Thursday, May 3, 2012

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Why do I Write? –Words From a Chatterbox

Sometimes, it seems pointless to write. Only few–if any–read what I write. But it helps me sort my thoughts, I simply enjoy it and somehow feel like I grow from it. If someone else happens  to learn from it or is blessed in some way–wonderful!

Today I watched these two short videos from GFA (Gospel For Asia). Very inspiring. It has encouraged me to reach those around me, even if I don't get any responses right away. I especially like the story in the 2nd video, about Joseph. Even though I live in a "Christian" country, I think many of the struggles are the same. If you can find time to watch them, I very much encourage you to do so!
                                                                              (Part 1)
(Part 2)

NOTE: I don't know how many different parts there are to this series, but I know there are more than the first two that I watched.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

While I'm Waiting

Lately I have been discovering the beauty in weakness, struggles, and in the face of uncertainty. In the midst of feeling totally inadequate I find myself relying all the more on my Lord. And I realize, that the harder life gets, the more I cling to the promises in His word, and the closer He draws me to Himself.
If you could have peeked into my world at the right moment yesterday you would have found me searching scripture for promises and encouragement, scribbling verses down on a piece of paper and putting that paper in my pocket to carry with me through the day. Today found me transferring the paper to my jeans pocket. I will put them below. Maybe you'll find encouragement in them, also.

Psalm 29:11
"The Lord will give strength to His people,

the Lord will bless His people with peace."

Psalm 27:1, 14
"The Lord is my Light and my Salvation; Whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the strength of my life, of whom shall I be afraid?"

"Wait on the Lord, be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart, wait, I say, on the Lord!"

Psalm 28:8
"The Lord is the strength of His people, a fortress of salvation for His anointed one."

John 1:18
"There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love."

Psalm 34:4
"I sought the Lord, and He heard me, and delivered me from all my fears."

It isn't that my life has been incredibly trying or difficult of late; if I were to compare it with others I would say I have it fairly easy. But right now I am facing the unknown, and that is a big part of my struggle. I'm uncertain about a lot of things in my future and for the most part just trying to take life one day at a time, relying on God for the strength to get through each new challenge the day presents. I want desperately to take full advantage of these single years by serving Him in ways that I might find it hard to serve in if/when I am married, but I'm uncertain how that might come into play in my life specifically. I have been seeking His will and at the same time serving Him in the one way I do know He desires: Right here. Right now. The song "While I'm waiting" by John Waller comes to mind.
Sure, the little things may not seem so important to others. But they're important to Him! I'll be posting some of what I've been/will be doing here on my blog.

Blessings to you!

                                           Victoria Christine

Old Heart, New Heart

My heart was unclean, dirty and full of sin. Even when I managed to hide it from some, I knew–and One other knew–that inside, I was a mess. Scars from past mistakes telling the stories I found too painful to speak of, even at my young age I was headed down a dangerous road.    

Everything I sought to fix the condition I was in only made things worse, adding even more scars and brokenness to my condition. My heart gave in as the habits proved stronger, leaving me broken and ashamed.

My habits and sinful tendencies held me down and I was not free to live the life I so desperately desired. I saw the beautiful hearts of others, and jealousy filled my own. Among other things, Hate, Envy and Dishonesty grew in abundance, while I saw in other's heart's Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Gentleness, Faithfulness and Self-control.

Then one day, I swallowed my pride enough to approach one that I knew possessed a clean heart such as I so desired. The joy in their heart was evident as they told me about the Maker of Hearts. I was told that He could do more than heal my scars, He could give me a brand new heart, free of charge. But I had to come to Him admitting my own failures and shortcomings, acknowledging my inability to fix myself. I had to place my heart in His hands and trust that He knew what He was doing, that the work He had done and would do for me was sufficient. With nowhere else to turn, finally I gave my broken heart to this Heart-maker.
What I received in return, was oh, so much better than the heart I once possessed!
Pure, beautiful and new, it was more than I could have dreamed! That day I committed to allowing the Maker to continue the work He had begun in my new heart.

He planted a seed in my heart and as the Sonshine and His reign came, I learned what the seed was, and the purpose of my heart. 

Beautiful things began to grow and come out of the new heart He had given me; the seed began to produce in abundance. I learned that the whole purpose in having a new heart was that I could now sincerely love Him and love others, without the selfish motives and sinful desires that once plagued me and grew out of my old, sinful heart. 

I know what it is like to have an impure heart, full of darkness, choked with things that bring only pain and guilt. 
And now I know what it is like to have a pure heart, full of Light and the good things I was intended to have. 
Never, ever would I wish for my old heart back!

The Maker of Hearts is Jehovah, God the Creator of the universe.
The Seed that was planted in my heart is the Gospel.
What grew out of my new heart are the good things I once only saw in the lives of others: Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness and Self-control.
What has also grown in me is the desire that all would see through my life and story the opportunity to receive a new heart from the Maker, also. 
My life has been transformed by Him and I am eternally grateful for the new heart He have me! 

If you would like to know more about anything I've said here, please, PLEASE contact me with any questions you may have. 

Monday, April 23, 2012

That the Blind may See

When I see the beauty of the world around me... I can't help but wonder how it is that people are blind to the Creator. His creation is amazing. I mean totally incredible! It's beyond my comprehension. And it's "nothing" in comparison to Him. When people deny God's existence, I can't help but think "Are you blind?!" 
But the sad truth is, many are. And it is only through the grace of God and His hand of healing that we who are saved have come to see, recognize and know Him. Someone–multiple someones, in fact–were praying for me when my eyes were opened and I saw Jesus for the first time. Now I have the honor–the blessing–of standing in prayer on behalf of the blind. Will you join me?

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Broken Baby

Yesterday I was going through my younger siblings toys, organizing and throwing out junk and broken ones. I came across a baby doll that had obviously encountered a dog or other animal of similar taste at some point because one leg had been chewed off. I threw it away, only to receive protest from Olivia when she saw it in the trash. I explained to her that it was broken, but she continued to protest–she likes playing pretend with the baby doll, even though it is broken. Finally she walked away, but her words remained and echoed in my heart and mind.

Other broken toys she understood being thrown away, but there was something about  the baby; she couldn't stand to think of it being in the trash.

But how often do we have this mentality in "real life?" If something isn't perfect, unbroken, and "whole," we subconsciously label it "garbage." Is it any wonder, then, that so many view the brokenness in this world with disdain and/or disgust? That, for many, when a mother is told there is a chance her child could be born with a disability, it is almost assumed that she will get an abortion and end her child's life.
When something is broken, we throw it away. If something is scarred, we attempt to cover it up or hide it. If something is different from the "norm" in some way, it is considered a negative thing.
But what does God say about brokenness?

Matthew 5:3-4
Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted."
Jesus displayed a heart of compassion for the broken, healing many. Did He physically heal everyone? No. We know that ultimately, we will be healed. But as we walk on this earth some of us have been chosen to show even more clearly His grace, and His strength in our weaknesses. Sometimes we don't understand why He allows things, but we can find comfort in knowing that the suffering, pain and hardships in this life will one day pass away, and this flesh is only temporary:

Revelation 21:4
"He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever."

And in the midst of suffering we know that "
The LORD is close to the brokenhearted" (Psalm 34:18).

But how are we to deal with brokenness? What should our response be?

Psalm 82:3
"Defend the cause of the weak and fatherless; maintain the rights of the poor and

As Christians, God has given us the blessing of spreading His love and hope, and the privilege to be His hands and feet. He has commissioned us to reach the broken!
I'm reminded of the song "Blessings" by Laura Story. There is beauty in brokenness! Light shines even brighter when it is in the midst of darkness.

Isn't it amazing that God can use the simplicity of a child to reveal His heart? I realized that my thinking was faulty. Will I keep every broken toy/object? No, certainly not, this is only an illustration/object lesson. though I may think more about re-purposing beforehand. (;
But God used this to show me a bit of His heart. And it was a learning experience for both Olivia and I. I told her that she was right, just because something is broken doesn't mean we should throw it away, and God makes people different this way sometimes. We took her baby out of the trash, and I showed her a video of Nick Vujicic to help her understand and to familiarize her with the reality of brokenness in the world. She watched it with great interest. After the video she took her baby (we found clothes for it and dressed it) and played with it for awhile. Sweet little one! I see God at work in her even at her age, and I'm looking forward to seeing how God will use her!

Here is a link to the music video:

Thanks for reading! Blessings to you!

                               Victoria Christine

Friday, April 13, 2012

A Second Chance

On April 1st, there was an accident out in front of our house. Several people were involved, but none were seriously injured . The person at fault was badly shaken up. I saw her pacing and could see she was ready to snap. I stood to the side, just watching. And did nothing.

Later that day I wrote in my journal asking God to forgive me for not reaching out to the woman.
I went on: "She was scared, I could have been your arms. I missed that opportunity. Oh Lord, don't let me do that again. Give me another chance. I ask for opportunities but don't take the ones You give! No wonder You use others. Don't give up on me Father!"
Then, today I wrote "Lord, You are wonderful! Grant me the strength and all I need in order to bring glory to You. Teach me, use me and make Your presence known in my life. Have Your way in me! Let me be a light for You. Also, provide opportunities for me to reach out, show me them clearly, and help me to see and seize the opportunity to reach out to the broken.
In Jesus name I pray,

Earlier today, I was upstairs staining a shelf in the (house) barn loft when I heard the screeching of tires on pavement. My mom, younger sister Olivia and I paused as my mom and I listened intently. After a few seconds my mom said simply "No boom." Olivia and I were silent for awhile, then Olivia asked "Mommy, what did you mean when you said 'no boom?'"
When she received no reply (my mom was busy with something) and asked again, I answered, explaining what most of us had learned since moving next to a busy highway: if we hear tires screeching and then a boom (or it can be vice versa) we know there has been an accident. No boom/crash, no accident. Satisfied with this explanation, Olivia went on with whatever she was doing, and I fell silent again.

A little later (maybe 30 mins. to an hour), as I was just finishing with the shelf, I heard a loud crash/boom. This time was for real. I ran downstairs and outside and looked around.
The noise had come from a driver hitting the curb and two road signs which now lay in the middle of the road. My mom and I moved the signs off the road and then decided to go across the road to where the driver had pulled over. An elderly woman was at the wheel, and two men who'd witnessed the accident were there with her and had already called for an ambulance. She had a pretty ugly cut on her forehead and scrapes up her arms and on her face, but nothing too major. She had some memory loss and couldn't remember exactly what happened. Obviously distraught and still somewhat dazed, yet clearly aware of her surroundings, she sat half in/half out of the car as my mom talked to her and hugged her for awhile, assuring her that she'd be okay. Then as she stepped back I came forward and asked if she'd like me to pray with her. She readily agreed and I leaned into the car as I prayed, with her listening silently while holding napkins to the cut on her forehead. We stayed with her until the paramedics and police arrived (seemed like it was forever!), then left.

Of course, I was reminded of the opportunity I'd skipped out on nearly two weeks ago, and I can't begin to tell you how grateful I am that God answered my prayers, and for this assurance that He hasn't and will not give up on me, even when I fail Him.
Now I want to encourage you: God hasn't given up on you either! Ask Him for opportunities to "be the light" and "be his hands and feet" like all these songs we often thoughtlessly sing, and believe me, He will bring about those opportunities. But seize  that opportunity! Don't let Satan hold you in fear, don't let him reason you out of it, because he'll try. Thoughts like "She'll be alright. Her family is on the way. It's none of my business. I'll just be in the way." will come. Most of the time, they're just excuses that Satan willingly provides at your convenience.

Be who you were meant to be! His hands, His feet, His light shining in the darkness. It's scary at first, and maybe awkward at times, but don't let that stop you. You never know when a simple smile, a word of encouragement, a prayer, a hug or even a pat on the back will change a person's life.

I came across these verses randomly this morning and barely skimmed over them but outlined them for future reference, and am reminded of them now:

“Is this not the fast which I choose,
         To loosen the bonds of wickedness,
         To undo the bands of the yoke,
         And to let the oppressed go free
         And break every yoke?
7“Is it not to divide your bread with the hungry
         And bring the homeless poor into the house;
         When you see the naked, to cover him;
         And not to hide yourself from your own flesh?
8“Then your light will break out like the dawn,
         And your recovery will speedily spring forth;
         And your righteousness will go before you;
         The glory of the LORD will be your rear guard.
9“Then you will call, and the LORD will answer;
         You will cry, and He will say, ‘Here I am.’
         If you remove the yoke from your midst,
         The pointing of the finger and speaking wickedness,
10And if you give yourself to the hungry
         And satisfy the desire of the afflicted,
         Then your light will rise in darkness
         And your gloom will become like midday.
11“And the LORD will continually guide you,
         And satisfy your desire in scorched places,
         And give strength to your bones;
         And you will be like a watered garden,
         And like a spring of water whose waters do not fail.
12“Those from among you will rebuild the ancient ruins;
         You will raise up the age-old foundations;
         And you will be called the repairer of the breach,
         The restorer of the streets in which to dwell."

-Isaiah 58:6-12

            Blessings to you today!
                                        Victoria Christine

Saturday, March 3, 2012

The Greatest Gift

I was raised in a large homeschooling family, and among my siblings I witnessed many different forms or expressions of artistry and creativity–my older sister can play just about any instrument within minutes of picking it up for the first time and also happens to be a prodigy when armed with a paintbrush or pencil. My older brother is a computer genius, my younger brother is very intelligent and gifted in mechanical things, my younger sister has the voice of an angel–and the list goes on.
For years I struggled to see in me what I saw in them nearly every day: A gift. A passion. Talent.
I felt as if somehow I'd been "skipped in the gift distribution factory in heaven." I cried over the issue and poured my heart out to God time and time again. I wasn't particularly smart, certainly didn't feel creative, and wasn't demonstrating any special talent or ability, unlike my siblings.
Then, by God's grace I was introduced to a medium altogether unfamiliar to me, but one which soon had me enthralled with its possibilities: the camera.
Not an expensive one, but a simple, cheap camera. My parents, and really everyone I believe, was shocked. Technical particulars aside, I began composing images which expressed creativity and imagination. I surprised myself!
People started noticing. After years of playing around with a cheap camera which was intended to be used for simple snapshots, a kind neighbor and another observant friend gave me two more "point-and-shoot" cameras. Then one day a friend who'd received a nicer camera as a gift offered me the use of his camera until I could save up enough to purchase my own. Armed with this camera I joined a photography group. At the group I met other photographers who offered their assistance, and one even offered me a position in her business as an assistant. I accepted the help, but declined the position. I did not even own a camera suitable for the position! Before I was able to save up the necessary amount, however, my sister purchased for me the camera I'd been saving for and gave it to me as a gift.
Photography has become more than simply an outlet for creativity. It has become my passion! I face new challenges with every shoot, and make many mistakes, but I'm overwhelmed with gratitude to my Lord for revealing in HIS time the gifts that He'd assigned me.

I believe that even the simplest photographs can tell a story. Whether it is expressed through a tear in a subject's eye, the beauty of a rose or the innocence of a sleeping babe, photography presents the potential to bring glory to the Divine Designer and Author of creativity. It has the potential to bring awareness to the needs of the world, and to inspire the passive and indifferent life to one of passion and enterprise.

I encourage you who are reading this to consider this truth: Just because you've not discovered your gifts, or are not yet aware of them, does not mean that you have none, or will never discover them. God in His perfect timing, will reveal them to you. He does not ask you to serve Him with everything you think you don't have, but with what you know you do. And as you serve, you might just be amazed with the gifts you see emerge in your life. We ourselves do not deserve credit for the gifts we possess, but the Creator–whose Spirit within gives us the ability to do wonderful things and to express true creativity–is the One deserving of all glory and honor. But truly, the greatest gift to be received is the presence of the Spirit of God within our hearts. If you have not yet received this gift, I urge you to accept!

              ~Victoria Christine

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Lose Weight, Get in Shape

My breath made little clouds on the glass as I stood motionless staring out the window only half-comprehending the snowflakes each in their own unique design falling by the millions outside our cozy home. The world was a wonderland alive in my imagination.  
Okay, so I have to be more honest than that. Truth is, I was home alone, bored out of my mind, and resisting the urge to re-activate my Facebook account. But for me, often boredom can be a good thing (okay, sometimes). It forces me to be still. It quiets my ever-active self and makes my heart and mind more alert to the working of the Spirit.

In this case, my mind wandered to weight loss and getting in shape. Don't laugh, this is serious. Okay you can laugh, but in all honesty this is what I was thinking of. Then, a thought came to me: Losing weight does not equal getting in shape.
I pondered it for a short time, and then went on my way. Then, just an hour or two later, I had another dull moment. Something nagged at me. What was it that I was thinking of earlier? I'd tacked it to the bulletin board in my mind (Human Pinterest?) for future reference and soon was able to sift through the appointments and to-do's and recall what I'd been pondering. Then I pondered some more. Then a verse came to mind, and I turned to my journal to write down what I was thinking. It was something like this:

"Losing weight does not equal getting in shape.

Hebrews 12:1 says "Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,..."

While losing weight is the first step, we've got the whole race ahead of us! We can't just abstain from the unhealthy, we have to be proactive. So get your running shoes on.
Nonetheless, lest you think we might win this race of our own accord, let me continue with the verse after the one quoted above. "...looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God."

We are runners, but He is the One who qualifies us to race."

So like I said, get your running shoes on. Through Him you've lost weight, but now it's time to get in shape. They go hand-in-hand. Run the race!

~Victoria Christine