Archibald Family

Archibald Family

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Merry Christmas To My Enemies

I sit here.  I hear the Christmas carols and worship music in the background.  I have the smells and beauty of candles near me.  The taste of tea, and the word of God in my lap.  My heart is content … at least for the moment.

I wouldn't be human if I too didn't have my struggles.  And my greatest battle these days is with two coworkers.

I love my job, always have.  Yet this battle I have has caused me to even want to quit.  It has caused me to have my tantrums and has caused me to judge, point fingers right back at them and perhaps even call them names.  I have told my girls that we will always have our struggles with someone in our school classes, in our work places and even church…where ever there are people.  It is just the way life and humans are.  My battle feels like a full blown war!

But as I read the Word of God, hear the music in the background and just ponder on the celebration of  Christ's birth my heart pierces. 

I think of my two coworkers and think of how I have enjoyed getting to know them, how much I appreciated them and loved them.  And somewhere in time it changed.  I'm clueless as to how.  I think how my child has been accused of doing somethings wrong, and I'm her mom … so now I'm in the wrong too (so I feel judged).  I think of how they may think I have the same role as them, not knowing that the demands on me are different and the role isn't quite the same (so I feel not understood).  I think of mistakes I have made, or how I may approach a situation differently and perhaps even disagree with way things should run (so I feel unforgiven).  And if I was them I guess I could be guilty of all of the above, and the negativity of my feelings weighs me down.  

I have had tears knowing that not nice things are being said against me.  I have had anger knowing that communication lacks when exchanging shifts because of the way they feel against me, and knowing full well of gossip that is hurting us being a full team.  I have wanted to come out swinging when they continue to remind my other daughter of her wrong choice she made months and months ago and how I have to remind her that her mistakes don't own her, they don't identify her, and she has made all things right.  I want to spit nails when they call themselves Christians and my own daughter watches and says "why would I want to be a Christian, when this is the example?".  So much negativity comes over me, mama bear even comes out and I want to ruin their lives.

But I ponder on the Word of God, I ponder the lyrics of joy, hope, peace and love that continue to sing around me and just ponder about Christ's birth….how we need to come and adore him, how he came so we could be saved and joy is here to stay.  

And then this morning my heart just aches.  

The two of them and me have something in common.  We celebrate the same King of Kings, Prince of Peace and Wonderful Counselor that came into this darkened world - a world that needed hope, peace, joy and love.  The two of them are crying for the same hope, peace, joy and love that I am crying out for.  These two are the son and daughter of Christ.  They were purposely created, purposely planned and purposely loved, just as I was.  

And my heart aches a little more.  This time out of love and conviction.  I'm not loving the gift that was given to me as I should.  I am not worshipping the very God who creates, and have judged two of his masterpieces.  

I'm so sorry. 

I have seen the world through its darkness and have been in the habit of seeing things as hopeless.  I forgot the power of the gift we celebrate this month.  How this gift brings light and will remove all darkness and the things hidden in it.  

I have love.  I have forgivenss.  I have have freedom.  This baby has given such an abundance, I have more to give.

And the very first gifts this year are to my two coworkers.

"Nevertheless, there will be no more gloom for those who were in distress….

The people walking in darkness have seen a great light;
on those living in the land of the shadow of death
a light has dawned.
You have enlarged the nation and increased their joy…

For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given,
and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end."

Isaiah 9:1, 2-3a, 6-7a

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

My Hope Chest

This past week I have had some glimpses of God and the relationship we share.  You see, the past couple of years have been rough ... I have been out of sorts, and even put God in a box at times.  But because of everything that we have gone through the closeness I have shared with God in the past t hasn't been there.  Please hear me out ... I believe God has been with me the entire time!  I just haven't had the same intimacy that we have shared in the past.  And I have missed it.

I have had quiet times ... not consistent, but I have had them.  I have worshiped with my worship music, I have prayed, I have read the Bible and I have even journaled .... I know He is there to receive my worship, my prayers, show me His word and read the pages that are addressed to just him.  But I have longed for the times our hearts are one, joy springs from my steps because of His presence and His words and my heart seems that much bigger when we are that close.

 I have missed intimacy with God.

I have missed God.

I have missed how He makes me feel.

I have missed the joy we experience.

And sometimes even though I know He is with me, and I know He understands the yearning I have of Him, I forget He hears EVERYTHING.  I was talking with Duane in the car, describing how I long for God, how I just want to clearly hear His voice, as I choked down my tears.  It was the longing of my heart.

I just didn't realize that God was going to be so quick to respond.  And I didn't realize that my life was about to turn.

I had a dream last week.  One that was clearly from God.  I woke with a smile and just longed to be back in the dream again.  It was simple, beautiful and playful.  One I have thought of over and over again in the days that followed.  The message was simple, there is beauty that comes from the valley, God longs to play with me and the Holy Spirit too.

Finding a church home has been a long journey.  One that actually started before we moved.  It has been frustrating, isolating and tiring.  God clearly told me that we needed to go to one church we had just visited the week before, when I was ready to go to another and call it "good".  It is funny how when God tells us to go somewhere, that all of a sudden I don't have to assess the environment, it is mine, and it is where I'm to be.  There is ownership and belonging that comes with it. And it is so much better than just settling and calling it "good" ... because when God sends us somewhere - it is GREAT!

Perhaps something happened at church.  I received the message, and it was timely.  I received worship and gave my heart to God once again.  But nothing moved me more than normal.  However, when I turned on "My Worship" playlist on my iPod, my heart soared like it used to.  I even had a dance in my step.  And there was a moment of intimacy with God.  And a smile on my face.

I do remember God prompting me to go and look through my hope chest, as I sat and listened to the message.  I didn't know why, and I did wonder if I was hearing things.  But I have felt this nagging prompting to do so every since.  So this morning I sat and looked through some of it.  And I got it.

My hope chest used to be filled with things I longed to hope for.  It used to be filled with things I was going to bring into a home, into a marriage and perhaps into the lives of children.  But now when you open my hope chest ... it is filled with the once upon a time of things I hoped for now becoming greater treasures than I could imagine.

When you dig through my hope chest ... you won't find anything of monetary value.  You won't find the computer, the dishes I am saving for, nor the things that take my time and energy each day.  And you yourself won't find much meaning through the clothes, papers, pictures and things.  But these are the things I hold so dear.  A box full of love letters, and a ring box that once held an engagement ring.  So many papers, pictures and handmade gifts that the girls have made, and given over the years:  apologies, adoration and love is throughout the chest.  Some cards from extended family and friends of encouragement.  There are baby dresses that the girls wore on their dedication days, a baby blanket made from my grandmother for her first grandchild, baby teeth of mine given to the tooth fairy, and many letters to God buried throughout each layer of treasure.  These are the things I hold dear.

Why would God send me to the chest?

To show me, that He has a hope chest just the same.  I don't get to see all of it now, but I have seen some of it.  The countless journals of our interactions, prayers - answered and unanswered, pouring of my heart to Him ... the songs of my heart.  I look forward to seeing the artwork I have created for Him that He has called it treasure.  I'm sure there will be glimpses of pictures He holds dear, but I believe those pictures are going to surprise me.  Some could be the memories of when I accepted His love for the first time, and when He healed me from the torment of lies from the enemy ... but there are going to be things I have done or said, that He is going to treasure, that I have just forgotten about.  There will be apology letters like the ones I found from the girls.   And this valley we have walked through and the beauty we have found in it, will be there too.

God revealed to me this morning that He treasures so many times with me, and probably even more so than I realize.

I want to create more treasure for God to tuck away.  Those things that are so special and please His heart.  But just like I saw in the artwork of my little ones,  it doesn't take much to please Him, it is those things that come from the heart.

This past week He has shown me that He longs for intimacy too .... and treasures it.

And He longs to have intimacy with you.  He has a hope chest filled with so much of you.  I encourage you to take the time to look through it, and see what God holds so dear.  It is going to surprise you!