the Life and Times of Warrior Woman

blonde recluse. nihilarian pronk.

Posts Tagged ‘prayer

the old adage.

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I started this blog because that’s what I do.  I start blogs.  I’ve been blogging since 1999 (it wasn’t called that way then).  My attempts to make money from it failed so far.  My attempts to keep a regularly updated personal blog failed as well.  I’d like to explain why, but I think if I knew, I would’ve corrected the mistake by now.

I like writing.  It’s an outlet, always have been.  I like blogging.  I like sharing, even though after all these years I still haven’t found that balance between sharing and oversharing.

I like writing about many things.  Sometimes I’m afraid that these things are too many to fit into one singular blogs.  But when I try to open separate, so-called ‘niche’ blogs, none of them get updated ever.  Yet when it’s thrown into one blog altogether, it’s kind of a mess.

And I guess it’s a reflection of me.  I am a mess.  I would perhaps get into the details, but where I live it’s 2 am, and I’ve been up since 7 or 8 the day before, and I have to stay up for another 1.5 hours or so, to give my mother her medicines.  I’ve just finished the last episode of GCB, so writing is pretty much the only thing left to do.  Besides my endless list of house tasks and, of course, praying.

It’s been hard to pray lately.  I’m hardly managing Our Father, Hail Mary, the Prayer of the Publican.  On a good day I manage Seraphim of Sarov’s prayer rule.  I’ve read two kathismas during the last three days.  I try.  But lately the only prayer falling from my lips is “God, help me”.  Lord, have mercy.  I’ve given up on my morning and evening prayer rules.

I pray.  But it’s mostly in a form of questions and thoughts.

One of the reasons I started writing this blog was to find answers to my own questions.  Answers that are not easily to be found, either via reading, or my own writing, or talking with more knowledgeable people, with elders, with veteran members of my Church (in a big, universal way).

I am an Orthodox Christian.  Orthodoxy, by its name in English, suggests conservative outlook.  And it’s correct.  Orthodox Christianity is conservative.  And I try to adhere, and in many ways I do.  And in some ways I agree.

Yes, that’s right.  In some.  But not in all.

Let me just say that I’m not about to jump boats and choose a different path of salvation.  Which, by the way, Orthodox Christianity accepts.  Yes, the Orthodox (like any other denomination, I suppose) believe that our Church’s way is the most complete, the most wholesome way of praising the Lord.  But they do not deny salvation to other denominations.  God is One.

So I am not denying the fact that I’m Orthodox.  There’s no denying it.  I’ve ‘toyed’ with other spiritualties for quite a while, both Christian and not.  For a while I’ve even considered myself atheist, though that was kind of silly.  I usually ended every day of that period with looking at the ceiling, thinking, “Nah, God, I don’t think I believe in You.  You do not exist.”

So, I am Orthodox.

But how do I find a balance?

Because I am also a feminist. 

(Ladies, before you start with your spiels about the idiocy of feminism, kindly remind yourselves that you can (in many countries) a) wear trousers; b) vote; c) work outside home; d) drive; e) get a divorce; f) have a choice. That’s what feminism is about, not who opens the door for whom.)

And even though the Bible says that I can consider fields and buy them (essentially, be a businesswoman), let’s just say that it’s preferable for a Godly woman to be a wife and a mother.

And I am not a wife and a mother.  I am not saying I will never be one, but right now the chances of this are slim.  Does that make me less of a woman?  Unfortunately, many of my confession will believe that yes, it does make me less of a woman.

I believe in the separation of church and state.  I don’t think I’m qualified to write about this, at least not in clever words.  But even though ‘one nation under God’ might sound alluring… It really isn’t.  Because there are a lot of nations inside any one country.  And, God help me, there can be a lot of gods.  We may believe in Saviour, but we cannot – and must not – deny that there’s such a thing as religious freedom.

And I’m a gay rights supporter.  Frankly, I don’t think there should even be a separation of rights.  We’re all humans, and in the heart of all true religions lies one thing – love.  Love as understanding, love as humanitarianism.

And before one bashes another person for their choices (which, I suppose, is not the most appropriate word), one should remember that God loves us all.  That Church accepts us all.

And I believe that God created this planet and all that dwells on it.  But it would be a bit odd for an educated person to deny science, evolution, and the fact that we’re made from the same elements the stars and planets are made out of.

Should I go on?  With my list of confusions?  I guess not.

So how do I find a balance between my religion and my secular beliefs?  How can I write about more serious topics (like the aforementioned gay rights), if most of the time I fail at answering the easier questions.  Like, if I ask my brother to go to the farmer’s market, does that mean that I’m serving him badly?  Do I fall even further behind in becoming a Proverbs 31 woman?

And what do we focus on most, in Proverbs 31?  Is it ‘double clothes’ and ‘beauty’, or is it ‘eager hands’ and industry?

And did you know that Proverbs 31 as a topic is much more popular and discussed between members of the Protestant confessions, than between Orthodox women?  I am yet unsure why, but it’s a fact.

And did you know, Orthodox have a different way of Bible study than Protestant confessions.  I am sure there are a lot of parallels (I mean, we’re studying the Bible, you know), but in general I am not supposed to read Protestant Bible studies.  They give interpretations which are different from those of Orthodoxy.  Same.  But different.

Complicated, isn’t it?

So I am back to my question of balance.  No matter what topic I start with (is it better to spend 15 minutes applying make-up, or should I read a chapter of Genesis instead?  Am I vain in thinking about my clothes, or will my stylish look reflect better on the image on my faith?  Do I spend half an hour cooking a separate ‘fast-approved’ meal for myself, or do I spend that half an hour with my family and eat what’s been cooked by mother instead, even if it’ll be chicken on Wednesday?  Should I abstain from reading anything that’s not God’s word during Lent, or may I allow myself a classic novel?) – there goes the question of balancing.

Is it better to read Our Father with all my heart, or should I stand for 30 minutes, reading out morning rule whilst thinking about my chores list?

Where does repentance end and self-flagellation start?

Where is the fine line between being a warrior in Christ and a mercenary?

How can I carry the Word to others, if I myself am so confused?

Not in Faith.  But in its forms of expression.

I ought to pray for Lord to give me a better understanding.  But recent events in my life taught me to pray for mercy first. 

Anything else might be too much for me to handle at the moment.

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Written by Alexandra

28 July 2012 at 12:27 am

verse of the moment — psalm 9.

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17 The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God.

18 For the needy shall not always be forgotten: the expectation of the poor shall not perish for ever.

I am unsure about other denominations, but in Orthodoxy the Book of Psalms is sometimes used as a prayer book.  For instance, Psalm 9, from which the above two verses are taken, can be used as a prayer of protection against demons that bother one during the day or during the night.  With nightmares, for example.

It really helps.  Try it, if you’re plagued by nightmares during night-time, or tormenting thoughts during the day.  I’ve been reading it before bed every night for quite a while, but stopped for the week when mother was in hospital.  I think I am going to resume reading this (and, with hope, other prayers) before bed every night.

Written by Alexandra

19 July 2012 at 8:59 pm

i wanted to write about grief, but words just don’t come.

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I was looking through old text messages on my phone, deleting the unnecessary ones.  A simple one from my cousin triggered a wave of grief.  Feels like it’s been written a long time ago, but it’s probably no more than a month or a month and a half.  It was a short question about how my grandmother was feeling that day.

Today is the 22nd day since my grandmother died.  I’ve started reading Psalms for her yesterday, one kathisma a day.  Psalms are difficult for me, even the ones that I try to include in my daily prayer rule.  I am very afraid I won’t be able to keep up, but with God’s help I’ll try.

Written by Alexandra

21 June 2012 at 7:31 am