Archibald Family

Archibald Family

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

This Big Light of Mine

This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you:  God is light; in him there is no darkness at all.  If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth.  But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.
1 John 1:5-7
I was in my devotions this morning, doing my daily prayer and journaling.  In my quiet time, and in my desperation of wanting a change in so many areas of my life I read these verses. 
Repentance.  Something I need to do every minute of every day.  I came to the conclusion, as I still struggle with taking each thought of mine captive, that I need to take them captive and not allow them to create the beliefs that can overtake over my mind and spirit, separating me from not only my Savior but my family and friends.  I wonder how much my life would be different if I would just captivate my thoughts.  I repented.  And this morning I am thankful once again for his forgiveness ... not only his forgiveness but his purification.  And as I look out the window and see the snow that covers the ground, I am reminded my sin is covered as well, and it runs deep.  And in a few months the dead that is under that snow will show new signs of life and will spring up new colors ... I don't have to wait a few months, but can hold onto the new signs of life he will be doing in me today.
But I noticed something else in this passage.  "God is light, in him there is no darkness at all."  I have been looking at the turmoil in our lives and see that I have seen nothing but darkness.  Thus, I haven't seen God - because He isn't the dark, He is light.  I have chosen to see nothing but darkness and have been captivated at seeing nothing but. 
And so I repent again.  I have denied Christ in my own life, in my daily life.  I have been a hypocrite and I have been deceitful to those around me.  I haven't been living a life full of light, I haven't been mesmerized by his light.  I've looked at the darkness and allowed it to control me. 
Yes, bad things happen to people.  But it is our choice to see God in them.  His light can outshine the darkness, and remove it completely.  I choose today to look at His light and allow Him to outshine any circumstance I am in, any emotional heartache that seems to outweigh any truth, and I believe that the troubles of this world can and will bow to His lightness.
I sing this childhood song, much differently today ...
This little light of mine, I'm going to let it shine,
Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine.
Hide it under a bushel, no!  I'm going to let it shine,
Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine.
Don't let Satan blow it out!  I'm going to let it shine,
Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine.
Shine it through the neighborhood!  I'm going to let it shine,
Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine.
Shine it until Jesus comes!  I'm going to let it shine,
Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine. 

Thursday, January 16, 2014

The Last Grains of Sand in the Hour Glass

We had to write our goals for the coming year at work; both business and personal.  (I think I should add blogging, I love to write and get my thoughts cleared on "paper"!)  I wrote my list, then I'd add to it, so I'd reprint it one more time. 

I'm anticipating so much this year.  It is funny once those goals are written down, it becomes more of a reality, something to work toward.  I'm sure that it was the company's ploy as they will see much improvement in their employees, as well as improvement in their store.  But it has changed how I manage my time.

I confess I can be a workaholic.  There is something always that needs to be done, and I have this mind set there, as well as home, that "I'm the only person who'll do it".  And with that mindset I spend a lot of time at the store, even more than the time sheet says.  Don't get me wrong.  The other thing I battle is frankly I love my job and its atmosphere.  I love the guests and building relationships.  They encourage me as much as I try to encourage them.  That love will pull me back in as well.

But when I look at my goal list, I see at the very top of the list is:  Not to miss an opportunity to embrace a moment with my girls. 

Katie has 1 1/2 years left in high school, and how she turns 18 this year, and Courtney has 2 1/2 years and turns 16 years old.  I see the hour glass with just a few grains of sand in it.  My time is running out with them. 

I have learned through Lindsay how being an "adult" looks like.  Real responsibilities come.  Time is of the essence.  We compete with boys, school, friends and work.  Home is viewed as something that will always be there, but not something to be part of as much.  We rejoice in her accomplishments from afar and remain on our knees for the challenges that are ahead for her.  She walks this path without her parents holding her hands, and we hope we said all the right words to her in the earlier years to help her through.  She does her thing, as we do ours.    

Pretty soon, Katie will be there.

Then Courtney.

Then life is completely different from the one I have dreamt of, and that is so much apart of who I am.  It is scary to think of life being different.  It brings me so much sorrow as I think of life being so drastically different.  I have been looking at pictures of when our family was young a lot, and wishing I could turn back and hold them more.  I look back wishing I put the chore I was so focused on getting done, and hold or play with my girls one more time.   

We get several emails a day from colleges wanting Katie.  There seems to be a power that rises in me when I hit that delete button, and something inside of me says "No!  You can't have her yet!". 

When I was younger, all I wanted was to be a wife and mother.  I dreamt of the babies to hold, and little ones to care for.  I didn't think of the difficulties of the teenage years, but planned for the years ahead just the same. 

I think of how many times I fell down on bended knee praying for God to give me wisdom and give me the right words to say to help teach them.  Or the strength to get through temper tantrums.  I wondered if they would ever be out of diapers.  I prayed for my girls as they journeyed through school and discovered challenges along the way.  I pleaded to draw them back to me when they journeyed onto independence.  And I will continue to repeat those same prayers as they each go onto their next adventure - even though the giggles won't be heard on the other side of these walls.  Space will separate us.  But my love will be all over them - even though I won't be near to hold them.

And in all this dread of the years ahead, and the sting of sorrow, I choose to be thankful. 

I'm thankful to you God, for the years in the past.  I'm thankful for giving me the dream to be a mom, and fulfilling that dream.  I'm thankful for the list of goals we had to do, so I can turn away from my job more and turn toward these girls before they are off to their next adventure.  I'm thankful that you have given me strength when needed, and thankful you'll continue to give me strength in the years to come.  And I'm thankful that you hold me more and more each day, as I let go of these girls one by one.  I welcome your embrace.

So yes, I have turned away from my job little by little, and embrace those moments of hearing about their days as they come home from school, playing games in spite of the hour or day it is and I will crawl in their rooms at night, as they sleep and hold them a little while longer.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

A Recovering Perfectionist!

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.
For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed
to the likeness of his Son,
that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.
And those he predestined, he also called;
those he called, he also justified;
those he justified, he also glorified.
What, then, shall we say in response to this?
If God is for us, who can be against us?
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?
Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.
For I am convinced that neither death nor life,
neither angels nor demons,
neither the present nor the future,
nor any powers, neither height or depth,
nor anything else in all creation,
will be able to separate us from the love of God
 that is in the Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 8:28-31, 35, 37-39
Life.  I guess I can use that old expression:  "God never promised me a rose garden".  Or "God never said life would be easy".  As we entered into 2014, I shared how I believe God was getting us ready for an abundance.  So when this past week hit, it took me off guard ... as it was far from an abundance.
The stress in our household remains high.  I can't share all the details of all we are under, but it is more than the normal.  And we all deal with this stress differently.  We have been walking in it together.  When one of us was struggling, the others walked with them through it.  It wasn't as rosy as it sounds, for many times it wasn't the image of walking hand in hand, but grabbing someone by the hair and pulling them through.
I remained in prayer.  I trusted.  I hoped.  And I waited.
One of our struggles just isn't getting easier, but affecting and disrupting the whole household.  We have become grumpy, bitter and resentful for this particular struggle.  I know ungodly attributes.
The one attribute that the whole Archibald family deals with is perfectionism.  Personally, I have allowed myself to make mistakes here and there, but I have a tendency to allow God's forgiveness reign over me, but I won't do the same and allow myself to experience the condemnation that I feel I deserve.  When I see that I'm doing it, I have to remind myself of who I am, and He is so much greater.  If He can forgive, so should I.  And I have found that in order to forgive, one has to also love.  Forgiveness and love seem to go hand in hand.  Why are they so hard?  They should be the easiest thing to do.  But they aren't.  It's just easier to judge and condemn.  I'm ashamed to say, but I fall into that trap easily, and more often than I like to admit.
Part of my perfectionism I see in levels.  It is easy to forgive that I messed up in a recipe and the bread didn't come out as it should.  Or it is a bit harder but still have the ability to forgive myself for not getting to work on time.  However, when it comes to the "big" stuff; like parenting - it is much harder.  To me, that is almost near impossible to forgive.  Do you find these levels too?
I tried to walk in the grace God gives daily, but something stumbled me big time.  
As I  ramble on and talk about so much, I'm just admitting that I have failed.  I have also taken on another persons wrong choices as my failure.  (But that is another post.)
This past weekend I admit that I believed the devil's lie ... "God hates me".  "He sees where I have failed, and is very much ashamed of me".  And with those lies, I literally felt life leave me.  Literally.  It was a very scary place to be.  I was in a dark and lonely place ... different from anything in the past.  It wasn't me.  Duane saw my lifeless face.  He had to ask me what I did, or what I took.  Nothing.  That was the truth.  I believed lies. And I chose my condemnation over the love and forgiveness of God.  Duane had to get Katie from work.  Courtney was assigned to watch over me.  I didn't understand why.  But I knew that without any life in me, there wasn't life to choose either.  Life had left, and so did any feelings and concerned.  With life comes truth, that wasn't there either.  Perhaps that is what scared Duane the most.  I continued to sit, as I literally couldn't move.  Courtney remained confused.  But then the most incredible thing happened.  In her fear, in her confusion, in her desperation she rested her hand upon my back as I sat.  And something happened.  The darkness fled and life started to restore.  And I felt love starting to win out.  It wasn't until yesterday that I asked her about this ... if she was praying or if she just rested her hand.  She was praying.
And with that God heard the prayers of the youngest, and answered.  He came and restored.  Today, I choose to believe that was just the beginning.  I experienced a vision.  Today I choose to lay my hand on those things that remain in our home that need to flee and ask God to bring life in them again, and allow love to pour itself in.
Yesterday, I asked God to reveal himself more to me.  I was still wanting evidence of His feelings toward me.  And song after song, soaked to the very core of me.  Peace washed over me as love revealed itself.  I saw condemnation and judgment of myself must go so I can receive my God's love fully.  I once again hold out to hope.  I heard a verse yesterday too, one of those familiar verses (written above), but it made me open my Bible and look at the verses that surround it.  And there was His promise and the answer for His love:
What can separate us from God's love?  Shall all this stress?  My parenting?  The reality of the death of Duane's job that provides for our needs?  The growing pains our household is under?  The tension between husband and wife as we handle our hardships differently?  The wonder of where we will be in the next few months?  The wonder if I have to leave a job I love so much?  The wonder if we can have the opportunity to be closer to a church we love so much?  The wonder if we can have a brand new start in or out of our home?  The wonder of when complete healing will take place for one of our family member?  The wonder of how unanswered prayers will be answered?  The wonder if God can fix all my mess-ups and make them even better?  And the wonder if we can be one again?  Can the desperation we are in separate us from his love?  Nope.  In spite of all these things, in spite of everything else that may come our way too, God has made us conquerors.  He has made me a conqueror.  Not one thing mentioned, not Satan or the demons that try to stumble me, and even the lifeless curses that come upon me ... not the fear of the future, and all our wonders of things to come, not even in our desperation ... None of this will separate me from the love of God!
I'm so loved!  And I'm so thankful I have that to hold onto.  That is enough for me.  Through his love, I can forgive myself.  Through his love, I can walk these struggles.  It is His love that will get me through our desperation ... and actually is the very cry of our desperation.