Wednesday, October 31, 2012

31st October 2012 - Reflection

Is it end of October already? This marks 2 months and 19 days since we arrived in Shanghai. So much has happened in the last 10 weeks or so, it doesn't feel like it's only been 10 weeks. In a way, it feels like we've been here for half a year. I guess, being busy and just doing all things and meeting so many people, we can't help but feel like we've been here a long time. I mean, for CM it has been 5 and a half months, so it's almost been half a year.
In the last 2 months, things have been hard, with so many things to think about and plan and just plain try to settle. The changes in mood at home have made things hard. It's unbelievable how this vast country can change a person, how it can affect a person to the extremes. I wouldn't have believed it had I not seen it personally and experienced it myself.
In the last 2 months, I have felt fear, worry, anger, self-pity and impatience. Not your every day usual feelings, but somewhat to the extreme. I am grateful for the support I have had from various people and they have helped me through those episodes, whether by their prayers or their aptly spoken words and their actions. I still have days when I feel uncertain, when I don't know what I am doing. I would stare at various things in the apartment and wonder what I am doing, what I am going to do, what I plan to cook, where I want to go, etc. Sometimes, all I want to do is just climb back into bed and sleep the day away. So far, I have not succumbed to that. I have been able to get over that feeling of not being ready to face the world. Thank God, indeed.
I cannot plan very far into the future. I am afraid if I do, the plans will come to naught. Right now, all I truly look forward to is the trip home for the Chinese New Year in February 2013. I was so worried that we would not be able to make that trip home because of no tickets or because tickets were very expensive. When the tickets were finally booked, I was so deliriously happy. Just knowing that I will be able to go home and be with people from home made me so happy.
In the meantime, I have to realise that the trip is not going to be for another 3 months and 1 week. Serious! I have no idea how long that period of time in Shanghai is going to feel like. I have been here less than that. And as the weather here becomes colder, as winter draws near, I am worried about our health, about how we are going to handle the cold weather, about how our emotions are going to be as we end up being more house-bound, unable to go out much due to the cold. I can only pray and hope that all of us will be able to go through the next 3 months plus, survive the cold and survive the possible emotional downturn.
I am starting to feel the coldness. One shirt is no longer enough. No more short pants, only longs will do. Jeans do not feel sufficient to protect me from the cold, I will need leggings. My shoes will also not be sufficient. I will need water proof full shoes, probably boots.  The children will also need more clothes that suit the weather. I am thankful we have been getting some hand-me-downs from various people. That helps to reduce the number of clothes we have to buy for them. If only I could persuade the man to go and get some clothes for himself!
Well, more reflections to come some time later. In the meantime, I thank God for all He has given to us and done for us.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Surrendering to God instead - adapted from my FB note

It is so easy to surrender our lives to circumstances, feel defeated by the hard knocks we receive; but surrendering to God is so hard to do. We seem to prefer to surrender and cave in under pressure than to willingly give up our lives, our troubles and our frustrations to God. Why is that?
Is it because our egos are so big that if we fail, we just want to have the failures attributed to us? Or perhaps we just cannot give over the rein of life to the ONE driver who can get us to our destination safely?
It is so easy when we see others having problems to just say "Leave it to God. Remember Proverbs 3:5,6". Or God will not test you beyond what you can bear. Or what you face is common to man, God always gives you a way out. All these reassuring words, all from the word of God, can work wonders ... but can be very meaningless to the person saying them, because he/she doesn't know what it means to come to the state where one feels like there is no way out, when the point of desperation is so real and overwhelming. These can be just empty words.
So when this person himself/herself comes to the place where those very words can be uttered meaningfully to him/her, these words become empty words - because these words had never held true to him/her before. Because these words were merely words. Now, being on the receiving end of these reassuring and most beautiful words, he/she cannot understand them.
How sad it is then.
Instead of letting those words minister to the heart, some of us would rather let them pass, or escape to some corners of our minds and wallow in self-pity or focus only on ourselves, never on God.
How do we help someone like this?