Archibald Family

Archibald Family

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

The Fork In The Road

My heart has been so heavy.  So many decisions to make.  And I'm torn in so many directions.  I have been prompted to write things down and weigh the pros and cons, but I just don't do it.  I have to vocalize my dilemmas but yet there isn't anyone to really hear me out.  Don't get me wrong … God's ears must be pretty soar right now.  I keep hearing from my close ones how God will show me.  I trust that statement to be true, because I trust my God to hold onto His promises.  I believe He cares for me and for the choices before me, yet I still don't have my answers and I'm a bit stir crazy with the unknowing.

My career direction is at hand at the moment.  I have a job that I have enjoyed the past six years, yet the joy is lessening the more I stay.  I seem to have more complaints than anything these days.  I have apologized that I just haven't been thankful for the job that I have.  That is wrong.  But it also tells me that it is time for a change.  Part of the issue with my job is the younger generation not understanding my generation, and probably goes the other way too.  The fast pace environment causes me to not be able to embrace the moments, and by the end of the day it is simply just that … another day that has gone.  I feel like I'm missing out in life.  Even though I'm good at my job, I'm also not able to utilize the character within me.  My heart is unable to show, and my mind is having to take over a mile a minute.  I miss getting to know people.  I miss being able to have a moment and see God in the midst of it.  It seems all I'm doing is grasping for God to fix the mess I'm in.  I feel there is more in life.

I have another possibility before me.  I had an interview today.  It was a few weeks ago that I told my husband that I want someone to walk into Chick-fil-A and see the person I am and tell me that they want me.  As I was cleaning out our study and reorganized I ran across a business card (that I thought I had disposed of) and remembered someone already came in months ago and did just that.  I wrote a "remember me" email and inquired if there was anything available.  A few days later I heard back from someone else from the bank about a local position that required 30 hours.  I told them I was interested, but did ask if there was ever a position with less hours as I'm entering a new season in life that requires more attention at home.  A week later I was told about the position I interviewed today for.  And it is a position that is rare … a job share position.  And one that would fit my need for consistency in a schedule, and have hours that would be a match with my husband's schedule.  It is a slower atmosphere and an atmosphere you get to know the people.  Yet, I admit that as much as I want to embrace the moments I also don't want boredom.  There is one concern they possibility is looking into, and that is the time off that is needed at the end of the year, as I wouldn't have earned the time off yet.  I did go into a panic when in the interview questions, I was asked what do I see in the future, how long do I see myself there?

And then there is the simple choice of staying back at home.  I know there are volunteer positions that I'm interested in .. .for example, getting back into CASA.  And being home would allow me to do just that.  But we would be back to a tight budget, which I don't know if I want to do.  My parents are getting to a point that they could use some help more frequently, and I would be available.  And my parents have been without the opportunities of my visit for nine years, and they are enjoying the time I am able to give … and truthfully, I do too.  It seems that all the growing up years and turmoil between parent and child are behind, and I have been able to turn around and appreciate the upbringing I have had and now can see the benefit of their teaching.  Dinner is not often on the table these days because of my schedule and me just being tired from the fast pace of my day, and being in the kitchen embracing that passion of mine (I have forgotten about) would be a welcome to my family.

My mom, with her wisdom tells me to follow my heart.  And today I've been trying to figure just what is in my heart.  I know my family: Duane, the girls and my parents are in the center.  I long to be available to them.  I have seen especially the past couple of months the girls coming to me, and I just stop to help them think of their own hearts.  They seek my council more, and I enjoy being there for them.  I enjoy having dinner on the table, and having our home feel inviting when my husband comes home.  I enjoy going for a visit to my parents and even sneaking a peak and feel of the salt air and the sandy shores.  But in all of this I enjoy spending moments with God, seeking Him, praising Him and embracing Him in the moments of the day.  "Moments" just seem to be a word for me lately.  And I want to embrace as many moments as I can.  I don't want someone else dictating my schedule.  I love sneaking away for a quick lunch and seeing my husband.  I miss walking with him from BART.  I love these kind of moments.  I was talking with one of the girls this past week, who stirred up a desire within.  She encouraged me to write a Bible Study.  She wants to know the God I know, verses the mean and scary God that others know.  She is open for me to share and for her to seek herself.  I want to write … even though I haven't a clue what to write about.

So with all this … my body is just full of the dilemma I'm in.  I see the benefit of each choice I have as I'm at the fork in the road.  And I know that I have to take the council of my mom's advice.  Letting  you listen to me has helped greatly …. thank you!

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Merry Christmas To My Enemies

I sit here.  I hear the Christmas carols and worship music in the background.  I have the smells and beauty of candles near me.  The taste of tea, and the word of God in my lap.  My heart is content … at least for the moment.

I wouldn't be human if I too didn't have my struggles.  And my greatest battle these days is with two coworkers.

I love my job, always have.  Yet this battle I have has caused me to even want to quit.  It has caused me to have my tantrums and has caused me to judge, point fingers right back at them and perhaps even call them names.  I have told my girls that we will always have our struggles with someone in our school classes, in our work places and even church…where ever there are people.  It is just the way life and humans are.  My battle feels like a full blown war!

But as I read the Word of God, hear the music in the background and just ponder on the celebration of  Christ's birth my heart pierces. 

I think of my two coworkers and think of how I have enjoyed getting to know them, how much I appreciated them and loved them.  And somewhere in time it changed.  I'm clueless as to how.  I think how my child has been accused of doing somethings wrong, and I'm her mom … so now I'm in the wrong too (so I feel judged).  I think of how they may think I have the same role as them, not knowing that the demands on me are different and the role isn't quite the same (so I feel not understood).  I think of mistakes I have made, or how I may approach a situation differently and perhaps even disagree with way things should run (so I feel unforgiven).  And if I was them I guess I could be guilty of all of the above, and the negativity of my feelings weighs me down.  

I have had tears knowing that not nice things are being said against me.  I have had anger knowing that communication lacks when exchanging shifts because of the way they feel against me, and knowing full well of gossip that is hurting us being a full team.  I have wanted to come out swinging when they continue to remind my other daughter of her wrong choice she made months and months ago and how I have to remind her that her mistakes don't own her, they don't identify her, and she has made all things right.  I want to spit nails when they call themselves Christians and my own daughter watches and says "why would I want to be a Christian, when this is the example?".  So much negativity comes over me, mama bear even comes out and I want to ruin their lives.

But I ponder on the Word of God, I ponder the lyrics of joy, hope, peace and love that continue to sing around me and just ponder about Christ's birth….how we need to come and adore him, how he came so we could be saved and joy is here to stay.  

And then this morning my heart just aches.  

The two of them and me have something in common.  We celebrate the same King of Kings, Prince of Peace and Wonderful Counselor that came into this darkened world - a world that needed hope, peace, joy and love.  The two of them are crying for the same hope, peace, joy and love that I am crying out for.  These two are the son and daughter of Christ.  They were purposely created, purposely planned and purposely loved, just as I was.  

And my heart aches a little more.  This time out of love and conviction.  I'm not loving the gift that was given to me as I should.  I am not worshipping the very God who creates, and have judged two of his masterpieces.  

I'm so sorry. 

I have seen the world through its darkness and have been in the habit of seeing things as hopeless.  I forgot the power of the gift we celebrate this month.  How this gift brings light and will remove all darkness and the things hidden in it.  

I have love.  I have forgivenss.  I have have freedom.  This baby has given such an abundance, I have more to give.

And the very first gifts this year are to my two coworkers.

"Nevertheless, there will be no more gloom for those who were in distress….

The people walking in darkness have seen a great light;
on those living in the land of the shadow of death
a light has dawned.
You have enlarged the nation and increased their joy…

For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given,
and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end."

Isaiah 9:1, 2-3a, 6-7a

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

My Hope Chest

This past week I have had some glimpses of God and the relationship we share.  You see, the past couple of years have been rough ... I have been out of sorts, and even put God in a box at times.  But because of everything that we have gone through the closeness I have shared with God in the past t hasn't been there.  Please hear me out ... I believe God has been with me the entire time!  I just haven't had the same intimacy that we have shared in the past.  And I have missed it.

I have had quiet times ... not consistent, but I have had them.  I have worshiped with my worship music, I have prayed, I have read the Bible and I have even journaled .... I know He is there to receive my worship, my prayers, show me His word and read the pages that are addressed to just him.  But I have longed for the times our hearts are one, joy springs from my steps because of His presence and His words and my heart seems that much bigger when we are that close.

 I have missed intimacy with God.

I have missed God.

I have missed how He makes me feel.

I have missed the joy we experience.

And sometimes even though I know He is with me, and I know He understands the yearning I have of Him, I forget He hears EVERYTHING.  I was talking with Duane in the car, describing how I long for God, how I just want to clearly hear His voice, as I choked down my tears.  It was the longing of my heart.

I just didn't realize that God was going to be so quick to respond.  And I didn't realize that my life was about to turn.

I had a dream last week.  One that was clearly from God.  I woke with a smile and just longed to be back in the dream again.  It was simple, beautiful and playful.  One I have thought of over and over again in the days that followed.  The message was simple, there is beauty that comes from the valley, God longs to play with me and the Holy Spirit too.

Finding a church home has been a long journey.  One that actually started before we moved.  It has been frustrating, isolating and tiring.  God clearly told me that we needed to go to one church we had just visited the week before, when I was ready to go to another and call it "good".  It is funny how when God tells us to go somewhere, that all of a sudden I don't have to assess the environment, it is mine, and it is where I'm to be.  There is ownership and belonging that comes with it. And it is so much better than just settling and calling it "good" ... because when God sends us somewhere - it is GREAT!

Perhaps something happened at church.  I received the message, and it was timely.  I received worship and gave my heart to God once again.  But nothing moved me more than normal.  However, when I turned on "My Worship" playlist on my iPod, my heart soared like it used to.  I even had a dance in my step.  And there was a moment of intimacy with God.  And a smile on my face.

I do remember God prompting me to go and look through my hope chest, as I sat and listened to the message.  I didn't know why, and I did wonder if I was hearing things.  But I have felt this nagging prompting to do so every since.  So this morning I sat and looked through some of it.  And I got it.

My hope chest used to be filled with things I longed to hope for.  It used to be filled with things I was going to bring into a home, into a marriage and perhaps into the lives of children.  But now when you open my hope chest ... it is filled with the once upon a time of things I hoped for now becoming greater treasures than I could imagine.

When you dig through my hope chest ... you won't find anything of monetary value.  You won't find the computer, the dishes I am saving for, nor the things that take my time and energy each day.  And you yourself won't find much meaning through the clothes, papers, pictures and things.  But these are the things I hold so dear.  A box full of love letters, and a ring box that once held an engagement ring.  So many papers, pictures and handmade gifts that the girls have made, and given over the years:  apologies, adoration and love is throughout the chest.  Some cards from extended family and friends of encouragement.  There are baby dresses that the girls wore on their dedication days, a baby blanket made from my grandmother for her first grandchild, baby teeth of mine given to the tooth fairy, and many letters to God buried throughout each layer of treasure.  These are the things I hold dear.

Why would God send me to the chest?

To show me, that He has a hope chest just the same.  I don't get to see all of it now, but I have seen some of it.  The countless journals of our interactions, prayers - answered and unanswered, pouring of my heart to Him ... the songs of my heart.  I look forward to seeing the artwork I have created for Him that He has called it treasure.  I'm sure there will be glimpses of pictures He holds dear, but I believe those pictures are going to surprise me.  Some could be the memories of when I accepted His love for the first time, and when He healed me from the torment of lies from the enemy ... but there are going to be things I have done or said, that He is going to treasure, that I have just forgotten about.  There will be apology letters like the ones I found from the girls.   And this valley we have walked through and the beauty we have found in it, will be there too.

God revealed to me this morning that He treasures so many times with me, and probably even more so than I realize.

I want to create more treasure for God to tuck away.  Those things that are so special and please His heart.  But just like I saw in the artwork of my little ones,  it doesn't take much to please Him, it is those things that come from the heart.

This past week He has shown me that He longs for intimacy too .... and treasures it.

And He longs to have intimacy with you.  He has a hope chest filled with so much of you.  I encourage you to take the time to look through it, and see what God holds so dear.  It is going to surprise you!

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Christmas In An Empty Nest

My life has been so empty.  It seems so fitting.  I mean we move two thousand miles into a life we have once known, but don't seem to know anymore.  Two of our chickadees have flown the nest.  The third is graduating early and getting ready to fly herself.  I haven't been able to find what my next step is.  And to top it off ... there is no snow.  

Transitions are hard.  And a few transitions at the same time are extremely hard.

I have tried to remain close to God.  But I can't seem to find how to do that.  I experience God in so many ways, and all those ways are affected by all this transition stuff.  My belief in God hasn't wavered.  But my joy seems to be far far away.  

It hasn't helped that we haven't found a church to call home.  One we are completely attached to, embraced by and find our family through.  It takes time.  

I have always found some of my belonging through my job, because each job I have held God has sent me to.  Currently, God has put me in a time of "rest" and I'm trying to embrace exactly what that means.  And I'm trying hard to trust.  So in the meantime I'm there for Courtney, and being a supportive wife to Duane.

But there seems to be a lie that hovers over me too.  "I have no purpose anymore."  "God can't use me anymore, what I came to do is done.  So I'm done."  Before you give me your advice and tell me that it is a lie from the enemy.  I know!  But let me explain something to you.  Life as I have known for the last decade is now in a new place.  Life as I have known for the past twenty-two years and have poured every last ounce of everything I am into is now coming to an end.  I'm going around the house, not having a mess to clean up after, not having someone to drive, not having drama to walk anyone through and trying to find what I have now to do.  And I just hear "rest".  And for me it is almost like hearing ... "You're done."  

And it hurts.  It's lonely.  I feel as if I'm walking in a cloud.  And I'm lost.

And with every thing I have left I hold onto the truth I know.  That God hears my tears.  He sees my pain.  And his hand is over me as I wonder.  I hold onto hope that God will pull me out of this pit that seems to get larger and larger.

And to add salt in the wound ... it's Christmas.  A time of great joy, arising hope, peace to reign and love to come.  It's what I believe and what I know to be true.  Yet my feelings aren't experiencing what my belief knows.  

And yet God sees.

In the midst of service, I handed over my aching heart, and all the tears.  And in exchange God handed over a baby He sent over 2000 years ago.  And He entrusts me with him.  My hands that were once empty are filled with life once again.  

What does this mean?  I don't know exactly.  But I know that this Christmas I have a baby to hold onto, one to love, one to pour myself into.  One that I can find my purpose in.  One that will complete me.  

Happy Birthday Jesus.  Thank you for life restored through your coming!

Saturday, November 7, 2015

The Things We Can Learn From Noah

The past two days I have been pondering about what I can learn from Noah, or what God would like me to gain in the scriptures of Noah and the flood.  I have read, reread and just pondered (Genesis 6:9 - Genesis 9:17).  I have some thoughts, nothing profound, some things rehashed ... but the things I've been pondering.

1.  Genesis 6: 8-9  Because Noah was righteous, found favor with God and was blameless among the people, he was given protection and frankly, his life.  This isn't a huge insight.  I believe we all have this.  We all have the opportunity each day to be made righteous, and find favor with God.  He desires to protect us and give us life that He created in us.

2. Genesis 6:22, 7:5   I watched Evan Almighty the other day, because this Bible story was so fresh on my mind.  I had a little chuckle.  It isn't accurate at all, but defiantly entertaining.  However, it gave me a fresh perspective on how the people had to have been ridiculing Noah.  What he was building wasn't something that could be hidden, but something big that had to be seen from his surrounding neighbors and even towns.  People had to wonder, had to have questioned and had to have laughed at him.  But Noah continued on.
     There have been countless times that I believe God has laid something on my heart, or I heard his voice giving me direction or have seen something that could only come from Him.  And within minutes after, I'm questioning if I heard it right.  It doesn't say that Noah questioned, it says that he was righteous and had favor with God, blameless with the people.  Because God said it, he didn't question but just did as he was told, whether he was the laughing stock of the town or not.  I could think of a recent event, where God laid something on my heart to do, and in doing so it made me stop what I was doing and pause to meet the deadline I was up against, it also caused a little extra from my pocketbook, and it caused me to stop and be kind to a complete stranger.  All three I was having difficulty with, but mostly I was complaining that God would make me stop and do.  I wish I approached that incident differently, and I wish my heart was like Noah ... obedient.  Obedience brings favor.

3. Genesis 7:16b   I hadn't really noticed before.  But Noah didn't have to figure out how to shut the door, or when to shut it.  God saw that Noah did all that He had asked and closed the door for him.  God sealed his promise of protection to Noah.  God put a physical divider between the outside world and it's taunts and questions of doubt from His promise, favor and protection.  Noah stood on the right side of the door!

4.  I can't help but be jealous of the worship Noah had to have had on that ark!  We each are different.  We all experience the worship of God in our unique ways.  Nature is one of those ways.  My husband likes to hike, and I have joined in and have experienced God that way.  I have spent times at the beach encountering the love of God there.  But many times I simply go to the zoo.  To see all the different animals, and see the creativity our God has, it amazes me every time.  Noah had much time to be in the creativity of God.

5.  Genesis 8:1, 9:15  I often wonder what God thought of all the rest of the people.  I thought he was focused on Noah and those on the ark.  But it says "But God remembered".  I can't help but get a picture of God drifting his mind off to the store keeper down the street, the family across the bay and even the animals asleep in the trees.  I get this overwhelming sense that this act wasn't easy for God, but something He had to do:  almost like an artist not pleased with his painting and washing it clean to start over.  That is what God was doing, and I can't help but sense God was saddened of destroying the work He put into it the first time around.  Because scripture used the word "remembered", it was like God directed His mind to the current place and that was with Noah.  And it was used again later when God sees the rainbow.  We've always viewed it as our remembrance of the time of Noah and God's promise ... but I see today it was His remembrance too.  His remembrance tells me of the heart of God, he was grieving, and will remember the past in the midst of creating the future.

I love God's heart!  The more we read, the more we find of the God we serve.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Still Learning

I'm still camped out in Genesis 6.  I just don't feel led to move on quite yet, yet I'm not sure exactly what I'm supposed to see.

I reread the chapter, remembered what I just wrote about the other day and thought about the events of yesterday and the day before.  Monday I woke, dreading the day as it was the day I dreaded for ... you could read about it in the previous post.  I still didn't do much that day, as I just don't know exactly how to grasp this new way of life.  Yesterday a very important matter needed to be tended to, and I went with my husband to complete the task.  Then I asked if he would go with me to the Farmer's market and I would drive him to work, then I proceeded to go visit my parents.  I came home, Duane was home.  I look back at yesterday and see that yes there were matters that had to take place, and even matters that I brought God with me into.  However, I still avoided being in the silence and even the opportunity to look at Him face to face in our home.

It's hard to articulate.  I did nothing "wrong".  But I can't help but look at these verses and ponder.

God made us to need companionship, as He made Eve for Adam.  It is natural to want to be with one another, to have company and conversations.  But I am reminded of just three chapters back when God was walking with the two in the garden.  Why am I still avoiding the quiet?  I could be walking with God in the solitude of our own home!

So today I sit.  I have my time with Him.  I have my music playing in the background, and one of the first songs is "I Am Not Alone" and I shout it at the top of my lungs.  It was a promise that came over me.  I felt a smile fall upon me.  I was experienced strength in the promise as I fought off a lie that was captivating me to avoid our new home.  And peace came to stay.  The music remains.  But something seems a little different today, I'm welcoming the opportunity of silence, and hoping God will come walk with me today.

God found favor with Noah.  I hope God finds favor with me today too.  And finds this home welcoming Him in, with me greeting Him at the doorway.

Monday, November 2, 2015

The Flood

Genesis 6
The Flood

I have been away the past ten days, as I have been working in Colorado.  And in the midst of work I have the privilege and joy to see my girls.  I brought the youngest with me, so it was a real treat for the four of us girls to sit and have dinner ... laugh and have heart to hearts.  Its what I live for, it is my favorite thing.  

I love my husband too.  I knew Colorado wasn't home anymore when I was there, and I longed to be in Duane's arms.  And the moment I stepped off the plane into his arms, it felt right.  This too is my favorite thing.  

Today life goes on ... and it feels like it has forgotten about me.  My girls are in Colorado doing their thing, finding their way in life - very well, I might add, and Duane is off at work doing his thing.  I sit here in the quiet of the house, wondering what my thing is.  And it feels like a flood of emotions are washing over me.  Today is the day I have feared.  It is the day there isn't a box to unpack.  It is the day things are just about settled.  It is the day that is full of quiet.  It is the day I am alone - and I don't know what to do.  

Some may welcome such a day, perhaps others may understand.  But today marks a very important shift in my life ... where I see an empty nest, and the life I once knew is no longer.  "Now what?" rattles in my mind all the way deep to the core of me.  Tears flow so easy.  And a sense of lostness feels like a warm blanket.  

Today I opened my Bible, hoping there was a new light, a new prayer, a new connection with God.  I continue to pray a little whimper just pleading God will help me through this time and comfort me.

"The Lord was grieved that he had made man on the earth, and his heart was filled with pain.  So the Lord said, "I will wipe mankind, whom I have created, from the face of the earth-men and animals, and creatures that move along the ground, and birds of the air-for I am grieved that I have made them.  But Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord."
Genesis 6:6-8

I always believed that God and His wrath wiped out the earth.  But today I see it was with great sadness, He was at a loss and was grieving.  

I often sit and wonder if God understands the sorrow I am currently experiencing.  If He thinks it is silly, or unnecessary.  I often wonder what I am to do with the heaviness I experience, and hope that He is there to carry it.  We know God is big enough, but does He understand ... does He get what exactly I am going through.  Today I see the truth.

Now my girls are doing what they are suppose to be doing.  Finding their ways and moving forward in their lives.  They have reached the step that we have dreamed about since they could start dreaming and expressing themselves.  We have arrived.  Yet, now they move forward and I have let go of their hands.  They are walking by themselves.  We aren't connecting at the dinner table anymore, running out the door and shouting where they are off to, coming home at the wee hours of the night and coming into our bedroom expressing their woes of the day.  I don't hear their laughter, nor their tears.  I don't get to see what the details of their days look like anymore.  And with each passing day the phone gets quieter, emails are seldom ... and a matter of fact, it is usually me that reaches out first.  But again, this is normal.  This is what is and what is to be expected.  Yet it saddens me.  

And it saddens God.  It saddens God when we turn ourselves away from Him, doing things on our own.  We think we can go onto the next few steps without His help, guidance or just us "checking in".    We walk by ourselves.  The prayers that were once habits and even rituals are now seldom and far between, God's ears are getting quieter.  The prayer journal that once was filled quickly and fully is becoming slower to fill.  And it is usually God that reaches out first ... but then I can't help but wonder - do I even notice?  

Yes, God sent the flood because wickedness filled the earth.  Our own selfish desires filled the earth.  Our own lusts and ways.  But it is also clear that these things became what filled all of our days, and we turned against God - and just spending time with Him that He so longs for.  

I want to be like Noah!  I want God to find favor in me - I want Him to find me as a righteous woman, blameless and that everyone sees that I walk with God.  (Genesis 6:9)  And even though I'm still experiencing a flood of emotions these days, and seeing the tears fall, I want God to still see me and be pleased.  It is the ultimate cry of my heart.  So today I write, today I sit and take the time in study and learn more of Him, and today I will reach out to Him for help along this transition - and know that His heart totally gets what I'm going through today.  

And may He send a flood today.  He promised us that He will never flood the earth again and destroy it.  But may He send a flood of His presence over me today, and may I have the wisdom to see Him.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

The Likeness of God

When God created man, he made him in the likeness of God.  He created them male and female and blessed them.
Genesis 5:1b-2a

How many of us have self image issues?  I know I do.  I have hurt my husband a numerous account when he has told me how beautiful I am, and I gave him an eye-roll and walked away - rejecting the words of encouragement and admiration.  When I read this verse, I can't tell you how many "I'm sorry"s come to my mind as I deal with the same amount of twinges of regrets.

I am the very image of God.  When I look in the mirror ... I am looking at the image of God!  That holds a lot of weight and also brings a huge responsibility.  Because it is more than the physical appearance -but there is something created in each one of us to be just like Him!  How did I treat the homeless man on the corner?  How did I attend to my daughter's needs?  What part did I contribute to the community service project?  How am I supporting the service man who is giving their all for me?  What part am I doing at my church?  How am I helping my husband?  How am I loving him?  

Am I looking to see God?  And how is that image living through me?

And now turn this verse around.  The neighbors who drive me crazy, the in-laws that I can't seem to get along with, the homeless, the babies, the elderly, the addicts, the racist, the lawyer, the politician, the mailman and the list goes on .... they too are created in His image.  Have I taken the time to see the likeness of God in them, or have I rejected Him just the same?  

My husband is onto something when he compliments my looks.  I need to stop, ponder, listen and look deep into his eyes... because perhaps it is the likeness of God in Him speaking to the likeness of God in me!

I Can Master These Emotions Of Mine

If you do what is right, will you not be accepted?  But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you but you must master it.
Genesis 4:7

I admit this chapter isn't my favorite, but I read it this morning and saw how "human" it is.  I was pretty much raised as an only child ... I am the only child on my mom's side, but my dad had another.  However, in the summer my half-sister would come to stay a couple of months.  It was rough for me.  I went from "my" room to "our" room.  Of course it was only natural for my dad to want to spend time with his daughter, but the jealousies would consume me.  I did enjoy what would be lonely hours during the days, as my parents worked to be filled with someone else to share them with.  

From the day I was born I have had my insecurities.  I have questioned as to where I fit in, and what place I fit into.  I have looked at others as "favored" and have thought much less of myself.  It is just the way I have always been, something that I have had to work through and deal with.  I think of a recent issue in our home, and how this insecurity was more likely the cause of the unnecessary argument, that not only impacted me but brought grief for my husband.  

My girls have had the same unnessary arguments.  I remember a period of time when I wondered if they would ever like each other when they were grown.  Lindsay appeared favored with all the family relatives, Katie was the strong-willed child, and Courtney would just go back and forth to each sister, favoring one at a time while going against the other.  The older two used the youngest to get toward the other ... one child was always left out, and one was always hurt.  

Feelings are a huge part of who I am.  I live in them, experience them, move in them and for them, and it seems so many times I'm consumed by them.  It is just who I am.  And I find it only fitting that God would gift us with three emotional girls.  But who blames them, as they have watched these emotions control me all my life.  

Today I see God's guidance for me:  "it desires to have you but you must master it".  God brought the right two people together.  Me full of emotions, and Duane full of logic.   I long to be more like him daily and there are times (usually when dealing with the girls) he wishes he was more like me.  Our marriage is a good balance of the two.  But Duane shows me wisdom so many times, as he controls the anger in midst of tensions in our home of girls.  I would say for the most part "he has mastered it" and doesn't allow the temptation of anger, jealousies or bitterness grab hold of him.  Oh to be more like that.  I have the opposite problem, where I want to allow fighting words spew from my mouth, emotions physically tremble me, and the "logic" of them to debate the other person in whatever comes out of their mouth.  I admit I have not "mastered it", but have allowed immaturity rather than wisdom define who I am.

Yet, God knows these feelings and temptations are there.  God even gives us for warning that they are even there.  And God tells us to master them.  He also gives us the authority to be the master over them.  

I can't say that I will all of a sudden master this temptation I daily deal with, but I can say I will start today.  Today I will lean on Him.  I will learn to listen to his warning.  I will learn to master them in time.  And I will take the authority given to me and be the master  over these emotions of mine.  

Monday, October 19, 2015

What Was Once an Ordinary Chapter

Genesis 3

The fall of man.  To sum up the chapter: woman is alone, Satan tempts her, she falls and leads man to fall, they hide from God, God has a serious talk with them both, he punishes Satan, woman and man but then covers them in grace with clothes.  That pretty much sums up the chapter.  

Can I be honest with you?  I can't help but read this chapter with an eye roll?  It's that chapter where men blame women, and women say "it's not our fault", and the chapter we are reminded that we are behind men, and why we hurt so much when we give childbirth.  It's that chapter ... and I can't help but have a bit of an eye roll, a bit of an attitude when I read it.

Until today.  

I'm trying to read through the Bible, it's one of my current goals ... and I figured God wouldn't have much for me in this passage as he has in the previous chapters.  Today I was looking to gain some ground in my reading.  But perhaps my depression as I go through our move and the transition in my parenting, brings me a new perception when I read these words.

  1. The woman was alone for Satan to tempt her.  I admit to you, that today was one of those days I just didn't want to get out of bed ... I couldn't seem to find the strength - or purpose in doing so.  I heard the lies of the enemy telling me "I didn't have a value to add to today, stay in bed"!  He was winning ... until the phone rang, and then I saw the cats waiting for their breakfast.  Point was, I was alone too ... and Satan was tempting me with his lies.  I know we as women are each made differently.  But from all the studies I have been in, relationships I have had the privilege of being part of ... we are made to not be alone.  Yes, we are to have our quiet times ... but with God.  We are never to be alone!
  2. Satan tempted her with lies.  
    1. The first question he asks:  "Did God really say, 'You must not eat from any tree in the garden?'"  We have something that Eve didn't have then.  We have the Book of Truth ... the Bible.  This is why we are to be in it everyday, learning it, studying it and knowing what God is telling us.  Otherwise, Satan is there tempting us to be led astray - away from God.
    2. When we are alone, it is then that Satan learns us and knows exactly what to say to trip us up.  Personally for me this morning, it was that "I didn't have a value or purpose for today" ... "that I don't have a purpose anymore, and I am not needed".  Those are the words he is throwing at me, frequently lately.  Because I have put myself in the position to be tempted by his lies.  If this is you, I encourage you to make a goal for yourself to get out of this place ... don't be alone!  My goal this week is to sign up and attend two Bible studies ... one at a church we are considering calling 'home' and another that is in our community.  I refuse to be in the position of isolation anymore.  
    3. When we are tempted by Satan, we see his lies as the truth.  It's kinda how I see my goal of reading through the Bible.  If I look at it through God's eyes (the Truth) and see that it is ok to take the time to read, and soak on each word, meditate and chew on it and gain from it ... then it is worth the extra time ... even if it takes years.  But if I look at it through the world's eyes (NON-truth) that I will never get through it, and it will be a goal that will never be met it is causing me to already carry the feeling of "failure".  That is where the first point comes into play ... know the scripture, and know your God.  God has never ever called anyone in the scripture a failure, and he surely won't begin today.  So the truth is, if I don't finish the Bible and stop in the midst of Genesis ... the truth is I'm in His word, and gaining knowledge of Him and how He wants me to be ... which is defeating the enemy's plan.
  3. After Adam and Eve ate of the fruit they covered themselves, and when God came walking towards them - they hid and God called to the man, "Where are you?". 
    1.  I laugh, because I think of my husband and how he tried to "undo" what they did.  He states his case and tries to persuade me to run around with no clothes on.  I know - TMI!  However, the truth is, when we are led astray we try and cover ourselves and even hide the very thing that God created.  WOW!  I get the whole hiding thing.  I think of my girls hiding their lunches in their room that they brought home from school, because they didn't want to eat it, and instead of telling me the truth they hid it ... until there was a big stink and it was revealed.  I confess that God is all knowing - and sees all, so why on earth do I even try and hide my mistakes?  
    2. How cool is it that they lived with God that they could hear him walking?  I want that, and I believe God wants that for us too.  I don't think it is something out of reach either - that we could live like that.  First, we have to not be in that isolation where Satan can trip us up and second, we could simply seek.  His word says "seek and you will find" (Matthew 7:7).  I long to be so close that I hear his footsteps coming toward me.
    3. God called out to man, asking where he was.  God misses us too when we aren't in relationship with Him.  His heart is to be one with us, and we each complete his heart ... which gives me an image of how big his heart is.
  4. God questioned man as to what happened, and the whole story came out.  God punished all who were involved.  Yet I saw something new today in the punishment of Eve's:  "Your desire will be for your husband ...".  It is said over and over again that three biggest quarrel between husband and wife:  Sex, money and parenting.  I desire my husband, and that is good and right.  However, it is the images I put in my head ... "he should be like the person I read about on Facebook and bring me flowers", "he should meet my needs of romance instead of turning on the baseball game", "he should ... he should ... he should".  My desire is for my husband, but is my desire for my husband to be who he is, or someone I would rather him be?  Am I praying for my husband that his desire would be sound in the Lord, and lead me and our home?  So perhaps the quarrels we have about "sex" or "love" are the curse of man from the beginning, but it has opened my eyes to be set back on God's word:  to have the desire of my husband and nothing else.  
  5. And just because Adam and Eve had a slip up, that they had to be punished for, God didn't leave them.  That tells me that no matter how great the sin, God never leaves.  He may banish us from the promises that were once ours, but He'll never leave us.  He covered them in clothes.  I remember my mom making me dresses, and having a special label "handmade with love" ... and that is exactly what I picture God's clothing to be made out of.  And no matter the depth of depression we may be in, God is there and hand making out of love our way out.  
I love this chapter!  And to think it was one that I just never enjoyed before.  So much to gain!  What did you gain out of it?