Sunday, April 27, 2014

The Battle Is Real - Armor Up

When I hear the word "blessing", I think of love, friendship, family, happiness.....and all the positive words that make our lives happy.  I rarely think of character or the lessons that God teaches us or the virtues that make our character.  As I was doing my morning Bible Study I started to think of four virtues that are SO important during this time of spiritual warfare.  

The first one is discernment.  I pray for discernment almost every day.  I have always had a hard time with discerning if a command is of God or of my own mind or heart.  Ask and you shall receive....God has been working on me significantly and I find myself more and more being able to discern things.  We must be able to discern what is really going on in a situation, what people are feeling, and what is important.  Choices are hard to make in the midst of confusion and we will always make the wrong decisions if we cannot discern and be sensitive to His voice.

The second one is courage.  I never realized how important it is to have courage.  Used to, when I heard that word, I thought of a courageous man and didn't think I needed to have courage.  That was a man's job to be courageous.  I just needed to be dainty and cute.  I have recently learned that women must have courage too and probably are even known to have MORE courage than a man.  Without courage our mothers wouldn't have been able to care for us when times were hard, when their marriage was having tough times yet mothering must go on, or when we were sick and it was hurtful to watch her own child in pain.  It was their courage who raised us.  Courage is the power to do well and to keep going when the air is turbulent and the going gets tough.  It is having the character to do well and keep going when things are painful.  It is the power to keep doing well and keep going in the face of a threat to our future or to the things we hold dear to our hearts.  It is courage that will get us through the hardest of times.

The third one is temperance.  It is to have the ability to take control of what goes on inside by giving all the control to God.  It is the ability to not allow circumstances, substances, or others control us or control the emotions stirring up inside.  It's realizing that we have choices and that we must follow our hearts and have the courage to make a choice, even if it is an unpopular one or a choice that others might not understand. 

The forth virtue is one that I hold closest and dearest to my heart, and that is patience.  It is so easy to get caught up in what we want right now that we forget that God has His perfect timing.  He knows the desires of our hearts and He also knows the outcome if He were just to hand us those desires with no work or lessons or journey.  If we just got everything we wanted when we wanted it, there would be no appreciation or genuine joy.  Sometimes we aren't quite ready for our desires to be fully given to us and He wants to take us through a journey to prepare us and mold us.  Patience is one of the biggest and most important virtues in my opinion.  Patience brings peace and it gives God the time and opportunity to work in us! 

Life is so full of ups and downs and changes from day to day.  One day we can be on top of the world and the next day, everything just falls to pieces.  It is so important to be prepared and armored for Satan's attacks.  He doesn't give up just because we are happy and life is going great.  No, that is when he attacks harder.  He hates to see children of God happy and he hates to see unity and love in relationships.  So armor up, fight back with the help of God, and tell Satan that your cup WILL overflow with blessings!

Saturday, April 19, 2014

If I Could Tell Singles One Thing..... It Would Be......

So, I've been doing a lot of thinking after I was asked a specific question the other night when having dinner with some girlfriends.  While biting into my salad, my girlfriend looked over at me and asked, "if you could tell women one thing about men, what would it be?"  I finished chewing and looked at her and said, "I haven't the slightest idea. Wouldn't it be easier to just let them learn their own lessons?  I mean every male and every lesson is unique in it's own."  She said, "eh, guess so."  Of course this sparked a good hour of man bashing and fantastic female bonding.  

As each girl shared their story of heartache and lessons learned, I thought to myself, what if we all listened to one another and didn't make ourselves learn the "hard way".  I know that is not reality.  For some reason as humans we have this burning desire to do what we know is wrong or bad for us and hope we learn a valuable lesson from it at the end.  

I thought about my own lessons and my own mistakes and I realize that back in my early and mid 20s, a lot of my heartache was brought on from myself.  Sure, I can blame the guy all day long but the bottom line is, I knew I was being treated badly, but I stayed anyway.  My fault!  Not his.  All he did was take the green light I gave him to continue his behavior.  Why would a selfish guy to begin with, change for somebody who is allowing him to be selfish?  Duh!  

Shouldn't I have known where I stood when he would never really go out of his way for me?  Shouldn't I have known when he would always want me to spend holidays with him and his family but would never sacrifice a holiday from his family to spend one with mine in Texas.  The answer I would get is, "it's not my fault your family lives in Texas." Oh but it certainly was an argument when I wanted to go home instead of to his family's house and I would get the guilt question, "I thought we were going to spend the holidays together?"  Uhhh....ok, so that means I have to ALWAYS be the one to sacrifice MY family....yup!  Selfish, did I listen to that huge red flag? No, I didn't.  I could go on and on and on with red flags....not even just from one specific boyfriend but from all in the past.  It's amazing how being treated like a princess is so different than being treated like second choice to....well everything.  

So, if I could tell single women and men one thing about love, it would be, "have confidence in yourself and confidence in the fact that you deserve to be treated like royalty and in first place at all times.  You deserve true, amazing, fantastic, breathtaking love and YES, it does exist."  Have confidence and KNOW that if you aren't being treated the very best by a man or a woman that there IS somebody out there who WILL treat you the right way.  Who will love you and cherish you.  Every person deserves to have somebody by their side totally and completely.  Every person deserves to have somebody who will always be by their side especially when in need, who will sacrifice equally in the relationship, who will put you and the relationship first, every person deserves to be with somebody who brings out the BEST in them and not the worst, and most of all who you never have to question if they truly love you.  So many men and women lower their standards for somebody who doesn't show them top notch treatment.  The relationship begins to lower our self-esteem and we begin to think that the good ones are all gone or that they just don't exist OR even worse..... we don't deserve real, genuine, blow your mind, once in a lifetime, amazing, phenomenal love.  Well, I'm here to tell you, they do exist and they ARE out there and you DO deserve it!  

Never settle and always walk away if even an ounce of you feels like you could do better.  Chances are, you can!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

A Mother's Heart

So, I had a dream last night and it involved my Mom and a filing cabinet. I was visiting my Mom and she had left the room for a moment. I noticed a bright red filing cabinet in the corner that I had never seen before. Something prompted me to walk over to it and open it. I kept hesitating as I did not want to be snooping in my Mom's personal things but something kept prompting me to open it. So, I finally gave in and I opened it. Inside were tons of files, "Crystal's first hand prints", "Crystal's first day of school",  "Crystal's hospital visits", "Crystal's heart murmur and how to keep her healthy", "Crystal's first crush", "Crystal's first sleep over with her friends", "Crystal's first Jr. High friend argument", "Crystal's first boyfriend", "Crystal's first heart break", "Crystal's first job", "Crystal's first day of college", "Crystal's heart break from Rachel's death", "Crystal moving to Arkansas" and the files went on and on and on. I remember going through the titles of each file saying to myself, "has my Mom gone mad? What is this all about?" I opened the file that was titled "Crystal's first heartbreak". Inside I would find pictures of him and me... happy. I would find all the gifts he had given me throughout our courtship, including crushed roses that I had kept from the day he had proposed to me. I also found the engagement ring he had given me along with a note from my Mom asking God, "please heal my baby girl's heart and help her to find love again someday." I couldn't believe it. I started to cry as my Mom walked in and caught me with my hands in her filing cabinet. She walked over to me and hugged me and that's when I woke up. 

I thought about that dream all morning and then I realized, God was telling me how every joy, every tear, every heartbreak, problem, milestone is filed away in my mother's heart. From good to is there, in her heart. I want to honor my Mom today. Only a Mom can love a another human being this much. Only a Mother can be so strong when they watch us fall and wish they could take our pain away. Only a Mother can cherish our accomplishments so dearly. So, Mom, we haven't always seen eye to eye but thank you for loving me no matter what. I know every moment of my life is filed away in your heart and I am so blessed to have somebody that loves me so much! I love you Mom!

Friday, April 4, 2014

Day Three - Tell us about life and a change that you would like to make.

Life is pretty awesome at the moment!!

This week was a great week at work.....I get to spend all day with these ladies..... so of course work is fun and joy packed all day everyday!

I enjoyed lots of time with family!  From family dinner, to manicure with my cousin, to watching my sweet little cousin play softball!

Can't forget time with my sweet Daisy Dog!

I wouldn't change much about life.  God is good and He is providing an amazing life for me full of joy and happiness.  The only thing I would change would be car shopping.....been car shopping for about a month now and I can't seem to make up my mind.  I'm not sure if it's that I don't know what car I want or if I'm just terrified of a car payment.  haha..... we'll see what happens!  Stay tuned.  :)