Today is Vitaliy’s 41st birthday. Most people don’t know my husband very well, as he is slow to open the treasure of his heart. And it’s just hard for him to do. But I have been privileged to be the one blessed to be so close to him, so I’m going to “interpret” my husband a bit, for the public. I want to do this because he’s such a godly man and a generally interesting person to know.
It took me a couple of years to realize the depth of thoughts and insights about theological things. In general, Vitaliy has a very focused mind that is able to mull over and comprehend in amazing depth complex issues. And he’s able to express these things fairly simply (in three languages, no less 😉 ).
Much of Vitaliy’s thought life revolves around his sermons. He’s been preaching for 24 years now, and in a Ukrainian village, where he started, sermons are expected to be an hour long. So maybe it was the early years after his salvation that taught and disciplined his mind to circle around God’s thoughts and ways and how to express this to people.
A pastor of a partnering church once showed Vitaliy his extensive cataloging/interlinking system for his books and sermon prep (something like this), and at that time, Vitaliy set up, on his computer, an intricate way to interlink and categorize sermon notes and other materials for his preaching. So when he has his little laptop out during sermons, that’s what he’s doing, and why he preaches from his screen notes, too.
He’s read people like Martin Luther, Jonathan Edwards, and other puritans whose names begin with John 😉 He is able to synthesize their ideas adeptly. Vitaliy is an external, verbal processor, though it’s hard for him to be gregarious, so I’m basically the one who listens to him for longish periods of time, I listen to his early formations of how to express things he’s learning. And I have learned tons from this.
One time of intense spiritual growth, around 2008, maybe? occurred in Vitaliy, and by listening to him and reading some things he pointed out to me, it was probably the deepest time of spiritual maturing ever in my life.
One thing Vitaliy says that has stayed with me is: to be open to re-understanding passages of Scripture. Often, in immaturity, we think we’ve grasped some passage or idea. But as we continue growing, we need to be OK with revisiting those places and letting God re-form our understandings. It’s one way we keep growing.
Vitaliy has years of experience in pastoral issues, which also surprised me when it dawned on me. Just having to deal so long with so many practical issues in people’s lives in counseling, along with his thoughtfulness and spiritual insight, gives him a lot of wisdom in handling situations.
Probably the strongest quality in Vitaliy’s life is self-control. I think this stems back to his conversion. Before he was saved, he was a very violent person who used his mind and physical strength for destructive purposes. It was actually very good for him to be saved into a pretty strict church/environment. All those habits were basically cut off at one time. He has immense control over his words, tone, actions, etc., and I think this stems back from this time.
Vitaliy and I are both pretty sensitive souls, too, in a good way, I hope, so neither of us can bear for long the feeling of emotional distance in our relationship. So, we’re pretty tight-knit in that way. And I appreciate his ability to sympathize with my situation and experiences.
He probably came more thoughtfully than I into an international relationship.
I have appreciated his honesty with money and other dealings.
Having children is his second childhood. He is good about being inconvenienced in order to do things with the kids. He doesn’t even view it as an inconvenience, which is nice; he just accepts that when he’s involving the kids, he has to slow down and probably not do so much.
He’s the wrestler, gun-shooter, ball-player parent of fun that I will never be.
Vitaliy’s other great quality is that he is stubborn/determined. This periodically drives me nuts, but much more often, it’s what gives him staying power to get a job done, to get a thing fixed, to work out an issue, to follow through with the un-fun, to learn another language, etc.
So, that’s a little about Vitaliy on this, his 41st birthday.
Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church—for we are members of his body.