Archibald Family

Archibald Family

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Changes

Last week the girls were home on Spring Break. The First Day of Spring fell on that week too, and we went to a nearby park and had lunch with Daddy on his lunch hour and took First Day of Spring pictures of the girls. We enjoyed temps in the 70's and knew spring was here.


This week we had a storm roll in. Not any ordinary storm, but a spring blizzard, with temps in the teens-twenty's. This week our girls experienced their first snow day.
This week we saw two things - how quickly a change can be on the brink and how we can't always see a storm coming, but inevitable they come.

But one thing we know....Our God Never Changes. He remains the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. As quickly as the storms come into our lives, storms we think will never end, one thing is for sure - God is the one who will see us through those storms and call the storm to cease. Today we recognize and offer thanks for those storms in our lives and celebrate God as our strength, our deliverer, our Faithful One and rescuer. When the storm is over, God remains and we celebrate.
"Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows."
James 1:17

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Breakthrough!

Sometimes I am in such a place, where I feel forgotten. I know I'm not the only one that has been there, there are so many times we all go in those places. I have looked at God, and wondered..."Do you hear me?", I have even thought "oh, since I'm in such a place...I'm on the path that God doesn't want me on." I remember being told so many times that "things happen for a reason", meaning that if something doesn't go the way we want it to go "then it wasn't meant to be." Sometimes it is hard to be transparent, because as much as I love to receive sincere questions, they too lead to these doubts in my mind. And sometimes this transparency leaves you feeling even more isolated.

This past couple of weeks I have been searching for answers of "why". If I have to be honest, I have doubted that I have been on the right road with our whole adoption. I mean, I know I serve a God who can move mountains, who can change the hearts of his people, and can take hold of every opposition that stands in our way with not only this adoption but for the orphanage project and make it all happen. And if He can than why doesn't He? I have been trying to be obedient to Him, obeying where I thought He was leading but perhaps I just have it all wrong...I mean perhaps, just perhaps "it wasn't meant to be."

Satan thought he won His battle. But then God came with a week of breakthroughs!

I have mentioned that I am in a Bible study that I believe was just written for me. Every page I turn there is something God is trying to get through to me. And being I am a hand's on learner, He has given me circumstances each weak to help me learn the points at hand. I was reminded through the study of Esther, in order to celebrate God's victories we have to experience and see what is against us.

Mr. Geebro, the Minister of Health in Liberia has stood in the way of adoptions, has rejoiced that the President of Liberia has stopped adoptions and hasn't followed through with her promises, and now is standing in the way to bring the container the agency has sent (providing a building to be the new orphanage, solar & wind power instruments, supplies for the orphanage and so much more) from entering Liberia. This man and his accomplices have proved themselves over and over again that they aren't to be trusted, they aren't people of their words, and their actions clearly are against the agency and more importantly God. It is clear these government officials are a huge obstacle. And as I'm sure in their sight believe they are victorious. Is that you? Do you believe that this battle is just too big for us to be in? Have you looked at our situation and lost hope, because your eyes are on the situation and not on God?

Beth Moore said "some of us with little previous battle experience have no idea why God is allowing us to go through such difficult times in a place we thought was His will. He's trying to make warriors out of us, Girlfriend! Rise to the occasion! But we aren't meant to fight unseen forces alone. You and I have the Godgiven right to lock arms with our sisters and brothers in Christ and defend ourselves with the sword of the Spirit and the shield of faith. Here's the best part: When we do, we are guaranteed the victory. I said guaranteed."

I read these words, and felt as God was gently telling me something - gently telling me that I know you are in a difficult place, I know you thought you were in my will and you are! You are not alone, stand in the fight with your fellow believers and fight, I am with you and I want you to see how victorious I am". I am reassured God has me where I'm to be. A new friend reminded me yesterday that God puts desires in our hearts because He has so much love for us, and because He loves us so much it is His desire for those things to come to completion. I know some of you reading this, think that the breakthrough I have referred to was that of our children coming home. No, it's not. It saddens me too to think of them being away from me. But the breakthrough for me is knowing I am on the right path, that the old lies that I have been planted in my mind are no longer there because God has overcome it all. I know oppression will stop in Liberia, orphans will come home, and God's victory is coming. I do not know the day nor the hour, but I do know I want to be there to see it! "The Lord my God...turned the curse into a blessing for me, because the Lord my God loves me." Deat. 23:5

I know there are some government officials in the Liberian government celebrating because they believe they have won the fight. I know that there are some of you reading this not understanding how I can actually be celebrating because I don't have any physical evidence of what I say is true. But I know I have reason to celebrate for "The Lord my God is with us, He is might to save. He will take great delight in is, he will quiet us with his love, and will rejoice over us with singing." Zephaniah 3:17 Our God is honest. Our God is true. Our God loves. Our God saves.

The Archibalds are called to "fight the good fight" (1 Tim 1:18-19). And knowing that we are on the path God has chosen for us, and knowing our God is standing with us not against us, we accept to be His warriors. So we ask our fellow believers to stand up with us, link arms together and pray that God's will be done, that these curses we are enduring will be turned to God's blessings, and that Satan doesn't hold any power over these situations nor us.

We ponder over this quote, and is now a prayer for our family and Addy's Hope. "When because of your faith, your life too becomes perceptibly different; when your reactions are quite opposite to what the situation seems to call for and your activities can no longer be explained in terms of your personality; that is when your neighborhood will sit up and take notice. In the eyes of the world, it is not our relationship with Jesus Christ that counts; it is our resemblance to him!"

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Torn Between Two Worlds

Well, I should be writing you journal, day 3, 4, ect. But time is an issue these days, and frankly, I just don't want to. To sum up all the days I was there...God moved each day. He made divine appointments each and every day, and not just one, but several. We met with congressmen, representatives and the agency even met with the vice-president. What I personally saw was scales falling off eyes, and the truth revealed. I saw many surprised expressions, as well as some faces surprised that we would be so bold to speak the truth. God opened many doors, and was moving. Bottom line, what does it all mean? Do we have a date that our kids will be home? No. But I can and continue to trust that God will have our kids home when He wants them home. And too, I am that much more confident that God has led us to the right agency and has built our agency director for "such a time as this".

The biggest question that I have received from everyone is "Was it hard to leave your kids?". Am I a horrible mother, because I have to say honestly "no"? I had God's peace with me that day. I knew I when I was going I wasn't necessarily coming back with them, I was hoping, but knew during the trip that our home isn't ready. We have more to do to get ourselves ready. I need to prepare and educate our girls more as to how to deal with different scenarios that will arise, so they know it isn't just a brother and sister that is coming home, but a culture too. We have nothing for Ruth, and we need to get her baby essentials, and of course, we want to do what is best for her and her adjustment so we research everything. I was embraced with peace that day, and left in full peace. Peace too that I knew that one day soon, I will see my kids again, and until then they are in a safe and loving environment, and most of all in God's most capable, able and loving hands. Because of that knowing, I had peace!
The biggest battle I have is now. There hasn't been a day that has gone by that I haven't thought about Liberia. And believe me, I have tried. The other day God had laid on my heart to get a certain woship CD to renew our time together. I picked it up at Target yesterday, as I peaked on the back to see the list of songs I saw a song that is sung by the artist and Watoto choir. You see, no matter how much I try God is not allowing "Africa" out of my mind, sight, ears - and now my heart. Yes, my heart. I cried in Target yesterday, and must have been a sight to see. But the burden I carry in my heart for these people, for this country is great. I long to even help, but what can a person like me do?
Each day I get behind the steering wheel. I have the anxiety of getting places constantly on time...sport practice, music lessons, doctor appointments, volunteer work at the school. Each place we are heading is led by the clock. The moment I got off the plane, and grabbed my luggage we were off to get the girls from school and trying to make a basketball game. I just got back from a country that has no concept of time to a country that is purly controled by lack of time and going 100 miles per hour because we fit too much in our days. I hate it! Each day as I get behind the steering wheel, I cry out to God "I know there is more to life than this. I have seen it. I have experienced it. Now what? Now how can I bring the there into here?" I am literally torn between two worlds. I have had a privildge and calling to go to Africa twice. This time returning I have had what many of you would call "culture shock". However, culture shock doesn't involve your heart and has nothing to do with stirring a passion within your soul. When I returned back from Uganda, I did experience "culture shock" and over time was able to accept the American world back into my life, but this time all I can say is that it is different.
I have now held my kids. I have laughed with them, fed them, cared for them, slept with them, even cried with them. I miss my kids! I long to have them with us, in my arms once again. And I am thankful I am not alone, for as much as I am longing to have them home, I know God is longing with me. He sees the big picture, and together we will wait until He says "go and get them", together we will wait, together we will long and together we will miss our kids.

Until they are home, I have created this video of all the pictures I have captured of Elijah and Ruthie while I was in Liberia. Enjoy seeing a glimpse of them, and please continue to pray with us that they will be home soon. (And don't forget to turn the music off at the bottom of the page.)

video

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Journal, Day 3 - February 17, 2009

Our director took care of so much business today - arranging appointments, meeting with people and such. Amos, the in-country director arranged a press conference for tomorrow. An interesting fact about press conferences - one must pay for the press to come! During our director's outing she met with someone who wants to work with Addy's Hope and license each of the workers and educate them about protecting the kids from abuse and such. She also wants to work with those in the states to educate us as adoptive parents as to the culture we are bringing into our homes. This is another great thing, and another divine appointment set up by God. Everyday I see more and more that God is building block by block getting Addy's Hope ready for something great!

We went out to meet for lunch. Elijah now cries everytime I leave. It breaks my heart but I know too it's also an act of trying to get his way. I rocked Ruth asleep again today and it just feels so right.

I called Duane last night and let Elijah talk to him. I believe I heard some emotion from Duane. Elijah kept asking "Papa, when are you coming to get me?" Oh, if he only knew a yar ago we were ready.




I also gave Elijah and Ruthie some left over pizza. Afterwards we went out to get some fruit and when I returned the first thing was "Mama, my stomach hurts". I felt so bad - his little stomach wasn't ready for such rich food. He slept next to me tonight, and I keep looking over to make sure he is really there. I still feel as if I am living a dream.

Ruthie just wants to be held all the time. She doesn't like to walk too much and also doesn't like to be smothered by the kids. She is deathly afriad of the teddy bear I brought her! She screamed until it was put away. And what amazes me is that she is just over a year old and has already learned the "Liberian pout" to get her way.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Journal, Day 2 - February 16, 2009

I am in Liberia. I confess I am still a little nervous thinking of what Elijah and Ruthie are going to think, how they will respond. We stopped for dinner before heading to the orphanage.

Liberia isn't a shock for me, for some aspects it reminds me of Uganda, but too it does have it's uniqueness. Funny thing is it all seems normal to me, and I have this sense of being home. We arrived at the orphanage and the kids were swarmed all around us to greet us all. Elijah and Ruth were not to be found - they were asleep. The workers went to get Ruth and brought her out to me. She reached out to me, and it was all such a surreal moment; my baby girls is in my arms. I was cradling her, rocking her and then her big brown eyes looked up to me, studying me and it was then my spirit leaped and I had an instant bond with her. We belong together, she is my child as my birth children are. Then the workers brought Elijah to me. And just like an Archibald, he was still half asleep, not able to take in the fullness of it all, nor able to comprehend all that was happening. Although he was awake enough to push all the other kids away from me so he could have me to himself. I went to bed knowing for the first time my youngest children are with me.

This morning we were up early ready for action. I stayed back at the orphanage while our director, another parent, the country's director and pastor went to arrange some meetings. The first door opened was our director running into a woman who is a Liberian congressman. They made arrangements to meet tomorrow about the issues at hand as well as how she can help us Americans by educating us about the Liberian culture.

Addy's Hope's social worker, Rachel came by to pick me up to meet everyone else for lunch. We then headed to the adoption meeting led by the very people who have been against us and have been trying to extort money from us. We found the meeting to be postponed until Thursday...surprised? No.

We then headed to the new site for the new orphanage. It is much bigger than what I have seen. The oppression on the neighboring people is worn on their faces. Addy's Hope is not just focusing on trying to build a better facility and focus on themselves by bringing hope and education for these very people that surround the land. These people are excited and welcoming to us. Adults are excited that they will even have the change to learn to read.

We then met with the attorney, who happened to be the advisor to the President (we never knew that fact until the end and were very surprised to learn that bit of information). She was surprised to hear of all the problems we have endured with some of the government officials. She recommended that we start with the press and educate the people of Liberia what adoption is, what our agency's goal is - and to stick to the facts, not the emotions. We were also told to meet with the legislation and request an investigation to the problems we continue to have.

Tonight I saw the truth exposed for the first time and scales starting to fall off some eyes. God has already opened many doors and we give Him all the glory!

On my way to Liberia - Journal, Day 1

On my way to Liberia! So many thoughts and feelings. Feelings of excitement to finally meet Elijah and Ruth, and even feelings of fear. Will they like me? Will I meet their expectations? Will they learn to love me? And then those questions turn into "what-ifs". What if they don't like me? What if I don't meet their expectations? What if they won't love me?.... all boils down to - FEAR. Oh, how Satan would love to capture me there. I'm reminded of God's most frequent command over and over again as I travel on - "Do not be afraid". I rest in the knowing that God is with me and has already gone before me, so truthfully I have no reason to fear.

Why is God sending me? I continue to see the answer to that question. I need to know so I don't miss what I am suppose to do. I still haven't a clue.

We have had our first battle - that in Brussels airport and all because of luggage. It was enough to scare me and tell God "oh, you have the wrong person. I can't do this". And then turn around and go back home. I believe we were hassled because 1. we are Americans and 2. Satan wants us to start off discouraged. But the truth of it all is I can't do what He is calling me to do, but He can. I want so very much to be in His will. I think I am here for our agency's director, but I still am afraid that I won't clearly hear or see what God truly wants me to do or say or worse...perhaps I will hear or see what God wants me to do and I just won't do it because of fear.

Oh, God give me strength and boldness to stand where you want me. I know through You all things are possible. Rise up within me. I love you. Thank you for working in me now and growing me once again. You have prepared me for such a time as this.

I confess I have believed and continue to be captured in the fear of not being good enough. Because of it I have put God in a box and have assumed that God has been disappointed and ashamed of me and how God would like to have someone else other than me. These are my "old man thoughts", thoughts I am pushing away and trying to break free of. The truth is God loves me and showers His love upon me all the time. I have had the privilege to experience His heart for me and I thank Him for that experience. His love for me gives me the confidence I need.

Father God, this trip is You reaching your scepter out to me, and I am reaching out, touching it and accepting your grace and love You have for me and ready to be used by you. Give me the wisdom, discernment, boldness and gentleness needed to do what you want of me. Let my ears and heart be open. Let my eyes be open too. Above all, let me trust you each step of the way. I am excited to get to personally see You at work in Liberia and for you to move mountains.