And So We Fled: Thoughts from a Young Ukrainian Mother
It all started with a false awareness of reality. The morning we heard about the start of the war, we decided to stay put in Irpin as we hadn’t yet realized the seriousness of the situation. But by the mercy of God, we saw the smoke rising from the airport in the town near us that had been bombed and we decided to leave. We fled at just the right time; that evening the cruel fights and bombing started.
We drove almost nonstop. For the first four days, we lived in shock and fear. We felt lost. Everything we did was done automatically. Our prayers were filled with tears and the hope that the war would stop soon. The news each day determined our feelings.
We prayed and read the Psalms together every day. At first, it was just rote. We didn’t know what else to do. But with each day, as our understanding of the text grew, we began to feel what we read. There is so much in common between what David was going through and what our country is now going through.
There were some days when we couldn’t breathe. How could I have known that it would only take one day to forget how to smile? This was the first time in my life that I have lived for almost an entire week with no sincere smile on my face. We called family, asking in fear: How are you? Is it quiet? Are you safe? Even our children were affected by the atmosphere. By day five we began to breathe again. We started to think more clearly. We started to smile. Phone calls to relatives got longer. Our kids started to play and laugh again.
On the eleventh day of the war, we sang for the first time in a church service in the local church in the western part of Ukraine that ministers to refugees. We brought some nonbelievers with us from Kyiv, so we have been going through this all together. We are glad that the reading of the Bible and prayer has become for all of us, including them, a source of peace.
So today is the twelfth day of the war. Seeing the destruction of the city where we lived makes us feel homeless, as we don’t have anywhere to go back to. But it helps to realize that our real home is in heaven. Today, despite hearing all the terrible news, I have a hope. And I am thankful for my husband’s faith. We talk and we do believe that our hope is in Christ.
The hope we have is this: God is in control. God writes his history. God is even using evil and turning it into good. The war is spiritual warfare, which only then is appearing in the physical world. We are dealing not just with humans, but with spiritual powers.
As I see these events with my eyes., I feel human feelings—grief, horror, sorrow, sadness, madness, irritation, disappointment, and hatred. But when I look at these times through the perspective of faith, I am filled with joy and peace beyond logic and human understanding.
What I know is that when God gives his comfort and fills us with his Spirit, feelings are miraculously changed. Nothing changes on the outside. Terror is still everywhere. But inside, faith provides a strong foundation for peace and joy beyond our understanding.
Written on March 8 by a young mother from the Church of God who has fled with her family. Her name is withheld to protect her identity.
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Feature (top) photo: Ukrainian evacuees (used by permission).