Thursday, December 31, 2015

New Year New You: The Truth Behind Change

In Christ you are a new creation, the old has gone the new has come~ 2 Corinthians 5:17

Last year I made a decision.  I got tired of being sick and tired, literally.  I committed to change.  I've dieted many many times in my life. I've starved myself, obsessed over working out and beat myself up over every cookie, every french fry.  I've spent many years of my life on the body image roller coaster.  Putting much of my value and worth in the numbers on the scale.  So much of my life I valued what others saw as beautiful more than my heavenly Father. Change seemed impossible.


 Last year it was different.  I spent over a year feeling physically crappy, overweight, depressed and lacking in joy.As I began to review what in the world was going on I prayerfully met the idea of change.  That's the thing about change, it's now seemingly impossible to me without Christ's backing.  As humans our nature is set in such a way, because of free will, that change is very hard.  Our selfish nature, pride and willfulness gets in the way of change.  We want so badly to be more organized, have better will power, stay the course, beat the addiction, yet so many times when the rubber meets the road we find ourselves at the end of the year 10 lbs heavier and no better than how we ended last year.  So, I get it.  I get that we may all have the desire for the completion of a resolution and beat ourselves up at the end of yet another year where we failed again.

The difference in this change for me was that instead of journeying out into the big thing alone, I invited God to go with me.  I sought his desire for this part of my life instead of my own.  This changed my perspective. Instead of change being about what size pants I wore or getting a medal in the 1/2 marathon I wanted to run it became more about honoring God with my life and the way I lived it.

Enough about me.  May I encourage you to invite God into these places of your life that you are wanting change in but can't figure out why every year it's the same.  Here's some things you may be holding onto tightly:

Your single life
Your marriage
Problems at work
Weight loss
Sex addiction
Food addiction
Pornography
Loneliness
Past hurts
Drug addiction
Alcohol abuse
Material possessions
Your children
Your home
A health issue
Social media addiction

How do you invite him in to these places? Pray.  Invite him to intercede in your life, to be the guide in your journey. So often we step out, ahead of him and expect him to work it all out. Oh sweet sister it doesn't work that way. God must be the leader in your dance, he is not in the business of following.
30 lbs lighter, free of daily depression, free of illness and joint pain I literally stand before you changed both physically and spiritually.  I invited God into that change, and he was the author of this story.

Who will write the pages of your book this year?

Can I suggest on anthem for 2016:

Much Love,
Chrystan

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Let Forgiveness Reign This Holiday Season

Merry Christmas Friends, Family and faithful readers from Ferrell Farms!

This is going to be short and sweet today (well maybe not super short...). I have one thing tugging at my heart to share with you. One thing you may not want to hear. One thing that may leave you shaking your head and running for the next exit!

In this season of hope and joy it is time to let love reign and forgive.

As you step into that door, knowing that that family member that was so terrible to you last year is going to be there let me urge you to let forgiveness reign.  I know it's hard. I know it's impossible.  I know they hurt you to your core, but you can do it. Do you want to know why I can say with great confidence that you CAN forgive them even though it hurts to just think about it?  Because I did it, it was impossible, but with Christ forgiveness should flow out of us like water off a waterfall. Freely, with no just cause.

Someone in my life hurt me so badly this Fall (I am not vague-booking here, I am going to protect my family by not saying who. But know that it is not you. If you are thinking it is you, it is not you)  Anywhoo, this person hurt me both emotionally but also physically and mentally. She used forced on me and slayed me with her words in this most painful places.  She attacked all that I hold dear and it hurt me.  I found myself begging her to go, to leave, so that I would not also hurt her.  It was hard, it was just the hardest thing.

Since then we have had to coexist in spaces and I have had to bite my tongue.  Yes, this is possible, the online generation, the social media generation is not used to holding back the airing of all the dirty laundry. This is a lost art form, we should work on in 2016.

In Christ I am a new creation. As I have leaned into him through this he has shown me the ways he forgives me.  How he loves me in my ugliest places and I have been able, through prayer and reading scripture, to forgive her.  I have found ways to put my hurt away, to give grace and let God take over. That's the thing about grace, it is UNMERITED favor.  She doesn't deserve forgiveness, she hurt me very badly but I don't deserve forgiveness or grace either.  Grace is not earned it is given, freely, unmerited.  So, thank you God for this grace you gave me. Thank you for showing me how to truly forgive, even when someone is not seeking forgiveness.

May I say again, without Christ this is foreign and impossible.  Maybe it even seems ridiculous.  How could I forgive her after all she did?  Absolutely, it is impossible and I felt like it was impossible. Until I invited God into the problem and realized nothing is impossible in him. He is all about making the impossible come to fruition, that brings him GREAT Glory, and isn't that my goal...

Do it.  Forgive.  Let God do the impossible in you today.  You may have to work really hard at it.  It's not easy, but so worth it.  So WORTH IT!  I am not best friends with her.  I will keep a safe distance right now. But forgiveness has freed me, glorified my God and made me understand his love for me even more.My prayer is that she will see Christ in me and seek him.  That others will hear this story and be changed for the glory of God is the goal.


Hope. Love. Forgiveness. These things are found at the foot of the cross.  If you haven't gone there, may I suggest today seeking forgiveness in Christ so you can also be free.

May your eyes be on him this Christmas.

Much Love,
Chrystan

PS- Forgiveness also applies to yourself. God will forgive you maybe already has, you should also forgive yourself.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

What Dreams May Come: The Journey of an Un-Wed Mother

10 years ago this week there was a frightened girl. A frightened girl who looked into the future and saw only the looming darkness of the unknown.  Covered in shame, rejected by friends, judged by many, she leaned heavily on the few that stayed. As she stepped one heavy foot in front of the other into the darkness she found there was light, because He cannot help but be light in the darkness and he was there.  He was there in the eyes of her parents as they gave grace and love. He was there in the hand of her friend, who literally held her and walked with her each day, each hour, each minute, there till the end.  God was there in the dark to create light and boy did he ever shine brightly.



10 years ago this week I was pregnant, I was not married, I felt alone, ashamed, abandoned and unworthy of love.  Unworthy of the love of my parents, the love of my friends, my family, the love of the man who helped create this child, I felt a shame that was unloveable.  Then there was light.  There was darkness, then there was light.

When Cohen entered my life after 9 months of darkness, loneliness, fear, and shame there was light.  I saw the light of love in his eyes like I had never seen in my life.  I realized that there was grace, God's grace. There in that moment God could not be in darkness so he lit up my life and I was forever changed.



I didn't hold shame after that.  I broke free of that, God freed me there in that moment when I saw light, I was free from the darkness of shame.  The next two years of my life had many trials.  I was struggling to build my career, find my place in the church (which felt impossible), care for Cohen and navigate the awkwardness of co-parenting and all the pain that came with that.  But he held me through the most trying times I have ever endured.

He held me through my family. With love in their hearts for the prodigal daughter they held me with batted breath to see what God would do with this.  Now I see that their hands were the hands of the Father, dripping with love and abundant grace they stood steadfastly by my side, waiting...loving.





He held me through my friend Nicole, the friend who could've walked away but stayed.  She could've have said I was too much, but she prayed instead.  She was there, in the delivery room, holding my hand and crying with me.  She was there when light came back into my life and that is something I could never repay. This was Jesus in her life and grace in mine.  I am forever thankful for a friend that injected herself into my life in such a way that God's light shined in darkness and broke the chains of shame in me.  I pray God blesses her abundantly for this act of love.



He held me through trials.  For 2 years of my life I journeyed through this new life. I had some HUGE stumbles back into darkness but never chose to stay.  I battled depression and the lie of unworthiness that echoed in my mind.  I moved, I found a rekindled love for Christ and I marched forward into the unknown with batted breath, knowing that good was in me.

Cohen Michael Fuller changed me.  He still changes me.  I look into his eyes and I still see that light.  The light that on December 20th, 2005 woke me up and brought me out of the pits.  Each step forward was not easy, but has been nothing but blessing. As I reflect on what this child is I am reminded that no other struggle has been more painful yet more full of abundant love and grace.  I have learned so much through these last 10 years. Mostly that we just all need to be grace givers.  My Pastor says we should be the most joyful people, because in Christ we are made new. I would say yes to that and add to my own story GRACE GIVER. A joyful grace giver, because I have been blessed by God's grace and the grace of team Cohen.

I am immeasurably blessed and forever changed by the 10 years I have had with this child.  I have allowed myself to dream big dreams for him because I know this future is no longer filled with darkness, only great light! Cohen, God has used you to change me forever. My prayer for you is that you will let your light shine in the dark places. That you will lay down your nets and follow him at all costs, knowing that there is no greater life to live.  You were BEAUTIFULLY, WONDERFULLY and FEARFULLY Made in his precious grace filled image.  I love you so much but GOD loves you more.

To the rest of you, hug a single mom today, believe me she needs it more than you can ever imagine. Bathe her in love and grace, the struggle is real!

Much Love,
Cohen's Mom


PS- Here's a look into our journey.  Cohen says this is our family song. I couldn't be more in agreement!

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

With Reckless Abandon: My 34th Year


For my 34th year I want to live with reckless abandon.  Now, before you start to dial the mental facility I want you to hear and know what this means to me.  I spent a lot of time in my life living for myself.  Really more than 25 years at the least was all about me.  I am learning and growing into a space that has caused me to turn outwardly and see the world. I see loss, despair, hunger, loneliness, emptiness, an un-Godly scary world, and sadness around me.  I see the church huddled in their pews refusing to turn outward for fear of the world.  I see fear of man instead of fear of God.  In my 34th year I want to live facing outwardly in reckless abandonmentt. I want to chase, sprint, after God's desires and I want you to run alongside me.



Reckless Abandon: Throw everything you can into it, without caring about the consequences. Give it all you've got.

I will not let my duties fall away. I will still put God first, I will still seek to serve and love and care for Farmer Adam. I will tend to my family, serve them and love them fiercely. All these things will not fall away, they will only gain from a life lived with great intention.


Great intention. Focused on the prize. I will outwardly face and attack the needs of the community around me. God has me broken for the broken. I have prayed so often, "Lord may I see them as you do, break my heart for what breaks yours." He has done that this year. He placed a broken family in my path, a foster child in my home and gave me a heart for the hurting community of women around me. I don't want this masquerade of church life to go on around me. I want authenticity and action.


This year is the year of outreach in my church. I am ready Lord, send me. I will go where you will go, your people will be my people, you will be my God. To the ends of the earth or just down the driveway, I will seek you Lord with Reckless Abandon. Lord, use my gifts and talents for your glory. You have made me to do your work, you have created my FEARFULLY, WONDERFULLY and BEAUTIFULLY in your image Lord. My 34th year and those that follow will be spent chasing hard after you, FEARING GOD NOT MAN. I will seek you with all of my days.


Thank you for hearing my hearts cry readers.  What is yours? If you don't know the answer to that question, may I suggestion opening the nearest Bible and begin to read, start with 1 John. 

Much Love,
Chrystan

Thursday, December 3, 2015

God Heal Our Land: A Hashtag For the People

I am a hashtag girl, love them!  I can't sit here and explain the hashtag but I can say they are a way to make something "trend", to be follow-able online.  So, a hashtag (I use #boymom multiple times a week) goes with a picture you post or tweet or a status update and it follows you forever.  Yes, folks, forever it becomes a part of your online thumbprint FOREVER (she says in a Sandlot type tone)  This week our country saw yet another mass shooting.  The same familiar things played out, the same type of media coverage came onto our screens, we've seen the evacuation again, the police chase and the hunt to take these shooters down.  We have basically had a shooting for everyday this year, that's sad fact.  Our President and many others have stated in interviews, in tweets and posts "Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families during this time". #godisntfixingthis Is the latest hashtag to blow up the Internet today.  The back lash of this was this headline:
How very bold of Daily News to post this as a front pager today.  Then came the online quarrel and cruelness back and forth; Christians and Non-believers hashtag about this post and the #godisntfixingthis and it gets uglier and uglier.  I heard 3 believers that are hosts of the Today show this morning covering the story of this hashtag and Daily News cover. With each statement my heart ached for them.  They were nervous to speak on it, fumbling through their words, trying to tip toe through standing up for their faith.

Let me say in boldness and truth my God's agenda is not your agenda.  He has every right to let us sit in our sin.  You want him to fix a country that has turned their back completely on him?  You want him to lay his hand of peace and love and protect us when we lash out in hatred toward each other. When we bathe ourselves in sin with porn at our finger tips, pastors on infidelity websites all while feeding our egos by obsessing over how many shares and likes our selfie gets.  Lord, forgive us, Lord forgive me.  Christians we are luke warm. Non-believers you are headed down a scary road.  Instead of fighting you and defending my powerful God, let me tell you what prayer has done in my life.

We just built a house. We just moved in to our dream home, that we saved and sacrificed for.  Not just a few months after we moved in, my husband lost his job.  Out of nowhere for no just reason my husband was let go of a good, steady, well paying job for a company that he had been a leader in for 10 years.  Financial security, gone.  And everything stood still and for a moment I felt panic creeping in.  I did what I know to do. I met with God.  I went to the end of my farmhouse table and sat and I cried out (literally, ugly cry) to my God. I warded off panic and fear with prayer.  For over 2 months nothing, no job.  For  almost 3 months we prayed. Our friends prayed. Our family prayed. Our church prayed.  I prayed for my husband to find worth outside of the strong provider gene he has. I prayed peace over us, that no matter what we would find refuge in God.  I never doubted that God would provide for us, never once, God's got this we said over and over to friends who didn't understand why we weren't panicking.  For these months I saw God molding my husband, drawing him into the word and walking closely with him.  I cry now typing it out, because it was beautiful.  Today, this morning GOD FIXED THIS.  My husband walked out of my house at 6:30am to start his new job.  I praise God for his provision of a job, and actually a better paying job!  But I want you to know I praise God because during this time of trouble he provided a calm in our home, he made this time sweet, he brought us nearer to him in many ways. Our marriage is stronger and our walk with God is so very sweet.
Today I cry out to God in prayer for my country, for this world.

Your hashtag doesn't make me doubt God. Your headline doesn't make me hate you.  Your Internet hatred of my sweet Savior only draws me closer to him.  Your attack on prayer only makes me pray harder.  Because scripture tells me I should be fervent in prayer and that if I pray, if I remain humble and turn from these wicked ways that he will heal our land.  God Bless America Land that I love...let us get back to the roots this country was built and away from hashtags that tare away at that.
#godhealourland #godhealyourpeople #godforgiveus



Much Love,
Chrystan


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