Tag: Religion

How Do You Feel?

2881E7B6-04D2-452F-B53F-A48FBD2B60B8This morning, a Facebook writing group moderator posted the question, “How do you feel?” With a picture of Spock in front of the computer. The computer was asking the question of Spock and, being half Vulcan, he didn’t understand the question. His mother explained that the computer knows he’s half human, and is simply asking him how he feels in that context. Spock, in true Vulcan form, replies, “The question is irrelevant.” But is it? Even Spock has feelings, whether he chooses to acknowledge them or not.

As I sat there for a few minutes, pondering the question, I was slightly overwhelmed by what I really was feeling. Here’s what I came up with.

Depressed because I used to see my oldest four sons at least once a week, and I miss their big bear hugs, and refrigerator raids with, “What’s good to eat?” queries. I haven’t see them in person in two months.

Thankful for FaceTime so we can at least have cyber visits.

Annoyed because I used to enjoy going shopping and wandering aimlessly through malls, and visiting Barnes & Nobel, but now the options are extremely limited, and B&N is out of the question.

I miss going to the library only one block from my house, and where some of my friends work.

I miss meeting up to go out to eat every Thursday morning, when my husband is coming off night shift, and my youngest son and I are just getting our day started.

I miss seeing people’s faces, knowing they’re smiling without having to look for the eye crinkles behind the mask, and chatting with total strangers about random commonalities while out running errands.

I miss turning on the TV and radio without having to hear the latest death toll, and what to do to stay safe and healthy.

I miss not ever having heard the phrases, “Social Distancing” & “Shelter In Place.”

I miss opening Facebook and NOT seeing the term COVID-19 every other post.

I feel disappointed by all the people who have shown their true colors by hoarding food and toilet paper, behaving atrociously in public places, stealing their neighbors deliveries, and harassing their fellow humans.

I miss writing without the influence of being under lockdown and the depression it causes.

I feel sad for the high school students who will miss out on the prom, and both high school & college students who will not be walking in a hard-earned graduation ceremony this year.

I feel horrible for all the younger generation for having their own version of The Plague during what should be a time of discovery, growth, and celebration of life before having to settle into a life of adult responsibilities.

I feel afraid of what could be yet to come, but hopeful that things will get better.

I have faith in God, and pray for humanity every day, but still go over all the other things in my mind almost constantly.

Mostly, I feel tired.

So no, Mr. Spock, I don’t agree that the question is irrelevant, but I do know that even you eventually discovered that, and in the end, you sent a message to your mother. A message I hope we will all echo soon.

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Wait!!

9B5E527D-5FFA-47D3-8DA3-9BCC16D3AD9B“Sometimes it’s hard to see the forest for the trees.” That’s an old saying my grandparent’s generation used when we needed to focus on the here and now and stop trying to see what’s in the future, because we can’t actually see the future. We can’t know everything, and we cannot control everything, only God can.

That can be hard on some of us humans. We can see what we want, but not how to get it. We can see what we need, but not always what needs to be done to achieve it. That’s where faith comes in. God always knows what’s in store for us, and what needs to happen to get to where we need to be. All we need to do is trust in Him.

I have all these dreams and goals in mind, and I know I want to do things in my lifetime that will last well after I leave this earth. I have five sons who are my legacy, and I am proud of them, and want the best for them. However, there are other things I would like to do, be, and achieve. When I was young, I wanted to be a teacher and an author. As an adult, I worked in the public school system for twelve years—first as a program coordinator, then as a behavior specialist. I loved working with kids, and I was good at it, but my career ended abruptly when I was injured and forced to walk with a cane for about three years.

Fun Fact: Public schools—at least in Northern California—will not allow adults who must use a cane to be employed with them because they consider it a liability, yet they do cater to disabled students. I have worked with many disabled students and they are some of the most wonderful people I’ve ever met in my life. I just don’t think it’s the nicest thing that school districts discriminate against disabled adults.

Let’s talk about my dream of being an author for a moment… I love to write. I wrote a book, (I write hard-boiled detective/crime fiction) and published it on January 22, 2020. I want to be a successful author. I would love to see my books sell in the millions and be able to reach readers the world over. I want to buy a house. For the first time in my life, I would love to own a home. I’d like to leave it to my kids and leave them an inheritance that will sustain them for years to come.

I would like to help people in need. I’ve always been one of those people who give the few dollars I have left in my wallet, to someone on a street corner. Or donate to a good cause for a sick pet, friend, or family member. I’ve given away several of my typewriters to those who express an interest in writing, or have some terrible, difficult story they want to tell even if only to themselves. My heart goes out to people who are in bad situations. If I have something to give of myself, I do it. I enjoy it.

The problem is—I can’t always see the future. I don’t always know what will happen next, or when it will happen, and that makes me very impatient sometimes. I try not to be. I try to remember to be faithful, and put my trust in The Lord, but sometimes I do have a hard time with that. What do I do in those times? I pray. I just have a simple conversation with God and ask Him what he needs from me. I ask Him to show me what He wants me to do and then I try my best to listen.

It’s funny, but when I sat down to write this post, I was feeling a little down because I had just looked at my book sales for this week and was disappointed with the fact that only four copies sold all week. I was frustrated and wanted to think about anything but that, so I sat down with the intention of working on the second book in the series in order to focus my frustrations in a productive direction.

Before I work on my books, I always do little finger exercises and just type random thoughts as they come to me in order to loosen up my fingers and get the blood flowing through my brain. That way, the words can flow easier. Then this happened. What began as a simple writing exercise born of frustration, ended up being a way for The Lord to remind me to be patient and let Him work. Sometimes the reason we can’t see the forest for the trees, is because the path hasn’t yet been cleared, and we need to wait. Just wait. It’ll happen. Have faith.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make straight your paths.” —Proverbs 3:5–6

 

By the way—Just in case you’d like to read my book, the links to all the sources can be found Here    🙂

Doing What’s Right

abideLet me just tell you, I have been struggling for a topic for the blog the past couple weeks. So much so, that I’ve become exasperated and prayed for the Lord to lead me and tell me what to write. Of course, I should probably doing that on a regular basis instead of sometimes, like I’ve been wont to do. Anyhoo…

With very few exceptions, I don’t like most Christian music or singing hymns and songs in church. I’m sorry, I know that’s not very Christian of me, but it’s the truth and I hope y’all understand that I’m telling you this to make a point. Okay? Okay.

So this morning, at the new church we started attending about a month ago, I was singing along with the congregation, while reading the words on the two big screens at the front – by the way, I absolutely love that this church does that! So incredibly helpful! – and as I was singing one song in particular, I was thinking how much I didn’t actually like that song. But it wasn’t written for me, it was written for God with the intent of bringing glory to His name and worshiping Him, so I was obedient and sang along. Why? Because the Lord has done SO MUCH for me and my family, that this one small thing is nothing in comparison, and yet it brings glory to God and Jesus, who, of course is God in the flesh! Hallelujah!

No sooner had that hit me, than the Lord told me, “Crystal, that is your topic! Write about doing something because it is the right thing to do even if it’s not what you want to do!” It it me so hard, I had to write myself a note to remember that, right in the middle of the song! Praise the Lord!

Now I believe that when you ask for something spiritual from the Lord, and He gives it to you, He will very often follow it up once or twice more in confirmation, so you know it was indeed Him, and not your own worldly mind. Interesting thing happened next. The very next song had the most wonderfully appropriate line for this occasion – “Jesus, I sing for all that you’ve done for me!” Hallelujah and Praise the Lord again! Two signs in a matter of minutes! God is so good, is He not?!

Did you see what happened there?

  1. I asked God for something. In this case, inspiration.
  2. I was WILLINGLY, (not begrudgingly) obedient to the Lord and what He asks of me, whether or not I actually like doing that one thing. In this case, singing Christian songs.
  3. God immediately answered my prayer by giving me inspiration during the time I was willingly showing my obedience to Him!

WOW! Is that powerful or what?!

Today’s message at church was about ABIDING in Him, and He in us. The verses Pastor Dustin at Windborn Church shared with us, are very much in line with this message, and I believe that was the third sign.

In John 15:5, Jesus says, “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me, you can do nothing.”

What happened? I was abiding (and we should always be abiding in the Lord, shouldn’t we?) in Him, and He in me, and the prayer I asked of the Lord, bore fruit, and now here I am, sharing that fruit with YOU! Praise the Lord and Hallelujah again!!! What a blessing!

So obedience really pays off, doesn’t it? Sure it does! When you were a kid, and you wanted ice cream or cake or cookies, but your parents told you, “You need to clean your plate or eat your veggies before you can have desert.” what did you do? You cleaned that plate and ate those veggies, I’m guessing! I know I sure did! So what happened? You were obedient to what your parents knew was for your own good, and then you were rewarded for your obedience!

That’s what happened to me today! I was obedient to my Heavenly Father, and I was rewarded/blessed with the fruit of the spirit. Why? Because even if I don’t actually like a certain song, it is always a blessing to me because it feeds my spirit and reminds me how good God is! It’s a really wonderful thing! Give it a try! Go and abide in God, be obedient to what He asks of you, and enjoy the desert He gives you, aka; your blessings!

John 15:8 – “By this, my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.”

The word “abide” in the time of Jesus, mean something a little different than it does today. It meant “Live” and “Dwell”. In other words, Jesus is asking us to live with and in Him, and He will live with and in us. I personally think that’s pretty cool. Don’t you?

Many Blessings to you!

C.A. Bennett – Writer

Past vs. Future

This morning, my youngest son and I went to church for the first time in a very long time. We – my husband, the kid, and I – usually read our bibles on our own at home, and share what we learn with one another, friends and family and vice versa. That’s all great, and I’m sure God doesn’t mind that, but I have really been feeling the need to actually go to church for quite some time now, but didn’t because the church I’d been going to contained an element that made me very uncomfortable. I won’t go into details, but suffice to say, It’s been awhile.

Anyway… This morning, we went to a church recommended to me by a friend, who’s opinion and council I trust, and I was not disappointed! The church building and it’s parishioners were warm and welcoming, the music was really good, and the words projected onto a big screen on the wall, and the most important part – the message – was wonderful!

We heard about Jesus and how He came from God through the common people, Mary and Joseph, instead of the family of Herod, the Pharisees, the politicians, etc. The reason is – or should be – obvious. God was directly reaching out to the common person, aka; you and me! He gave us someone we could relate to! What a blessing!

Another thing I loved hearing today was in regards to the past vs. the future. There is a quote most people have heard at one time or other by George Santayana, who wrote (in The Life of Reason, 1905): “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

While that may be true, I would like to suggest something I hadn’t thought of in a long time, and that we heard in church this morning.

Philippians 3:12-14

Not that I have already obtained, or am already made perfect: but I press on, if so be that I may lay hold on that for which also I was laid hold on by Christ Jesus. Brethren, I count not myself yet to have laid hold: but one thing I do, forgetting the things which are behind, and stretching forward to the things which are before, I press on toward the goal unto the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

So I leave you with this; Learn from your past mistakes so that you don’t repeat them, yes. But having done so, let them go, so you can focus on the future and what God has in store for you! Don’t hold onto that which you cannot change, because your past can also be an anchor that drags you down. God has good plans for you, so keep looking forward!

Praise The Lord!

C.A. Bennett – Writer