Numbering our days when our kids are little

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Yesterday I gave a talk at a baby shower. It was an event where there were several unbelievers and also ladies who, years back, made a salvation-but-not-disciple commitment to the Lord.

When I was walking home one night, I started praying about what to speak about at this event, and I started crying when the Lord impressed it on me also on that walk home. I’ve been reading the major prophets and those books are very emotional, and it all connected in my mind.

Historically, I try to make baby shower talks pretty upbeat and positive. But this was not so positive, so I’ve been processing it, how to speak it in an appropriate and encouraging way.

This baby is so adorably little and cute– collective swoon!

I downloaded a metronome app on my phone, and as I started the talk, without telling anyone, I turned it on with a really slow beat. And I started talking about the passage of time.

Gist of the talk:

Psalm 90, a psalm of Moses: “Our days may come to seventy years, or eighty, if our strength endures; yet the best of them are but trouble and sorrow, for they quickly pass, and we fly away….. A thousand years in your sight are like a day that has just gone by, or like a watch in the night…. Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.”

About five years ago, I started going through a life shift where I realized that the day of my death is closer to me than the day of my birth. The see saw tipped.

I remember being in school–how slowly the days passed by! I thought they would never end. Then college– time got a little faster. Then marriage. And little kids.

[metronome ticking gets a little faster]

When my first kids were little, time seemed so slow! Like it would never end. [metronome ticking gets faster, faster] But now, the time has started to get faster and faster– my first child is more than half-way done with school. She’s getting ready (in multiple ways) to fly away. [metronome ticks faster]

People have tried to explain why time seems to pass faster as we age. It’s still the exact same time but our perception of it changes. One reason is because, when we’re 10, ten years is the entirety of life. But when we’re 40, ten years is now only a fourth of life. At 50, it’s only a fifth of life, and so on.

Our feeling of time changes, and this is part of gaining a heart of wisdom.

There are people who’s spiritual growth doesn’t match their years of salvation. Somewhere, they didn’t trust God enough to obey Him in life decisions. And when we’re young, we tend to be pretty suspicious of God and the goodness of his plans. We haven’t lived enough years with God to grow into trusting him. And if we don’t get through those doubtful moments by faith, we can derail our growth by making disobedient choices.

Like the fear that God doesn’t want me to marry, and I’ll be single forever if I am faithful to Him.

It’s always time to start obeying God. It gets harder, in certain ways, as we get older, if it’s not been the habit. And time is passing faster, so the moments God offers us obedience tend to speed by faster.

But in these years when your kids are small, years that seem like they will never end, these are years you can choose to obey God. Like rest on Saturday so you can go to church on Sunday– so you can take your child to a place where people teach him/her about God and His love.

These years are the years your child/ren clings to you. It’s annoying and tiring, but it’s the years God gave you to lead your child to Him–what you sow now is what you’ll be reaping in a few years!

We think we have so little time to do what we want, but in reality, we can obey. Do we want to spend time scrolling through facebook while breastfeeding? … Why don’t we choose to read the Bible during that time first? … We do have a choice to obey.

And during these slow years, it’s essential to obey. Start obeying God. Because soon the years will be speeding by, the children will be saying good-bye.

Let’s gain a heart of wisdom.

worship: God, you’re worth it!

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I love illustrating abstract words, making it into something concrete we can see and feel and do. It’s something I remember wrestling with in my teenage brain. What exactly IS righteousness? What IS justice? Now, in an adult brain and with so much more life experience to draw from, it’s easier to illustrate abstract words.

Like “worship.”

One way of explaining worship I like is this: Worship is attributing worth-ship to God. Like God, you’re worthy– worthy of all I can give and give up for you, worthy of all the praise and adulation in the world, worthy of getting all the credit, worthy of holding the highest place. I give you worth-ship.

Last night, I was walking home and listening to Matt Redman’s “10,000 Reasons”

And I realized another way I can make worship a concrete part of my life. It’s by looking at my life, in the exact paths God has led me in His will, and I can say, “God, you’re worth it.”

With all my logic, all my emotions, I can say, God, you’re worth it. You’re worth the struggles, the losses, the hardships, the uncertainties, the dreams not come true– YOU ARE SO WORTH IT.

So, can I worship God by letting go of confusion, doubts, disappointments, and embrace the life He’s lead me to–so kindly, generously let me to–and know by faith that becomes alive in me, by worshiping Him with GOD, YOU ARE SO WORTH IT.

Really, He’s more than worth it! A joy, confidence, and fullness infuses all of life when I worship (“Worth-It”) God.

I don’t like the human perspective of this view, but we are limited by that sometimes. By that I mean, I’m not worth having the Worth-It God. By choosing His ways, I’m not “sacrificing” anything that even rivals Him. In fact, He’s saving me from self-destruction. He’s graciously giving me the best– Himself. Saying it’s “worth it” sounds like there is even some comparison of something good when … there is no comparison at all.

building muscle, and some pretty things

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One thing I’m starting to enjoy on a deep level is flour grinding. There’s something so ancient and elemental about it.

I grind in our BlendTec blender and sift and regrind what doesn’t sift

I’m starting the Curves diet again. I’ve lost muscle and gained fat the last two years because I haven’t followed their maintenance plan. Life has been stressful, so I’ve been debating which is more stressful– life responsibilities/events and using eating as a support, or the stress of gaining weight. It stresses me to gain weight.

So I’m starting their eating plan. I had lovely success last time. However, this first week was a total bust– I allowed myself some high-fat but healthy foods–homemade butter in my coffee, coconut sugar in my coffee, coffeecoffeecoffee, full-fat homemade yogurt … you get the point.

So the first week I actually lost weight, but it was all muscle and I gained fat. I’m so glad for this weighing thing that actually measures what is coming and going! Sheesh. Pulling back into strict mode with the diet.

But I just wanted to say that I’m so happy to be doing this again. And I joined their food school– a nine-week group for education, support, camaraderie. It is a lot of fun!

I love cooking in certain ways. I don’t always love it. But it’s a lovely craft that I enjoy and find beautiful, when I have time to approach it that way.

Polish pottery tea cup

dom, molitva, i virazhenya Boga

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Дом, молитва, и выражение Бога


Бог открыл Себе ко мне сегодня по новому. Сколько Он любит это делать! Он либит и хочет чтоб я каждый день увидела Его во всем.

У меня дневник молитвы, и сегодня две страницы были особенные.

Я реглярно молюсь через 31ую Притчу. Сегодня, стих для молитвы был: “Дайте ей от плода рук ее, и да прославят ее у ворот дела ее!”

Я начала об этом писать в молитве. Как это же не удобно–перед всеми какой-то награду? Хвалят ее на публике….

Потом я думала, ну, какая там награда, и какие дела у нее у ворот? И я заметяла по новому, на сколько жизнь этой женщине было инвестированна в благосостоянии ее семьи, особенно экономично. Я начала опять подумать, мудро ли я использую ресурсы, которые у нас есть, и как я могла бы и лучше действовать? Как я могла бы принемать эти принципы экономичности в моей жизни, культуре, обстоятельства?

Другая страница– У нас сейчас огромный проэкт– ремонт. Мы купили совсем новую квартиру с голими стенами. Это просто мечта! Моя страница: Создание Квартиры-Дома.

 Мой список такой:

  • чтоб мы обладали нашу землю, владычествовали над нею (Быт. 1:28)
  • Гостеприимство
  • Охраняли и благословляли (и мы этого место, и Бог нас)
  • Красота и порядок
  • Выражение Божией природы через наше пространство
  • и вниз– чтобы мы узнали Его терпеливую, целеустремленную природу через этот проэкт (потому, что это длинный но важный проэкт, и это искушеине спешить, не так качественно работать, но мы хотим не спешит просто так, чтоб было сделано, а мудро планировать деталей и доделать хорошо, по возможностей, и т.д.) И я думаю–такой у нас чудесный Бог! Он не спешит, но тоже не ленивит. Он не делает “ход конем,” как нам иногда придется. Он верно наполняет Свою план для нашей вечности и Его славы!

Сегодня эти две страницы молитвы зашли вместе. Помогала Виталию с ремонтом много сегодня. Убрала, шкабила полу чтоб он мог бы шпаклевать, пылесосила, и еще и еще.

Спасибо Тебе, Бог. Я не хочу забывать, что ты говоришь со мной так лично. Спасибо за твой открытый трон.

blagodarnost dayot perspektivy

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Благодарность дает перспективу

Мы сели с детьми и рассмотрели события года с момента последнего Дня благодарения, и мы благодарили Бога. Оглядываясь назад с благодарностью, с ожиданием увидеть Божье провидение, является прекрасным упражнением. Я хочу записать некоторые пункты здесь:

Но сначала, я хочу сказать, что я могла бы вместе этого, писать список трудностей, проблемы,  и неудовольствии. Но, выбираю благодарность и перспектив того, что Бог добрый, щедрый Господин,

Ноябрь 2017 года – ноябрь 2018 года

  • Мы провели прошлий День благодарения в Грузии с моей дорогой подругой. Это было волшебным (в смысле Господа 😉 ).
  • Моя новая кухня. Мне кажется, что я не могла бы даже мечтать о том, что это будет реальное место, мое собственное место, чтобы вкладывать свои ценности и эмоции в каждую каплю. Это приводит меня в красоту, организацию, чистоту, проведение время со семью. И тоже в мокрую, сухую, горячую, холодную, грязную, убирающую, восхитительную работу по “строительству” семьи.
  • Мой личный, рабочий стол на кухне. Все еще в процессе. Но это мой уголок, полно книг, бумаг, свечей, кофейных чашек
  • Виталий получил Грин Кард визу–чудо.
  • Мы отправились в Дисней на один день
  • Мы отпраздновали 50-летняя годовщина моих родителей, и они, конечно же, вернулись в Того, чтобы служить еще больше как миссионеры.
  • Девочки закончили свои книги АВАНА в Штатах, когда за полгода мы были там. И Виктория собирается закончить все свои книги АВАНА здесь, в Украине, и стать лидером. Скайла уже является помощником. У нее есть еще 2 книги. И Андре и Юна также начали АВАНА в этом году и сегодня получили свои футболки. АВАНА была огромной частью жизни моих детей. АВАНА — это что-то я вообще не планировала никогда, но Бог так сильно это использует в нашей жизни!
  • Мы успели сделать много фондрейзинга в США в течение 6 месяцев. Это было хорошо, хотя это чуть не убил меня. Я еще восстанавливаюсь 🙂  Но я готова сделать еще лучшую работу в следующий раз. Тоже в этом году, мы с Виталием учились вместе курс о партнерстве и фондрейзинге, и это тоже дал нам общее видение.
  • В этом году у нас было две операции – оба довольно незначительные, и мы благодарны, что все хорошо.
  • Наша церковь снова стала для меня эмоционально безопасным местом. Бог укрепляет мою связь, как обычно, через молитву, пожертвование, служение.
  • Мы начали ежемесячно поддерживать миссионерскую пару из нашей церкви.
  • В этом году Андре начал первый класс. Он учится читать и он летает через математику.
  • Скайла сказала, что хотела бы принимать крещения – у нее и у Виктории теперь есть наставники, с которыми они встречаются и проходят 24 доктринальных урока.
  • Бог начинает некоторые движение во мне относительно будущего служения, но я пока не вижу Его план или идеи. Жду во вере.

Благодарю Тебе, Бог!

 

giving thanks gives perspective

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So we sat down with the kids and reviewed the year’s events since last Thanksgiving, and we gave thanks.

Looking back with thanks, with expectation of seeing God’s providence, is a wonderful exercise. I want to record some items here:

November 2017-November 2018

  • We spent last Thanksgiving in the country of Georgia with a dear and many-year friend of mine. It was magical, in the Lord’s sense.
  • My new kitchen. I don’t think I could even dream that this would be a real place, my own place, to invest my values and emotions in every drop of it. It leads me into beauty, organizing, cleanliness, togetherness, and the wet, dry, hot, cold messy, cleaning, delicious work of building a family.
  • My desk in my kitchen. Still a work in progress. But it’s my corner, full of books, papers, candles, coffee cups …
  • We went to Disney for a day
  • We celebrated my parents’ 50th wedding anniversary, and they, of course, went back to Togo to serve even more.
  • The girls finished their AWANA books in the States that half a year we were there. And Victoria is about to finish all her AWANA books here in Ukraine and become a leader. Skyla is already also a helper. She has 2 books to go. And Andre and Una also started AWANA this year and got their T-shirts today. AWANA has been a huge part of my kids’ lives. It’s nothing I planned either, just the goodness of God.
  • We did a whole-hog lot of fundraising the US for 6 months. It was good, it almost kilt me. I’m recovering. I’m ready to do an even better job next time 🙂 Vitaliy and I also took a class together about fundraising, and it was totally awesome to get on the same page with that. God’s been making this a ‘thing’ of prayer and providence in my life especially about 4-5 years now.
  • We had two operations this year–both fairly minor, and we’re thankful all are fine.
  • Our church in Ukraine has become a more emotionally-safe place for me again, pretty much. I am becoming emotionally attached in a good way, through prayer, giving, staying involved, etc.
  • We started supporting a missionary couple from our church monthly.
  • Andre started first grade this year. He’s learning to read and flies through his math book.
  • Skyla said she’d like to be baptized– she and Victoria now have mentors (disciplers?) with whom them meet and go through 24 doctrinal lessons.
  • God is starting some moves in me for future ministry, but I don’t see the idea yet. Waiting in faith.

Thank you, God!

New Year is coming!!!

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So, I really like New Year life reviews and direction taking. It’s a double-whammy for me because my birthday is December 30, so I feel like it’s a new year in date and in age at the same time.

Around Oct-Nov, I start getting a clear vision of what the next year’s foci will be, and I start my new practices right away, I don’t wait ’til the new year. So I have already warmed up and see what’s working.

2019 is looking pretty simple. I think God is leading me to go back to praying for at least one hour a day. I may make this more with shorter prayer times in afternoon and evening. But we’ll see what God is wanting with all that as I go along.

In 2017 when I did this one hour of prayer/day, I studied several books about prayer in conjunction with this. This year, I may study The Lord’s Prayer in conjunction with praying.

I will show my new prayer journals soon. But I had another goal come up this morning. It just suddenly clarified in my head– a lot of things from the last YEARS came together to release me into a new thing. I also think one special “older woman” is specifically praying for me, and she contributed to this, too.

It suddenly dawned upon me how satan was/is using my old dreams and desires in times of weakness to make me even more weak. I’m going through the 40s change– my dreams of childhood are having to die and resurrect into reality. And this has been some process for me.

Here is a New Year/New Life resolution for 2019: This year, I want to receive from God joy and contentment. I will refuse to entertain “what if,” “could have,” “might have” … I will live with thoughts of thankfulness for each aspect of my life and God’s leading, will, and blessing.

So, at least for a year, I will put away these ramblings of weirdness into my past desires. It might make my future clearer 🙂 And with prayer, I think God is going to do His transforming work!

So, that’s my 2019 so far 🙂

“Attitudes, Attributes, and Emotions of our family”

Proverbs 31, and praying over today’s events


Praying Daily for your Husband –downloaded from Inspired to Action

the kids’ Education– general, specific


Praying over our marriage vows

 

losing weight again, post 2

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So I posted about this in Sept. and now it’s November. Just like that.

I’ve switched myself to healthy eating (no white sugar, no processed foods) for the most part, and am intermittent fasting. I love coffee, so I made that part of my routine. Coffee with coconut sugar, coconut oil, collagen, butter sometimes, and a few other healthy things. I love having that 🙂

I’ve lost 20 lbs compared to what I was when we left the States end of June. Some I just dropped from coming back to Ukraine. Some from starting regular Curves exercising, some now from eating less/better.

So, I just wanted to record this. I’m around 163 lbs right now.

I also wanted to record my thanks to God for the medical tests I had done recently– blood sugar normal, BP normal, general blood test results normal, EKG normal. Thank you, Lord.

Behold our God

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Who has held the oceans in His hands?
Who has numbered every grain of sand?
Kings and nations tremble at His voice
All creation rises to rejoice

Martin Luther explains how we are made kings in Christ, the King. Luther shows this in Romans 8:28-29, that all things work together for our good to make us like Christ. In this way, we are kings, because all things serve me, all things serve you, to make me/you like Christ. We rule over every event, every detail, because it serves us for the greatest purpose ever–to transform us into the likeness of the greatest Man who ever lived, our older Brother, Jesus Christ.

Who has given counsel to the Lord?
Who can question any of His words?
Who can teach the One Who knows all things?
Who can fathom all His wondrous deeds?

Last term, Vitaliy traveled a lot. And I felt like God gave us special protection each time he was away, that no real issues came up. But now, I see that God is moving His hedge. He’s giving us things to bear while we’re apart from each other. New ways of having to trust Him. Me because I’m dealing with the issue; Vitaliy because he can’t be here to deal with the issue. Our van breaking down. Our daughter staying in the hospital, having surgery. Things like this.

Who has felt the nails upon His hands
Bearing all the guilt of sinful man?
God eternal humbled to the grave
Jesus, Savior risen now to reign!

Along with the trials comes the riches of His grace. I’m coming to know and value His peace in a new way. Trusting God brings with it sanity, stability, strength, purpose, confidence, and joy. With our daughter going into this time of uncertainty, God gave me such a knowing that she is His creation, HIs interest, His child, much more than she will ever be mine.

Behold our God seated on His throne
Come, let us adore Him
Behold our King! Nothing can compare
Come, let us adore Him!

Behold, our God.

Seated on His throne.

Come, let us adore Him.

 


(Behold our God song by Jonathan Baird, Meghan Baird, Ryan Baird, Stephen Altrog)

moments of panic

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Every once in a while, I have moments of panic about “what am I doing with my kids?!?!!!!” And I feel like everything is a failure. This morning in the fuzzy wake-up period, I was having this panic, something like this:

They’ll go to college and XX will just flunk out. She’ll be miserable…. They have no idea what a bibliography is! How could this be? They have no idea how to write a bibliography entry, and will I ever teach them? I have to teach them right now, this year…. They’ll just flunk out of university… Well, XXX might be OK but XX will not do well…. What on earth am I doing??

As I woke up and got more into my rational mind, here’s what I thought: So if I put XX (not book-study-inclined child) in school to “make her ready” for four years of university, she’ll be just as miserable there as she will be in university. It won’t necessarily make her more ready. It might be a worse preparation experience.

Being “outside the system” has its moments of panic. But … does being in the system also have its moments of panic? Probably so. So it’s probably not the question of asking a system to solve my problems.

And am I really educating them just so they can be successful in university? That only lasts 4 years, average, then all your life is ahead of you….

Homeschooling is something like unassisted birth, in that it’s keeping your power to yourself when you could give that power over to another entity as most do. The difference for me personally is that birth thrilled me, but home schooling doesn’t, and I actually have tried to hand it over. But so far God keeps putting back into my hands. I think He wants to use it to change me, to say nothing of whatever He’s doing with my kids and homeschooling.

So fuzzy moment of panic passed…. off to think about bibliographies … ha ha.

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