I am blessed…

Today is a reflective kind of day…

A day when I am struck by all I am blessed with…

It is a day where my home, worship, my food choices, my utensils, my govt, my family, my costs of transportation and my freedom all remind me of how blessed I am…

It is a day where I realize that even though there are aspects to each of the above areas that I could choose to complain or even cry out to God, I have been reminded about a very oppressive culture where people have chosen to trust God’s sovereignty. I spent time with some of those people in China this week and they are beautiful and gracious. They are filled with perspective and gratitude. They know the bitter taste of loss and the sweet dance which comes from surrender!

It is a day when I realize that tomorrow is Monday again and my normal routines will resume.

I will face a choice of how I will live as a result of my China trip…

I will face a choice of how tender my heart will be as a result of hearing painful stories and experiencing God in very real ways ~ in my life and the life of others.

I will face a choice of how I will live this week and how I will embrace my high points, my normal activities and my moments I wish did not exist.

I learned last week about trusting God in big ways; during intense emotion, during every day conversation and during long silences.

I learned last week about choosing hope over fear and trusting God even when I feel lost and uncertain….

I would guess that much of what I took from China can be translated into my day-to-day, if I choose to apply it. I want to live trusting God fully this week.

I invite you to join me there. In those moments when you want to choose fear, worry, sarcasm,criticism, food, alcohol (or any form of addiction) consider taking a deep breath, stoppiing the behavior you easily turn to, and trusting that God has a plan for your life and trusting that it is good!

Home again

I am back at my computer in my home and amazed at all one day can hold. Hard to imagine in a week’s time, my life is changed, my heart is fuller and I have experienced China in so many wonderful ways. I managed to stay awake until 7 pm and then slept deeply for 15+ hours. Experiencing life fully is tiring and benefiting from deep sleep is a true gift. I face today with a deep appreciation for tap water, scent free plumbing and pedestrian right away. I am marveling at language, deep connection and love!

On the plane I tried to sleep and yet kept hearing the voices of my Chinese friends. I was listening for what I was hearing and whose voice was I listening to. There was not clarity in my sleep. I hold the memory in that dream close to my heart. The distance begins as we all return to our day-to-day routines and yet, I carry a piece of each woman with me. I have heard their stories and I have embraced their pain. Together we shared the ache of unmet longings and yet realized even in the ache there is hope.

We shared much during the week and experienced that when we speak of our shame, we often feel exposed and even naked as did Adam and Eve. God reached out to Adam and Eve in their shame and clothed them. This is a teaching lesson for each of us to cover one another in our shame, not with leaves but with kind words full of truth and grace. It is evil that wants us to believe the lies of our heart and minds that we are unworthy or unloveable. It is in God’s love that he offers us truth.

We shared truth with one another this past week. Truth of our stories which invited us to sorrow and to recognize that in sorrow we open our hearts to joy and hope again. As we parted ways, we wrote words of truth and grace on a hand-held mirror. A mirror which each woman takes home and can choose to look at their beauty through the words of truth and grace offered by friends who have been with them in their struggles and know often some of their deepest shame. The moments are sweet and life giving…the hope this brings is deep….the invitation to be loved by God whose love is unconditional and eternal is life changing!

I have much to share and likely a number of blogs will unfold in the coming days. I missed writing and a steady internet connection will allow me to share some of my many thoughts upon returning home…

May you find friends who speak life-giving hopeful words of truth to you today!