Joy-filled sadness

In the past few weeks I have drafted out approximately four different blogs that hit on scriptures that have been particularly striking and applicable in my life. Yet, as I sat before my screen attempting to write, I remained frozen and mute. Even in my prayer times when I attempted to crank through my routinely rehearsed method of adoration and praise, I found that I had become robotic and rigid. When surrounded by precious loved ones in my community, I discovered that I internally lacked patience and allowed even the simplest inconveniences to throw off my equilibrium and peace. Why, might you ask? Simply stated, I am leaving the comfort of the known and trudging in a direction surrounded by a dense fog of unknown.

These two years of service with FMC have provided me with a deeper formation in our faith, learning to sink or swim while living in community, and how to rely on Christ in every aspect of my life. Although I am FAR from perfect or from accepting the title of a Theologian, I know that the 23-year-old that stepped off the plane and onto Beijing concrete, is not the same 25-year-old woman who will be stepping onto the plane tomorrow night. It is through that truth alone that I find reason to celebrate my choice to respond to God’s call; not that I have changed the hearts of many, that I poured myself totally and completely in the work before me, or that I have widely impacted China but, rather, that the Lord has changed me. Everything that I could have possibly given in this time abroad has been returned to me in an EXPONENTIALLY greater fashion and I am humbled by the many lessons I have learned.

Although the States has been my home for the majority of my life, Christ has widened my view and stretched my heart to acknowledge that no matter where I may lay my head, I will always be surrounded by family. This family has been with me through the ups and downs of learning Chinese, embracing the culture, making sense of an ever-changing schedule, and laughed alongside me as I often fell flat on my face. My family is a melting pot of Chinese, American, Slovakian, Australian, German, Polish, Italian, Singaporean, Filipino, and Mauritian individuals that each have their own manner of speaking, living, eating, and serving the Lord- and I adore them all. So despite my longing to run into the arms of my relatives stateside, I feel the ache of sadness saying goodbye to those whom I may never see again but have greatly impacted my life.

While reading an article entitled, The Beauty of Goodbyes, I received great consolation as I remembered why the stings of goodbye can be deep and consuming; we are made for the infinite.  This served as a reminder that although time is fleeting, we have set our course for a place where time no longer holds us captive, where separation is impossible, and joy is never-ending. So although I may never see these precious ones again while I breathe the air of this earth, I have hope and faith in the promises of things unseen, an eternity of blissful reunions alongside those who have helped me tangibly encounter Christ’s love.

Now, I must learn to embrace and cherish my remaining time here in Beijing, asking for the grace to live each moment well, and learn to allow my daily bread, or the acknowledgment that living one day at a time is more than sufficient, to satisfy my heart. Please join me in prayer for my ever-changing community in Beijing, for the souls of China, and for greater trust in the beautiful life Christ has planned for me in America. It has been a privilege to share some of the adventures of China with you and I look forward to another unexpected journey with Christ and you as my brothers and sisters beside me. I love you all.

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