Yesterday marked our completion of 60 hours of Mandarin classes. We have learned a wide variety of topics from greetings to money to directions to descriptions to travel to hopes for the future. We are in no way, shape, or form even remotely close to being fluent, but we are definitely able to comfortably communicate and begin to develop deeper relationships with the non-English speakers that we see on a regular basis. God has blessed us with such an amazing teacher and patience to endure through tones, totally foreign sound pronunciations, and sentence structure that can seem backwards. Interestingly enough, during our last class (for now at least) we were learning how to talk about emotions and our teacher asked us to describe when we felt each emotion.
Ni shenme shi hou gaoxing? (When are you happy?) Ni shenme shi hou zhaoji? (When are you anxious?) Ni shenme shi hou ku? (When do you cry?) etc.
Being women that experience a wide variety of emotions, it was very easy to come up with instances that would make us feel happy, sad, nervous, anxious, etc. However, the one emotion I really struggled to pin point was anger. Although our teacher probably had no real concern for the authenticity of our responses, I felt really called on to give her an honest answer. What felt like two minutes of complete silence in which I sifted through my brain for a response, I gave her an answer that satisfied. The question, though, remained bouncing in my head and was eventually brought to prayer.
For the past month I have been slowly reading a book that deals with the healing of memories. In it, it has you go through all of your stand-out memories beginning with childhood and allow the Lord to make an appearance and heal each one. They encourage you to take your time with each memory until they no longer have the stain or sting that can cripple you. With time I have worked my way through childhood, adolescence, and have found myself lingering on the memories of my early adulthood. Although on an hour bus ride I convinced myself that I had gone through each memory and pulled it from its source and root, it wasn’t until my uneventful bike ride that led me to Adoration, and this moment, that I realized that I have been pushing away my real and true emotions in order to save face with God. He has seen my ugliness and choices that pulled me from His embrace, but I refused to let Him see my disappointment and my anger.
Why have I thought that God was just like most of our society and wanted to hear one of the three socially acceptable responses to, “How are you?”: Good! Fine! Great! When in fact, He sees you, He knows you, and He doesn’t want you to paint on your happiest faces and approach Him with only the minor issues. Doing this hinders us from actually dealing with problems or trials with Jesus and then, as a result, it keeps us stagnant in our relationship with Him. He sees right through our facade and desires us to be truly present with Him- that means He wants our tears, anger, frustrations, wrinkles from worry, and our joy.
So in all honesty, I am angry! I am angry that God has allowed this pain in my life and allowed me to make choices that have wounded me so deeply. I am angry that I have been stuck praying the same prayers and begging the Lord to give me things that are not His best. I am angry that I have believed the lies of the devil and thought that Jesus would never give me the desires of my heart. I am angry that for 21 years I have been a horrible witness to the faith and have wasted many precious gifts. But thank God for His Greatness, His mercy, and His incredible ability to make beautiful things out of a willing heart.
This “anger” has been penned up inside can and will be used for His glorification. This fire that has been set ablaze in me, if I allow it, can be used as the driving force that keeps me within His will for my life, as a testimony for all those who are struggling in the ways that I have, or as the tool that pulls me into prayer with Him. So although I am convinced that I would be satisfied if I could have the answers to my millions of questions of why did you allow this or that, I know that He will make everything beautiful in its time and will answer only what He wills. I just need to trust in His best judgment and relish in the here and now.
We must take off the masks from the day and allow Him to renew us in love. So as I sit gazing upon Him in adoration halfway across the world from my friends and family, I realize that His plans for our lives are greater than we could ever imagine. We must continually give Him our fiat and our devotion and wait to see what amazing things He will do.