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Author Topic: Is it the Holy Spirit?  (Read 3313 times) Average Rating: 0
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Rosehip
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« on: August 08, 2009, 09:35:47 PM »

This past year has been a really hard one for me. I was diagnosed with cancer and went through all the various treatments and surgery etc.  Instead of drawing me closer to God, all the losses-and the finality of them-completely shocked and crushed me. Then to add insult to injury, my youngest brother decided to get married (wedding's next week), and told me he doesn't want me at his wedding-basically because I am and old maid and he is ashamed of me. I was hurt to the core. My brother is 12 years younger than me and he was "my" baby and I raised him and he was the closest I'll ever have to a child. I wept for weeks and I'm weeping right now. It hurts so much to be treated this way. On top of everything else, men keep rejecting me. So I have turned away from God. I stopped going to church-haven't been there since the winter. I can barely even believe God exists and everything  rings so hollow to me.

Yesterday I went to the thrift shop and was looking amongst the pots and pans and suddenly I saw an unusual, oblong ICON there-of St Nicholas of Myra. It was quite beautiful and unusual. I was shocked and didn't know what to do. I wondered if maybe there is a God? I put the icon in my cart, thinking I ought to buy it. I carried it around with me, but, at the door, instead of purchasing everything, I decided it was all too expensive for me,and put everything back (now I regret not buying the icon).

Then today I was outside and two little kids, who go to my parish were on the street, riding their bikes. The little boy called out to me, "HI", and I said hi back. He looked a bit disconcerted and said with uncertainty," Don't you speak Russian? I thought you did." I said distantly, "yes. why?" He said, "Well, I would like to ask you a question-Why have you stopped going to church? What has happened? You should go..." I replied vaguely and said, "Yes, I need to, I should..."

Please pray for me, as I try to deal with everything, and this loss of faith too.
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« Reply #1 on: August 08, 2009, 09:44:50 PM »

Praying... an sending you my hugs, and best, best wishes...

Dear Rosehip, I have known you for what, two and a half years now, and I really feel like you are a close relative of me and Lesya and Maryana... Maybe these kids were angels?

I'd say, don't go to church until you REALLY want to. If you have these thoughts, like "oh, I should go, it's not good to not go," etc. - don't go. But if, and when, you WANT to go there for whatever reason, like just to see one icon or to hear one liturgical tune or to smell the incense for a split second - go...

Hugs...

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« Reply #2 on: August 08, 2009, 09:59:50 PM »

You are in my prayers, Rosehip.
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« Reply #3 on: August 08, 2009, 10:48:30 PM »


Then today I was outside and two little kids, who go to my parish were on the street, riding their bikes. The little boy called out to me, "HI", and I said hi back. He looked a bit disconcerted and said with uncertainty," Don't you speak Russian? I thought you did." I said distantly, "yes. why?" He said, "Well, I would like to ask you a question-Why have you stopped going to church? What has happened? You should go..." I replied vaguely and said, "Yes, I need to, I should..."



< - - -Cyber hug

Praying, Rosehip. . .
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« Reply #4 on: August 08, 2009, 11:04:10 PM »

Lord have mercy!

I'll skip my thoughts about your brother's ingratitude ( Angry) and go on to say that yesterday and today were signs.
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« Reply #5 on: August 08, 2009, 11:04:17 PM »

I think one of the Fathers said that everything is either of the Kingdom of God or the Kingdom of Satan.

It's not like the Holy Spirit only works in really awesome and impressive ways. Even the littlest things that are good and promote the Kingdom of God are in some way the work of the Holy Spirit. So yes, I would definitely say that both your finding of that icon and also the little boy were in some way the "hand" of the Holy Spirit.

Also, I'm going to have to disagree with Heorhij's comment. I don't think we necessarily need to be drawn out of personal attraction to the liturgy to legitimately attend. We can know that the liturgy is salvation, and that it has the capacity to raise people up even when they're not even attracted to the liturgy at all, and having a sense that the liturgy can save us, and thus that we should go, on this basis we may legitimately attend.

Final thought: Have you considered that perhaps you are depressed in a psychiatric fashion?
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« Reply #6 on: August 08, 2009, 11:08:53 PM »

I'm very sorry things are so tough for you right now rosehip.  Honestly, I wish there was something I could say to raise your spirits.  Just know that you will be prayed for and thought of. 
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« Reply #7 on: August 08, 2009, 11:35:18 PM »

Go to your brother's wedding. Go there discreetly, pick a spot where you're less likely to be noticed. But find the opportunity once the ceremony is over, such as during the giving of congratulations (if this is the custom), to go up to him, and, in a dispassionate but loving and sisterly way, say something like this to him: I wish you and your bride every happiness today, and for the rest of your lives together.

I'd like to think that your presence and kind words should shame him into realising his stupidity in regarding you as some sort of embarrassment because of your unmarried state. He may well realise this on the spot, and apologise, even offer to make amends. Or, this may not happen immediately. Whatever happens, know that you've done the right thing in terms of "family obligation", and by returning an expression of kindness and love to his thoughtless and hurtful words. It won't be easy for you, but nursing grudges is destructive, believe me. Been there, done that.
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« Reply #8 on: August 08, 2009, 11:40:52 PM »

Lord have Mercy.
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« Reply #9 on: August 08, 2009, 11:52:47 PM »

I'd say, don't go to church until you REALLY want to. If you have these thoughts, like "oh, I should go, it's not good to not go," etc. - don't go. But if, and when, you WANT to go there for whatever reason, like just to see one icon or to hear one liturgical tune or to smell the incense for a split second - go...

Excuse me??
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« Reply #10 on: August 09, 2009, 12:10:05 AM »

Thanks everyone for your kind thoughts and prayers. I can't go to the wedding-it's on the other side of the continent and I haven't got a plane ticket. He told me I am not invited and that he doesn't want me there, so why should I fly all the way across the country if that's the case? I am afraid this is going to indeed cause life-long hurts and grudges. It's unbearable for me because this is likely the only wedding we'll ever have in our family. And it's hard for me because just this spring he and she came out for a visit and I made a birthday party for him etc. I give up. He said condescendingly that they will have a video made and I can watch the video.
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« Reply #11 on: August 09, 2009, 12:27:02 AM »

Go to your brother's wedding. Go there discreetly, pick a spot where you're less likely to be noticed. But find the opportunity once the ceremony is over, such as during the giving of congratulations (if this is the custom), to go up to him, and, in a dispassionate but loving and sisterly way, say something like this to him: I wish you and your bride every happiness today, and for the rest of your lives together.

I'd like to think that your presence and kind words should shame him into realising his stupidity in regarding you as some sort of embarrassment because of your unmarried state. He may well realise this on the spot, and apologise, even offer to make amends. Or, this may not happen immediately. Whatever happens, know that you've done the right thing in terms of "family obligation", and by returning an expression of kindness and love to his thoughtless and hurtful words. It won't be easy for you, but nursing grudges is destructive, believe me. Been there, done that.

That sounds like a pretty good idea.
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« Reply #12 on: August 09, 2009, 06:26:57 AM »

Blessed be our God Who continually calls out to us when we are lost in the woods!
Lord have mercy on your handmaiden!
There's nothing wrong with being the family Maiden Aunt / Bachelor Uncle anyway. I've got the time to play at extended family gatherings, I delight in sharing the magic of their day, I have the perfect excuse to get to see all the latest kid's movies, and best of all: I get to give them back again!
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« Reply #13 on: August 09, 2009, 07:02:22 AM »

May the Lord continue to protect you, Love you, and guide you.
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« Reply #14 on: August 09, 2009, 07:03:27 AM »

Lord Have Mercy ! On your Brother And You And Your Entire Family....Amen Amen
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« Reply #15 on: August 09, 2009, 04:02:32 PM »

Lord, have mercy!
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« Reply #16 on: August 09, 2009, 06:08:14 PM »

I think one of the Fathers said that everything is either of the Kingdom of God or the Kingdom of Satan.

It's not like the Holy Spirit only works in really awesome and impressive ways. Even the littlest things that are good and promote the Kingdom of God are in some way the work of the Holy Spirit. So yes, I would definitely say that both your finding of that icon and also the little boy were in some way the "hand" of the Holy Spirit.

Also, I'm going to have to disagree with Heorhij's comment. I don't think we necessarily need to be drawn out of personal attraction to the liturgy to legitimately attend. We can know that the liturgy is salvation, and that it has the capacity to raise people up even when they're not even attracted to the liturgy at all, and having a sense that the liturgy can save us, and thus that we should go, on this basis we may legitimately attend.

Final thought: Have you considered that perhaps you are depressed in a psychiatric fashion?
I don't know you personally but have read your account and empathize with your pain; I am sorry for your disappointments yet the Lord is aquainted with our pain and with our sorrows;  as the scriptures tell us: Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. He has not forgotten you.
The scriptures also tell us"that where two or more are gathered in my name there I will be in the midst of them."  May I encourgage you to take the initial step of of going to liturgy where you will find the refreshing and touch of God that is needed.
Recently I had surgery for cancer, I have only my husband and myself; we are almost a thousand miles from children (in college), siblings and my parent.  I so appreciate the community of believers who's love and support I have and  I look to as family.   
   
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« Reply #17 on: August 09, 2009, 06:41:46 PM »

Final thought: Have you considered that perhaps you are depressed in a psychiatric fashion?

Dear Deusveritasest, - I am a medical doctor and I have been corresponding with Rosehip for two and a half years; believe me, she is not.
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« Reply #18 on: August 09, 2009, 08:54:44 PM »

The Lord have mercy on you, and on us all. 

May you find your heart, and thus put your hand back to the plow.
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« Reply #19 on: August 09, 2009, 11:26:54 PM »

You are in my prayers rosehip Lord have mercy on us all
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« Reply #20 on: August 10, 2009, 12:14:58 AM »

I said a prayer for you today, Rosehip.



This painting comforts me whenever I feel afraid and lonely. We see Christ's humanity and His suffering. The painting reminds me that Christ shares in our suffering and He will never leave us or forsake us. I look at it whenever I feel distant from God as it reminds me that He is with us during our darkest, most painful times, even when we feel completely alone.

Stay close to those who support you - your brothers and sisters in Christ, etc.. .
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« Reply #21 on: August 10, 2009, 01:51:17 AM »

So I have turned away from God. I stopped going to church-haven't been there since the winter. I can barely even believe God exists and everything  rings so hollow to me.



Having experienced the physical trauma that has been forced upon you as well as the ongoing pain of rejection, it is natural that you would lash out at God. "God, why do YOU let this happen to ME? Don't you care about me? Don't you see the pain I suffer? I pray and ask for something as simple as love and you don't hear me. Why?" And when the answer does not come, you shout back, "I won't believe in You anymore. You don't exist. I won't go to Church." It's understandable that you would do this (given the same set of circumstances, many if not most of us would react in the same manner).

Having said all of that, it's also apparent that it won't work. We can't manipulate God. We can't force His hand, as it were. He will answer howsoever He chooses and when He so chooses. About all we can do is hang on for dear life and not give up. It seems to me that in spite of what you are telling us, you are holding on (as best you can). You're here for one thing and posting so that should tell us that you've not entirely given up. A person who no longer believed at all would simply chuck the whole thing: church, church relationships, prayer, icons, music, Orthodox forums... everything down the chute and good riddance! You're not there and I suspect you will never be there. You're hurting and so you're crying out for help. All we can do is listen and offer prayers on your behalf. And we will do that.

Lord, have mercy upon your handmaiden. Hear her cries.
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« Reply #22 on: August 10, 2009, 02:33:01 AM »

"Lord have mercy."

In suffering, remember that you are bearing your cross. Your suffering is redemptive, it is not in vain. Although you may not be able to see it, your perseverence in suffering is already bearing spiritual fruit. By sharing your burdens with us you are acting as a Christian, for we are told to bear one another's burdens. By sharing your pain and doubts with us you drive us to prayer and compassion, and thus you make us better Christians. By acknowledging the glimpses of Light that you experience in the midst of your darkness (the little boys who encouraged you to return to Church, the icon, etc.), you remind us that God is real and present even in times of depair and despondency.

Don't give up Rosehip! You are a blessing to us! I see God in you, and I know that His hand shall not depart from you.

Selam
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« Reply #23 on: August 10, 2009, 03:08:52 AM »

Then to add insult to injury, my youngest brother decided to get married (wedding's next week), and told me he doesn't want me at his wedding-basically because I am and old maid and he is ashamed of me.

I can't believe that.  Don't you have another relative who can smack him?  Tell him he's out of your will (I hope you're rich.)

I'm a spinster in my mid-40's.  Let me rephrase that.  In human years I'm in my mid-40's.  In unmarried Armenian woman years, that's about 300.  When you are an unmarried woman and you go to an Armenian wedding, everybody who sees you says "Darosuh Kezee."  I can't translate that one, so I won't try.  It's just what they say to unmarried women.  It's all you hear:  "Darosuh kezee."  "DarOSuh kezee!"  "DAROSUH KEZEEEEEEEE!!!"  I think it's supposed to help you get married, or something, but I find it highly annoying.  So for one wedding my friend (who is also a spinster) and I got these little toy buzzers.  Every time someone said "Darosuh kezee" to us, we'd buzz them.  It worked.  The number of weddings I was invited to after that dropped dramatically.  I went to my brother's wedding, though.  You do for family.

I feel very bad about what is happening to you.  After the horrible ordeal with cancer, you need support.  Go to church.  If you feel really distant from God (and we all feel that sometimes--it's normal) you may want to talk with your priest.  If you feel you can't talk to him right now, still go to church and stand in the back for a little while, even if you don't take Communion.  You don't want to stay away altogether. 

And yes, the icon and the kids were a sign.  Even if some no-good, worthless men don't want you (their loss, not yours) God still wants you.  In His eyes there is no disgrace in being single.

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« Reply #24 on: August 10, 2009, 03:05:43 PM »


Rosehip,

You are in my prayers!

Don't get discouraged.

God is waiting for you to turn to Him, again.  He never left your side, you just can't see Him through all your worries and tribulations.

I also suggest you go back to church.  There's nothing more soothing, more re-energizing.

May the Good Lord be with you.  May He heal you inside and out!

Forget those men who rejected you.  Forgive your brother, because one day he will be kicking himself at his stupidity.
However, when that video shows up in the mail, take a permanent marker and write "Return to Sender".  Seriously.

Lord, have mercy!

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« Reply #25 on: August 10, 2009, 03:14:48 PM »

Blessed be our God Who continually calls out to us when we are lost in the woods!
Lord have mercy on your handmaiden!
There's nothing wrong with being the family Maiden Aunt / Bachelor Uncle anyway. I've got the time to play at extended family gatherings, I delight in sharing the magic of their day, I have the perfect excuse to get to see all the latest kid's movies, and best of all: I get to give them back again!

Indeed!  Both of my sisters are not married and probably will never get married, yet they are a blessing to my nieces and nephews, two of them in particular.  Smiley

Rosehip, know that you are most definitely in my prayers. 
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« Reply #26 on: August 10, 2009, 10:41:48 PM »

Rosehip, if you can't be physically at the wedding, may I suggest this: Send a card to your brother, expressing the things I mentioned in my earlier post. That, at least, might help.

I can also relate something from my own life: Siblings can grow up and have a very close relationship. But, once they go their separate ways via attachment and marriage, there is often a gravitation towards their "new" family. There is nothing inherently wrong with this, this is something of which I have first-hand experience.
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« Reply #27 on: August 10, 2009, 11:21:47 PM »

Final thought: Have you considered that perhaps you are depressed in a psychiatric fashion?

Dear Deusveritasest, - I am a medical doctor and I have been corresponding with Rosehip for two and a half years; believe me, she is not.

That is good to hear.
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« Reply #28 on: August 10, 2009, 11:46:22 PM »

Final thought: Have you considered that perhaps you are depressed in a psychiatric fashion?

Dear Deusveritasest, - I am a medical doctor and I have been corresponding with Rosehip for two and a half years; believe me, she is not.

That is good to hear.

I am asking this in all sincerity:

Heorhij, how can you say with such certainty that Rosehip is not suffering from clinical depression unless you have been evaluating her in a formal, clinical doctor-patient relationship? I hope you are correct in your assessment, but is merely corresponding with someone the same as evaluating them in a clinical environment under objective medical conditions?

I would think it would be better if you had said something to the effect of, "I'm in no way making a medical diagnosis, but having corresponded with Rosehip over the years I am inclined to think that she is not suffering from clinical depression. And I say this as her friend, not as her doctor."

But when you say that we should believe your opinion of Rosehip simply because you are a doctor - although you have not formally treated her as a doctor - then I think that is very presumptuous, arrogant, and dangerous.

I truly do not mean any offense, I am just asking. Maybe you have been formally treating her as her Psychiatrist, in which case you are well within your right to make such a statement. Otherwise, I think you should be more cautious in weilding your status as a doctor to influence our opinions of people that you have not formally treated. (Unless of course you are relying upon the medical diagnoses of other doctors who have treated her.)

I hope you understand my question and my concern. I certainly do not doubt that you have been a great help to Rosehip as her friend and as a fellow Christian.

Selam
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« Reply #29 on: August 10, 2009, 11:58:29 PM »

I am saying this from personal experience; if you don't want to do something and yet feel pulled to do so by God then you need to do it. I can't count how many times this has happened to me. I never wanted to go to a certain party and in fact went to bed instead one night. Then I was awoken and specifically asked by a friend of the family to go with her son. That is where I met my husband. He lived a good 45 min drive away and we never would have crossed paths later on. My husband didn't want to go to this party either but felt he needed to go. He was well on his way to going to a christian college many miles away just months later. After meeting me he chose not to go and then after 3 years of dating we were wed. That was just 16 years ago now! Could we have met another time? Possibly. But I know that he and I were heading geographically in completely opposite directions (I had an ex that was going to pay for me to move to S. Carolina from OR) so I don't think it is likely we would have met up another time.

We are all drawn to do certain things. Sometimes the draw is sinful and we need to fight it. But often times it is God prompting us and showing us what he wants us to do.
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« Reply #30 on: August 11, 2009, 12:41:56 AM »

I am saying this from personal experience; if you don't want to do something and yet feel pulled to do so by God then you need to do it. I can't count how many times this has happened to me. I never wanted to go to a certain party and in fact went to bed instead one night. Then I was awoken and specifically asked by a friend of the family to go with her son. That is where I met my husband. He lived a good 45 min drive away and we never would have crossed paths later on. My husband didn't want to go to this party either but felt he needed to go. He was well on his way to going to a christian college many miles away just months later. After meeting me he chose not to go and then after 3 years of dating we were wed. That was just 16 years ago now! Could we have met another time? Possibly. But I know that he and I were heading geographically in completely opposite directions (I had an ex that was going to pay for me to move to S. Carolina from OR) so I don't think it is likely we would have met up another time.

We are all drawn to do certain things. Sometimes the draw is sinful and we need to fight it. But often times it is God prompting us and showing us what he wants us to do.

Good advice Quinalt. And, Rosehip, I would especially apply this to going to Church. If you don't want to, but feel that you should, then try to go. It certainly can't hurt. Smiley

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« Reply #31 on: August 11, 2009, 12:49:12 AM »

Forget those men who rejected you.  Forgive your brother, because one day he will be kicking himself at his stupidity.

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I agree.  Not so much to be mean, but Rosehip's brother needs to learn that his behavior toward her was not acceptable.
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« Reply #32 on: August 11, 2009, 01:19:15 AM »

I can also relate something from my own life: Siblings can grow up and have a very close relationship. But, once they go their separate ways via attachment and marriage, there is often a gravitation towards their "new" family. There is nothing inherently wrong with this, this is something of which I have first-hand experience.

That's very true, but it doesn't make it OK to neglect or mistreat the unmarried women in your family.  If a family has a spinster, or a widow, or even a divorcee, the family needs to make sure she is looked after and OK.  It's tough enough being a single woman in an Orthodox culture.  If your siblings reject you, then you really have no family.  That is unconscionable.  If a woman has no husband, it is her brother who is supposed to look after her.

That is how it is in my family.  After my cousin lost her husband she was diagnosed with cancer.  I can't express how good her brother has been to her.  She needs an expensive medication (Arimidex,) which her insurance won't pay for and he actually paid for it himself until she was able to get into some study where she could get it for free.  She lives in Fresno and he is down here in Los Angeles.  He regularly flies her down here so she can stay with him and his wife for a while and be spoiled.

I'm single and my brother helps me out when I need him.  I don't need much help  Smiley  but he looks after me anyway.  In fact it was he and my nephew who got me the computer I am using now and set it up for me.  If it weren't for them, I probably wouldn't be on OCnet right now.  (You can thank them or hate them accordingly.   Grin  )

You get the picture.  I've known families that treat their unmarried women poorly, and they have bad reputations.  What Rosehip's brother did was unacceptable.  I am really hoping that there are other people in her family who are taking him to task for this.
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« Reply #33 on: August 11, 2009, 01:24:03 AM »

Salpy, you are truly blessed to have a family like that. Unfortunately, in my experience, the generosity and love of your family is not often found in even "traditional" families. I grieve for poor Rosehip at the dreadful way she has been treated.
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« Reply #34 on: August 11, 2009, 01:28:47 AM »

I grieve for her too.   Sad   I can only hope the rest of her family is kinder.  Lord have mercy!
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« Reply #35 on: August 13, 2009, 05:45:33 PM »

I've been thinking about some of the problems that you've been having Roseship and I think that you got an answer within your question.  While I am no authority to speak of when or how the Holy Spirit works within individuals lives, the fact that the thought entered your head kind of speaks volumes.  I don't mean to just shove out my own opinion as I don't know you personally, but you obviously still have a deep connection to the faith and I think going to Divine Liturgy and being in the presence of the Lord can only help you overcome your problems.  I hope I didn't overstep my bounds here as stranger, it is just something that's been on my mind.  Your requests will continue to be brought to the Throne!  God Bless You!
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