Sunday, September 25, 2011

Chapter 23: Of Momentary Yielding, Volume II

These last few weeks have been crazy. So busy with school and life and extras (it's getting to be a bit stressful). But one of the coolest parts in these weeks happened yesterday.

We have this program that encourages students to think more deeply about life and truth. They go away for the weekend and open up and share with each other. Even though this event is only for high schoolers (and I teach middle school), I was invited to lead a section of the weekend called The Hootenanny. Really fun.

One of the skits that we did was about a girl who had invited Him to take the wheel (I know, flashes of Carrie Underwood just traveled through all y'all's minds). Even though the girl had originally asked him to come, she kept pushing him out of the driver's seat when something "more exciting" came along.

As I was watching this skit, I felt like a hypocrite. How many times do I take over instead of letting him be in control? 'Far too many' is the answer to that question.

It seems that I am living two different lives: the life that he wants where everything is good and pure and it is easy to do the right thing, and the life of selfish disobedience where I choose to take control of my own life and immediately run it into the ground. But then I remember what I honestly want - to follow him. I abdicate and allow him to rule, only to snatch power back when I see difficulty coming.

Stupid old man within me. Why can't he stay dead?

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Chapter 22: Of Momentary Yielding, Volume I

I'm in a strange place. I'm new to China but not new to living apart from my passport country (as we say here), family, and friends. Part of me is still super excited to be in China, but part of me is also really tired of being far away from people I know and love.

One of the major differences between China and Nigeria is that China has a lot more. There is constant electricity; there are stores like Wal-Mart, B&Q (British Home Depot), and Carrefour (French Target); there are paved roads without potholes; there are multiple Starbucks, KFCs, and McDonald's; and there is a fellowship of expats that is phenomenal.

But sometimes having all of those things just makes me miss the things I don't have - namely, important people in my life.

I got an email the other day from a friend back home and, honestly, the first thought that ran through my head was, "Whew! He still remembers me." This is not to say that I haven't been blessed by friends who are good at keeping up with me, or with a family that is patient with my poor communication skills. This was, however, a momentary yielding to a heavy thought that seems to be pressing more and more against the edges of my consciousness - this isn't a short term trip anymore. It has become a lifestyle, and one which I don't see the end of anytime soon (though who am I to say?).

And even though I have been expecting this since the fourth grade, it is still a weighty realization to come to.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Chapter 21: About the Author's Sister on Her Birthday

Reasons My Sister Is So Great

5. My sister is legitimately fun! We always have a good time when we are together, whether that's going hiking, kayaking, or simply going out to coffee and talking.

4. She is easy to talk to. She really listens (and helps me to do the same;). And she has good insights into other peoples' problems.

3. She has loads of self-discipline and motivation. I am so proud of the ways that she works to change her life for the better as a mom, a daughter, a sister, a friend, and a person. And she has dealt with some hard issues and circumstances in her life and handled them amazingly well.

2. She is a wonderful mom. I am amazed by her children, and that speaks loads about how much effort and love both she and Chris are devoting to their kids. And now little Natalie has been blessed with a mom who has loved her for months before she was even born.

1. My sister loves Him a lot. None of these reasons would mean anything in the long run if she didn't. I love seeing how He keeps changing her heart to be more like His. And I pray that she will continue to be as open to his molding.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Chapter 20: On His Niece, Natalie Aubrielle

I spent the past two days with middle school students in a city called Weihai. It was really great, and I had some fantastic moments, but that is not the point of this post.

In Nigeria, I found out that my sister was pregnant and due on September 2. Part of me was hoping that the baby would come while I was in the US, but (thankfully) she did not come. So I moved to China and knew that I would not get to meet this little girl until she was almost 2.

Back to Weihai: I was hoping that I would be able to Skype with my family when Leann went into labor. If not that, I was hoping to Skype with them pretty soon after the baby was born. Unfortunately, I was at fall camp when little Natalie was born, so I still have not had the chance to talk to my family. It's hard.

Now, I'm not the hugest fan of babies (though some of the staff babies here are doing their best to change that!), but as soon as I saw my brother-in-law's picture of my niece on Facebook, I was a fan of her.

I'm not sure how blessings work, but I couldn't help but kiss her digital forehead and say a prayer for her.
I am sure the good Lord can transmit the blessing of a kiss even through an avenue such as Facebook.

Natalie Aubrielle Symons, I wish I could hold you, but that day will come soon enough.