Thursday, 20 September 2012


Firstly, I think it must be noted that our baby is an angel.

She's got a halo and everything.
Yes...that's a gym ball. No, we don't use it. Ever.
Soundtrack to this post: Hillsong's 'Aftermath' album.
I find quite a lot of their stuff annoying because sometimes it's a bit 'Jesus is my bestest buddy and he gave me an ice cream made of my dreams ooooh fa la la', but this album is actually full of depth and longing and struggle and relief. It gets me. But not track 2.

This week has been a good week, in that I stopped sulking like a little biatch. This has not been down to my own resolve or grit, but because of shiny distractions that make me forget my AHEMsorrowsCOUGH. I'd like to say that I saw the suffering of the orphans here and got some perspective, but twould be a lie. I'd also love to be able to profess some mountain top experience of God's plan for my life as revealed by a hundred cartwheeling angels covered in sprinkles, but i've barely even prayed since getting here and wouldn't notice confectionary nephilim if they banged me about the head with a harp.
(Are nephilim angels? What are they? Have apparently not read large chunks of the Bible.)

What am I going on about?
Oh yes. How this got easier.
Not 'cos of me. And not because I sorted out my (appalling) attitude. Am still completely struggling with feelings of loss and grief over all my loved peoples not living in Vinnitysa. Stupid people not living in Vinnitsya, get over here. Stop living in Lewes/Brighton/London/other countries. Stupid other countries.
Anyway (sorry, i'm tired and it's late and I am addled like the scrambled eggs the chickens have stopped laying. Sodding chickens), so even though i'm still very sad about missing people, something has shifted in my heart and now I quite like it here.

I think that might be God. Rescuing me from me.
Rescuing me from my fear by changing the people and situations around me. Everything i've panicked about since getting here has got easier. Some of that stuff isn't exclusively my story and thus would be rude to share, but here's one example:
So was sitting in this massive house, having cleaned all day and cooked all day and hosted all day and juggled my angel halo baby who was not behaving as such...and realised that this is my life now. I'm a housewife. A housewife in Ukraine, which is slightly more edgy but not really. I have an apron. With a chicken on it. And while that's funny it also gave me a meltdown brain because I have passion and fire and rage - and being a housewife is great if that's what you want but it has never, ever been my aspiration. Am stroppy.

I never really minded about getting married or having babies but I have always wanted to be like Jackie Pullinger.

Not feeling like Jackie this week, arms deep in yet another apple crumble.

Had a rant. Poor husband. Something like 'how the hell is this my life? I followed God here  and I thought I was called here but I care about women in the sex industry and I live in a field. I should be in Kiev, or Odessa, but i'm here and i'm confused'. Boo hoo sob me me me and my dreams ME.

That weekend a couple from the Kiev base came to stay. Have never met them before, don't know them, hosting them cos was asked to.
She runs the justice DTS that does outreach in the sex industry as well as raising awareness and rescuing people. She knows the person from A21 who has the materials and contacts I would need to go into schools and orphanages. I can pioneer this work here.
I feel better.

My point is this: i'm safe. Safe from despair or from hopelessness or from emptiness. He has got me. He knows. He cares. He ignores my crappy resentment, my angry selfish tears, my fear that i'm feeling because i'm refusing to trust him and he is doing this with me - orchestrating things to make me feel better.
So I do.

p.s. coming home for 2 weeks. In 6 days. John's got an op. Can't be bothered to explain how I feel about this but...see you soon! 

Saturday, 8 September 2012

A bad day and a good day

Have been unsure about how to write this blog - have been feeling a strange pressure to be positive and upbeat and represent things well. To be one of those well behaved missionaries who doesn't give much away

But this isn't deal or no deal, and i'm not Noel, and I don't believe that 'positive energy' changes reality. 
I'm not in a cult that hides from being real. I'm following Jesus. 
And he is called the Truth. 
So I will be Truthful. 

Moving here has been hard - like really, really difficult. If I knew how hard it was going to be I don't know if I would have been brave enough to do this. (But keep reading, because this isn't the end of my processing, I promise.)

Why so? Because making a baby stay a maximum of three nights in one room before moving her again is a really good way to take eight months of sleep progress and make them worthless. She's never been a big fan of sleeping anywhere other than on me, but we were getting there and the sun was starting to shine through the clouds and I was starting to feel like I could function. But now she wakes up and she screams and she's worried at nights and it breaks my heart because I want so badly to make her feel safe and secure. But she needs me for that. So I don't sleep so well. You won't understand this unless you've had your own babies, but believe me, it's hard. 

Why so? Because I miss you, beloved friends. Now i've got to rely on a knackered and stressed hubby who needs to rely on me, and on a team of people who will be my best friends but aren't yet and it's been lonely without you. 

Why so? Because I can't communicate and I feel trapped inside my own limitations - so frustrated and dependant on the team. Feel so sorry for them having to ferry me around and fight for me - I prefer to fight for myself. I like a good fight. To have to sit mute while people discuss in other languages wether or not you get to keep everything you own/ have dressed your baby correctly is humiliating and demeaning. And comes with a side order of guilt for being such a burden to the amazingly kind and helpful team. 

And finally, because the house we're moving into is so different from anything i've ever experienced before. It's in a village outside of town. I have to keep chickens, clean a flipping monster sized abode, speak ukrainian to buy bread from the local shop, and learn to cook a lot of egg based dishes. I don't really like eggs. I like shopping. I will never be domestic enough to succeed at this. I'm a damn good wife and a damn good mum, but i'm not your typical housewife and I don't understand how i'm meant to fit here. 

And i've been so busy that I haven't noticed the need to pray - to grieve and to hope and to get some perspective. John is a beautiful man who knows me so, so well and this morning after yet another failed night and Beth sleeping in our bed from 5am because I just couldn't try anymore he took B away and sent me into town. 

I was so scared - have never done anything here by myself. After locking myself in a walk in wardrobe and having a good sob (always helpful) (read some C.S.Lewis as well, even more helpful) I wo-manned up and got on a tram.
I got on the wrong tram. Three times. But eventually I made it into the city centre. My conversation with God was something along the lines of 'this is really hard and my heart is hurting and do you love me?'
As I walked into town I started to notice kids wearing face paint, and trees wrapped in brightly coloured fabrics, and stages being put up. I realised that tonight is some kind of festival and that i'd stumbled upon an orchestra rehearsing for an open air concert. I don't know what they were playing but I recognised it and it was like a present just for me - most people were wandering past but I stood frozen and grinning as the sound picked me up and danced me out of my sulk. It was gorgeous and it was mine. 

After a while people were staring at the smiling nutter so I decided to move on. They stare at me a lot here anyway because i'm obviously a foreigner but hey ho, onwards I trotted and then I found an Accesorize! With a sale on! I got a hat and earrings and a necklace for 6 pounds! 

And THEN I found a food shop and bought an almond croissant the size of my head, and ate it all without having to make small talk with anyone or feed Beth with my other hand or carry the nappy bag or worry about offending anyone or having to learn another language or be appropriate - just skipped about in the park staring at people with my sugary face. 

So I managed to get the right tram home, and I rode it so proud of me! My conversation with God was something like 'I know this isn't heaven yet and I know this world is hard and i'm not asking you to make this easier, but please just make me stronger. 

And thank you. And I love you too'. 

This song pretty much sums up where i'm at today, especially the last verse. I love their music. 

These are the ways I can see He's been washing my feet all along: The kindness of the Christians here, their hospitality and their help with everything. Ed had spent two solid days cleaning our bathroom. Also their patience with living with a Baby B who is gorgeous but high maintenance at the moment. 

I'm excited about how the house will be used to make this world more beautiful - i'm hopeful that we will see people healed and rescued by that building and the dreams within it's walls. 

We've been given enough money to buy a car, so we won't be isolated. This is such a relief I can't even explain. 

I'm so grateful for how good my leaders are - that even in just a Skype conversation with Andrew last night I started to relax about settling in here. 

Vova's home and I need to get off his laptop, he's a kind kind person but I mustn't take the mick.

Sorry for the brain mess. Miss you. xxxxx