As I sit down to write this, I'm enjoying a hot cup of Lemon Lift tea (carted to China with love by my dear mother) with a spoonful of fresh honey we bought from a farmer last week. Not much has changed in our circumstances since my last post. If anything, it is a little worse. I don't just have a chest cold, I have a mild case of pneumonia. Our scooter is still impounded, and it looks like it will cost significantly more to get it out than we thought (like as much as the bike itself!) and a friend might have to take the legal blame for our mistake since we have no license. Speaking of licenses, it's pretty much confirmed that we probably can't get a license without a change in visa. So... all that to say, the circumstances are still pretty crummy.
But as I sit here with my steamy tea, what I mostly see is how loved and cared for we are. I have so much to be grateful for...
...for many friends who are doing all they can to help us with dealing with the impound lot and police. We've had 3 different friends call the police, all trying to get answers and information. We've even been told by our friends that they don't even want us to go to the police station! They want us to stay home and let them take care of the situation entirely. (Well, of course we'd pay the fine; we wouldn't let them "take care" of that.)
...since hearing of me being sick, I've had a friend bring over a bag of fruit, one send more fruit home with Jacob (evidently fruit is an important part of getting well here), and one bring over a hot, steamy cup of pear and rock sugar boiled in water that she made, a traditional Chinese remedy for a cough. Even if it doesn't fix it entirely, it sure tastes good!
...in the midst of my melt-down, one of my closest friends here, Caroline, showed up at our door with funny movies and fresh banana bread from the oven. She insisted on leaving the loaf of bread when she left, no small sacrifice when you are baking in an easy-bake kitchen!
...today, after having a 100+ fever since last Thursday, and I finally gave up and admitted that I wasn't probably going to get over this with lots of rest and tylenol, our foster home's nurse rode her bike to my home to listen to my chest. She came armed with love, medicine, and a sense of humor. "Carrie, you can either start this medicine now, or go to the hospital for a blood test, possible HepB infection, and then take the same medicine anyway." I elected for the medicine.
...our friendly neighborhood vegetable lady gave Jacob 2 pomegranates when he went to buy potatoes. These are somewhat hard to find, and when you do, they are expensive, so he tried to give them back. She smiled, motioned no, and then pantomimed that she picked them. My sister-in-laws can back me up on this one, next to raspberries, my all-time favorite fruit is a pomegranate. Not that she knew that...
...my husband has been caring for me so sweetly since I came down with this. He does all the dishes, cooks all the meals, gets all my medicine, even tucks the blankets around me like my mom used to do when I was sick. (Full disclosure: I had to ask for that last one, but he didn't laugh when he did it!)
...that song I mentioned in my last post. Well, since "randomly" hearing it once, I heard it "randomly" again on another blog. I tried to track it down and buy the song on iTunes, but to no avail. It was on some obscure, early worship album made by the band, and it really isn't available for purchase anywhere. I had assumed it was a new song, since I hadn't heard it before... but no, it was made in 1998. Considering the fact that I'm an avid David Crowder fan (and have been since college, AND went to college in the town where they got their start at the same time that they were getting started as a predominately "college band" back then), I'm feeling more and more like this was the Father's sweet whisper to me that I'm not as alone as I felt.
....friends and family from around the world (I can say that since I'm in China and have friends on at least 2 continents) have reached out to us with encouragement, love, prayers, and perspective. We are loved very well; we are not forgotten (even when in our self-pity we tell ourselves we are), and the outpouring of concern is humbling and heart-warming. Also, just for the record, don't worry about me too much... I'm really OK. I was just being very honest in that last post. :)
...something about the "down and out" times makes us grow more spiritually. I know not all my blog friends are Christians (and might I say I'm so glad you stick around, when I know a lot of what I say might seem as crazy and hokey to you as this guy does to me!), so what I'm about to say might not make a lot of sense to some of you. But, I can honestly say the last few days have been such a precious time for me spiritually. I feel like I'm finally coming to the place of total surrender (well, at least of the things I've been holding so tightly to during this season of my life -- I'm sure in the future there will be some more "total surrendering" to do). I see it in Jacob as well. Peace. Trust. The dominate image in my mind over the last few days has been me curled up on my Father's lap (and I don't mean you, Dad, though I would love a hug from you right now, too!). In the middle of a scary (almost being arrested) circumstance, I now see I was protected perfectly. And since then it has been just one thing after another... reminding us of His goodness, graciousness, love, mercy, power, and patience. I am safe in the shadow of His wing. I am in his palm. Even if the financial markets are crashing and we're headed to a global recession. Even if I almost ended up in a Chinese jail. I am in perfect peace. My heart is full.
Weeping may go on all night, but joy comes with the morning.