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I think sometimes pretty deeply about the ramifications of being pro-life. I mean, so many people are really, really worried about population control, the earth’s resources, inequality ….

These people think a lot about these issues. All the ink and cyberspace committed to these problematic issues.  The mega-money. The government policies. Birth control. Abortion. Oh. My. Word.

People are so worried about this. And the issues are real. …. But the proposed answers?

I began to think about this as we visited churches that support us. We drove by miles and miles and miles (and miles, and miles) of unused, beautiful earth. Why does no one talk about this? Why does no one envision life?

And I think: How does God think about this? Did He really create such an inadequate earth? It would be so easy for Him to stop creating souls, stop allowing children to be born. But He doesn’t stop!  … What amazing inventions have been hidden from us, undiscovered, because we approach this issue with a crisis, impoverished mentality?

Could we not … dare to imagine a world where we are all committed to welcoming new life? What would we invent? What would we create? What relationships would be forged? How would we be changed and challenged as nations if we committed ourselves to creating policies, committed ourselves to finding solutions for everyone, committed ourselves to stewarding and sharing the resources of this amazing earth?

So I’m just putting this out there, especially for the young. Maybe God wants you to dream, to invent, to create— to reveal to the world His welcoming and providing heart that accepts all the new lives He creates in and through us.

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Otherwise entitled: Becoming a non-issue-driven Christ-follower.

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I don’t know how it is for everyone, of course, so I’m writing about how God has led me.

Honest moment: It took a long time for Jesus to be enough for me…. Not for salvation– Jesus is the only one and enough. But for Jesus …. to interest me for “the rest of my life.” I mean, I get saved, and I still have years and years to go here on earth.

Looking back, I see now that I needed some “big idea” to add to my Christianity for finding life significance. Like: Jesus is my salvation, plus believing that using birth control is wrong (for life significance).

Or, Jesus is my salvation, plus homeschooling (for life significance).

I kept tacking on things, for significance, for identity. Like clothing styles (skirts, or whatever). Or rules. Or a movement. Or gender roles. Or certain theological beliefs.

I didn’t realize I was doing this, of course. I mean, shucks. Who realizes it? It seems like it’s all about Jesus. OF COURSE. And then something happens, and you realize, it wasn’t really about Jesus. It was a stage of maturing.

When I didn’t understand how Jesus related to my sanctification (my earthly life), He was just relegated to dying on the cross for me. It was a little hard just applying His death to living every day. I mean, yes, I die to myself to live and serve others. That’s every day.

But that’s how I lived: just applying His death to my life. It’s OK. But I didn’t see a lot about applying His life to my daily life. Like this: He was a man. He didn’t have a home–His three years of ministry was traveling, not making a home. He didn’t speak very clearly to people–it’s not surface-easy to grasp His meanings. He didn’t gather any possessions. And He stepped His way deliberately toward dying on a cross at a fairly young age.

It was hard to relate to all that. To understand it and find meaning and purpose in it for every day life.

It was about 2009? that Vitaliy went through a spiritual stage of growth, where he began to understand the meaning of Jesus being our sanctification. And we read together, talked together, and grew together.

And I realized that Jesus, as He walked the earth, lived out, to the four corners, every command of God. He lived out the true meaning and purpose of every one of God’s laws. He lived out, for Anne Sokol, the perfect life of doing and being–heart, spirit, body, mind, strength–the entirety of God’s will.

Suddenly, when I grasped this, Jesus’ life became fascinating. Jesus’ life became more than enough for my life. I started devouring the Gospels in a way I never had before: How did He perfectly fulfill God’s command to do such-and-such? And now, how do I do it, too? “How do I follow Him?” became my consuming question.

And Jesus became enough. Much more than enough. His life became an endless realm of exploration and application for me. He Himself was so interesting. So applicable to my daily life. …. A lot of issues fell away from me, or I should say, they re-prioritized. They had to, if I was to be honest about following Him.

I have more, so much more, to learn. But this was a big step for me.

Thank You, God.

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God, My Sanity

In my particular life experience, I have come to thank God for this role He’s played in my life. In very literal senses, He has been my sanity.

It’s been a few years since I’ve felt myself on the edge, and I will say that my brushes with crazy have been relatively brief, but the buildup, of course, the life circumstances, were more extended.

My first summer in Ukraine, I had no home, no place of my own. I remember sleeping nights on the couch in a church office and then living during the day no where in particular. (They had a large church, cafeteria, etc, so there were people to talk with and places to sit, etc.)

And that summer I went to help out at a church camp, and I was sleeping in a huge room with lots of beds and lots of people. And this moment came,

when it all overwhelmed me, all the no-alone-time, nothing is mine, nowhere is mine, this is too much, way too much, weeks of way too much.

And it wasn’t as simple as it sounds now, years later.

This moment came when … I wanted to put myself on that bed, pull the covers over my head, freeze up my body, and never, ever, ever come out of that frozen-up condition.

I wanted to go crazy, to get out of my crazy.

But. At that moment, God was my Sanity.

There were other times in my life after that, too, especially, after we married, with the way we lived in such hard conditions in a place where you don’t expect to live in hard conditions. Months of it. And making small choices to keep myself mentally … OK with my reality. Making sacrifices I didn’t want to make. And small kids added to that. Man.

It’s dark and weird trying to remember those times. At that time, I have thought of my sister, too, and how she lived with 2 small kids building a house in the cold. She probably had her moments of wanting to quit it all….

So, anyway, I don’t know the Hebrew word for “sanity,” but I want to thank God for being my Sanity.

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God provides

We have plenty. But God still provides.

This is sort of a repeating theme for me in Decembers.

So this December I spent about $1,000 getting a billion cavities drilled and filled. And Skyla getting some dental work done, too. And Vitaliy is going on a short-term trip to the taiga in Siberia (hopefully repeatedly), so the extreme-cold clothing is one-time costs, but it adds up.

And I have been hunting for a new pair of winter boots, as mine are gone. And delaying the purchase because there’s nothing I really like and it’s moneymoney. And Vika required a new winter coat as she is growing. And you know how it just goes on and on. Multiple doctor visits. Mountains of medicines. Unexpected car repairs. Loaning a friend a few hundred dollars in an emergency….

So I’d pared things down to one Christmas present for each person in the family. (It’s really not suffering, because they get things often.)

So how did this come about???!!! See all those gifts?

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I’d ordered some games and stuff from Amazon a while back, and my mom wrapped them all! And they added a couple things to the box, also wrapped. And the box actually came quickly!! And so we have more Christmas gifts!

God provides.

And the new boots? Last night Vitaliy dug through all the bagged up really-winter stuff, and I found an old pair that are wearable and suit my style as well!

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I’m also very thankful for a few things we’ve been given in previous years and they are the provisions for today. Someone passed on a humidifier …

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and someone gave us this awesome nebulizer,

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and with these respiratory sickness with the kids this winter, they’ve been goinggoingoing.

God provides.

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Sometime around 2012, God was impressing me that I need to develop my prayer time with Him. So I was open to various ways He might lead me into that, and one thing that I found (that has really helped) is this prayer journal.

This is my third journal. I’ve done, re-done, tried various things, and this is the current version.

Found this hardcover notebook with 5 sections of colored pages. It’s A4 size (that’s close to 8.5 x 11).

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Used this fabric that I love and some tacky glue I had on hand. Skyla held Una while I ironed, cut, measured, etc.

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Here’s the current finished version. I might add a verse to the front.

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I’ll post about the inside sometime soon, maybe…

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OK, I’m not pregnant right now. But I want to say something.

I’m in a church with a lot of young couples, and you know what? After the first baby happiness, it’s a lot harder with number 2 and number 3 and ….

I have watched these young women, and I have determined to be the safe place. I want our church to be their safe place.

One gal got pregnant with her second baby, and her mother was so angry with her because she would not abort the baby. This is one of the most common things I hear.

And doctors … oh, it’s number 2 … a little too close to your first pregnancy? An abortion? ….

It’s actually life threatening to be a 2nd, 3rd, 4th baby.

Unexpectedly pregnant with number three? How would you like your mom’s request that this really. really. be the last shadowing your pregnancy?

I’ve determined to be the safe place. You tell me your pregnant? I will say “Congratulations!” with a huge smile. And I will mean it. I will be happy for you.

Because that baby is your inheritance, your reward in this life, from God.

Be the safe place for that mom and baby.

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Easter Egg tree

My mom put up a small easter egg tree, I think it was like the ones we’d seen in Europe as we’d travelled there one summer as a family.

I’ve been wanting to do this, too.

So, on my flash trip to the States, I picked up some cheap eggs with hanging ribbons at Wal-Mart. And today, I found a 2 branches on the ground.

We need more branches, but we got all the eggs out and hanging, plus with some little words that I’d bought in the States, too.

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And here’s a bonus photo 🙂

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