Archibald Family

Archibald Family

Saturday, April 28, 2018

Facing Your Fears - Part 1

1 Samuel 17

Today finally was the day.  The day I dreaded.  I was sick yesterday and even hoped it would carry through to today, but it didn't.  Today was the day I was facing my biggest giant yet.

When I was a child, I was learning how to do something and in the process I made a mistake.  My instructor ran out of patience with me … can't blame them, as I'm not the easiest to teach, but still words hurt, the anger turned to be a lie of how stupid I was.  It was that day I said I would never do that task ever again.

I signed up for a class a couple of months ago.  I have been fearful, but had hid behind the grace of time.  And during the time I prepared myself by going to some quick lessons.  I look forward to the outcome as to what I am going to learn, but I was not looking forward to the actual process.

I came across my very first obstacle earlier this week, and it took some time to work it through, but I found someone to help.  But as I went to practice this morning before class the obstacle returned.  And that is when I had my tantrum.  Through the anguish, as I through my hands in the air and let the tears come out, I realized how big the giant was that I was going to face.

As I threw myself against the wall and speaking all the words I believed as a child, I knew God was walking me through a life lesson that in the weeks to come I will accomplish.

We hear in church how fear is a liar.  We sing about it, and it has become truth.  We are taught to face our fears.  The cowards, like the Israelites, don't face them at all and let the giants torment them constantly twice a day (1 Sam 17:16). And we are taught that once we face our fear, they have no control over us and we can be victorious and move on.   When we are told this over and over again, it seems it is almost instantaneous.

Yet God is showing me it's a process.  And it's the process that is the key.

There is a preparation that comes with the actual battle.  I mentioned that I had some lessons.  And I also did some practicing.  I needed more of these, but still I prepared.  So did David  (1 Sam 17:34-37).

We say it takes a village to raise a child, well it still takes a village to come around us to conquer our fears.  I noticed that I had my Mom who equipped me with tools for the trade and a team of people to train me.  David had his dad … his dad sent him to the fields (1 Sam 17:15, 17-18).

I woke my daughter up in the wee hours of the morning, full of tears and pleaded for what knowledge she had to help me with the first obstacle I was to face.  David's first obstacle was his brother (1 Sam 17:28).  Like I have taught my girls, our words can bless or curse.  Either way, what comes out of our mouths can not be taken back…so we are to chose wisely.  I'm thankful my daughter chose to bless.

I had my husband, who rushed in after my tantrum, laid his hand upon my shoulders as I sobbed into the wall, stood there beside me as I tackled the obstacle once again.  I knew he meant well, but the pressure and deadline that was quickly approaching I needed him to go so I wouldn't say anything I would regret.  And it was me being sent, not him this time.  However, I knew full well he was praying me on, and I know full well he knew exactly how big the giant I was getting ready to face was.  And like Saul said to David, I knew as we parted ways this morning as I went to battle, Duane was there praying "may the Lord be with you", 1 Sam 17:17.

Driving, is my best time with the Lord.  My mind was focused on what was ahead, but my ears heard the worship music, and my heart was instantly with God.  Words like:
"Though the devil try to break me, my sweet Jesus won't forsake me, when I'm in my Savior's shadow, where I'm supposed to be"
 "I have won, and I have lost, got it right sometimes and sometimes I did not, life has been a journey, I've seen joy and I've seen regret, Oh and you have been my God through all of it"
 "God sent His son, they called Him Jesus.  He came to love, heal and forgive.  He lived and died to buy my pardon.  An empty grave is there to prove my Savior lives.  Because He lives, I can face tomorrow, because He lives, all fear is gone, because I know He holds the future, and life is worth the living, just because He lives".  
I was entering the battle field, but I wasn't entering it alone and I experienced the value of worship.  David knew this fact too (1 Sam 17:45).

I was just a freckled face, long haired little girl with knobby knees and without much to offer.  I was tackled that day by fear, chained by it for many years that followed.  Today, I still see the same little freckled face little girl…hair a little shorter, and knees not as knobby … but feeling so small, just the same.  I entered the first round on the battlefield.  I came out bruised, shattered and teary eyed … BUT I'm still living.  I remembered who I was, with the help of my husband and worship … and David knew who he was (1 Sam 17: 45-47).  But more importantly I'm reminded it's me heading out to the battlefield … but the battle is not mine, it's the Lords!  (1 Sam 17:47)

I knew today wasn't the day for it to be conquered as there are a few weeks left, but I also knew God was teaching me how to face my fear and I was to remember.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Embrace The Moments

"You don't know what you are asking,"
Mark 10:38a

"Jesus said, 'Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.'"
Luke 23:34a

I have mentioned to you the place I have been in … loneliness I am now calling friend, which brings depression and sadness at times.  However, today I have seen the life around me … the housework that is begging for me to embrace and the little "to do"s that are on my list.  

I haven't had much motivation.  However, I have learned to embrace the season I am in.  But today I really embracing it.  

We live downtown in a city … BART is walkable, the grocery store is down the street and we are just a 10 minute walk to the center of town where the Farmer's market comes each week, the smells of many restaurants grab our attention, we can catch the newest release at the local theater, and shopping is at our fingertips.  We are a hop, skip and a jump from the on ramp to the freeway.  Life and it's busyness is all around us.    And yet … our little corner of the world seems to be a little country … critters and eggs to gather, a white fence and a gravel driveway, a little land to develop and a Ford truck.  It seems God has intertwined the country girl in me in the midst of city life.  And it works!

I have been searching for a job.  And I'm at that stage of life, I don't just want a job .. but something I can make a difference in, something I can have passion for and something I can believe in.  So looking for something just doesn't come easy … after all, God has always brought all of my jobs to me.  So yesterday, I let it go into God's hands and I have now embraced peace.

But today …. I haven't done much.  But what I have done is been reachable to the daughter who is trying to make her own decisions and share her frustrations.  A new little "critter" has come to stay .. and I was able to teach him how to explore his mansion we built for him.  My cat has been exceptionally social with me today .. giving, protective and loving, as if to say how thankful she is that I'm just around.  Creations have been started for my husband's birthday.  I'm home much more, so I am able to let the chickens out of their pen and spoil them with conversation and snacks and in return they have been very generous with their egg laying.  My husband may not walk in to a home cook meal, but he does walk in to a home full of peace.  I have labeled my not getting things done as laziness … but I just now have seen them as embracing my moments and the life I am in.  

I pondered the above verses in my head.  I know they are out of context … however, for me, it goes to show that God knows more than I.  I think I want a job, then He shows me to wait, be still, and embrace the moments I am in.  Now I think I don't want a job.  It is fair to make the observation "I don't know what I am asking" … because I don't know what to ask.  However, I do know I want to be in His will.  

I am thankful that Jesus, in his final breath asked for forgiveness for this very season I am in … of not knowing what I am doing.  Because Lord knows, I have been so angry, so condemning, so lost that I needed every ounce of forgiveness I could receive.  

So I will wait.  I will embrace.  I will enjoy the critters that surround me.  I will be thankful for the joy they bring, and see that God has allowed me to be me in the midst of it all.  And I will embrace the season I am in. 

Loneliness is not my friend … Embrace is.  And through embrace I have found peace and comfort.  

God I am thankful for You, and how You have been speaking to my heart!






Friday, January 19, 2018

The Missing Puzzle Piece

My daughter loves puzzles.  Ha!  So do the cats!  Thus the reason she can't get her big 9000 peice puzzle out, or the cats will have ever piece under the couches, chewed on or just all over the place.  Sometimes we end of with one piece of a puzzle in another's box … or I'll just find a loose piece that got missed getting in the box.

I feel like that missing puzzle piece.  I feel like I am a step behind and just gets forgotten to get in with all the rest or I just don't fit in.

Perhaps it's my age and all that's on our plate.  I never felt old until this winter.  I injured my foot six weeks ago and I still have a lot of pain.  Doctors can't seem to do anything, so I continue with my chiropractic care which is helping … just not fixed.  I'm used to getting injured and being healed in a matter of a few days.  And then this year with all the illness' that are going around.  First I got bronchitis and then the flew.  I'm still not 100% better.  

Finances are a bit out of control in our household.  We are getting caught up like everyone else from the holidays, and trying to save what we can for an upcoming wedding.  We also have medical bills from an ending of a hard 2017.  Normal stuff … nothing unusual.  I mean other family's have it much worse.  But I like things just so, and they aren't.

Our marriage is like everyone else.  Duane works, comes home tired and then puts what energy he has into the house.  We have spent a lot of money in our past in counseling and we know our strengths and weaknesses and how to meet the other's needs.  But yet we stick to our stubborn ways and focus in the worlds we see and currently aren't meeting one another.  We are strangers.  I'm not worried about our marriage, because we always come back together again.  It's a normal thing … normal.  Yet, again, I like things just so and they aren't.  I really love my husband and think the world of him.  I need him now more than ever.  I need to know the extra weight, the starts of grey hairs aren't an issue with him.  And I need to know that he isn't going to reject me like the rest of the world.  Insecurity is still an issue at forty something.

My faith.  I have it.  I'm not hearing a lot from God latley.  I figured He is seeing how I don't fit in like I do … and doesn't want to talk.  But then I remember the God I have, and that isn't His character and figure it is me that isn't doing what I'm suppose to be doing to hear.  I'm not positioning myself in the right manner, or I haven't sought forgiveness for the thoughts and feelings I have.  I don't know.  I'm sure it's me…somehow it's me.  Perhaps I need to repent again.  However, I feel like I'll ever get to talk with him because there is so much to repent of.  

I have stepped down from a job that I was so on fire for - well, the roots of the foundation, the heart of the founder.  But I can't seem to find those roots and the heart at the store I was at, and there was so much drama, and the fact in got in the way of my family I chose to leave.  I listened to my husband and my mom and I chose to step away.  Now I'm looking for a job that fits our life, and I am starting to take it personal that no one wants a forty something woman.  

When we lived in Colorado there were so many times I wished we were back "home" in California.  I missed my friends and the friendliness of California.  Now we're here for the past two and a half years and the only thing we have going for us is the closeness of my parents and the possibilities in our new church.  I wish we lived back in Colorado now just so I can have our whole family together … and maybe my husband wouldn't be so absorbed with his work and commute and he'd have time for me and remember how to meet my needs.  And I would remember how to meet his.  I also know now California's relationships have come to a close.  My friends have their own lives, and they have moved on without me and I without them.  

On top of it all.  I have a birth father who sent a Christmas card wanting a "slow relationship".  He's in his seventies … I'm in my forties.  I don't think you can get much slower.  He has come and gone, and I've seen him a handful of times.  I'm nice, and I give him my phone numbers.  Yet here we're approaching the end of the month and not one call.  I hold my breath each time the phone rings.  And truthfully … I have forgiven him, and have been thankful things have ended up the way they did because I have the best dad in the world.  I don't need a relationship with him, but am willing to help him out.  Yet … I already feel rejected.  Again.  I don't think I could deal with his rejection once more.    Abandonement.  It brings so much baggage.  Not feeling good enough is the biggest fight I have dealt with all my life.  Once I think I have conquered it, the lie is there to taunt me all over again.  I know God says I am good enough and He had created me for a purpose and a plan … but people hurt his creation.

And home.  My house is a mess and I know how to fix that!  Yet I don't.  Maybe it's the lack of energy from being so sick.  Maybe it's the emotional baggage of missing the closeness of my husband and not being good enough for my father.  But my girls seem to remind me that I am able to clean up after their messes … yet I chose more for my life.  I should be honored, but I'm not.  I want to be looked at as more. 

My last post was titled "Let's Be Real" … perhaps this one should have been.  Life sucks sometimes and right now it does.  I feel lost.  Alone.  Forgotten.

I need God to find me and put me on the path He has for me.  

I'm waiting.

Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.  
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

And even though life sucks right now … I will pray - again.  I will rejoice for everything is good.  And I will give thanks.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Let's Be Real...

I have opened this blog … set up a new blog … posted a couple of times… come back to this blog….open it… and nothing.   I love to write.  I love to share my thoughts on paper.  But nothing!  I have nothing to write!

When I started this blog, we had moved to Colorado from California and this was a great place to write all the family adventures and all my "ah-ha" moments and share them with those who are now a far.  Now we have returned back to California and you would think I'll write all about our family adventures and all my "ah-ha" moments and now share with those who are on the other side.  But …

I have believed I have NOTHING to say.  And for the most part, that is true.  However there are so many thoughts, hurts and moments I have had that I have shared with my husband, yet didn't think anyone would care to hear about them.  Then I realized God whispered in my ear to start getting vulnerable and "get real".

Now I have focus and now I have much to say … you may be sorry. 

I look at this blog and I see the adventures of trying to adopt, trying to raise three girls, our pets, and my spiritual life.  It seems that when we moved back to California, I packed with me "I'm done" and "I'm not needed anymore".  My family has seen it near me, and even me calling it by name, and the deny it and try to push it out with the trash.  But I continue and bring it in the house.

And for the past two and a half years I have entertained this extra baggage.  Until this week.

You are going to be hearing about the adventures of a forty something woman and what life looks like in my eyes.  I feel like the years I am in are "forgotten" years.  I don't have children in school, so the younger generation thinks I don't get what they are going through and I can't relate to their situation.  I don't have grand children … so I'm not in that special club, and not even worthy enough to talk to them.  I have been snubbed off so many times because when I was working, I didn't fit in with the "non working women" and now that I don't work I don't fit in with the "working women" and the nonworking women have seemed to disappear.  I have been isolated and alone … and now I have fought through it to be able to recognize it and speak about it.

I am in what I call the sandwich generation … I still have to take care of my children (in a totally different way) and now I check in with my parents each week and take care of them.  Healing has taken place, and a different kind of connection has taken place with each of my family members.  It didn't come natural at first, but now I embrace it. 

However, the world isn't kind.  It's always been a hard world, but boy … has it been rough. 

There is no intention of being whiny, but there is every intention to be aware and make the world I see a bit softer and much more colorful. 

Welcome back to my blog!

Monday, September 25, 2017

Moments In The Grocery Store

It was moments after the previous post that I started out on my day … ready or not.  But that day was different.  It was a day I was going to search, but yet "be still and know He is God".

I had a list that seemed a mile long of things to accomplish.  And with my family's help, kitchen cleaning was added to it.  And thanks to jet lag, my day started off early which made the "to do" list get accomplished faster.

I was at the store.  I ran into someone I knew.  And I discovered something about me … I didn't know what to say, I had difficulty maintaining the conversation … something that is NOT me.  But yet again…if it was someone different, would it be easier.  Perhaps.  Probably.  It didn't help that it was someone that was part of a family that I was deeply close to.  I was being guarded.

Unforgiveness showed it's self once again.  You see it was only two years ago we transitioned back to our home town.  I expected to be welcomed and cared for by so many, especially by this particular family.  And not only have we not been welcomed, but we feel forgotten and unloved by this family.  I has hurt, and I felt judged by prior issues that took place before our move.  I hadn't gotten over it all.  They were our extended family, people I have admired and chosen to be like, and people I deeply loved (which I have a hard time doing).    But that's it … they are people.  People who fall short, people with their inperfections and mistakes … people, just like me.

God showed me I need to let go of hurt and forgive those who offended me so I may be part of what is next to come fully.  There isn't any room for His plans and Him if I'm holding onto stuff that isn't of Him.  I must forgive.  Today, I chose to forgive.

The next aisle over an elderly man asked me where he could find the salt.  We walked over to and then which one should he get.  We talked, we laughed and I was able to encourage.

I may not know the direction I am going … but I do know, I must master forgiveness so there is more in the journey ahead.  .

 “Be stilland know that I am GodI will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”  Psalm 46:10

Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.  Colossians 3:13

Friday, September 22, 2017

So Here We Go …

I don't know why I am doing this, another blog.  I mean I have another, and who is going to read this blog anyway.  But I felt prompted by God to do it.  Who knows, perhaps it is just to see God use me and grow me.  I'm one of those tangible, hand's on learners and I must see evidence and be reminded of it from time to time.  And this is a bit of a journal for me to turn to from time to time.  And perhaps starting another blog, is just where I'm at in life … starting with a blank slate, no history and an unknown of where it is  going to go.

It's been not a full 48 hours since my husband and I walked back into our home from a trip to Italy.  A trip of a lifetime, and I knew that when I walked into the house from that trip everything was about to change for me.

See I had been working, and my last day was just before we left for Italy.  It was something I had to do, something that God was directing my husband and I to do.  We both don't understand it, but taking a step out on faith.  We already see some positives coming out of it.  But let's face it … what am I to do now?

I woke at 2:30 this morning, partly because of jet lag, but another part because my husband was heading back to work and I was faced with "Now What?".  My mind going rapid, my heart questioning everything, and another part of it not wanting my husband to go.  Perhaps some fear is hiding around the corner, but I trust God is about to do something crazy, and I'm in it for the ride.

Walking through the streets of Rome, something set a fire in me.  My faith was a bit "bored", if you will.  Picking up the Bible was something that didn't drive me as much as it did, other than finding a verse or two from time to time.  But knowing Paul's heart to go to Rome and preach the gospel came alive for me.  Seeing the vendors outside the temples, and the corruption stirred something within, and understanding the anger of Jesus when he upturned the tables became alive.  There's more to going to church, more to even just knowing the scriptures … but a deep relationship with Jesus is what brings joy, hope and love.  And that frankly is what our world needs to know.

God is bringing me close to Him and to use me, and this is the First Day of the Rest of my Life to surrender and allow him to do just that.  I just don't know how He can use someone like me.  And yes, there is a little doubt when making that statement … after all, I'm a 40 something woman, uneducated (at least in the college field), a wife and mom of three young, beautiful, strong young women.  The world says that I'm not qualified, but have you ever had that excitement, like the night before Christmas, and a knowing in your spirit that something is about to happen?  That's exactly how I feel right now.

I have waken with the inability to move, and a few kinks in my body because I'm a crazy cat lady and the three cats we have missed us something fierce and won't literally leave my side.  And as crazy of a cat lady I am, I know the rest of my life will be partly with them.  They bring me calmness, peace and joy.  But I also know looking at them, the rabbit and chickens we have there is even more to this life.  But I also know as I look at them there is a simpleness I embrace, and God is there within.

I have a love for the kitchen.  Not the cleaning part, but the cooking and creating part and especially the serving to those who come around the table part.  I love how the comfort of food can bring the family and friends together.  How conversations and hearts are shared over the creations that come from the kitchen.  I love that each of my girls also show passion in this area and we can draw together even more.  I have always had this passion, but it took it's back burner as I went into the working world, but it is the one thing that I am utmost excited about getting into.  And I'm 100% positive that cooking is part of the Rest of my Life.  And I'm almost certain God is going to be using this passion for whatever He has next.

So that's it.  I have no clue as to what is next for me, I'm a simple homemaker, who is still searching as to what purpose I have for the Rest of my Life, and I'm allowing you, whoever you might be, to come along side with me, and perhaps even take this adventure together.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Through Loss … I see I Have Gained!

I had a huge scare that started this past Tuesday.  Some of you it is no big deal … but to me it was HUGE.

I lost my Bible.

I am a woman of routine and I looked through all the spots that it could have been and then all the spots that it would more likely not be.  We were in a rental car this week, and I had my husband search the car.  It wasn't there.  Then as any woman would do, I went to look through it … even twice, and even a third.  It wasn't there.  It was officially lost.

I had it Sunday.  We had an event at church where 26 people were baptized!  We had a celebration, and had lunch at the church.  Could I have left it there?  Possibly.  But I thought I remembered carrying it throughout.  

We just started attending this church a little over a month ago.  We have been in a season of Lack - connection, identity and even it began to pull on our hope and caused hurt and pain (that we are still working through).  I began to question if God even cared where we worshipped.  It has always been laid on our heart to be part of our own community.  I can't explain it, but the pull on our heart is GREAT.  We know with all our being that this was put on our heart by God himself.  This church is walkable, and I can't explain how surprised we are to find exactly what we have been looking for - and in our backyard!  

I remembered a few months ago, that my Bible was collecting a bit of dust (at least in my eyes).  Yes, it would be picked up for church and I would fumble through the pages in the sermon.  I would even pick it up on occasion to find a verse that was in my mind.  But the actually reading of the Book, I just was too tired to do so, and was frankly a bit bored with it.  When I realized this attitude that was within me, I prayed that my hearts desire would change and I would long for my Bible again.

Ever since we moved I have longed for an in depth Bible study.  I would find women's get togethers but not a study like I had longed for.  I was even willing to lead one if that is what it took … but then the issue would be "who would come".  Hopelessness started to wear it's toll on my heart in this area, and I started to just accept how we have to make the church more inviting and "friendly" to woman and connect differently.  I accepted it, but missed my studies where God became real and even more powerful that I have known Him to be.   I never prayed about it.  I guess I figured God knew what He was doing and it was time for an "update" for my longings in the area of a women's study.

Courtney came to me and asked if I would do a Bible study with her.  She wanted to learn more about the pages she was reading, and understand its meaning.  My heart soared.  I borrowed a Beth Moore study from the church we were going to, and we have been in the word ever since.  I have been doing bits and pieces of my study and work, and when I'm looking up my scriptures I use my app on my phone.  But Tuesday night I wanted to open the actual pages, hear the crinkle of them when I turn them, smell the pages, read the gazillion notes and perhaps even add to them.  But it was no where to be found.

Wednesday morning on my way to work, I stopped by the church that was still unfamiliar to me.  I greeted those who greeted me with a smile, and asked if my Bible was found.  After giving a description and us looking at all the possibilities it was just not to be found.  My heart just sank.  But I was invited to cooperate prayer that evening … I mean it was a genuine invite.  And it was refreshing to receive.

I arrived to work, and this particular day I was my happy self, but just deeply saddened inside.  I never knew how attached I had become to this Book.  I remembered the dates of dedications and baptisms that were in there.  I thought back and realized that this was my very first study Bible that my husband helped me pick out.  It has to be 25 years old.  That means there are 25 years of notes in the margins and highlighted verses.  I might not know what my Bible references are, but I knew where to find them on the page in my Bible.  There were ripped pages, and tear stained pages.  It is this Bible that I would read scriptures that would leap of the page at me, and help me realize that the God I have is a loving, gracious companion and has everything under control.  This Book brought me hope in the times when I felt hopeless, encouragement when I was down, and offered prayers when I didn't know what to say.  I found many answers in this Book.  I also took it for granted.

I realized yesterday my Bible had become more to me than I ever imagined.  My Bible had become a long time friend.  My Bible was my lifeline.  And now it was lost.

I had even prayed that I was willing to let it go, if it would make another's life richer.  But my heart still broke within.

With all the demands of work and errands, I still felt prompted to go to prayer.  I didn't understand why I was prompted, and even questioned if I heard the prompting right.  Afterwords, I saw someone I knew and I told her that I was a bit down as I had lost my Bible.  She helped me look one more time. The usual places.  And I saw some people that had smiles on and hearts of warmth and would greet me in my search.  Genuine people.  Happy people.  I even ran into the pastors, and they would keep their eyes out, and gave me encouragement - except when they were empathetic, which only made me realize more of what I was missing.  Upon my leaving, another pastor came in our path, and the lady mentioned about the loss of my Bible.  He had saw it.  He picked up something that wasn't it, and my heart sank even lower - and he looked in an unusual spot … and then handed me my Bible!  I hugged him, as I hugged my Bible.  

This morning I look at my Bible and know the comfort and strength I have because it is near to me, and I have it available to go to.  Yes, I could have used the other Bibles in the house, but they weren't enough for me.  This Bible and me go way back and we have taken many journeys through valleys and mountain tops together.  

It was through this journey that I realized God hears my deepest prayers, the prayers that I would call even the silliest prayers.   God made me long for my Bible and made me see the value within the pages and made me see even the value I have with Him through these pages.  

And within the last 48 hours I have seen that God has answered the deep cries of my heart.  There are crevices that I would cover, thinking they weren't necessary to bring to God.  But God has shown me through Bible study, through a new church, and the journey to recover my Bible He cares about the little stuff and the spiritual walk we are on.  I'm so thankful He does!

Thursday, June 15, 2017

It's Time To Get OUT Of That Couch!

We have three cats.  Mine, Courtney's and Katie's.  When we moved to Colorado, it was the same time Katie was moving into CSU…dorm living, which meant her cat had to remain with us.  Zelda (Katie's cat) didn't have a person anymore.  My heart bent toward her, and I felt sorry for her having to not only transition the 1200 miles drive but without a person.   We became close and she became used to living under my favor.

The cats get a long for the most part, there are times when they let each other know they want to be left alone or they just don't want to play.  Over the past couple of years, Zelda had been claiming me and my cat (Zoe) didn't accept that well, and at times has made it clear to Zelda that I'm hers.

The past few months.  Zelda has come out of her shell and become the cat she is.  She is comfortable to roam around and do what she wants … even if the other cats are annoyed with her.  It's actually a good thing to see.  We have seen her live in freedom of being who she is and freedom of living under our favor.  It has brought me great joy to watch her scamper around, or cuddle near me.

Until.

Katie moved back home a couple of weeks ago.  She brought a cat with her.  A cat that is still young and wants to play all the time….rough and tumble kind of play.  It is the size of Zelda.  And to make matters worse, it's a boy.  We have been living in a house full of hissing and scolding.  The water bottle is always near by to remind the new cat that he has to be nice to the other cats.  My cat knows her place, and walks around comfortably because she knows she has the authority to put the new cat in his place if necessary.  She walks in her authority and her confidence.   Courtney's cat doesn't like this new cat.  And she'll let out a blood curdling cry when the cat is even near her, and is constantly hissing at him.  She will go to where she wants to, skittishly, but still knows this is her home and she belongs here and knows she is loved.   She walks in love and the a knowing of what is hers.

And then there is Zelda.

We haven't seen much of Zelda the past couple of weeks.  I'll get her in our room at night and she'll come up on my bed in the morning (not during the night, as she used to).  She still comes out for her breakfast, but will hide shortly after and not eat for the rest of the day.  She has lost weight.  I have discovered where she has been hiding.  She has taken the bottom fabric that is on the bottom of the couch off and has been living inside our couch.  When I dig her out of the couch and grab a hold of her, she clutches on with her claws in my shoulder as she watches to make sure the other cat isn't around.  And to make matters worse she will have accidents because she has to walk across the house to the cat box and possibly be seen by the new cat.  She walks in fear.

The other day I pulled her out from her hiding and put a lot of love into her.  I looked at her and said "Don't you know, all of this is yours?  Not his, but yours?  This is your home, you are ours, not him.  You have authority over him and you walk in favor.  You can walk away from your fear and walk in much confidence of who you are and that you are ours.  You have been given much."

Just as I said those words … I felt God tug at me "I've been saying the same to you".

Then I searched my life lately.

I haven't been happy because of a situation I am in.  I have been trying to make the right choice, but question God's will in it constantly.  I have been living in confusion as I am not completely sure as to the direction God has me to go.  But it comes down to fear.  Fear has gripped me hard.  I just didn't know I was living in it.

So I searched my heart.  I'm afraid of making our comfortable lifestyle not so comfortable.  I'm afraid of putting the full weight on my husband and stressing him out and what that could result in.  I'm really afraid of not making the right choice.  I'm afraid of not pleasing God, my Father.  I'm afraid of how others judge me.  I'm afraid of confronting the person I will need to do.  I'm afraid of the guilt and manipulation that will come my way.  I'm afraid of being wrong.   I'm afraid of letting something go that I have loved for so long.  I'm afraid of the impact it could create on the trips that are planned this year.  I'm deeply afraid ...

So I run and hide.  I am hiding in my fear and allowing the fear to run its course on me.  I'm not living comfortably now because I'm not living at all.  I'm putting my full weight upon my husband now as I'm constantly seeking and asking his advice, then doubting he is fully understanding and knowing what circumstances could come our way.  And it's causing friction between us.  I'm already not pleasing God because I'm not doing as he wants, and letting fear be my God.  I'm letting others control me and hurt me.  And the person I am afraid to confront is controlling me now and coming into our household in an unhealthy manner.  I'm walking in the wrong direction now.  And I'm holding onto something that isn't mine to hold onto anymore.  And to top it all off, I'm not trusting in God to come and take care of all the details He wants to do.

Where have I gone wrong?

I have forgotten who I belong to.  I have forgotten who He is and what He is able to do.  I forgot that He has given me much and can walk comfortably in his favor.  I have forgotten that he has given me authority.  I have cowered down to fear and surrendered who I am and all that I have to it.  Life has been miserable, joy is absent, yet grumbling and complaining are constant.  And to make it worse, I have affected everyone who is around me.   I have been disobedient.

I need to be like the other cats.  I need to walk in authority and confidence of who I am and who I belong to.  I need to walk in the love I know God has for me and a knowing of what is mine.

It's time to walk in truth.  It's time to face my fears and knock these giants down.  And it is time to surrender to the One who knows me, the One that loves me and finds favor with me, and the One that says I am still His.  

It's time.

And since it is my time … Zelda it is your time too.  We can do this together!

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Through The Storms Of Life

I flew back to Colorado to get my daughter and bring her home.  We rented a vehicle to drive back with all her things.  You can never predict the weather in Colorado or Wyoming, so it is always an adventure and you never know what you are in for.

As we were driving, we left the comforts of the 70 degree weather, with blue skies and puffy white clouds and went into the mountains to be greeted by snow, still with blue skies and puffy white clouds.  As we continued, we could see ahead the clouds where clearly a storm was ahead, where the darkness of the sky met the earth and you couldn't distinguish the separation of the two.  As we continued the storm became darker and scarier. The road continued right into the storm.

There was no getting around it.  Anyone who knows Wyoming, knows there is a lot of nothing,including choices of roads and even shelter.  We had to continue.  I gripped the steering wheel and continued on, and feared what I was in for.

As I gripped on to the steering wheel, I gripped on to Jesus as I muttered prayers under my breath.

When we entered the storm, we entered hard rain … the kind of rain that the window wipers couldn't move fast enough, we entered 32 degree weather which brought some snow mixed into the rain.  We journeyed on and got through to the other side …. then I could only see the storm in my rear view mirror.

I remembered a childhood book the girls used to love:  Going on a Bear Hunt.  It talks about going on a bear hunt and having to go through long wavy grass, a river, mud and a cave.  They can't go around these obstacles, or over or under it … the only way to go is through it.  Sometimes God brings us storms in life.  Sometimes storms just come whether God brings them or not.  We can't go around them, over them or under them, as much as we want or even try … we have to go through them.

As I looked in the rear view mirror I saw what I went through.  And I felt God prompt me as to why I was so scared, after all it wasn't all that I had feared.  And as I looked in the mirror again it was because of the storms I have endured in the past.  I knew how bad the storm could be … I was fearful of the baseball hail that I could have endured and this time without any coverage.  I was fearful of a tornado forming.  I was fearful of the lightening that could fall from the sky with such power and put it's mark on the land right next to me.  I was fearful of a blizzard coming out of no where … all these things I have endured in the past, and I knew what was possible when the storm was before me.

I remembered Luke 8:22-25.  Jesus and his disciples were in the boat, and Jesus was sleeping while the disciples were battling a storm…fearful as they endured it.  They feared for their lives.  Jesus is all his sleepiness and calmness calmed the storm and asked: "Where is your faith?".

God reminded me that storms are going to come and go.  Some are greater than others, as they are all not the same.  Fear shouldn't ever stop me with any of them.  Where is my faith?  Faith is gripping on to Jesus during these storms, but faith is also knowing who is with me and who I am in Him.  The storms of life don't have a hold of me, as He is greater, and He has given me authority to be greater than them too.  

And just as He has given me the authority over these storms … He has given the authority to you.  Conquer your storms.  Grip on to Jesus.  And take authority.  It is yours.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Lesson at the Doctor's Office.

My soul seems to be stirring so much lately.  I can see it as a good place to be, but I also see it as a frustrating place to be.  I need clarity and direction.  And I can't seem to find it. 

A couple months ago, I just gave up in Chick-fil-A and put my two weeks in.  They were able to talk me out of leaving, but I did cut my hours back considerably.  I just needed some time to figure out what life holds in store for me. 

A couple months ago, the CASA office was hitting all the green lights for me to "go" and be certified to be involved.  Being that everything was being forced and going at lightning speed, I put the breaks on, because I need to know that is for sure where God wants me.  The busyness people cause, makes me not able to hear clearly.  And I need to hear God's voice.

It's so hard to explain, but my soul seems to be searching and confused.  I'm constantly looking for "what's next", what my current "purpose" is.  And nothing comes about.  I look at my job, and say "surely, there is something more for me".  And with the same eyes that see the job, see lack of hope there.  So I want to leave … and run, and never turn back.

My daughter was sick earlier last week.  She had her umpteenth case of pink eye … but this time it was really bad and in both.  We do things naturally, and give illness there time.  But this time, it was in me that we needed the big guns of medication, and a doctor to look at her.  

I made the appointment.  

I had other appointments that day, and put her appointment in the midst of mine, and thought it would be doable.  The receptionist told me to call back, knowing my schedule if I wasn't able to make it on time, because they were able to adjust accordingly.  

My first appointment took longer than expected.  I had to call and make the change.

We showed up fifteen minutes early for her doctor's appointment.  And we waited.  Two people who had the time slots for fifteen minutes after our appointment showed up.  And were called back.  We still waited.  

We finally were called back.  My daughter's vitals were taken, weight and height and we were put in the exam room.  Where we had to wait even longer.  I kept looking at the time, because I knew another appointment was after this.  The person knew what was going on, and knew I'd be late, but still I wanted to respect our appointment time to the very best of my ability. 

The doctor came in.  Arm braces and all.  

He moved slower than you or me, as he juggled his crutches, the chart and us.  I wanted to ask Him, but knew better and didn't.  He was the doctor.  He got around the exam room constantly swinging his body around, but focused on the reason he was there…. my daughter and her illness.

I felt God tugging at my heart.  I heard him whispering into my spirit.  "You don't see me on the other side of the door.  I am in the midst of something, have patience.  It will be revealed to you soon."  

I continued to watch.  And I admired that doctor.  

He was labeled with something … MS, a stroke … I don't know, but something.  He didn't allow it to stop him.  He had a vision and direction to continue his doctoring.  And he continues.  No matter if Satan is trying to stop him.  He continues. I'm sure he has hard days.  But he perseveres.  

I swallowed hard.  I remembered the girls childhood book by Max Lucado "You are Special".  I remember all the stickers that Punchinello gets labeled with, and how they start falling when He comes to know his Creator and then they start falling.  

Have I picked up labels?  Have I looked at my vision and direction and judged it as not being good enough and stopped doing what I'm intended to?  Perhaps.  But more so, I need to just rest in patience and wait for the door to open for me and know my Creator.  Spend time with Him as I wait.  It is there I will find the door.  It is there I will find the strength to persevere through what He has called me to do.  It is there I will find patience.  And it is there my soul will find rest and calmness.

It is with my Creator I wait.  

And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and joyfully giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light.
Colossians 1:10-12

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.
Galatians 5:22

Remember your Creator in the days of your youth, before the days of trouble come and the years approach when you will say, "I find no pleasure in them"-
Ecclesiastes 12:1