Welcome to my blog. Please excuse the length of this post as it is my life story of how I got to where I am at today. In the future, I plan to post weekly and my posts will be shorter.
First of all I wanted to express how excited I am that you have navigated your way here. Thank you for visiting. I want to thank my God for giving me this opportunity to share my journey through life with you. I wanted to thank my husband Sergey and my kids, as well as my close family and friends for supporting me in this amazing beginning. I also cannot have done this blog without my amazing sister, friend, and I have to say coach because she walked me step by step and encouraged me throughout this process of starting a blog. Inna Olimpiyuk, you are amazing. Thank you for all the hours you spent helping me and believing in me.
As soon as I graduated from the University of South Florida with my Bachelors of Business Administration degree, God called me to full time ministry. For the past 3 years I have been volunteering full-time in different ministries, even starting a few ministries by the leading of the Holy Spirit. I would even go so far as to say that being in full-time ministry was a way of life for me because I loved it. I learned that people need Jesus in their lives - just as I was once at a point of realization that I needed Him in mine and still need Him on a daily basis. So many people are sick, broken and hurting. Currently I am no longer in full-time ministry; I see that God has directed me to blogging.
You might be wondering why I didn’t pursue a paid career once I received my degree. Well, a paid career was my plan and according to our society, it's what people do after they spend time and effort acquiring a 4 year degree and dashing out so much money for college. I always wanted to become a CEO of a major corporation: dress in fancy business attire and drive expensive cars. I remember looking in the mirror dressed very sharp, as I was about to go to my first job interview (associated with the degree that I had just earned, having worked so hard for it) as a financial advisor for a major corporation – and as tears rolled down my face, I admitted to myself that I just wanted to be a wife and mother. I was completely lost and didn’t understand why the sudden change in “my plan”. Wasn’t that what I had always wanted? I prayed for Gods’ will and went on to the interview. You may or may not be surprised of the relief I felt when I received the letter saying that I did not get the job. So that was a relief, but now what?
Now that the career field was an obvious no go – I was open to see that God was calling me into full-time ministry but I had no idea what that even meant. We were blessed because my husband made enough money leaving us enough wiggle room in the budget for me to be a stay at home wife and mom. However, it was still one income, and in our society, this is not welcomed and everyone says that it's not possible to live off of one income. I felt like I had to work part time so that I would feel better about my answer when someone asked me where I was working. Thank God I was able to work from home as a business analyst. Being a wife and mom is where I saw my ministry begin with. I started with sharing with my husband the things that God was putting on my heart - and he supported the vision for our family ministry. I believe that he was open to the ideas because he saw the change in me in our home. Being a godly man, he understood the calling placed on our family. In fact, he is the reason I am where I am today. God really knew the type of husband that I needed. One who would fight on his knees for his wife when no one was watching (that's a different story in and of itself). I became a better wife and mom; since I was fulfilling Gods purpose in my life I was a much happier and overall better person to be around or with. Then the question arises: how did I get to that place of being fulfilled?
It starts with my admission that I was not always a “living Christian”. I only called myself a Christian - I had all the boxes checked as Christians are expected to. Baptized, check; attend church on Sunday, check; stayed pure until marriage, check; served at my local church, check; prayed before bed, check; had kids and raised them in a church, check and so on. However, even though I might have had all the things that I ever wanted in life, I didn’t have joy. I was not a happy person on the inside - to the surprise of many who knew me - because I put on a great image. I was not happy in my marriage and I was not fully enjoying being a mom. I was consumed by the idea of being a Christian because that’s what everyone in my circle did, but I was nothing "like Christ". I lived a selfish life, only looking for ways to be happy but I never had enough. I was constantly consumed by brand name clothing, houses, career, cars and vacations. Once I would get the next new thing, I found myself craving for more and never being satisfied. I was constantly trying to fill the void with things rather than looking to Jesus who is the only one who can fill a heart with joy, joy to the fullest. I was asking myself and God "was this really all to life"? At that point, I must have prayed for God to intervene in my life, but I don't remember. Don't get me wrong, I would say that I was a good person and I slapped on a smile everyday to display the perfect Christian image (by the way there is no such thing as a perfect Christian) but I simply didn't encounter the fullness of Gods love in my daily life. The interesting thing is that I had no idea all these things were consuming me and I didn't realize just how miserable and unhappy I truly was until God started to work on my heart and open to me the true status within.
About 6 years ago God started to transform me from a “perceived Christian” to a “real living Christian”. How you ask - through hard financial circumstance during the housing market crash. I remember standing on my knees, thanking God for allowing both my husband and I to lose our jobs, just a few days apart from each other. It was not your typical prayer, I know. For some reason - that was my prayer, and I know it changed my entire life even through today. I believe that something happened in the spiritual realm that broke whatever bondage I had over my life that was holding me back from Gods fullness and divine intervention. I knew that somehow we were going to make it even though I didn’t know how we were going to provide for our small kids or pay the next months’ bills. Somewhere in the back of my mind, I must have had faith that we were going to be okay; or maybe it was the one thing that I remembered from childhood, of my dad telling us kids that life was not always going to be perfect nor so bad.
Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. Romans 12:2
After that prayer of thanksgiving, for the next several years I found my life taking a dramatic 180-degree turn based on the transformation (Romans 12:2). It was as if my eyes were opened and I had x-ray vision of the things that I was "conformed" to. My mind was renewed. I no longer had the same desires that society presents of stuff to fill us with happiness. I noticed the ugly examples I was bringing into my marriage from romantic movies and soap operas (although I still do like a romantic movie from time to time, but I am now more aware of the deception of Hollywood’s standards for a marriage).
I realized that God had a special purpose according to His will for my life as He does with each one of us. I was able to "test" and "approve" what Gods will really was. I no longer had a desire to satisfy myself with stuff but I desired a relationship with Jesus.
I replaced time in front of the TV with time spent studying the Bible and reading Christian books. I replaced hanging out with friends to hanging out with friends while having bible study and prayer together. We still get together and have even more fun but our priority is always Chirst.
Instead of looking to the routine stuff for happiness, I had a desire to serve God. My act of worship started with my husband and kids as well as outside ministry. I started with being the wife God had designed me to be and a mother my kids needed. Prior to that, I thought that worship meant to sing a praise song in church. However as Romans 12:1 states that worship is presenting our bodies as a living sacrifice; when we sacrifice, that means we die to ourselves and live for others. Once God starts to work in us, everything changes. I began to see the mistakes I was making on a daily basis and I now had a desire to change. Soon after that I began to see the changes that needed to happen with people around me; so I started asking myself what can I do to help others. That is when I started working with women, small groups, individuals, teen girls, teenagers, young people, and many other ministries. I had found an everlasting joy that filled my whole heart everyday and that joy remains in metoday. I have the joy of being a wife and mother; I have joy in simply being me. Since I found who I am in Christ and why I am here on earth - I started living my life with purpose. I was no longer hungry for happiness and I didn't need things to make me happy. Honestly, I still find my mind wondering off to the old life but I have to take control of my thoughts and re-evaluate my motives because I seriously never want to go back to my old selfish and miserable style of life. I found out that the longing for the old life was simply because I had gone days without the presence of Jesus and fellowship with my Father in prayer and remaining in His Word. Once I meditate on Jesus and remember how blessed I am, I'm back on track with joy. I learned that I can NEVER allow myself to take my eyes off of Jesus as Peter once did. When we see Jesus we are fine but as soon as we allow our eyes to wander, we get in trouble. I never want to go back to my old selfish life. I choose to live my life on purpose…I choose joy.
As for our financial situation after the market crash, God was faithful as He promised. Our house payment was cut in half and I found a great job when our family needed it most. Today we are still experiencing the blessings as we continue to trust God and live according to His will and purpose. God really knows how to turn our sadness and uncertainty into overflowing joy.
If you are experiencing uncertainty in your life or think that God is not hearing your prayer, believe me that God hears you. Practice asking for His will and be patient. Many times we follow our own desires and in the midst of turmoil, blame God. “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28 NIV. We may not agree with what Gods purpose or will is for our lives or accept our current situation, but at the end of the day, Gods ways are always better than ours and He is right once again. God will remain God and still be faithful even when we are not. You can relax in knowing that God has your life under control and is working.
“Meanwhile, the moment we get tired in the waiting, God’s Spirit is right alongside helping us along. If we don’t know how or what to pray, it doesn’t matter. He does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs, our aching groans. He knows us far better than we know ourselves, knows our pregnant condition, and keeps us present before God. That’s why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good.”Romans 8:26-28 MSG.
This blog is a way for me to stay connected with the community that I love so much. If you ever have any questions, comments, or simply need prayer: It would be my honor to serve you. You can contact me here