Archibald Family

Archibald Family

Thursday, June 15, 2017

It's Time To Get OUT Of That Couch!

We have three cats.  Mine, Courtney's and Katie's.  When we moved to Colorado, it was the same time Katie was moving into CSU…dorm living, which meant her cat had to remain with us.  Zelda (Katie's cat) didn't have a person anymore.  My heart bent toward her, and I felt sorry for her having to not only transition the 1200 miles drive but without a person.   We became close and she became used to living under my favor.

The cats get a long for the most part, there are times when they let each other know they want to be left alone or they just don't want to play.  Over the past couple of years, Zelda had been claiming me and my cat (Zoe) didn't accept that well, and at times has made it clear to Zelda that I'm hers.

The past few months.  Zelda has come out of her shell and become the cat she is.  She is comfortable to roam around and do what she wants … even if the other cats are annoyed with her.  It's actually a good thing to see.  We have seen her live in freedom of being who she is and freedom of living under our favor.  It has brought me great joy to watch her scamper around, or cuddle near me.

Until.

Katie moved back home a couple of weeks ago.  She brought a cat with her.  A cat that is still young and wants to play all the time….rough and tumble kind of play.  It is the size of Zelda.  And to make matters worse, it's a boy.  We have been living in a house full of hissing and scolding.  The water bottle is always near by to remind the new cat that he has to be nice to the other cats.  My cat knows her place, and walks around comfortably because she knows she has the authority to put the new cat in his place if necessary.  She walks in her authority and her confidence.   Courtney's cat doesn't like this new cat.  And she'll let out a blood curdling cry when the cat is even near her, and is constantly hissing at him.  She will go to where she wants to, skittishly, but still knows this is her home and she belongs here and knows she is loved.   She walks in love and the a knowing of what is hers.

And then there is Zelda.

We haven't seen much of Zelda the past couple of weeks.  I'll get her in our room at night and she'll come up on my bed in the morning (not during the night, as she used to).  She still comes out for her breakfast, but will hide shortly after and not eat for the rest of the day.  She has lost weight.  I have discovered where she has been hiding.  She has taken the bottom fabric that is on the bottom of the couch off and has been living inside our couch.  When I dig her out of the couch and grab a hold of her, she clutches on with her claws in my shoulder as she watches to make sure the other cat isn't around.  And to make matters worse she will have accidents because she has to walk across the house to the cat box and possibly be seen by the new cat.  She walks in fear.

The other day I pulled her out from her hiding and put a lot of love into her.  I looked at her and said "Don't you know, all of this is yours?  Not his, but yours?  This is your home, you are ours, not him.  You have authority over him and you walk in favor.  You can walk away from your fear and walk in much confidence of who you are and that you are ours.  You have been given much."

Just as I said those words … I felt God tug at me "I've been saying the same to you".

Then I searched my life lately.

I haven't been happy because of a situation I am in.  I have been trying to make the right choice, but question God's will in it constantly.  I have been living in confusion as I am not completely sure as to the direction God has me to go.  But it comes down to fear.  Fear has gripped me hard.  I just didn't know I was living in it.

So I searched my heart.  I'm afraid of making our comfortable lifestyle not so comfortable.  I'm afraid of putting the full weight on my husband and stressing him out and what that could result in.  I'm really afraid of not making the right choice.  I'm afraid of not pleasing God, my Father.  I'm afraid of how others judge me.  I'm afraid of confronting the person I will need to do.  I'm afraid of the guilt and manipulation that will come my way.  I'm afraid of being wrong.   I'm afraid of letting something go that I have loved for so long.  I'm afraid of the impact it could create on the trips that are planned this year.  I'm deeply afraid ...

So I run and hide.  I am hiding in my fear and allowing the fear to run its course on me.  I'm not living comfortably now because I'm not living at all.  I'm putting my full weight upon my husband now as I'm constantly seeking and asking his advice, then doubting he is fully understanding and knowing what circumstances could come our way.  And it's causing friction between us.  I'm already not pleasing God because I'm not doing as he wants, and letting fear be my God.  I'm letting others control me and hurt me.  And the person I am afraid to confront is controlling me now and coming into our household in an unhealthy manner.  I'm walking in the wrong direction now.  And I'm holding onto something that isn't mine to hold onto anymore.  And to top it all off, I'm not trusting in God to come and take care of all the details He wants to do.

Where have I gone wrong?

I have forgotten who I belong to.  I have forgotten who He is and what He is able to do.  I forgot that He has given me much and can walk comfortably in his favor.  I have forgotten that he has given me authority.  I have cowered down to fear and surrendered who I am and all that I have to it.  Life has been miserable, joy is absent, yet grumbling and complaining are constant.  And to make it worse, I have affected everyone who is around me.   I have been disobedient.

I need to be like the other cats.  I need to walk in authority and confidence of who I am and who I belong to.  I need to walk in the love I know God has for me and a knowing of what is mine.

It's time to walk in truth.  It's time to face my fears and knock these giants down.  And it is time to surrender to the One who knows me, the One that loves me and finds favor with me, and the One that says I am still His.  

It's time.

And since it is my time … Zelda it is your time too.  We can do this together!

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Through The Storms Of Life

I flew back to Colorado to get my daughter and bring her home.  We rented a vehicle to drive back with all her things.  You can never predict the weather in Colorado or Wyoming, so it is always an adventure and you never know what you are in for.

As we were driving, we left the comforts of the 70 degree weather, with blue skies and puffy white clouds and went into the mountains to be greeted by snow, still with blue skies and puffy white clouds.  As we continued, we could see ahead the clouds where clearly a storm was ahead, where the darkness of the sky met the earth and you couldn't distinguish the separation of the two.  As we continued the storm became darker and scarier. The road continued right into the storm.

There was no getting around it.  Anyone who knows Wyoming, knows there is a lot of nothing,including choices of roads and even shelter.  We had to continue.  I gripped the steering wheel and continued on, and feared what I was in for.

As I gripped on to the steering wheel, I gripped on to Jesus as I muttered prayers under my breath.

When we entered the storm, we entered hard rain … the kind of rain that the window wipers couldn't move fast enough, we entered 32 degree weather which brought some snow mixed into the rain.  We journeyed on and got through to the other side …. then I could only see the storm in my rear view mirror.

I remembered a childhood book the girls used to love:  Going on a Bear Hunt.  It talks about going on a bear hunt and having to go through long wavy grass, a river, mud and a cave.  They can't go around these obstacles, or over or under it … the only way to go is through it.  Sometimes God brings us storms in life.  Sometimes storms just come whether God brings them or not.  We can't go around them, over them or under them, as much as we want or even try … we have to go through them.

As I looked in the rear view mirror I saw what I went through.  And I felt God prompt me as to why I was so scared, after all it wasn't all that I had feared.  And as I looked in the mirror again it was because of the storms I have endured in the past.  I knew how bad the storm could be … I was fearful of the baseball hail that I could have endured and this time without any coverage.  I was fearful of a tornado forming.  I was fearful of the lightening that could fall from the sky with such power and put it's mark on the land right next to me.  I was fearful of a blizzard coming out of no where … all these things I have endured in the past, and I knew what was possible when the storm was before me.

I remembered Luke 8:22-25.  Jesus and his disciples were in the boat, and Jesus was sleeping while the disciples were battling a storm…fearful as they endured it.  They feared for their lives.  Jesus is all his sleepiness and calmness calmed the storm and asked: "Where is your faith?".

God reminded me that storms are going to come and go.  Some are greater than others, as they are all not the same.  Fear shouldn't ever stop me with any of them.  Where is my faith?  Faith is gripping on to Jesus during these storms, but faith is also knowing who is with me and who I am in Him.  The storms of life don't have a hold of me, as He is greater, and He has given me authority to be greater than them too.  

And just as He has given me the authority over these storms … He has given the authority to you.  Conquer your storms.  Grip on to Jesus.  And take authority.  It is yours.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Lesson at the Doctor's Office.

My soul seems to be stirring so much lately.  I can see it as a good place to be, but I also see it as a frustrating place to be.  I need clarity and direction.  And I can't seem to find it. 

A couple months ago, I just gave up in Chick-fil-A and put my two weeks in.  They were able to talk me out of leaving, but I did cut my hours back considerably.  I just needed some time to figure out what life holds in store for me. 

A couple months ago, the CASA office was hitting all the green lights for me to "go" and be certified to be involved.  Being that everything was being forced and going at lightning speed, I put the breaks on, because I need to know that is for sure where God wants me.  The busyness people cause, makes me not able to hear clearly.  And I need to hear God's voice.

It's so hard to explain, but my soul seems to be searching and confused.  I'm constantly looking for "what's next", what my current "purpose" is.  And nothing comes about.  I look at my job, and say "surely, there is something more for me".  And with the same eyes that see the job, see lack of hope there.  So I want to leave … and run, and never turn back.

My daughter was sick earlier last week.  She had her umpteenth case of pink eye … but this time it was really bad and in both.  We do things naturally, and give illness there time.  But this time, it was in me that we needed the big guns of medication, and a doctor to look at her.  

I made the appointment.  

I had other appointments that day, and put her appointment in the midst of mine, and thought it would be doable.  The receptionist told me to call back, knowing my schedule if I wasn't able to make it on time, because they were able to adjust accordingly.  

My first appointment took longer than expected.  I had to call and make the change.

We showed up fifteen minutes early for her doctor's appointment.  And we waited.  Two people who had the time slots for fifteen minutes after our appointment showed up.  And were called back.  We still waited.  

We finally were called back.  My daughter's vitals were taken, weight and height and we were put in the exam room.  Where we had to wait even longer.  I kept looking at the time, because I knew another appointment was after this.  The person knew what was going on, and knew I'd be late, but still I wanted to respect our appointment time to the very best of my ability. 

The doctor came in.  Arm braces and all.  

He moved slower than you or me, as he juggled his crutches, the chart and us.  I wanted to ask Him, but knew better and didn't.  He was the doctor.  He got around the exam room constantly swinging his body around, but focused on the reason he was there…. my daughter and her illness.

I felt God tugging at my heart.  I heard him whispering into my spirit.  "You don't see me on the other side of the door.  I am in the midst of something, have patience.  It will be revealed to you soon."  

I continued to watch.  And I admired that doctor.  

He was labeled with something … MS, a stroke … I don't know, but something.  He didn't allow it to stop him.  He had a vision and direction to continue his doctoring.  And he continues.  No matter if Satan is trying to stop him.  He continues. I'm sure he has hard days.  But he perseveres.  

I swallowed hard.  I remembered the girls childhood book by Max Lucado "You are Special".  I remember all the stickers that Punchinello gets labeled with, and how they start falling when He comes to know his Creator and then they start falling.  

Have I picked up labels?  Have I looked at my vision and direction and judged it as not being good enough and stopped doing what I'm intended to?  Perhaps.  But more so, I need to just rest in patience and wait for the door to open for me and know my Creator.  Spend time with Him as I wait.  It is there I will find the door.  It is there I will find the strength to persevere through what He has called me to do.  It is there I will find patience.  And it is there my soul will find rest and calmness.

It is with my Creator I wait.  

And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and joyfully giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light.
Colossians 1:10-12

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.
Galatians 5:22

Remember your Creator in the days of your youth, before the days of trouble come and the years approach when you will say, "I find no pleasure in them"-
Ecclesiastes 12:1

Do You See Me?

I was cleaning once again.  I had an old study from Beth Moore in the background.  In the midst of being lost and the loneliness I have been in, I asked God … "Do you see me still?".  A smile was there with a promise, that He did.  I continued to clean.

Knowing you aren't alone is what each person needs in this life.  Those who end their lives because they are alone, never knew and truly believed that they aren't.  The One that created the very intimate crevices of their heart with such intent is the One that will never leave.  

I am thankful that the Creator of my Soul wants to be with me … even in the grime and filth.  He still smiles when He sees me.

And He still smiles when He sees you.  He created you with purpose.  And because He is the creator, no matter what you do, no matter how dirty you become in your work and play … He is God and His intention will win out.  No matter what you think.  He wins.  He is above it all.  

I sat last night looking at an emblem.  What I saw was God confined.  And saw the untruth in it.  But I did see the truth that we as humans have a tendency to think "Oh God must think I messed up so much, He can't still love me … " or "Oh I could never be accepted by God"… "only good people, He is pleased with" … and the thoughts continue.  LIES!  As I daydreamed looking at that emblem, I saw the truth of God rising above it all … God is everything.  God takes us dirty and makes us clean. God is not limited.  God takes all your thoughts and feelings of unworth and will show you … you are worth EVERYTHING to him.  

Hold on.  Hold onto a God that is bigger than you can imagine.  Hold on.  Grasp his little pinkie and He'll show you the rest.  He loves you.  He made you.  He loves what He created.  You aren't bigger than Him and can't mess it up.  Hold on.  

You are loved.

For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb.
I praise you because I am wonderful, I know that full well. 
My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place.
When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body.
All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.
Psalm 139:13-16

What now?

In all honesty, I have been in a rut lately.  I have wondered as to why we had to move back to California.  Things at work seem to be just not exciting and meaningful as it once was.  Girls are pretty much grown and the needs of mom aren't as it once was.  House is clean now, and I just keep cleaning as my schedule allows now - and that allows my mind to go wild.  I'm constantly searching as to "what's next", and it is almost like the childhood inquisitive mind of "what am I going to be when I grow up" has heightened and I'm still searching.

When it comes to relationships, I'm feeling alone.  Close friends I have are busy in their set careers and ministries.  Extended family has learned to do life without us when we lived far away, and bringing us back into the circle just seems unnatural.  Close family are learning to do what life brings them, and I am brought into the circumstances but part of who I am sill gets lost and not understood.  Church family doesn't feel like family at all.  People stay with the people they know, and don't want people to know their business.  So the "hi" and a smile is all that we seem to get on a Sunday.  Duane has his job, and is pretty much spent when he gets home.  I am just watching and wondering where is my place and part in this world.

I don't know if I shared, but a long time ago as I sat in my chair where I would have time with God, He told me to go and get a job at Chick-fil-A.  I didn't understand it then, and actually laughed at him and explained to him … "I'm better than a job at Chick-fil-A".  The command never changed.  I got the job, and I remember when I received the call and how joyous I was.  I started in the kitchen, and it had its toll on me.  When the new owner came in about six months later, he actually saw me in the quick few minutes we talked and brought me from the back of the house to the very front.  I remember the first day I was so nervous, but willing.  In what became years, I developed many relationships with the guests that came through the doors at Chick-fil-A.  Relationships that are still part of me today and relationships that I treasure.  I had guests pray over me, gift me with 'thinking of you' tokens and blessed me with who they were each and everyday.  On the days I was tired and didn't want to work, I would drive in and think "who am I going to see today", and it would change my heart and fill it with excitement.  I loved my job.  It was my ticket to be part of my community and know my town.  I was part of not a restaurant, but part of a community.

Chick-fil-A now is different since the move.  We aren't part of a small community.  We are a much higher volume store.  California is coming and going and always on the move, and relationships aren't developed like I once knew.  Guests seem more grumpier.  The role of my position is different.  I get to be part of the team more and develop a relationship with them.  But lets face it, the average age of the employees, are my girl's age.  So I'm known as "mom", and thankful for that, but also know the relationships go so far.  And with the average age comes much more drama.  Lately, it is clear I'm unliked more than liked.  Like most, I don't like being in environments I'm unwanted in and disliked.  There isn't the relationships I once had to brighten my day, and I just feel … lost.

Lost.  Alone.  Confused.

I have been prompted to write during those time I come to God.  And so I am.  We'll see what comes out of it.  After all, the same God who sent me to a restaurant that was "beneath me" and put me in a place of relationships and being part of my community, is the same today.  He makes something out of nothing.

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.
Hebrews 13:8

And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.
Matthew 28:20

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

The Fork In The Road

My heart has been so heavy.  So many decisions to make.  And I'm torn in so many directions.  I have been prompted to write things down and weigh the pros and cons, but I just don't do it.  I have to vocalize my dilemmas but yet there isn't anyone to really hear me out.  Don't get me wrong … God's ears must be pretty soar right now.  I keep hearing from my close ones how God will show me.  I trust that statement to be true, because I trust my God to hold onto His promises.  I believe He cares for me and for the choices before me, yet I still don't have my answers and I'm a bit stir crazy with the unknowing.

My career direction is at hand at the moment.  I have a job that I have enjoyed the past six years, yet the joy is lessening the more I stay.  I seem to have more complaints than anything these days.  I have apologized that I just haven't been thankful for the job that I have.  That is wrong.  But it also tells me that it is time for a change.  Part of the issue with my job is the younger generation not understanding my generation, and probably goes the other way too.  The fast pace environment causes me to not be able to embrace the moments, and by the end of the day it is simply just that … another day that has gone.  I feel like I'm missing out in life.  Even though I'm good at my job, I'm also not able to utilize the character within me.  My heart is unable to show, and my mind is having to take over a mile a minute.  I miss getting to know people.  I miss being able to have a moment and see God in the midst of it.  It seems all I'm doing is grasping for God to fix the mess I'm in.  I feel there is more in life.

I have another possibility before me.  I had an interview today.  It was a few weeks ago that I told my husband that I want someone to walk into Chick-fil-A and see the person I am and tell me that they want me.  As I was cleaning out our study and reorganized I ran across a business card (that I thought I had disposed of) and remembered someone already came in months ago and did just that.  I wrote a "remember me" email and inquired if there was anything available.  A few days later I heard back from someone else from the bank about a local position that required 30 hours.  I told them I was interested, but did ask if there was ever a position with less hours as I'm entering a new season in life that requires more attention at home.  A week later I was told about the position I interviewed today for.  And it is a position that is rare … a job share position.  And one that would fit my need for consistency in a schedule, and have hours that would be a match with my husband's schedule.  It is a slower atmosphere and an atmosphere you get to know the people.  Yet, I admit that as much as I want to embrace the moments I also don't want boredom.  There is one concern they possibility is looking into, and that is the time off that is needed at the end of the year, as I wouldn't have earned the time off yet.  I did go into a panic when in the interview questions, I was asked what do I see in the future, how long do I see myself there?

And then there is the simple choice of staying back at home.  I know there are volunteer positions that I'm interested in .. .for example, getting back into CASA.  And being home would allow me to do just that.  But we would be back to a tight budget, which I don't know if I want to do.  My parents are getting to a point that they could use some help more frequently, and I would be available.  And my parents have been without the opportunities of my visit for nine years, and they are enjoying the time I am able to give … and truthfully, I do too.  It seems that all the growing up years and turmoil between parent and child are behind, and I have been able to turn around and appreciate the upbringing I have had and now can see the benefit of their teaching.  Dinner is not often on the table these days because of my schedule and me just being tired from the fast pace of my day, and being in the kitchen embracing that passion of mine (I have forgotten about) would be a welcome to my family.

My mom, with her wisdom tells me to follow my heart.  And today I've been trying to figure just what is in my heart.  I know my family: Duane, the girls and my parents are in the center.  I long to be available to them.  I have seen especially the past couple of months the girls coming to me, and I just stop to help them think of their own hearts.  They seek my council more, and I enjoy being there for them.  I enjoy having dinner on the table, and having our home feel inviting when my husband comes home.  I enjoy going for a visit to my parents and even sneaking a peak and feel of the salt air and the sandy shores.  But in all of this I enjoy spending moments with God, seeking Him, praising Him and embracing Him in the moments of the day.  "Moments" just seem to be a word for me lately.  And I want to embrace as many moments as I can.  I don't want someone else dictating my schedule.  I love sneaking away for a quick lunch and seeing my husband.  I miss walking with him from BART.  I love these kind of moments.  I was talking with one of the girls this past week, who stirred up a desire within.  She encouraged me to write a Bible Study.  She wants to know the God I know, verses the mean and scary God that others know.  She is open for me to share and for her to seek herself.  I want to write … even though I haven't a clue what to write about.

So with all this … my body is just full of the dilemma I'm in.  I see the benefit of each choice I have as I'm at the fork in the road.  And I know that I have to take the council of my mom's advice.  Letting  you listen to me has helped greatly …. thank you!