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Archive for September, 2014

Part 1   Part 2

I read a blog post of an older lady that I really admire, but that high ideal started me all worrying about this issue again, the meaning of my life, etc. … So I talked with Vitaliy about it again. And this time it was even more helpful.

I was talking about how I struggle finding significance in motherhood because it just seems to be so usual and what everyone does.

But, he said, God made your circumstances, as a mom, unique. Even though motherhood is what most women experience, you are each in individual circumstances that God designed for your personal good.

I think this was the most helpful idea. That even though I do laundry, dishes, food prep, homeschool just like “everyone else,” God doesn’t deal with us in a mass. He deals with each of us specially, gives us each especial/individual circumstances, and I can look at each detail of my life as personally given to me from Him.

Yes, this is highly personal between God and me.

Second, he said, recognize that God is not going to give you a life that “doesn’t matter.” What God gives you is good. It matters.  For you and God, it matters a lot. He mentioned Louis Braille, and how he prayed saying that God had given him a good gift (his blindness) and asked God to multiply this talent.

I like that example. Many people are/were blind, and each one can receive it uniquely from God, and it has deep purpose in their lives, and the “seed” can reap a harvest. The same with motherhood. Many are mothers, each one can receive it uniquely and personally from God, it has deep purpose in their lives, and the seed of this gift can reap a harvest.

Also, he said, don’t try to find your meaning in mothering itself. Find yourself in enjoying being with God. That will never change, and it will help you be stable in joy, fulfillment, etc. You won’t ride the roller coaster of feeling successful/unsuccessful in your own perception.

 

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I hope that was an eye-catching title!

I really want to tell “the world” about my wonderful dad– his 69th birthday was Saturday, and I don’t want to miss this opportunity.

To say that I have a wonderful Dad.

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I know that many of you already know this because you know my dad. But I’d like to speak out loud again a few reasons why he’s great.

1. He’s great for advice. Have an issue? Need some perspective? Want a thoughtful but not forceful/egotistical advice? Want to hear from someone who has his opinion and wisdom but also says the Spirit could lead you otherwise? … My dad is great for that. He has been the key in guiding me into several major life decisions too.

I will share one occasion. I had just finished my bachelor’s degree at BJ, and I really, really, really wanted to head to the mission field. Yesterday. And I remember sitting with my dad in the living room of Grace’s mission house, and he calmly outlined several reasons he thought I should stay and get my master’s degree. But, he said, maybe the Lord wants you to go now, and that’s fine, too. And as painful as it was, I went to my room to think and I just knew that God wanted me to stay on and get my master’s. …

And I went to the mission field later, and … met my future husband. … Timing is everything … ❤

Thanks, Dad.

2. My dad is an incredibly gifted administrator who knows how to care for people through administration.

What I mean is, as an administrator, he often has to lay down the line about money stuff, but he does it in a way that you know he really cares about you. He also knows how to make administration serve the people, not the other way around.

3. He has a Biblically-formed perspective on money: generosity, saving, giving, planning … He does all these things and they don’t war against each other in his life. For example, his saving and planning don’t override his generosity and giving. They all work together … somehow.

4. He’s been faithfully married to my mom for many years. And takes great care of her in many ways. … Selah…

I love you, Dad. Many people love and appreciate you, and I wanted to take a moment to say it out loud 🙂 ❤

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There is something so life-giving and nurturing about a gathering of women, especially when celebrating and honoring God’s blessings of life, love, family, relationships ….

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So for Una’s baby shower, it was a dream-come-true time, in that lovely ladies from my  life who otherwise don’t know each other came together in one place. … A birth client/friend, other missionaries, my pro-life co-worker and friend, our church ladies of all ages …

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The ladies at my church just know how “to do.” They do beautiful conferences, gorgeous yearly Harvest celebrations, birthdays … and they do baby showers. And it’s such a wonderful mix of Pinterest-type perfection along with the hand-made, homemade warmth.

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Our lovely host is in the photo below, on the right. The girls were speechless about her lovely home she opened to us.

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Homemade food that is just special, lovely décor, sweet small touches everywhere (it helps to have a wedding decorator in the mix, too!). They just gush love in beauty and planning and sharing. …

OK, so I lack in all these areas, and they love me anyway. Here they are, curling my hair. –That’s the wedding designer, on the right behind me. (She is so stylish. I always just go to her when I need to buy clothing because … I need help when it comes to stuff like that.)

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So, we held each others’ babies, rocked, coo’ed, all that lovely stuff babies do to us …

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Natasha, standing, organized games, and also this very interesting little talk about diapers, their costs, features … she had examples of each to show us …

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And then they poured liquid into the various diapers to test which one was better …

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And our pastor’s wife led us in a long time of discussion and Bible lesson about accepting God’s will. She had most of us talking and sharing our experiences. She reminded us how God’s will is good, acceptable, and perfect, and we talked about our struggles to accept God’s will. Because we all have areas of life where it’s easier or harder. And what to do when we struggle.

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Below are two very special ladies. On the left is a fellow mom that I rarely get to be with, but it is always wonderful and encouraging when we can and I love gabbing with her. The lady on the right … she is a special “older woman” for me because I used to go to her house once a week when Skyla and Vika were little, and I was struggling in new motherhood and all the endless irritations and how it chafed … yet when I was in her presence, she was so understanding and gentle, I would leave with huge feelings of love for my kids … She really helped me at that time in my life ❤

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Some special ladies: So different, and how the Lord uses them all just as He made them to be!

Olya, my partner in pro-life ministry:

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Our pastor’s wife, an example of an evangelist–she quietly, faithfully brings women to the Lord:

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Fellow Anya, a lovely, stylish friend who gracefully makes up for my lack in taste ❤

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My fun, sweet daughter:

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Gabbing …

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It was a love-filled day. And we all left filled up in many ways …

And as I asked God to bless this time, I also want to thank Him that He did.

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living life as not my own, part 2!

Vitaliy and I were eating lunch today, Sunday, while Skyla and Vika were at AWANA, and we actually had a “date” because A was asleep in the shopping cart on one side of our table and U was asleep in the stroller on the other side of our table …

So we got to talk.

I have to tell you, there are times when I’m very, very blessed to be living with a good counselor …

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so I told V that I’m sometimes struggling in life because I don’t feel like I’m doing something “great” (out-of-the-ordinary) with my life. So, here are a few points he told me:

One, about finding the value of doing every-day, ordinary things … Christ did this for 30 years. His “greatness” for those 30 years was living a human life. This was most of His lifetime. And what makes these ordinary things valuable? Is that they are the will of God. Doing these things is the will of God for me, and that fact is what makes my daily life valuable.

Next: doing something “great” mostly involves very ordinary things that mostly do not “feel” great at all. Did Joseph feel “greatness” when he was daily a slave or a prisoner? Most likely not. It was probably just a lot of work.

Now, how we do this daily, ordinary work is important– our attitude, our faith, etc. (And I pursued this thought, and we talked about living life with an awareness of God’s constant presence– not literally having to think “I remember You are here, I remember You are here, I am doing this for You … etc. But more just an awareness like, I’m working in the kitchen and constantly aware that Vitaliy is sitting at the table. I may ask him a question or make a comment, but I’m also just aware that he’s there. … And how it can be that way with God’s presence.)

Also, having done something great is often not noticed until one is dead. So …

Next, the ordinary is preparation for the great– and you may not know that it’s coming, or even when you are doing something “great.”

And, we will probably be surprised at what God notices and rewards in our lives … (And that is something I want to understand better, too.)

So, those were some thoughts I’m going to be mulling over for a while.

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I wrote something the other day that is coming back to haunt me.

In the Type-B Homeschool Planner, I was asked  to “list some vision goals” for myself and the kids in our homeschool, and one goal I wrote is:

to live life as not my own and yet fully engaged

[big, empty, spacy pause here]

Did I write that?

… Why did I write that? …

What was I thinking?

So I feel this rub in my life right now– being a mommy of little kids and being a wife to a man in emotionally-draining and time-/resource- demanding ministries …

I’ve been watching myself, over the last year or so, slowly and painfully pack up my birth work, many of my ministry involvements, my heroic desires and dreams … yeah, packing them up and putting them on a high shelf.

And for the first time, just recently, I felt this weird, freakish, out-of-control feeling towards my life. My very. own. life.

Like, I let go of these things that come from inside me, from the seat of my affections, and I’m starting to live a not-for-me life … and (start slow panic) where will I end up when this free-fall is over? I don’t even imagine or “see” that anymore.

I’ve heard that season thing– do the mom thing for a season, then it’ll be “you” time later. So I used to say to myself … “OK, in 10-15-20 years, when this homeschooling/childraising gig is pretty much over, then I’ll [insert big plan], [insert ministry idea], [insert personal dream/desire]. Yeah! THEN I’ll do that!

But now, I feel like even all those safe, controlled landings are gone, too.

I have no idea what I’ll do nor if or when I’ll ever be *free* to “do what I want.” Because what if all my plans are never what God wants for my life?

So then all this thinking leads me to question what I’m doing now … Is it really God’s will? Am I insane? Can I just pack all these kids back up in a box and put them on the shelf? And I don’t know what to do about this swallow-us-up rehab center, and then the church where I’m the flagpole and not the flag, so to speak. Can we just shut this center down and go join a church that expects nothing of us?

(Well, OK, I didn’t get that far in my thinking … But are we all hysterical yet? I’m sure feeling some hysteria here.)

What is this stinking life anyway where I don’t get to do something great and heroic? Can I settle just for this? Because now I don’t even see all this ordinariness ever ending. Not even when this *season* of small kids is over.

So, I lay myself down on my mental couch and begin counseling myself.

Number One, Dearest Anne (speak in soft voice and stroke hair empathetically), Yes, this definitely IS the will of God for you to have your life as it is now. And you know you’d be miserable if you changed a single thing you’re imagining changing.

Number Two) Christ came to earth to do His Father’s will, so Welcome to The Club of living a life that is not your own … and being (hopefully) humble enough to fully engage yourself in it. It’s really truly the best thing EVER for you. Trust Him on that.

For example, think of the life of George Muller (whose biography we just read for school). Did he imagine a ministry to 10,000 orphans? No. He wanted to be missionary to the Jews. Do you think that *settling* for a ministry to a few orphans never chafed him? He didn’t live “his own” life– or life as he originally imagined it–but he fully engaged in the life God willed for him.

Anyway, that’s as far as I can go for the moment. … How interesting that even in the midst of lovely homeschooling days and a (mostly) sweet and happy life, I still have these struggles of my faith….

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My births give me a lot of spiritual food to chew on, and this fourth one was no exception.

Fourth home birth. … You would think it would get easier to deal with my “what if” fears. But I think this pregnancy was almost the worst for that. The previous pregnancies, there were one or two very specific fears of what might happen during birth. But this time, it seemed like there was an entire index of fears flipping through my brain, starting with “I might die,” “the baby might die.” And going on from there.

So we returned to Ukraine and were searching for an apartment in Kiev– one reason being so we could be near a nice birth house “just in case” we needed it during birth…. This somehow seemed to fuel all these fears, imagining going to the hospital for some reason, what would happen, etc.

So one night we were laying in bed discussing our fruitless search for an apartment to rent in Kiev, and our talk led us to choosing to live in this village house indefinitely.

And the moment we decided this, God just let me know that the birth would be fine, with no problems. It was just a knowing in my heart from His Spirit.

Of course, those “what if” fears kept popping around my brain. But there was an overriding confidence and peace that God wanted this baby born in this house, and it would be fine.

But still I doubted, I probed God, “WHAT IF it’s NOT fine, and something bad happens?” … “WHAT IF?” … “What then??”

And God said an interesting reply. I forget if I was thinking in Russian or English, but it was just:

“In Me, everything is good.”

And it’s interesting, because He didn’t just pat me on the head and say, “Everything will be fine.” Like we say to comfort each other even when we don’t know how it will all turn out.

No, He said a spiritual truth. In Him, everything is good.

There is no “bad” for me, because I am in God. All things are good unto me.

Martin Luther writes about this truth from Romans 8:28, and he elaborates, how we are kings and queens in Christ because all things serve us for our good.

So, for my birth, the Mighty Comforter taught me a Great Truth. In God, everything is “good.”

Sadly, this lesson is not perfected in me yet, as I can’t apply it to all my life. I’m trying. 😀 But I still become irritated with the multitude of small provocations of home life … instead of walking in the peaceful, easy yoke accepting that even all these little irritations are an illusion, and the truth is that they are “good” and I can receive them as such and with gratitude.

Which brings me to the point that trials are my spiritual food. It’s taken me years to understand this. I used to run screaming from my trials (for all the good that did). … But now, I see that these hard things are also the green pasture that feeds me and makes me strong and alive.

So anyway … those are some lessons that “gave birth” during my birth, for me now to mull over and let grow in my life.

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captured a happy moment

Homeschooling is hard.

Mostly because (for me anyways) when I sign up to homeschool, I’m signing up for 3 million more provocations to sin. … It’s transformative, in a grand way.

Anyway, so we had this happy moment today, the girls were chugging through some math lessons, I was mixing batter with Andre … It was neat. 😉

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We did a little thing on prairies today– animals, tall grasses …

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