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I’m not Hidden

There I stood in a crowded room; people passed by, as I begin to blend into the background. I tried to join in on conversations, but my words could not convey what was going on inside. Did anyone notice me? Does anyone realize the hurt and pain inside? I feel trapped as if there is nowhere to run. Is there not anyone who can rescue me?

If the above scenario sounds familiar, then you will relate to what I’m about to tell you.gods presence2

For the last two years, I’ve been battling in some dark places. I’ve had many different battles throughout my life – broken home, failing marriage, and losses of various kinds, but this battle was something else. This battle was from some place else. The battle was raging in my mind.

You see, suddenly I found myself trapped by old lies that were resurfacing. In my inner strength, I found it getting harder and harder to fight.

It didn’t take me long to realize I could not fight this battle on my own (Shoot, no!) I had to turn to a truth that was deeper than the surface turmoil that was consuming me. It was there in the dark places that I would remember who my God is..

He consumes me with his love.

As I look back on this now, I remember the nights were the worst. The only thing that would comfort me, while staring in the darkness throughout the night drenched in fear, was the sound of music playing from my K-Love station (They didn’t have the Air One station yet;). I would also sit on my closet floor cradling my Bible and reading scripture like the one below:

“If I say, “‘Surely the darkness shall cover me, and the light about me be night, ‘” even the darkness is not dark to You; the night is bright as the day, for the darkness is as light with You.” Psalm 139: 11-12

Even as I sat there in that dark place, this verse made my heart leap. Think about it…God sees me in my darkness. The times when I feel the most alone, He is there. He suddenly becomes my enough.

He loves me
He is for me
I am chosen
He won’t leave me
He sees me
I am made complete in Him

He releases the grip of the strongholds that want to weigh me down.

My biggest stronghold is fear. I am tempted in my own devices to be afraid of the unknown. I wrote about this in a blog post called Limited Visibility, but It’s like the feeling I get when I am driving in fog. It can be paralyzing not see and know what is three ft. ahead. During that dark time in my life, I was determined not to let fear keep me trapped and stuck, and I know there are many things that can cause people to be stuck…  loneliness, pride, rejection, fear, and sin. I was determined not to let my fear be bigger than my God.

He causes my heart to long for truth, when all I feel is utter despair.

In my darkest times, I felt comforted as the consuming lies were replaced with the healing touch of God’s presence; however, even in those moments there were times I didn’t (feel) the presence of God, I had to cling to the truth that He was there. This truth can be found in His word, music, encouragement of a friend, sitting in solitude (Did you know you don’t always have to have something to say? Sitting quietly in His presence is an awesome place to be).

He takes me to a higher place.

I feel like the darkness had been lifted. I am coming into a renewed revelation of who God is in my life. The truth that God is enough, even when I feel I’m at my worst. He is not looking down on me thinking “Man, how come this girl hasn’t got her mess together yet?” He sees a woman who deals with the wounds of brokenness, and a woman who clings to the truth in the messy details of her life. All the while, believing that she is a work in progress and has been made new by the blood of Christ.

He sees you, too, my sister:)

Where are you? Don’t worry your God knows. He loves you so much He sent His Son to rescue you. And, the great news is He loves you just as you are. There is no shame in needing Him every second of the day. He is in the midst:)

Jesus, I need you!

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Fragrance of Jesus

Compassion is the sweet fragrance of Jesus… Someone around us needs to sense His presence in their life.

I had just written the above in a post; then I stepped into my son’s room to wake him up for school. To my surprise, I smelt some perfume in his room. I was a little confused, but I walked back to my bathroom.

I stood there and looked into the mirror, and it hit me the sweet presence of Jesus was all Lavanderaround me. I couldn’t do anything but cry. God’s grace is so good.

You see, a few days ago I almost let my busyness cost me the opportunity to be the sweet fragrance of Jesus. I let the fast track of trying to get to a football practice cause me to be rude and short to a guy walking up to me to ask for help for gas.

My focus at the moment was getting to the next thing. I was tired. I was late.

But, my son, who was in a better spot of offering compassion then I was at the moment, stopped me in my tracks. “Mom, I can’t believe you aren’t helping that guy out. He needs your help!”

My unrestful heart quickly turned into a convicted one, so I pulled my car over to go back and help the guy. I apologized to him for my rude behavior, and he was so forgiving. I also apologized to my son, and I sought my Lord’s forgiveness.  I had let my busyness of doing… overshadow my ability just to be present.

So, that morning, as I stood in my bathroom remembering that sweet smelling aroma. It reminded me that I am in the presence of the Living God. His blood has cleansed me. I can stop and rest in that on any given day. I don’t have to be consumed by my “got to’s.” I get to put myself in a position to be a sweet fragrance in someone else’s life.

If you are anything like me, you have those moments where you forget to just slow down and rest in the presence of God. May this be a reminder not to be so hard-pressed to deal with the urgent that you miss the important things. The best things. But in those times when we forget, God’s grace is so active and real.

“Therefore be imitators of God as dear children. And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma.” Eph. 5:1-2

 

When I am not so Loving..

It is a typical day like any other day; my thoughts are lining up, and I’m feeling pretty good. Then, I see him. He is walking down the street. I don’t know him from Adam (whatever that means:). But instantly my-lined-up thoughts take to turn – a detour. Suddenly, I am quick to make assumptions and judge this person I’ve never even met.

However, I didn’t end there. With one heated hurtful comment. The poison dripped from my mouth. My heart instantly sank into a deep pit.

Why was I so quick to judge?

Was it because he looked different than me? Maybe my assumptions brought me to believe he was from a different background? Maybe it was his size. Or, just maybe….it was because he reminded me of my very own insecurities.

Sometimes our ignorant, judgemental, non-deserving views of someone else say more about what’s going on inside of ourselves. Think about it!

You see, lately, I’ve been spending a lot of time in the book of John where “Love one another” rings over and over.

Who am I called to love: neighbor, people who look different than me, those who think differently than me, the needy, the broken, brothers and sisters in Christ, my husband and my children.., etc.

“Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.” John 13:35 NLT

 My heart sank that day because deep in my gut I knew the truth of God’s word. I was also a bad witness to my son, who was in the back seat and heard my words.

I was convicted instantly. And what is the purpose of conviction? The purpose is to cause a change of direction. Turning around and heading the other way. Which means I have a choice. I can continue on my destructive path, or I can seek the heart and eyes of Christ and choose to see people as He does?

I don’t know who the boy was walking down the street that day, but I do know his face will be etched into my memory for awhile. My heart’s desire is to walk close to Jesus that I began to resemble Him in my flawed, non-perfect way. I fail. I fall. I get back up with grace and forgiveness as my anchor. And I’m able to press on.

If you are like me and your instant response isn’t always to love, join me in seeking forgiveness and choosing to align our hearts with Jesus. On any particular day, I am sure we will get plenty of chances.

Getting 2017 Started!

Happy New Year! Are you ready to see what 2017 holds? I know some of you are ready to leave 2016 behind in the dust. Yeah, I’ve had years like that, too. However, this picture I posted holds a whole lot of truth of what God can do with all of our mess. He turns it into something good. We might have to search for it on some days. We might have to walk minute by minute to feel the effects now and then. We might have to trust and believe when all hope seems nonreaching. But the goodness is there none the less.

My word (or I should say phrase) this year is ….open hands. I’ve come to a place where I am tired of “trying to figure it all out.”  I want to position myself where I’m so in tune with my Savior (John 15). Having open hands will cause me to be or do exactly what I need to be doing.  I want to walk so close to Jesus that if He turned around, I would bump into Him. Hey, you want to join the Congo line?:)

Jesus started a great work in each of, Ladies. May He continue His transforming work in each of us:) Phil. 1:6

By the power of the Holy Spirit, direct my steps, Lord.

Twenty Things I Love about You….

I can’t believe the time has gone by so quickly. I remember almost fainting when your dad and I found out we had given birth to a girl after four boys. I remember uncontrollably crying when you released my hand to run into your first day of preschool. Throughout the years, I’ve sat through numerous dance recitals, and I’ve tasted some awesome food as you experimented with cooking. I remember the bittersweet feeling that overwhelmed me as I dropped you off at college. Now you are twenty! I praise God every day that He blessed me with my little girl. I am so proud of you. These are twenty things I love about you:

My only daughter
– Strong-willed (which allows you to stand firm in the important things)
– Very detailed (which means you see thing I often don’t see or remember:)
– Compassionate
– A good baker (Your brothers are giving a loud AMEN!)
– Patient (which enables you to hang on to a gift card for life)
– My TV buddy
– Encourager (Thank you for always being my biggest encourager)
– Heart that continues to seek after the Lord
– My shopping buddy
– Highly favored by your brothers
– Someone I look up to (Yes, I look up to you)
– Humble
– Beautiful inside and out
– Creative….very creative
– My sushi eating buddy
-You allow me to speak wisdom into your life
– Smart
– A friend to all
– Bossy (A note from Brandon: You are my sister and even though you boss me around I love you.  I love you just the way you are. God blesses you and so do I.) 

Love you! Happy 20th Birthday!

Grace With Skin On


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He will feed His flock like a shepherd; He will gather the lambs with His arms, and carry them in His bosom, and gently lead those who are with young. Is 40: 1

Processing seems to be the theme of my life at the moment. With a whole lot of transitions happening the last few years, I’ve found myself in a place of thought. I am glad I am a work in process. I am ok with that because that means my God is not through with me yet.
Rejection is hard. There I said it. I let the words roll off of my lips. Or, it is maybe the feeling of rejection. Maybe, the feelings are all a lie. But for a brief moment, they felt like the truth.
That is what I felt the day my mom was stepping on an airplane to go live back East with her family.
Suddenly, I was no longer a 47 year old woman standing there in the middle of the cold airport, but I was a 6 year old little girl standing in a dark alley gripping her mom’s hand, while she placed all she could fit in a few suitcases to be shoved in the back of a car. In one quick moment, I was leaving behind grandmas, aunts, uncles, cousins, and even my dad. (I’ll talk more on this in another post)
Forty years has passed since that night in the dark alley; now my mom was loading on an airplane to head back to what she calls home.
Processing…
Where does my identity originate? It’s often the hurt and pain of circumstances that want to stick a label smack on my forehead.
Unloved. Alone. Not Worthy. Orphan
I had a choice in those brief moments while I was standing in the airport. I could stay stuck, or I could believe God had a plan and a purpose for my life. He knew this day would come. Because nothing I went through or currently was going through was outside of my Heavenly Father’s grip or sight (I’m kinda relating to Joseph right now, who ended up in Egypt).

You know what? Grace lived out in the daily life is beautiful and hard all at the same time. Grace is causing me to open my heart-felt wounds and allow my Lord to come in and heal them.

Grace is allowing me to love and forgive those who have wronged me, even when the first response is to scream like a six year old little, girl and say,” This is not right!”
I get to live a life chosen, accepted, redeemed, and forgiven.
I was able to step back and calm that hurt little girl and let her know that everything in its time is working out. God had/has a plan all along.
I had a hard time writing this because I wanted to wrap it in a perfect, neat bow. However, life is messy sometimes. The process isn’t always perfect and pretty. Comfort comes from knowing that there is growth, healing, and a purpose…. Nothing is wasted.
Thank you, Jesus!

It is just a rock… to some people


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I was doing science with my son the other day, and I discovered I have a new name to add to my list of titles: Rock Hound-a person who searches out and collects rocks.

 Yes, I am a lover of rocks!
I am not exactly sure when this obsession began. I know even as a little girl you could search my underwear drawer and find a pile of rocks instead of clean underwear, which always made my mom really mad.
I guess at this point I could try to get all spiritual and tell you my love of rocks has something to do with Jesus being the solid rock upon which I stand.
The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. Ps. 18:2
This verse packs a whole lot of truth. However, I don’t think I thought about this much when I was a little girl.
I simply don’t know why I love rocks. However, I do know one thing: Do not mess with my rocks! Everybody in my family knows the seriousness of this threat but apparently the girl next door didn’t know.
You see, I was minding my own business one day while taking an inventory of my rock garden. Yes! my rock garden. Then, there it was…an empty imprint that gave an alarming clue that I had been robbed!
With one hard stare at my young son, he quickly pointed a finger at “the girl”. He threw her under the bus with one swift kick. And this 7 years old girl and I were fixin’ to rumble. Picture the scene where the cowboy walks into the salon and everyone turns and gasps, the tumbleweed rolls by…It was very intense.
I sent her home to retrieve my rock. She obviously didn’t get the neighborhood memo: Don’t mess with Mama Crosby’s rocks!
Occasionally, I am accused by some family members of stealing rocks. I won’t even go there. That is crazy talk.
In all seriousness, Isn’t our God amazing? He places these things in our life that bring us comfort and joy. Maybe, just maybe, there was a time in my young life that I needed a solid rock on which to stand. I just didn’t know His name at the time. I look around me and I see the beauty of God’s creation. We are told in Romans 1:17 that all of creation speaks of God’s glory. I will just keep right on lovin’ me some rocks:) God is good!
If you are wondering, No, I don’t talk to my rocks; however, I do like the feel of the smooth ones:) Don’t judge!
On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand; all other ground is sinking sand.