Archibald Family

Archibald Family

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

So Thankful for You!

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks;
for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
1 Thess 5:16-18

Thankfulness was my topic in my Bible study today. The following statement hit me between the eyes:  "Not everything that happens in life is His will.  He didn't cause the crisis that an individual or a nation may be facing.  He actually cannot give things that are not good, because he does not have them.  God can give only good gifts because He is good, and He has only good gifts to give.  So giving thanks in everything does not mean that the adversity came from God.  But when you give thanks in the midst of an adverse situation, a difficulty that was intended to undermine your faith and even destroy you enables you to take hold of that situation and set it apart to God and His purposes."  Bill Johnson

What does that mean to me?

To this day I receive question after question about our children in Liberia.  No one understands.  What I understand and share doesn't make sense.  But in the back of their minds they question how God could allow these children to be raised in an orphanage. Some question if we heard right.  Some doubt.  Some condemn.  And I totally get it, because I have been in the same place. 

I have allowed anger, bitterness, and disappointment fill my heart and close parts of my heart from God.  But when I sit and ponder all that God has done through my life...the big things as well as the minor, God has proved Himself faithful and true.  He has never left me, and has continued to pour His love on me.  He continues to show His goodness in my life.  Bottom line, a good God doesn't do something bad and I have reason to be thankful in spite of Elijah and Ruth being here or not.

And that is where I'm at - a heart of thankfulness.  Thank you God for providing Elijah and Ruth a home, food and provision.  Thank you for keeping them healthy and well taken care of.  Thank you for the people who have been placed in theirs and our lives to give us connection.  I am thankful God, you have allowed me to go and hold them.  Thank you for the hope that you have shown us throughout the past four years as we wait.  Oh God, I so appreciate how you have held our hearts, wiped our tears away as well as theirs.  Thank you for not walking away from me when I have been bitter and angry toward you, but instead you held me that much tighter.  Thank you that I don't have to understand any of this ... but I can trust you know what is best and will take care of it all.  Thank you for your love for each of us.  Thank you for never turning your heart away from me and remaining so good.  Thank you, thank you and thank you for you...I love you so much.  I choose to be thankful as I have so much to be thankful for, and through it all I can see how big you are.  I open my heart fully to you, asking and receiving your love in all areas of my heart.  I give everything over to you completely, today and everyday.  No more hiding, no more doubt ... but rather my mind, heart and soul fully devoted to you - and thank you for receiving it always. 

So on this very special day I say THANK YOU GOD for all these things, and blessing our son with another birthday.  Thank you for being the perfect parent in His life.  This special day we celebrate the evidence of YOU in his life.


Wednesday, October 19, 2011

God Is Good!

It is the simple things that bring my life so much joy.  Those simple things are the animals we bring into our family.  Earlier this year we had to put our beloved bunny down.  As you can imagine it was a sad day in the Archibald home.  When we put that bunny down, we remembered all we went through with him and felt as if we were putting all those memories down with our Daisy-Doodle.  Sorrow remained in our hearts, and a yearning in my heart grew more and more for another bunny.

I look through my journal and see conversations I was having with God, laying my heart before him and confessing the reasons I wanted another bunny, but then trusting him in his infinite wisdom to do what was best.  But every corner I was looking to see he was saying yes. 

We went into a new store, Duane wanted to explore.  I came around the corner of the aisle and there was a troft and in it...the last bunny!  It also had the lopped ears I was hoping for!  I looked at Duane ... and he looked at me, knowing he just couldn't say no to me once again.  And now my yearning was filled ... or was it?

This year seems to be a year of hardship for us.  Everything seems to be breaking down around us:  car (a couple of times), appliances, home repairs, yard stuff and the list goes on.  Also I am learning that the older your children become the more expensive are the needs.  So needless to say we have been watching every penny that comes and goes through our home.  So when the summer came with all its repairs, it also opened a door of guilt as I contemplated "Did God give me my hearts desire or did I choose this bunny and the expense that came with it?".

Duane took me away for a much needed retreat for the two of us.  We didn't go far, but just needed that time alone.  The phone rang, and it was clear that our bunny who was only months old was at the vet's office and needing emergency care.  I let it all go, as I knew Duane could take care of it.  But then the next day when the vet called me, it was then I heard this was life or death.  It was asked how much we want to invest in this bunny.  It was then, I had to let our bunny go.  I knew I made a decision on my heart about this bunny, not God's in the first place and knew I had to give her back to him.  But in that knowing I took on shame, and even a deserving of punishment for it. 

We picked up our lifeless bunny on the way home, seeing she wasn't eating, drinking and hearing her gasp for air.  Instead of waking to death the next morning as we expected, we awoke to a bunny that was still with us.  And in the few days that followed, we saw a  HUNGRY and very enthusiastic bunny who couldn't get enough of each of us. 

I then realized that God loves the littlest desires of our hearts.  And I think he loves those desires because it is those desires He can show how GREAT he is.  He takes that shame, dusts it off and restores us with fulfillment and makes it all OK.  He showed me the desire of my heart wasn't a bunny but instead God to fulfill the emptiness I was experiencing.  I see today as we hold our newest member of our family and see how he redeemed what was probably not the best decision we made, and made it good and even brought our family closer to Him through it!

Monday, October 17, 2011

God is on the Move

It has been five months since I have posted anything on this blog!  WOW!!!!  I admit the busyness took over my life, and thus there wasn't time to blog, but I confess laziness then just took over. 

I have been pondering the past couple months as to the reason to this blog:  1.  to keep our family and friends who are far from us informed as to what is going on in our crazy life and 2.  to bring honor to God.  So because I yearn to bring honor to God in all that I do (including writing in this little piece of cyber space) I write when HE gives me something to write.  So simply put; God has been doing a lot of stretching and pulling, trimming and growing in me during these past months.  We have gone through some pain through it, and I wish I could say we are done with this growth spurt...but instead I can say:  God remains faithful, and has never left me through this season of life and never will!  AMEN!

I looked back through my journal to see exactly what we have been doing. May 18th, I wrote:  "I was set on finding your voice yesterday, and knowing your will.  Isaiah 61 has been a calling you have on our family.  I believe it is letting loose on us."

Aren't there times you wish you could fully understand what God is getting ready to do?  I know I get that way every time I sense He is getting ready to do something.  I want to know what exactly it is, not out of lack of trust in him, but rather I am so excited I can't stand it!  Five months later let me tell you what I know so far. 

Gates were opened wide for me to be trained as a CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate) volunteer for Adam's county. What exactly does that mean?  I have the privilege to get to know a child(ren) on a particular case who is in the social services/foster care, make sure their needs are well taken care of, they are safe and be their voice in court for what they would like happen, and also be the voice in court as to what I recommend should happen.  It is something I thought I would NEVER do, and something God clearly said "oh need to do!".  When God laid foster children on our family's hearts I thought fostering was where he was calling us and so we are qualified in that area, but instead he has me in this role as of now.    I remember at our high school youth conference this past summer God saying to me "I want to do a ministry through you.  I don't want you to do a ministry for me." and giving me the sense this ministry was going to be in our own backyard.  At this time, this is where He has me...but I know He isn't finished with me yet.

Katie was enlightened at that same conference.  She was overwhelmed with a call God put on her.  She has had the desire to be a pediatrician all she is aware of the HUGE need in Africa, and knowing her brother and sister are there without the basic needs intensified that awareness.  She has her eyes set on medical school and from there will go and stay in Africa to truly care for the orphans and bring them under her wing and teach them her love to read.  I can't wait to see that day!

Courtney has always had a heart for Africa.  She desires to teach, but right now I see the hunger in her to learn God's words and His ways.  God is building her faith.  I can't wait to see when her calling is much more clear to her.

Duane has been saying "yes" to God, and is ready to go on a mission trip of his own.  He doesn't want to be the person sending his family off at the airport anymore...he wants to go and serve in such a way, and to experience his own adventure with God.  Now he just waits to know what he has said "yes" to.

Lindsay.  Well, as I write this she is in China.  I remember so clearly the day she came out of her kindergarten class and said "Mommy, I'm going to be a missionary to China when I grow up!".  Now the day is here...not that she is totally grown up, but she is off and sharing the love of Jesus to so many who don't even know of him.  Lindsay is speaking in a college classroom, helping the students practice their English and when she is asked she talks of Jesus.  The last email I received started with an introduction of "In the most loving way possible, I want to say I don't want to come home."  I believe that sums up her trip.

So as I write and share with you all of these GREAT things God is doing or getting ready to do, it also paints the spiritual battle we are under.  When God is leading us on the paths he has set before us, Satan is doing all he can to get us off that path.  Sometimes he has, but God's mercy has put us back on.  I would love to say honestly my heart's desire is for God's will in my life, but I confess I struggle with earthly desires.  You know the ones:  new car, new appliances, a new paint job in our home, furniture, clothes...and the list goes on.  But I'm determined to cast my eyes on Him, the Maker of heaven and earth, the Alpha and Omega, the Great I Am and trust He knows and sees my needs and will lead and care for me according to his plan.  He remains my peace ... even in the midst of our storms, and that is where I choose to stay. 

The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me,
because the Lord has anointed me to preach good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim freedom for the captives
and release from darkness for the prisoner,
to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor
and the day of vengeance of our God,
to comfort all who mourn,
and provide for those who grieve in Zion-
to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes,
the oil of gladness instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor."
Isaiah 61: 1-3