Well, we’re moving forward at last. We have been seriously researching and pondering an international move for the past 4 years, and the time has come to make it happen. The first mountain before us is the raising of support, the process by which we become financially dependent upon our friends, acquaintances, and church. I have dreaded this stage for a long time- the awkwardness of asking people for money, and the feelings of rejection when they don’t write back. This is a unique experience for Bob and I, as we have previously been on the receiving end of these requests. I have been warned to avoid expectations; that my good friend I expected to support me will look away, while a stranger responds enthusiastically. I have been told that this is a spiritual journey in which we will have to trust God like never before, and our faith will grow when he responds. I have been exhorted to see myself as a minister of Christ wherever I go and seek to serve and bless others rather than raise money.
All helpful advice. But this introvert has to find her own way to navigate the exhausting emotional minefield of support raising with 3 children in tow. I want to find myself on the other side of this mountain excited about the work happening in China, closer to my friends ( and not bitter at anyone), and with a fresh sense of divine calling and provision.
When I give our presentation people sometimes ask me, “Are you excited?” I know the right answer. When I began this process I wasn’t that excited, I just felt that it was time to start. Honestly, we’re in a stage of life right now where we pray for enough energy to make it to the end of the day. I remember my trips overseas. I remember the sense that God was moving and calling; the joy with which people received Truth for the first time. The sense of being fully alive, of fulfilling God’s destiny for my life. And yes, there was some youthful passion and romance woven in there too.
Life looks different as I approach 40. When I am really tired and dysphoric, I would say that I don’t feel that kind of passion anymore. But that’s not really true. As I talk about the work that is happening in China and see people engage and get excited, my joy returns to me. When our friends decide to come beside us in support, I feel honored and challenged. It makes me want to be a better person. To be worthy- and that thought leads me back to a place of total dependence on God. Ultimately, He is the only one who can make this happen, and the one who makes us worthy and fruitful. We are at a stage in life where we are better able to count the costs. We know it will be hard, and we will sacrifice a lot. We also believe that it will be worth it.
This is a strange time of life to move to China, with 3 children 6 and under. And yet, it feels the time is right. My excitement is like the hopeful expectation one feels when facing a new day after a good night’s sleep. Not the giddy energy that comes from too much coffee.