Crystal Writes A Blog

A place to read what Crystal writes

All Aboard the New Year Train


All Aboard--Amtrak Pic from 2018--No Frame

What a ride this life can be sometimes, huh? Four years ago today, I was riding a train headed west to Arizona where I would spend my mother’s last 10 days on this earth. Until this time, I never knew how much the death of a parent could change a life. I don’t think I would’ve understood even if someone tried to explain. It’s one of those “you had to be there” experiences.

Still, I promised after I posted her picture and funeral flier back in 2015 that I would share the miraculous events of those last days. So, I am using this New Year’s Day to keep my old promise.

Mom called me with the news of her pancreatic cancer diagnosis on December 27th, 2014. She said the doctors told her it was an aggressive mass that gave her less than three months to live. I was ready to go into prayer battle, but she told me she was ready to meet Jesus and that she was okay. I accepted her answer and talked with my husband about going out there after my writer‘s meeting on the second Saturday of January. Something inside told me I needed to go sooner, though, and on December 31st, I signed on to Amtrak.com to see what was available. I found a ticket I could purchase with points I’d saved, and it was available the next day at 6:00 AM.

It’s almost a two-day ride from Chicago to Arizona, and in that time, I received phone calls from my mother’s doctors who complained that she was being aggressive since they removed her IV and asking me how I wanted to handle hospice plans. I got the doctor to agree to put her back on fluids so she could be lucid when I arrived. But the stress of broken connections and tasks I’d never performed gave me an upset stomach, A caring attendant did what she could to comfort me in my distress. Finally, I arrived to my old home town of Kingman where I would spend one night with my sister before we headed to Tucson to see our mom.

Fast forward a few days to Mom’s apartment, a hospice team, and helpful members of her church. Mom was still asking for a little food and some crushed ice, so I tried to give her all she desired. On Thursday January 8th, I set up a laptop to allow her to say goodbye to her family members in Kingman and my husband back in Indiana via a Google Hangouts video. By Saturday, she was eating less and sleeping more, and I was sleeping far less but using my time to sing to my mom with all the love I could find inside my heart. It was a battle because of an abusive childhood and trouble in our lives up to that point, but that’s another story for a different post. It’s important for my readers to know there was a PTSD-worthy history involved, though.

On Sunday the 11th, I got a sitter and decided I needed a little break to attend my mom’s church. It’s always awkward for me to figure out where to sit when I visit new churches, but this time, I would soon see how much God was in control. A woman who sat in front of me stood to tell the church of her pain about her husband’s recent death. That was an open door for me to invite her when I invited the rest of the church to walk over to my mother’s house and bid her farewell. Janet, accepted the invitation.

Now, most of the church members had been in to see her, so I brought Janet in to introduce her. While we waited for a few others to pray, Janet grabbed me and said she needed me outside right away. Remember, I had never met this woman before that morning in church. And, it turns out, it was only her second visit to the church, so she had never met my mother. She got me outside and asked if there were spiritual and mental battles between me and my mom. Once I explained, she said she knew why we had the rocky relationship we did. In a nutshell, she informed me she didn’t want to scare me but wanted me to know she saw something demonic hovering around my mother and oppressing her. She immediately gave me a prayer to pray over my mom. We prayed it together and with a neighbor friend, and when we went back inside, there was a noticeable change in the atmosphere.

In the next two days, Janet interceded for my mother and counseled both her and me to take our authority as children of The Almighty God. We stood in prayer against the evil that had likely oppressed her for most of her life, and we received both deliverance and peace. My mother was still dying, but everything was different. She was so comfortable that it amazed even her hospice attendants. They said she should have been more miserable and in far more pain even with the high doses of painkillers they had given her to prepare her for death.

In my times alone with my mom, my singing to her seemed clearer and more melodic than I had ever heard my voice. In addition, some pleasant memories from childhood days returned to my thoughts when before I had only remembered the troublesome times. To me, it was evident God put this woman into that church, and at that specific time, especially for my mother and me. God used her as a blessing in both spiritual and emotional ways. Next, I would see He put her there to be a physical blessing, too.

Soon after meeting her, I found out Janet was a retired RN. She volunteered to drop most everything at her own home to stay and help me care for my mother. That was an answer to my mother’s prayer that her children would never need to bathe her or change her diapers. Janet took care of the “gross” things, like suppositories, and she stayed as my helper right up to my mother’s last breath. And that leads me to my conclusion for this part of the story.

Members of my mom’s church stopped by to visit my mom and let me rest for a few hours here and there. Janet took the last shift on Monday night. She told me she would wake me if my mother needed me. I dreaded the thought of seeing her struggle for her last breath, but Janet did not know that. Still, she woke me right after her final moment on this earth, and I did not have to witness that battle. Her death rattle was silenced, but my mother was still warm, so I knew Janet woke me just in time. And because of all the changes in my spirit, I received the blessing of grieving my mother and our good times instead of beating myself up over so many past days taunting me with the fact I could never change them. When put into the hands of The Almighty, even the old can change and be made new.

January 1, 2019 Posted by | Nonfiction, Slice of Life | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

2014 in review


2014 is almost over, and I’ve slowed down a bit as the year winds down. I guess we all need to take a bit of a break now and then, and mine came in with some physical issues that wore me out for a few weeks. Now, I wonder if my body was preparing for the emotional hit I received just two days ago when I found out my mother has inoperable late-stage pancreatic cancer. Prayer gives me amazing comfort, and I can’t imagine walking through a time like this without the grace of God and the strength of praying friends. When we’re out of control, there’s so much comfort in knowing that God is on His throne and that He cares.

With planning and upcoming travel, I don’t know how often I’ll be posting, but I promise I won’t forget about the blog or about my precious and valued readers. Thank you for every day, and every lesson, you have walked (and will walk) with me in this wisp of life here on earth. Now, here’s a 2014 review prepared for me by WordPress…

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 1,900 times in 2014. If it were a cable car, it would take about 32 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

December 30, 2014 Posted by | Current Events, Nonfiction, Prayer, Slice of Life | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Do You Really Know Your Creator?


God's Handiwork by Flickr User listentothemountains, CC License = Attribution, Noncommercial, Share Alike

God’s Handiwork by Flickr User listentothemountains, CC License = Attribution, Noncommercial, Share Alike
Click image to open a new tab/window to view the original image and to access the user’s full photo stream at Flickr.

God is God and we are not. That’s step one. Psalm 46:10, as in the above image, reminds us from The Amplified Bible

Let be and be still, and know (recognize and understand) that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations! I will be exalted in the earth!

I know He knows me far better than I can ever know Him this side of Heaven, and yet I have a desire to know Him more deeply every day. He is more than just an idea to me, and He’s more than just what I read in Scripture. It’s difficult for me to express the depth of my heart for Yahveh Almighty. I guess it’s a little like trying to tell you about the love I have for my husband. I mean, I can try, but no matter what I say, I can’t convince you to love him the same way I do. I hope that, if you are in love with someone, there’s nothing I can say that would make you feel more love for my mate than for your own. And, if you are in love with God, I hope there’s nothing that anyone can present that would make you love anything more than Him.

I think, above all else that God is looking for in us, it is a sincere heart. If we sincerely love Him, we will automatically be faithful to Him. If we are faithful to Him, we will automatically want to please Him and do what He desires by obeying His commands. It won’t be about trying to be perfect for the sake of some kind of reward. It will be about trying to be as close to perfect as we can get simply because we don’t want to hurt the One we love.

There are many who try to tell us who God is, or what God is, or what God wants from us, but can they really tell us those things? Each of us is different. God is able to become exactly what each of us needs, so if I tell you the attributes He has revealed to draw my heart to Him, it may mean nothing to you. If I battle fear, and God comes in showing Himself to me as the victor over my fears, that will mean everything to me. But, it will mean nothing to confident people who need to know God as a source of gentleness and compassion because their confidence has been built on hardening themselves against pain.

I’ve talked before about the group of young church girls whose behaviors were lacking in godliness. A deacon of the church tried to correct the bad behaviors. They answered him a bit indignantly with the oft-repeated line, “God knows our hearts.” In essence, they told the deacon to mind his own business because if God knew their hearts, nothing else mattered. However, the deacon was undaunted and asked them a question that I hope has come back to them as often as it has come to me. He answered their prideful attitude with, “Yes, but do you know God’s heart.”

In Romans 11:33 (in the Holman Christian Standard Bible) we read…

Oh, the depth of the riches
both of the wisdom and the knowledge of God!
How unsearchable His judgments
and untraceable His ways!

That’s not an excuse to say He is too hard to get to know. It’s an invitation to get to know Him in a more personal way. His word promises us that if we seek and search for Him with our whole hearts, we will find Him. We can’t judge by what someone else says God is (or isn’t) to them. We can’t base Him on written word alone because we need the guidance of His Holy Spirit for understanding. If we want to know our Creator, we must shut out all the other voices and words and seek Him for ourselves.

The people of the community of Israel saw God from a distance, and they saw smoke and fire. The priests saw Him from a closer place, and they saw feet that stood on a sea of glass. Moses went into the holiest place, and up on the mountain, and he saw the face of a Friend. Do you know your Creator as your Friend? If so, leave a comment. If not, keep on seeking and push into the holy place beyond the veil of your flesh. When you meet Him there, you’ll find a friend–and you’ll never want to leave Him.

October 22, 2014 Posted by | Bible Study, Nonfiction | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

God’s Family Album


Family Memory Album by Flickr User Sandie Edwards--CC License = Attribution

Family Memory Album by Flickr User Sandie Edwards–CC License = Attribution
Click image to open original in new tab and access user’s full photo stream.

“And here’s the picture of my firstborn son, Israel…,” might be a statement God would make if He was showing off His family album. But there would be some differences. The image above talks of the treasure of sweet memories, but Our Creator doesn’t only remember the sweet things. Like a bruise gives away that we’ve been injured even after the event, the bruises on the spirits of God’s people let Him know that His children need some defense against the bullies in their lives. Israel had plenty of bullies, and God saw every one of them and made plans to deal with them.

In today’s reading from Exodus 4:18 through the end of the chapter at Exodus 4:31, Moses the chosen deliverer is still being prepared. He requests to leave his father-in-law, Jethro, to go to his kinsmen in Egypt and let them know what God has shown him. God also told him that those who sought to kill him for killing the Egyptian are all dead, so he is safe to return. Jethro approves, so Moses gets his family together and heads out in obedience to God.

As God describes the future to Moses, He tells him to perform every wonder that was shown to him before Pharaoh. And then He tells Moses that Pharaoh is stubborn and will say the people can go but will change his mind. It also says that God will harden Pharaoh’s heart, but I believe it is because God already knows the stubbornness in Pharaoh and knows that any softness would be temporary at best. Still, God tells Moses to be completely honest with Pharaoh about his future, right down to telling him that because Israel is God’s firstborn and Pharaoh has been a bully, that God will kill Pharaoh’s firstborn if he does not allow Israel to go and worship God.

Now, Moses knows God’s ability and how serious He is, and yet because his wife, Zipporah, is unhappy with the idea of circumcision, Moses gives in to her. This reading talks of God seeking to kill Moses because of it. The Amplified Bible says God used a would-be-fatal illness, and it is because of seeing how sick her husband is that Zipporah finally submits and circumcises her son. But she’s pretty angry about it and throws the foreskin at Moses’ feet as she calls him “a husband of blood.” But the obedience was enough to turn Moses’ health around, and it certainly confirmed to Moses just how serious God was so he could convey that to Pharaoh.

The last paragraph talks of God sending Aaron to Moses before they go to talk to the elders of Israel. It’s hard for me to tell if that’s why Aaron was coming along the first time, or if this is another time. Either way, the elders believed what the men had to say, and when it sunk in to them that Yahveh, Their Creator, was paying attention to their struggles, they felt God’s love and they bowed down and worshiped Him.

I wish I could capture in an album or book all the times God has brought to my memory the times He has shown me how He was paying personal attention to me. There would be many; some simple and some pretty grand. My sister remembers a special sunset where she knew God brought her attention to it to remind her that He was there for her. I asked God once to remind my husband that He was listening to him in big and little ways, and the day I asked that, we went to a service at a Messianic Jewish temple. I was asked to light the candles for the service because the person who was to do it that day was unable to make it. As I was lighting them, God reminded my husband that as a young man he had prayed for a wife that would light candles in the temple. I understand why the elders bowed down and worshiped when they learned that God was still with them. Feel free to share your own experiences of meeting God personally.

December 26, 2013 Posted by | Bible Study, Nonfiction, Torah Commentary | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

   

Released!

Women of Grace inspires and equips women to love and serve God.

The Grammar Sherpa

Your guide through the rocky terrain of grammar, punctuation, and word usage

Kentucky Christian Writers Conference

Equipping Christian Writers

Revealing Truth Today

Standing for the truth and sharing Jesus with others!

this girl's journey to serenity

i was drowning in his addiction

Cleanin' Up

Language, Attitude, Health, and Home

Miller Theology

Duane's Miller's commentary on Christianity and culture

Inkspirations Online

A well of inspiration and encouragement for Christian writers

3rd Letter Writers

Telling Stories. Sharing Life.

Quills & Inkblotts

Because the world needs good stories

dwwritesblog

“Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving.” — Albert Einstein

Truth in Reality

"My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge...." (Hosea 4:6)

Jennifer Slattery Lives Out Loud

Learning to follow Christ one day at a time

Hallelujah

Thinking about all the reasons we have for praising our LORD.

CLADACH Publishing

Producing and Providing Inspirational Books

The Narrowing Path

walking together in truth and love.

Happy Eco Mama

Green parenting, positive psychology and connecting our little ones to the natural world

Create With Joy

Infuse Creativity In All You Do

Stories With Heart

Blog of Best Selling author David Johnson

Andrew M. Friday

website of science fiction author Andrew M. Friday

Above All Else

Thoughts from Katie Foster

Crystal Writes A Blog

A place to read what Crystal writes

Editor

Simply beautiful publishing powered by WordPress.

THE WORD on The Word of Faith (a GroupBlog)

BREAKING FREE from The Word of Faith Movement & telling the World about it! TELL US YOUR STORY

behind the lens

the view from the other side of the window

Blaire McDaniel

Finding God in the Gray.

The Matt Walsh Blog

Absolute Truths (and alpaca grooming tips) **Facebook.com/MattWalshBlog

On Faith and Writing

A Daughter of the King

Christian Design and Video Share

A great WordPress.com site

Wordsmith's Desk

some thoughts along the way

Socialism is not the Answer

Limited Government Is

By the Blood of the Lamb

And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb...

Iris Grace Painting

imagine, create, inspire

Today's Author

Fostering a community of creative writers through articles, comments, writing prompts and a healthy, supportive environment.

Louisville Christian Writers blog

For members of LCW to spread their blogging wings or reblog their own posts.

Monica Mynk

Stories of Broken Girls, Seeking Love, Finding His Truth

The WordPress.com Blog

The latest news on WordPress.com and the WordPress community.

Women: Each One A Survivor

Enjoying Every Moment

Jessie Jeanine

A survivor inspired by the tragedies and triumphs of life.

DiscernIt

Deut 32:28 "They are a nation without sense, there is no discernment in them."

%d bloggers like this: