Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Splitting up

Have you ever been in a church split? How did it make you feel? How did you deal with it? Were you a leaver or one left behind? One going out or sending?

We have "lost" maybe 2/3 of our congregation in the last 6 months. Doesn't matter why, but I feel like I have to grieve a little bit.

Reactions may vary and range from gossip to prayer to the hope of a turning over a new leaf. The problem with the optimistic approach, I've found, is that it doesn't allow for processing what's happened. And what has happened? It's quite typical/normal for followers of Christ to move on and worship in a new group of like-minded believers. There can be many reasons for this and they don't even have to be super "spiritual."

But when people leave because of some sort of conflict or unfulfilled dream, it feels to me like giving up on relationships. It feels like divorce. I know some might argue with me and say that sounds harsh. And I know divorce isn't the ultimate sin, either, but I feel that premature separation removes the chance for reconciliation. Harboring discontentment and then leaving without problem-solving takes away the chance for repentance and forgiveness. As each family/individual leaves, I want to believe that they are in God's will, on the path of righteousness. I sincerely desire all whom I love to be walking with Christ. But how could a broken relationship be His will? And how could it be right for one person's decision to uproot others, regardless of whether or not they would have eventually moved on? Is it a paradox?

We walked together and became cleaved to each other, in a way. I sort of alluded to this in a birthday post. When you are in a close relationship, what happens when your common link is severed? If a couple has broken up, is it possible to remain friends? Many have said that we will remain friends, but in what context? And what's the difference between being casual friends with people in other churches and remaining friends with those who used to be in the same church?

I think partly staying behind is also hard because it is less of a choice. It IS a choice, but it is not something planned, as opposed to those who made the decision to leave together. We chose to stay, not knowing who else would stay. And now we look around and see who is left. And they might not be the ones that I would have chosen to be friends with. When you first join a church, you may be starting from scratch with friendship, but then everyone gets into their little groups. And now it's like we were all thrown together from different social groups. These are the people who should be my closest friends, but I don't feel automatically close to all of them.

I suppose it is obvious that I am in favor of staying put. But it may also be a personality thing? There have been times when I have stayed in a church situation that wasn't ideal, NOT because of complacency, but because I felt God was teaching me through it. I believe that whenever there is the tiniest kernel of hope, that it is worth it to keep trying. Even when not all seems biblically sound (and no church is ever perfect or completely free from "scandal"), I sometimes see those imperfections as challenges to seek Truth and practice discernment...even though there are times when we must separate ourselves from a church that seems to be doing the work of the Evil One.

Since it is so personal, that is why I have to keep committing everyone's future to the Lord, instead of questioning the decision itself.

Rushing to post this before my laptop battery runs out! But probably more in the future.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

September Survey/Selfie

Seasonal greetings...

What I've been...

Reading: Liar's Winter (Appalachian) by Cindy Sproles, Tanglewood trilogy by Rachael Anderson, Chamomile trilogy by Susan F. Craft

Watching: Zero time for TV!

Cooking/Eating: Homemade salsa (canning recipe), chebureki, mushroom soup

Listening to: Still the same! Super Simple Songs on YouTube-perfect for toddlers.

Striving towards: Being fit (see previous post).

Looking forward to: Decorating for the holidays.

What David is up to: Starting some craft/preschool type classes.

What Sophia is up to: Copying, climbing, getting into everything.

Your turn!

Friday, September 29, 2017

Working on my health/What if....???

A year ago I was struggling with some postpartum health issues, and here's a little update. Okay, it got a bit longer than intended...

It's probably no secret that I'm not really into "fitness." I like certain recreational sports, or movement as a way of achieving a goal, but really can't get very hardcore or competitive about it. I have too many other hobbies that I'm trying to make time for, and I don't get a rush from pushing my body to its physical limit.

Of course, I never needed fitness to feel good about my body and never felt like I needed to lose weight or tone up...

2 babies later, I'm picking up the pieces. It turns out fitness is about being healthy so you can be strong for everyday movement, not just beating a personal time. And this summer, I did some PT.

Diagrams to follow...
I haven't been able to locate a women's health PT in Russia. There is massage therapy in some form, but given that it's hard to find a good pelvic health practitioner in the U.S., it's even harder in Russia. And I didn't find that any women's health specialists were willing to refer to PT or even suggest it as a way to get better. The medicine in Russia is more conventional and that doesn't work well for women's health in general, I've found. I'm not picking on Russia on purpose...most of the forums I've visited are frequented by UK women suffering damage after forceps births, etc. Some of them wish they had just been given a C-section to escape the problems they ended up with. Really, those are the only options? Seems to be a global issue. Although, I know that in France, for example, all women are referred to PT after giving birth. It might not be cutting edge PT, but it's better than nothing. Basically, this field is developing, if slowly...

As for my PT results:

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

New normal

Anyone else on an academic schedule? I always look forward to the routine that September brings. Andrei's new job this semester has a pretty heavy workload, but at least we know what to expect each day. I have to plan for things like cooking dinner each day since I don't have anyone to go to the store for me and no childcare while I'm doing kitchen stuff. Sometimes it's easier to get done if I'm not counting on someone's help. Of course my MIL is there to help out sometimes though.

One thing about this season (in life and otherwise) is that I don't really get a big chunk of time in the evening. It's basically eat dinner, put kids to bed, put myself to bed (including minimal kitchen clean-up and before-bed routine). Unfortunately, going to bed earlier isn't really resulting in much more sleep. I remember David started sleeping really well starting from about age 3, but I'm not sure if I'm ready for 2 more years of this....(such a sweet age though, all things considered).

Awake at midnight...

The good news is I have a new undamaged laptop and fairly reliable Internet (no thanks to Windows 10 though), and I set it up in the hallway. So I can steal a moment here and there to check up on things online and even jot down a few thoughts or two.

"Command Central," a non-Pinterest version...

This is the time of year when I have to do a lot of Immigration stuff. In fact, I might be involved with it for the next 6 months. :/ There are so many fun fall projects and friend activities and things I would rather be spending time on, but it's hard to enjoy life with all of the paperwork hanging over me!

Friday, September 15, 2017

August Survey/Selfie

Yep, I'm back-dating this...driving me nuts not being able to update! Someday! (actually couldn't find the scheduling tab to push this back to August)

Meanwhile in the North

What I've been...

Reading: Marie Kondo (finally), Sky Blue trilogy by Karol Whaley, Heidi Elliott series by Kimberly Stuart

Watching:  Wild Kratts, Anthony Bourdain culinary adventures

Cooking/Eating: Borscht and other soups, omelets with squash, saffron rice.

Listening to: Super Simple Songs on YouTube-perfect for toddlers.

Striving towards: Unpacking and decluttering.

Looking forward to: The new school year.

What David is up to: Constructing spider-webs, sculpting snakes, spouting information of various types.

What Sophia is up to: Toddling around with armfuls of toys, climbing on higher and higher pieces of furniture.

Your turn!