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Archive for March, 2010

This blog is actually called “birth in ukraine” but i rarely actually post about birth. It’s a confidential thing, so i’m hesistant to write about it all, but I guess there are details that are “mine” that I’ll try to share ūüôā

However, I am dying currently because I packed and cleaned my kitchen today. I am not done, but we are close. It’s amazing how long it takes to pack a¬†4 square foot kitchen ūüôā

And there’s still more to go, plus regular stuff I desperately need to get done, plus arrangements for our trip, plus the childbirth class I’m teaching tomorrow plus Vitaliy is gone teaching . . .

I will live. I am a survivor.

I actually will live happily ūüėÄ

Actually, I will go drink cappuchino . . . happily . . .

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This past Sunday I spoke at our church’s small ladies’ conference. The theme was submission, and my assignment was to address the unmarried ladies. It was quite interesting to think about and put together. The following are some of my notes from this talk.

It reads pretty dryly, but I gave it with a¬†good dose of funny voices, laughing, crying, and emotion. ūüėÄ

Submission is simply one quality of a spiritually mature person. It’s not a female quality; men and women are to submit generally in various situations. Satan is the antithesis of this, and Christ is the model. In marriage, the woman operates with a submissive attitude, as opposed, for example, to manipulating, dominating,¬†or controling. In¬†a marriage where the¬†man loves and the woman submits, the actual issue of submission is not that visible or felt because both¬†partners are¬†looking out for the best¬†for the other or¬†to fulfill their common goals. In unbalanced marriages, like a believer and an unbeliever, or a spouse with a disinterested partner, submission can become more of an open or felt issue.

Submission is much more than just doing something. There are a¬†100¬†ways we¬†can “do” the thing asked but not be submissive about it. For example, tone of voice, body language, crying,¬†coldess and silence, yelling, complaining, throwing things, etc. Submission is holistic; it’s all of you.

Be afraid of marriage.¬†In Hebrew culture, there were several vows people could make—like the¬†Nazerite¬†vow—but in our church culture today we really¬†have only one traditional vow that we make to God and that is when we marry. We vow to God (not¬†just the man) to be faithful to our¬†husbands. Also, marriage changes you unalterably. You become one¬†flesh with this person. So be very careful who¬†you marry, and¬†approach the¬†idea with a healthy measure of fear.

Dating mostly prepares us for dating, not necessarily for marriage. Dating involves anticipation, excitement, almost constant contact, romantic and sexual tension, and these states actually do little to prepare us for waking up to the days we have to make three meals, clean the house, do laundry, shop, etc. Learn as much as you can now to do those things so the shock of marriage is a little easier to handle.

Don’t¬†be fooled: You love him conditionally. When we’re “in love” and getting flowers, cards, dates, SMSes, it’s very easy to imagine that we love this man¬†completely, entirely, unconditionally. But really, we are full of conditions. I myself was shocked by how easily I was offended the first year or so of our marriage. I had expectations of him that I didn’t even know I had! Only God loves unconditionally, and we are in the process of learning how to love as He does.

Develop a rich inner life.

Prayer: When we pray, we tend to ask and expect God to change the things we are unhappy with. But really, prayer is the means to transform our own character. God knows that He could change every uncomfortable thing in my life, but I would still be unhappy. It’s me that needs to change. Also, the things that I would so want to change are usually the exact things God wants to use to make me happy—to make me happy in Him. Those little irks or big issues are God’s means of turning my heart to Him for satisfaction, contentment, and pleasure.

What is your happiness founded on? We tend to base our happiness on our relationships because God did make us extremely relational. But what we really need to do¬† is base our happiness on our relationship with God. He will disappoint us in everything else—and it all will naturally disappoint us. God is our only true base of happiness.

All the little and big disappointments in life are actually my friends. They show me where my hope and happiness is and help me transfer it onto Christ, where it should be. Often, we don’t value the process of being made to be like Christ—we saw Him as unbeautiful and suffering here on earth. But now, He is the most beautiful thing that exists . . . and God is transforming us to be like Him!!! Yes, it is often through suffering and hard things right now; I’m not sure why this has to be. But it is, so let’s accept the good things that God is doing for us.

Esther is an interesting example of submission. A beautiful young lady. Don’t you think she had dreams about marrying a Hebrew guy, going to sleep in his arms every night, having kids with him, celebrating Jewish holidays. Our standard female dream of happiness and being loved. . . But she gave it all up! For her whole life!! She married a man who could sleep with basically anyone he wanted. . . . She understood that there was something more important than herself. That her happiness wasn’t found in her marriage. She also, interestingly, was wise about submission. Mordecai, the main eunich in charge of the virgins, and the king. She accomplished amazing operations all submissively.

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Stepping Heavenward:

One Woman’s Journey to Godliness

by Elizabeth Prentiss

I love this book. It’s fictional, but some people read it not knowing that it’s fictional,¬†and think it’s real. It reads like it’s real, especially how it presents so many spiritual issues and means of growth that really are very real.

I’ve been sick for a while, and this has been my sick-bed book. And¬†I’ve been blessed by it.¬†I’ve actually read it¬†about three times now this past week.

This time,¬†what’s impressed me is¬†how every hard thing, small or large, is really¬†my means to spiritual growth. ¬†Funny how that i—Ė, that suffering, temptations, difficulties, humiliations, sins¬†are our friends. Reminds me of Martin Luther’s teaching that in Christ we rule over everything—everything in our lives serves us for our spiritual good.

This book has helped me recall in the moments of the day to look to Christ, to let Him be expressed in me in this moment. In this troublesome, annoying, irritating moment. And now, I’m happy for all those moments because they bring me a greater awareness of Christ.

Yesterday, too, I had a freedom of soul about adopting Paul. Just the freedom to take my desires and hands off it. To be OK with whatever happens. And it’s a great freedom; a freedom that let’s God do His work.

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skyla & cutie

This is Skyla’s pet doggie named Cutie. In preparation for bed, Skyla tied him up to the door handle with this scarf/leash, and set out these plates of food and drink.

Don’t run away now, Cutie. Skyla loves you!

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I have some other thoughts about parenting and power, and thankfully, “Thatmom,” Karen Campbell, said it already! Here’s what she writes:

The Pearls’ philosophy demands that parents place themselves in a position of control and power over their children, luring and enticing the parent into self idolatry. It teaches that a parent is to conquer the child’s will and body, doing whatever is necessary, emotionally or physically, to achieve success. It places the parent, especially the father, in the position of sovereign over the child, giving him prophet, priest, and king status, even saying that a father can offer righteousness to a child through the use of the rod. It is the same desire for power over God and creation that Satan used for his own purposes in the Garden. And this desire for power and control over children conceives the sin of abuse, which, in the case of little Lydia Schatz, caused her death.

That’s bad power; it’s a bad concept of power.

For a great read on parenting, discipline, etc. please read this post she put up today from a homeschooling dad.

Psalm 103:13 ~ ‚ÄúJust as a father has compassion on {his} children, So the LORD has compassion on those who fear Him.‚ÄĚ

Homeschool application: Scripture recognizes that compassion is part of teaching children. Children typically imitate their parents so why not let them imitate compassion.

. . .

Ephesians 6:4 ~ ‚ÄúFathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.‚ÄĚ

Homeschool application: Scripture recognizes that dads should be fair about discipline. For those who know the humble instructions of the Lord there is nothing more fair than that.

Colossians 3:21 ~ ‚ÄúFathers, do not exasperate your children, so that they will not lose heart.‚ÄĚ

Homeschool application: Scripture recognizes that children will give up and stop caring if they are never given positive reinforcement. Certainly beating a child until they stop crying as the Pearls are alleged to endorse is forbidden by this verse.

1 Thessalonians 2:7 ~ ‚ÄúBut we proved to be gentle among you, as a nursing {mother} tenderly cares for her own children.‚ÄĚ

Homeschool application: Scripture recognizes that children are to be tenderly cared for. I remember passing my daughter around on a pillow, she was so small at birth.

1 Titus 3:4 ~ ‚Äú{He must be} one who manages his own household well, keeping his children under control with all dignity‚ÄĚ

Homeschool application: Scripture recognizes that bringing attention to good manners, emphasizing them and insisting that they be used produces a well run household having the dignity of self-controlled children. 1 Titus and 2 Titus mostly describe a well run house.

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¬†This is how I’ve started putting Vika to bed these nights. She’s three and still a fairly avid breastfeeder, but this is one way she gets the closeness of mommy without the breastmilk, and she can go peacefully to sleep rocking with me in our hanging hammock chair.

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Tomorrow

is our 6th wedding anniversary.

I think we need to go out and celebrate tonight and tomorrow as well. There’s just a lot to talk about!

Vitaliy’s main reason for marrying me was that he wanted a “theological wife.” I try to live up to that. It’s also nice to do housekeeping, laundry, and cooking, but study, reading, and theology are parts of my life that are not hard to keep high in the priority list.

It’s why I love our mall. I go there almost every day. I take my purse loaded down with books, notebooks, pens, pencils, pencil sharpener . . . —Vitaliy comments on this if he ever has to carry my purse for me. He says it weighs three kilograms.

Why did I marry Vitaliy? . . . I guess it was his earnestness and devotion to God and serving God. And it’s proven more and more true the longer I live with him. I admire the circumspect way he makes decisions.

This past year has been a bit of a watershed year for him, the truths God’s opened up to him about His grace, full acceptance, and other things that Vitaliy talks to me of by the hour.

So . . . while he doesn’t always have dinner waiting¬†on the table, he does have a theological¬†brain (and body, thankfully) ¬†waiting to be taken out for dinner so we can discuss these topics and the things he’s encouraging me to learn, too.

Happy anniversary, honey. I’m blessed to be your companion for this life’s journey.

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