Signed away to Christ

It's hard to believe another year has gone by. What's the abbreviation for 2011? I'm wondering that this morning. Not super important, but if I were to refer to this year in the future, what would I call it? Eleven? What about in Chinese? I asked my friend yesterday, she wasn't too sure.

Reflected a bit today, shared thoughts for the coming year around breakfast, and cleaned out my kitchen cupboards. Naturally for me, cleaning up something that is part of reflection. As I sorted out my kitchen cupboards, I felt a wave of nostalgia pass over me. Living overseas, we don't throw much away either that we brought from the US or was sent to us from home. Twelve years here, five apartments, and four kids later, it seems like we have a lot of stuff! Of course, living in a small apartment has kept us from hoarding too much, but it's still way more than the average Chinese! I pulled out playdough accessories (my seven year old is almost too big for it!), sippy cup lids (without cups, I may add), Christmas platters from various people who have left over the years, tea sets (with broken lids).....and many other random things that I can't even begin to list.  Several thoughts came to mind as I sorted through the stuff.

When we moved here, we had no idea how long we'd stay. I was 26 years old, with a 2 year old in tow and one on the way. We lugged 12 boxes of things overseas and gave away most everything else we owned. I wasn't sure I'd last a whole long time. We landed here in the middle of February, the winter gloom was almost too much for my soul. But God has been good through these years. We've carved out a home here in this smoggy crowded city, and it's the only home our kids have known.  Though I was afraid that I wouldn't make it here, the Lord used a new friend to speak truth into my life, truth that was formative in my early days here. "You're life is signed away to Christ, Jenn. Not China." When the hard moments have hit, and they have, the Lord has reminded me of that truth. My life commitment is to following Christ. Where He leads, I will follow.

So, we have stayed. Without little thought for anything else. Stay here and serve Me, has been His call on our lives.

But, the question looms overhead, what if He calls us to something else? Would I have ears to hear? Would I listen?

Even that thought, evokes trembling in my soul.

The air here in our city has been difficult to breathe through, and our whole family now has been struggling with varying degrees of asthma. Bronchitis has been an enemy here, and deep coughing a norm.

Is God just calling me to trust Him more, for the health of my kids? Or is He calling us to live somewhere else, where we can still serve Him in the same way? Would it be giving in to the enemy if we left? Would He be more pleased if we just persevere?

As I look at 2011, I have heart choices that I need to make. Ones that must reflect faith and deep trust in the love of my Father. He's led us thus far, do I really think He'll leave us now?

I was challenged and encouraged by the words of Revelation 20:1-7, the hope of a new heaven and new earth. Where pain and sorrow are gone, and He dwells with us, because He is our God. Those words remind me that what is now is temporary and that I really don't need to worry too much about each decision at hand.

Our family shared things that we've learned in the past year and things that we want to grow in in the coming year. One child wants to hear God's voice more, another wants to learn to trust Him more, another just wants to get over the yuckies faster, and another wants to be close with his siblings.

I threw the sippy cup lids, dried out playdough tins, and broken teacups away, along with many other things. These simple things reminded me of God's faithfulness over the years, and I know that He will be faithful in this coming one.

My life is signed away to Christ. What a good reminder today. May 2011 reflect that, Lord.

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