I didn’t move to China to have myself changed. I’m not sure many people do. But that’s where my most significant, God-led, life change happened. I had visited before on short mission trips, but never felt led to do more. I was a self-doubting, painfully awkward girl who lacked an ounce of self-esteem–I was convinced God couldn’t do anything great with me. And then my husband heard from God–we were meant to pursue mission work in China. Together. For six months.
I pulled a Jonah. If God wasn’t going to talk to me about it, I wasn’t going to plan it. And yet, our trip became planned and fully funded in three months. I know now that God spoke to my husband instead of me because I wouldn’t have believed I was capable of doing anything big for Him.
Our time in Guangxi Province was wonderfully jarring–locals staring at the foreigners (red hair doesn’t help), traditions and customs at odds with all I knew, amazing smells, festivals that went for days. My husband and I have many stories: some troubling, some comical, and some downright surreal. But the thing I really love is that God took me to China to change me. Not the Zhuang people, but my heart. My understanding of who I was and who God was to me.
When we first arrived, the two of us and our two sponsors were the only Americans in a city of four million souls. I was invited to join my sponsor in a Bible study. God must have spoken to her too, because she pulled out “Search for Significance.” At the beginning, I cried, I fought it, I could not, would not believe God’s true feelings for me. But each day, I came back, and God replaced the lies I had believed about myself with these truths: my performance has nothing to do with my worth as a daughter of God. I am not what other people think of me; I am what God says I am: deeply loved, fully pleasing and totally forgiven.
Praise the Lord who sought me, pursued me, in my brokenness. He literally took me halfway around the world to prove to me His love and faithfulness. “What great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!” -1 John 3:1