I have a stack of letters beside my bed here. Some are from my mother, some are from my dear ‘little sister’ Caroline Greene. Each of them always have a Bible verse to share and sometimes Caroline will put in a meaningful quote. Today’s was from Jim Elliott. ‘Wherever you are, be all there.’ I have heard this before. One of those things that I read or something ,skimming over it and disregarding it as something too old to be relevant to wherever I happen to be in life at the moment.
But I thought about it a lot today. I thought about the words ‘wherever’ and ‘all’. Life takes each of us to countless ‘wherevers’. Some of them are actual physical places and some are emotional states while many of them are seasons of change…
And what exactly does ‘all’ mean? Obviously, if I’m in a physical place, my whole body will be there…but what about my heart and my mind and my efforts and passion?
Maybe I’m being to vague…and I know that a lot of this is just a train of thought…but…I have spent so much of the past year of my life wishing that I was in China. I would be lying if I said that it didn’t cross my mind a dozen times a day. Anyone who knows me or has had a 30 second conversation with me in the past 12 months, knows that my heart is here. So many things in my life have lead up to me being here right now. I have 10 days left of this ‘wherever’ in life. Reflectively, I have to look back on the last 5 weeks and search myself and answer if I have been all here. I can confidently say that I have. Lord knows that life threw me for some loop holes before I left on this journey. Decisions that I made put me in situations that would have made it very easy for me to not completely be here. I Could have left part of my mind and most of my heart at home but instead, I was able to come here with an open heart and an open mind and scarcely any inhibitions. I have loved these children fully. I have laughed as hard as I ever have. I have suffered a loss that was literally resting in my arms. I have felt every emotion of this in the strongest and purest sense that I have ever experienced. I have made unlikely relationships. I have learned more about myself than I thought possible. I have regained confidence in my dreams and been affirmed in the fact that I am walking in the path that has been set out for me. I know that all of these things have been possible because God allowed me to spend 6 weeks in China and with His strength, I was able to allow ‘all’ of myself to be here.
So what about the ‘wherever’ that I go home to? Well, I guess my next prayer is that all of me can be there too. That may even be a little bit harder. It would be foolish of me to think that if I went away for 6 weeks, I could come back and not have to deal with the everyday realities that are facing me there. Like starting school less then a week after I have gotten home. 3 days after that, moving into a new apartment that I don’t even have furniture for yet. Learning the names of all my new students. Recovering my classroom and office from the flood. Struggling not to resent people who complain about small things, while I know of a huge problem on the other side of the world that I have seen with my eyes and held in my arms. My heart, mind, effort, passion…they all have to be there too. It is evident that God has blessed me with the gifts of loving, showing compassion for, and teaching children. And although, I am going to be leaving 122 of the most precious children in the world….there are going to be classrooms full of new freshmen that need to learn how to public speak. And God has sent me to do that for them and they deserve the same heart, mind , effort and passion that my little orphans in China received. So please pray for that with me.
Pray that ‘all’ of me will come back to Nashville … but please pray that all of me will be brought back to this ‘wherever’ too…because I know I want to come back to China and my heart can’t be away from its home too long.
Love from China!