This month, on our 2-year China anniversary, I am remembering all the lessons we've learned from this experience. We came because of our heart to help orphans. But, this has turned into so much more...
These are in no particular order... just a few thoughts as they come to mind.
- Living in community is tough but important. Sometimes we want privacy; sometimes we want independence. We do so much with members of our little community -- we work together, worship together, live in the same apartment complex, drive to Beijing together, go to doctor's appointments and grocery shopping together. You get the idea. Sometimes all the togetherness is wearing. But the gift of truly sharing life together is huge, and it has shaped us in ways that while we can't quite fully perceive, we do sense. We are more patient. We are more giving. We are less likely to fight for our own way. We are more quick to admit when we are wrong and ask for forgiveness. We've learned to overlook others' flaws, accepting them as we accept our own. After all, we're all in this together! In a community this small, we can't avoid one another!
- I've learned to carry my load lightly and with a loose grip, always ready to hand it back to the One who gave it to me. In the last 2 years, I've felt a serious weight lifted off my shoulders. I'm no longer trying to bear the weight of the world on my shoulders -- at least not usually. (Sometimes the tendency creeps up on me.) I've seen His hand of mercy so many times in our children's lives, that I'm starting to develop a deep and abiding trust in His goodness and His mercy all the time, even when we can't see it and even when circumstances suggest otherwise.
On a totally different note, the Grown in My Heart editor recently posted one of my other pieces on Divine Caroline. It's called "Redemptive Response to Tragedy." You might have read it before, but in case you haven't, you can check it out!