Planted By God to Display His Glory -Isaiah 61:3

Posts tagged ‘healing’

New Blog Address: Coloring Life Beautiful

Friends, I’m moving to two new blog addresses!
coloring life beautiful

It’s time for me to step fully into the work God has done in my life over the last two years since starting here at Sunny Side Up.

The funny thing is…I never wanted to blog. My husband told me I should, so I thought I’d give it a try…perhaps hoping to show him it really wasn’t for me!

But it was.

For me.

My healing has come through the writing…the journaling, the praying, the laughing and the crying. Eventually it led me to discover this:

Jesus colors my life beautiful.

Even when, and especially when, life seems anything but beautiful.

Coloring Life Beautiful, is the new place where I’ll play and create with words in an attempt to illustrate for you the beauty of my life with Jesus.

Beauty Minute is where I share daily inspirational beauty moments I’ve collected including stories, photos, videos, Beauty Minuteartwork, poems, and of course–laughter.

Life isn’t always beautiful, but when I’ve opened the book of my heart to my best friend and savior, He’s rewritten my black-inked days in red.

He’s taken my pain, shame, guilt, and sorrow and re-colored them through the redemption of His shed blood for me.

It’s a continually written story, always being re-colored, day by day. But thankfully, His mercies are new every morning, and He stays faithful to the promise of each day’s sunrise.

There’s so much to share about coloring life beautiful…about healing…and about becoming in the overcoming.

Beauty is God’s handwriting. The handwriting of Love in your story and mine.

Join me over at Coloring Life Beautiful and Beauty Minute and let’s read some of it together, shall we?

IMG_2790Linda Crawford

You’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse.

Philippians 4:8 MSG

Click here to visit Coloring Life Beautiful

Click here to visit Beauty Minute

© Linda Crawford 2013

Pondering the number 3

It’s been three months since I’ve written a blog post.

A lot can happen in three months…

I have three months of wonderful memories shared with family and friends.

I’m three months older (which, at my age, is not something I celebrate)…

Wait…I’m older, but am I also three months wiser?

Oh yes, I believe I am.

I’m wiser and I’m transformed. Older, but renewed.

All because of three miraculous days in June, and the three months of healing that have followed.

So I ponder the number 3 today…

It was three days before Jesus rose from the dead.

Three is a number of RESURRECTION.

Thank you Jesus for the resurrection life you poured into me during those three days and have continued to pour out these last three months.

Three is the number of DIVINE PERFECTION—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit–the fullness of God.

You don’t need a telescope, a microscope, or a horoscope to realize the fullness of Christ, and the emptiness of the universe without him. When you come to him, that fullness comes together for you, too. His power extends over everything. Colossians 2:9-10 MSG

Thank you God, for calling me to empty myself of the things that filled my life that were not of you—pain, fear and sins of unbelief–and filling me with the fullness of your life.

3, you have been good to me.

Soon I’ll write a testimony of your goodness, your mercy, and your healing power Lord. But for today, I’ll ponder your Divine perfection and the power of your resurrection life at work in me…

The number three “signifies and represents the Holy Spirit as taking the things of Christ and making them real and solid in our experience.” –biblestudy.org

You are making them real to me.

Thank you Lord, for 

©Linda Crawford 2012, all rights reserved

Spend Yourself: How Helping Others Can Help You

Sharing at Internet Cafe Devotions today!

…if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday. Isaiah 58:10 NIV


Helping OthersThis scripture hit me over the head like a two-by-four about ten years ago.
 I was grieving the recent loss of a dear family member and adjusting to a 6,000 mile move back to the U.S. after three years living abroad…then September 11, 2001 happened.

It was too much grief to bear and the darkness of it closed in upon me. To make matters worse, there was no “rewind” button to jump back into the friendships and church community I had left three years before. Things were different, I was different, and my old friends had moved on.

Except for the immediate family of my husband and daughter, I was desperately alone, and in emotional pain the likes of which I never imagined possible to live through.

I clung to my Bible for comfort to help me rest through the darkest hours of night and ransacked the pages during the day, desperately looking for crumbs of hope to live on.

It was on one of those desperate searches one day I found more than a crumb to live on—I found an endless feast of truth in Isaiah 58.

IF you spend yourself, THEN the light will enter your darkness…

Click here to read the rest of my story.

Have a blessed day spending away!  🙂

~Linda

Rewind 1 Year: Bad Days Happen

Bad Days Happen

(This was originally posted on February 8, 2011, and it’s an amazing thing that God led me back to it tonight, February 8, 2012. Tomorrow I am going in for knee surgery, another step toward my healing from the injury that has sidetracked my life for 2 1/2 years now. I needed to read this tonight. I need to keep my perspective on the right things–the things of God. May it bless you today, whether it’s your first or second time reading it. Tomorrow’s going to be a good day, I just know it!)

I had a good day last week. Followed by a bad day. Followed by a moderately bad day, which was followed by a moderately good day. None of which were caused by my choice to quit caffeine last week.

This is just how I rate my life these days. Good, bad, and the moderate ones in-between. It’s become a habit, and another one (like the caffeine) that I’d like to break. But it’s tough, because I’ve been at it for over a year now, ever since that one very bad day happened.

Have you experienced one of those? I bet you have, and whatever your story is, I pray for you…because I know the pain. Literally. For me it’s been coping with unrelenting physical pain, but I know for others it can be unrelenting emotional pain. And so we rate our days: good, bad, and in-between…

On the good days I will call you and chat and maybe even go to the movies. On the bad days you won’t see or hear from me. Only my family sees, but I even try to hide the pain from them. So they won’t start rating their days good or bad based upon mine.

What really got me thinking about how I rate my days was an article I read last week by my favorite writer called 8 ½ Steps to Make it Through the Moderately-Worst Day of Your Life. It made me laugh but also gave me a good dose of God’s grace and hope:

“Even on days when absolutely nothing is going your way, and you watched your toast walk off the plate and jump to the ground butter-side-down, there is something you can control. You. Your outlook, your attitude and your level of optimism.” 

Yup, I can control me. I can control what I choose to focus on and what I choose to believe. And when I make the right choices my best days are the ones when God gets the attention instead of the pain:

“Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes.” Matthew 6:34 (The Message)

“Give my attention to what God is doing right now”…right now. Today, this moment, and every moment, pain or no pain, God is working in me. Working good things. Things that can only be formed in the heat of the furnace of my pain. And I’m a better person because of that.

So I won’t give up. And neither should you:

“So we’re not giving up. How could we! Even though on the outside it often looks like things are falling apart on us, on the inside, where God is making new life, not a day goes by without his unfolding grace. These hard times are small potatoes compared to the coming good times, the lavish celebration prepared for us. There’s far more here than meets the eye. The things we see now are here today, gone tomorrow. But the things we can’t see now will last forever.” 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 (The Message)

Not a day goes by… I’m going to endeavor to stop rating my days good or bad based on my pain, and instead rate them all good based on God’s unending grace and love, and His promise for the blessings of my future. Besides, as my favorite author says:

“Bad days happen, but after they are over–that’s just it. They are over. Don’t give a bad day more recognition than it deserves, because it doesn’t deserve any. Stupid bad days.”

Stupid bad days indeed.

Have a good day!   🙂

                   -Linda

By the way, in case you were wondering, my favorite author happens to be Sarah Elizabeth Crawford. Who, in addition to ministering to her Mom, speaks to teen girls through her articles in SUSIE magazine. And you betcha I think she is great!

Copyright Linda Crawford, Sunny Side Up (not scrambled) 2012. All rights reserved.

Five Minute Friday: IN REAL LIFE

IN REAL LIFE

In real life there are toothpaste streaks in my sink. Mail and papers piled up on my counter. Five foot weeds in my rose garden. And these things make me sad. They steal my joy and point out my shortcomings and long-standing disability.

But yesterday I walked. Walked in the sunshine for only the second time in the last two years. It was only eight minutes, but it was eight minutes of victory. Victory over my real life for the last two years. Too much pain, too much lost hope, too many lost days of doing and being in the real life I want to live.

But victory. Overcoming. I can see for the first time that my real life, the one I’ve only dreamed of as I was sidetracked by the pain…it can be. Will be, and my hope and faith, even in the midst of it all survived. And thrived.

In real life. I breathe, I walk, I love, and I hope.

Someday I’ll dance…

Time’s up! Join in the fun and write your own five minutes on IN REAL LIFE. Click on the link to The Gypsy Mama below.



© Linda Crawford, Sunny Side Up (not scrambled), 2011.  All rights reserved.

Is it Okay to Love Myself?

Dear Readers,

I’m taking myself on a writing retreat for the month of September (unfortunately still at home with dirty dishes and laundry), in order to REALLY work on and hopefully finish my first non-fiction book. I’ve started two others over the years that both made it to publishers committees, but I wasn’t ready. I pray I am now! In the meantime, I’ve dug out chapters and excerpts from my previous two book attempts to share with you. The first book I started was called:

Escape From Wonderland: How to Stop Chasing Fantasies and Live in the Realities of Your Faith

Hope you enjoy it! Here’s Part I of Chapter 4…

Is it Okay to Love Myself?

“Sometimes she scolded herself so severely as to bring tears into her eyes…for this curious child was very fond of pretending to be two people.”                                                – Alice in Wonderland

Am I Cinderella or a Princess of the King?

I told my husband a few years back that a strange thing was happening to me—I was starting to feel good about myself. I was beginning to think I was a good person. “Is that okay?” I asked.

“What if it’s pride? How will I know?”

“Don’t worry,” my tell-it like-it-is husband assured me, “I’ll be sure to let you know!”

What a distorted perception I had of the “right” thoughts to think about myself. I had interpreted the scripture “Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought” (Romans 12:3) to mean it was wrong to think any good thoughts about myself. I believed proper Christian humility was to think poorly of myself. I thought being a good Christian woman meant living life as Cinderella—a hidden existence of humble servitude.

Being humble to me meant trying to balance performance scores in my head. Every time I felt a teeny bit successful or received any form of compliment I would immediately think of all the things that were wrong with me—I had to negate any thoughts that might pop into my head that something might be right. I had a minus for every pIus. Then I had to find even more minuses so I could always end up on the negative side of the scale.

I didn’t need anyone else’s criticism; I was my own worst judge. I didn’t even need an enemy; I was my own worst enemy. I could aim with sharpshooter accuracy my own fiery darts of accusation. After all, I knew my vulnerabilities better than anyone. I knew I wasn’t really worthy and I knew how to convince myself it was the truth.

It’s amazing that despite all my ferocious attacks against myself, I was never able to extinguish my hidden dream of being a princess—of being a somebody who was a somebody! Somewhere in my heart of hearts I knew I was really not a Cinderella, that my true hidden Christian identity was to be a princess of the King! So while I “humbly” tried to live as a sub-servant servant, I secretly dreamed of the day Jesus would show up and the shoe would finally fit.

I thought it would be like the fairy-tale and one day I would be Cinderella and the next I would be that princess. I had no idea that it would take years and years for God to rewrite the scripts in my head first.

I’m My Own Worst Enemy

Despite my laundry list of doubts about myself, I was somehow able to “put myself out there” and try doing things that were out of my Cinderella comfort zone. Like teaching a Bible study class. After my first night of teaching I decided I was going to go home and curl up into a ball and never venture out of my house again. I scolded myself so severely over what I had said or didn’t say, and flogged myself with my list of faults and inadequacies until I was a sobbing mess.

I cried for hours. But the next week I went out and taught again, and cried again. I continued this cycle for years. I would step out into ministry and do my best, then go home and beat myself up for a week.

It encouraged me to find examples in the Bible of true heroes of the faith who also experienced times of self-doubt and even despair about who they were. Elijah, for example, a prophet and a man of great humility and faith, conquered the prophets of Baal and called down fire from heaven, then packed up and ran to hide in the desert. After a great victory on the mountain he fell into the depths of discouragement.

“I have had enough, Lord,” he said. “Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors.” 1 Kings 19:4 (NIV)

How well I knew this feeling! And all I was doing was teaching a Bible study class!

I was, like the description of Alice at the beginning of this chapter, a curious child of God, pretending to be two people…

One who could do all things through Christ, and one who couldn’t. I had the scripts for both parts well memorized. But I couldn’t continue to play them this way forever.

Pretending to be anything other than the truth of who we are takes way too much energy. Thankfully, I began to get sick (literally) and tired of acting in the sad, overly dramatic play that had become my life.

I knew enough of the truth about what God said about me in the Bible to know that I was supposed to be believing it instead of attacking it. But the old habits of my thought life were deeply ingrained. I prayed for God to help me learn to live in the truth of the scripture.

Romans 12:2 became a guide for the re-writing of my scripts.

“Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think.” (NLT)

You know the old adage “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks.” Well, I’m not a dog, but I might as well have been! It seemed nearly impossible for my old mind to learn to renew itself. I found I had to turn my thoughts against myself again.

Only this time, instead of attacking the positive thoughts I went on a mission to attack the negative thoughts—to erase every minus thought with a plus and try to end up on the positive side for a change.

         To be continued in Part II…

         Have you found it hard to love yourself?

         Share your story in the comments!

         I’ll be back with Part II in a few days!

      ~Linda

© Linda Crawford, Sunny Side Up (not scrambled), 2011.  All rights reserved.

To Wanna-be….Or To Be?

Confessions from my writer’s desk

I can’t seem to stop writing today.

Words, in caffeinated-like frenzy, somersault down the slide from brain to keyboard-glued fingertips.

I scribble notes as I take my shower.

Thankfully, the ink doesn’t run.

I stop the hairdryer to capture a few more as they whizz by in reckless abandon.

I arrange and rearrange them. More shout to get out and join the happy flood.

Five hours pass.

I forget to eat.

I’ve been away somewhere, yet right here all day.

I’ve felt fear, sadness, and despair.

My teeth have clenched.

My shoulders tensed.

My stomach knotted.

Later they release.

Joy, hope, and love return in a welcome relief.

Something has changed in me today. The spring of words that was tapped into is like no other spring I’ve ever known.

I didn’t even WANT to write today.

I wanted a lazy home alone day. I wanted to plant flowers. Take a nap. Read a book.

But I thought I would take a passing look at the chapter I finished on Monday first. The one in the book I’m writing…and endeavoring to live.

I fixed a phrase. Revised an awkward transition, added a new paragraph…

A paragraph that was hard to write. One that cost me. Cost me my pride, my writer’s pretense, and my avoidance of the real me.

Because it was me. Using words to share about me. Telling truths I never wanted to tell.

And then suddenly the words would not stop. Out of control, yet perfectly controlled by a deeper part of my writer self.

One I have never met before today.

Because I am a reluctant spokesperson for God. More afraid that my weaknesses will fail Him, than I am confident that He can do what He says He will do.

A Moses-like writer, a stuttering failure, who carries a pen as a staff in her hand. And God says,

“Throw it down”

Then

“Pick it back up and write. And I will set my people free.”

I dare not believe it. I can only obey.

Yet I know I am different. God’s taken more control, freed me more from self…to be myself.

And I know…I am no longer a wanna-be.

I am.

A writer. A fool for Christ.

My words have been set free.

But not to teach.

TO HEAL.

Because healing words are not from the head. They bleed from the heart…to transfuse God’s love to a broken world.

I pray my future readers will see the drops of blood I shed on the pages of that book today. I pray God will use them to heal, even as I’ve been healed in the writing of them.

And now I pause in my writing to wonder, have you been a wanna-be too? Can you hear God asking you to throw down what you hold so tightly in your hand? The very thing He has spoken to you that He can use to set his people free?

Will you stay a wanna-be, or will you BE?

Yes, that is the question.

I bet you didn’t want God to ask you that question today, anymore than I did.

But He did. Because it’s time my friend,

to:

…bind up the brokenhearted,

to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners,

to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God,

to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion—

to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.

                   -Isaiah 61:1-3

I’m praying for you. For you to BE!

The world is waiting for exactly what you have to share.

And so am I.

~ Linda

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