Welcome to my private corner of the World Wide Web
where faith, books, and real people collide
into an Unscripted Exchange!
Why Unscripted Exchange?
“Unscripted” because there is no hidden agenda, a secret intention or an ulterior motive. My written words simply “speak” out of the abundance of my heart.
“Exchange” because I hope that the views expressed on the pages of this blog will raise questions, provoke thoughts and inspire a dialogue - an exchange - to take place in the readers’ minds; the dialogues with their own hearts, with their God, with those around them.
Unscripted Exchange is a place where I share my life Journey of Faith, the journey that took me through many Valleys of Shadow as well as Green Pastures and Quiet Waters. It is the journey that I pray will inspire the reader to look for God’s Goodness and Presence in every circumstance of their life.
It is the Journey on which our Past does not define us, our Present does not limit us and our Future has Hope.
I was born and grew up in a small country of Belarus which at that time was one of the republics of the former Soviet Union. I happen to belong to the last generation of boys and girls brought up under the country's Communist rule. In the late 80s and early 90s I not only witnessed by also experienced the decline and eventual collapse of the Soviet Union.
I moved to Canada when I was 20 years old. I now live in the Niagara Region of Ontario with my "Little Family" as one of our friends affectionately call us. Besides the three of us there are two other members in our family - a Miniature Schnauzer Tobi and a Great Dane Maggie.
I am a happy (oh so happy) wife of a one of a kind, created perfect for me, always by my side, encouraging, caring and loving husband. We've met on a blind date just a few months after I moved to Canada and were married six months later. It's hard to believe we've been together for almost 18 years!
I am a proud mother of this incredibly talented, kind, smart, funny and exceptionally strong willed girl. We named Ksenia after her great grandmother (my grandmother) who raised me when I was little and with whom are associated my happiest childhood memories.
When The Walls Come Down
I was brought up in a family of devoted members of the Communist party and as a child I was taught that religion and faith were poisonous, and that Jesus was a fictional character created by uneducated people who were too weak to handle the challenges of life.
I first heard about Jesus as a Savior who could change people’s lives when I was a teenager in the early 1990s. The Soviet Union collapsed just a few years prior. Belarus gained its independence, religious laws were loosened and the borders were opened up to a number of North American missionaries. I clearly remember the day when one of my classmates told me that there was a group of Americans gathering in a school building every week in the evening. She said these Americans were giving away potatoes for free and that they were also talking about Jesus. As a newly-established country, Belarus was going through a period of severe deficit – the stores were empty. Each family was issued special coupons by the government that allowed us to go to a store and buy food, but very often we couldn't use the coupons because there was no food to buy. The fact that someone was giving away potatoes with no coupons required and for free was a good enough reason for me to go to one of those weekly gatherings.
As I was listening to missionaries' testimonies about their love for Jesus I could see so much joy and freedom and purpose in their hearts! I knew they had something that I wanted but didn’t have. That day I prayed and asked Jesus to be the Lord of my life. I was looking for free potatoes, but I found a living God instead. My life has never been the same.
God changed my heart. The circumstances of my life, however, remained the same. For many years people of Belarus lived in severe poverty. I saw people around me coping with difficulties by turning to drugs, alcohol and domestic violence. My family was not an exception and from my early childhood I had to deal with physical and emotional abuse.
I was very young and it was difficult to make sense of life around me. On many occasions I thought that life was too dark and too difficult to endure. It was in those difficult moments when God started to reveal Himself to me as my Provider, my Sustainer, my Strength, my Lord and my Friend. He was always by my side, through good and bad. He was with me when I left everything behind and moved to Canada. He was with me when seven month pregnant I lost my child in a car accident. He was with me when my daughter Ksenia was born several years later.
God's faithfulness in the past gives me hope for the future. I know that He is in control no matter what. I know that nothing can separate me from His love. I know that my weary soul can always find rest in the shelter of His presence as I surrender my life to Him and seek to do His will.
My journey of healing
Three years ago a sudden chronic illness literally overnight changed my life and the lives of those around me. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or PTSD is one of the most misunderstood and most under researched illnesses today. This diagnosis caused me to reevaluate my priorities, to reexamine my values, to rethink my very existence. I wish I could say that all of these trials are in the past. But no, I am still reevaluating, still reexamining, still rethinking, still trying to come to terms with my new life.
A new vocabulary found its way into my life - chronic pain, depression, anxiety, disability. I hope that by writing about my journey in this blog - about my struggles, my frustrations, my desperation, but also about my faith in God, my hopes, my strategies to cope, my new dreams and new beginnings - will help someone else to cope with a similar situation, will ease someone else's anxiety and will make someone else feel less alone on the path allotted to them by God.