Archive of ‘духовный рост’ category

Notes about Peace

by

I gave a talk about peace a while back, and I want to record my notes here so I can throw the paper away.

Peace: a by-product of trust; a state of mind that reveals our hearts. Worry and fears are signals about how we’re relating to God.

Peace is powerful– people face cancer, martyrdom, death with peace-filled hearts! There is no law against it, and Satan and Christ’s enemies must hate this.

Peace is part of a package– it comes with love, joy, patience, etc.

Peace facilitates relationships. A peacemaker is not just someone who reconciles, but a peace-maker … is kind of like a snow-maker– it’s someone who actually generates peace. They create/generate calmness and stability. We often dont’ see the end or resolution of an issue or conflict or trial, but peace can be ministered through a peace-maker to those going through these hard times.

Are you a minister of panic, fear, hate, shame? or a minister of peace? Am I addressing this conflict, trial, life circumstance in a way that creates and spreads righteous peace?

Is my life being a magnifying glass of the qualities of God?

responding to evil: cynicism, stoicism, content with “proximate good”

by

I grabbed this off the shelf of McKays and recently became very absorbed in it. I didn’t know what the book was about when I grabbed it, but it addresses deep questions I’ve had from my experiences of working in birth and missions (and observing politics).

Visions of Vocations: Common Grace for the Common Good by Steven Garber

This book is basically about how we respond, as Christians, to evil and injustice that exist in the world.


I won’t restate everything, just two main ideas that really helped me personally.

First, his key idea is about knowing/seeing the world, and still loving it. Why is this hard? Because when we see evil, wrong, injustice, we have two natural reactions:

  1. Cynicism–disillusionment; “this is the way the world is, so stop imagining a world that doesn’t exist;” this is a way of protecting our hearts from being wounded again; **key insight: that in cynicism, we are learning from nature, from life, how we are to live (not learning from God).
  2. Stoicism–apathy; intentional indifference; we can know about evil but not respond; look away from the problems we see.

Both are ways of protecting ourselves from hurt and involvement. God, with all the evil He sees, doesn’t react with cynicism or stoicism. He sees the world the way it is, and He still loves it. And loves mean staying involved in a good way.

The second idea that really helped me was his chapter on “proximate good.” That we need to learn the humility of being content with our efforts not totally “fixing” the wrong. We can’t make things perfect. We have to be content with doing “proximate” good.

In birth, my experiences made me both stoical and cynical, and I was very frustrated that I couldn’t “save” everyone.  So this book gave me some good insights, and not just for birth work, but for all work and how to respond to evil in the world.

overcoming cynicism

by

Struggling with cynicism kind of blind-sided me, and I was talking about this the other day and had some more insights that I would like to write out.

I realized I was struggling with cynicism when we’d had our rehab center for a few years. Vitaliy was regularly counseling with these guys, and he’d share bits of their stories and things they’d said.

After a few years of men saying things then doing the opposite, I started to listen to Vitaliy with what I later realized was cynicism. Oh, the guy said such and such. ***Internal snort*** “Riiiight,” I might say. Tone of voice was everything in cynicism.

The Lord convicted me of becoming hard-hearted and cynical. And the statement from the Bible He used to save me and give me a way out was from I Corinthians 13, “Love hopes all things.”

And here’s what I was recently able to put into words: In cynicism, there is no hope. There is no hope for salvation or change. One can be cynical towards others and towards oneself.

He can never change, cynicism says. I can never change, cynicism says.

But it’s really an attack on a foundational pillar of God’s character. Because it’s believing that God can never change him. God can never change me.

Cynicism says, “There is no hope for salvation or change.” Cynicism comes alive because its hope is placed on people, and people will always disappoint.

But the Love of God hopes all things. It’s important to guard that soft, vulnerable place that hopes. That hopes that God can change people and God can change me. 

And this is the key: that hope is not founded upon the words or strivings of men. The hope of God’s love is founded upon the power of God Himself. This is what makes Hope strong.

So, I’ve been erecting and tending the guard around the soft, vulnerable place of hope in my heart by basing that hope on the God of all Hope–the One who has all power and goodness to effect His will on earth.

“Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven.” This is the prayer of hope over the grave of cynicism.

Streli satani

by

В нашей воскресной школе для женщин (в Америке, первый час собрания идет по классам, и дети и взрослые), мы сейчас проходим курс Присциллы Ширер, Всеоружие Божие.

А кроме всего возьмите щит веры, которым вы сможете погасить горящие стрелы дьявола. Еф. 6:16

а паче всего возьмите щит веры, которым возможете угасить все раскаленные стрелы лукавого. Еф. 6:16

Из-за этого учения, я что-то очень важно поняла: что стрелы дьявола– сомнение, страхи, и т.д.– они звучить точно так, как мой собственные мысли. На пример, я хочу учить своих детей дома. У меня нет культурные барьеры в этом вопросе потому, что в Америке люди уже давно это делают. (Поколение моей маме, они переступили барьеры культура для нас, чтобы общество сейчас видит это как нормальный выбор. Они действовали против течение общества, стояли перед угрозы попасть в тюрме ради этого, боролись законами, и т.д. Теперь у нас большая свобода и большой выбор программы.)

Но, все равно, сатана, как всегда, хитро атакует сами важные отношении, которые Бог сотворил: семья. И это значит, и мое отношение с моими детьми.

Как он это делает? Я сейчас начинаю это понять:

У меня появится сомнение и страхи, прямо в моих мыслях! Звучит это все прямо как я!

Когда я начала 6-7 лет назад, я сомневалась: Мне уже так сложно с ними– и контролировать себя, и воспитывать их …. и потом школная занятия добавить к этому! … Мне очень не хотелось заниматься собой, работать чтобы понять как с ними строит здоровое отношение– это огромный, изнурительный труд. (Но я хочу сказать, что НЕ заниматься собой, НЕ учиться строить хорошие отношение с детьми и вести их в этом учение тоже– это получается еще хуже и труднее!)

Если мое побуждение и желании иметь близкие отношение с детьми и учить их дома не было бы так сильно, то я наверно бросила бы эту идею.

Но, хочу остановится и сказать: я сейчас понимаю, что эти сомнение и страхи не просто неоткуда. И понятно, что эти мысли тоже не от Бога, чтобы “вести” меня в Его воля. Они против Его воля. Он очень желает, чтобы у нас в семьи были хорошие, близкие отношение. Учить детей дома или нет, Он хочет чтобы я училась и работала, чтобы строит близкие отношение с моими детьми.

От сатаны эти мысли? Они звучит так логично, так правильно, как прямо от меня…. Но  я сейчас понимаю их как “горящие стрелы дьявола.”

Тоже самое с мыслями об их темпераменты– Ох, ее темперамент так отличается от моем, я не могла бы ее учить дома, я не могу с ней строит близкое отношение.

…. Да? Это ПРАВДА? или ложь?

В школе это не будет тоже самое проблема с разними людьми, с с каждым ребенком? И в жизни вообще, мне не надо вести отношение с людьми с разними темпераментами чем мое?

Не забывайте, сатана хочет украсть, убить и погубить наше близкие отношение.

Теперь, мы мудрее, “чтобы сатана не смог нас перехитрить, а намерения сатаны мы прекрасно знаем”. 

 

 

 

enjoying a day

by

So, I’m trying to focus myself on enjoying these homeschooling days because God seems to put this before me year after year, and I want to start learning all the lessons I can from it.

I wonder sometimes about the childhood He is giving my children. It’s a subject I have to trust Him with. We all do, right? Our kids can’t choose their childhoods– nobody chooses it. I was thinking this AM about the Royal Family– so many rules and constraints to live by, and they didn’t choose it– they were born into it. A spouse– well, that feels more like choosing.

Also, a general theme in my life at this time is learning: That all the results/consequences that I live out now from choosing God’s will at certain earlier moments of my life–those results are also God’s will for my life. And I need to embrace those things, too, as God’s meaningful, purposeful, exact. good will for my life. Even though I feel like I didn’t directly CHOOSE these factors of my life, I actually DID choose them. I was actively choosing the life I have now when I was making particular, large decisions about “God’s will” for my life. Like choosing to live in Ukraine. Like choosing to marry. Like choosing to marry a Ukrainian. Like choosing to have our children. Like choosing to be employed as missionaries.

Those are choices I/we have made according to God’s will. Accepting that the fall-out of those choices is just as much God’s will … that is my life lesson right now.

So, I’m learning to value and even enjoy the fall-out. 🙂 It’s a process. I could just grit my teeth and endure it. But who wants to live like that? I’d rather spend the effort learning to enjoy it. So I’m watching how I live my days a little more. Trying to count the moments a little more.

In the spirit of that, here are some photos from today:

reading a book with Una

Andre and Vika played Legos for a bit

Working through The Armor of God (Shirer) Bible study our ladies’ SS class is going through

Andre wanted to make a pyramid yesterday, so we did

After our trip to Walmart, I saw this funny scene on our kitchen counter

I love how our kids just get tired and put themselves down for naps, and while they slept, Vika and I restfully read; she finished Little Women and I read A Pocketful of Pinecones.

Vitaliy and Skyla went fishing today

These are from yesterday

A nice day to remember.

creationism and raising children

by

I know Creation/Evolution is something that some folks are very emotional about. I’m not terribly emotional about this topic, personally. So, I’m saying that to say: I want to talk about creation in the light of childbirth and childrearing, but as I’ve said before, I hate conflict. I’m not writing this to stir up arguments, especially online. So please don’t comment.

I myself have been surprised at how convinced I’ve become about creationism, without even really studying the issue. I don’t read books about it, watch shows, whatever. I’m biased towards believing creationism, and I “see” things that support my view. If I were biased to believe evolution (as a Christian), I’d probably find things that support that view, too. I do believe that “evolution” happens, but not in the way Evolutionists explain it. I guess I see evolution more as adaptations and changes. I don’t see unlike creatures evolving from the same source.

Anyway, that’s not where I’m going here. I want to tell you about my experience that really got me to thinking about creation/evolution  in my own way.

I had a couple I was a doula for, and the man once commented about how human babies are born very undeveloped (compared to animals) because their heads have to fit through the female pelvis. So human babies are born very “early” because it evolved that way. That was his point.

I thought about that a lot.

You know, I don’t think anything about childbirth is a work of evolution. I see design throughout the entire process of pregnancy and childbirth. The hormones alone! are enough to convince me of this. . I think pregnancy and childbirth was designed so exactly to work: the hormones (preventing contractions, then causing contractions, relaxing the human tissues, etc), the pelvis design, the bones of the baby’s head, and on and on. It is so exactly designed to work. I mean, it’s awesome, in the truest sense of that word. Pregnancy and birth is not a catastrophe waiting to happen- it’s a well-designed process that sometimes has variations, and in a few cases something goes wrong (usually explain-ably).

I also don’t think human babies are born “early” as evolution teaches. I think God exactly designed them to be born at the exact time they are born. To be uber-dependent on parents for a very long time, compared to animals. I believe that all the stages of child development are planned. By God. For very specific reasons. I think it goes back to the fact that we are made in God’s image, why our children have such an “extended” time of development. I don’t think this evolved. I think it’s always from the start been made to be this way.

I will close with the reminder, no arguing. I don’t really want to talk about this, I’m just sharing, and this is my space in which to do so 🙂

fundraising: an armor of God prayer

by

In our ladies’ Sunday school class, we’re studying Priscilla Shirer’s The Armor of God.

I want to back up a minute and give a bit of context. For many years of my life, God emphasized talking to me through Scripture. By “talking” I just mean generally teaching/leading me. In 2017 He emphasized teaching/leading me in prayer. And this year He’s been opening my heart to be taught/led through His people.

Now, all these factors (prayer, Scripture, God’s people) have always had places in my relationship with God. He just is maybe filling it out more or something, balancing it, or making me focus on them more intensely and individually for certain periods.

So, honest moment, I’m normally somewhat nonplussed by pre-written Bible studies. But due to God’s emphasis in my life right now, I’ve been specifically working to open my heart to this.

It’s been an incredibly insightful study, helping me shift my thinking about some major, long-standing issues. She emphasizes prayer. And truth. So I wrote a prayer about fundraising, based on the truth.

Dear God, fundraising is a good work You planned for me to do so long ago. It has eternal value and rewards from You. In my weaknesses, You are strong. God, in the acts of fundraising, You are fulfilling my desires–good desires that You’ve placed in me to serve people and Your church, to make others fruitful for eternity. Fundraising is a path of righteousness in my life, it is part of my life’s cup overflowing. Lord, especially in fundraising, I lack nothing because You are my shepherd. May I live ever deeper in the life of Christ, gloriously fulfilling the specific part of Your magnificent plan which You’ve entrusted to and ordained for me to fulfill. And may I know Jesus through this, experientially know Him, His suffering and resurrection power, that others may also know and be emboldened to believe and obey who You truly are.

In Jesus’ name,

So be it.

 

Fundraising: seeing the hand of God

by

Fundraising as a way of life amazes and blesses me more and more. The people we meet, the acquaintances we renew, the conversations we have about all of our roles in bringing the gospel to all the world ….

I will be realistic and say that as a person that’s pretty far down the line on the introversion scale, I need recover time. But the conversations and people are incredible.

I have asked God for emotional stability in fundraising, that it would not be a roller coaster of ecstasy or depression. And He is doing that. Today was a tempting day, though, but also a very encouraging day. I want to record it.

First of all, God reminded me a week ago, that in order to bless us in fundraising, He needs to have efforts to bless– that we need to be working consistently towards our goals, and let Him do the work of matching our partners and meeting everyone’s needs.

Our ladies’ SS group is going through Priscilla Shirer’s study, The Armor of God. I sat down to begin it today, and I realized that Satan sure can feed me lies about fundraising– this is such a slow process, you’re going nowhere, what’s the use  … It’s lies, because that’s all that Satan can say, you know. He can’t ever tell the truth.

It’s ridiculous. The Scripture that ministered to me today is from Ephesians 1:18-19:

 I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know …. what is the surpassing greatness of His power … 

Enlighten my eyes! Give me Your light! … The truth is that fundraising is pretty easy for God, now isn’t it. There’s nothing difficult or hard about it for God. So the process that is our fundraising has exact, purposeful reasons why it takes whatever length of time it does, why it is a cyclical process, etc.

Today I read a letter that someone had sent me to our mission agency address:

Dear Anne,

What a precious gift you have been to me. When you spoke at [our church]…, I was exposed, my facade crumbled before the Lord. I believed my sin to be unforgivable, but you believed it was already nailed to the cross. And so the Holy Spirit began a great work in me. The relief, joy, freedom has been great….Your sister in Christ Jesus, ….

Oh dear God, may I never begrudge You another day of living Your will for my life, whatever that may be.

Let me go on a tangent here: You know how financially squeezing times come to us at certain times? Sometimes there are no big expenses and life flows on. Other times, it seems like expenses loom large, a tidal wave of them. We are in that time right now. Plane tickets, a new van, apartment renovations, international document fees, putting Skyla and Vika in Christian school next year. Thousands of dollars.

These are each matters that God has very specifically led us into, each one. It’s not timing we personally chose.

What I didn’t know until that afternoon was that the writer of that letter had enclosed a check for $1,000.

Oh dear God, teach me to identify and disbelieve the lying voice of Satan so the eyes of my heart be enlightened to know the surpassing greatness of Your power.

 

a flash of insight….

by

…. that changes a lot.

I’ve posted sometimes about the feelings I have about my life– what’s the value of my life? what am I doing? what about unreached dreams? stuff like that I’ve been struggling with cyclically as I age.

So, I was telling Vitaliy about a week ago, “I think God wants me to think about this. Usually when something bothers me in this way, it’s a signal of where He wants to speak to me.”

I may have gotten the answer that closes the cycle. Finally.

I was late-night yakking with a friend about my frustrations, and a flash of insight shot into my brain.

I’ve been assuming the wrong question. It’s those hidden assumptions that are so foundational to everything, and we often don’t see them there– because we’ve assumed them.

For life analysis, I’ve been assuming the question: Is my life fulfilling? And that assumed question makes me land on slippery ground when I try to answer it. Yes. No. Maybe so. …. It’s always changing. It rubs painfully on the parts where I am still in the dark and need to trust God with my future.

And along with that insight followed this:

The better question to be asking/answering in order to evaluate my life is: Am I being obedient? faithful? fruitful? Am I letting the Son of God live in me in ever greater surrender?

It’s rather painful to pry my mind off the topic of personal fulfillment. But I think it’s the only healthy option. “Fulfillment” is not a goal, it’s a by-product, a result. Like happiness. It may be felt, it may not be felt. But it’s not the point. It’s not the goal of my life– to feel fulfilled.

Am I being obedient, am I being faithful, am I being fruitful in the revealed will of God for my life? Those are the truer questions.

… It’s a shift. It’s a transformation, a renewing of my mind.

It is learning to pray with greater sincerity: “Our Father in heaven, … your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”

a giving testimony: 1

by

As we fundraise, it arises memories for me of specific instances God’s led me to give. I want to record one here.

This was maybe 5 years ago. Somehow, I don’t remember how, I met a woman from Iran or Iraq who was a UN refugee (along with her adult son) for being a Christian and the persecution they suffered there.

We would occasionally see each other, I don’t remember how or why.

And one day God impressed on me very strongly that I was to contact her and give her a for-us large sum of money. It was a very strong, certain knowing that God wanted me to do this.

Pause a moment. You know how sometimes you give money in obedience to God, and in return He blesses you with even more money? I’ve had this happen to me several times.

But this time, when God was impressing me to do this, He “said” very clearly: I will not give you more money because of this. I just want you to give this amount and have a tight month financially.

So I did it. And it was tight, but we were OK.

I have no idea what God was doing for her at that moment. She left as a refugee for the States several months after that. But He was teaching me to discern His voice and obey no matter what. It’s what I’ve been learning my whole life, is it not?

Obedience is a theme God has been putting in my path a lot these last few months.

Happy obedience. An obedience that is secure in the love and knowledge that Christ did all righteous acts for my behalf already, that I have no standing to earn before God. I can obey in joy.

And understanding that the fuller blessings of intimacy with God for His children come through each one’s obedience to His specific will.

This time of fundraising is a time I distinctly feel that I am obeying God’s specific will for my life right now. And He presses this upon me over and over, that this fundraising is His will. He is working and doing His will in His people and in us through this. I don’t comprehend all the ends and purposes He has going on, but it’s going on.

🙂 Amen.

1 2