To put into words a year of humbling moments, ordinary events, and extraordinary growth painted against the backdrop of an overwhelming array of new sights, sounds, smells, language, and culture is like trying to fit back into your favorite outfit when you were five.
Nearly a year ago, I didn’t recognize coming to China as a response to God’s calling, but now, through hindsight, I see that God had a plan, purpose, and place prepared for me here in Baoding, China, apartment 405.
From an impromptu root canal days before I left, to last minute discovering that my flight was two DAYS earlier than I had thought, to getting my visa less than 24 hours before I was supposed to be on a plane, to staying up the entire night to pack, somehow God got me to China.
And oh, what a journey it has been!
Our stories are so much more beautiful once we allow God to write them.
One of my students, in an introduction poem, wrote this:
“I am ordinary and extraordinary.”
Simple and simply profound.
God takes the day-t0-day ordinariness of life and transforms it into something extraordinary.
My days are ordinary: I eat three meals and my usual midnight snack, run dreaded errands to the grocery store, sweep my floors, and sit for hours at my computer to plan for classes. Nearly every day there is a knock or two on my door and people to see.
Then there are those moments, after I have studied the Word with a precious little “seed,” that I pause, stare out my window, and in silent awe, thank God for watching growth as His Word gradually transforms hearts and the privilege of being a part of that extraordinary process.
I am ordinary. God working through me is extraordinary.
I see parts of myself in each of the heroes of faith-Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses. Not in their greatness, but in their weakness, in their doubts and in their questions: “Why Lord, did you send me?”
Constantly I have been reminded that I am Yahweh, I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and that His grace is sufficient for me.
His grace is sufficient for me when a forty-year-old woman comes to ask me for advice with a friend; His grace is sufficient for me when I am tired of smiling and talking for 12 hours straight, His grace is sufficient for me when my well of ideas has run dry; His grace is sufficient for me when I think I will scream if I get another stare or ‘hello;’ His grace is sufficient for me when my chain falls off my bike once again and I’m frustrated and irritated arriving to class.
His grace is sufficient for me, for His power is made perfect in weakness.
I have come to rejoice in this season of life God has given me: a season where I do dishes every three days, laundry every 2 weeks, and cook lunch or dinner every….well almost never. His grace has equipped me during this season with the time and quiet moments I need to come and drink deeply from the Word.
Every season is different. Every season is perfect in its time.
The Lord had good works prepared in advance for me to do in China. The Lord knew exactly what I would need this year before I even knew or asked. He knew I would need the steady comfort of having a close friend a floor away as well as the challenge of becoming an active member of His kingdom without somebody’s shadow to stand behind. He provided grace and support exactly where I needed it to accomplish His good purpose.
To God be the glory.