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Archive for March, 2014

So I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about this. It’s time. And I was drawn to the verse:

Great peace have those who love your law, and nothing can make them stumble. (Ps. 119:165)

This whole question is something I’m stumbling over, so … where am I not loving God’s law?

I don’t normally struggle with forgiving personal offences, but I think I am dealing with a long-standing unforgiveness with people in my church. A bitterness that has taken root and shows itself in cynicism and lack of feeling.

It was awful last night as I was trying to pray about this and figure out what is wrong with me. I couldn’t get my mind out of accusing thoughts. And I finally just had to beg God to do something because my own thinking was getting nowhere. That’s when I saw the bitterness. And I started forgiving. It’s still not done yet because my first reactions are still to go mentally to all those accusing thoughts.

But I’m thinking about the Law, how to be changed by loving it, and how to apply it to these thoughts. How to put the thoughts of the Law into my head in place of these satanic thoughts.

So I’ve been thinking about how the law is full of mercy. That the whole sacrificial system was part of the law, was commanded–and all this pointed to Christ’s sacrifice that pleased and satisfied God toward our sins.

Because if I and these people in my church—if we all had to stand before God’s righteousness, I would be crushed just as much as they would.

But it’s hard, honestly, to give mercy but not trust. But doesn’t God do that for us? He gives us mercy, His compassions are new for us every morning. He is faithful to us, even when we only reach His standard in Christ, never of ourselves.

I was thinking about Christ forgiving the woman caught in adultery. Christ fulfilled the law. He was doing the specific will of God in that act of forgiveness.

That’s as far as I have gotten for now.

“Come and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord

And to the house of the God of Jacob,

That He may teach us about His ways

And that we may walk in His paths.”

For even from Zion will go forth the law,

Even the word of the Lord from Jerusalem

Micah 4:20

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This is going to be a very self-analytical post, so … you really don’t have to read it.

Our church here in Chattanooga has been going through the 9Marks booklet about church membership called, Committing to One Another: Church Membership.

I know I’m not the only reason God has our church doing this study, but I think the timing (while we are here) has been *just* for me 😉

When we came back to the U.S. at the beginning of November, I walked through the Atlanta airport  and … never wanted to return to Ukraine. … Ever.

It’s not that I wanted to stay in America. But just the emotional relief of getting out of the stress we were under in Ukraine … Stress I never really knew was even there to that level.

It wasn’t until the beginning of February I began to bear the thought of returning, then gradually, a desire to return resurfaced. This was a weird experience for me because generally, while I don’t love everything about Ukraine, I love living there and being in ministry there.

Our church started this study on church membership a few weeks back, so I’ve been applying it to my church membership in Ukraine. It’s one of the main, lingering stressors looming over me regarding our return.

I had a little breakthrough today, so I’m ready to put words around some of the stuff I’ve been trying to work through.

This last term I was a pastor’s wife. Well, Vitaliy was ordained in 2008 or 9, but I wasn’t really the main pastor’s wife until, by “default,” Vitaliy was given this role.

Let me resign yesterday.

The stuff that came out of our church during these last 3-4 years has left me with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. I kid you not. My heart is pounding as I type, and I would be crying but that I am sitting in a public place.

I realized today, as we read together in Sunday School Romans 12:9-11, that I have very little emotions for my church now. I have a wall. A wall behind which I think lies a deep sadness and shock that I haven’t let myself feel for a while now, and so I have stopped feeling most emotions about my church all together.

It’s hard for me to rejoice or weep with anyone in my church in Ukraine. I just sit as a sympathetic zombie listening to their problems, their joys … but I have closed something down about getting close to people and really feeling what they feel.

So … I think, in order to move on, I am going to go back to where I stopped it all up. And I’m going to let myself weep about their sins and hardships. Mourn for their repentance or lack thereof. Let myself feel what they should be feeling. Forgive them, not for sinning against me, but more for myself, so I can let go the hurts and betrayal and shock.

And move into love. Really loving them. Somehow. With God’s Spirit. Less of my love, with its hidden expectations. And more of His love. With my emotions, too, as they are united to the Lord. And letting them love me. Humbling myself, letting go of any pride.

I don’t know all what I need to do. But God has been leading  this whole thing already. I’ve seen small breakthroughs in the last few weeks….

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The concept of training an infant to sleep is popular in some parenting methods, and I was listening to a recorded lecture about these issues yesterday, and the speaker made an interesting comment about sleep training and co-sleeping.

She said that sleeping with your child is a great way to “sleep train” (not that she agrees with that idea in general). And I was thinking how true this has been with my own three kids.

I have slept great as a mom of young. So far, none of my kids wake up for any length of time at night. They are in a dark room next to me, and they sleep the whole night through.

When they wake slightly to eat, none of them even wake enough to cry. They just start moving slightly, and because my sleep is synched with theirs, I just roll over and feed for a while.

I’ve not sat up or set a foot out of bed the whole 8 years we’ve been co-sleeping. (Call me lazy.)

I don’t think co-sleeping is this easy for all families, but these “sleep training” benefits are working for me and my kids pretty great 😉

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For the first quarter of 2014, I accomplished 2 of my goals: to attend a Midwifery Skills Lab and to take the Terminology exam. These are two things I can do only when we’re in the States, and it’s great to have done them both!

L: the lovely midwife of 40 years who taught our skills lab. R: moi

L: the lovely midwife of 40 years who taught our skills lab. R: moi

I have three goals for the second quarter of 2014:

  1. To continue reading and other assignments toward completion the Home Birth Consultant certification program
  2. The above reading works well with completing my file on Nutrition (a section 5 requirement). This involves asking/answering 30 questions about this topic, creating a speaking outline, and a few other things.
  3. And I’d like to accomplish 20 assignments in Section 6—many pertain to nutrition and to creating the Home Birth Consulting information for clients.

Nice to have some goals spelled out 😀

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So, a year or so ago, the director of my midwifery school started this awesome program to become a “Certified Home Birth Consultant.” I couldn’t pass it up! It’s just what I’d love to do. Have an “official,” named position for answering people’s questions about home birth. I do this a lot already 😀

I signed up. As everything she designs, it’s challenging. I like challenging. I’m currently reading a book written by an English statistician called Safer Childbirth?, exposing and explaining the cultural myths about obstetrics improving childbirth. She delves into what has actually improved perinatal mortality and morbidity rates— better nutrition is probably #1, sanitation and hygiene, clean water, non-interventive midwifery care, etc.

To finish, I have to read still a lot of books, listen to some lectures and take tests on them, answer 50 questions, and take a few smaller courses, and a few other details.

I’ve already finished some books, listened to some talks, answered some questions …

I love doing this because I love the topic, and it helps me keep growing and be able to help others more.

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I accomplished one of my goals for midwifery studies, a goal I can only fulfill in the States, and that was attending a Midwifery Skills Lab (MSL) put on by my school.

I actually hosted the event, which was only possible because of my lovely, hospitable church and its amazing members. Not to mention my awesome family who perceived we were in need and took over all childcare and meal prep!!!

Skills we learned and practiced: taking fetal heart tones, palpating, giving IM injections and taking blood, internal exams, how to “massage” (or touch) the uterus in case of blood clots or hemorrhage, how to do nipple stim, taking BP, determining blood type on Eldon cards … much more. And this hands-off, birth-trusting midwife gave us honest ideas about how rare doing any of these things is.

We discussed: informed consent, transport, taking notes during birth (yes/no, what), creating forms for parents, working alegally or illegally or being licensed. … and much more.

We formed relationships as students and midwives and talked about: family relationships, being non-egoist in the birth world, finishing our curriculum … and more.

Now I need to take my handouts and notes apart and file them appropriately, and add some to my Birth Notebook Client Education Notebook.

Overall, it was awesome. On a personal level, …. I had stopped all birth work (doula, childbirth ed, etc.) because I was so disturbed by how undisturbed and even cold I was becoming toward hospital birth routine practices, giving up emotional attachment to clients b/c it hurt too much to watch their birth choices, integrating all these responsibilities with family life, etc. And some of our discussions gave me ideas how to get past this and re-invent my involvement in birth so I can be personally and “professionally” (as if those are two different things!) satisfied with how I’m serving people. (More to come in that area later.)

So, if you are a midwifery student, I highly recommend Ancient Art Midwifery Institutes’ Midwifery Skills Labs.

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