Beyond Description (Valorie Tolopilo)
I am thankful for this beautiful woman. She speaks truth and she is passionate about being a mom. She is not willing to compromise what God has given to her—her family. In a world that is confusing she stands solid. She knows what her role is as a wife and mom and it is contageous. Any moment I have with Valorie is not taken for granted. I thought you would enjoy a moment with her too...
It was February 13, 1982, Valentine’s Day..."Wait a minute," you might be thinking, "Valentine's Day is February 14th, not the 13th!" Well, February 13th is my Valentine’s Day because on that day I met the love of my life, Marcelo, and yes, it was at a "Young Adult Valentine’s Party" at my church. (I wonder if that should have been my confession.) A little over a year later, Marcelo and I were pronounced husband and wife, and ultimately God blessed our home with four eternal gifts: Joshua, Rebekah, Josiah, and Aaron. As a Christian mom, one of the most important lessons I've learned is this: when it comes to our children, it is God who saves and God who sanctifies, not Mom. When I was a young mom I felt to a large degree that our children's salvation (and whether or not they would trust Jesus to forgive their sins) rested on Marcelo and I convincing them of the realities of the gospel and then helping them to embrace that gift of grace. I'm grateful that the Lord very gently, but also at times with a firmer hand, pried my fingers open and enabled me to lay each one of them down at the foot of the cross and trust Him to accomplish their salvation in His way, in His time. Learning to do that freed me to be a part of the process of pointing them to the only One who saves and stretched me to trust Christ alone as the Source of their transformation. I love being a mom, and I treasure the time God has given me with my children. When Marcelo and I were awaiting the arrival of Josh, we were at a crossroad. Marcelo was still in seminary, and I was working full time. What were we going to do when the baby came? I remember praying, "Lord, make a way for me to be able to come home." God answered in a most unconventional manner. Marcelo’s mom and dad, who lived in an 800 square foot home (two bedrooms, one bathroom), opened their door to us. Some might look at what we had to "give up"—the baby having a nursery with all the hoops and whistles, personal space and privacy, financial security, but all the money in the world could not buy back the time I would’ve forfeited with Josh, and ultimately with all of my children these past 24 years. Staying at home set me upon a new career path. I became a fulltime student of my children. How can four children who come from the same two parents with the same genetic make up be so very different? It has been an amazing journey, learning what makes each one tick, what their strengths are, what they struggle with, and then walking with them through life to maturity. Joshua, Rebekah, Josiah and Aaron and their dad have each one taught me about life and living, about being goofy and talking in funny voices, about walking with Jesus and trusting Him even when all seems dark and the valley deep, about looking at situations through other eyes than just my own. I still have so much to learn. I realize that the outcome of all of these days turned to weeks, turned to months, turned to years of time together has resulted in God not only blessing their dad and me with a daughter and three sons, but also with the heart-to-heart friendship of four very amazing individuals who have enriched our lives beyond description and to whom we will be related for all eternity to the praise and glory of God. True confession: On most Sunday afternoons you will find me playing cards (a game called Hand & Foot) with Marcelo and my kids, and with the BeeGees singing in the background. (Ah, ah, ah, ah, stayin' alive, stayin' alive…)
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