Thursday, February 25, 2016

Hurting hearts


It has been a tough news month. And by that I mean too much of the tough stuff! Some events to make one rely on God and ponder eternity...

Even when I went to the doctor for a prenatal visit a few weeks ago, the lady next to me in the waiting area had "Oncology" stamped on her papers. While I was worrying about getting weighed and measured, others were thinking about life and death. A poster on the wall read "Give Life" and listed some alternatives to abortion, and crisis hotlines.

Meanwhile, a few emails came in from friends in different places whose family members had received sobering medical diagnoses. And we are sent to our knees.



Three years ago now, I wrote a post about orphanage contacts and how when I see friends from the orphanage I'm never really sure whether God is showing me that the door is still open, or just giving me one last chance to kind of wrap up that chapter.

The post in question featured an interesting spontaneous encounter with a former orphanage director named Yuri, who was working when my two sisters were adopted...as well as during the period when we met many of the other kids at summer camp and then followed up with them during subsequent visits to the orphanage.

So 3 years ago I ran into him outside my apartment building and got one of those famous bear hugs. And then just a week ago I heard that he had passed away.

Friday, February 12, 2016

The Epidemic


My MIL brought pizza tonight and David went to bed right on time, so here I am blogging (instead of doing my exercises), and it's not even midnight!

I wanted to give a description of a "public health scare" that we've been dealing with over here...not the Zika virus, though!


2009

I went back to read my blog posts about the last time Swine Flu (H1N1) was here in Russia. I had a pretty light-hearted attitude at that time, as you can read here. Of course, that wasn't due to not taking the flu seriously as much as feeling skeptical towards the media and the way that people act sometimes when they don't even have all the information.

However, that was before I had a husband (who gets the flu sometimes), elderly in-laws, a preschool-aged child, and another one on the way. We do a lot of quarantining.



2016

In mid-January, I begged Andrei to take David to church with him, as it was difficult for me to be alone with him (particularly in the evening) while suffering from morning sickness. However, Andrei said it would be better for David to stay at home too as there was "currently a flu epidemic." I will admit that these words didn't really click with me, as it seems there is always "something going around."

Then shortly after, Andrei's mother came down the flu right after visiting us. And a friend texted me about the epidemic, and another friend posted a photo on Instagram wearing a sanitary mask, and then Andrei called at the very moment I was reading the news. We had discovered right around the same time that not only the flu, but the Swine Flu was back in Russia. Though I didn't see many news headlines, St. Petersburg was indeed mentioned as having recorded several deaths already.


Wednesday, February 3, 2016

If you didn't catch the vision


There have been some interesting posts this month lately (whoops, it isn't January anymore) about what people are hoping for in the new year.

The "one word" theme seems to be especially popular. I wonder if that has always been true or if it's a more recent phenomenon. Some popular ones seems to be "focus," "simplify," "engage," "listen," etc. Interesting because some of those seem to be a natural part of a cycle. We get tired and find the need to simplify and be still. Then we get rejuvenated and start to dive into things with a new intensity. Then we have too many commitments and try to hone in on one thing more intensely. And then we get tired...

Do you have a word or verse for this year? I'm curious to hear. You could leave a comment here or even email me.

But...I probably won't join you. Partly because I don't understand how one goes about "choosing" a word. Certain things will be on our hearts in any given season, and those are the things we will pray about. If we are planning a move, we may have "home" or "dwelling" or some other such word running through our head. Naturally we may search the Bible for that theme. But I guess I wouldn't read any more into it.

And my other question is about whether or not we can join someone on the journey. One person feels called to fast...can we join that calling too, or should it be individual? Should we feel bad if we DON'T get the same nudge or feel moved by someone else's urge to make changes?

What about at a "corporate" church level? Should a church congregation have a particular verse for the year? What is the basis for choosing it and encouraging everyone to focus on the same verse?

I understand that many people believe that God is "giving" them a word. I don't doubt that, but for me it is as spontaneous as remembering a certain hymn which reminds me of a certain aspect of faith.

Is there a difference between "choosing" a topic/word, and God dropping one into our laps divinely? I do like to do word studies and I see a benefit in that. I think that the desire to study something in depth can come from the Lord. But I guess I just wouldn't go so far as to call it my Word of the Year.

Thoughts?