It’s been awhile since I’ve posted. God’s had me in a growing moment, and had I written two days ago I would’ve told you that I was positive He was disappointed in my behavior. And maybe He was, what He wasn’t disappointed in was my heart. I say this cautiously because I don’t want to be boastful. The reason I feel He has been pleased with my heart is because of the blessings He has poured out on me these last two days. There is nothing like thinking God is upset with you to have Him pour out LOVE on you like there’s no tomorrow. Love in ways that ONLY GOD could know your heart would respond to. Friends I pray that YOU experience that Presence of the Lord so intensely that you will never doubt how much God LOVES YOU!
Tonight I was blessed to give my testimony at the church that I had recently left. Talk about a HUGE personal blessing. See this is the HOME where He placed me to pour out His Spirit on me. He watered me through these people, and I still feel strange not being there at times. But I know God is doing something within our family that we wouldn’t have had done if we stayed.
Anyway, tonight I spoke about my life before Christ for the first time (in front of a group). Then I spoke about my life after Christ. I have to tell you that the response I felt was gratitude, for my authenticity. The Presence of God is with me as I write these words and I want you to know that I am so thankful that I lived every moment of my life the way I did. God has already gone ahead of me and prepared everything in advance. All I have to do is show up. He will do the rest.
Two hours before I was supposed to leave I found out that I needed to ADD 10 minutes to what I had already prepared. Wanted to share what God placed on my heart to share, and if you’ve read the post titled “My foundation is set” then you’ve read the life after Christ. If you’re interested here is some of the life before.
First memory I have was when I was 5, my Uncle came tearing around a corner almost running over me, my brothers, uncle, and grandmother one terrifying morning. I know it was morning because I had to continue to go to school that day, of course being told not to speak of what happened. This was the family code that I’m sure many of you had also. As the years went on I kept other secrets. Like being sexually involved with other kids, being molested by a family member, being hated and bullied in school. Having the entire girls bathroom written about me, teachers even joining in on the cruelty. I kept it all in. Never speaking about it…only writing in my journals.
Eventually all these secrets became too much, the loneliness I felt was more than my young heart could take and at the age of 12 I began trying to find ways to end my life. This continued for 3 years until I almost succeeded. I’ll never forget this day. It was unlike any other I could remember….it was perfect. I laughed continually with my best friends, got along with my parents, and felt an inner peace I hadn’t in years. As the sun was going down I had said this is it. This is how I want it all to end. SO I kissed my parents goodnight went in and got the prescribed sleeping pills I had stolen from my dad and began taking them. By the 10th one I started gagging. I can still remember the taste of the sweet tea mixing with the pills.
I don’t know why I chose to lay down and watch the last few minutes of Coach on tv, but I do know that it saved my life. Instantly I passed out and woke up 3 days later in the hospital. My leg had been somehow jammed down in the couch and I lost circulation for so long I was unable to walk properly for a few weeks. Today, I am positive that my guardian Angel made sure I would stay put on that couch so my mother and father would see me when they woke up before work.
Anyway, something shifted in me that day that I woke up. I knew there was a reason I had lived…again I don’t know how I know this, I just did. I wish I could tell you that I gave my life to Jesus at 15 and spent that last 20 years serving Him. Unfortunately, I wasn’t raised in a home where Jesus was ever mentioned unless it someone was cursing. I drudged through the next few years of high school, living up the rumors others started about me at 15. I desperately tried to fill that hole inside of me with boys, drugs, cutting, anger, anything that would give me some kind of “fix”.
After high school I met my first husband and fell deep into the club scene. He sold drugs, I danced to pay for our habit, and this continued until I was 21 and our roommate was robbed at gunpoint. We decided it was time to quit the drugs and move on with our lives. I had no problem quitting the drugs, considering I was old enough to drink. Still dancing I quickly became an alcoholic. Eventually Matt and I were married and started a family. I stopped dancing for a few years, then money was tight and we decided I would dance during his off season, which happened to be a dancers season. It seemed perfect….in hindsight I see it was perfect…for the enemy. He was able to convince us that it was beneficial for me to use my body to make money. All along destroying the trust in my marriage, and continuing to destroy myself worth. As you can imagine this marriage eventually failed.
I had met a man online, and never felt so completely in love in my life. He too was married and felt the love instantly also. Friends, this is the first time I had been deceived by Satan disguised as light. All the years of me dancing half naked drunk for men I never once was ever tempted to cheat on my husband. This relationship was formed ironically through my husband’s online gaming. The emotional affair quickly developed and there was nothing stopping us. We had never felt a love so pure and honest in our lives. The affair occurred in 2003 lasted only a few months, he lived in TN and we both agreed we couldn’t take our children from their parents. Matt asked me to come home and try and work things out, we planned for our son. And two months after he was born in 2005 Matt said he was unable to forgive me and ended our marriage.
I was devastated and did the only thing I knew to do….lost the baby weight and went back to dancing. And drinking…heavily. I couldn’t bear to see anyone I knew so I drove each night from Ocoee to Melbourne to work. Then at 3am completely drunk I would drive home. On September 26, 2006 God intervened and I ended up in a ditch after hitting a guard rail and being side swiped by a truck. Ended up in 33rd with a DUI and a LONG road to recovery. Court ordered to attend AA, but knew I desperately needed it. I tried to stay sober. Admitted I was an alcoholic and truly wanted to be free from the need to drink. I only lasted 3 months. I told myself I could control it, maintain my drinking as long as I stayed at home or only drank beer when I went out. If anyone in here has ever tried to maintain drinking you know how well this worked.
My daughter was attending Pre-K at a church and we attended often. The love this pastor gave me and my children, even after finding out I danced and had a dui was like nothing I knew before. He began tending to the soil that was so battered.
On April 30, 2009 as I was driving home from dropping my kids at their dads, I had my usual debate with God about me drinking. Only this time I heard the truth. He asked why do you have to drink? I replied I deserve it….and right then I knew that was a lie. The radio began playing Sissy’s song and I heard within my Spirit “You’re going to lose them if you do this” THEM being my kids. And that was the moment of deliverance for me. I was baptized on July 29th. Married to my husband on December 7. 2009 and have been surrending my life over to Jesus daily ever since.
For the last 5 years I have heard and said over and over again to women who were hurting and broken hearted. “You need Jesus. Cry out to Jesus. Give it to Jesus.” Can I tell you something that I have struggled with for the last 5 years since surrendering my life over to this Jesus? I had no idea who He was. I mean I had head knowledge of who He was, and I had even experienced the power of Christ within my life. But I didn’t KNOW Him, or know HOW to know Him anymore than I already did. Or most importantly….. how to destroy the lies I knew about Him. So today I want to share with you the lies that kept me from fully believing in Jesus Christ as the Son of God, and the way Satan used this to almost steal my Identity.
Jesus is First Our Lord and Savior. This many of you know. So did I. I was even baptized into this Truth….but still I doubted in this man that was also God. I was unprepared in the basics of WHO Jesus is and HOW He is Man and God. Jesus was placed in Mary’s womb by the Holy Spirit. Matthew 1:18-25 gives the account to this, but still my mind couldn’t wrap around this. Even though I KNOW the Bible is true, something inside of me said…”c’mon this is CRAZY, what if she cheated on Joseph and got pregnant.” That something inside of me is the voice of lies, aka the devil, satan, our enemy. God finally squashed this lie earlier this year, after 5 years of living for Him He opened my eyes and ears and said. “Crystal, you believe that I created this entire universe by the power of my Words, but you don’t think I can place a child inside of a woman?” And that was it, lie destroyed with the Truth.
Another lie that kept me from believing that Jesus is the Son of God was his baptism. What was KEY for me to seal the truth about Jesus being fully man and fully God was what God says about sin. See the voice of lies that I listened to said “well Jesus was baptized so who knows if He actually sinned since we don’t know anything about Him” Here’s the thing though, Jesus had to live a sinless life under the law in order to become a sacrifice blameless and pure and fulfill the law. God cannot dwell within a man when there is SIN in Him. And in Matthew 3:16 it says “As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and lighting on him.” Jesus then became FULLY GOD, He had lived a life of obedience to The Father and because He was blameless without sin, God then gave His FULL AUTHORITY to Jesus, making Him The Christ, The Anointed One, The Messiah. No sacrifice was needed for Jesus because there was no sin in Him. God would not have given Jesus FULL authority had there been any sin within Him.
When we are baptized in the Name of Jesus Christ we also are forgiven for ALL of our sins, which allows GODs Holy Spirit, the Christ to now DWELL IN US. Making US as Jesus ONE WITH THE FATHER. But… this is only through the blood of Jesus Christ, which He shed for us on the cross.
These were two lies that lingered within my mind and because they were left unchecked I was led into a terrifying trap.
In 2 Timothy 3, Paul talks about the Godlessness in the Last Days. In Verses 1-5 Paul gives some pretty harsh characteristics about these “godless” people but I want to focus on Verse 5 “having a form of godliness but denying it’s POWER. Have nothing to do with them.”
Having a form of godliness but denying its POWER. Friends, we have the POWER OF GOD in us. We are One with God as Jesus, but Jesus had attained the FULL AUTHORITY of God, which we do not. We are given authority through Jesus Christ, according to our Faith. This isn’t taught to often in churches today, and I needed to know what was going on inside of me. And this is where and why I believe I had been led astray so easily.
Two years ago I left this book and went to other teachings, not having my foot on solid ground and opened my mind up to Satan big time. Jesus says in John 10:1 “I tell you the truth, the man who does not enter the sheep pen by the gate, but climbs in by some other way, is a thief and a robber.” Then in 7 He says “I tell you the truth, I am the gate for the sheep” Jesus is our foundation…we have to KNOW WHO HE IS BEFORE our foundation for our spiritual houses will ever be stable. Before the Helmet of our salvation will ever work.
Satan comes disguised as Light and lies to us. He lied to me for years with the Word of God about who Jesus was. I had to study and study and pray and study more to learn about what was going on inside of me. But every time I would get close, I would break. Why? Because I did NOT FULLY believe without a doubt that Jesus was the Son of God. That Jesus is God. Eventually, I stopped seeking for only my Spirit to be taught and needed to continue in Truth.
See other philosophies teach about The Christ, which so far everything that I have read agrees with scripture. But they leave out who JESUS is. There is a saying that God has been playing in my mind over and over and it says “ The best lies are 99% true” They focus on the Spirit of God, the Christ. Which was leading me away from the foundation of my Eternal Life, Jesus.
James 3 talks about two kinds of Wisdom one is from God, and one is from the devil. Friends, I am standing before you today, having been baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Being baptized by The Holy Spirit, and confess to you that I had been given wisdom from the devil. Lies used by the Word of God to tell me that Jesus and Elijah were the beasts in revelations. That Psalm 146 talks about how when Jesus died and came back to life his plans were thwarted that He chose the Devil and we were all now being deceived. For two years I have wrestled with this lie inside of me, as I imagine as Jacob wrestled with the Spirit of God. Only I thought I was wrestling with the devil. Because I did not have my foundation in place, this lie had kept me bound up in fear of being a child of the devil. These lies friends are lies that creep in and steal our identity In Christ. I was blind to the truth that I was in prison, simply because I couldn’t believe.
When I first began studying the Word I was also in a Christian College and I remember asking my professor about Matthew 3:11 which says “I baptize you with water for repentance. But after me will come one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not fit to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.” I asked him what it meant by “fire” He was unable to tell me.
Today I believe I have a little bit of understanding as to what this “fire” is. Continuing it says: “His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor, gathering his wheat into the barn and burning up the chaff with unquenchable fire.” In the parable of the weeds in Matthew 13:24-30 Jesus talks about how the enemy planted “weeds” among good soil. And in verse 28 the servants ask “Do you want us to go and pull them up?” He says “No” Let them both grow together when the harvest comes first collect the weeds and burn them up, then gather the wheat and bring them in my barn,”
When we are baptized in the name of Jesus Christ we are made new, God now sees us through Jesus. Blameless. Then Jesus sends us the Holy Spirit, The Spirit of Truth which judges us. The Fire that He also baptizes us with is to refine us from the impurities, the LIES that we have come to believe, even if we don’t realize it.
It has taken 5 years for this “fire” to refine me from the lies that kept me from knowing Who Jesus Christ is. Until I knew who He was, I couldn’t believe who he says I am…and without knowing who I am in Christ…I was lost. Today I stand before you covered by the Blood of Jesus Christ, my eyes are open and I am no longer blind to the truth that I AM UNFORSAKEN. I HAVE BEEN REDEEMED. There is POWER in ME & YOU claim it… in His name. Real Freedom is in Jesus Christ!
The truth says in Acts 2:38,39 “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call. — if you’re in this room and you have not been baptized in the Name of Jesus Christ then God is now calling YOU. Will you listen?
“What lessons have you learned that needs to be maturely rewritten?”
This question was left at the end of a devotional. It’s a question that I hope to answer several more times over my lifetime. Today the lesson I want to rewrite is the lesson about my second marriage. Until 13 days ago I would’ve told you that my current marriage, which is the second for both my husband as well, was not Gods original plan for him and I. That our lives reflected the consequences of our sinful life before Christ. Today, I will say that this is partially true. Him and I have suffered from our choices made before and after committing our lives to Christ. But we are not Gods backup plan. We are the original plan created by God, and FOR God. Every moment of our lives has been planned from before we were ever born. God knew the day I’d be born, and the day I will die. This brings me such comfort when life seems to be falling apart around me. He is IN ALL.
God is not a God that makes mistakes. He is an all knowing, all powerful, and always present God. He created the Universe by the power within His Words. God created Adam out of the dirt of the Earth, and Jesus from His Spirit. Which of those two would you consider the original plan? Right, Jesus. He may be the second man, but He is NOT the second plan.
And neither are my husband and I. God has given me confidence in this which is why I am correcting my previous belief. Gods ways are higher than ours, and our human minds will never be able to comprehend His full design. We could go back and forth on different beliefs based on Scripture and personal experience. I’m not writing this to create a debate.
The reason I’m writing this is because God has opened my eyes to something I once saw differently. As I’m continually being transformed to reflect the image of Christ I realize how many people around me are secretly broken inside. Trying to live life as everyone else around them, but dying inside because no one else seems to have as many problems as them. I myself am one of those people…and for years I have suffered alone, ashamed, and condemned when I tried to reach out. That is NOT how Jesus treated those he came in contact with. Christ died so we ALL would be ONE with the Father and Him. He came for the broken sinner. Which is ALL of us. Not one single person walking this planet is without sin. Christ lived a life of obedience, humility and LOVE. Each of us is given a purpose to fulfill while we are here. I don’t want to claim to know all the answers, what I do know is what God has done within my life, and I will tell you without question that not one single moment in my life has been without God. He knew every ounce of pain and suffering I would experience and allowed it to happen. He had, and has a purpose for all of it. So I can be used to lead His children to His Son. In this season I believe He wants me to do that by being authentic about who I am and how He is and has been working within my life.
Please note before you read this that I am not speaking about those who are truly being mistreated by another, those truly hurting for their children through their divorce. This is written for those who are allowing the hurt from their spouse cloud their judgment as parents.
Recently I have been noticing a handful of people going through what I am currently going through with my husband’s ex, and what I went through with my divorce. What I am writing about is fighting dirty with their ex and involving the kids. Many claim it’s for the kids. If we are to be completely honest it’s not about the kids, it’s about hurting the other one and getting revenge. I understand that hurt and the pain that you secretly suffer when a marriage falls apart. I understand the guilt that you cover with rage, and spiteful vengeance. This is why I believe God has laid this on my heart these last few weeks, and having it all come together today, October 29, 2010, one year after I finalized my divorce. I’ve chosen to focus on what destroyed my marriage, and the battle my husband has with the mother of his boys; money!
Matt and I were together 13 years and have two children. We spent the last 4 years of our marriage separated, and the last year I spent barely getting any child support. His company had shut down and this left him without a job. Right before we finalized the papers I had gone months without anything. I went from getting $800 a month to nothing. I survived by the grace of God, Chadd & payday loans. When it was time to go to court everyone was telling me how I have to “fight for my kids”, and “get what I deserve” that “I’ve got to do what’s right for me”. Today I write these words seeing clearly how although the ones that encouraged these things were not hurtful people, they just hurt for me, they wanted me to be taken care of. But these words are not the words that Jesus would’ve spoken to me. These are the words of Satan. “Fight, deserve, right for me”
I didn’t grow up with money, and wanted it so desperately for my kids, as did Matt. He too wanted to give his kids the life he always wanted as a child. He wanted to grow old with his kids and buy them 4 wheelers, take them riding, and love his baby girl so much that she would never allow a man that did not love her as a princess come into her life. We shared the same dreams for our family, and when we received our first daughter from the Lord she was blessed with two loving parents that devoted their lives to her. She never went without, and our weekends were spent out together as a family. Then things started to slow down and he made roughly $16,000 less that year. We agreed that during slow season I would go back to dancing since winter was our season. You see WE gave into that because we would do anything to keep our kids from going without like we did. The year after that he lost another $18,000 (on top of the $16k) again winter came and I went back. This continued throughout our entire marriage.
These weren’t the plans we agreed upon before we were married. The plan was I would dance full time while he went to school, when he graduated I would be done for good, and be a stay at home mom. When we first got married he was only making $18,000 a year. After Kayla turned one he was making over $50k – we were on cloud nine as you can imagine, increasing that much in a year. Today I can see where God was testing our commitment to our marriage. Was it really for richer or poorer, did I really mean for better or worse? We gave in to money. We agreed that me using my body, degrading my own self-esteem, and killing his trust in me was worth the money we would gain. Satan won in our marriage, but God won in our lives.
The one thing we still agreed upon was that we loved our children and giving them the life we never had was still most important. I fell in love with this man, chose to have his children, and build a future with him. He is the father of my children and I am the mother of his. He has given me 2 gifts that no one else ever has; 2 gifts that continually bless my life every single day. I still after almost 10 years of being a mother sometimes look at amazement that I was given so much through these two kids. When he first left I was completely lost and scared. The one thing I held onto to pull me through the pain was the fear of messing up their lives, especially my daughters’. The never ending gut wrenching fear I lived with was my daughter going through life with this emptiness inside of her, and so desperate to fill it she used sex, her looks, drugs, and alcohol to try and fill it. I was so afraid she would live a life exactly like me. At the time I knew the only way I could keep that from happening was to make sure her dad remain in her life. That I kept the men I dated away until he was the one I could answer yes to when I asked “would I want my daughter to marry a guy like this?” I had to do whatever I could do to give her the life I never had.
This time there was something different in the mix of this determination. I had begun going to church, I started to pray, and He started to change my heart. I voluntarily lowered Matt’s child support when winter came. Not because I had to, but because I knew it would allow him not to be bitter towards me, which would help him to want to come around to see the kids. Matt didn’t see the nice things I would do and continued to be hurtful and ungrateful. I didn’t always reply so kindly, but I didn’t use money to hurt him. Money was a weapon used to destroy our marriage; I would not allow Satan to use it to destroy the lives of my kids as well. I held onto the truth that we shared, the love that we shared, and the promise we made to our children. This is why I am writing this today. God granted me forgiveness already for my actions in my divorce, yesterday he allowed me to forgive myself.
Yesterday after I dropped the kids off to Lindsey I had this wonderful feeling of love inside of me. I honestly love that he has her. She loves him in a way I couldn’t. She gives him what I never could, and he so desperately needed, which was trust. I do not go out of my way to cause problems between them, quite the opposite actually. I get so consumed with worry that she might leave him when we do fight that it allows me to drop it. You see because their happiness will only build up my children’s lives. If I destroy something that brings him happiness because I am so consumed with my own selfishness, I am only destroying another piece of my kids’ lives. Allowing Satan to win, he will never give up trying to defeat me, and I will have to endure the consequences of getting a divorce, but God will always protect me as long as I continue to love the way He commands me to do.
In September of last year I wrote this:
I know a lot of people say fight him on back child support, WHY? IF he had it and kept it from us then YES there would be no question about me fighting for what the kids deserve. But he doesn’t have it, I have gone this long without it; it isn’t worth years of anger and bitterness that will be taken out on the kids. Just so I don’t appear to be a complete fool. I will tell them that I haven’t received anything since July 5th, but as far as the rest it isn’t worth it to me. I know he doesn’t appreciate what I’ve done for him in the last 4 years, hell the past 13 years but that’s NOT why you do good things, you do them only bc you CAN! When you choose to love someone, you choose them as your family and your family aside from God is the most important thing in this world. You protect them even if you don’t think they deserve it, it’s not your choice to make if they deserve it or not. You do what you can, now I don’t mean to put them BEFORE yourself, you do what you can simply bc you can. That is what I am choosing to do. I ask that you continue to pray for me and the kids but I also ask that you pray for him.
A year later I can tell you that was the best decision I ever made for my children. The relationship he built with them after our divorce has been the best it’s ever been. I fought for what was right for my kids, which was letting go of the money that I had already survived months without, asking only for our daily needs, and nothing more. So when you say I deserve this…or they deserve this…No they deserve to be able to love their parents equally without carrying the burden of hurting you.
I’m not writing this to condemn anyone, although I know it seems as if I am. For this I am sorry. I wrote this to truly encourage all of you to look at what your children are hearing, and seeing. Try and step back for a moment and ask yourself is this the life you imagined for them? Will your actions cause them any unnecessary hurt now and in the future? Can you change how you behave when they are able to see or hear? Will you do whatever it takes to put their feelings before your own?
Something that I realized last November was the man I married was no longer there. If I had met Matt then, he and I wouldn’t even give each other the time of day. Realizing that allowed me freedom from my expectations of how he should behave. When he reacted opposite than I expected, I was no longer hurt by this because the man I married was no longer there. He was and is a stranger to me. I love the man he was (before the hurt began) and I will always love the life we had. I will never regret one moment (even the bad) I had with him. Every choice that we made led us both to the lives God intended for us with one another, but was unable to achieve through us, yet God still knew we deserved to be happy and loved the way He intended. You see Satan won by breaking up our marriage, but God will always win in the end to those who he has chosen.
Still to this day Matt can get pretty mean when money gets brought up, so I do my very best to keep it out of our relationship. I ask myself over and over “is it worth it?” Because I have been able to let go of the hurt he caused me I’m able to think of him the way I want my daughter to. Understand something, when you say “I’m doing this for my kids” I can assure you, your kids do not care about the things you care about. You are thinking through a broken heart, through anger, pride, pride, and pride. Your kids LOVE their mother, they LOVE their father…they do not care about what you think of the other. Stop involving your kids in your immature battles with one another. Stop allowing them to hear, read, or see on FB your personal battles. This kills a child to feel like they have to choose between parents.
I know that this will be read and many will think I am looking down on you or that I think I am better than you. Not for one second do I think I am better than you, I too have done what you are doing. I have recently done the things you have done with Chadd’s ex, and therefore could never look down on you. I am sharing my life with you; because I have been there, and I chose a different route and my kids thrive today because of it. I am living in the midst of what works and what doesn’t. I have 4 kids and they resemble the actions of their parents during a divorce. I am not speaking of something I know nothing about. I have and am currently living it! I have proof that it works!