Personal Blog by Rhonda Crowdis Hardisty

Archive for February, 2012

Broken Heart

Often people who are broken hearted from the loss of a friend or loved one due to a negative situation find themselves lashing out at the person who hurt them. The truth is both are usually hurt and lashing out does not help either side feel better or resolve the conflict. The more lashing out there is the more pieces the heart is broken into.

I have found myself in this situation at least one time in my life, probably more, but I vividly remember fights of this nature that I had with my children’s father, my first husband. We were so young and found ourselves hurting each other in an attempt to keep ourselves from hurting. These are not fond memories, but I embrace them as a learning experience.

Today, I catch myself taking the time to stop and think before making similar mistakes in current relationships. I also find myself trying to keep my children from making similar mistakes.

The Bible says the tongue is sharper than a two edged sword and just because no weapon formed against us will prosper does not mean we will not get hurt in the attack. Lashing out hurts not only the person under attack, but also the person on attack.

We all regret these actions at some point and should strive to keep ourselves from going this direction at all cost. This becomes easier when we know that blessing them, rather than curing them, puts us at an advantage in God‘s eyes. The Bible says in Luke 6 that loving those who love us makes us no better than anyone else, but loving those who curse and despitefully use us provides a treasure in heaven which is so much more important than any treasure here on earth.

By giving rather than taking we are building up not only the person who hurt us, but ourselves as well.

I have also found that letting it go makes it end so much sooner than holding on. We often hear it said, “Let go, and let God.” I will say it again here. We cannot change things in other people. By reacting to them in a negative way we make ourselves look bad, possibly even worse than the person who took the first stab. By ignoring them and moving on, we not only look better in the long run, but we feel better more quickly.

Sometimes it’s ok to know the truth and not share it. Not everyone cares as much about your truth as you do at that moment, and they may balk at hearing it. The sooner you learn to just let it roll off your back, the sooner you will be back to focusing on the positive and important things in life.

Only you can mend your broken heart. Only you can decide to pick up the pieces and make a difference in your life. Don’t allow someone else to try to make those decisions for you.

 

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Open Heart

“Sometimes, in my darkest moments, I am left with the reality of acceptance. And sometimes it’s ok to NOT know what to do. Because my Heavenly Daddy has all of the answers I need. I am understanding that this very moment is when HE can help me the most. It is when I completely surrender, when I am completely cried out and exhausted of my own strength, that HE can come in and mold me into what truly honours Him. And when I stop trying to change my family, when I stop trying to ‘fix’ it all, that very moment, God says,  “Here I am, I have been waiting for this moment. Thank you for loving me Jesus, I am ready now.”    – Roxanne Bibb Bradford

It can be so difficult to get to the point where you just let go and open your heart to what God has for you. Some people get to their wit’s end before they are able to just give up and give it over to God. Some people never get there. They take things into their own hands thinking God isn’t watching what they are going through.

He is there! He is always there.

God loves every single hair on your head. He placed each one individually. He knows every moment of your pain and is just waiting for you to let Him take control of your life.

He doesn’t need your help. You need His help.

His love is the only thing that can change your circumstances. Trust in Him. Open your heart to Him. Cry out to Him. He is waiting! The only thing stopping him from helping you is YOU! He weeps for you. He loves you. He will never give you more than you can handle, though some times it may seem that you cannot hang on any longer. He is there.

Open your heart. Open your mouth and cry out to Him. He loves you!

You cannot even imagine how you would be missed if you were not here. You are so loved by people, family and friends you may not even think about. They are praying for you on a daily basis even though they have not told you this. They are crying out on your behalf and praising God for your very existence. Reach out to them if you can.

Even if you cannot reach out to anyone else, reach out to God. He is waiting to wrap his arms around you right this moment and comfort you in your darkest moments. He will send the people you need to love and support you. Open your heart and let Him do His work in your life.

He loves you, and so do I.

A Work of Heart

My mother tells me that from the time I was in Kindergarten I wanted to be a teacher. I loved my teachers: Mrs. Henderson, Miss Day, Miss Fox, Mrs. Anthony, Mrs. Hieden. I still to this day remember all of their names, though I may not remember all of their faces.

All through elementary when I played school with my sister and neighborhood friends I was always the teacher. It was my calling!

In 5th grade my parents separated and I was moved from public school to private school. I was always a shy kid, but this forced me out of my comfort zone and led to me becoming even more shy and withdrawn.

I must have gone to school without my hair brushed at times because I remember walking in line to the lunch room with my head down and hearing a high school student say, “Look! It’s Medusa.” You know, the mythological villain with snakes in her hair. Well, with my wavy hair, slept on and unbrushed, I can image it was a frightful site. At the time, however, it was hurtful. My self-esteem was at its lowest already.

If it were not for an amazing woman by the name of Aleta Bainbridge, I am not sure I would have survived that year. She was only about 27 and the mother of a 3-year-old, but she was wise beyond her years. The daughter of a missionary family who served in South Africa, she treated us each as if we were her own children. She often threatened to cut the bangs of one student who lived with her grandmother and always seemed to have hair in her face. I think she actually did get permission to cut them at one point.

I remember going to the bathroom one time and coming back out with bright blue eye shadow on my eyes. I cannot believe I would have ever done such a thing, but I did. Mrs. Bainbridge sent me right back into the bathroom to clean my face before I embarrassed myself. I was not too happy at the moment, but I am so thankful now, even for the little things she did.

We had to memorize scripture and songs in our Bible class. Rather than make us recite them in front of the class, she would take us individually into the hallway to test. I would have failed every time if I had to speak in front of the class. Mrs. Bainbridge knew that her job was to teach us, not to humiliate us. I think some teachers have forgotten this fact.

I will never forget the lessons I learn from Mrs. Bainbridge. Both educationally and spiritually. That year was a pivotal time in my life; my parents divorced soon after and my life was never the same again. Without the loving care of a teacher like Mrs. Bainbridge to get me through it all things might have been very different.

I still remember some of the Swahili that she taught us that year and so many other things. Not because she had a Doctorate in Education, but because she cared. It is often said, “students don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” I am proof of that fact.

I waited almost 20 years after high school to finally follow my calling to teach, but when I  got there I knew it was the place that I belonged. It was the place that Mrs. Bainbridge had prepared me for so many years ago. She didn’t know it then, but her love and support made me a more loving and supportive teacher today. I wish everyone had the experience of learning with a Mrs. Bainbridge of their own at some point in their lives.

Teaching is calling and should come from the heart before it comes from a book!

My Sweetheart

For Valentines Day I want to share with you my love story. It’s a tale of how God brought two people together at just the right time and place.

Les and I met in 1985 at Texas Christian Academy in Arlington. For two years Les dated my best friends and I tormented him relentlessly for every wrong move he made with them. I felt it was my job to make sure my friends were treated well by him and everyone else.

Since January of 1988, Les and I have lived our own lives, only running into each other every few years at Wal-Mart or an unfortunate funeral of a former classmate. Never in a million years did we foresee our lives crossing paths in the way it now has.

In July of 2009, over twenty years after we parted ways, Les found me by chance on a social networking site where many of our former classmates were members and had got to know each other again. I was a little behind the times as I was not a member of this site until that summer. Les and I chatted occasionally online about our families and where we had each been for the past 20 years; finding that we were just 15 minutes away from each other for the past 8 years.

Les’ wife, Belinda, even became my “friend” on this networking site where she and I would sit and laugh about silly things we each knew about Les and his background. She was a very sweet woman, who I believe has been a great influence on Les and directed him to be the man he is today.

Belinda and I made plans to have a mother-daughter day out, shopping or at the movies, with our daughters in September, but my credit card was stolen and I had some extra expenses in the process which kept me from having the funds for the outing until my next pay-day in late October. However, on October 17, 2009, I stared in dis-belief as I read a message posted by Les that Belinda had passed away that morning, Knowing that she had a life long illness, I assumed it was a contributing factor in her passing and began to pray for the family. I sent my cell phone number to Les through a private message for when he needed someone to talk to while dealing with this unthinkable situation. I knew that he had two children who would need his strength to carry them through.

My daughter, Chelsey, and I attended the funeral about a week later. It was beautiful and packed to over-flowing with people whose lives Belinda had touched. It was a very genuine service, especially touching for us were the children she left. Randall wiped the eyes of his sister, Andrea’, as the service continued. This was evidence to me of the kind and loving family she had raised.

As we exited the building after the service my daughter saw Les standing in the parking lot alone. She and I walked over to give him a hug and assure him that he would recover from this tragedy.

Several days later, Les and I chatted online briefly. He was in too much pain to function. A few days after this contact, he called and asked for my help in analyzing the children’s behavior and help in dealing with his own grief. He would text me and ask me how to handle his over whelming pain from the gaping hole in his heart. He would sometimes just tell me that he missed her, and I would tell him that was ok. That he would miss her for the rest of his life, but the pain would get easier to manage in time. It seems that just having someone to talk to, someone to reassure him, was all he needed to carry on for his children.

Les and I talked daily; into the wee hours of the morning, at times. Finally, he was able to return to work and provide for his family again. We agreed to meet weekly for a movie night at his house so that I would observe the kids. My oldest daughter, Chelsey, bonded with Randall and they became fast friends. We both watched as this family pulled itself back together, intent on healing and moving forward.

At some point our conversations became more personal and in December of 2009 we decided to start dating. It was a little odd at first. He kept waiting for me to gripe him out for something like “the old Rhonda” as he calls it. I kept thinking, this is deja vu in some ways, but awkward in others. The more we talked and spent time together the more comfortable and natural our relationship became.

On March 21, 2010, Les took me to Texas de Brazil for lunch and proposed between the entrée and the dessert. Of course, I said “yes” and we started planning to get married in January of the following year. However, as time moved forward we decided, with the blessing of our children, to get married on July 29, 2010 in a small family service at the church in which my children were reared.

A year and a half later we now look back on where we have been and forward to what is to come. It’s an amazing testament to what God is capable of doing in the lives of those who believe he is capable of anything.

A Planners Heart

As a mother I often wonder where my children will be in 5 years, or 10 years. Will they ever grow up and be able to make it on their own? Will they ever be able to survive without me. Seriously! My children want to live on their own, but life makes it so difficult to get there.

I remind them that they need a plan. Whether it’s a two-year plan or a four-year plan, they need a plan. They need to decide now, where they want to be in that time frame; where they need to be in that time frame.

From the time they were born they have always had a plan, but someone else has always been in charge of that plan. Parents make plans for their children until they are at least in school. Teachers make plans for them for the next 13 years. Every stage of their life they have someone helping them to plan the right direction to go and the right steps to take, until they get out of high school. Yes, some go on to college or trade school, but that’s a choice. That’s a plan they make for themselves, unless they have parents who strongly push them in that direction.

I think it’s time, as a parent, to let them start planning for themselves. Then again, I am a planner. I love to plan things. Whether it’s a birthday party, a school event, vacation or just a date with my husband. I like to plan things. Doesn’t everyone? Lol.

The first step is deciding where they eventually want to be. What do they want to do when they grow up, or even two years from now? Will it need college, trade school or just experience in a certain field? They can easily find this information online. What did we ever do without the internet?! Next they need to decide the time frame it will take to carry out this goal. For my children, the goal has to do with moving out. So, they are setting a time frame for accomplishing the goals necessary for being able to move out. They are planning on completing a certain phase of school before making the move so that they are able to support themselves in their new lifestyle.

As a former Family Consumer Science teacher, I have always taught my students and children to be proactive; to plan everything out in advance. They need to plan for the obvious as well as the unforseen. High school and college age young adults do not all think about the ins and outs of living on their own. They don’t think about the deposits they may need to pay to turn on utilities, or even the cost of providing for their own cell phone, internet or car insurance. Those things just happen without effort, right? Lol.

So, I have asked that they put together a list of expenses they expect to pay once they are on their own. I have also asked that they put together a list of what they plan to take with them from the house when they leave, and what other items they will need to buy. It is really an eye-opening experience for them, and possibly for a parent as well.

As a parent, are you planning to allow your children to take everything in their room when they leave? The bed, the furniture, the television and DVD player?

As a young adult have you thought about providing dishes, cookware, and appliances for your own kitchen once you move out?

There are several good resources online when you type in “child moving out”. There are checklists available to give them reason to put more thought into the idea of moving out before they take a giant leap they cannot undo. Even if they are not willing to look this up for themself (because they know-it-all already), it would be helpful to know when you are planting information in their ears. Believe it or not, they are listening and will gain some value from what you tell them.

It it also important that they follow God’s plan for their lives. “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11 NIV). If they are moving out-of-state or out of the area, whether for school or for a job, it is so important to instill in them the need for a new church as soon as they arrive. This can be one of the most important connections they make in setting up their future!

Planning and goal setting go hand in hand. A teacher on my campus has a sign on his door that says “the most important thing about having goals is having one.” It’s the first step without which there would never be a second or third step. Set your goals and make plans to reach them. They do not happen without planning and succeeding with those plans.

Rich and Satisfied Heart

The Bible tells us that Jesus “purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.” (John 10:10NLT).  How are you allowing Him to give you this rich and satisfying life? How is He using you to enrich and satisfy the lives of your family and friends? Do you use your influence to enrich their lives or do you just use them to enrich yours?

In Judges 16: 4-22, Delilah uses her influence to strip Sampson of his strength. How often do use your influence to strip your loved ones of their strength. Do you manipulate them to follow your will, even though it may not be the best thing for them? Delilah may be an extreme scenario, but so often I catch myself thinking about what someone else can do for me, and not what I can do for them. These are the same thing.

Proverbs says, “as iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.”

Using your gifts and strengths to support and uplift others, actually builds you up as well. The opposite is also true. If you are using other people to build yourself up, you are tearing them down. Eventually, it tears you down too. You may think you are getting ahead, but in the long run you are burning bridges and building up walls between yourself and others.

Joyce Meyer posted the following statement, “God sees people as His own treasures, so be careful how you treat them.”

In order to get the rich and satisfying life that God has promised, you need to give to building up others as well. It’s that simple.

Whose iron will you sharpen today?

How will you treat God’s treasures?

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