"Unless the Lord builds the house, the builders labor in vain.
Unless the Lord watches over the city, the guards stand watch in vain."
~Psalm 127:1

March 29, 2011

What's in a name

This morning I feel that I am faced with a huge task.  Folding the laundry.  Something that I do not enjoy in the least.  I washed everything yesterday and ran out of time to fold it all, so now, since its all wrinkled, it is time to fold it.  I feel so incompetent whenever I do laundry.

And that's not the only chore that I feel like I can't do very well.  There's cleaning, cooking, washing dishes, packing for a trip, gardening, or pretty much everything that has to do with house-keeping.  Or stuff out at the farm, like when a cow is being stubborn, and driving me crazy, or I can't drive a tractor, or give a vaccination.

"Whatever happens, my dear brothers and sisters, rejoice in the Lord. I never get tired of telling you these things, and I do it to safeguard your faith." 
"...but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.
Philippians 3:1, 13-14

I think Paul is saying in these verses that, no matter what circumstance I am put into, I need to choose to worship God and not become bitter or angry, because that would give the devil a foothold to damage or even destroy my faith.  And instead of that anger or bitterness, I need to focus on what is ahead, have a heavenly focus.  Not focus on my imperfections or failures, that just distracts me and discourages me.

"Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again—rejoice!  Let everyone see that you are considerate in all you do. Remember, the Lord is coming soon.  Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.  Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus."  Philippians 4:4-7

"For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength."
Philippians 4:13

It's quite obvious that I can't do everything.  My name, Valerie, means "strong," but I don't feel that way most of the time.  Not when I have a stubborn cow to work with or when I have a large task ahead of me that I don't even enjoy in smaller portions.

I have secretly hated my name my whole life.  I 've hated telling it to people when I get introduced.  I feel like I can't say it right, and they misunderstand me more times than not. 

The conversation usually runs like this:
Them: Hello, my name is ........  And you are?
Me: Valerie
T: Excuse me?
M: Valerie
T: Oh, Malorie, what a pretty name.
M: No, Valerie.
T: Oohh, Valerie.  Ok.  (notice, they don't say that its a lovely name).

And can you imagine trying to explain it to someone in another country?  In Costa Rica my host family called me something like "bal-er" (since they pronounce v's like b's).  I think I wanted to change my name for those few weeks.  I've often wondered why I couldn't have a "normal" name, like Melissa, Kristen, or Michelle. 

I know it's not as strange as I think.  And I shouldn't dislike it, because it is a part of who I am.  And who knows, maybe I am strong, but I can't live up to that name on my own. 

"For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength."
Philippians 4:13

One of my professors in college told me that I could do anything I put my mind to, I never believed her.  But I can do anything, as long as I am depending on God's strength and not my own name.


  1. Valerie, you are beautiful and your name with the capital "V" to me points you to can leap like a deer and run like a can conqueror and yea be more than a conqueror through the VICTOR Jesus Christ who in Him you live and move and have your being. Thank you for sharing your heart today and may you live into the freedom and victory that God has created you to have and be!! We love you and bless you and may yoiu know His blessing even in the mundane of life...That is where Jesus and his strong arms are most real. You are loved!!! Dad

  2. I give an amen to Joe's words. His power is made perfect in our weakness. I think your name is fitting and it speaks of what God wants to do in your life. Not that you are strong on your own strenght but leaning on Him you have the strength to do the things He has called you to do like sharing your heart thru this blog! I feel the Lord's pleasure on your writing.