I pray that the Lord gives me words.
I realized today that it has been exactly one week since I left Pepperdine’s campus in Shanghai. It has felt so long yet zoomed past. I am living now, in what can be considered a two-bedroom house in Hongkou district. For the first time since I arrived in China, I am speaking more Chinese than English. As a result, there’s a part of me that almost prefers Chinese at this moment.
There are several things I have learned this past week. They will be detailed below.
“I know I am filled to be emptied again.” I am not going to lie, it is tough. There are highs and lows. At the women’s shelter at nights, I feel so tired, so weak all of the time because a lot of the times, I don’t know what to do. Sometimes, I have no option other than silence. Many days, I am merely a warm body, praying in halting Chinese, nodding at the rambling complaints of the women who come in at night to sleep and to shower. I have seen crazy like I have never seen it before. I have seen disillusion. I’m pretty sure I’ve met and befriended my first prostitute. But it all serves to humble me. Every day, my boundaries are pushed, my experiences are broadened. Every time I listen to a different person, my understanding becomes better. I am slowly, losing the fear that I’ve built up inside of me all of my life. The Lord is striping away my pride.
I have learned how rich I am. When the dichotomy is presented so clearly before me, it is hard for me to deny that my family is well-off. I have so much; I waste so much and now some of my best friends, some of the people who I love the most in this world: they have nothing. Literally nothing. There’s a phrase from the Chinese Bible that was read aloud to me last week, it goes like this: 我的恩典够你用。 “My grace is enough for you.” And it’s true. I am learning the true meaning of ‘crap.’ I have so much crap in my life. There’s so much that I want but I have no real use for. I am learning exactly how selfish I am. When the homeless come in, and have nothing, yet still offer to me what little they have. I am learning to be patient.
I have never prayed so much in my life. I’ve been praying in Chinese which is terrifying. I stutter and halt and say ‘um’ every other word but I have been doing it. The Lord gives me the words I need. My meaning always comes across.
I’ve never laughed so much in my life either. I’ve made friends who I love more than anything. I’ve been happier than I have ever been.
I’ve been frustrated: when the crazy woman who came for a bit and stormed out refused to move her bed over an inch. When the women who come to the shelter believe their own lies. When they say hurtful things under the veil of Christ’s name.
I’m beginning to learn the true meaning of Philippians 4:13: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me,” because every day I do something I didn’t think I was capable of, and day by day, God proves that He is carrying me.
Next week, Pepperdine comes back into my life.