Yearning To Be Whole

Solitude breeds thought which brings forth perspective. 

He is heard in a still small voice, a gentle whisper, yet we search for the audibly, louder signs. 

He is felt on the gentle caress of a breeze, the solstice of a nighttime walk, yet we pay no attention. 

All day long we run the rat-race chasing things of little importance in hopes of having these gaping holes inside of us filled. We want to know there is a purpose for us. We yearn to be whole. Complete.

All around us negativity and fear is blossoming like sunflowers in the fields too numerous to count. Our world has changed a lot. We are looking at things square in the eyes that we hoped we would never have to experience in our lifetime. Pandemics, self quarantine, riots, incredible storms, murder, and lack of morals seem at an all-time high and so close to home. We want peace. We want harmony. We want security. 

I sit here and this chapter comes to my mind. Slowly I read and reread its content. 

“As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately. “Tell us,” they said, “when will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?”  Jesus answered: “Watch out that no one deceives you.  For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Messiah,’ and will deceive many.  You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come.  Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places.  All these are the beginning of birth pains.   “Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me.  At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other,  and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people.  Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold,  but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved.  And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.   “So when you see standing in the holy place ‘the abomination that causes desolation,’   spoken of through the prophet Daniel—let the reader understand—  then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains.  Let no one on the housetop go down to take anything out of the house.  Let no one in the field go back to get their cloak.  How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers!  Pray that your flight will not take place in winter or on the Sabbath.  For then there will be great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world until now—and never to be equaled again.   “If those days had not been cut short, no one would survive, but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened.  At that time if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Messiah!’ or, ‘There he is!’ do not believe it.  For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect.  See, I have told you ahead of time.   “So if anyone tells you, ‘There he is, out in the wilderness,’ do not go out; or, ‘Here he is, in the inner rooms,’ do not believe it.  For as lightning that comes from the east is visible even in the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.  Wherever there is a carcass, there the vultures will gather.   “Immediately after the distress of those days  “ ‘the sun will be darkened,  and the moon will not give its light;  the stars will fall from the sky,  and the heavenly bodies will be shaken.’    “Then will appear the sign of the Son of Man in heaven. And then all the peoples of the earth   will mourn when they see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven, with power and great glory.  And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other.   “Now learn this lesson from the fig tree: As soon as its twigs get tender and its leaves come out, you know that summer is near.  Even so, when you see all these things, you know that it  is near, right at the door.  Truly I tell you, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened.  Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.   “But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son,   but only the Father.  As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man.  For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark;  and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man.  Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left.  Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left.   “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come.  But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into.  So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.”

Matthew 24:3‭-‬44 NIV”

I encourage you to seek comfort in these words, to rest assure that the world may be surprising us left and right but God is not surprised.

Hold on my brothers and sisters. Weeping may last through the night, but joy comes in the morning.

Suicide Is Not Normal

Your actions put you in the limelight.
My senses are heightened as
I recognize this behavior.
I try to offer a warm embrace instead you push me away.

Habitually, you run to isolation.
Chased there by fear of the light,
Not wanting any piece of you exposed,
As you cope through being scared and shaken,
Wondering how you can get through one more night.

Yet, in shadows I quietly pursue
Seeing that the temptation to self destruct is making you sway.
I want to be there to break the fall.
Actually, I want to keep you from falling at all.

You collapse into a dark corner’s embrace.
I see a familiar glint of silver.
My heart quickens.
Lunging from the darkness,
I grab your hand just as you start to bring crimson.

Suicide doesn’t take away your pain,
it gives it to someone else.
I know how you can be led here. To this place.
I know it’s not really what you want,
you just see no other way.

You run from the Light. However in this moment I will boldly show it.

James 4:2 You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have, because you do not ask.

It is not normal to want to kill yourself. 

Ephesians 5:29 After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church.

I think you’ve sat at all wrong campfires
Taking to heart all the wrong stories.
So much that you’ve let it wax your heart so cold.

One of the questions you must ask yourself, is suicide really enduring to the end?

Matthew 24:13 But the one who endures to the end will be saved.

I cannot complete you. I cannot make you see what you refuse to look at. I can’t reach in and take all the anger and hurt you carry and crush it in my hands. I wish. The important thing is I know someone who can. These are His words to us.

Matthew 11:28  “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”

Psalm 43:5 Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.

Romans 15:13  May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Psalm 34:18 The LORD is close to the brokenhearted, and he delivers those whose spirit has been crushed.

As I finish reading these to you, I notice around us, it seems that darkness is slowly stepping away.
Your tears begin to stop flowing.
And the glint first held in a blade is now seen as that start of a sparkle in your eyes.

Hope has arrived.

I step back to allow Him room.
As I do He takes her in His arms and begins loving her back to life.




COVID And The Paradigm Shift

I would have to say COVID 19 has probably brought about connection and reassurance as well as an urgency in my life. 

I say connection because for my family and I, COVID 19 has served as a positive reinforcement to establish a more genuine, authentic family bond. 

I am sad that COVID 19 has caused so many deaths, bred fear, conjured up uncertainty, stress and many other negative emotions. This is life as we know it living among the dying. Everything  here is so temporal.  What we thought would never happen in our lifetime has happened. Event after event we are either left with questions or answers. This is why I say for me COVID 19 has brought reassurance. 

COVID 19 has been a paradigm shift for me. My way of living and thinking is forever changed. For 4 months, we’ve been home together with very little outside influences or distraction, forced to reconnect with one another, learn how to communicate better, give each other space, slow down our pace, take time as we do devotions to let it soak in, and be a stronger family than ever before.

Life before COVID felt hectic. There never seemed to be time to relax. To meditate. To soak things in like God’s Word, nature, and the simple moments which really are the best of moments. 

We still work and do school. It is not perfect, but it is fairly productive and good.  We’ve been cleaners for 20 years and I will seriously state that it’s nice to see people actually use the soap, paper towels, and sanitizers. We stock those supplies much more frequently than prior to COVID. Though we use masks and gloves in each place, we are beyond blessed to have been able to keep on working through this pandemic. We are deemed essential oddly enough. 

My  study time has been much more real. I have quiet time that is actually (usually) quiet – and I can devote real time to it.  Most days I have so much more time to think, to listen, to process, and to discover.  I am discovering the good gifts that God has given me and my family. More than anything, I am overwhelmed by God’s goodness at every turn.  He overwhelms me with His goodness. 

Fear is a faithless coward and has no place in our lives as believers.  Fear and worry have no seat at our table though they are at the door constantly seeking entry.  We are here because God wants us here, right now, for His purpose in this pandemic. 

COVID 19 wants you to isolate, stock up, and take care of your own first.  Let us instead look to Him first, while we also take care of others.

I believe also there is an urgency to seek out the lost. God makes it very clear in His Word  that this world as we know it will fade away. Wars, disease, and apocalyptic events will unfold. Whether it’s in our lifetime or time to come, COVID may just be the catalyst that gets our mindsets in order. 

What if He would have come back mid-March? Would you have been ready? How about those you love around you? Would they have been ready? This is where urgency resonates for me. I want to be sure my answer to all those questions is, “Yes, I am and they are ready, for His return.” 

Daily, this song resonates nonstop in my head, “Oh, the overwhelming, never-ending, reckless love of God. It chases me down, fights ’til I’m found, leaves the 99.  I couldn’t earn it, I don’t deserve it, still, You give Yourself away. Oh, the overwhelming, never-ending, reckless love of God.”

“The Lord is with me; I will not be afraid.  What can man do to me?” Psalm 118:6

Mr. Frosty Bear

December 7, 2019 is a date I will forever remember. It was a Friday afternoon about 6pm. My family and I were cleaning the vet’s office. In the back room as I went to get the broom, I seen this tiny little white ball looking up at me. He had his toenails caught in the towel he was sleeping on and could not move around very well.

I do not usually open the cages to interact with the pets, mainly because I fear some rabid animal ripping my face off, lol. Yet, this one had all my attention.

I carefully detached the towel from his nails and held him in my hand. I felt so full of joy that I wanted to cry. He cuddled against my chest. I loved on him and put him back in his cage. Instant bond.

In my heart being unable to handle his isolation I contacted the vet and said, “Please tell me that little white puppy needs a home.” I honestly felt it was a long shot. Who on Earth would not want this little guy?!

To my surprise he answered, “If Crystal has not found a home for it, it is yours. I figured you would see it.”

Are you for real?!

Collage 2019-12-23 15_21_53 (1)
Pure Blood Maltese; Mr. Frosty Bear

Saturday morning had me at the vet at 11am picking this little guy up and bringing him home and though he has been an adjustment and we have had our trials with him, he is nothing short of a blessing and we feel he was born just for us.

 

IMG_20200503_160313 IMG_20191225_192253

 

It has been 5 months and I have never experienced such love and loyalty. I realize now that this little Maltese was a gift from God. I have had some deep emotional trials lately and the nurturing love this little guy gives is therapeutic. My husband and I both value him more than we ever thought possible. I finally get the dog mom. Our pets do feel like another child. You feel just as responsible and loyal to them as you do your own babies.

 

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Proverbs 12:10 “Whoever is righteous has regard for the life of his beast, but the mercy of the wicked is cruel.”

2020 Adventures – Spring – Post 4

Soil provides such therapy for a burdened soul. I honestly could stay out here in my garden and flower beds forever.

A few treasures I’ve found digging around.

Eastern Tent Caterpillar
Orange Jelly Fungi
Black Walnut Seedling. It looks alien to me.
Black Walnut 🌱
What type of pupa would you call this? I have looked it up and find it to be a wasp or a moth baby. Not sure. Do you have an idea?

2020 Adventures – Spring – Post 3

It seems the rain has became quite fond of our area. I try so hard not to complain. My garden plants are taking these storms and cooler temperatures like a trooper but I am not sure how long they can endure. They are tender little plants and too much of a good thing, becomes well, a bad thing.

I find myself constantly checking on these little seedlings and telling them to, “Hang in there, better days are coming full of sun.”

2020 Adventures – Spring – Post 2

The seedlings need a new place to spread their roots and grow. See what I did there? They can’t grow wings and fly. That would be silly.

Green Beans and Cucumbers in their early moments.
Seedlings need a new home.

So, it’s off to the garden. *Sigh* I could stay in the garden all day.

Though it is not very appealing at the moment and the seedlings seem microscopic in the distance, I know new life is being created. I step back and look at the work thus far and dream of what the garden will look like come July. It makes me all giddy!

In the mean time these little plants will need nourishment, tending, and even protection from storms, bugs, even other animals. I keep in the front of my mind, though I plant the seed and tend to it, the Ultimate Gardener, brings forth the harvest. My job is to plant. His job is to bring it to fruition. Yet, a harvest can’t happen if I am unwilling to participate.

When I am gardening my heart and soul reflects over my life. I process thoughts like, “If I can love the tending of a garden as much as I do (even all the frustrations and sometimes seedling deaths and replanting) how much more God must have loved His garden in Eden. And it wasn’t the garden itself per say but the quenching of Adam Eve and the animal’s dietary needs.”

I also think, “Life is like a garden. It’s full of challenges, responsibility, growth, even death…as the plant has to grow well enough to produce a flower and that flower must die to bring forth fruit and once it’s duration of fruit bearing is over, it begins to cease existing.” Nature moves me. This time of year I would rather be outside at any point than indoors.

What do you find enjoyable about garden? Which stage is your favorite starting seeds, weeding and tilling soil, planting seedlings, watching it all grow, or the harvest?

2020 Adventures – Spring – Post 1

Our winter was really wet. Gloomy days, dampness all around, foggy evenings, and on the brink of freezing temps, had me feeling rather glum. I held on doing all I could to make things as positive as possible yet towards the end of the season I had the worst case of cabin fever.

Then this pandemic with COVID hit and restrictions were implied furthering my yearning for brighter, warmer days.

2020 will be a year to remember. We will want to forget, but too many first time experiences probably rule that one out.

Our vacation was canceled rendering an opportunity for a staycation. You know, there has been a lot of stuff around here I have been wanting to clean up, create, and get set up, so I will be posting my journey in these following posts. I hope and pray somewhere in the realm of circumstance and time that these posts will relax, encourage, motivate, and encourage you.

First thing I want to get going is my beginner garden. It’s about an 8X12 fenced in area . I’ve made a garden twice before and loved it in this very same plot. I have planted cumbers, tomatoes, and yellow squash in the past but this time I will also be adding eggplant, zucchini, bell peppers and green beans.

I love feeling the soil. Cold. Moist. There’s something therapeutic about sifting through the soil, tossing out rocks, and removing weeds.

I reflect a lot when I am outside. Gardening is like life, it teaches you many things. It’s refreshing. I love we live in a world where this is possible. I believe counseling services should have huge backyard gardens that can be tended during therapy sessions. Something about it opens you up.

What preparations do you make in order to have a productive garden during the winter months?

Do you feel a garden is therapeutic?

Good Friday 2020

Whoa. This is pretty deep. Surreal. Last night all I could think of is how Christ must have felt. This is a very dark day. I cannot imagine Christ’s yesterday being the last supper with His friends, the washing of their feet, the walk to the Garden to pray (all the while with this heavy and broken heart)  only to have his friends pass out in sleep, and then the betrayal by a kiss from one of His 12! 

Then on today (many years ago) the movement to have Christ killed came so quickly. The mocking, the beating, the scourging, and finally the gruesome crucifixion. 

He asked for this in His prayer the night before, “If there is a way Father let this cup pass from me,” “yet not my will but thine be done.” Matthew 26:36-39

Christ knew for a moment God, while He hung on the cross, was going to turn his back on him. For a moment, Jesus was going to feel what it was like to have no God in your life. The emptiness. The guilt. The sin. Yet, He did it all for US!   

He CHOSE to redeem us and give us life. Nothing about this task was easy. Nothing was comfortable. It was the most agonizing experience ever to happen in history. 

I think this video kind of brings us to a mindset where we are able to ‘feel’ Christ’s hurt at just a portion. 

What we call Good Friday, I find hard to be joyful and at peace … without first thinking and meditating on what it cost Christ. It’s humbling. It’s painful. Yet, at the same time, it speaks volumes. 

Christ is the only thing that dictates my worth, my purpose. He is protective. He is compassionate. And everything He went through during the Easter week many, many years ago… should leave me with no question of who I am.  And you know what He suffered for us ALL. Yet, don’t forget, He would have done it just for one, just for you. 

You are worth more to Christ than His value on His own life! It’s agape love. It’s real. It’s deep. It’s everlasting. But He has respect. You don’t want Him in your life, He won’t force himself as that’s not a relationship. 

However, regardless of choice, there are consequences. That’s not Jesus being sneaky and manipulating you to worship and believe in Him. It’s absolute Truth and it’s your choice. 

Our souls never die. We have a physical body at the moment but that will not be the case forever. Soon the spiritual life will come, where our bodies, and purpose, and rest of eternity is quite different all because of this Good Friday many, many years ago. 

You choose—–>

A life forever with Him striving to follow, serve, and live, all the while in constant communion and relationship with Jesus even in the spiritual life following this physical one on Earth.

Or a life without Him, still loving and being a ‘good’ person but without a relationship with Christ yet there is eternal separation in the spiritual life when this physical life on Earth is over because you chose it. 

then know this, you and all the people of Israel: It is by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified but whom God raised from the dead, that this man stands before you healed. Jesus is “the stone you builders rejected, which has become the cornerstone.’  Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.”

Acts 4:10‭-‬12 NIV

This video cuts deep. I wonder if the world was as vacant and as quiet like this as Christ hung on the cross? Afterwards, when He died, did the world grow vastly different? Imagine there not being any Hope. Imagine the emptiness. Maybe around us today are small glimpses. It’s important to remember. To process. To self-evaluate.

https://youtu.be/-VH0l5fuKUc  (watch video here)

To those who choose not to believe or question your belief, can you really afford to be wrong?

Hush

I hate it when I cannot sleep. I toss and turn, aware that with every move I make I am risking interrupting my husband’s sleep, yet my mind races!! And I know if I can’t get a prayer to calm my mind, writing will beckon me next. 

When I was seeing a psychologist due to trauma of abuse I encountered, one of the ways they would encourage you to process thoughts and fears was to write it out. For me, the pen or keyboard is a siphon to rid my mind of much unnecessary clutter. It also helps me zero in on a focal point, that’s why most of my prayers are written and lengthy. 

I have been so blessed with good conversation lately with people I have been blessed to meet just within this last year. Oh, how I love deep conversations. One thing that seems to be repeated lately, is the messiness in the minds. 

This messiness causes us to not be focused, to forget where we were going in our general conversation, to literally forget words. For me, I am having to seriously battle in my head before I can get out a solid prayer, hence, the lengthy written out prayers I have compiled. I would say the first part is me asking God to get Satan out of my head. What does it look like to have Satan attacking your prayers?

Here you are, head bowed, eyes closed, and you start, “Dear Heavenly Father… ( you should be up about getting your bookkeeping situated) … Dear Lord I ask that you clear my mind ( Did you make that phone call yesterday, what about ordering fuses for the lights in the Kia, oh and you need to schedule a doctor appointment) Jesus, please get Satan out of my mind. I cannot focus. Lord, the world is dealing with a huge spiritual battle. (It’s a virus) (No, it’s not, that is what you want us to focus on, now get out of my head) Lord, forgive me for being so distant. Satan is making it hard to focus. While there are these things I need to do in the world today, my heart and mind needs You. I can’t make him leave. They say at the name of Jesus, Satan has to flee. That he cringes at your name. Jesus, Jesus, Jesus… not today Satan. Leave me alone in Christ’s name. Back to where I was…. Oh yeah, Lord God so many are suffering in many unique ways. I ask that you be with my children, Lord. Not just my own but those I have bonded with outside of my home. You called me to youth. And I have many in my life. Lead, guide, direct and protect their lives spiritually, mentally, physically and emotionally. I know some of them are still on a search to find who they are and what they believe and I ask in this moment of wandering, what Grace has given me you take and give to them. Their lives over mine, Lord. (Oh, you need not pray for them. They are doing what they want and it’s not your business.) (Satan, hush!) Lord God, our Governor made a formal announcement that due to Coronavirus that schools would not meet back in a classroom setting for the rest of the year. ( I don’t like that idea really. My influence is stronger in their friend  social groups than with them at home. So now I’m trying to make them feel isolated, to make them feel not worth much because their friends give them their worth and purpose. Being home with parents and siblings makes this harder yet I think I have a great idea moving forward.) Lord, I ask that you empower these momma’s to build worth and relationship with their kids in this unique period of time. That the child’s worth will come from a stable home and not a teacher or a group of friends. I am not saying these are not important but I am saying we have forgotten the importance and influence of family. One thing solidified even more for me is that in the end all you really have is your Faith and family. We have been separated from friends, from school, from work circles, from distant family, even from Church (yeah, separating you from Church didn’t go as planned. You all have created such new ways to share the blasted gospel but don’t worry I’m on it trying to silence that as well. Notice how Facebook is having a lot of technical issues and how Zoom totally shut down?) (I said hush) but the one thing we haven’t been separated from is Jesus and our immediate family. All those years growing up I tried to find my place to fit in at school. It’s just how things were and I wasn’t shown any differently but these kids… God, you are calling an army. They have been given a unique time to focus on faith and family and I pray these momma’s see the importance of their own roles as nurturers in their lives right now. They are on the front lines of the family, Lord. The defeated feelings I am seeing, it’s not from you. (I….) (I said hush…in Jesus’ name) Lord God forgive me for the times I have failed you. For the times I let Satan hault my prayers, for the fear and worry of things out of my control. Strengthen me in your name. I ask Lord, that you lead, guide, and protect my husband, our church, all the pastor’s preparing your Easter message, and the families at home together. May our minds be as empty of the junk of this world as the tomb was 3 days after Jesus’ death. May revival spring forth as we finally can bring ourselves to a place of worshipping with our whole heart and mind. It’ll take a lot of hushing Satan. But I know we can do it. We want it. We need it. In Jesus’ name, Amen. 

I hope and pray that for you the battle isn’t as immense as it seems to be for me. But if you find yourself like me, I have found the following scripture to help. 

For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline. He has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time,

2 Timothy 1:7‭, ‬9 NIV