verbosevictoria

Painting heart-cries, word by word

A Heart Cry February 12, 2014

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Fast Asleep

“You are a woman of God.”

I am.

“You are special.”

I am.

“You are loved.”

I am.

My husband goes through this statement-and-answer with our daughters and sons every night before they fall asleep. Even the baby responds “mmhmm.”

It is precious to hear, like dropping little golden balls into their future selves. I pray they know it all to be true when they are no longer sleeping in beds down the hall from me. I pray they know they are children of God, created and designed for a purpose, and loved. Loved so deeply, surrounded by it on every side, regardless of where they go or what they choose to do. When they are scared or confused or hurt, I pray they can take those golden spheres of truth we’ve dropped in, one by one, and be comforted.

I know I can’t give them their salvation. I know I can’t keep them from pain. But maybe if we give them a wealth of truth to start, it won’t be so hard for them to find the glints of gold on their own. Maybe if we show them truth, show them what love looks like, over and over and over again… Maybe they’ll learn to recognize the real thing. Maybe the twisted imitations won’t be as alluring. Maybe the pain they feel at times won’t be without purpose or value if they can find the golden ball tucked away in the dark.

We hope so. We trust God that we are doing what we can.

These people, these individuals, these precious eternal beings destined for greatness in God’s kingdom are entrusted to us. We don’t mold them. We don’t clip the edges to match our own shapes. We don’t crush who they are under the weight of who we became.

They are unfolding, still delicately but with little increases in vigor and confidence. They need protection, to blossom in health and wholeness. They need guidance, to learn the steps in the journey all must take. They need encouragement, to be brave as they grow. They need prayer, to cover their paths as they go. They need discipline, to choose their design over their default. They need counsel, to navigate the currents flowing between people. They need wisdom, to give them a head start.

But mostly, they need love. Love reassures, comforts, demands better, forgives hurt, rejoices, hopes, perseveres, and is always, always there with open arms.

God be praised, we can pour out His love on them. If our love is a sparkling trickle, God’s love is a luminous waterfall, rushing down and mixing with and overwhelming our trickle. His love cascades on us, on these precious people who are still so young, and flows out from our family into the world He created us to influence.

And each night, before they close their eyes, the daddy God gave them drops another golden ball of love and truth into their very souls–
“You are a man of God.”

I am.

“You are special.”

I am.

“You are loved.”

I am.

“Goodnight, buddy. I love you.”
“Goodnight, silly head. I love you.”
“Goodnight, sweetheart. I love you.”
“Goodnight, princess. I love you.”
“Goodnight, bubby-boy. I love you.”

I love you, Daddy.
Goodnight.

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A Little HP Introspection January 18, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — verbosevictoria @ 12:04 pm
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I am about to be nerdy. You have been warned.

So I like online quizzes because they have the same kind of immediate satisfaction as making a three-point shot into the trash can with a crumpled bit of paper. It doesn’t matter, it doesn’t signify much, but you feel disproportionately pleased over it.

I took a “Which Harry Potter Character Are You?” quiz and I decided to read wayyy too far into the results.

My first result was Albus Dumbledore: “Not only are you incredibly intelligent, but you’re also really good at dishing out sage advice. You have a bit of an ambitious dark side, but ultimately you’re all about the power of love.”

I decided to take it again with using all my secondary answers. This time, I got Luna Lovegood: “You’re definitely a quirky free spirit, but you’re also surprisingly perceptive. You don’t care too much what people think you, though you really value the people who accept you for exactly who you are. The world would be a lot less interesting without you in it.”

I did it one last time, and this time I changed to whatever I may secretly WANT to do, but would never really choose. And I got Draco Malfoy: “Rich, powerful, and well-bred, you can’t help it if other people don’t understand how truly awesome you are. Other people are idiots.”

 

I approve.

Most people would probably peg me as a Hermione, but frankly I am not that resourceful, determined, or gutsy.
I do have enough brains and curiosity that I can see the Dumbledore. I do give out a lot of advice (ha) and offer my thoughts in conversation. Ever since I was 10 or 11 I can remember friends coming to me and asking what they should do or explaining their problems. I love to help weave a thought process with someone and show them a different path.
What really clinches that first result for me is that, if I’m not careful, I can go so deep into observation mode that I foreget to interact with people. I start seeing them as specimens. I analyze them, try to discern a pattern in their choices, take their environment and family life into account, and hypothesize about their strengths, flaws, hopes, frustrations, etc. Albus and I have that tendency in common, I think.

However, I’m not brilliant. I’m sparkly, but I’m not brilliant. Luna’s perception is tinged with curiosity rather than being clinical. I think that, coupled with feeling like the giraffe in a room full of gazelles and not being terribly bothered by it, gives me a camaraderie with Luna. I also feel very strongly about my friends, something Albus wouldn’t allow himself to express. So the creativity is there as well.

And Draco? Well, I’m a fairly good conversationalist so I suppose that counts as good breeding, haha! I have always felt Draco and I share a fear of failure and a somewhat unhealthy desire to make our family proud. It can be consuming and crippling. I also like to think I was probably much more like Draco when I was in high school. Much more likely not to care what others thought because I thought they were all too busy being stupid. Much more angsty FOR SURE. Much more likely to wander off by myself to brood. I think I’ve all but outgrown Draco in my character, but it’s a part of me still. (And secretly, sometimes I really would like to show up people I disagree with. It’s a very smug attitude. I try not to let it linger. 😉 )

So, I think these three results are a good cross-section of the Harry Potter version of myself. And now that I’ve determined that, the rest of my day can continue on. 😛

 

What Numbers Do For Words (also, happy blog-iversary to me) January 14, 2014

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Apparently I’ve been blogging here two years now. Two years. That is simultaneously longer than I thought and a very short period of time.

Numbers are not my language, but they do hold a certain fascination when you quantify your memories and experiences in those terms. It’s straight-forward, untheatrical, unassailable. You can’t argue with naked facts.

I’ve been online since I was 15 years old, which is when home computers and dial-up internet really started to get popular. That’s 13 years online.

After a year or two obsessing over AIM (Aol Instant Messenger, in case you didn’t know) I spent 3 years on a Christian message board on kiwibox.com, learning to be an apologist for my faith. The “Christian” board had an equal number of agnostics, atheists, Wiccans, and multiple denomations of the Christian church. Discussions were lively and I loved it.

For 7 or 8 years I blogged on xanga.com. Those were my “golden years” I guess. My blog was popular enough on the site, I had plenty of followers, the community was unbeatable, my blogs were varied and interesting. I poured my heart out during my first years being married, my first child, the first real tragedies of my life, the first real triumphs. And people responded.

Now, for the last couple years, I’ve somewhat sporadically blogged on WordPress. I came here so I could blog without being totally absorbed. The community here has not… Well, it isn’t the same. But that’s why I’m here. I wanted a place to shout into the dark and hear my own echo.

I’ve not given myself much credit for these last 13 years of words. I don’t seem to think of it as writing. It’s been a little too easy for me. But I guess maybe that was my education in self-expression. I didn’t get much in the way of craft, but I’ve been mining my own brain and heart for material on a pretty consistent basis for over a decade. I guess I can value that, looking back. I learned what gains a response, I learned how to spark controversy, I learned how to navigate conversations of opposing views, I learned how to have fun with these words–playing with them, batting them around, mixing them up, tearing them apart. I found out people heard what I had to say and found something resonating there. I found that I have a sweet spot when I’m writing and I can feel it happening, that moment when what I wanted to express actually comes out of me in exactly the way I was hoping it would.

As much as I get intimidated by numbers as a language I’ve never comprehended, I find it does lead me to considering the naked facts in a way I hadn’t, and I find out something new. Like all this “wasted time” wasn’t really wasted. It was all an investment.

I’ve been investing in my own imagination. I can live with that.

 

“When I Am Afraid” by Laura Hackett -Worship Dance- November 9, 2013

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I wanted to express what I’m learning about clinging to my God the Rock. I don’t choreograph, I’m very amateur, but this is an honest picture of my heart.

 

Why Is Wisdom a Lady? October 9, 2013

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The following is a blog post I made in May 2011. It led to assisting a friend of mine in a talk on Proverbs he was to give that week. I love it when God lets us see a glimpse of His handiwork, no matter how small it may seem. 🙂

When I was a little girl, the pastor of our church decided to have a Q&A time between himself and the congregation by having people submit written questions on Sunday morning while the offering plate was passed. He would review them in the afternoon and answer them as best he could during evening service. (Look, I went to a Baptist, be-there-whenever-the-doors-are-open church when I was a kid, okay? It wasn’t too bad. It boosted my social life. And sometimes I even learned something. :p)

I am a very inquisitive being. I also get a thrill out of asking a really good question. So, being just a kid, I thought it would be awesome to have MY question asked by the pastor. I didn’t want to ask any ol’ question. I wanted it to be good. I wanted it to be original and thought-provoking. Even though no one else would know it was my question, I wanted everyone around me to do that “hmmm” thing while the pastor englightened us to a new and wonderful truth. I asked, “Why is wisdom always referred to as a woman in Proverbs?” (Mind you, I’m like…10 years old when I asked this.)

The pastor answered several questions before mine. They were all pretty standard questions about predestination or “hypothetical” confrontational situations. When he got to my question, he hmmm’ed and kind of chuckled. Then he looked up at all of us in the congregation and said, “I have no idea. Okay, next question!”

I was severely disappointed, oddly embarrassed, and more than a little frustrated. Didn’t he think about my question at all that afternoon? Man, was I glad no one but my dad knew that question was from me… And what kind of pastor who has been to seminary and everything can’t answer a question from a 10 year old girl?!

Precocious much?

Well, I think after 16 years of still wondering that same question, I’ve finally come up with a theory. It’s not fancy or anything and I could be way off, but here goes. In Proverbs King Solomon tells his son to get wisdom at all costs. He describes Wisdom as a woman calling out to anyone who will listen. He says to go after wisdom, to pursue wisdom. Why is wisdom a woman? Maybe, just maybe, the pursuit of wisdom is best pictured by a man courting a woman he loves. He will do anything and everything it takes to gain that relationship with her. It doesn’t matter how many hoops he’s got to go through, he will push through any obstacle to get to her. The desire for that relationship drives him, motivates him. He uses any means he can think of to gain her favor (by the way, my unmarried lady friends, this whole flowers-every-weekend thing is not going to last if you get married–not being cynical, just realistic) and he implements all his manly tools to accomplish this goal. Forget about sex, I’m talking the staying up late to talk, trying to respect her parents, showing off whatever talents he has to impress her–that kind of stuff. It’s a grand pursuit. And I think that is how we are to pursue wisdom. Do whatever it takes, jump through every hoop and over every obstacle, be motivated every day to strive for wisdom.

By the way, the only way to get it is to ask for it, just like the only way to marrying a man’s daughter used to be to ask the Father first.

So take THAT, preacher from 16 years ago! ~Enlightened Victoria

And then the first comment I got was this:

Victoria, Victoria, Victoria…

You probably didn’t know this, but my dad is running our annual church retreat this year, and the theme is the book of Proverbs.  And you probably didn’t know this, but he asked me to give Sunday’s message at the retreat’s end, and I decided to do it on Lady Wisdom.  And you probably didn’t know this, but I’m still working on giving my talk its final form (last minute, I know), and the angle I’m taking with my talk is that obtaining Wisdom isn’t a series of rules to remember so much as it is a relationship, a love affair…

…and I’ve been spending all morning researching how Solomon says to make Wisdom your “sister,” and how “sister” can actually be a term of endearment to one’s fiancee, as we see it in Song of Songs; and how Solomon describes Wisdom as being “worth far more than rubies,” the exact same language King Lemuel’s mother uses of the Virtuous Wife; and I’ve been wondering how to work James 1:5 into the whole thing, where God promises to give wisdom to whomever asks it of him…

No such thing as coincidence.

Your answer is quite awesome.  Can I crib off you for that last bit, about asking one’s bride’s Father?”

Of course I agreed. And we marvelled at how Father cares for us.

 

Why Having 5 Kids Has Not Scarred Me for Life October 5, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — verbosevictoria @ 10:39 pm
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I would love to go into extreme detail about each time God expanded our family, but that would be a very “tl;dr” post. Matt Walsh uploaded a blog recently to give a new dad some perspective. As Mr. Walsh is still pretty new at this, by his own admission, I thought I would expand on his thoughts a bit. (Although, I will say I’ve never had twins and that is an experience to which I cannot directly speak.) After all, people do think we’re crazy on a regular basis for not being “done” by now. Which seems odd to me because 5 kids is not exactly “out there” in terms of quantity.

So here’s how having 5 kids went down for me.

The first time it happened, I was hurtled into a default state of complete and utter shock. There was no going back. I was officially insane.

The second time it happened, I felt kind of vindicated for being put into shock the first time. This parenting thing really was as hard as it seemed.

The third time it happened, I actually looked forward to it all, right down to the dirtiest diaper and the sleepless nights. I was fascinated and in love with the baby phase of life.

The fourth time it happened, I relished as many moments as I was able because it started to hit home–this would not last forever. My time with little ones was going to end eventually.

The fifth time it happened, I rejoiced in the gift of it, of him, of my third son and fifth child. I rejoiced in my calling as a mother and as a steward of these precious PEOPLE God put into the care of my husband and myself.

Although my first time was rocky and difficult, although I was convinced I was a monster for cringing every time my beautiful daughter cried for me, **although it took me months to appreciate her for the wonder she truly was and is–continuing to listen to God by having more children has been the greatest tool He has used in my life for helping me see what a destiny really is.

Destiny is not the golden-trimmed puzzle piece we want it to be. Destiny is not an acheivement at all. Destiny is a posture of life and it is characterized by surrender. I have FINALLY learned, after 8 years of pregnancy, nursing and parenting, that my surrender to God in being a mother is my destiny. It is certainly not the only point of surrender but it is definitely a significant one.

I wasn’t one to plan this, you know? I didn’t daydream about babies. I picked a couple names out at age 14 just so I could join in the girly sleepover discussions. I didn’t even think about being married one day!

God had different plans for me than I had, and I thank Him for choosing me to do something so meaningful.

I’m not scarred by the difficulties of parenting five children. I am being shaped by it. I am in a position of destiny.

Praise God.

(**I did struggle with my first born quite a bit for various reasons. God gave me a strong support system through my husband, my family, and my church. I loved my little girl from moment one but I’m pretty sure I had a mild bout of post-partum depression on top of all the sleep deprivation and general feelings of being confused and overwhelmed. The subsequent post-partum experiences were all very positive, however, for which I thank God.
Just wanted to be clear.)

 

Making a Haven September 30, 2013

Making-Your-Home-a-Haven-week-1

What would it take to make our home a haven?

My knee-jerk response would be, “Uh… A LOT.” So much mess, so much frantic running all over, so many bodies filling every room, so many have-to’s and should-have’s. “Haven” is not the first word I would use to describe the atmosphere of our home. Chaotic would be a good one.

I don’t mind free-spirited creativity or the mess it leaves behind, but the problem is beyond piles of scribbled-on paper and broken crayons. It’s a feeling that we are on the brink of totally losing control at any given moment. There’s not a lot of spiritual space for peace. And that is something I want to change.

This is where the womenlivingwell.org challenge comes in. See, every week this month there will be a tangible tip and a spiritual tip for making your home a haven. And there are PRIZES. Like Yankee candles and family board games and even an iPad mini! (I’m so much more excited about the board games than the iPad, but hey.)

Even if I don’t win anything (entirely likely), I’m excited to try this out. It’s something I always feel tugging at my heart but I need a little structure and accountability to go with it. This is a perfect, bite-size beginning to shifting things back to peaceful around here.

This week’s challenge was to light a candle in the hub of your home and to pray God’s peace over everyone each time you pass it. I lit my candle on the dining room table. My children saw what was going on and just had to be a part of it, so they each picked another candle and now we’ve got four peace reminders glowing away.

Image

I’ve been battling a headache all day so the prayers have been more on the “Holy Spirit, interpret my groaning” side, but I did avoid meltdowns today. Praise goes to God.
If you want to join in the challenge, leave me a comment so I know to ask how it’s going for you! 🙂