enjoying a day

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

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

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

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….

…. 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

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.

bolshoi sposob ocvyasheniya uvazheniye propovedye vashixh pastorov

Большой способ освяшения: уважение проповедей ваших собственних пасторов

В начале, я хочу объяснить контекст этого поста:

  1. я не говорю о том, что пастори не должны учится.
  2. я не говорю о том, что надо остаться в цервки где учят неверную доктрину о Боге.
  3. я говорю о ситуации, когда вы выбрали быть членами какой-то хорошей церкви.

Есть всегда причины, почему не надо очень слушать или “уважать” проповедей ваших пасторов….. Во время проповеди, мы отвлекаем себя и другим: Можно гулять, можно на телефоне быть, можно слушать но не думать дальше об этом. Можно просто находиться на собрании для компания. И так далее.

У нас разьне причины, почему мы думаем, что не надо “уважать” проподеди своих пасторов. На пример:

  • Он не научений человек
  • Он не понимает мой мир (он старый)
  • Он не проповедует в экзегетическом стиле
  • Его проповеди не меняют меня
  • Он не говорит о моих проблемях

Что еще? Пишите здесь: ________________

Я повторюсь: Во всех вермен, были верующие християние, которые придумали разьние “хорошие” причины, почему им не важно слушать внимательно и уважно проповеди их пасторов.

На сегодняшный день мы думаем, Ох, есть интернет– я могу слушать проповеди того проповедника или другого. Он такой умный, научений, и т.д.

Даже маскируем этот грех духовными причинами– “Они лучше разбирают Слова. Они больше знают о Боге…..”

Пожалуйста, слушайте их! Это полезний способ, как провести время.

Но, без услышане-c-уважением проповеди своих пасторов, вы не можете рости духовно нормально.

Бог именно дал вам этого пастора (или этих пасторов). Есть конкретные причины у Бога, почему у вас именно этот пастор. И относится к носителью Слова Бога с неуважением, это прямо так, как не уважать Бога. Звучит строго, но во всех отношениях, это так. Мы показываем состоянием наши сердца в том, как мы относимся к людям.

Я не хочу только негативно об этом писать, а позитивно тоже.

Верующие– вы хотите рости?! Менятся?! Идти прямо к пастору и сказать “меняй меня!” –без польза конечно. Но у Бога есть план. Открыть своего сердца, и прийти на собрание раз в неделью с желанием учиться у пастора– такая поза сердца, Бог ценит, и Он воздасть в сто крат! С верою, слушайте! Бог будет оживлять Своего Слова. И такое решение– это саме большое изменение!

Есть у вас дети? Они это все учят от вас! Молодцы! Как это важно для них! Мы учим им примером– наши устные инструкции естественно происходят тогда.

Хочу заклучиться с примером моего мужа. Он покаялся в 17 лет. Он жил в селе. В церкви были воснальном бабушки и некоторые старые дедушки. Как человек в том возросте и с тяжелем прошлым мог бы рости в такой церкви? … Как люди, мы были бы “умнее” Бога, да? Эх, такой человек …. ему надо что-то “лучше” конечно.

Но Бог смотрет со всем по-другому. Он спас этого человека и посадил ему именно там, где ему надо было быть, чтобы рости.

Но, с закрытым, критическим сердцем, он не рос бы.  И только по милостьи Бога, он осталься бы верным к Богу.

Но с открытым, почтительным сердцем, как он рос! На таких проповедях! Он рос, рос, рос.

Какой это ключ для роста в Боге……

Испытай меня, Боже, и узнай сердце мое; испытай меня и узнай помышления мои; и зри, не на опасном ли я пути, и направь меня на путь вечный. Пс 138:23-24

Многие благословение християнской жизни, мы не можем получить без послушаиня. Пусть Бог дает нам Свое милость, чтобы мы слушали Его в этом.

when we ‘naturally’ criticize someone

In my last post, I mentioned a life situation in which I ‘naturally’ habitually criticize someone (or two…). And I feel so right and justified in my opinions, that I don’t even realize I’m having a critical spirit. For me, it’s usually leadership figures that irk me somehow.

(** Pause to say that I’m not talking about constructive criticism, if you know what I mean.)

Someone asked me what to do with those critical thoughts when you realize they are a sinful pattern of thinking. We can’t just leave a vacuum in our minds.

This is a great question, and I don’t have all the answers. But I will write a few answers that I see working in my life.

First, I want to say that as I’ve aged, there is one element of Christianity that I appreciate more and more: being open to change. Christianity teaches us to be open to being changed. Rather than rooting deeper and deeper into sinful habits, we’re taught to be open to God’s transforming power, to becoming like Christ.

This dawned on me when I realized that some people think, say, and do wrong things, and they might never think to stop it, to change, to become more like the brilliant life-liver that Christ was. (Christ lived the most brilliant life EVER; He is a glorious pattern of life.)

Second, about criticism particularly. I ask myself how Christ thought about, spoke about, and treated people. He had every right, every speck of knowledge, in order to be correctly critical of every. single. person. ever alive. He could be standing before His Father criticizing us, and He could be RIGHT about it.

And maybe that’s one way to understand our critical spirits– it might be true, but it’s not lovingkindness. And when truth is not united with lovingkindness, it’s not Christ.

Second, I make a serious agreement with God: 1. I will stop running the tape of critical thoughts through my brain. I actually made a list of things that God would like me to think about to take the place of those critical thoughts– my husband, my kids, God’s Word, etc. I posted this in my kitchen. 2. I will stop the words, even (especially!) to those closest to me that I feel free to criticize to about those people that bug me (I’m most open to my my husband and a few close friends, so those are the people who hear my critical thoughts because I know they are sympathetic to my opinion). I told God that I would STOP. And really, why pollute my closest relationships with my negativity about others? In one way, I feel like I’m trapping myself off from my only ways of expressing myself, but you know, I don’t need to express those sinful things to anyone anyway! I had to Just Stop. Stop the thoughts, stop the channels in relationships with those who listen to me.

Third, like Christ, we begin interceding. This is what Christ did and does for us. In His long prayer in John, He intercedes for us about out unity– that we would be one.

Holy Father, keep them in your name, which you have given me, that they may be one, even as we are one. While I was with them, I kept them in your name, which you have given me. I have guarded them, and not one of them has been lost except the son of destruction, that the Scripture might be fulfilled. But now I am coming to you, and these things I speak in the world, that they may have my joy fulfilled in themselves.

Jesus is probably praying right now for our unity– that we be one even as He is with the Father. And He prays that His joy be fulfilled in us!

It helps me to remember this. And to remember that unity and joy go together. Those that I criticize–  well, in our shared faith in our Savior, I have more in common with them than I do with most people in the world.

Those are some thoughts that have helped me with the tendency to criticize.

friendship with God

We’ve been in the States a month now. I’ve read these three books:

  • Max Lucado’s God’s Story, Your Story
  • Henry Blackaby’s Created to Be God’s Friend
  • Eric Metaxas’ 7 Women

One theme God keeps bringing up in my life is how friendship with Him is connected to obedience– intimacy comes with a commitment to follow God’s ways. I’ve heard and known this for years, but it’s a truth God is bring up over and over in my life right now.

Part of friendship is constantly being ready to change myself–to change my thoughts, words, and actions when God shows me that they are not His ways. By being open and willing to change (rather than stubbornly rooting myself in the thoughts and reactions that came naturally and initially out of my heart) God is able to lead me into greater closeness to him when I let His thoughts take their place.

For example, there was a person in my life I’ve had a critcal spirit towards for several years, and it didn’t occur to me that this was sinful–it just was ‘naturally’ the reaction I had to this person. Vitaliy brought this up not long ago and recommended that I think about changing this, and I immediately knew that he was right; it was thoughts and words I needed to change.

This has come up in other areas of life, nothing earth shattering, but it’s very life-giving when I realize that I’m not following God’s thoughts in these areas. Along with this, a new truth dawned on me. The verses in James about wisdom being pure, peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, etc. aren’t just talking about situational wisdom. It’s all the time wisdom. All my thoughts all the time about everything should be characterized by this heavenly wisdom. All my thoughts all the time about everything should be full of mercy, reasonable, pure, gentle….

All my thoughts about fundraising– and I am learning a lot about how God wants me to think about this– should be characterized by this, too. (More on that later.)

So, I’m being led deeper into obedience and friendship, which is why I like reading Blackaby and Lucado, because I think they’re down this way further than I am and know how to speak about it. I wish I were a lot further then I am now, but …. oh well.