Monday, October 17, 2011

A True Princess

"A True Princess

I stopped trying to look the perfect princess,

that handsome princess is no longer in my dreams;

it’s not that I think I deserve any less,

but I’ve learned what being a true princess means.

A princess may not be beautiful or fair,

a real prince may not be most handsome of all;

the princess may not make people stop and stare,

and the true prince may not be so fine and tall…

But a true princess has such beauty inside;

beauty that will never fade with age or time.

That prince in a palace he may not reside,

but to his dear princess he’d give his last dime.

A real princess will love her prince forever,

a true prince is faithful through laughter and pain;

Side-by-side they will serve the King together,

joyfully every after will they remain!"

In a world where love is painted as a feeling, often based on beauty or appearance, I think it's very important that we have a clear picture of what true love looks like. 
So many of young people today were raised in broken homes, and due to that and the "fairytale" ideals that our culture presents, we may find ourselves with a very broken view of love and romance- what should be a beautiful work of art is now a mere disfigured copy. It's fake, and it won't remain through the test of time and trial. True romance, the way God intended it, has been throw out and left in the dust- only to be replaced by a temporary, conditional love.
Now, we can settle for the replica hanging in the living room, or we can go out and pick up the beautiful painting laying out in the dust, brush it off, and re-establish it in it's rightful place of honor in our lives and homes.

But what is true love? How did God design romance? I think if we want to know how God designed something, it's best to go back to when He first created it, before it was thrown out of it's intended place of honor. It's time to go back to the very beginning (a very good place to start... lol... sorry... I have the Sound of Music in my ears...), to His first painted picture of romance. 
Genesis- the book of beginning for all but One, is a wonderful book. It reveals to us our Creator and His perfect design. It adds such meaning to life in that we know who the One true God is and that we were created for a purpose. But in order to help you stay focused I will try to stay as close as possible to the subject at hand.  
Let's look at this picture:

"So God created human beings in his own image. In the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. Then God blessed them and said, 'Be fruitful and multiply. Fill the earth and govern it. Reign over the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, and all the animals that scurry along the ground.'" - Genesis 1:27-28

"The LORD God placed the man in the Garden of Eden to tend and watch over it. But the LORD God warned him, 'You may freely eat the fruit of every tree in the garden-- except the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. If you eat its fruit, you are sure to die.' Then the LORD God said, 'It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper who is just right for him.' So the LORD God formed from the ground all the wild animals and all the birds of the sky. He brought them to the man to see what he would call them, and the man chose a name for each one. He gave names to all the livestock, all the birds of the sky, and all the wild animals. But still there was no helper just right for him. So the LORD God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep. While the man slept, the LORD God took out one of the man's ribs and closed up the opening. Then the LORD God made a woman from the rib, and he brought her to the man. 'At last!' the man exclaimed. 'This one is bone from my bone, and flesh from my flesh! She will be called 'woman,' because she was taken from 'man.' This explains why a man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one." -Genesis 2:15-24

From this we can see God's design: One man + One woman, becoming one together, forever. As long as they both live, they are still one and in the Creator's eyes, there is no separation of the two. 
"But," you might say, "that was before sin entered the world!" Yes, you are right. But what did God do in sending Jesus to earth? He brought restoration. Through Christ, He restores not only the relationship between God and man, but in every relationship. He brings us back to our original design and purpose.
Rather than talk about what is NOT God's design, I've decided to focus on what IS God's design. We know what the real picture looks like, so why are we even concerned about the disfigured and smudged copy brought in not as God's design, but through sin? We can clearly see what God's design is, and so anything but that is obviously not His will.  

Adam KNEW when woman (Eve) came along and that they were perfect for each other (and that none of God's other creations were right for him), He didn't have to go looking, because God saw his need and provided.  Yes, there was only one woman, but it is plain to see that he knew she was what he was missing and that they were designed for each other- and he was the first man, he couldn't look at anyone else's example, or at examples in the bible.

God is just as capable of providing for those living in His care today as He was then! Today we think we have to go searching for the right one, but in reality if we are following God's design in other things (not just concerning love and romance), this too will fall into place.
It's not like Thomas Edison, okay?  I mean, just because he was a very persistent and -eventually- successful man in his work doesn't mean we need to attempt to apply his method of trial and error to romance. Date till you find your mate? No, I don't think so. This only sets us up for divorce when/if we marry. Follow God and He will place that right one on your path in His time, if His plan for you is that you marry (We know from other bible passages that not all will). He knows what's best for us, and His will may not be for you to marry. But know that if His will is for you to remain single then He will give you joy and satisfaction in that." 

I know, I know

I know I've posted a lot today, but most of it was on my facebook already- I just decided to post it on my blog too. :)

Do You See What Jesus Sees?

I see a small child roaming the streets, 
she's desperately looking for something to eat.
Yet she's looking for more than food alone,
she's looking for love and a place to call home.

I see a woman who lost her husband at war,
she's searching for a life worth living for.
She wonders if there's yet hope to live on, 
the day that he died she felt hope was gone.

I see a man who's bound in these chains,
he started drinking just to cover the pain. 
But now he's bound and he can't get away,
he struggles just to get through everyday. 

I see a teen who's just tryin' to fit in,
he knows what's right yet struggles with sin.
He seeks to be different, yet still be the same,
but now he's sick of playing these games. 

But what do we offer as we quickly pass by? 
We offer a church service or program to try.
Now tell honestly tell me is this what they need?
To be the recipient of your weekly good deed?

No, they need love and acceptance in Christ,
to know their sins have been paid with a price.
They need to see our Savior yet lives,
that He loves, accepts, and gladly forgives.

They need to see Him at work in our lives,
and through our love they'll then realize,
for through our love they know that we care,
and then truly the life of Jesus we share. 

Where Would She Be Today?

"She feels it deep within her heart,
and he's known it all along;
she felt she loved him from the start,
how could anything go wrong?

First a word or two to her,
sensing she feels the same.
Her heart within begins to stir;
surely this isn't a game.

Finally, he's asked her out,
and oh she can hardly wait,
for this time she feels no doubt;
she's got the perfect date.

Now he so gently holds her hand,
oh her heart could fairly fly.
It's all according to his plan,
with just a week gone by.

It has been a special night,
her heart so high it soars.
And here in the pale moonlight,
he kisses her at the door.

 _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _ 

Swiftly tears flow down her cheeks,
where could she have gone wrong?
Though now she seems so very weak,
she used to feel so strong.

"Has he really used me so?"
she questioned deep inside.
"Do I even want to know?"
aloud to herself she replied.

They'd gone to the game that night,
and all was going so great,
but then when no-one was in sight,
he said he didn't want to wait.

Surprised, she firmly told him no,
and angry he took her home.
Then in tears she watched him go,
before she headed for the phone.

"I can't believe how strict you are!"
her friend said when she phoned.
As she wished herself back in the car,
inwardly she groaned.

But he forgave her or so he said,
yet he kept pushing her for more.
And now with a bit of dread, 
she met him at the door.

He'd told her if she really loved him
she'd take this final step,
she so feared she might give in,
the night before she'd barely slept.

How romantic their date was that night,
and so quickly time had flown.
She'd soon forgotten they'd had a fight,
as they crept off to be alone.

Yes, that night she gave her all away,
and with little doubts or fears.
But now alone she is today,
amid her quickly falling tears.

The baby, if his life is spared,
his daddy he will never know,
and now she is so very scared,
for one of them must go.

He'd said she has to make a choice,
which one does she love more?
She'd barely heard his angry voice
as he stormed out the door.

How could it get so out of hand?
How could things end this way?
If only she'd kept her stand,
where would she be today?"

So You Say

"You say that you believe, but who have you deceived;
some others or yourself?

You say the bible is alive, that it changes lives,
yet it's dusty on your shelf?

You say that you love God, but I find that very odd,
since you two rarely even speak. 

You say it's not religion, no one time decision,
yet you meet Jesus once a week?

You say He loves me, that He'll set me free.
but you aren't free yourself?

You say you love the poor, but why not show it more,
since you have such wealth?

You say my sin is wrong, that I should just be strong,
but you hide sin behind the door?

You say all this is truth, but your life shows me no proof,
so what are you talking for?


My Story

I was raised in a loving home; both my parents have always been a big part of my life and as they were both saved before they were married (and years before I was born), there were/are seldom arguments between them and I’ve enjoyed the fruit of their commitment to Christ, and to each other.
I was home-schooled from the time I was old enough to read through high school, and I can never repay my parents for the long hours, days, weeks, months and years devoted to raising my brothers, sisters and I up to be loving and responsible men and women devoted to God and to following His plan for our lives. I am forever indebted to both my parents, for it was them who taught me (and my nine siblings) of the love of God and the way of salvation through Jesus Christ. My parents believe it is their God-given responsibility and privilege to teach their children when they “sit at home and when they walk along the road, when they lie down and when they get up,” (Deuteronomy 6:7) and that they have done!
One of my earliest memories is of when I first accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior. I remember little before that as I was young (about 8), and I’m grateful to have known my Savior at such a young age as He has literally kept me out of trouble. Were it not for the fact that after giving my life to Christ my conscience came alive, I would have found myself in a heap of trouble. But by God’s mercy, He saved me from myself and any time I did ANYTHING I knew I ought not to have done my conscience convicted me and I had to choose from one of two options: I could confess and receive forgiveness, or choose to be miserable. I always chose the former, because I simply could not handle the guilt the latter provided!
I distinctly remember the night I accepted Christ, though I don’t know the date or even the time of year. I recall being in my room, listening to the radio program “Left Behind” and coming to the realization that I needed a Savior. I went crying to my mom, and she joyfully led me to Christ. Since then I’ve made my share of mistakes, and rededicated my life to God, but I do hold to that time as the time I gave my life to Him as I was sincere and -though my understanding was limited- in the simplest of ways I knew I was making the decision to accept Christ in my heart.
My dad read the bible to us every morning and most evenings, and my mom taught us throughout the day. Learning about God –and seeing Him at work in the lives of my parents and family- was a daily reality seen and experienced before I was even old or mature enough to comprehend what I was seeing and experiencing.
Little did I know that those years of my dad dragging us out of our warm beds (and saying in the most annoying of voices, “Hello. I’m your father. Welcome to Friday. Or “It’s time to get up, it’s time to get up, it’s time to get up in the morning!”)and teaching us at the kitchen table was to be in many ways the foundation of my life!
I have little memories of anything I learned at “church” from that time (though we went EVERY Sunday)- except for laying out clothes the night before, the mad rush on Sunday morning to get everyone dressed and to Church in time, and falling asleep on mommy’s lap while the pastor was preaching.
We moved several times when I was young, but we always lived either in VA (where I was born) or WV. One particular move I’ll highlight as I believe it is an important part of my story:
When I was nine years old we moved from Martinsburg, WV to Stephen’s City, VA. My parents felt that God was leading them to sell our house in WV and to get out of debt completely. We did what most would consider unthinkable: We moved ten people into a small doublewide- a trailer.
We realized God had another, greater reason in mind for getting us out of debt when, not long after the move we discovered first, that my mom was pregnant, and eight weeks later that she had stage 2 breast cancer. That first night after we’d heard the terrifying news I cried myself to sleep in my parents room. Never had I been so afraid, and never had I seen my mom so upset and afraid that she might not be permitted to see her nine (soon to be ten) children grow up.
Were it not for the fact that my parents had followed God’s leading, they would not have been able to afford the doctor’s bills and the expensive all-natural diet my mom required to survive cancer while being pregnant. Doctors advised her to abort the baby (my younger brother, Jeremiah) but she would hear nothing of it.
They did a lumpectomy (they removed the tumor), and praise the Lord eight years later, against the odds and in spite of the doctors’ original prognosis of 3-5 years, my mom is alive and cancer-free!
Since then we’ve moved twice and my mom had her tenth and last baby (she was forced to get a hysterectomy for health reasons) Olivia, who is now three.
Were it not for God’s faithfulness and the hope we have in Christ our family would have fallen apart. HE was our daily refuge and source of strength.
We attended services and were heavily involved in a Brethren church for about five years, at the end of which my parents decided that in order to do what they felt God desired for them to do we could no longer “go to” church.
They’d been studying for years about the NT Church and felt that much of what we’d believed and practiced was not founded in God’s word or even on Christian principles. They discovered that much (though not all) of “church” as we’d known it was in reality based on the influence of Roman Catholicism and pagan rituals which had been carried into “the church” in an effort to make Christianity more widely received. And so we set out on a course to discover how the true Church (the body/bride of Christ) was meant to function.
Leaving the place of worship we’d been attending for about five years was no small decision, but after speaking with the pastor and elders on several occasions (my dad also was an elder at the time) we left the building.
And what have we discovered since then? A close-knit community of believers each encouraging and exhorting the others to pursue a closer, more intimate relationship with God and His people. We’ve joined with one person or family at a time in discovering the realities of God’s kingdom here on earth- some of us met through the internet (via or home-church websites), and some were introduced locally through everyday life. Each person has a different story and/or background, but all are on a similar quest to freedom in expressing the fullness of Christ in a biblical manner.
LOL, I must smile as I write this, because it sounds perfect. We are FAR from perfect! Now, Christ is perfect, His will is perfect, and His Word is infallible, but add to that imperfect people seeking God, and you have imperfect people in pursuit of a perfect God. It is His work in us that changes us, and our hope and confidence is that as we come nearer to Him, we would become more and more a reflection/expression of Him. We are human (no aliens or angels that I know of), and so each of us in due time has had his/her patience tested through the weakness of another. We are as yet learning what true accountability, fellowship, and forgiveness/grace really looks like. As we say, being in fellowship such as this shows the good, the bad and the ugly in each of us. But I for one would rather love a person (and be loved) for who they really are (and who I am) than for who they (or I) could pretend to be!

And this is my story-- Praise be to the Great Author for all He has done!

~Victoria Christine

Note: This was written some time ago, I am only just now posting it.

Friday, October 7, 2011

"Shine like the top of the Chrysler building!"

“With a sigh, the young woman got on her knees and for the hundredth time began the unpleasant task of cleaning one of the two bathrooms in her family's home. She looked around somewhat dejectedly at the disaster area around her (compliments of her younger siblings); this was going to take awhile. Though she felt like complaining, she knew that to do so would be pointless and so tried to accept the task ahead of her.

Her thoughts were soon far away from stinky toilets and toothpaste-works-of-art, however, as she imagined herself in distant lands caring for orphaned babies desperately in need of love, or on a farm in the country where she lived happily ever after with the man of her dreams, or perhaps still here at home, but running a successful photography business.

But suddenly helpless infants, prince charming and professional photography disappeared into the lands of “not now,” “you wish” and “maybe later” as her younger sister entered the bathroom jamming out with that ever-so-popular dance known and recognized across the globe- and accompanied by the desperate cry all-to-common among toddlers and small children “I haaaave to go pooooootttttyyyy!”

With another sigh and determined to be patient with the young one, she asked, “Can't you go potty upstairs in the other bathroom?” “Nooooooo! Somebody's innnn theeere!” her sister wailed as her dance became even more frantic.
And so she rose from her knees and left the room as her sister ran in, slamming the door behind her. “

In case it isn't obvious, this is me, on just about any given day of my life. Dull is my middle name and boring happens to be my last. Seemingly meaningless tasks tend to consume the better part of my day, and somehow in between it all I search for meaning and a purpose.
When I kneel to scrub the crap off the toilet or find myself picking clothes up off the floor for the billionth time (when there's a laundry hamper RIGHT THERE!) it can be hard to keep focused. I find myself wishing for something different. Especially when my work goes entirely unrecognized by the world. I can make a toilet “shine like the top of the Chrysler building” as well as any world-renown artist can elegantly bathe a canvas, and yet somehow I'm the one in the shadows! How come there are no news articles screaming, “World-famous janitor makes toilet shine?” But noooo that's not good enough. How much lower can you get then scrubbing toilets?
But that's it! There's my purpose! There, in the midst of humble pie and my just desserts, is purpose and meaning. Don't get it? Bear with me.

This morning I read the bible to my younger siblings in place of my mom, who was at a doctor's appointment. How appropriately suited to me at this time are these verses in Matthew 20, which I found among those assigned me in our daily devotional bible:

“Jesus called them together and said, 'You know that those whoa re regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many.' ”

Am I better than the King of Kings and Lord of Lords? Am I somehow more worthy of recognition and honor then the Creator of the universe?! I think not!
His life was one of servitude and sacrifice! He washed the who-wants-to-know-what off of His disciples feet! And He said He did it in order to set an example for us.

So what is my purpose? The same as was my Masters. To serve the Father, and to allow Him to use me in whatever way He so chooses in order to further bring about His purpose and His glorious Kingdom. And while the world looks with disdain upon those who are given the seemingly menial tasks, He honors humility. It would be a shame on me if I sought only that which would bring me glory, honor or fame!

Does this mean I particularly enjoy cleaning bathrooms? Not really. But it does mean that I do find JOY in serving not only my family, but my Father. And admittedly, I actually do have fun in the process in spite of myself, especially when I get my younger bro in on it!
Yesterday as I was cleaning the toilet I had him scrubbing the shower, and randomly he said “DON'T turn the shower on.” This, of course, was an obvious mistake on his part, as his older sister (yes, this one) has yet to outgrow her mischievous tendencies and natural fun-loving desires.
Within a minute or so I turned around to inspect his work and pointed out the “need” for extra scrubbing in the far back corner. Not at all anticipating my next move, he scooted farther into the shower as he reached for the spot I'd indicated.
Seconds later cold water was showering full-blast upon him- and I was laughing hysterically. Unfortunately, with an exclamation of surprise as he stomped out of the room it was soon evident he'd not found it as humorous or enjoyable as I. After a few angry tears (yes, for real), however, he returned to his work- though as yet he remains cautious when cleaning the shower and closes and locks the door to that half of the bathroom. Oops. (;

So I encourage you, embrace the tasks that have been given you-- wherever you may find yourself in life. Whether its scrubbing toilets, filing papers, or mowing the lawn. For even Jesus came, not to be served, but to serve. And who knows? You might even have fun, if you let yourself.

Your sister in Christ,
Victoria Christine

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Be Content

"The young couple sat side by side on the porch swing, rocking back and forth enjoying a rare moment of silence.
They had made the decision to never be alone together so as to hold them accountable, and so it was that the young woman's parents sat across the porch from them talking quietly of the happenings of the day, every once in awhile casting a watchful glance in their direction.

"Sara..." the young man interrupted the silence, as he turned to address the young woman at his side. "Yes?" she nearly jumped at the sudden interruption of her thoughts. Sara looked up shyly for a moment before once again resting her gaze upon the rose bushes which bordered the porch of her parent's house.
Fidgeting nervously with his jacket for a moment and then placing his hands awkwardly in his lap, he finally took a deep breath and said, slowly but firmly, "I feel we should end our courtship."
Jumping up in astonishment and in a tone of obvious shock and disappointment she asked "What?! End our courtship?!" and quickly the tears began to flow. After having spent hours of rehearsing and anxious anticipation, he was somewhat surprised to see her reaction (he had always had a way with words) and hurriedly fell to one knee before her as he softly and tenderly said those sweet words she'd so longed to hear ever since she'd begun to realize her feelings for him, so many years prior to this moment: "Sara Elisabeth Krin, will you marry me?"
Sudden disappointment turned to sudden delight as the tears of heartache and pain were quickly succeeded and flooded over by tears of joy flowing down her now flushed cheeks. With barely a breath in between his words and her own, she left no time for him to express further the things which he'd so carefully rehearsed, and declaring with such obvious feeling and incredible passion for a woman normally so quiet and composed as she, that had he any doubt of her utmost love and affection, they were then dismissed with her words "Yes!!! I've waited so long for you Trey! I love you!"
There was a sparkle in his eyes as that smile which had so enraptured Sara for years now spread across his face, and placing the ring on her finger, he then rose to his feet as he gazed into her eyes with wonder, marveling at the goodness and kindness of the Master, who'd seen fit to write such a beautiful love story; their love story."

It is my suspicion that nearly every young woman, at some point or another in her life, has imagined a scene similar to the one described above, where the man of her dreams falls to his knees and declares his deepest heartfelt love and adoration for her, and they're off in a life of sunshine and roses living "Happily Ever After."

But life isn't always like that, is it? Often we find ourselves dragging our feet through life, full of self-pity and dissatisfaction. Or am I the only one? I think not.
I find myself wishing for something more at every turn. Sometimes I get what I want, but sometimes I don't- and that's where discontentment sets in.
Its quite like a small child who throws tantrums. We don't get exactly what we want when we want it and we pitch a pity party fit. We make ourselves useless to all but Satan as we sulk and pout.
But its time we learn something:

There will always, ALWAYS be something to lure us away from God's plan and design. Once you "catch" that guy (or girl, for any guys who may be reading this), don't think that will be the end of the temptation and evil desire. There will always be "hotter" guys or prettier girls.
We have to learn to be content, satisfied with the life we've been given. Not just in this respect, but others. There will be more money to be earned, a better job to have, more fame, success, newer cars, phones, clothes, toys, shoes, etc. The list is endless. How long will we seek the latest and greatest? Do we think that on the other side of the rainbow there are no more clouds? If, after, marriage, we are to love and cherish the gift og our spouse through every trial -in sickness and in health, rich or poor- should we not first learn to seek the true satisfaction and peace that come from God? Perhaps God has not answered your cries for that special guy/girl because, as in James 4:3- your motives are all wrong and you are only seeking pleasure, rather than the glorification of God and the advancement of His kingdom?

Learn to be content wherever God has placed you-- it's great practice! Not that what you're doing now is only practice for real life -but more preparation I'd say- for the future. We are to live in the here and now also. God desires our unswerving devotion during these single years- not our focusing on the things we don't have and would like. So learn, as I am seeking to learn, to be content under all circumstances.

~Victoria Christine