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Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Beyond My Own Strength

You know that time when someone tells you are doing way too many things at once. Sometimes there is no choice. We all have different circumstances. In some cases you have to work while pursuing post-secondary education. I have to do that. So many people suggested that I need to take student loans. However that will lead to debt.

We should avoid debt in any way possible. Thus I have to do two things at the same time--work and study. It's hard, but not impossible.
I hope you don't think that my life was only defined by work and school. I was able to go to church and spent some time with some of my friends. By the grace of Heavenly Father I attended our young ladies Bible Study.
So many people told me that I have too much on my plate. Often, it gets so hard that I want to give up. It gets hard, especially during holidays: Christmas, New Year, Easter, Mother's Day, my Birthday, Victoria Day Canada Day, and many other holidays. You feel alone, especially during those days. Happy people surrounded by families, by loved ones. Don't take me wrong--it's great that I have friends all over the world. It's just... I wish I would have seen them more often.
The biggest struggle is not time management: balancing education, work, and church--it's overcoming loneliness.
There are days when I don't want to do anything; but then... who will do things for me. My family is far away. Also, I am a single woman. Don't take me wrong, I love being on my own. I love independence. It's just I feel lonely sometimes.      

The strength

Too often we place strength into a certain category. Strength--particular well-developed skill, talent, and aptitude. Strong person is often depicted as someone who wields the sword in the battle someone who triumphs over their weaknesses. Too often strength is associated with victory. If person is just barely getting through the situation--this is viewed as 'barely scrapping by'. This world wants to tell us that strength is triumph. We can have victory over our faults by the strength of the Lord. Lets not forget the other strength--strength that allows people to get by. Biblical strength is not just all of the above. It's also refuge and comfort. Strength is one of the God's attributes. "God is our refuge and strength an ever present help in trouble"--Psalm 46:1. Quite often comfort is associated with weakness. In general societies around the world do not consider a person strong if they fail too much. It scares me that strength is often placed into category of toughness. So many times I heard, "You have to be tough in order to be strong."
Strength doesn't need to manifest itself openly. It doesn't have to scream. Jesus talks about strong foundation for the house. We don't see the foundation f the house, but we see its work. House with strong foundation is able to withstand storms. House with weak foundation will collapse.

How can you do that

One march morning I was on my way to school (Marine Institute). Halfway though my classmate gets in. We started chatting. Few minutes later I was talking about lab reports. To his question--how do you do that--I only had one answer: my faith gives me strength. God's strength shins through when we are weak. It would be nearly impossible to work full-time and pursue education full-time.
Bible above everything else

My worst grade for the assignment. It was such a humbling experience.
You cannot do it with any full-time job. The job has to be the one where you can study during the breaks. It also helps if you are not busy you can also spend time studying. My course instructors were very helpful. They allowed me to submit assignments a bit later.  Time management is crucial. Study whenever you can. Review a lot of material.
I tried my best to start each day with spending my tie reading the Bible. Whenever I failed to start my morning with reading Bible, I read it at any point of a day. Each day starts with prayer. I learned that it's possible to pray anywhere even on the bus en route to school. God doesn't want a show. He wants sincere prayer.
      "Let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water."--Hebrews 10:22.
It makes sense because everything will pass away at the end. Our souls will remain forever. 
During winter semester I attended Bible Study in addition to my church attendance. Some people suggested that I could cut church attendance in order to study more.
How would you feel if someone you love dearly would you give leftovers, scraps. Imagine waiting for your loved ones to come home: you are excited. The person gives you a bare wave, tells you that they have too much to deal with. They just run into their rooms, jump in beds and are sound asleep. You look at those who you love---soundly asleep in their beds. If you wake them up during the night, they will be upset with you. When morning comes, everyone is in a hurry. Again, you only got the glimpse of them. 
I know that the above analogy is crude. But how often do we stop to spend time in the Lord's presence. How often we just pray because it's routine rather than opportunity spend time in God's presence? When you make tie for God, the Lord will make time for everything else.

Life is not perfect

Being too busy left its toll on me. I didn't organize things the way they should be organized. I didn't spend much time, or if even that, with  people who matter.  God's grace is sufficient. 



  1. Dear Irina,thank you for this post and sharing your recent situation,and how you deal with it by asking Lord's strength. Bible above everything true! Living away from homeland is not easy,I feel. But God is everywhre.We can pray for family and friends staying abroad even we cannot go to their places.Off course I pray for you,too.Please take care of yourself and May God keep you always.


  2. Dear Sanae, thank you so much for your comment. You are absolutely right nothing can separate us from the love of God. God bless you and your family.


  3. Dear Irina,

    Thank you so much for this new post. Thank you for your reflections regarding the biblical strength.

    The person who can show the worst grade to others (=it's about you) is, to me, the one who possesses inner strength which is so valuable. The person who can show us the "scar" openly is a strong person indeed.

    The person who can confess her loneliness, her diet issues etc openly is really strong in my eyes.

    Oh, yes, I can relate to your sharing regarding the feeling of foreigner in a distant land, dear Irina. Now I'd like to quote an excerpt from my letter. (I wrote this letter to Sanae one morning.)

    "Often, I feel like I am still a little girl and living in the dreamy "girlish" world.

    There was a one-day "otomari-hoiku (=over-night stay program)" in my kindergarten, and oh! it was terrible. I kept crying, pleading my teacher, "I wanna go home! I wanna go home!" Poor teacher had to lie beside me all night, trying in vain to soothe me.

    I woke up to find myself in a far, strange country---,I say to you that it is like another "otomari-hoiku" but in a bit longer term,,

    I don't belong to this country. We are all travellers on this earth, right? My soul is crying to Father, "Abba, I wanna go Home, I wanna go Home where you live!"

    May we all put off our earthly clothes and be swallowed by the majesty of heavenly choir one day! "

    Yours sincerely,
    from your sister who wants to eat chocolate ice-cream with you today!

  4. Dear Kinuko,

    Thank you so much for your reply and encouragement. I was struggling with the picture of the worst grade.
    I decided to put it out there in case someone is struggling with education and work.
    How I wish we would meet in person some day.

  5. Yes, Irina. My sincere wish is to see you face to face some day! May He answer our prayers. with love, Kinuko

    1. Meanwhile we are united in Spirit which surpasses all understanding.
      with love,