Monday, February 24, 2014

Mommy--What If?

         Each night is the same bedtime routine at my house: 
brush teeth
read books
lights out (except night lights)
sound machine on
prayers and kisses
This past Saturday night instead of me walking out the door after kisses, I found myself holding my oldest while she cried. I waited until her crying was soft and she could talk. Those that know my daughter can appreciate that she is wise beyond her years in some ways yet quite sensitive and still very young at the same time. She expressed her fears in the following statement: 
"Mommy, What if I wake and you are dead? What if you die and go to heaven and it is just me and Kyleigh? What will happen to me? What will I do? Who will adopt me? Will anyone love me? Who will take care of us?"
I grabbed that little face, wiped away her tears and did what any mother would do. I kissed her. I told her that she is safe and she is loved. I told her that as far as I am know this mommy isn't going anywhere anytime soon. I don't have any plans of heading off to heaven, I don't have a ticket punched or bags packed. I told her that our God, her Heavenly Father has already planned out our days before we were even born and He knows those plans. He has plans to prosper us and not to harm us. So our God is not going to do anything that is going to hurt us. I told her that she has a mawmaw and a pawpaw that love her very much. I reminded her that she has people at church that love her and her sister very much. I told her that people are standing in line to care for her and Kyleigh if anything ever happens to mommy. But then I told her she needs to give that fear to God because it has no place here. I reminded her that daddy made a choice that mommy will NEVER make (yes-there was a time in my past that I could not have boldly made this statement) and that although she misses daddy she will see him again. 
        I ended the night praying over her the verse from 2 Timothy 1:7 - "for God gave has not given us a spirit of fear but of power and love and self-control". Today I found another verse about sweet dreams from Proverbs and I have posted both verses above the girls beds. Kaitlyn is always asking me to pray that her dreams are sweet and peaceful and her thoughts are good thoughts so this next verse was perfect. Proverbs 3:24 "When you lie down, you will not be afraid; when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet." The great thing about this is she found great comfort in these verses being written above her bed. She loves prayer and she truly trusts that God has her best interest at heart. I know this will help her through this season of grief we are in right now. I know these questions are far from being over and one day I will one day endure hearing them from the youngest. It's natural. It's reality for these little girls. But it doesn't have to be their destiny! And that is what I love about the whole thing is truth- they are going to overcome!! (1 John 4:4) They can overcome the past that was given to them and the generational curse of this world. They have hope and a future. (Jer 29:11) He promises to restore the years that the locusts have eaten! (Joel 2:25) Our God is just that great and He loves us just that much and more! 

Friday, February 14, 2014

Is it a "Happy" Valentines' Day? Changing the Perspective-

So I wonder how many women are sitting at home today sulking? Sulking because it is Valentine’s Day. That holiday that comes once a year but is decorated in every store, celebrated in every restaurant and commercialized by every jewelry store in America – the cupid, the red, white and pink, the day of “love”. I have been guilty of it myself. Even when my husband was alive, I would be bitter if he was working at school and Valentines’ Day was on a weekend because I wanted that day to be all about “me”.  I would be at home with the kids and wonder, “how dare he go off to work and leave me home with the kids on the day of “love”?”. I mean sometimes going away to work is easier, let’s just be honest. Staying home and entertaining children and keeping up with the house is not an easy task. So I wonder how many women are in that boat today, mad at their spouse because they are at work either by force or choice?
Or how about the woman that was in a relationship but is recently single whether it is a break up from a boyfriend or divorce, either way that is a harsh reality on a day like today. I imagine today is hard for them. They are either playing it off as no big deal, and silently crying behind closed doors, angry at the entire day and its shenanigans or still in a state of shock. Maybe you have always been single, no kids and maybe no pets. That is also a road that isn’t easy to walk. What about the single mom that wishes her knight in shining armor was right around the corner with roses and chocolates? Actually she probably just wishes for a babysitter—hahaha!  Anyways, this day has the potential to be so discouraging to so many people—men and women actually. I don’t mean to have a one-sided conversation. I realize there are single men out there hurting just as badly and raising children alone too. I just am writing from my own experience as a flying solo woman in this world.
What I hope you and others take away from this entry today is that your Valentines’ Day doesn’t have to come from all the energy you put into your spouse or significant other today. In fact, if you are putting your faith into a human to meet your needs of intimacy and love then you are going to be truly disappointed every single time. The truth is that humans cannot fulfill the deepest needs and wants of intimacy that we have. I am not talking about sex here, I am talking about “love”. I was guilty of this too. That waiting for my husband to come home and make my “Valentine’s Day” complete, was thinking he was the key to love. The concept of , “I can’t live without him or her” is another false belief of “love”. You CAN live without your spouse and you should go on living without them. You lived before they came along so why should things change when they leave? That was my biggest mistake and I would do anything to help someone else avoid this mistake. You can’t find your identity and shouldn’t find your identity in your spouse or significant other. They will never truly satisfy you. Instead, look up and see that the God that created you and me is truly and madly in love with us. He wants to be your Valentine. Not just on February 14th but every day of the year! God created us in his image (Gen 1:27) and to do good works that he ordained in us before he created us! (Eph 2:10) In other words, God didn’t think about us after the fact, he created us for a purpose! He wanted us, he loved us, he wants us, and that my friends is love!
            Maybe you are reading this and you wonder if God is love then why are you single? Or why do I feel alone in my marriage? Be encouraged my friend that God knows your hurting heart and he is just waiting for you to bring your hurt to him. You are not meant to walk this journey alone.  Maybe you have been praying about this situation for a long time. I prayed for deliverance from my pain for almost two years. Two years!!! For us, that seems like forever but to God that is just a moment in time. So don’t give up. Keep praying and have others stand with you in prayer. Maybe you are reading this and you don’t have this intimate relationship with God that I am talking about. You wonder how I can freely talk about prayer and love on Valentines’ Day given my past. It’s easy. God is my Redeemer. He loves me unconditionally. In him there is no condemnation of my past. He holds no records of wrongs like a spouse would and he sent his one and only son Jesus to right all of our wrongs.
            If you do not know the Lord Jesus Christ as your Saviour, if you have never accepted Him in your heart, if you have never asked God to be your Father, then simply reach out to him today and make this a Valentine’s Day to remember. Pray this prayer-
                        Dear God,
                                    I know that I am sinner. I know that you have
sent your Son Jesus to save me from my sins and he
died on the cross for me. I ask you to come into my heart
today. In Jesus name.
You see, it wasn’t magical and no fairy dust appeared. You probably didn’t float about as you prayed either (I hope not anyways). But if you prayed this today, the next step is to reach out and tell someone. Call a friend at church, call me, get to a church on Sunday and connect to someone so you can continue growing in your spiritual walk with God. You can’t go wrong from here! God doesn’t expect you to clean up your mess first, he wants to bring you in the house with mess and all, then you can clean up. Kind of like what us moms did this week during the snowstorm. We didn’t make our kids undress on the front porch. We brought them inside, slushy mess and all, then we cleaned them up! God is even better than the best mom!
            I will leave you with this – words from Laura Story “Blessings” – when you get a chance listen to the entire song, it’s a good one! It helps remind me that despite all the bad stuff and circumstances that God is still sovereign and his love for me is undying. He is my Valentine!

We pray for blessings, we pray for peace
Comfort for family, protection while we sleep
We pray for healing, for prosperity
We pray for Your mighty hand to ease our suffering
And all the while, You hear each spoken need
Yet love us way too much to give us lesser things

'Cause what if your blessings come through rain drops
What if Your healing comes through tears
What if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You're near
What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise

So I may be snowed in with my two kids and have cabin fever. I may not get my yellow roses and favorite Japanese dinner this year, but I am still blessed beyond all I deserve. I have loved and been loved. I have life and I am living life like I never lived it before. I am truly happy and it isn’t because of a box of chocolates- although that does help (just keeping it real !).
So do something nice for yourself. Celebrate YOU! Celebrate the life God gave to you! Relish in the love of God!
Happy Valentine’s Day 2014!!!    
    Love to All- Crystal 

Sunday, February 9, 2014

A Mommy's "Time Out"

        I had to be real with myself this Sunday morning as I stood in the worship service and sang the words, "You are Good" by Bethel Church. I was convicted of a whiney heart. Yes, I, the mom that can't stand it when my children whine. The mom that puts them on their bed to think about and reflect on what they really want to say needed a "time out" today. Recently, I have been so consumed with what has been going wrong in my little world. If I was honest with myself, I have had a good old fashion pity party with me, myself and I in my bed with the covers pulled up to my head at night. But what has that accomplished really. I have vented and whined to anyone and everyone who would listen about my petty problems. The same person that just a few weeks ago scorned people for forgetting about being grateful they weren't facing real problems in this world like cancer and daily hunger and homelessness. That was me, hypocrite, a person looking for sympathy from a crowd of people that I hoped would stand in my corner and tell me I was right. I wanted, like my children, validation for my whining.
       Can I tell you something, during that song this morning, as the words flowed from my lips, I found myself pausing to confess to God that I was a whining mom and I needed a "time out". I needed a new perspective on the tough times I was facing. As the song says, "in my darkness night, you shine as bright as day" I must agree that God has always come through for me regardless if I have felt his presence, spent time in prayer, or whined like a baby because the truth is my relationship with Him isn't based on what I deserve. If that was the case then what I deserve is much worse than a "time out". But God loves me no matter what and in Him is no condemnation but total forgiveness when we come to him and confess that we have made a mistake. I confessed to Him at that moment that I was sorry for being whiney this week and that I needed Him just as much today as I have needed Him before today. I need Him to direct my path and guard me against decisions that I make out of desperation instead of out of prayerful consideration and waiting on His guidance. 
        After that I was able to really participate in worship today and release the guilt and shame I had placed on myself for being selfish this week. I am making it my anthem to follow through with the words of this song this week -- "I'll sing because you are good, and I'll dance because you are good, and I'll shout because you are good, you are good to me!" May my life celebrate with praise from my lips that no matter what in sunshine or rain that God is good to me and that circumstances of this life and people in this world do not determine my attitude. Only I can determine my attitude and I no longer want to be a "whiney mom" but instead a mom that models to her children and others how to handle the bumps of life with dignity. 

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