So I’ve decided to resurrect this dormant blog. I’ve meant to. It’s just seemed such a daunting task. That is, so much has happened since I last wrote, and it’s a bit overwhelming to think of covering it all. I feel as though, in seven months or so, whole chapters of our life have come and gone. In that time, good friends have come into our lives, and some of those same friends have since moved on. We started a cell group. Our cell group ended. We bought a dog. He almost died. We had to get rid of him for a while, and possibly for good (Eden’s highly allergic to all the stuff he brings in on his fur from the outside). We’ve entered faith struggles and come out on the other side of them. We’ve revisited whether or not we should be here long term and examined our motives for whatever decision we made. We’ve had a million different plans, it seems. And after all the discussions and prayers, the future doesn’t seem so clear that far ahead of us.
After being here for two years, we’ve started building more significant relationships. We’ve made close friends from various parts of the world and walks of life. At one point, we joined a few other families to start a cell group through the church nearby. The diverse group, representing four countries, was an answer to prayer and seemed to be going very well. Then, the family that really kept it all going repatriated to Indonesia, and the meetings fell victim to busy schedules and lack of motivation and administrative gifting.
Along with that family went there little boy, one of Eden’s playmate and her second good friend to leave China since we’ve been here. And the biggest blow to her is yet to come, as her best friend is moving to the States in a couple of weeks. We’ve also become quite close to the family, and their leaving will be difficult. Along with them, other people are moving home — some of whom we’ve known since our Wuhan days. Constant goodbyes: such is life in transient Shanghai.
We’ve thought a lot about the future. What is the wisest career path for me? Is this life too unstable for Eden? And what about all the pollution, among other things? What is our reason for even being here, and if it’s not a worthy one, should we leave sooner than rather than later?
The fact is that for much of this year, my reasons for being here were not the best. I have a secret to tell you: life is easier here. We’re not rolling in money by any means, but we make a comfortable amount of money, and if we weren’t buying annual plane tickets to the other side of the world for a family of three, we could actually save a decent portion of it. I have a five minute walk to work and come home every day to eat lunch with my family. I rarely ever bring work home with me — a HUGE deal for a teacher! And I like being able to eat out most anytime I want. And I live in a genuine global city in which I can actually afford to take advantage of some of the things that make it so great. It just makes the contemporary American life a hard sell for me.
And in my idolatry and pursuit of what the world offers, discontentment and frustration reigned in our household, and there was a lot of friction for a while. We had some rough moments, and through prayer, counsel, and God’s grace, we made it through.
Lately, the desire to seek first the kingdom of God has been awakened anew in me, and though I feel like I’m constantly battling the world, the enemy, and my own sin, God is reaffirming his claim on me, drawing my heart to Him.
With renewed Christ-centered values, we’re praying again about what God would have us do and where to do it. Even in light of some of the very good things that might call us back to the States, we don’t sense God leading us there at this time. But what our focus here should be in the long run is still unclear. I’ll post more about this later.
In the meantime, I think this has been a lengthy enough post to come out of dormancy. I’ll try to post again before we head to Georgia for the summer, but if I don’t get around to it, well I’m sure that I’ll see everyone who actually reads this blog (all three of you!) very soon!