Archibald Family

Archibald Family

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

A God of Second Chances

"and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ."
2 Corinthians 10:5

OK Moms, we have all had one of those mornings.  Those mornings that kids aren't doing as they should, making the same wrong decisions...that they should know by now, a pile of things you wake up to that seem you are the only one that can do it.  You know, one of those mornings. 

I had that morning this morning.  One daughter skipped breakfast, while the other didn't take care of the pet.  A heaping pile of receipts needing to be entered in the registry and a house that just seems get messier and messier.  I admit it ... I took the wrong approach.  I blew.  I yelled.  I heard Duane's apology - again.  I was one step out the door, ready to leave it all.  Yeah, all the wrong approach.  I am tired.  We are all emotionally stressed out.  And we are all exhausted.  And to add to it all ... finals week. 

Well, I wanted to run.  I have thought of a plan of leaving and going to a hotel where I can escape it all and get a lot of sleep.  And be surrounded by quiet.  The romantic thought was very enticing, and when I left for work this morning I wondered of how to make it happen with all of today's events taking place ahead of me. 

I left work early for an appointment Katie had.  And a parent's nightmare was coming true.  I received a text from Katie stating:  "We are in a lock down.  It is the real thing this time." 

Shock.  Disbelief.  Fear.  Panic.  They all took place.

And in the moments that followed I remembered how I greeted them this morning.  I remembered that I didn't hug or kiss them.  I questioned if they knew my love for them.  And I pleaded to God to give me another chance.

The lock down, turned to be a lock out; meaning that the issue was on the outside of the school....where I was headed.  Things turned around.  Katie was the only one who had contact with me, and she knew that their was a gunman running around in our neighborhood.  Now she feared what I was going home to, and if anyone was going to run to our home. 

Our minds have such a way of imagination.  Perhaps that is what God means, when he says to "take every thought captive".  Don't let us imagine, let us pray, let our thoughts be the very thoughts God has, let us be reminded of the God He is and cast out any worse scenarios.  If we know our God we are reminded that it is not in His character and far from His thoughts to go against us.  Bad things happen to good people, but God isn't the One who creates the bad.  It is us that doesn't captivate our thoughts.  There is no reason to imagine the worse.  There is no reason to head down a pathway that is far from the nature of our God.

I don't have to wait until tomorrow for my second chance.  I received it this afternoon.  I have embraced the girls who jumped in my car, and stuck around me a little closer today.  I have loved them with a brand new love.  I'm also thankful to the One who yearns for me to spend time with Him so I can have the opportunity to know Him, and the One who continues to keep our family safe. 

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

God is Faithful, No Matter What!

If you could see my list of posts, you would see many that have been started, some edited, but none finished.  Thoughts have come and gone, as well as feelings.  I have questioned; "what difference does it make, whether I write or not", and I have had internal pressure of "what in the world do I write about, the stuff we're going through just stinks". 

As Christmas is quickly approaching, so is New Years.  I have grumbled a lot through 2013, yet also in what little wisdom I have I don't want to forget it all either.  Only for the fact, I have to see what God has done through our trials, and what He is going to do to change our "luck". 

It has taken a lot of time, counseling to mourn the loss of a boy we once called our son.  As we have grieved, we have also received a lot of judgment and condemnation.  We have gone through anger as well as hurt, all of which has left us isolated and alone.  As much as we hated being in such quietness, sometimes those places are a great place to be, for God reminds me time and time again that He is the One that is forever faithful and is our Forever Friend.  He never leaves us or forsakes us.  And for that I am eternally grateful.  I would be lying if I told you that these emotions are done and over with, we still walk through them.  A matter of fact, today was a day that tears streamed down my cheeks, as I was expressing my concern for the boy we let go of.

We have endured family members expressing how they have been against the whole adoption thing from the beginning.  And even though just writing those words sting, it is a reminder of how powerful our words are.  We have the power to bless and curse those around us.  I've tried to watch my words more these days, but I still need to grow in this area.  I definitely want to bless those I love, and even those I don't know.  God calls us to love one another.  Love is more than kindness and that fuzzy feeling.  It is support, understanding and walking with one another.  I have so much more loving to do ... I admit sometimes it is hard, but I want to master this command.

I have dealt with many health issues.  Nothing real serious, but a lot of time and money spent at the doctor's office.  It is amazing what an abundance of stress can do to one's body.  I even made a "splash", shall we say when I ended up on the floor at work, as I fainted.  Thankful not only for caring co-workers, but also an off duty fireman who was eating his breakfast at our store that day.  And that episode gave me the rest of the week off.  I've been learning how to eat, or rather, what to eat all over again.  I'm just starting to get the hang of it.  I've lost some weight, with the new diet, and look forward to loosing more!  God is our healer, and with a change of diet and time with Him, things are way under control.

A few years ago we learned how Courtney was allergic to sugar and honey.  We have managed to stay away from the honey, the sugar was always the battle.  She didn't want to feel "different" when in school.  Well, we finally decided to take it seriously, to Courtney's leading.  So she and I have been sugar-free since August.  The results:  no stomach issues!  She and I feel so much healthier.  God has shown me how I have been so addicted to sugar, and how much I don't need it ... but so need Him.  I haven't desired to go off this sugar-free and gluten-free (just me) diet, because I don't want anything to pull me away from Him.

We have had some challenges in parenting.  Out of respect of my family, the details can remain quiet.  I can just share though, I have never relied on God as much as I have lately.  I have questioned everything I've done.  And see that I'm so little, but also see how much bigger He is!  I am reminded of Proverbs 22:6:  "Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it."  I wasn't and currently am not the best parent in the world, but I have given it my full heart was in it.  Now I hold onto God's promise in this verse, that He will bring each of my girls back to him and his ways.  Truth is in them, good is in them as well as love...they won't go away from it.  Parenting isn't easy, is it?  I don't think I make things easier on God either.  Not only do I have to learn to parent, but also be a better child to the King of Kings! 

Rumor has it, that Duane will be looking for a new job at the beginning of next year.  I admit that I was so fretful and worried over this.  However, once I remembered how God has gotten through each job change, God has given something bigger and better to us.  And with that I have swallowed hard, and told Duane to go ahead and look for a job - even outside of Colorado.  Ever since I released it, we have had peace ever since.  So much peace that I don't think we will be moving, and I'll even be so bold to say that Duane won't be needing to look for a job.  However, even if I'm wrong, I know God always gives us something better.  It is hard to imagine life better than Colorado, but if He moves us it will be better. 

We have lost some pets this year, and the soothing comfort they once brought, was gone when they left.  However, God has restored our joy and brought us a new kitten in our lives.  We all laugh almost daily for something she has done.  She is a great gift in a year of strife. 

Church has always been our home and family.  We were part of a church plant for a year, that was a hour away - door to door.  God has made it clear to me over and over, with a full burden in my heart to be part of our community.  I have enjoyed getting to know some of my "neighbors" at my workplace, but it still wasn't enough.  We attended another church, but it was too a half hour away...not the community where we live.  So we went back to the drawing board.  We had a frequent guest in our restaurant who was a youth pastor.  One thing led to another, and Katie and Courtney started at the youth group.  Shortly after, we started attending the church finding ... we LOVE it and being part of our community.  We are in the process of having a small group in our home, and Katie is heading to the Bahamas for a mission trip.  Life is opening up as we continue in what we are calling our new home and family.

My work continues to do well.  I'm getting to know our guests more and more each week, and am blessed to have so many friends.  I call everyone my "favorite", and each one encourages me more than they know.  Which is a reminder of how we don't always know how much we influence one another ... those we know, or those we don't.  I want to be a source of encouragement to all I meet each day. 

Courtney had another mole removed, which ended up precancerous again.  So she will permanently have dermatology appointments twice a year, instead of the year appointments she worked up to.  I'm thankful God reveals truth - even at the doctor's office and catches everything that needs to go.  As I write this I wonder if there is anything in my life at all that needs to be revealed and needs to go.  He is faithful and will do so if needed. 

I'm home schooling Courtney now...well, part-time.  Three subjects, soon to be four.  I will be thankful when this will be done, but thankful it is an option to be able to let Courtney accomplish all the classes she needs.  But it keeps me busy.  And now with Christmas approaching, finals in high-school and more busyness at the store, we're a bit behind.  But thankfully for a Christmas break that will get us caught up.

So yes, we have been enduring some lengthy and emotional hardships, God has remained faithful in 2013, as well as whatever is ahead.  We're ready for a change of "scenery" and hopeful new things are coming for the Archibald family in 2014. Even if not, we have learned to hold God's hand a little tighter these years.  And thankful for God who sees all.  He sees each tear, each hurt, each challenge we walk through ... he sees the heart behind it all.  And holds us closer than ever.  For Him, I am thankful. 

Monday, July 1, 2013


It always amazes me with the world of technology and I admit; that I too like to indulge into a little piece of cyber space.  Technology is planning to release the next greatest thing: 5Gs(although that statement could be outdated the moment I post this).  And even though they are finalizing and mastering the 5G, it is only the stepping stone of getting to the era of a much bigger world that I can't even fathom; but they do.  I just stand amazed as people have the creativity to dream bigger and bigger, and continue to achieve those dreams.  I admire them as they celebrate their accomplishments, for they have much reason to celebrate.

I too have lived dreaming bigger and bigger.  I have achieved my dreams, have built stepping stones along the way, but I don't think I have celebrated each of them.

As funny as it sounds, we're still adjusting to what has always been our norm.  It has been a little over a month since our son has been removed from our home, and we're still adjusting to things as they were before.  I still fumble when asked "how many in your party?" as we dine out.  And it isn't only because our son is gone, but now with our oldest being partially gone as well. 

There isn't a day that doesn't go by, when I'm not wondering about our son.  He's always in our heart, and now I see he always will be. 

I now look at our family.  We are currently adjusting rooms once again, giving everyone their own space decorated in their own personality.  As we started this process, I was allowing the practicality rule me.  But truth is, seeing the evidence of a room that has stood empty as it waited for a Liberian boy to come, and then what was once filled with a beautiful and broken 10 year old was more than I could stand to see anymore.  It was time to reclaim what was ours...and it took having a broken dream to see what was before me.  And as we recover, and as we decorate the rooms to fit their own personalities, it is given me a way to recover from a painful loss and actually celebrate the individuals in the family we have.  

Last night we were able to go to the drive-in movies with two of our girls, and it was a moment I was able to embrace.  I admit that as we drove there, I thought of our son:  how he would have enjoyed this night, and the plans we made months ago of seeing this movie together.  But as the four of us huddled and cuddled in the back of our SUV as we watched the movie, I realized "this was good". 

And that is when I realized I live in a 3G world. And it is ok!  Our 3G are our three girls:  Lindsay, who is more out of the house than in these days as she is finding strength in spreading her wings.  Katie, our strong leader with a compassionate spirit.  And Courtney who is our glue of the family that keeps us all in tact. 

I was shown last night as we watched the movie how technology is always looking more into the future...3D movies, more G's in our laptops and cell phones, more computer capabilities and the list goes on.  I too lived in the mindset of seeing more.  But now I see what I have and find contentment in lives worth celebrating.  A world that is enough for me.  One full of joy, silliness and heart.  One I can relate to more than any other and one that was built just for me. 

So as the world shows me their new gizmos, the next bigger and better thing.  I refuse to fall into that trap and choose to look into the beautiful faces I see looking back at me and be thankful for the world I have to live.  It is the biggest and best thing I know. 

Tuesday, June 18, 2013


I guess I need to face the music sometime.  In all honesty, there are things in one's life that are frankly - none of everyone's business.  However, being that I allowed you to enter into our lives and know about the adventure, it's be fair for you to know where the adventure has taken us.

Not all stories are fairy book endings.  Not all stories are happy ever ending.  And this would be one of them.

RAD.  The devil's foothold, I believe.  RAD - Reactive Attachment Disorder.  I don't believe in labels, but sometimes one must label in order to know what others are up against.  RAD is what we were dealing with.  No matter what kind of love and care we poured into our son, it wouldn't be received, only rejected.  But it wasn't just about not receiving all that was given to him. 

With RAD comes a huge defiance, and much manipulation.  And with RAD came broken boundaries for our biological daughters.  Trust was broken each day, and not giving us much to stand on.

And without writing the many reasons we came to our decision, we spent many hours on our knees in prayer.  And we had to make the decision to protect the children God has already blessed us with.  And our son had to make the decision as well.  And with our answers ... our son is no longer.  A month ago he was removed, and his adventure in life continues.

I don't regret what we did.  I know that our son came to know Christ in the short five months he was with us.  He learned that life isn't just about receiving privileges, but one must earn them.  And unfortunately, our son will see in his next placement that things in this home weren't bad.  But it takes him to be moved from here to see what he had.  And we believe his next placement will be successful.

And even in this sorrow we have experienced, we have experienced God and learned more of Him and his gentle loving character He is. 

I walked away from Him, when all this was said and done.  I mean, how could ANYONE love me for rejecting a 10 year old boy.  For not accepting ALL of him, and putting my teenage daughters first.  A lot of that was the judgment we were under from countless of sources, but it grabbed a hold of me something fierce just the same.  How could God love me?  I had to of let me down, and turned to be his greatest disappointment.

My husband leaned over me at church a week ago and prayed.  RAD ... it had a hold of me.  Manipulation, defiance, broken boundaries ... all causing me to reject my Father's love.  And I realized how much I was pushing the goodness of God away, instead of receiving the goodness He has given me from the time of birth until now. 

So now we enter a season back to having a family of five - three teenage girls, a husband and myself.  And I have to say - it is all good.  It is good, because I have received these five lives as one of the greatest gifts my God has given me.  I am in a new season of recognizing the goodness of my Savior and receiving ALL he has to offer.  And I stand on His promise that he'll make even our son's life good too. Because I stand on the knowledge God is good all the time, and all the time, God is good!

Monday, April 15, 2013

My Conviction

Duane and I have been walking this adoption journey for the past four months, and continue to walk through this fire.  I don't know if I could capture the hardship of the journey.  But for one, life doesn't stop just because there is a new child in our home.  Pets have died.  Pets have had to go.  What was normal, isn't normal anymore, and we can't seem to even find what normal is.  Work demands have become greater.  Financial burdens are heavier.  And in the midst of trying to stop time and turn a child's thinking into truth, the expectations of school, county and councilors are demanding.  The stress has taken its toll on all our relationships including our marriage, and even my health. 

It wasn't until today to told the school "no".  "No" to the book report that is due in a week.  "What?", you may say.  Let me tell you.  Our son is extremely behind in school.  And what the school sees, is "lets fix it".  One teachers fix-it ways, is not the others.  So we have had several teachers and professionals throw their opinions our way, giving us the brunt work to do, threw all their confusion.  However, I'm reminded, that they are fixing the symptoms not the wound. 

Our son has gone through so much trauma in his life.  And if you look into trauma and the affects of it, you'll see that there is actual, physical brain damage.  And the affects of the damage, and the many losses in his life are the results of what you see.  Cognitive issues, attachment and trust issues, fear, worry, academic struggles and the list goes on. 

If I was pregnant, and birthed our son life would be so much different.  Not only would we have nine months to prepare for the child that is coming our way, but we would have had a little idea as to what to expect from the models that were before him.  And we would have already had some sort of bonding.  If my son was birthed, I would have nursed him, and cuddled with him and would have proven to him that I was trustworthy; as I would feed him when he was hungry, change his pants when they were wet and messy, and give him warmth when he was cold.  His world would have a total different look.  And if I would have birthed my son, I would have had about five years of bonding with him before I sent him off to school.  And when my son  became a fifth grader, he wouldn't be far behind or at least because of his environment he was raised in.  And from my experience with my three biological children, If I had birthed our son, we might have even had a shower to welcome him into this world.

I have finally said "no" to the countless "busy work" of assignments that have come into our home to "try and catch him up", because we still need time bonding, and him learning that he can trust us.  I'm not saying no to everything...just the stuff that is about ready to break us.

Our number one focus right now is trying to bond as a mother and child, father and child, siblings, and a family as a whole.  And unfortunately it takes time ... and life doesn't stop.

What is frustrating for us too, is that we look at him as a ten year old boy.  I should be able to set a knife by his plate.  But I forget that I can't when I see him cutting something on the table.  No one has taught him how to properly cut his food. 

I forget that when I send what I see as a ten year old boy up to take a shower and he comes down all wet, complaining that the hot water is "broken" after his 45 minute shower, finding he never soaped up or washed his hair we remember we put too high of an expectation on him.  And now Duane has to spend a week teaching him how to shower.

And we haven't even talked about his social graces.  He could say something that is so untrue, but he believes it as true, and no matter how many times you argue with him, he is going to believe what he knows as true...after all, all adults have lied to him, why would we be any different.  And what about the times he just says something that just puts a knife through your heart.  Not because he wants to hurt me...but because he has never been taught to think of others.  He has had to learn to defend himself in order to survive. 

And we are doing this alone. 

Remember, if he was birthed...I would have had a shower?  I'm not looking for things.  But I'm looking for support, and even a friend to talk to and have tea with.  Someone who could listen, empathize and definitely not fix our life.  And someone who could bring me laughter! 

We came from a church who supported adoption.  We also came from churches that support us.  And right now, at this very moment I stand confused.  Please let me explain.

I have heard countless times "I will pray for you", "praying" and "God will see you through this".  But truthfully I don't want more prayers...I want help!

I have those rare comments that come our way that tell me:  "how can I help you?"  or "if you ever need a babysitter."  And I've called those comments out, only to find them invalid.  Right now, to be involved in our lives would be extremely messy.  We, even as Christians, don't want messy.  ME included!  To be wrapped in our life, we would need for you to take a background check to be able to watch our son for a day or two so we could rest.  It might take just coming over and listening to us, and walking through our struggles.  It would take a whole lot of time.  And it may even take building a relationship with my girls, who are now questioning their own faith.  But like I said it would be messy.

And we, in our society of busyness don't have time to get involved.  We talk the talk, but instead we just stand from the sidelines to watch those who are called....and we sometimes pray. 

I'm in NO way knocking prayer, I spend a lot of my time on my knees.  However, I just took a few moments and looked through the book of Matthew and saw Jesus doing a whole lot of doing.  Healing, even willing to go out of his way to heal, talking to those who need encouragement, allowing children to come into his lap.  He often spent his time speaking to those who were forgotten and set aside, and reaching out to them.  A matter-of-fact, wherever he was, I see in the scriptures that Jesus saw everyone who was in that scene...I really don't think anyone was overlooked.  He took his rest when needed too.  And called out to God when he was emotionally drained.  And I have to believe that if he was walking this earth, he'd not only come and heal our son and baby-sit him to give us rest....but he'd reach into your world and meet your needs too.

And through our journey I have seen how I have fallen short.  I have seen how I have not been willing to get messy with the lady in my church who needed a meal, because of the physical distance that put me out of my way.  It was out of my way and would make me late to give the man on the street corner a warm cup of coffee and any source of encouragement. I didn't want to babysit for my neighbor as getting involved with down syndrome is not my thing.  God has put people in my path that I was to be Jesus to, and I wasn't.  In spite of my current exhaustion...I want to be Jesus.  I'm seeing so many of us doing life alone, and I am reminded in scriptures we weren't created to do life that way.  We were created to praise God, depend on Him, and build each other up.

Life was meant to be together.  Isolation is not from God.  And if I feel alone, or if you feel alone something is wrong. 

So I challenge you.  What is the cry of your neighbor?  What is your co-worker struggling with?  Who is sitting in your pew at church that needs a friend because their spouse just left them?  Who is God calling you to? 

I know, that my eyes and ears are going to be opened a lot this week.  I may be exhausted, and I may need Jesus myself but I want to be Jesus ... and a whole lot messier!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

The Treasure of Jesus, and We are the Key.

It was during the end of Lent season that our son started asking us questions.  He came up to me when I was standing at the fireplace and he told me "Jesus is dead.".  I told him, "no, Jesus is alive.".  We continued to have this little debate, and he was adamant about Jesus being dead.  I finally told him:  "Well, it is in your Bible".  He challenged me:  "Prove it!".  And I did.

A whole new world opened for him and me that day. 

You have to understand something else about our son.  Even though he is in fifth grade, he is at about a 1st/2nd grade reading level.  He struggles with hearing the phonics of reading and he was never given the foundation we all take for granted.  You also have to know that he received a Bible at a church camp a couple years back, and carries it around.  He chooses it over other Bibles I have given him that are his reading level.  And you have to know our son has dealt with trauma, and longs to just know the truth.

Our son came down with Bible in hand, I was able to turn right to the Easter story and read it off the Bible he has treasured so much.  I saw something new and I was astonished. 

This treasure that our son has had in his hands for years was never unlocked to him because of illiteracy, the ripped and tattered pages were now a new found treasure, and we were the key to help unlock it.  It was truth that I have never seen betrayal, no lies but everything was set right before him.  And now all his answers were just words away.

And the questions began.  We sat and read the Easter story.  We pulled out our Resurrection Eggs and another book that helped explain the beauty of Jesus and what he did at a child's level.  Everything was new this year.  So many questions and so many answers.

We decided to attend our Easter service on Sunday morning, not at the Saturday night service we normally attend.  And we decided to go to the church plant we have called home for the past several months.  So because of our decision we watched our previous church online, and our son saw several people come forward.  He questioned about it.  And I explained in a simple way, how all those people decided to believe in Jesus and the Easter story and accept it as truth in their hearts. 

I had a thought wouldn't it be nice if our son would accept Jesus as his Lord and Savior on Easter Sunday.  But as quick as that thought came, I pushed it aside.  I said "No, I'm not going to force the issue.  What happens, happens.  I don't need to be involved, for it has to be meaningful for the one who receives and the One who gives."

Easter Sunday came.  We celebrated.  We rejoiced.  We bonded that Easter morning.  Our son decided to sit with us during church, and as the sermon was preached he asked for help to find the verses the pastor was referring to in the Bible.  And then that moment came.  The pastor asked if those who want a relationship with Jesus who never had one before would raise their hands.  And as our heads were bowed, and I had my arm draped around our son, I felt something flying in my face ....

my son's hand.  I looked at him, in bewilderment and he told me "I have never done it before".  I looked at Duane, he looked at me and the tears began. 

My son has taught me so much.  I have taken for granted the treasure I have always had access to, and have even allowed to collect dust now and then.  I
have seen a heart that was hungry, a heart that has been lied to and betrayed long for the truth, and we were the key to unlocking that truth.  I have learned that as much as he needs us...we need him.  Jesus is the center of our relationship.

And now is the center of our son's heart. 

Friday, March 29, 2013

My Easter Journey - Part 2 (Good Friday)

During prayer time, I had a moment to wonder about Jesus and his act of sacrifice.

We had just explained to our son, what Palm Sunday was all about.  And we were going through the Resurrection Eggs with him, telling the exact events that took place so many years ago.  Being that our son has never heard about what Easter was about, we have been able to tell it just like the first time.  And it got me thinking all anew again.

Palm Sunday, marks the day Jesus came riding in Jerusalem on a donkey (which symbolizes peace).  So many greeted him that day, and were so joyful.  They shouted: "Hosanna to the Son of David!  Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!  Hosanna in the highest!" (Matthew 21:9).  They claimed him as the coming Messiah.  It was a glorious day, I'm sure.  Peace entered their city.  Hope came that day.  And I'm sure just looking in his eyes...they saw the immeasurable love He had.

Jesus knew the truth in what was coming. 

Thursday came, and he sat and had what he knew was his last supper with his best of friends, and he knew that one of them was going to betray him.  

Judas betrayed Jesus.  He kissed Jesus turning him in.  Even though Jesus knew it was coming, I would think that his heart was broken just the same.  After all, Judas was invited with his closes friends around the supper table. Even though he knew it was coming, did he hold onto a bit of hope that Judas would choose different?  His heart had to have hurt. 

After Jesus was arrested, there was an opportunity to free Jesus.  But Barabbas was freed instead.  Those same people that saw hope, peace and love enter their city all turned against this Man of God.  Jesus' heart had to be greatly broken even more.  The anguish he held in his heart, was so great.  Matthew 26:38 says "My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death." 

We think of this Good Friday as a time of when Jesus was beaten and crucified a horrible death.  Now-a-days the worse criminals have rights of humanity, and those who are put to death aren't even put through what Jesus endured.  And I'm not trying to make it light of Jesus' crucifixion.  It was horrible.  It was my Jesus.  And it was my sin that was put on him.  And that alone is great.  But I ponder Jesus' heart and how heartbroken it was. 

I have a daughter who has a tendency to lie from time to time.  When she lies I am in anguish.  My heart is broken as I want to be so close to her, and I want her to trust me.  But she stands behind the fear and sometimes the laziness and will lie.  I'm crushed as she pulls away from the closeness we once shared.  I experience a bit of rejection, humiliation and loneliness.  But most of all I have a longing to be close and a deep sadness because it was broken that day.  Sometimes the heartache is harder to experience than whatever physical pain I am enduring, or that follows.

We pulled away from Jesus as we nailed him to the cross.  We walked away from our relationship that day.  He experienced a heartache of rejection, humiliation and loneliness.  And I can't help but wonder if this was his greatest pain.  He longed for a relationship that would flourish, and instead was rejected.  He wanted us to trust him, and instead we trusted all the doubts and false accusations.

I don't know.  I just think of standing at the base of the cross, and his eyes meeting mine, wanting the desire to be close to me as we once were. 

And I can't help but be sorry and ashamed.  And I can't help but cry.  Today I experience Jesus' broken heart and through it I see  how much more my Jesus loves me.  And how much more he loves you too.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

My Easter Journey - Part 1

It started when Lindsay was born.  I had only been walking in my faith for what seemed just a few years at that point.  Easter was approaching.  And a desire to know and understand this event burned down deep in my heart.  I wanted to grasp more.  I wanted to know more about Jesus' brutal death on the cross, and his resurrection three days later.  MORE...I wanted MORE!

And the desire remains the same each year, ever since.

I remember one year when I pointed in the mirror, accusing someone of something, and saw that finger pointing back at me, and realizing that all the sin I was consumed in.  And because of Jesus, it is gone and I can have a relationship with my God.  I was overwhelmed.

Some years, I've actually walked the grief some experienced after Good Friday.  And was privileged enough to experience the joy that followed to know my friend was alive.

But this year, I have grasped two new concepts.  I love when God shows me MORE of him!

In the middle of our current Bible study, we talked about how we react when we are at our "ugliest moments", or in our deepest cries.  Do we withdrawal, or press in with our friends?  I was reminded in Matthew how Jesus had his last dinner with his best friends.  And when he went to the garden to pray, he took his friends.  And when he went to pray to his father, he took his BFFs. He allowed them to see his tears, to see his anguish.  (Oh, to be there and see!  Could you imagine?)  And as his soul was overwhelmed with sorrow, he went a bit further and fell on his face and hashed it out with God.  (Matthew 26:17-45)

This got me thinking.  As a mom of three girls (emotional girls, I might add), we have a tendency to pull away.  If my girls see the sin in their lives, they withdrawal.  When my girls are ridiculed in school, they pull away.  And you know what?  There are so many times I do the same.  But God, never created us to be alone!  Not even once!  Even in our worse moments, the crisis that comes our way or the "life" that consumes us, or even the depth of our sin we weren't created to do any of it alone.  We're to have our friends, and even our best-friends...and we have God.  In our deepest fears, deepest needs, deepest desires, and our deepest sorrows we have a God that will wipe away our tears.  God may not change our coarse, but he will carry us through...even the greatest pain in our lives. 

We are never to be alone...we aren't created to.  What load are you carrying?  What anguish do you have?  What hurt?  What sorrow?  You aren't to carry it alone.  Your Heavenly Father, wants to carry your load.  And I'll be your friend, and will pray for you!
"for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you."
Deuteronomy 31:6b

Friday, March 22, 2013


When I look at myself in the mirror, I wouldn't call myself a joyful person.  I don't laugh like I used to.  I take life so seriously.  And to be honest, I don't like the person I have become. 

I long for laugh-lines, and tears that stream down my cheeks because of laughing so hard.  And I long for my belly to just ache as I gasp for air due to true laughter. 

But somewhere along the line, I've become so serious.  I'll smile, and sometimes giggle...but it has been so long since I've let out a good belly laugh.  And it got me thinking...

Joy.  Somewhere along the line, joy has left.

I wondered what God would have to say.  So I looked at every verse that had the word 'joy' in it, and allow His word to soak in. I have fourteen pages of note.  But there were some verses that stood above the rest, and I have to take note to.

Joy is....
  • a response and action, and a blessing.  It is a response for gifts and abundance.  A reaction when before God.
  • belongs to God.  He is the source.
  • It grows when people are united
  • a celebration
  • a choice
  • an anointing
  • gift from the Holy Spirit
  • strength
  • release of fear, causing celebration
  • a holiday
  • something heard
  • a confession off our lips, laughter and happiness
  • an expression of emotion, an emotion
  • everlasting with God
  • a sign of restoration, result of seeing God
  • God's presence
  • God's victories
  • thanksgiving to God
  • God
  • an anointing oil
  • praise, exalting God
  • praise for salvation, salvation
  • a song
  • a plea
  • from God that we give back to Him.
  • wisdom
and my list goes on.

I think back to the times I have joy.  Its when I've been in God's midst.  Its been times when we have celebrated triumphs and celebrations. 

How can I get my joy back?  Spend more time with God.  Make a choice and choose joy.  Receive the anointing God has given me, and sing!  Look at these serious things in our lives and laugh.  Make a declaration, with thanksgiving in my heart, and a testimony on my lips of my salvation. 

So today, and the days that follow I will choose joy.  Laugh lines and belly laughs are coming!

Saturday, March 9, 2013

God's Prayer for our Family

We hear that God's word is alive.  What does that mean?  For me sometimes that means when there is a word, a verse or passage that lifts off the pages and speaks right into my heart and situation I am going through. 

And sometimes, as this morning, it becomes the prayer of my heart.

Ephesians 4:1-5:21

As a child of God's may Duane, Lindsay, Katie and Courtney, our son and me live a life worthy of the calling we have received through you.  May we completely be humble and gentle; patient, bearing with one another in love.  May we all keep every effort to keep unity of the Spirit through your bond of peace.  May we stand in remembrance that we are one, as you are our Lord.  You are our faith and you are God and Father of us all.  You are over us all.

And to each of us you have given grace.

You have called each of us to be leaders, managers, husbands, wives, parents, musicians, doctors, chefs ... and the list goes on.  In our roles, may we serve you so you may be lifted up.  From you, God, may we be joined together, supporting one another, growing together and building each other up in love as we do our jobs, and as we are called.

We are taught under rules and consequences and even condemnation, which are what we've learned through generations before us.  We are made new in you, created to be like you in righteousness and holiness.

Therefore we put off condemnation and lies, and speak truthfully to one another, as we are all one body.  May we remember that in our anger to not go against you and your ways, so we may not give the Father of lies a foothold to our hearts.  If we are taking from each other without asking, may we stop and ask or even work hard for our own and even share that item with someone else in need.

God help us to lift each other up with our words; encouraging and building each other up, not discouraging, nor hurtful or condemnation.  Help us to watch our tongue, let it benefit those around.  I'm sorry for hurt I have caused you, as I'm sure our family is too.  It isn't our hearts desire, but rather to only please you.  If there is bitterness, rage, anger, hurtfulness or meanness in any of us, help us get rid of it and reach out to you.  Help us to be kind and compassionate to one another, and to be quick to forgive as you are quick to forgive us - and may this be rooted in each of us.

Father God, may we be an example of you.  May we live a life of love.  May our actions and our hearts be pleasing to you.  If there is any sexual immorality or impurity in us get rid of it.  If there is obscenity, cruelness or harsh joking amongst each other get rid of it.  May our hearts be filled with thanksgiving and joy instead.  And may our hearts be in a position of readiness to receive your kingdom.  Give us wisdom and discernment so we won't be deceived, so it won't lead us to disobey.

May we remember how you see us: as your light, as your children.  And the goodness, righteousness and truth You are is in us too.  May we expose you in us, not any darkness.  Because of you, darkness can't have any hold on us and must flee.  May we be careful how we live, use the wisdom you gave us, and making the most of every opportunity - even the hard ones, so we may trust and understand the will you have for each of us.  May we not be dependent on alcohol, drugs, sex or anything this world calls "fun" and "ok", but instead allow you to come into our hearts so we may be dependent on you.

May we live in a musical, celebrating in song, dance and joy.  May it be contagious to all near us.  And may we be quick to thank you for EVERYTHING, because you are the God who hears, who listens, who remains faithful and is ALWAYS good!

Monday, March 4, 2013

My Life, My Love, My Joy - My Husband

"God saw all that he had made, and it was very good." 
Genesis 1:31
"Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in him."
Psalm 34:8
I'm reminded how much God created and saw what He made was good.  I'm reminded as we walk this journey of adoption, through the tiredness and struggles that I can, should and will turn and see what God created is ALL good.  In the midst of all this, I have not only seen but have experienced and tasted something extremely good. 
"In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies.  He who loves his wife loves himself.  After all, no one ever hated his own body, but he feeds and cares for it, just as Christ does the church-" 
Ephesians 5:28-29
I have always loved Duane, no doubt about it.  The love I have for Duane has grown over the last twenty years.  But I have discovered more than love over the last couple of months.  I have discovered a true admiration.  I have remained quiet as I watch. 
I have seen a man who has come alongside his wife and wipe her tears, laugh with me, and hear my anger and let it roll of his back.  I have been frustrated when the same crime has been committed by the same child, and patience was worn too thin - Duane was there, and took over the situation.  I have been hurt when the kids have thought their behaviors don't affect anyone, but have greatly wounded me - Duane has stepped in to protect.

I have seen a man that has committed his time with God.  I see him in his Bible and experience his hand on me as he prays over the family and me. I have watched him set a boundary and get filled as he attends his men's group at church. 

And now we have a new son.  A son that has never had a father.  A son that will listen to directions by his father, and put off the same directions when given by his mother.  A son that has a different way of that I have no experience with.  A son that doesn't make the best choices.  A son that has exhausted us - more mentally than anything else.  But I have watched my husband, as I watch our son.  When I've been in tears, he's wiped them, heard them and stepped in to make things right.  He has remained the leader.

I have seen a husband come in from work, not complaining of the state of the house, nor that dinner is take-out (once again). 

I have seen a husband who has chipped in and helped with the household chores that used to be more manageable for me to handle, but instead of complaining he remains thankful I'm there in the midst of the chaos.

I have watched what I see a pillar of strength.  Yet I know where his strength comes from, or rather who is his source. 

Today I have a new thanksgiving in my heart.  I'm thankful for God giving me such a man.  But most of all, I'm thankful for being able to experience God in such a tangible way.  Duane doesn't realize how much I grow closer to God because of how Duane treats me.  He doesn't realize how much more I can see how much God loves me because of how Duane demonstrates that love.

What can I give such a man?  What can I do to return my appreciation of the man I share life with?  I pray, as I do each and every day.  I pray for him to the One who is the source of his strength, and the source of our love.

My Heavenly Father,
First, thank you for the husband you have given me, the one that makes me one with you.  Thank you for the good that you made in him, and thank you for making him very good.  Thank you for the love that sparked so many years ago, and that burns with passion today.  And thank you for allowing me to experience you and see you in the man that is made after your own heart.
Father God, I know that Duane is only strong because you are his strength.  I know you are the source of his patience, his kindness and giving heart.  I'm thankful that you have given him that desire to seek you for those attributes, and how he has learned to lean on you each and every day.  I'm thankful you continue to grow him, and that the good that you created him in is flourishing today.  I see you are good, because I see Duane is good.   
Father God, I also see the trials he is in.  I see the heartache at work.  I see the pressures of fathering a growing family.  I see the heartache of letting his precious girls go.  I see how the world is using him, and abusing him.  I see his tiredness and despair.  But more importantly you see it.  You see how each element tugs at his heart.  And today I see a tree, bending over with all the demands hanging from the branches.  And I shake it.  And I ask that you shake it completely, allowing his branches to raise up to you once again.  I ask that all the demands that weigh him down, let loose and bring my husband the freedom and passion he has in you once again. 
Today Lord, I give you my husband.  Your word remains true.  You remain faithful.  You remain good.  You know the plans you have declared for Duane, plans to prosper him and not to harm him, plans to give him hope and a future.  And Duane will call upon you and come and pray to you.  He will listen to you, as he has done so many times.  And when he seeks you with all his heart, you will be found.  Thank you for your faithfulness. Thank you for your promises.  And thank you for making everything good. 

Today I rest in you, as I give you my husband, and thank you for making him the man you called him to be and allowing him to be part of my life.

Sunday, March 3, 2013


I have wanted to write so much.  There are so many things to share, yet when it finally comes to do I put these words down?  What exactly do I want to share?  My thoughts don't seem to flow as much as they used to.  So I don't write.   But today I choose to write, no matter how scattered it sounds. 

Our lives have been dumped upside down two months ago.  While we have had the joy and celebration of bringing another life into our family and home, we have also had the trauma, emotional scaring, and drama that also has come in.  Our lives have been filled with therapy appointments (individual, family and siblings), sibling visits, social worker, GAL and CASA appointments, court appointments, IEP testings, school appointments and advocating and the list just goes on.  A boy that has had ten years of negative or no attention is now demanding ALL our attention...leaving marriage, and the previous family relationships strained and drained.  We have felt so empty.  So discouraged.  So broken.  And we have been in tears. 

It has been a lonely road.  Stories of other adoptive parents have come our way with more suggestions of how to parent our new child.  Yet our story is different from theirs, and why their way works for them, it doesn't work for us.  Many of those we come into contact with, don't grasp at all what we are going through.  They give us their blank stares, and tell us "wow", and they change the subject.  No prayers.  No encouragement.  Nothing.  And then there are the select few who do grasp it; not only the change of numbers in our family, but the trauma that has come with it, and the fact we have a boy and not a girl
(which we are used to).  They have been encouraging and given us a listening ear.  But most of all prayer.

I won't lie.  We have questioned "have we done the right thing"?  But we look into his sweet brown eyes, and see the good that is there.  We confess to God, that this road isn't easy, and we're trying to muddle through but need Him to take the reigns.  And during that plea, that silent cry, I hear my heart's song on the radio....
And I know that you can give me rest
So I cry out with all that I have left..
Let me see redemption win
Let me know the struggle ends
That you can mend a heart that's frail and torn
I want to know that a song can rise from the ashes of broken life
and all that's dead inside can be reborn.
I'm worn.
My prayers are wearing thin.
I'm worn.
Even before the day begins...
And some where in that cry...God heard my heart. 
My Psalm 40: 1-3
I waited patiently for the Lord; I waited and waited, hoping for him to come, watching, knowing that He was the only one that could understood, He was the only one I could turn to.  Then He did turn to me and he heard my cry and plea, the desperation in my heart.
He lifted me out of that slimy pit, where discouragement seemed to be all around me, where loneliness was sitting in.  He lifted me out of the mud and mire of exhaustion and desperation.  He set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand...that of Him.  He brushed off the ugliness that covered me, and helped me stand once again.  He put a new song in my mouth, an attitude of thankfulness and surrender.  He gave me a hymn of praise to our God, because He heard me and rescued me and showed me once again He is God.  I put my trust in Him, and know He is my source, my guide and my sustainer.
I can's say that the days have gotten easier...the trials remain the same, the demands are even more so, but my attitude has as I have given it to the One that can carry it way better than me.  I don't have to have the answers, because He does.  And I don't have to worry about doing things wrong, because I will ... but He will make it all right once again.  I have come to rely on Him more than I ever have before.  And I have come to rely on Him for something I never have relied on Him for before:  Rest.  It's there each day, waiting.  Because my God sustains me and gives me what I need.

Sunday, January 6, 2013


It hit me right between the eyes last night.  So hard, that I couldn't help but fall upon my knees and weep.

Our family has been going through a lot of challenges, a lot of changes.  At this point, I just try and get through each day, calling it good.  I can't seem to even think of tomorrow, let alone next week.  We now are a family of six.  That is the biggest change.  One more body in our home, that wasn't there too long ago ... it just takes some getting used to.  We are also getting used to having a boy in the house, when frankly we are used to girls.  I'm just dumbfounded how differently they think.  We are getting used to medication, when we are a house that does things natural, and never have had to be confined to daily living through a bottle of pills.  We are getting used to a new elementary school, that we have never been part of before, and a public school at that.  Our calendar is stuffed full of therapy appointments, OT appointments, doctor, dentist and psychologist ... and just for a ten year old boy.  And each appointment I'm learning something new.  It just seems so overwhelming. 

And to be real with you.  Our family is far from perfect.  We have issues just like any other family.  And can I tell you something?  Being a mom to teenagers is soooooo hard!  Let alone three teenage girls!  I never expected it to be easy, but there are days that I wonder if this is "normal" and I question all my ability and start wondering where I have gone wrong.  The hormones are extremely active in our home.  The drama tends to escalade.  The expectancy they put on their parents, we often wonder if we live in the same world.  So hard. 

And last night wasn't anything different.

We have had to put a new system in our home.  It is more for our son, but our girls are part of it too.  We have found they not only enjoy it, but it is working for everyone, encouraging us (as parents) to follow through, encourage our kids and allow the system to work for us, instead of us being dealt with the "war" between us and the kids.  It is a simple system.  We have a white board, listing all the chores, with the initials of who is in charge of them.  Attached to the board is also the daily responsibilities that everyone has to do in the house.  We also have a picture of CARS (Lightning McQueen, Mator, and Doc Hudson), each representing three ribbons (1st, 2nd, 3rd place).  Attached to the picture are 4 clothes pins, each with the name of our children.  Each place ribbon lists what gets them to that place, and what the privilege/consequence are.  First place may earn you some extra allowance or video time, where as third place earns you nothing.  It is a simple system, that we do at the dinner table.  And it has been working!

Well yesterday I took a child of mine at their word that they did their responsibilities...that their room was clean and done.  Leaving them at first place with all the privileges.  Lessoned learn on my part ... I have to check.
I walked in their room after church last night ... so disappointed in what I saw.  And lecture number #87 started coming to my lips.  But at the same time I'm dealing with life as it is... I'm dealing with my heart's cry of wanting to be closer to God, wanting to experience more of him.

I remember telling my daughter, to get up, start focusing on the task at hand and move ... getting the job done.  Go for what you want!  Believe that you can overcome this task.  She is one that accepts defeat so easily, and shows through how she carries herself.

I also remembering the heartbreak I experienced that moment.  Being lied to.  Deceit.  My trust was broken.  I couldn't help but tear up.  I told my girls I have soooo much for you.  More than they could ever imagine.  I have so many things I want to give them, things I have listed in my mind, and so much in my heart.  I have an abundance to give them!

And it hit me.  How often to I walk in what I already have, accepting it as enough, and that I don't deserve more.  Instead of walking with the knowing my Heavenly Father has an abundance to give me!  How many times do I ask for the whim of the moment, and say that it is enough, and not accept all the things He has for me?  How many times do I disobey my Heavenly Father, and walk away from the abundance He has for me? 

I couldn't help but fall on my face.  I couldn't help but see the life I had been living and plea for a new start. 

So today I walk with a knowing my Father has abundance for me.  And I know that He has an abundance for you.  His love is great ... greater than I could ever imagine.  And I'm so thankful that I'm able to experience a taste of His heart for you and me every now and then ... even through the challenges of parenting, and the challenges of change.  To know my Father's heart is abundantly full for me  seems to just make it all worth it.