Saturday, January 1, 2011

The year of the unexpected.

It's New Year's Day in China and I've been up since 5:17 with our sweet baby.  When 2011 rolled in, I was fast asleep under two quilts as the snow came down outside.  It's been a good year, a hard year, a frustrating year and a year of growth.  Isn't it that way for all of us?  There are no easy years-it's too long of a period of time for that.  There are times of joy and fun and anger and irritation and boredom and more.  That is life for all of us.

So this year...the magic of China as we have gained in language and culture skills.  I started this blog when we came to update my friends and family about the minutiae of our life here.  It's often pictures and a sense of the absurd and a sense of awe, wonder and privilege and amazement that we get to live here.  There is more to our lives than the minutiae that I talk about here.  We often have a sense of frustration as life here can be hard.  It's hard to be the foreigner.  In the US, we had many deep relationships with Chinese people.  Here, it's hard to get deep into people's lives.  People are busy, relationships take time to build.  The city is large and it's hard to keep relationships going.  We left a fruitful life in the US and here it sometimes feels like our fruit is very, very small.  We have no sense of doubt of our purpose in being here.  But it's not always easy.

We've been privileged to travel this year.  In February, we went to Hong Kong and felt like we were in a travel channel program.   Growing up near San Francisco and its China town influenced my thinking of what China looked like-I thought it all looked like Hong Kong!  Narrow streets and high buildings and many, many people.
We also went to Inner Mongolia to teach English for a few weeks.  Beautiful grasslands, sleeping in yurts and no city lights to block the stars.  Amazing.

Elisabeth did a service trip in Yunnan that was life transforming for her.  She is looking at colleges and thinking about SAT's and working hard at AP classes and dealing with some of the social issues that a small international school can bring.  

Of course, our biggest change was bringing in our little foster son.  In some ways, our lives are more circumscribed now.  In some ways, our lives have expanded.  I do know that we will never be the same and we hope the same for him.  A friend told me this year that God is a deliverer and that is my hope and prayer for our little guy this year-that God will be his deliverer.  That he will be delivered out of a grim future into one of family and hope.  That the complicated bureaucratic side of actually getting him to a family would be overcome quickly and that he would soon be with people who love him even more than we do now.

I often read this blog, written by a family who serves in Haiti.
She wrote an amazing thing in the last part of a new years post and I quote it here.

Because I love you...each one of you...the lurkers, the dear friends, the people God has lovingly wrapped up in our wish for your 2011 is this one...

May it be unexpected.  Richly and wildly unexpected.  May God write fantastic words into your story this year.  Words that would terrify you if you heard them today...words He is powerful enough to speak into existence and powerful enough to sustain.

I echo this prayer- for you, for me, for our families.  May 2011 be gloriously unexpected.  Let's see what words are written as we live out God's purposes in our lives.


Alida said...

Happy New Year!!!

What a beautiful post. You are so right there are no easy years. I think of you and your family often and pray for you all.

May this year be filled with the gloriously unexpected and also bring you some joy & blessings in the mix!


Tara Anderson said...

Happy New Year!!! I know we just "met" a few days ago, but my prayer for you is the same as the one you quoted at the end of this post. You have no idea what a chord you've struck with me, and you're never far from my heart or mind throughout the day. My prayers are with you and your family...including that precious foster son of yours.

a Tonggu Momma said...

That is a gorgeous new year's wish. Thank you. Happy New Year, y'all!

Tanya said...

Mostly a "lurker" ... and I love that prayer and your entire post.