Archive of ‘себя’ category

two things I really like about American Christianity

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Two things I want to touch on that I like about American Christianity, that I’ve noticed might be somewhat “American,” but I really appreciate what they’ve added to my life. (And it might be the same in other western cutures, I just don’t have a deep experience with other western cultures as I’ve had with non-western cultures. So I don’t know if these two things are characteristic of “Western Christianity” or if they’re “American,” so I may be mis-labeling).

One is the focus on having a personal relationship with God. Perhaps we miss some things because we don’t so much emphasize our collective relationship with God, but I really appreciate the emphasis on the personal.

Second, I appreaciate the American wealth of information and books for intellectual growth. While information doesn’t equal a growing relationship with God, when one is in a relationship with God, fellowshipping with all these other Christians through their books and knowledge adds a lot to my life.

I may enjoy these two things because I’m American and I don’t know differently, but I’ve seen alternatives to this— lack of personal emphasis and lack of knowledge– and it’s made me appreciate these things.

 

trying to figure out Jesus, Social Justice, Suffering, Serving

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I’m sure reams and reams have been written about this already, but I’m going through this process of exploration and discovery myself right now, and I’m not really ready to “read all the answers” in some book. I want God to give me answers through the process. I discover so many things in these processes, I almost dislike the end, when resolution comes. (Though that’s good, too.)

Word to the wise: I like questions. I like open, exploratory, many-answers questions, and leaving some things indefinite. Some people hate this, and if you are like that, I appreciate you, and you might just want to step away now. 😀

I’m trying to work into this topic, but as you can see, I keep circling and circling without really starting. Let me try to start.

Title:

Social Justice Jesus vs. Suffering Jesus

I’m not writing criticism; I’m trying simply to write my observations and experiences and then try to make sense of it to incorporate it into my life.

I grew up with what I kind of understand now to be a Social Justice Jesus. Jesus sees wrong, He rights the wrong. He may suffer doing it, but at the end, He’s the hero, and right wins.

I’m shocked now at how much this sounds like Superman, or any number of American films.

I was with a Georgian (the country) woman last night, talking about hard it is for Vitaliy and I to watch any movies together. Ukrainian (Soviet) movies are so depressing—war, the hero dies, the lovers are parted—it’s just … so pitiful. He says they are written this way because this is what really happened.

Whereas, I love American films—Harrison Ford, Denzel Washington, you know …. Action, good/bad, justice, ethics-loving heroics. Resolution for the heart and head.

And she said, yes, Georgians joke about that, too, how American films have “perfect” endings. And she talked about the Georgian expression—something like, when something good happens, something bad is not far behind. And how they live with an expectation of bad things happening and good things are only momentary and easily dissolved.

Which brings me to suffering Jesus. As an American I don’t think I would have listened to or accepted anyone teaching me about suffering Jesus. I mean, a Jesus who sees people suffering and doesn’t try to Save! them from that social/physical suffering. How can one see social injustice and NOT take (political? physical?) action to correct it? It didn’t fit into my picture of Christ.

The suffering Jesus who was killed at the hands of the Pharisees & co. and the Romans. All His life, He saw many social/religious injustices that they were doing, and He didn’t try to fight or change them really. He suffered them.

Living in a post-Soviet country for 15 years has messed with my brain, messed with my Social Justice Jesus image. I was the Social Justice Jesus follower when I came to Ukraine, and I eventually realized why Ukrainians weren’t fighters—because if you fight for justice, you get killed and justice doesn’t end up happening; things could just get worse. I was just in a conversation with a Russian pastor, and he was also talking about this—that revolutions don’t work; they just bring so much suffering, and then politically, things get even worse.

That’s their experience, and it becomes their expression of Jesus. Just like Americans’ experience becomes their experession.

Now, I’m going to switch tracts and try to outline some problems I’ve seen and personally experienced with the Fight-for-Justice Jesus paradigm:

First: I experienced anger. Ungodly anger, directed towards A. those directly doing harmful things B. those in the higher “systems” that created the system where this injustice was perpetrated C. towards the victims because they continue to walk into it when they really had other, however-non-socially-acceptable options. D. Those who weren’t as upset about it as I was.

This anger began to deform me. And I finally realized that my anger was simply harming me, limiting interaction with those on all sides that I hoped to help, and that my anger would change basically nothing about the situation. Plus, I realized my own anger was the same type of anger that was in the hearts of those perpetrating injustice! I was no better than they were!

Second: I realized that God had not put me in a position to influence the whole system of injustice. Well, not in a leadership position. I could pray. I could put a bandaid on things here or there. But I wasn’t the one God would use to enact systemic change.

I think many of us flounder with this. Because we want to do something. But our “arms,” so to speak, don’t really reach into the realm of actually changing the systems. Nor into the hearts of those perpetrating all this.

I also realized that “victim” is a relative terms. The victim might be a perpetrator when occupying a different place in the system.

Some answers to all this I’ve found so far:: We … maybe have to become content with the smallness of our lives. That we can “only” reach the individuals God puts in our paths. Or we can “only” send money. Or we can “only” write a letter or make a phone call here or there. We will not be Superman changing the entire fabric and direction of a place.

Second:: I had to forgive. And I had to start acting out towards all sides with love. And is this not the cornerstone of justice and reconciliation in Christianity? I had to forgive and open my heart for God’s love to come for all the people in these situations. And to humble myself, to not use my rightness to injure everyone, in all my big desire to “help.” For rightness without love stops being right. It’s not Jesus’ rightness. It’s rightness in the service of our flesh and satan; a rightness that destroys very people rather than destroying the dark spiritual forces around those people.

And sometimes I have to counsel victims, and … I can’t counsel them to fight for social justice for themselves. I have to counsel them with that God has counseled me– to be the suffering Jesus, to know Jesus experientially in injustice.

I guess I’m trying to find how to express in my own life Serving Jesus. Because Jesus set Himself against the systems of the scribes and Pharisees. But Jesus also suffered it; He suffered great injustice and disrespect without demanding that it be righted. He did both in service to us.

So I’m searching for the expression of the Serving Jesus, pondering, thinking about this.

Vitaliy priyehal domoy i moi zhizneni uroki

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Виталий приехал вчера– он неделю был далеко от нас, в Монголии.

Вечер был веселым– встретили, разобрались подарками, пили монголский чай (он же находиться на границу Китая).

Когда я вышла замуж за Виталия, я конечно не поняла все “последствия” нашего союза. И Виталий тоже не знал 🙂 Никто не знает! Кроме Бог.

И это хорошо.

Иногда, мне кажется, что я должна жертвовать слишком много из своих мечтов ради детей, и ради того, что я имею муж-евангелист. Он часто в разъездах, жизнь бывает очень спонтанно– трудно планировать.И еще и еще…..

Раньше, мои жертвы ради брака оказались для меня большие, тяжелие.

Но с годами, некоторые мыслил, факты, и истина мне утешают и направляют:

  1. Виталий очень много и для нас жертвует тоже. Это не только я. Он во многих тоже ограничивает себя.
  2. Вообще, я выбрала жизнь, которую я хотела. Мы миссионеры; я рада, что у нас 4 детей; я рада их обучать дома. И конечно, в этих решеньи есть то, что приносить мне неудобство. Это и везде.И с этими решениями, я должна отказывать от других вещей.
  3. У меня есть друзьи, которые работают, развывают себя не в рамке семьи. Им конечно легче, ни так ли? …. Кажется, что им тоже сложно– переживают о детях, имеют неудобство и жалоби с работой, чувствую что спешят слишком, что жизнь не такая, какая они представляли. Итог: Когда есть дети, получается по-любому, что надо много жертвовать.
  4. Служение и работа Виталия мне наполняет. Он часто мне говорит, что все его плода–это и мои плода тоже. Я очень рада для того, что он делает.
  5. Я учусь сосредоточивать на благословении и радости в этом моменте, на этот день, и не думать о том, что не имею и не делаю.
  6. Я очень рада, что я развиваю в сферах, которых я некогда раньше не думала. Это мне очень ценно

 

my personal health habits

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So, around 40, it dawned upon me fairly quickly that, wow, this body’s going to go downhill pretty fast if I don’t become more humble and self-controlled in my habits. And that in order to take care of my family long-term, I need to take care of myself. The realities of my aging body taught me that taking time and money to take care of myself is not selfish, it’s necessary. I’ll pay out one end or the other, so why not pay out of the prophylactic end?

So, over the last 2-4 years, I’ve been regularly incorporating new habits into my lifestyle. Most of these habits I try to do in the morning (except exercise and Bible reading). I have the most energy, drive, and self-control in the AMs, so that’s when I try to get them done, bam,bam,bam. That’s what works for me anyways.

About healthy habits: there are slews of them. I’ve had to experiment and choose ones that fit to my life and my style 🙂 Yours may differ. Important thing is that we’re doing things to maintain our health.

Habit one: Oil pulling with coconut oil for 20 minutes. I do this very first thing. Why? Oil pulling keeps my teeth healthy, removes toxins, and a bunch of other stuff. You can google it.

Habit two: Drinking half to a whole liter of warm, lemon water. Why: To generally clean and alkalize my body.

Habit three: Body brushing. Why: to move my lymph system, which is important to health and immunity.

Habit four: I try to drink half a liter to a liter of green or pink smoothie a day. Why: easily digestible, real nutition.

Habit five: Exercise. I workout at Curves three days a week. Other days, and even on those days, I also try to do one or two Ballet Beautiful workouts (on youtube). I like Curves because it’s just a feminine atmostphere, it’s weightlifting, it’s all women, and it’s community. I like Ballet Beautiful because it’s short time periods, small space friendly, and extremely effective at shaping slender muscles. Why: Maintaining muscle mass, hormone health, overall health.

Habit six: Looking nice. The world wants us to be ever-panting after beauty yet never feeling satisfied with ourselves. On the other side, God created us with a sense of beauty, and He can give us a satisfaction with how He’s made us. I’ve found it important to learn about style and dress in a nice way, (not saying classy even) just generally nice.  I don’t wear makeup every day, but I have starte wearing jewelry a lot more. I love my perm, too. Dressing Your Truth helped me a lot with this.

Habit seven: Being alone. I am at an age with my kids where they can take care of themselves for a while, and we live close to a mall for this reason, so I can be alone and read my Bible, pray, journal, and maintain my personal relationship with God. Why: This is just as much a part of my health as my physical practices. A close relationship wth God is essential to life, especially abundant life. Also, as a heavily-introverted, home schooling SAHM, this is how I maintain myself in the marathon.

So! Those are my health practices as I “embrace” (to use an overused word) aging.

one key to spiritual growth

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One helpful thing I’ve observed about growing in a real relationship with God in the last few years is this– well, maybe it’s two things:

First: Take it all personally. Every single detail, the timing of every single detail, every pressure (and don’t they seem to come in clusters?), every annoyance, every joy, everyeveryevery. It’s all God’s desire to communicate Himself to us. They all work together for good, to make us like Christ.

Second: Take other people’s sin towards you as from God– not as if God did the sin, but in the sense that He allowed exactly it in order for you to get to know Him more. Forgiving people, over and over, learning to love them … it can be terribly painful (and I’m not at. all. talking about remaining in abusive situations), but it’s exactly how we understand and experience Christ. For example, there are one or two people in my church who drive me nuts, and whose sin has really hurt me personally. But I’ve learned more about Christ through those relationships than I’ve learned from all the people I get along with comblned.

(Exception: Not all learning is painful! I really enjoy learning about God and experiencing Him through Vitaliy. He teaches me so much about God and growth, and it’s usually nice– over coffee and/or on our long drives.)

Bonus: Those things above, plus truer friendship with God, can only really be accepted by us if we agree with God’s goal for us, which is to make us like Jesus, not to make us comfortable.

And thank you, dear God, for your Comforter in the discomfort.

AND! Long-term, there is a neat type of comfort in having lived a righteous life. The hard is so worth it.

my life as a garden, the next big step

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Things are happening in my heart that I need to analyze and record.

(Just pass over this if your not into introspection.)

There are moments of spiritual growth when God just brings together lots of influences to open certain things to me. And it usually starts after years of preparation– years of being bothered by certain things.

So I’ve been bothered the last few years by lack of satisfaction in home schooling, and bothered by my struggle to forgive certain people in our church, well, particularly one person.

Years go by, I live my days, things happen, good things, but still, these two things have, as a pattern, troubled me. And I pray about them, do what I can, as God shows me.

Like the unforgiveness: months back, God showed me to just stop the thoughts, just stop thinking so much about this person/situation and giving it so much “air time” in my brain. Just. Stop. That helped a lot to clear out my mind and be able to not be focused on negativity.

With home schooling, I have been reading, studying, understanding more and more. But I’m still not satisfied by it or enjoying it.

Years ago, I went through this Big Deal with learning about child discipline–the years of preparatory dissatisfaction, then all the influences coming together to bring it all together and teach me something very transformative. And God brought me to this place of joy, where there is a lot of healthy, emotional satisfaction and joy in my relationships with my kids now, as a pattern.

So now, in church relationships and home schooling, I feel like God has done the years of preparatory work, and now He’s going to move into the transformation phase, and I need to write about it. So I can figure things out better, and analyze and enjoy the process.

Phillip Keller, in his book A Gardener Looks at the Fruit of the Spirit,” starts out by talking about types of soil in our hearts. Not just for salvation, but as Christians, the soil of our hearts for bearing the fruit of the Spirit.

And I start to see parts of my heart in the “road” soil he describes, the soil that has been tramped, tramped, tramped down and will not bear.

For example, I started to envision my relationship with this person in my church, and you know, my critical thoughts just tramp, tramp, tramp down the “path” between us. It is impossible for joy to grow in this relationship. It’s impossible for kindness to grow in the path of this connection. It’s impossible for meekness, self-control, goodness, faithfulness, and peace to grow where my critical, suspicious thoughts are tramping, tramping, tramping down the soil.

He talks about our amitions as things that also tramp down the soil. And I’ve been analyzing for a long while now why I am home schooling.  I’m fairly sure it is the will of God for me to be doing this, though we are open to other options. But for these years, this year, right now, it’s pretty clear that home schooling my kids is God’s will for me.

But just doing His will doens’t mean I’m doing it for the right reason–or maybe I could say I could do His will but for wrong or selfish reasons. I have my own little ambitions about home schooling, it seems. Like I have this fuzzy ideal in my head about what our home school should be, and I think that this is my ambition, to achieve this … feeling, or ideal. Where I am the center.

So my ambition is tramping, tramping, and the section of my life’s garden is not bearing peace nor joy.

So that is where I am right now. There are other threads of influence in these realizations:

Love is a major theme because of 1 Corinthains. 13– I spoke about this at a baby shower and from Keller’s book we’re going through how the qualities of Love in 1 Cor 13 match with the fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5. And how Love is the life of God, and the fruit of the Spirit come only as the actual presence of God (not like in a package separate from God).

Krasivie veshchi

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Красивые Вещи

Одно яйцо, сделано в вафельницы

Букет цветов

Книга пуритансие молитв

Чашка для чая

eda, zavtrak, i romantika

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еда, завтрак, и романтика

Последнее время, я ищу разные способы, как “добавить” романтику в моей жизни. Для меня, утром очень романтичное время. Особенно с домашной школы– мы не куда не спишим. Можем наслаждаться в этом медленное время.

Я часто хочу фотографировать свой завтрак! Для меня, завтрак очень романтично. Я люблю это время на кухня, когда маленьких ждет свой завтрак, хотят помочь мне налить, мешать, и т.д. Мы часто делаем 2 завтрака, как хоббити (помните, когда Пиппин хотел свой второй завтрак?).

Первый завтрак– что-то украинский и молочный–манка, гречка, овсяанка. Второй, что-то Американский– обычно ваффли или пэнкейки.

Скайла очень любит готовитьь ваффли. Мне очень нравится, что она все сама делает. 

Бабушка передала нам малиновое варение, поэтому, объязательно сделала ваффли!

Малина из своего сада!!! Какие они красивые! Бог так прикрасно сотворяет фрукти и ягоды!

Я на Второй Фазе диета Кервс, и мой выбор сегодня: 2 яйца с помидорами (кстати, я их сбиваю, потом налю их на сковородке для блинчиков– очень вкусно! И овсянка с малиной.

Вот, немножко романтика

my growth

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I’m probably changing the most in these years, in the Lord, and it happens so quickly, that I want to grab a few moments to record some things I’m learning.

This year, God led me to not have any Bible reading goals or plan but to pray for an hour a day. I added in a bit of Bible reading and some Bible studies because I sensed the need to keep that in my heart, but I mostly try to keep really focused on praying. I don’t pray an hour each day, but I’ve prayed an hour most days, and many days something less than that.

I’m pleased and thankful with what God is teaching me through this. And I don’t think it’s any coincidence that other, big-for-me life events are happening during this year. Like having to apply for a Green Card for Vitaliy. Writing a book. And taking on a debt to buy our very own! apartment. (Much more to come on that, if it really happens. It’s all in the works still, and I can’t believe it until it’s a done deal.)

God is changing me through prayer.  Partly, I think because He’s using prayer to raise in me the awareness and understanding of the issues I’m struggling with in my heart. So I can give them over to Him to be transformed.

Like, I realized that I’ve been more focused on how I’m having to give up some life dreams I’ve had. And that I’m not really thankful and grateful to God for how He’s led my life.

This is horrific, because I have a wonderful life that I wouldn’t trade for anything! And I want to be so grateful for this! And I realized that GOD is more interested than I am in me being fruitful for His Kingdom. And He knows better than I how to give me a fruitful life.

And that’s exactly what He’s doing every step of the way.

He is also changing me through Andrew Murray. I’m reading and re-reading the book Humility. I’m glad I’m sowing the seeds of this in my heart. God will make it bear fruit.

I’m also reading Murray’s book “Rasing Your Children for Christ,” and that is so convicting that I need to take motherhood and these Child-Full Years and be more set apart unto that spiritual work. This is a constant battle for moms, probably through all earth’s history.

So today, convicted to be more diligent in the ways God was leading me to be, I started cleaning the kitchen, deep cleaning. And I enrolled Vika to help, then Andre and Una got involved, too, and it was really fun!

There are other things I’m doing with them more, too, like praying with them spontaneously and in planned way. This is something God is leading.

Oh, another thing, God is leading me into greater self-discipline in my eating. Even more than the Curves diet. It’s combined with a desire to put some anti-cancer practices into my daily life. So I’ve been doing things like cutting out dairy, drinking green tea, eating less meat and more vegetables, especially more cabbage family foods. Drinking 2.5 liters of water. Some juicing of carrots with barley grass and wheat grass. Stuff like that. I got most ideas from this book I’m reading:

So that’s an update/journal of my life right now.

weight loss, 2017

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So, I’m sharing the good, bad, and the ugly about weight loss.

Back in November, I stopped following Phase 3 of the Curves eating plans–that’s the maintainance-keep-adding-muscle-losing-fat phase.

I figured I’d “take a break” for the holidays–Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year. Then, I’d start back again…. You know.

Ha. It’s March and I’ve never started back again. I keep working out three times a week though.

So they offer a repeat Food School– a four-week group where we are back on the diet together and we work on motivating ourselves to keep at this discipline for life. I love doing this work in a group!

So I’m all re-excited about this. I’m back on Phase 1 for a week (1200 cal), to re-set my metabolism. The dietician who leads the class says if it’s too hard with breastfeeding (it was hard the first time–I was feeling really bad sometimes), then to move to Phase 2 (1500 cals). I’m breastfeeding a lot less now, so maybe it will be fine.

It’s not so much the calories that are important. It’s what kind of calories they are– a healthy combo of proteins, carbs and fats. (I’m not going to argue about what’s the right thing, there are just too many opinions. I’m just going to follow this diet because it’s varied  and I have great results on it and it keeps me pretty healthy.)

I’m feeling all poophead that my fat percent is back up to 36.8 (I started at 38.something, then got it down to 29.6). And my muscle is down from 31.7 to 27.9.

But I don’t stay poophead for long! It’s still a huge improvement. And on we go again.

I’m excited!

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