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Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Oh, Hong Kong


“But did I do a good job?” I feel like a 3 year-old. God’s not surprised, and He's giving me the affirmation I'm looking for.  

It’s been a wild two years and three months. 

It was an unpolished “yes.” But I handed it to Him anyway. He said “thank you,” smiled, and held it like a treasure. The good He made out of that jagged weak thing is still going. 

Years ago, in a time when thinking about the future created stress, I was riding on a bus in Hong Kong, wondering if I was supposed to move back here. I wanted to, but didn't feel qualified, didn't know how it could work out. On that bus ride, Jesus put a picture in my head that was so pretty and so big, it shoved all the stress out. I saw myself dancing like a little kid, standing on Jesus' Feet. He decided all the steps, and all the impressive graceful movements were His. I just held onto Him, and looked up into His face. It was easy. And He made me look like a good dancer. 

My parents are in Hong Kong with me right now. It's the fifth time they've flown across the world together to hangout with me. Five times they’ve taken off work, locked up their house, paused their lives, and loaded onto an airplane for a 15-hour flight to see their youngest daughter. They don't fly to where I am so I can impress them, but because they really like me. And they feel proud of me simply because I'm their kid. God's like that.

I've lived a messy, weak, regularly-falling-apart life in Hong Kong. Here at the end of my time in this city, I've been terrified that God is disappointed. 

But God's been silencing that fear with the most gentle and steady “Good job, Lover.” He calls me lover! And His “good job” has this sense that it’s not about the “job” but more about just the way I am. He's enjoyed our time together in this place. He knew how messy it was going to be when He moved me here, but He also knew I would look at Him and that love inside of me would grow. 

My first year living here was spent crying in the floor because I missed my family. But in the middle of my intense homesickness, I was helping start a safe house for girls leaving the sex industry. We named it “Family Home.”

Oh the things He can do with weak attempts to love! 

When I wasn’t crying in the floor, wondering what my loved ones were doing and how long I was going to have to live here, I was sitting in the living room with my new African roommates, eating with them around the kitchen table, hearing stories about their families back home. We read the Bible together, we worshipped together, we came closer to Jesus together. Before we knew it, we’d become our own sort of family with each other. When we let Jesus lead us, He will always lead us into intimacy with Him and He will always lead us into family. 

I’ve sat with Him in an attic in the Philippines, on porches in Thailand, in children’s homes in India, on an island in Malaysia, in gardens in Hong Kong, in a hotel room in Sri Lanka, in my farm bedroom in Illinois; these simple quiet moments have kept my feet on His. He's danced me through nations. Man I love Him. His eyes are made of fire and His heart contains endless wonder! Those morning memories we’ve been making for years; cups of coffee, colors scribbled in a journal, His mercy covering my failures, red words written in the Bible getting written across my heart; they’re our intimate history, they're our dance, and they're making family grow. It's really simple what He's wanting; for us to experience His love and to love Him back. Let's read the Bible! Let's talk to Him! Let's let Him dance with us!

My family has a lot more variety and color in it than it did two years and three months ago. People who give me money to live on, friends who pray for me, Africans who joined their lives with mine, colleagues who had slumber parties with me, ladies in prison who hugged me tight when I walked into their world, Indian girls who opened their hearts to Jesus in front of my eyes; I've got a lot of family. Dancing with Jesus has made it grow. 

He can take failures and make beauty out of them. I’ve watched Him do it for two years and three months. 

In a few days, I’ll be flying back to America shame-free, with His "good job" written all over my heart, sitting right next to my mom and dad.

"Unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains alone, but if it dies, it produces many seeds."
-Jesus
John 12:24


*pictured with my Julie, my Brittney, and my Kelley (colleagues who became family), in a bus on our way to a slumber party