By Sharyn Borodina
The fact of the matter is, like it or not, the most devastating moments that this journey on planet earth brings our way can also be the moments when we understand who we are and who God is like never before. Nobody LIKES to suffer, nobody LIKES crisis, and yet it is when our hearts are broken, when our battle against fear is at its peak that Jesus touches us in unspeakable ways, enters into that oh so vulnerable place, and begins to answer our question of, “God, are we going to be OK?” on a whole new level.
Our first devastating blow came in 2014 when Putin’s invasion of Crimea brought 11 years of life and ministry in Simferopol, Ukraine to a screeching halt. We lost our home. We lost our community. We lost all the dreams and vision we had been working towards. We also experienced in some measure what it feels like to be displaced people because of political upheaval and war as we found ourselves suddenly looking for a place to stay 700 miles away on the other side of the country.
Our daughters were 6 and 8 years old at the time, and my first big lesson from this experience was that no matter how hard, it’s never a good idea to sugarcoat the truth. Although our children have now forgiven us, for a long time they felt very hurt because we had not been completely honest with them on that fateful morning when we woke them up, and 3 hours later were on a train out of the peninsula. We didn’t lie of course, we just didn’t say the whole truth. We didn’t know how to. The fact is that children are so resilient, and they deserve an appropriate amount of accurate information in every situation, followed by the reassurances that Jesus is going to take care of us, and we are going to trust in Him together.
In 2017, I got the dreaded phone call that movies are so fond of including in their scripts. My dad had suffered a heart attack, and they were trying to keep him alive so we could get home and say goodbye. On pins and needles, we were once again throwing what we could into our suitcases and boarded the first plane we could get, praying that God would allow us to get to him in time. I think the biggest lesson I learned from my dad’s passing is that we cannot be the savior to our families. Only Jesus can do that. I wish I had found a moment in the chaos of funeral arrangements, family meetings, and taking care of my Mom to change my prayers from “God I need, what do I do, how do I do this, I can’t anymore, this is too much”, and so on, to simply… “God how do you want to care for my family as we all grieve and adjust to so many things at once? God how do you want to take care of me, during this time?” Suddenly the focus isn’t on what I need to figure out anymore. It is on the provision of God in this situation.
A year later, when another dreaded phone call came, this time my brother, I learned that a broken heart can also lead to so much gratitude. I recognized like never before what an incredible gift life is. How precious is every moment with our loved ones. I hugged my family so hard during those days, and determined to thank Jesus for the gift of every single day He gives me.
As we walk through this current worldwide crisis, my daily proclamation has been: “My Hope is in the Lord!!” Just saying it out loud helps when fear and worry try to steal my peace. I believe that God’s automatic response to every scheme of the enemy is redemption! Everything the enemy tries to steal, the Lord finds a way to redeem. Every loss we are suffering during this time, God is there, loving us and not leaving us. It doesn’t make the hurt or the hard any less, but it does give us the strength to look our worst day in the face, and thank God for who He is, and for what He’s doing in us and through us!!
Sharyn Borodina and her husband work with Bloom ministries in Ternopil, Ukraine. Bloom is a branch of YWAM Family Ministries which seeks to be a resource and encouragement to families as well as an inspiration for all to grow a strong relationship with Jesus Christ.