“A man found an eagle's egg and put it in a nest of a barnyard hen. The eaglet hatched with the brood of chicks and grew up with them. All his life the eagle did what the barnyard chicks did, thinking he was a barnyard chicken. He scratched the earth for worms and insects. He clucked and cackled. And he would thrash his wings and fly a few feet into the air.
Years passed and the eagle grew very old. One day he saw a magnificent bird above him in the cloudless sky. It glided in graceful majesty among the powerful wind currents, with scarcely a beat on his strong golden wings. The old eagle looked up in awe. "Who's that?" he asked. "That's the eagle, the king of the birds," said his neighbour. "He belongs to the sky. We belong to the earth - we're chickens." So the eagle lived and died a chicken, for that's what he thought he was. ”
-Anthony de Mello
Not long after the very day the Father invited me to sit at the table as a daughter in 2007, my desire (and heart) for the nations had begun and only continued to grow. Excitedly, each day I awoke I knew it was only one day closer to my serving Him in countries abroad, and that had always been a hope of mine. Five years later, now 2012, I am living and teaching in China and would have never imagined life to look the way it does now.
If I were able to paint a picture of my heart, it would be boldly stained with a map of the world—covering every inch.
Around the city and with my students, He is making much use of gifts and skillsets that I would have never deemed as “useful”. The simple things: my love for stick figures are being used to teach my students; my knack for speaking with my hands has been a great aid in describing to the Chinese what I am looking for and works great when I am modeling an activity for my classes; my love for starting conversations with strangers has created many opportunities to practice my newly-learned Chinese; the eagerness I have for learning about cultures, which was enhanced only this summer-past, has been a fun tool in my knowing how to study the city around me; but the best yet has been my love for jumping rope. As random as it sounds, I have even been placed at a middle school who is number one in their province for their jump rope team! I’ve joined alongside the squad and have even been asked to perform with them during the school’s upcoming Sports Demonstration. Though these are only a few hobbies and skills to name, I have been growing in my appreciation and understanding that these are only mine to steward as He uses me to reach parts of China in His name for the Kingdom.
While He is making use of what I love to do, though, my dependence on and trust in the Father is being deeply challenged…even as I write.
I have realized that, in the States, I took more action than I did pray for the Father’s provision. Standing confidently within the comforts of my community and amidst familiarity with city, state and country, I felt as though I’d had much of what I needed, so my plea for His providing was not a priority if my need was attainable on my own. Living in China now, this skewed perspective of pride in self is being broken. I am now void of familiarity by city, country, food and people, and it is explicitly uncovering and propelling my need for trusting and depending on the Father. I had not even an idea as to how much I doubted His desire and ability to be Father until He became all that I had.
And I find it funny that He has become so much more real to me since.
From the moment I stepped onto the plane, I began recognizing things that He’d taken care of that I would have not been able to think of with my own mind or accomplish with my own hands. There have been a few mornings already where I've awaken in total fear and anxiety for the hours in the day to come and my only sense of preparation for any action outside of my apartment, as menial as it'd felt initially, was in trusting that His promises are true. I held onto them much like a frightened child would grip their father's hand and a shield they become in (the) place of my fears.
My lack of knowledge of this country and city, its people, their food and their languages’ dialects has served as daily, and sometimes even hourly, reminders that this world is much bigger than I could ever understand on my own. My prayers began as requests that I may hunger for the Scripts where my desire was once depreciating; that I would be attentive to the subtlety of His movements around my city; and that I would grow to know Him both in and outside of a community of believers. Only three days after arriving in China, I started to bump into believers. My request was then that I would be welcomed into a Chinese family for personal, cultural and language learning; as I was invited to the home of a student for supper on the very first day of work at my new school, I started to realize that I was still keeping the Father in a box—He had been meeting and surpassing my menial requests.
On a continuum, I am venturing from the determination and action that was in the heart of Martha to the rest, intimacy and trust from the heart of Mary.
Though there is suffering in growth, I know that I am not yet who I will be.
Signed, Broken but Wonderfully Made