Thursday, August 28, 2014

culture burden

We are hours away from our 8 year anniversary in China.  That's an exciting, humbling, amazing thing for me.  What an honor it is for us to be here as His, for Him.  And it makes me pause and question myself...

I've written much before about culture obstacles, stress that has ripped my heart out and shredded me whole.  That's how I felt.  I can remember driving our 3 wheel electric bike past garbage heaps and pollution and strange neighbors to pick up kiddos from preschool and thinking over and over:  "How could I possibly... what words could I use to communicate to people back home, to fully portray, the enormity or dark depth of difficulty these culture struggles are for me?"

I often think that just about nothing would be hard for me here if I weren't a mom.  I know single friends here also have their struggles.   But most of what I have faced has felt like it's come at the sword-tip of the already difficult battle to glorify God as a mom in my children's lives and before them.  The pushiness, the misunderstanding, the way my choices for my kids are brushed aside and disregarded by strangers who don't know us at all but go ahead with their plans for my kids even after I've communicated.... the filth we live in the middle of, the hard things we see, that go on all around us.  The hope of teaching our kids etiquette... and the zillions of miles we live from it.  All this, and we live in a modern city, nothing compared to so many who live overseas!

I actually started to see that in the past, the way of sending kids off to boarding school could have been more for the blessing of the kids rather than for the sake of the parents (to focus more on their work.)  Now boarding school is not our style... but I've come to a bit more compassion in understanding that choice.  

(I must also add here that the Lord has given a tremendous measure of grace for me in dealing with these culture stressors.  The last time we were back in the states (Feb 2013) I got to have a way-too-short visit with one dear friend, one bridesmaid of mine, who listened long and prayed for me with the keen strength of the Word of God and an understanding heart.  It was perhaps the most piercingly penetrating time of prayer I have ever experienced, received as a ministry to me, to my own heart.  I am profoundly grateful to the Lord for His grace that has healed so much of these culture wounds in me.  So magnificently grateful to the Lord for you my dear friend, JJK!)

So far, almost the entirety of my processing, sometimes- my ranting and raving- here on this blog has been about how challenging this culture is for me.  Yesterday I saw that difficulty turn inside out.

How about how INSANELY DIFFICULT my culture is for people here?  How about how *ridiculous* my standards come across to them?  And yea, why on earth, would anyone here want to be a friend or ever imagine wanting to listen to the mom who doesn't feed her kids candy every hour of the day (such a mean mom!), the mom who yelled sternly out the sixth floor window when her kids began to join in with a pack of little neighbors tormenting a trapped mouse in the courtyard (and there's a cock fighting place just outside our complex-- what do you mean, you don't take joy in seeing animals suffer?).  Who really wants to hear what the mom who stays home all day to teach her kids has to say?  I know, I know well, that plenty of moms in the states are minorities for their choices too.  Plenty must also feel misunderstood, wrongly left out, unjustifiably disliked.  

America is a melting pot, a salad bowl, some say.  Everyone who's stepped outside on red white and blue soil has seen faces different than theirs, come across press reports or stories of opinions different than theirs, has probably received some education and some choices and options presented them.  Not. So. Here.   The uniformity of decisions, methods, choices among most of our neighbors is uncanny... but it makes sense with the history of this precious land.

So....  I'm feeling the weight of all this.... and trying to hold it in swing with the reason we've come.  And how, but by miracle after miracle of GRACE, will I ever be able to share with friends here?  And really, how can we, in this heavy cultural, political climate right now boldly proclaim!?  It's pretty hard on the ground right now.  Miracles needed.

Good thing the God who opened up the Red Sea is still at work, still faithful today.  

Lead, Lord!  Open the way here too!   We believe that you can.  That you will.

Hold my heart there, Lord.  And come, do this work, by your grace, for your glory!

1 comment:

  1. Jill, spending my drive to church catching up a little on your blog. This post has brought me to tears. What a journey, what a hard calling, and yet how faithful you have been as He has faithfully met you and enabled you over and over. I have a renewed sense of how to pray for you. Love you.