From the Perspective of a Filmmaker’s Wife – Part 2

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If you missed Part 1 of this series, read it here first!


Teamwork: Brett + Christina = Brettina

Brett and I are opposites in most everything. I’m the nerd and he’s the free spirit with our money (according to Dave Ramsey). I use my left brain and he uses his right brain. I’m type A; he’s type B. I’m organized and realistic; he’s random and spontaneous. I cannot relax; he always relaxes. I’m an early bird and he’s a night owl.  My life motto would be, “My calendar is my best friend; his would be, “What’s a calendar?” I think you get my point.

It truly is funny how opposites attract and even more amazing that we can even live in the same house. Oh, we have had quite the arguments over our differences. That’s for sure. Me, being a little A LOT controlling…something God has been teaching me to let go of the past 6 years of our marriage. And we definitely are rubbing off of each other; I’m staying up later to relax and he’s living by OUR calendar. Yet, by God’s grace and plan for putting us together, it’s amazing to see how God has used our differences to work together to further His will.

In relation to the production of The War Within, our talents and abilities were used in quite contrast. Brett was in front of the camera, directing the cast and crew, and calling all the shots. His right brain and “creative juices” were flowing at full blast.  I was no where near the camera, the editing process, or anything creative.  My left brain was on high alert with organizing everything and anything, most particularly the shot order. Brett gave me the shots that needed to be filmed that day, and after assessing the camera angles, equipment needed, and time allotment, I put them in the order that was most time and work efficient.  I loved it. Give me something to organize, and I’ll have that smile and look on my face where my “organizing juices” are flowing freely!  Then on the set, I was always a step ahead of everyone informing the cast and crew what was coming next.

Teamwork


Envy: “the feeling of wanting to have what someone else has”

To be completely honest, I had bouts of envy throughout the production. Everyone admires and praises the people in front of the camera, but what about the people behind the camera? When I would tell people outside the film project what I was doing, specifically that I was a producer, a common statement I received was (as they laughed), “What does a producer do? I’ve always wondered.”  My response was, “What does a producer NOT do?” Ok, maybe that was Emotion’s response, but I was polite in my reply.

I told Brett my struggles and he helped me through it. After all, there would be no “in front of the camera” work if there was no “behind the camera” first. It was definitely one area that Satan was trying to make me feel less superior than Brett. He also was distracting me from the reason why we were making the film. Here I was moping that I was not creative and talented in acting and filmmaking, instead of focusing on the fact that God gave me specific talents that are just as important in order to complete the film.

Hollywood and our culture has put actors, singers, dancers, even inventors and pretty much anything in the arts on a platform, literally. I mean, they don’t have an American Idol for organizers do they?   (Well, maybe they have shows for those people on HGTV or TLC but surely not on prime time ABC).

Another question I received throughout production, and if you didn’t ask me, you most likely were wondering it: what was it like for me to watch Brett acting with another woman as his on-screen wife?  At first I wasn’t bothered at all. I love Rebecca, the actress who plays Brett’s wife. She is so joyful and Christ shines through her. We instantly became very close friends.  I wasn’t around for the touchy/feely/emotional scenes they had together. One, because I had a 9 month old to take care of so I wasn’t on the set 24/7, but also because Brett and I talked about it beforehand and thought it would be best for us both not to have me around so there wouldn’t be any discomfort. Of course I had no fear that they would become one of those acting couples like happens in Hollywood. After all, there were about 30-50 people on set making them accountable! Ha!  What happened though is that I became envious of Rebecca because deep down I wanted to be her. I desired to be able to act so well that I fit the part of Amy and play Brett’s wife. I desired the admiration and praises. Again, Satan knew my weaknesses and was aiming his fiery darts perfectly. I had to resist the devil so he would flee from me. The Lord had to humble me throughout the process. He has given each person unique talents and abilities to complete His will and further the gospel.  He’ll only use those who are humble but not proud.

As we close this chapter of filmmaking, we look forward to the next chapter. (Brett and his dad are currently writing the next script!)  We now know that we must be obedient always, no matter the cost. We will continue to have faith as He leads us once again into the unknown.  And if we don’t use our talents, then God will take them away, or we might be swallowed by a fish.  So if that means that my name and face will always be behind the camera while Brett is in front, then Lord let it be done. After all, Brett and I work the best as a team; two opposites coming together to complete what God has called us to do.

I can’t wait for the next film production! Well…maybe I can wait a little longer…

RWB14609

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Stay strong…

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This is Brett Varvel and it’s my first time writing on the Varvelicious Blog. I cannot compare to the INCREDIBLE writing talent of my wife, but I wanted to share my perspective about the recent news of our son’s condition. If you haven’t read my wife’s recent post about this you should start there, Your Baby has a 1-in-3 chance of having Down’s Syndrome so you can get a background for this post.

Christina and I sat quietly waiting for the Genetic Counselor after we just received the truck load of what-ifs from the OB specialist. “Duodenal Atresia, Down’s Syndrome, Stay strong… Heart Disease, additional Intestinal problems, Stay strong.” Those two words continued to repeat in my head. I felt numb. I felt confused. However, I didn’t want Christina to see that. I felt that I had to be strong for her.

The next two days were the hardest. I felt pain and was stricken with guilt for feeling that way. I know God is Sovereign. I know He is in control. I know that He loves my son more than I ever could and that however He created Damon was perfect. However, I couldn’t shake the fear. I couldn’t resist the urge to research (even though we were advised not to do so). I wanted answers and as a father I wanted to fix the problems. The thought of my newborn son being cut open to fix a defective portion of his intestines was so overwhelming that I couldn’t handle it. At the moment when my emotions were so great and I thought the floodgates of my soul were going to be opened, I would quiet myself and hold it in. “Stay strong!” However, fear is stubborn and wouldn’t go away. I began to worry about finances, the hospital bills, fathering our two year old daughter, being there for Christina, and staying close to the Lord.

As the days passed, I was working from home a lot trying to finish a freelance project and my daughter, Kherington, was testing me and Christina to a whole new level. It seemed as if she was prompted by Satan to behave at her worst during this trying time. Again those words came back… “Stay strong!” I tried to keep calm and discipline in a Godly manner. The harder I tried to win the battles with Kher, the more I felt like I was losing. One night at my parents house, Kher threw the biggest temper tantrum I have ever seen from her. I felt lost, confused, and scared. We got her calmed down enough to get her in the car, but the battle continued when we got home. I began to wonder if spanking was doing anything at all. I was searching for a glimmer of repentance before I gave up. Finally, I saw something that resembled repentance and knew it was time for bed. We put her in bed and I crawled into bed with her. Christina and I performed the nightly routine (singing songs and praying), Christina kissed her goodnight, but I stayed in the bed with her. Christina closed the door and I held my daughter to my chest. I prayed for my daughter’s salvation, for strength, for peace, for His will to be done and for the fear to be taken away. Tears began to form in my eyes and I heard those words again… “Stay strong!” Only this time I heard something else, “Let me be strong for you.” I knew that the Lord was speaking to me. He was telling me that He is in control, that He is strong in my weakness, and that He will be glorified through this. I began to lay all of my fears and worries at the feet of Jesus, but didn’t feel free from the circumstance. I kissed Kher on the forehead and she placed her hand on my cheek. I told her that I loved her and she nodded her head, Yes.

I went into my bedroom and sat on the bed. I realized that I didn’t feel free because I had not let go of one final fear. This fear had been lingering since the day we first heard that Damon would be having surgery… I was afraid my son was going to die. Christina came up and placed her hands on my shoulders and asked me if I was OK. I grabbed her belly and began to weep. I couldn’t stay strong anymore. Through my sobbing I begged God to protect my son, and I asked him to free me of this fear. I praised the Lord for giving this incredible GIFT (Damon) to us because it was a gift that we don’t deserve. I realized that no matter what the outcome that God would be glorified through this situation. It was in that moment of weakness where I finally felt strong.

As Christina mentioned in her post, we began feeling the prayers of the saints. It’s really hard to put into words, but I knew our loved ones were crying out to Jesus on our behalf. The peace of our Lord began to wash over me, and I realized that I was being given an opportunity to point others to Christ through this trial.

In my most recent film “The War Within,” we challenge the audience to believe that God is Enough. That in the best moments and the darkest moments of life, He is Sovereign and Loving. In this trial of uncertainty I was given the opportunity to live out the very message I was trying to share with the world. However, it’s easy to tell others what they need to do in these moments and it’s entirely different to live it out. We always want to see a miracle. We always want to see God at work… That is until the situation happens to us. In that moment of brokenness I gained a better perspective on our situation. That is, I gained a revived eternal perspective. God is Enough. He is all I need and He knows what is best for me and my family.

Finally, after the longest two weeks ever, we learned that our son is at low-risk for Down’s Syndrome and Heart Disease. Aside from the surgery he will have, he appears to be a perfectly healthy baby boy. I Praise GOD for this answer to prayer! I have been able to reflect and meditate on why God let this happen. While I don’t have all the answers yet, I do know that in these past two weeks I have grown closer to the Lord then I have been in years. I Love Him more. I am more thankful for the little things in life and I have a deeper compassion for those with Special Needs. They are a beautiful creation and gift from our Creator. I also have grown deeper in love with my wife and children. I am a very blessed man and don’t deserve them. However God, in his infinite grace and mercy has blessed me with my family.

Last week we met with the pediatric surgeon and visited the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit where we will be spending a few weeks with our son. At this point all signs point to a normal delivery. Praise God! Once he is born he will be cleaned up and prepped in his NICU bed. They will do tests to confirm his duodenal atresia diagnosis. Our family will get some brief time with him before his surgery, which will take place sometime between 24-48 hours after birth.  After his surgery, it is pretty much going to be a waiting game. The time it will take for him to heal and be able to eat is not set in stone and will depend on when the intestine starts to work again. Christina and I are so blessed to be able to have such a great medical team surround us and help us through this period in our lives.

My life verse is Proverbs 16:9: “In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps.” Was this my plan? Absolutely not. Now all I can do is continue to rest in the Lord and wait patiently on His timing. I can’t wait to hold my son and tell him that I love him. Christina and I continue to covet your prayers.

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From Where I Stand {Love Letters}

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For February, my circle blog, From Where I Stand, decided to post on the topic of Love. As I have been Spring Cleaning the past few weeks (no, unfortunately it is not Spring yet, but getting it done now before Damon comes in May!), I have come across my old prayer journals. I started browsing through some of them and came across the prayers I wrote when I first transferred to Purdue. It was a hard transition of leaving friends and family and starting new. Yet, as I read and remember, it was the time in my life when I truly fell in love with my Savior, Jesus Christ, and wouldn’t trade the tears I shed for anything. I was studying the book of the Bible, Song of Solomon, and using a commentary to study, not the relationship between husband and wife, but Christ (Beloved) and me (Bride). Here is a passage from Song of Solomon, followed by one of my many love letters I wrote to Jesus:

“Listen! My beloved! Look! Here he comes, leaping across the mountains, bounding over the hills.

My beloved is like a gazelle or a young stag. Look! There he stands behind our wall, gazing through the windows, peering through the lattice.

My beloved spoke and said to me, ‘Arise, my darling, my beautiful one, come with me.

See! The winter is past; the rains are over and gone. Flowers appear on the earth; the season of singing has come, the cooing of doves is heard in our land. The fig tree forms its early fruit; the blossoming vines spread their fragrance.

Arise, come, my darling; my beautiful one, come with me.’ ” 

~ Song of Solomon 2:8-13

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Dearest Bridegroom,

Thank you for willingly sacrificing Your life and presence from your Father to save my soul and “marry me.” Me, a filthy, unholy, unrighteous sinner. Yet, You still love me and came to rescue me. You are my ultimate Hero. You are the Hero of this Romantic Story! Thank You. You came for me and I accepted. Here I am with the most romantic Person of all times! Yet, I have not seen you completely face-to-face. You are still “hiding” from me until you physically return to take me Home with you. I will wait patiently for you, Love. I will wait only for You all of my days. Until then, I will listen for Your peaceful, quiet voice and go wherever You lead me. You have made everything beautiful in my life. When I am with you, the storms are over and the sun is shining. Your grace and mercy makes everything better. Thank You for all You do for me and loving me. I love you.

Your Waiting Bride, Christina

As I continued to rummage through prayer journals, college textbooks and binders, I took a walk down memory lane as I came across my collection of notes, cards, drama theater tickets, birthday/anniversary gifts, etc of the past 11 1/2 years I’ve spent with Brett.   One of the gifts I gave Brett when we were dating in college was a folder of prayers I wrote about specific things in his life.  Take a peak at one I wrote and gave Brett on February 16, 2006, right after Valentine’s Day. We had been together for over 3 years, and this is still my prayer today and for as long as we live:

Abba,

            Thank you for being Love. Thank you for Your unconditional Love towards Brett and me. We do not deserve it.  Thank you for the Love that Brett and I have towards one another. We would not be able to Love each other the way we do if You were not in the center of our relationship. If You are Love, and You are in our relationship, then Love is going to pour out of Brett and me. This week was Valentine’s Day, and just the day before I studied First Corinthians 13, where Paul gives the characteristics of Love. I pray today, Father, that Brett and I will first be filled with You so that we will be consumed with Love.  I pray also that these characteristics of Love will pour out of our lives towards one another:

Love is Patient; enduring of pain, difficulty, provocation, or annoyance with calmness. Help us to be patient with one another no matter what the other person is doing or no matter what the situation we are in.

Love is Kind; friendly, generous, or warm-hearted in nature. Help us to always be kind to one another and never be cruel or rude in our comments or actions.

Love does not Envy; feel discontent or resentment aroused by desire for the possessions or qualities of another.  Help us to never be envious of each others’ gifts and abilities that You have blessed us with individually.

Love does not Boast; glorify itself with words. Help us to never boast in ourselves and our accomplishments individually or as a couple.

Love is not Proud; a sense of overbearing self-worth or self-importance.  Help us to not be selfish and think that one is better than the other.

Love is not Rude; discourteous or ill-mannered.  Help us, Abba, to treat each other as You treat us.

Love is not Self-seeking; insist on its own way.  Help us to always be thinking about the other person and never about ourselves and our wants and desires.

Love is not Easily Angered; a strong feeling of displeasure or hostility. Help us to never get angry at the other person that results in sin in our relationship.

Love keeps No Record of Wrongs; it does not keep track of wrongdoing against someone.  Help us to never bring up past sins that we’ve committed against one another, but put them in the past and forgive each other.

Love Does Not Delight in Evil, but Rejoices with the Truth; does not find pleasure in sin but find delight in the truth.  Help us to never enjoy participating in sin, but always be filled with joy when we do what is right in Your eyes.

Love always Protects; guards and defends. Help us to guard our Love from being attacked from other people and defend our Love for each other.

Love always Trusts; believes things to be true. Help us, Father, to trust the best in each other and give each other the benefit of the doubt. Help us to be faithful to each other so we can always trust each other.

Love always Hopes; a wish or desire accompanied by confident expectation of its fulfillment. Help us to expect and hope for the best in each other.

Love always Perseveres; to persist in or remain constant to a purpose, idea, or task in the face of obstacles or discouragement. Help us to never give up on one another and our Love for one another no matter what circumstances or trials we face.

Love never Fails; cease to be active. Father, help our Love for one another to never be inactive. May it grow and never stop until the day we are separated in death and taken up to heaven. Come What May, Abba, help us to never stop Loving each other the way that You would have us to be loved.

I Love You, Abba.        ~Christina~

I close these love letters with a poem that Brett wrote for a college English class later that year in September 2006.

NO FEAR

They say, “Distance makes the heart grow fonder.”

This truth unfortunately comes with pain.

My perseverance leads some to wonder,

Why I must travel down loves darkest lane.

The answer cannot be found in a kiss,

Or in my sobbing cries heard in the night.

Being with you is like a state of bliss.

Let us go there and defeat this mean fight.

All of this time I have been by your side,

And I will be throughout the end of time.

Rest assured my dear that I have not lied.

I love you more with every clock chime.

Now I shall stop looking in this mirror,

And pop the big question without a fear.

(A  month later, Brett bought my ring and proposed the following March of 2007!)

B-C 2Summer of 2006

Check out Megan’s perspective on Love at Megs Five.

Varvelicious Begins

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Welcome to Varvelicious.  My name is Christina and I am married to my wonderful husband, Brett.  We’ve been married for 5 years now, yet together as a couple for 11 years. Yes, high school sweethearts going strong!  We currently have one daughter, Kherington Mae (2), and another child on the way due in May 2014!  We live in Indianapolis, making Brett an IU basketball fan (insert puke here from me…the Purdue graduate), and of course committed Colts fans (while still rooting for Peyton Manning…except when Broncos play Colts)!

I am a Stay-at-Home Mom and wouldn’t change it. Do we make sacrifices to do so? You bet. Still wouldn’t change it.  While “Mommy” may be one of my most important and time-consuming roles, I am also a Registered Dietitian (RD), passionate about nutrition and helping people glorify God through eating.  I currently am the Nutritionist/Wellness Advisor for the Peru Community School Corporation in Peru, Indiana. I love this job because it is very part-time (I control my hours) and can do most of it from home (working before Kherington wakes up in the morning or during nap time).

I’ll tell you a little about Brett since I’ll be posting a lot on what he does. He is the Executive Director of House of Grace Films, Inc., a non-profit organization. House of Grace Films is dedicated to producing biblically based films with excellence to further the Great Commission. More on this in posts to come. Lots of big things happening!  Until then, check out the website and/or Facebook page.

Well, I could keep going, but I guess you will have to continue to come back to check out what’s happening in the Varvelicious household. (Sign up to receive email updates on the left).

Will I have a theme in this blog? Probably not. Our life is random as we “run with endurance the race that is set before us.”  And a very creative writer once said, “You write what you know.”  So that’s my theme; I’ll write about my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, my family, and my passions, because that’s what I know best.