I Accept

The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.
— Proverbs 16:9 (ESV)
Photography: Vanna Dutch

Photography: Vanna Dutch

I am writing this because I have been asked by a local Moms Next (Mops) group to sit on a panel and talk about what it's like to integrate our dreams/goals/passions with our families.


For me, it's something that runs through my veins. It is as much a part of me as my wild curly hair, need for physical touch, and love for dance. My passion lies deep within who I am. My passion is my broken heart for humanity and caring for the least, the lost, and the last in our broken world. God has placed a mandate on my life for social justice. 

 The one thing that got me through University no matter how much I disliked it, was knowing how it would equip me with tools and skills to help others in our world. Now that I have my degree in International Relations, it is easy to see how it has helped and enriched my life, but when I was going through the struggle of staying up late to write papers or prep for tests, it wasn't always easy to keep my eye on the prize. I had to continually remind myself why I was pursuing this goal and how it would help me pursue my passion.

After graduating, my amazing husband and I had just moved to a foreign country and already had two children. I was excited and ready to get started working outside the home to make a difference in the lives of others. But no jobs came, no volunteer work, nobody who I could collaborate with me on issues, nothing. Then, we decided to have a baby! (another long story for another day). I was desperate to pour myself into my passion (outside the home) but had no way of pursuing it.

This place made my feel unhappy and desperate. I started to become bitter and resentful over my inability to work to give and to pour out. In this place of resentment, I started to blame the people I love most in this world, my husband and my children. Then, one day I realized in a moment of clarity that my passion, which was given to me by God, will be carried out by God! I didn't need to strive in my own ability or vain conceit to clench my passion. Instead, I started to ask God to help my natural mind understand his supernatural power. I serve a God who made a donkey talk (Numbers 22:28), a God who gave his one and only Son to save us from ourselves (John 3:16). He is able to overcome the obstacles I face and work everything out according to his plan and purpose in my life. I needed to change my focus from striving to overcome the obstacles in front of me, to preparing my heart to be a steward of what God had given me. It was my responsibility to be faithful with what God had given me and let God produce the increase.

It was after this shift in my heart that God birthed All of Us Matter. Over the past year, like a baby growing in the womb, All of Us Matter has begun to form. Just as pregnancy and labor is not easy, neither was this past year with All Of Us Matter. There have been moments of extreme joy and moments where it all just made me nauseous. But, as I learned in school, the process is not always easy but if I keep my eye on the prize, the why I am doing this, it is worth it. It is worth it for the least, the last, and the lost, that will be set free because I was willing to be faithful with what God had given me.

Yet, being a mom of three young kids, a teacher of homeschool, keeper of my house, member of my church, and the founder of All of Us Matter, I was stressed! I needed some practical ways to manage everything on my plate. Then, I was listening to one of my favorite podcast, The Art of Simple, one day and Tsh Oxenreider, the host, recommend a youtube yoga teacher called Yoga with Adriene. The last time I had done yoga was when I was pregnant with Ava and had sciatica and was desperate for relief but quickly decided it wasn't my thing. So six years later I decided to pick it up again. Knowing I needed some form of exercise to keep my body healthy and manage stress, I tried online workout videos and even P90X, but they didn't make me feel good, and only stressed me out more and made me feel tense. 

I am a high energy person and my mind bounces from one thing to the next like a ping pong ball, but after the first Yoga with Adriene video, I understood how badly I needed stillness and intentionality. In this first video, I attempted to complete this yoga practice in the middle of the day with my baby in the pack n' play crying, one child on the sofa watching me and talking to me and the other child using me as a bridge when in downward dog! 

Yoga is not about touching your toes, It is what you learn on the way down.
— Jigar Gor

Adriene asked that we pick a mantra for the day and she suggested maybe it's I Accept. This simple phrase meant everything to me in that moment. I prayed and declared my acceptance of my stage in life, I accepted that life was hard in the trenches with littles, I accepted that in order to have quiet time, I needed to wake up early, I accepted that I needed to meet with God on a daily, hourly, and minutely basis. I accepted that as a family we have chosen to homeschool and my kids are my highest priority, I accepted that housework would have to give for a while until I figured out a new rhythm or even hired someone and so forth, I accepted that I needed to respect my husband and ask for forgiveness over my resentment.  At this point, All of Us Matter had been birthed but I was only working on it when I had time. After that Matthew supported me and we hired a nanny and I started having 15 hours a week to dedicate to working and building All of Us Matter. Living out my passion has been no simple process, I have had to take a few twirls around the desert learning to trust God and be faithful in walking in the right direction because my road-mapping has, lead me off the path more than a few times. Believe me this readjusting will never end and I know God will never leave me nor forsake me.

What do you need to accept, in order to move forward?

Start conversations that matter, let's be a voice to the voiceless. 

Crystal, Founder, and Visionary at All of Us Matter

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Crystal Russell