Archibald Family

Archibald Family

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Happy Birthday Jesus!!!

Go tell it on the mountain, over the hills and everywhere,
Go tell it on the mountain
That Jesus Christ is Born!!!

(Our Birthday Song to Jesus, written by the Donut Man (Rob Evans))
Happy Birthday, Jesus

Happy Birthday to the Lord

Happy Birthday, Happy Birthday, Happy Birthday to the Lord

Let the earth cry out, "Hallelujah"

Let the people shout for joy

Let the star burn like the brightest candle

And celebrate the birthday of God's baby boy

Let the angels sing "Glory in the highest"

Let the shepherds shout for joy

Let the wise men bring out the presents

And celebrate the birthday of God's baby boy

Happy Birthday to the Lord!!!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

The Kindness & Goodness of God...

Our Bible Study is now done. But today I ponder the fruit of kindness and goodness. Today I'm also struggling.

Have you ever felt forgotten by God? I have. I remember when we moved here to Colorado, how everything seemed so easy for Duane, he had everything - job, new acquaintances and lighter baggage. I on the other hand had what I saw as nothing - no friendships, no connection at our church, no peace with our first choice of schools, and a heavier load that I could ever carry. I remember asking God one day..."hey, do you remember me?" I felt so alone, abandoned.

Isaiah 49:14-16 says "but Jerusalem said, "the Lord has left me; the Lord has forgotten me." The Lord answers, "can a woman forget the baby she nurses? Can she feel no kindness for the child to which she gave birth? Even if she could forget her children, I will not forget you. See, I have written your name on my hand." In the NIV version the word of written is engraved and in Hebrew that means "to hack". This verse offers us the heart of our God...the engraving of our names are carved into our Gods hands and written by the precious blood of His son, Jesus. How can he forget us? We are not only in, but "tattooed" in his hand for him to see. My daughter has a precious note on her facebook: "If God had a refrigerator, your picture would be on it."

But today I struggle. You see, many of you don't quite understand where Duane and I are at. We feel called here in Colorado to raise and care for the family God has blessed us to be. We have our roles, and know God has called us to it. Then we have two children on the other side of the world that we feel called to too. Children that aren't understanding the coming and going of many people, aren't understanding and questioning in their young minds how a mother can forget about them. How they cry, and are cared for but deep down wonder how long that person will be in their life. We see our son who is ready to attach to anyone. We want to book a flight and be with our young children and wait out the turmoil that is in Liberia together. We want to love our children. We want to comfort them. We want to hold them. We want to love... and so does God. God wants to love them, and love us, He wants to comfort them and comfort us, He want to hold them and hold us...He wants to love.

God created my mommy's heart. God created the mother's heart. God is the ultimate mother and father. So today I leave my precious little lambs in Jesus' hands once again and I put my fingertips in his palm and rub the markings of Elijah and Ruth's carved names. I surrender once again, I do love and I will continue to trust.

I noticed something about my prayer life. I have pleaded, begged, surrendered, held onto peace, held onto confusion and bitterness, cried, laughed, sought other prayer warriors, remained quiet, I have prayed once about things, and prayed a zillion times about others. Satan has been trying to show me how my prayers aren't working. How I need to give it up, God isn't listening. God doesn't care.

Ha!

My God has me engraved in the palm of His hand with the blood of Jesus. He cares and no matter how tired I become, no matter how long I have to wait, no matter how I feel today or tomorrow I choose to worship and love the one true and living God, the Father of heaven and earth, my Redeemer, my friend, the lover of my soul and the King of Kings. I may not be able to see the result of my prayers yet, but I hold onto the promise my God hears my prayers. My God is good and my God is kind.
Call to me and I will answer you
and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.
Jeremiah 33:3
So today I will pray. Today I will worship. Today I will praise. Today I will continue to love my God, trust and hope in Him. Today I will wait.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Merry Christmas Elijah & Ruthie!

It's always such a treat to go through pictures of families who have gone before us to pick up their children. This time the director of our agency and a friend of ours went over to 1. get the adoptions moving again and 2. purchase and break land to build a new orphanage, clinic, chapel, school and so much more. It is always exciting to hear and now finally see the dreams come into reality. The children in the orphanage had a Christmas party when they were there and we had the privilege to send over a little something for our children. Today we were given a gift of seeing them receive their presents. Oh, how we would love to just come and put our arms around you ourselves, Elijah & Ruth, but until then...


Do not be afraid, for behold,
I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people.
For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior,
who is Christ the Lord.
And this will be the sign to you:
You will find a babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.




Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Operation Christmas Child

Each year it is a tradition in the Archibald home to make a shoebox for a "needy" child. Operation Christmas Child brings joy and hope to children in desperate situations around the world through gift-filled shoe boxes and the Good News of God’s love. Since 1993, more than 61 million shoe boxes have been packed, shipped, and delivered across the globe. People of all ages can be involved in this simple, hands-on missions project while focusing on the true meaning of Christmas—Jesus Christ. It has also helped keep our girls minds that it is truly better to give than to receive.
This year we were extremly blessed. Not only did we make our six shoeboxes but the 5th graders were able to deliver part of the 1006 shoeboxes they were encharge of bringing in and see where they were going, and what would happen from there. There they heard a story from a young woman, 18 years of age, who was adopted from Russia at the age of 10. She received one of these shoeboxes at the age of 8. Her story reminded us of how orphans are so looked down upon in their culture, and the dispair they are in. She told us specifically how candy was something that only "rich kids" had, and how she hated brushing her teeth for the toothpaste tasted horrible. What she remembers most in her shoebox she received, was not the toys and gadgets but some candy and her very own toothpaste. I was reminded once again what we take for granted.

The end of the week, I joined the freshman class and journeyed back to Operation Christian Child's distribution center (who also took the rest of the 1006+ boxes). There we searched each shoebox that was packed so carefully with love and made sure there wasn't things that aren't allowed to be in the boxes. We also were able to add a few things to the boxes. We opened, searched and gave, and prayed over the boxes that were sent once again.
Those of you who want to be involved in this ministry, it isn't too late. Please check out their website at http://www.samaritanspurse.org/index.php/OCC/ Get involved, touch a life of a child!



Courtney's journal....

My favorite thing that we did this year was raising boxes for Operation Christmas Child. I like it because a lot of people said we were not going to make our goal. They thought that because our goal was 1,000 boxes. When they kept saying that, I just kept repeating in my head that anything with God was possible. But I was so glad that we reached our goal of 1,000 boxes. Now all the people that were saying we were not going to make it can believe that we can do anything with God and if we put our mind to it. That is why I am glad we have reached our goal.

Each of us, took something away this year. We are thankful that God calls us to give, for it is through giving that we experience the joy and wonder of God's heart. Thank you, Courtney for sharing with us what you have learned and yes. ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE WITH GOD!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas...

As the tradition began, on Duane and my first Christmas together, it as been the trend to go and hike, have turkey sandwiches, and hunt for our Christmas tree. Unfortunately we haven't had that same experience since we moved to Colorado - simply put, it is just different here because of a variety of reasons. We still went out, and found out that one of Lindsay's teachers has his own tree lot - so that is what we did.

We reminisced about last year how we were completing our home study and dossier and wanting so badly to have Elijah with us and how we anticipated what this Christmas would be like with him. We never thought it would be another Christmas without him. We are full of peace that God will bring him and Ruth home, but as we celebrate Thanksgiving, Christmas and all the events these two holidays bring it is so hard to not wish he was here. So I do ask as you pray, could you pray that God will continue to comfort us and that the waiting will come to an end, and our new family of seven can begin.
The girls looking at Christmas lights in 3D!

Courtney's Christmas craft.


Finally! Our first snow! Yeah!!! It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas...

We Do Give Thanks...

It has been so long since I have written. Between throwing together paperwork for our home study update, appointments, girl's activities and simply just keeping up with life sitting down to write was just impossible. But here I am...

Our Thanksgiving week was shared with Grandpa. We all look forward to his visits and having our family with us. The highlight I believe for Grandpa and Courtney was to have him at school with her for her class' Thanksgiving feast. Grandpa was adopted by the class and read them a story, encouraging them each to be the person God has made them to be. Why do we do that? Why do we try to be the other person we see that is more prettier, more skinnier, more wiser, more...? This Thanksgiving I say "Thank you God for making me the person you want me to be, and nothing else. I praise you and your creation!" I pray that same seed of thanksgiving was planted in the 5th grade class, and that they appreciate the person they are.

One of our highlights for Thanksgiving is making our Thanksgiving chain. We sat around the table and shared each link and offered each link to God. We thanked God for water - not having to worry where it was to come from, or if it is contaminated. We thanked God for Elijah and Ruth, even the waiting, for it is the waiting that we are becoming more aware of God's heart. Thanks went up for each of us, for the home we live in, teachers we have, and each of you - how we are thankful that God has allowed each of our paths to cross so we can pray, encourage and love each of you.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Patience

You know that word...the word we frequently ask for and the word we frequently identify ourselves with none. Patience. I have heard so many times "be careful of what you ask for"...meaning, you ask for it you will be sent through fire to obtain it.

Our study this week reminded us how patience holds onto hope how God will prevail in every situation. God will prevail and we can stand in the hope of that! We also are reminded how we must not judge others, how we have to forgive, have patience through situations, and offer mercy for one another. I can't help but see that in order to have this fruit we must have the fruit of love. I don't think you could have patience without love.

I have to share how God has taught me patience. I don't always have it, but I know that I can fall on my knees and receive it. I have done that so much during this adoption journey.

I reached another dry spell. You see, I have always known God gave me a heart of compassion, specifically for orphans and the elderly. I also know where our financial state is. We haven't been the greatest in that area, at least we aren't where we could be. So this last weekend I chose to believe the lie of the enemy who said "see, God can't even use you in the area he wanted to because of your mess-ups." I even questioned if it was because of my mess-ups that Elijah isn't here yet. I knew the spiral I was in so I came to God, I repented, confessed, and then stated "God, whatever brings you the most glory. If Elijah needs to come next week, or in ten years, whatever brings you the most glory." After praying I felt release. And then I saw God move.

I received a call from our agency, the next day. Part of the protocol in this process is the birth mother has to come in, interview to make sure everything is on the up and up (that our agency hasn't bribed her in any way). Elijah's mother came in, and brought something with her. Elijah's baby sister! The call was to prepare us, and to pray what we should do. I called Duane immediately. As I was telling him the events that have unfolded, I felt God pouring Himself on me. I had to stop the conversation and receive Him. You see I was so dry, and He was filling me. He also said "don't ever think I can't use you because of your mistakes. I am God. I have a plan and am victorious". So I am excited now of not only Elijah coming into our lives, but now a one year too, but I am even more excited of how God is using me for His kingdom, and still able to use me for His glory. I am humbled, blessed and loved.

I also have a new part-time/temporary job! I get to work with the elderly who are shut-ins. The heart that God gave me is being manifested this week.

How does this relate to patience? You see, we have had to do nothing but wait for Elijah. I thought we saw all the cards we were dealt. I remembered the dream that started this all, and it clearly said to "choose one". But we still had to wait. We had to wait so we could see this last card that needed to be dealt - Elijah's sister. Whatever brings God the most glory! We have had to be patient, and seek it during the times that were hard to wait, all because God wants to doubly bless us. And as I remember, Duane and I have heard so many times that this is more than Elijah...we just didn't know what that exactly meant.

So as I learned in my study, we need to hold onto hope God will prevail in all circumstances. We continue to hold onto that hope as this story continues. God is good. God is good.

Oh, and how do I know this is God speaking? Because I do! However, for those who may need a bit of convincing. My favorite name in the Bible is Ruth. I love the story and the character. We were just talking about girls names this week, and I mentioned the name once again. Elijah's sister's name is Ruth. God is good!

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him,
who have been called according to his purpose.
Romans 8:28

Our Baby Girl, Ruth!

Friday, November 7, 2008

New pictures of Elijah...

We were very blessed to receive many pictures of Elijah. A mother who was adopting went on her own instead of with a group. So she stayed at the orphanage. We were able to see more of an inside peek of our little boy.
Elijah playing...

Apparently a common site...
one shoe on, and one shoe off :)
Receiving his presents...
Taking a little nap...
And what pleases me to see.
Elijah sitting in the middle and playing with the girls.
I hope he understands, this is going to be his life!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Another Zoo Day

The girls have the week off, it's Fall break. Remember, their school starts earlier than most just because of this reason. I think I was more ready for this vacation then them. Anyway we took a trip to the zoo. The weather has been so nice this week (in the 70's) so we just made the most of it.




What we have learned about Elijah

Many of you have asked if we have met Elijah, or if we know anything about him. Nope, we don't. This adventure is total trust and obedience in God for us. But we have just recently had a small window into his character. I am part of a yahoo group, one of the mom's who has her adopted children at home asked about Elijah for us and this is what was said...

He likes to eat TWO bowls of rice!
He likes to play in the sand. And he likes to play with toys.
He likes to tell stories.
He likes to play with you.
He likes to play with Samuel. And Gio Vah.
And he liked to play with me too.
He likes to share!
It sounds like he is going to fit in our family just fine. Like we said we trust God knows what He is doing. Isn't it amazing that he puts the right people together in a family...biological or adopted?

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

But the Fruit of the Spirit is....Peace

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.

Peace. Sometimes it is so hard to obtain, especially during these uncertain times - financial instability, politics, war in Iraq, and everything else going on in this world. How about your personal world? Is there peace?

We are reminded throughout scripture of how God is our peace. This week, my study highlighted how we find peace in aloneness, in God's provisions, our storms, as we wait, in our tears, in His plan and even in our death. As solemn as it all sounds there is so much joy and even peace throughout this study.

What I received most this week was how I have peace as we wait on Elijah (which seems forever) and through my tears. I read a familiar story (John 11): Jesus' friend, Lazarus was dying and his sisters sent for Jesus to come and heal him. Jesus was called to come, but instead stayed two more days in another city, teaching. In the meantime, Lazarus died. Mary and Martha were grieving. A crowd came to pay their respects. It was then that Jesus came and then rose Lazarus from his grave. Can you imagine the faces that day? Can you imagine how many souls were saved that day? Yet why? Why did Jesus wait so long? Why put the roller coaster of emotions on his people? Jesus used this opportunity to reveal who he really was, witnessed to many who then believed and did save many lives that day. Because he waited to come and through that perfect moment he was glorified. God revealed his glory through his son by waiting for moment. We also experience peace as we wait on Him to act, when we surrender ourselves to His authority, when we are focused on Him instead of the circumstances. (Isaiah 64:4)

Today we wait some more on the arrival of our son. Through the waiting may God be glorified when he reveals the right moment. Until then, our eyes will be captured on Jesus not on the empty room or hearts that wait for the arrival of a 4 year old boy. We hold onto peace in the waiting.

In that same story Jesus reveals his compassion as he cries with Mary and Martha as they are escorting Jesus to Lazarus' tomb. So many times I have cried as we continue to wait for Elijah. So many times I have been told "I hope you find peace." I was so relieved when I read in my study "peace means the absence of fear and turmoil, not the absence of pain and grief." Yes! I can cry! I can miss him and I can still have peace, because my peace is of God and my God is my place of refuge. (Psalm 62:8)

I don't know what may be shaking your peace - our worldly circumstances, disharmony in a relationship with a family member or friend, heartache over a loved one, waiting for your orphan child to come home; but I leave you with these words Jesus says to you: "Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid." And one last thought: Peace starts with a simple prayer "Come, take over, come."

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Happy 4th Birthday, Elijah!

When we celebrated Elijah's 3rd birthday last year without him, we were planning his next birthday with him. We never thought he'd still be in Liberia and us here celebrating another year apart. Yet we know he'll be home soon and can't wait until we can make up for lost time. Until then, we pray God's blessings on our son, his protection and mercy upon him. Happy 4th Birthday, Elijah!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Every Person Counts

I have always enjoyed learning through my children's lives. You know what I mean? Things like when you go to the post office and they will show you what happens when you drop your letter in the mailbox. Or how the grocery store manages all their goods. Everything we have done we have tried to show them how or why. I love learning this way too...remember, as I posted yesterday - I am a hands on learner.

Well, for over a month now Duane and I have been getting so many questions...all on that topic I try to get away from - POLITICS! I didn't like that subject in school, and I don't like arguing what I believe in. But my girls are asking and seeking. So we seek together. I explain to them the way I see it, how others see it, and encourage them to ask questions when they hear others speak on the subject.

Well we had a treat! A once in a life time experience! We had the privilege to go and see Sarah Palin speak at a rally that was just down the street from the girls school. I told them to write down the things they saw, make sure you listen to all around you, experience the excitement in the air. Remember, I'm not into politics, but how can you not be after going to a rally? The girls saw all the signs voting for different measures or people, badges and badges being sold, people trying to spoil the event by campaigning for the opponent. It was exciting. After standing three hours in the freezing cold we missed getting into the main building, and saw her on a big screen in the overflow building. But after her speech was over, she and her family came over and visited us there. The girls were excited.

So Duane and I sat down the night before last and cast our votes. The girls were intrigued by the whole thing. Checked out our ballets, and continued to ask what each measure meant. We reminded them it is our duty to vote, to make our voice heard how we want our nation to be run. And then I am reminded that the next time we vote for our president, Lindsay will be voting too.

As I have mentioned I am not really into politics. It doesn't mean that I am not concerned with this years elections, believe me I am. But Colorado has an exciting measure on the ballot. That being measure 48, stating that a person is a person at conception. We, of course encourage those Colorado voters out there to Vote yes.
The 21 year old that is responsible for getting this measure on the ballet was at the girl's school today as a guest speaker during chapel. I was encouraged. And I want to encourage all the young that they aren't too young to have a voice and to stir things up, and I remind you God can and will use them for the passions He stirs in you. I have posted a video that was shown during chapel, I hope this stirs encouragement in each of you. I also hope that our state will impact others in the years to come!

(Don't forget to turn off the music at the bottom of the blog as you view this video.)


video

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Rejoice! I say it again, Rejoice!

You know how I know when I'm in the right Bible Study? When I live what I learning just as I am going through each lesson. You see God knows me more than anyone (even myself) - I am a hands on learner! I told you all about how I experienced the first fruit of the Spirit that of love. Well this week we completed the second fruit - that of joy.

I confess this lesson didn't move me as the others and I was a bit disappointed as I didn't have a life lesson...well, at least I thought - until I was leaving our study. First, before I explain I have to remind us of why we have joy and the source of our joy.
  1. Joy is the result of realizing that our names are written in heaven.

  2. Joy is the result of discovering the person, power, and plan of God in our multitude of circumstances.

  3. Joy is the result of restoration.

  4. Joy is the result of "remaining" in Christ.

  5. Joy is the result of relating God's way to God's people.

I have to confess when I did my homework for point #5, I was so thankful and full of confirmation. I LOVE talking with God's people, worshipping together and serving together. I LOVE it, and find it is a source of my joy. Even updating each of you through this blog, I experience joy. I am thankful for each one of you and how we can share our lives together.

But God let the Archibald experience how joy is the result of discovering the person, power, and plan of God in our multitude of circumstances today! I am reminded through my struggles of how victorious and mighty our God is, and it is through that discovery how I find joy. It's not that the crisis is over, but how God revealed himself. I can remember a time when we were in mediation over a situation we were totally unaware of in our "buyer beware house", and during that time Courtney was recovering from major surgery and because of our house stuff and the length of the mediation, it caused Courtney to remain in need of medical attention. It was her physical suffering God used to win our case, but in the end we saw how God opened the door right in front of us as HE won the case. That was two years of suffering - not only physically for Courtney, but financial, mentally, emotionally and even spiritually. We felt we went through the ringer and we rejoiced when it was over!

If you take the time to read through all our many posts you'll see the trial we have been through with the adoption of our son. You'll read about so many spiritual battles we were in - how it was so hard to have patience, and at time I doubted if God was even listening to our pleas. I even wondered at a couple points, even recently (though I didn't post it) how I questioned if I heard God right...because frankly it all didn't make sense. However, as I sit and am reminded of this journey, I see how my faith in God is stronger than ever before...and for me that is worth being joyful! But today we discovered we have our court decree! WE ARE OFFICIALLY PARENTS OF A 3 YEAR (SOON TO BE 4) LITTLE BOY IN LIBERIA!

The joy we are experiencing is so over whelming. (I wish you could have seen Katie run through the halls at school!) But why are we so joyful? Perhaps some because we actually have a document we have been waiting for since the beginning of the year, but mostly because how God has revealed Himself to us. You see for the Archibalds - God is the source of our joy! And in order to experience God and learn more of Him, I would do this all over again and even if it takes as long as it has.

So today we Rejoice!!!!! I say it again, Rejoice!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Another Gift...

Many ask if we have met Elijah, and if he has met us. No, we have never met, we have never held him in our arms, and he has never physically received our love. However over the last 14 months we have sent him gifts from time to time as another family heads over to get their children. We have sent a gift once again (a car, ball, more photos). And today we wonder and pray, when sending the gifts can stop and we can receive the gift of our son. Until then, we wait but I confess I have to remind myself on some days that I have the privilege to do so.

Just Another Concert?

Those of you who know our daughter, Lindsay knows her love for music. I think we have the only teenager in the world who cranks the volume to her big band cds. She appreciates classical and loves to focus on it on the piano. Fiddling is more of a challenge for her in violin. She is the only one I know that when we take her to a movie she tunes into the background music, then leans over and says "oh, this would be a great piece to learn in band". My daughter LOVES music.

Last week we went to her first college fair. Yes, as much as I'm trying to deny this...we have to start looking and planning for this major event. Over 60 private colleges were represented. She went around to each one seeing which college offers majoring in Music Education, and minoring in music.

We went to another concert of hers this week....and this is what I thought of.
  • Choir concerts - 24 times we have sat and watched for our child's minute of fame, and over an hour of watching all the other kids.

  • Piano lessons - 428 times driving to and from, and adjusting our schedules to accommodate

  • Piano recitals - 10 times we have sat and watched as our buttons popped

  • Violin lessons - 225 times driving to and from, and adjusting our schedules to accommodate

  • Violin recitals - 5 times we have sat and watched again as our buttons popped once again.

  • Band concerts - 22 concerts, all with her hidden behind the other instruments

  • Financial investment - I just calculated it - 10 years of lessons, books, instruments, reeds ... oh, my! Thus the reason we don't go on vacation much.

  • Just another concert this last Monday? - Never! And we can't wait until the next.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Love Conquers All

Do you ever wonder, why is God bringing me through this? After all...it's every one else that needs to change, not me, I'm seeking and I'm on the right path. WRONG! What a challenging couple of weeks!

A week ago I was offended by my dear husband. He hurt me so bad, and for me it was unforgivable. I had every right to not forgive him and to remind him of his mistake for the rest of his days. That was my plan of action.

Since that incident our oldest did the unthinkable...turned to be "one of those teens". I mean I actually believed that my children was never going to act like that...

My youngest has gone back to her habit of lying.

My middle had me on ignore and used me for her transportation to and from, and also took the groceries for granted.

I reached my breaking point! Everyone is against me, and everyone else needs to change!

Isn't it ironic or rather isn't it timely that God's lessons in my Bible Study is that on love. The heart of the Fruit of the Spirit. Beth Moore's message yesterday was stating "being called to love we risk rejection". We were reminded of how rejection can wound deeper and last longer than hosts of other injuries (Prov 30:21-23 & PS 27:10). Rejection tempts us to invite things into our lives we might never have welcomed and can empower us to act in ways we never dreamed of behaving. And I was also reminded why Jesus' rejection was so deep, was because he was rejected by his OWN. So what is my point?

I was hurt by my family's behavior because each displayed a form of rejection. The old phrase is true, it hurts to love.

God, once again in his merciful grace, brought me out of the pits. Last week, I fell to my face, and told God that He would have to change my heart, He had a lot of work ahead of Him...because I couldn't change it. Through that prayer, I repented of my selfishness and so much pride and saw once again the work He had to change in ME. In order for Him to work in me, in order for Him to change my callused hard heart, I had to surrender me and give it to him. And you know what? God moved what seemed to be mountains...He accomplished His work and changed my heart. Not only did he soften my heart, I sought Duane's forgiveness and not only do I have a love for my husband but a stirring passion that grows each day. I have peace.

My oldest. That was hard. After all, she was rebelling, unappreciative and expecting everything to be around her. I had every reason to react to her with the top of my lungs. (Remember, rejection can empower us to act in ways we never dreamed of behaving.) I was also claiming Duane on my side...and together we were going out to get her. I fell on bended knee seeking wisdom and asking for help, afterward my dear husband asked me this morning..."I'm not judging, only asking," (uh-oh), "is this retaliation or love?". I had every right to send her to school in a taxi, not do anything for her, and make things so difficult until she came to ME and apologized. But Duane's question sunk in deeper and deeper. (I am so thankful He is the head of the house, our spiritual leader!) I talked to Lindsay on the way to school, agreed with her, heard her, and shared my heart. I finally told her, I am totally at peace with letting her go. I know she has Christ in her heart, and if she hits rock bottom I know God loves her so much he would see her through and help her out. Our God is that loving. I blessed her and her day, and hugged her. I told her she can reject my love, but I will still love her.

We had to discipline Courtney this morning and again this afternoon. She and I prayed over her asking Jesus to redeem her, casting out the master of lies and the one who is holding her captive in her fears, and have asked that every time she wants to lie that it will turn to a want of praise to God. We already celebrate His victory in this area. Courtney experienced a freedom this afternoon she never experienced before.

Katie repented last night with her actions. She claimed her responsibilities, was empathetic to the others in the household, and was definitely more social than she had been. I told her I was going to celebrate with her by taking her to lunch today.

Instead of taking Katie to lunch, I brought her her favorite lunch to her. As I was pulling out her lunch I was greeted by Lindsay. Lindsay's lunch was bad for whatever reason (God's doing?). I told her that she could sit with me and I would be happy to share my lunch with her. She sat down and cried. "It is hard to accept this meal, when I have treated you so horrible." My heart pained with her..."yes, I'm sure it is hard. It may be hard for her to receive it, but for me it isn't hard to give."

So who had to change? ME! I have to continue surrender myself, allow God to move and flow through me. Thank you God that even though sometimes it is so hard to receive Your love because of my mess-ups and failures, for You it is never hard to give.

Love is patient and kind.
Love is not jealous, it does not brag, and it is not proud.
Love is not rude, is not selfish and does not get upset with others.
Love does not count up wrongs that have been done.
Love is not happy with evil but is happy with the truth.
Love patiently accepts all things.
It always trusts, always hopes, and always remains strong.
Love never fails.
1 Corinthians 13:4-8

Duane, Lindsay, Katie and Courtney - I am so thankful you have stuck through my "yuckiness" and together with God in the center we can achieve all things - because God is our love and will never fail! I am reminded of a book that we have read through the years -

I'll love you forever,
I'll like you for always,
As long as I'm living
my baby you'll be.

I am so privileged to be your wife and your mommy. And I'm proud to say that you are my family - no matter what, I'll love you.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Prayer Please

So many of you ask. As you know we have the privilege to carry the burden to wait for our son to come home. We know so many of you continue to pray for us during this journey and we are so grateful. We knew that God orchestrated this whole ordeal, we just never thought it would be so heart wrenching. We also know God finishes what He starts...He is victorious and we praise Him for that.

It sounds like the court decree has been signed but not recorded. We are NOT sure of that yet. So we are asking for prayer once again. I wish you could hear the girls pray...they still hold onto hope that their brother will be home for his birthday, or that we could go and get him at that time. I am most humbled lately with Courtney's prayers. She doesn't only ask, but she is seeking to find God in all this. She holds onto the love of God and knows that that love is needed in Liberia, especially in their government. She keeps waiting to hear from an email from God, not our agency. What she is looking for, I don't know. But I love walking behind my children at times and learning from them. So as you pray, please don't just pray for Elijah to come home, but that these girls will see a glimpse of God and that this journey will radically change their spiritual lives forever, and of course for peace that passes all understanding.

Thank you so much! We of course will keep you posted.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Happy 12th Birthday Katie!

Tonight we celebrate Katie's birthday. And as true to form since she turned 5, her birthday dinner remained the same...Maccaroni & Cheese (gluten free), Mommy's homemade baked beans, and strawberries. And being that she isn't really that into cake we had our usual birthday brownies...gluten and all! Not a meal that you write home about...but they are all her favorites and something she looks forward to every year. I couldn't help but wonder what she will pick when she turns 30 years old.

As I look at her tonight, I couldn't help but wonder...where did the time go?
Katie celebrated her birthday with her friends this past Friday. We had gluten free maccaroni and cheese, strawberries (for lunch), we found a gluten free pizzaria (for dinner), then we had bacon and eggs for breakfast with gluten free donuts. I even made a gluten free chocolate cake for her birthday. All the kids enjoyed it all and the gluten free didn't make a difference. We went to the rec center and played in the pools...the girls had a lot of fun, much laughter and talked into the wee hours of the morning!