Archibald Family

Archibald Family

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

The Likeness of God

When God created man, he made him in the likeness of God.  He created them male and female and blessed them.
Genesis 5:1b-2a

How many of us have self image issues?  I know I do.  I have hurt my husband a numerous account when he has told me how beautiful I am, and I gave him an eye-roll and walked away - rejecting the words of encouragement and admiration.  When I read this verse, I can't tell you how many "I'm sorry"s come to my mind as I deal with the same amount of twinges of regrets.

I am the very image of God.  When I look in the mirror ... I am looking at the image of God!  That holds a lot of weight and also brings a huge responsibility.  Because it is more than the physical appearance -but there is something created in each one of us to be just like Him!  How did I treat the homeless man on the corner?  How did I attend to my daughter's needs?  What part did I contribute to the community service project?  How am I supporting the service man who is giving their all for me?  What part am I doing at my church?  How am I helping my husband?  How am I loving him?  

Am I looking to see God?  And how is that image living through me?

And now turn this verse around.  The neighbors who drive me crazy, the in-laws that I can't seem to get along with, the homeless, the babies, the elderly, the addicts, the racist, the lawyer, the politician, the mailman and the list goes on .... they too are created in His image.  Have I taken the time to see the likeness of God in them, or have I rejected Him just the same?  

My husband is onto something when he compliments my looks.  I need to stop, ponder, listen and look deep into his eyes... because perhaps it is the likeness of God in Him speaking to the likeness of God in me!

I Can Master These Emotions Of Mine

If you do what is right, will you not be accepted?  But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you but you must master it.
Genesis 4:7

I admit this chapter isn't my favorite, but I read it this morning and saw how "human" it is.  I was pretty much raised as an only child ... I am the only child on my mom's side, but my dad had another.  However, in the summer my half-sister would come to stay a couple of months.  It was rough for me.  I went from "my" room to "our" room.  Of course it was only natural for my dad to want to spend time with his daughter, but the jealousies would consume me.  I did enjoy what would be lonely hours during the days, as my parents worked to be filled with someone else to share them with.  

From the day I was born I have had my insecurities.  I have questioned as to where I fit in, and what place I fit into.  I have looked at others as "favored" and have thought much less of myself.  It is just the way I have always been, something that I have had to work through and deal with.  I think of a recent issue in our home, and how this insecurity was more likely the cause of the unnecessary argument, that not only impacted me but brought grief for my husband.  

My girls have had the same unnessary arguments.  I remember a period of time when I wondered if they would ever like each other when they were grown.  Lindsay appeared favored with all the family relatives, Katie was the strong-willed child, and Courtney would just go back and forth to each sister, favoring one at a time while going against the other.  The older two used the youngest to get toward the other ... one child was always left out, and one was always hurt.  

Feelings are a huge part of who I am.  I live in them, experience them, move in them and for them, and it seems so many times I'm consumed by them.  It is just who I am.  And I find it only fitting that God would gift us with three emotional girls.  But who blames them, as they have watched these emotions control me all my life.  

Today I see God's guidance for me:  "it desires to have you but you must master it".  God brought the right two people together.  Me full of emotions, and Duane full of logic.   I long to be more like him daily and there are times (usually when dealing with the girls) he wishes he was more like me.  Our marriage is a good balance of the two.  But Duane shows me wisdom so many times, as he controls the anger in midst of tensions in our home of girls.  I would say for the most part "he has mastered it" and doesn't allow the temptation of anger, jealousies or bitterness grab hold of him.  Oh to be more like that.  I have the opposite problem, where I want to allow fighting words spew from my mouth, emotions physically tremble me, and the "logic" of them to debate the other person in whatever comes out of their mouth.  I admit I have not "mastered it", but have allowed immaturity rather than wisdom define who I am.

Yet, God knows these feelings and temptations are there.  God even gives us for warning that they are even there.  And God tells us to master them.  He also gives us the authority to be the master over them.  

I can't say that I will all of a sudden master this temptation I daily deal with, but I can say I will start today.  Today I will lean on Him.  I will learn to listen to his warning.  I will learn to master them in time.  And I will take the authority given to me and be the master  over these emotions of mine.  

Monday, October 19, 2015

What Was Once an Ordinary Chapter

Genesis 3

The fall of man.  To sum up the chapter: woman is alone, Satan tempts her, she falls and leads man to fall, they hide from God, God has a serious talk with them both, he punishes Satan, woman and man but then covers them in grace with clothes.  That pretty much sums up the chapter.  

Can I be honest with you?  I can't help but read this chapter with an eye roll?  It's that chapter where men blame women, and women say "it's not our fault", and the chapter we are reminded that we are behind men, and why we hurt so much when we give childbirth.  It's that chapter ... and I can't help but have a bit of an eye roll, a bit of an attitude when I read it.

Until today.  

I'm trying to read through the Bible, it's one of my current goals ... and I figured God wouldn't have much for me in this passage as he has in the previous chapters.  Today I was looking to gain some ground in my reading.  But perhaps my depression as I go through our move and the transition in my parenting, brings me a new perception when I read these words.

  1. The woman was alone for Satan to tempt her.  I admit to you, that today was one of those days I just didn't want to get out of bed ... I couldn't seem to find the strength - or purpose in doing so.  I heard the lies of the enemy telling me "I didn't have a value to add to today, stay in bed"!  He was winning ... until the phone rang, and then I saw the cats waiting for their breakfast.  Point was, I was alone too ... and Satan was tempting me with his lies.  I know we as women are each made differently.  But from all the studies I have been in, relationships I have had the privilege of being part of ... we are made to not be alone.  Yes, we are to have our quiet times ... but with God.  We are never to be alone!
  2. Satan tempted her with lies.  
    1. The first question he asks:  "Did God really say, 'You must not eat from any tree in the garden?'"  We have something that Eve didn't have then.  We have the Book of Truth ... the Bible.  This is why we are to be in it everyday, learning it, studying it and knowing what God is telling us.  Otherwise, Satan is there tempting us to be led astray - away from God.
    2. When we are alone, it is then that Satan learns us and knows exactly what to say to trip us up.  Personally for me this morning, it was that "I didn't have a value or purpose for today" ... "that I don't have a purpose anymore, and I am not needed".  Those are the words he is throwing at me, frequently lately.  Because I have put myself in the position to be tempted by his lies.  If this is you, I encourage you to make a goal for yourself to get out of this place ... don't be alone!  My goal this week is to sign up and attend two Bible studies ... one at a church we are considering calling 'home' and another that is in our community.  I refuse to be in the position of isolation anymore.  
    3. When we are tempted by Satan, we see his lies as the truth.  It's kinda how I see my goal of reading through the Bible.  If I look at it through God's eyes (the Truth) and see that it is ok to take the time to read, and soak on each word, meditate and chew on it and gain from it ... then it is worth the extra time ... even if it takes years.  But if I look at it through the world's eyes (NON-truth) that I will never get through it, and it will be a goal that will never be met it is causing me to already carry the feeling of "failure".  That is where the first point comes into play ... know the scripture, and know your God.  God has never ever called anyone in the scripture a failure, and he surely won't begin today.  So the truth is, if I don't finish the Bible and stop in the midst of Genesis ... the truth is I'm in His word, and gaining knowledge of Him and how He wants me to be ... which is defeating the enemy's plan.
  3. After Adam and Eve ate of the fruit they covered themselves, and when God came walking towards them - they hid and God called to the man, "Where are you?". 
    1.  I laugh, because I think of my husband and how he tried to "undo" what they did.  He states his case and tries to persuade me to run around with no clothes on.  I know - TMI!  However, the truth is, when we are led astray we try and cover ourselves and even hide the very thing that God created.  WOW!  I get the whole hiding thing.  I think of my girls hiding their lunches in their room that they brought home from school, because they didn't want to eat it, and instead of telling me the truth they hid it ... until there was a big stink and it was revealed.  I confess that God is all knowing - and sees all, so why on earth do I even try and hide my mistakes?  
    2. How cool is it that they lived with God that they could hear him walking?  I want that, and I believe God wants that for us too.  I don't think it is something out of reach either - that we could live like that.  First, we have to not be in that isolation where Satan can trip us up and second, we could simply seek.  His word says "seek and you will find" (Matthew 7:7).  I long to be so close that I hear his footsteps coming toward me.
    3. God called out to man, asking where he was.  God misses us too when we aren't in relationship with Him.  His heart is to be one with us, and we each complete his heart ... which gives me an image of how big his heart is.
  4. God questioned man as to what happened, and the whole story came out.  God punished all who were involved.  Yet I saw something new today in the punishment of Eve's:  "Your desire will be for your husband ...".  It is said over and over again that three biggest quarrel between husband and wife:  Sex, money and parenting.  I desire my husband, and that is good and right.  However, it is the images I put in my head ... "he should be like the person I read about on Facebook and bring me flowers", "he should meet my needs of romance instead of turning on the baseball game", "he should ... he should ... he should".  My desire is for my husband, but is my desire for my husband to be who he is, or someone I would rather him be?  Am I praying for my husband that his desire would be sound in the Lord, and lead me and our home?  So perhaps the quarrels we have about "sex" or "love" are the curse of man from the beginning, but it has opened my eyes to be set back on God's word:  to have the desire of my husband and nothing else.  
  5. And just because Adam and Eve had a slip up, that they had to be punished for, God didn't leave them.  That tells me that no matter how great the sin, God never leaves.  He may banish us from the promises that were once ours, but He'll never leave us.  He covered them in clothes.  I remember my mom making me dresses, and having a special label "handmade with love" ... and that is exactly what I picture God's clothing to be made out of.  And no matter the depth of depression we may be in, God is there and hand making out of love our way out.  
I love this chapter!  And to think it was one that I just never enjoyed before.  So much to gain!  What did you gain out of it?

Friday, October 16, 2015

A Time of Rest

Thus the heavens and the earth were completed in all their vast array.  By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work.  Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.
Genesis 2:1-3

I believe God has told me that I am to be in a time of rest.  So instead of resting, my mind is stir crazy with what is next.  And through my wondering, I find that I'm not resting but feeling more defeating that God isn't currently needing me.

When I read these verses this morning I couldn't help but see the words "rest" jump off the page at me.  I took a couple notes:

  1. God took the time to rest!  Enough said, if He did it, shouldn't I?
  2. God blessed the day of rest.  What would happen if I took the time to rest as God called it?  What would my blessing look like?  How "healthy" would I be if I lived what He did?
  3. God saw what He had done, called it done and rested.  He looked at what He has done and called it good after each day, but on the seventh day during His time of rest He had to recognize what He did and call it good once again.  He appreciated the time He did the week prior, not look ahead at what was going to come in the next week.  
So I see now that God has me in a time to rest, and what it should look like.

Oh God, I'm resting.  I'm resting in You!  I am not allowing shame to come over me anymore, but thank you for this time of rest.  I choose this time now.  I will ponder over the work I have done, I will ponder the lessons I have learned from you and I will see them all as good because not of what I had done, but because of Your presence in it all.  I will ponder, rest in you and not let myself go crazy as what is yet to come!

In The Beginning

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.  Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.
And God said, "Let there be light," and there was light."
Genesis 1:1-3

In the previous post I mentioned that I went into flight or fight when Duane came home without his job.  I took on so much of the weight and so much of the responsibility, when truthfully it wasn't mine to take ... it was still God's.  Well during this time, being in His word was seldom.  Praying was desperation.  Listening, was extremely rare.  Tiredness affected worship.  Lack of a church home kept corporate worship at a minimum.  

I have tried to explain to Duane, as the last of the boxes are coming to an end to unpack that I fear of being "bored", I'm afraid of missing where I'm supposed to be because I am not hearing God as I once was, or because my own selfish desires and control tendencies seem to trip me up so easily.  I am fearful of being wrong.  I question if I'm even doing my part, as now I'm unemployed and taking a time to "rest" (as I feel God has told me to do that very thing).   Doubt lingers like a familiar friend as I question if I'm hearing God right.

It isn't easy to share the spiritual state I am in, but in all honesty ... it is exactly where I am.  I've tried to read my Bible, to only get frustrated that my mind can't seem to focus long enough to make it through a few chapters.  I do have a goal to read the Bible through again, but it seems like a daunting task.  I started reading it again this week, but this time differently.  I'm leaning on the grace of God, getting through little by little.  If I look through the world's eyes ... it isn't much.  But I have learned.  When I see something, I stop, ponder, pray, put it down and chew on it.  I won't move on until I grasp and ready.  It may take me twenty years to get through the Bible at this rate, but I'm seeing things new, as if my first time.

In the last post I also mentioned the depression I have been in.  Not just because of the new season of mothering I am in, but a new season of life all together.  Transitions are just not easy.  I can't tell you how tired I still remain.  I have always been a person of doing, and now there isn't really anything to do.  I refuse to being the leader, and now letting God lead ... "rest" is all I hear.  I see others doing, and I'm resting ... guilt falls on me.  

I don't find it ironic that I am in Genesis, I find it fitting that I'm back in the "beginning", relearning the scriptures and my relationship with God all over again.  I see four opening points God brought for me:

  1. God created.  He didn't just create the heavens and the earth, but me.  He created this place for me to be part of, and He created it for me to enjoy.  He created. 
  2. God saw the earth formless and empty, darkness was over the surface.  He sees me.  He sees the darkness that is around me, and still doesn't leave, but stayes.  He sees.
  3. God was hovering over the waters.  He hovers nearby.  He not only created, but remained close and never leaves.  He hovers.
  4. God called out the light.  He saw the need of light, and brought it forth.  He took the darkness away with His call.  He protects.
Reading these three verses was all that I needed to hear.  It brings healing and understanding for me from my Creator and the One I long to be long to.  

Dear God,  Thank you for Your creation for me and in me.  Thank you for seeing me and remaining still so close to me. Thank you for hovering near to me, calling what needs to come over me, and protecting me.  Thank you for being my light, and calling the light on when the darkness is so dark.  I know the darkness doesn't have a hold on me, because of your creation in me, how you see, hover and call.  I stand under the One who is able.  Thank you!

Life Is Full Of It's Challenges!

It's been a heck of a time these past couple of years.  Every time I think I have gone through the thick of it, it gets a bit thicker.  Perhaps it is my outlook in life.  Perhaps it is just the season we're in.  Call it what you want, bottom line it has been a hard couple of years.

When Duane lost his job about a year and a half ago, I went into flight or fight mode.  I stepped up my hours at work to bring what little income I could in, and still doing what I already was doing in the ways of home maker.  I tried to be a source of encouragement to my husband, and bring a comfort to my girls.  I can stand where I do today to know that I began to rely on myself more, even though I would say I was relying on God. 

One of my biggest arguments with Duane during this time was my feeling of lack of appreciation, and not being recognized enough for all I was doing.  I felt alone too.  Today I can stand and tell you that because I took the role on that I did, and stood on my own two feet that it was my own doing for the feelings I was enduring. 

When we moved to California, I had arranged for my next source of employment.  I believed God gave me the go ahead and I went ahead.  It brought a long commute, much stress, emotional abuse and much anguish.  Today I stand, unemployed and see that I never asked Him when, and I was so determined that perhaps I didn't hear the correct answer.  My wants outweighed my listening skills.

We left two girls back in Colorado.  I can't tell you the depth of depression I have been in because of that fact.  I hid my feelings through working, focusing on housing and now setting up our home.  As things start resting in place, my heart has been more exposed.  Many tears have been shed.  Much anger has been spewed.  Silence has been heard.   

We had two months to find our home.  We put nine offers and nine different houses in an area that would be closer to Duane's work.  Each one of them was rejected as other offers outbid ours.  We leaned on what we wanted, not on where God was directing us.  I can testify today that I stood on pride to be able to say that I moved out of state, and it eased my pride to say that I was returning  but to a different location.  I was ashamed to come back in the area we left.  But God has a way of humbling us, and it will be on his timetable until we grasp where He wants us.  After three months of temporary housing (AKA:  a hotel), we put our tenth offer in, which was accepted .... back in the hometown we once lived.

Relocation isn't easy as it is, getting Courtney registered for school was a battle of its own.  New laws have been passed, two different states with their own requirements and systems trying to blend together, and a roughness to the school we were assigned to were just some of the battles we were in, as I was dealing with the loss of the other two girls.  I observed I quit parenting all together, as fear of losing the last was quickly approaching as we enrolled her for her senior year.  I had to apologize to Courtney that I stopped being her mommy, and took back that role that I know so well.  

Community has been our word for a few years now.  Community is definently where we live now.  But it is something that we are searching for too.  We walk everywhere now, trying to make our presence known.  We greet our neighbors, and trying to reestablish old friendships.  But it is hard to have been away for nearly a decade and find where we fit in again.  Places have changed, people have changed, society has changed.  Where do we fit with all these changes?  And finding a church home is the key.  We're still looking where that will be.  I know God will bring us to that place, as he has brought us home.  

It has been a rough year and a half.  We have gone through so much, so many feelings, and I can still testify that my feelings are still "raw".  But I have grown.  I have changed.  I have gained many lessons along the way.  I have been humbled, and admit that today even though I can say I have learned much, I can still say I have much more to learn too.  It has been a rough journey ... but it has been all good too!