Since the beginning of August, I’ve been struggling with panic attacks. Most people suffer from them at some point in their lives and I’ve had them before and my way of dealing with them is just try to relax and not make a big thing about them. They eventually will go away. But these were a bit different, in that quite a few times, it wasn’t until the panic attack was over, that I actually knew that the anxiety I was feeling was a panic attack.
After talking with other missionaries and friends and sharing how we felt, we realized that we are all suffering some level of PTSD. Ukraine has changed dramatically the last ten months. There’s something about the weather turning colder and the leaves changing color that makes one realize…..this is continuing with no end in sight.
I’ve been resisting these thoughts as I’ve been fortunate to work in an area of ministry that is so positive and bringing daily joy to children. We are building for the future now. We are focused on what will be after the war. I’ve sensed my place to make a difference in all this mess and I have not focused on anything else. It’s just too crazy to process the good and the bad at the same time.
Living in Kyiv, it is basically safe and our main discomfort is not having hot water and the fear of having no heat in our apartments this winter. But other parts of Ukraine are suffering and suffering greatly. More than a million Ukrainians have been displaced from their homes. Most of us know people who are refugees. Christians are being persecuted in eastern Ukraine and killed. Many young men and women are leaving to fight at the front. Most soldiers are paying for their own equipment and are not well trained. The widows of these soldiers do not receive any kind of compensation after their husband’s death. Citizens in Mariupol, (a a large town that Russia is threatening to invade) are ready to go stand in the streets with their elderly and children in an effort to stop the army. I could go on and on and on……
As Ukraine’s President shared in a speech at the US Congress, “A country cannot win a war with just blankets.” With little to no support from other countries, Ukraine’s citizens are holding their country together with their bare hands and making their stand for freedom. For them, there is no plan B.
And so we pray and pray and pray and pray some more, donate money or supplies to the army, try to help refugees, and wonder what is going to happen next.
Today my friend emailed me this verse:
“Yes we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves but in God who raises the dead.” – I Corinthians 1:9
Then I found this great quote from an Ukrainian pastor in Eastern Ukraine in a great article I read this morning and which I can’t link to this page after trying five times, most likely because of the Russian attack on internet news regarding the truth of what is happening in Ukraine…..
“Pursue the joy of the Lord in the places where things seem to be falling apart.”
The article also had another inspiriting quote by Leonid Padun:
“Tested faith is more precious than a faith that has not been tested for durability. Tested faith – a faith to the praise of Jesus Christ Himself – It’s like a reward for the uniform of a soldier who returned from the front with a victory.”