In our series “Are You Ready? Again?” we’ve heard from those who had to leave China and have continued their journeys. What can we learn from them? Is there anything we can take with us for the journeys we are on?
God is faithful! He is a good, good Father.
As I listened to those who had to leave China and resettle somewhere else, either in a new home in Asia or back in their home country—their passport country—one thing kept shining through and that is that God is faithful and compassionate. Sometimes it was said out loud, other times I heard it in between what was being shared. A fragrance of regained hope lingered in the air.
Does that mean it was an easy ride? If God is good and we know that he is in control, it shouldn’t be so hard, right? I have not yet met anyone who said “It wasn’t that big of a deal.” And let me tell you that even if I would have met someone saying that, I would not have believed it. Because it is a big deal. Being forced to leave or having to make that decision even if you know it is the best, is a big loss and it is painful.
Reading Beth’s words as she shared about their move from China was comforting to me. “Today I can whole-heartedly say that whatever seeds, words, or love I gave in China are not wasted.” Whether you resettled and are now in your new home in Asia or you are back where you started, your time in China will always be a part of you and a part of who you are today.
Be honest with God in this ordeal, because that is what it is. It is a big ordeal to have to leave China—the place you were called to, the place where you had intended to spend much more time. God can handle your emotions—even your anger. Amy reminded us to return to familiar scriptures. Repeat your favorite verses over and over again.
Set aside time to clean your inner closet. Take time, and maybe even get help to carefully search what it is you carry around in your heart and soul. Make sure that you leave all anger and bitterness by the cross. Take it and dump it as you do after a good spring cleaning. Just as when you do a good cleaning out at home, you may need some helping hands to take it to where it belongs—the garbage dump. Invite a trusted friend or a counsellor to sit together, by the cross, as you dump things one by one.
As you continue your life journey, make sure that the luggage you take with you has been searched carefully, so that you don’t have any hidden substances in there, anything which may poison the journey ahead of you. It is OK, and even good, to carry memories and to be sentimental now and then. I, for one, am a very sentimental person. But make sure that you don’t live in the past. Don’t live in what could have been. Because here is the hard reality—it will never be.
Remember to grieve well. Without grieving well, you will not move forward as a whole person ready to say: Lord, here I am. Send me. Part of grieving well involves facing the lost dreams. Take time and grieve your lost dreams. Grieve what could have been but will never be.
We recall the blessing and the pain
But now we turn our hearts toward
What is still to come
We want to dream again1
Recall the blessing and the pain. Ask the Lord to help you dream again.
Farewells will always continue to be part of your life. Learn and appreciate the importance of doing farewells well. Not just doing them but embracing them.
Make sure that you don’t make the journey alone. Invite others, maybe former team members, close friends, or a coach to come alongside you. Someone who you can just drop a line to in the middle of the night. Someone who listens, cries, and laughs with you. Someone who makes you feel safe and loved.
Look for opportunities to use your experience to bless others in their journey.
Leave the victim mentality behind you. You will be set free and your luggage will be easier to carry.
Dare to trust God again when you are at the crossroad. Take some time there until you start dreaming again. When the question comes, “are you ready to trust, again?” take his hand and jump. Jumping is scary, but God says in his word, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” (Hebrews 13:5)
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