simply to trust and obey, to be a vessel of love, and to speak truth into a darkened and heart-broken world.”

I am not responsible for the finished product! Not in my husband’s life, my children’s lives, my friend’s lives, or my client’s lives! This is each and every individual’s responsibility and placing this pressure upon myself is an unbearable weight! Sadly, I too often I find myself doing this very thing! As a result, I find myself tired, exhausted, overwhelmed, unable to handle the everyday demands placed before me, and as a result I find myself sinning more! Hmmm??? Ouch! Perhaps, God simply wants me to do my best, follow His will, and leave the final product up to Him?

Wow! My shoulders suddenly feel 5,000 pounds lighter! 😊

Today, I am reading Isaiah Chapter 1, as I follow my daily (not-so-daily) Bible reading plan.

In this passage you see the Lord trying desperately to get people to see the truth and to recognize their sin and desperate need for a Savior. Sadly, you see the people of this nation actively refuting God’s perfect will for their lives. You also get a pretty vivid picture of the pain they’re enduring as a result. God used this passage to reiterate a common lesson he’s been teaching me for what seems like 100 years… “If the God of the universe is unable to get their attention and they continue living the consequences of their rebellion, I in my human flesh am certainly incapable of saving their souls!” Again, I can pray for, love, and share the good news of the saving grace of the Gospel… but I am NOT their savior! Not sure where you’re at today or what your struggle is along the journey. It is my hope that this reminder helps you in your struggle or encourages you along the journey is some way!

“Have a great day!

Love, Crystal

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This Is The Day

Good morning on this crisp pre-fall morning! Sitting outside in the middle of the woods, reading my precious Bible, with my dear husband at my side. I’m drawn closer to the Lord as I hear the sound of the morning insects and beautifully melodious birds, all singing in perfect harmony. As I read God’s word, with his creation all around me, my spirit feels a sense of ease from the chaotic week. Amazing how God’s words always speaks to my heart, regardless of where my heart has wandered prior to opening the Book of Life!

In the midst today’s chaos and confusion… I am reminded me to fix my gaze upon the Lord!

“Look up! Give thanks to the Lord! Remember the amazing things He’s done. To sing him Praises! To worship him right where I am!

I am reminded that…

“This is the day that the Lord has made and I am to rejoice and be glad in it!”

After I give proper thanks for the beautiful day God has so graciously blessed me with, I am to seek his face, where I will find strength for the day ahead!

Friends, I am not a morning person and am rarely prone to reading God’s word first thing in the morning. However, I am reminded today that morning is in fact the very best time to seek his face! I head into my day with a renewed strength, renewed eagerness, and renewed Strength to face whatever comes my way!

Blessings,

Crystal

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Believe In The Lord Jesus & You Will Be Saved

Wow! This is a powerful passage of scripture. Paul and Silas were locked up for their faith after a stressful time doing the Lord’s work. In their pain and stress, they began praying and signing hymns to God (worshiping, rather than succumbing to worry). Suddenly, God sent a stinking earthquake and it shook them free! Then the jailer asked, “How can I be saved?” In which they replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved!” … He was filled with joy because he had come to believe in God- he and his ENTIRE family!”

Friends, God’s love and spirit is contagious!!! People see it and they want it! In fact…. they NEED it! People need Jesus! I challenge me and you to determine to be a Paul & Silas in a dark and hopeless world!

Have a great day! Take time to read God’s word! Blessings, Crystal

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Forever Remembered & Dearly Missed

This is me and my dear uncle Hanzel! He was one the most Godly men, I’ve ever seen! He had the biggest heart and an ability to love people unconditionally! When few showed up in my world as child, due to the level of dysfunction in our home, he made a conscious effort to visit on a regular basis! Several times a year, he’d drive through and spend a night or two in our home, while visiting he spent time with us, loved on us, and always took us to get doughnuts! He never had a single selfish bone in his body! When he was around, we all knew we were loved! He’s made a huge impact on my life, helped me to see good in the world, and helped me to love the unloveable! In addition, inadvertently he showed me that life had so much more to offer than the addiction, dysfunction, and rampant generational bondage from my childhood! I thank God for the blessing of my sweet uncle and the eternal sized blessings he has shed on my life since the day I was born! He always loved me like a daughter, sat me on his lap, hugged me, and spent time talking to me. He saw me! This was a rare occurrence for me growing up and the influence it’s had on my life is profound! He has been with the Lord 7 years this November and his presence on this Earth is still so dearly missed. What a comfort it is to know I will see his kind eyes, hear his deep southern voice, and be able to hug his tall gentle frame in Heaven one day! Until then, his life lives on in my heart and the hearts of so many he’s touched on this Earth! The grieving process has gotten easier, but the missing is still very much alive! I hope God can give messages in Heaven, because this is a message I wish I would have shared with him more during his time on Earth! Friends, don’t ever take for granted the impact of loving those in need! You never know the positive influence you may have in another person’s life!

Psalm 34:18-19 “The Lord is near to those who are discouraged; he saves those who have lost all hope. Good people suffer many troubles, but the Lord saves them from

Them all.”

Blessings, Crystal

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Perfectly Modest

I’m a serious advocate for modesty, especially modesty in little girls. I’m not “legalistic” in my approach to live or teach modesty to my little girl. I believe the issue of modesty is on a spectrum, from legalistic don’t wear make-or jewelry and only wearing long skirts, etc… to… dressing in a fashion that leaves little to the imagination. I try to remain somewhere in the middle of the spectrum, while ensuring my focus remains on Christ! After all, one day I will stand before the throne and will have to give an answer for the way I chose to live my life and raise my children. For this reason, I’ve made a decision to instill modest values into my little girl’s heart from a very young age (actually from birth).

I recall receiving a baby bikini for a shower gift, while I was pregnant with my Sweet Caroline. I remember the internal struggle that began before my daughter entered into the world. I thanked the individual for the gift, but my little girl never wore that bikini. Why??? It is essential to begin teaching modesty at birth and I never wanted her to say “You let me wear that bikini when I was a baby, I saw it in that picture!” I wanted her to know I took a stance for Jesus toward modest living way before she was born! I never want her to see my values and morals shifting! I wanted her to see a mother who was grounded in her convictions, rooted in her love for God, in her desire to serve and obey the Lord. I want her to remember a mother who was able to take a stand in a constantly changing world! Listed below are a few reasons for my conviction toward modest living, for myself and my daughter!

1.) There are perverts all over and they look at little girls in indecent manners, even if we don’t think they are! All the more reason, I refuse to allow my little girl to be the object of that kind of negative attention.

2.) I am teaching this little girl to value herself for who she is on the inside, not to find her value in her outer appearance!

3.). I’m teaching this little girl that you can dress cute, be cute, and look adorable, while dressing modestly… and fashionably!

4.). I’m teaching her to walk proud and to be proud of who she is and most importantly to always remember “who’s she is”… A child of God!

5.) I want her to one day find a man who will love her for who she is on the inside! A man who will respect her for a commitment to purity!

6.). I desire to protect her in anyway I possibly can, I believe the first step is to ensure she’s dressed modestly in public.

7.) I want her to learn the importance of standing strong, by taking a stand by refusing to succumb to society’s pull toward revealing as much skin as possible.

8.). I want this little girl to positively change the world! Changing the world begins with taking a stand in our personal lives!

9.) I want her to grow up and be proud of the values we’ve instilled into her life! Hopefully, to be proud enough to pass them onto her future children!

10.). Personally, I think she’s one of the prettiest little girls I’ve ever seen! I want her to feel pretty, loved, and cherished because she is a daughter of the King! I never want her to value herself based off of the negative attention that comes from the world, which will only lead her to a life of insecurity and unhappiness!

1 Peter 3:2-3 “Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.“