"I am here," said Much-Afraid, still kneeling at His feet, "and I will go with you anywhere." Then the Shepherd took her by the hand and they started for the Mountains. ~Hannah Hurnard
Sunday, August 21, 2011
Bethel Week 8 - What would be the song we sing to them when they're in need? (Final China Post)
It’s Saturday afternoon at Bethel. Sam walked by at lunch today and reminded me that tomorrow is my last day. I love how good he is at rubbing things in. I love that kid. :) I’m trying so hard to process right now. The last two months (and especially the last week) have been hard and exhausting, but they have also been my greatest joy and some of the most fulfilling times of my entire life. I’ve taken this song as my theme for the summer:
What would be the song we sing to them when they’re in need?
Would it be an empty Hallelujah to the King?
Turn down the music
Turn down the noise
Turn up your voice oh, God
And let us hear the sound
Of people broken
Willing to love
Give us your heart oh, God
A new song rising up
And I think that’s the best way I can explain it. This summer I have been surrounded by music. It has been my gift to these children and their gift to me. I can see how the songs I have taught them have brought them such joy, helped them to open up, and given me an opportunity to show them that they are loved and that someone (and Someone) cares for them deeply. I have always known and believed in the power of music. I have always known that I love music, but this summer I have seen it in a different light. Music is my life. There is no doubt about that, and I have often made these words the cry of my heart in the times when life has grown chaotic and busy, unfulfilling and stressful, the times I have wondered what it is I’m doing and why. This summer has shown me that God heard those cries. He has turned down the music and the noise and taken me straight to the heart of it all. He has given me a little bit more of His heart. He has made me more and more willing to love truly and deeply, even though that love so often brings me to tears. I’ve sung a lot of songs to those in need this summer, and by God’s grace, it was not an empty hallelujah. A new song is rising up in me. I am going home broken as a jar of clay, and yet God has filled my words and my songs. The things that seemed so important to me are suddenly not. The reason I sing is now so different. Everything that I do is an opportunity for God to move. Everything in my life is about God equipping me to better serve Him. Every moment prepares me so that God can use me to give gifts to others. Everything is deeper than it appears, and I am making a choice to see that. At least, I am right now.
I pray that I will remember that throughout the next school year and for the rest of my life. I pray that I will remember the faces of these kids. I pray I’ll remember Qing Lian and Le Dong and Pan Pan and Vincent and Ming Ming and Michael and Fukai and Li Long and Miao Miao and Rongyuan and Rhi Zhiu and Lily and Tracy. When I have to deal with busy work and write reflections on teacher observations and practice my music and deal with rough voice lessons and face my imperfections, I pray I’ll remember that God uses it all for something more. I’m a mess. I’m not perfect, but He works through me in ways I can’t even fully grasp. God has taught me that this summer. He orchestrates everything for His glory. He is forever faithful, forever true, forever good, and forever gracious.
God has broken me and softened my heart this summer. He has taught me on a deeper level how to love. He has given everything in my life new meaning, all because of these kids and all those who serve them. I know what I want my life to be about. It’s funny because I thought this summer would solidify my calling. I thought I would go home knowing exactly what God wanted me to do, but in reality, I have no idea. I know He’s called me to Love and to serve. I know He’s called me to music and to share that gift with others so that He can work through it. But I don’t know exactly what He’s calling me to do. I’m okay with that though. Because it’s not about what I do or what my actual job is; it’s about my heart and Who I’m following and opening myself before Him to be poured out as a drink offering. It’s about living given over. It’s about being broken and willing to love, really love, no matter the cost. It’s about giving the orphan a home and feeding the hungry and being faithful in the mundane tasks and loving little kids and loving adults who are a total mess. It’s about singing songs to those in need and letting God fill them up with His Spirit of Love and Caring. And we are all in need. We all need to see God, every child and every grown man and woman. We all need to feel God’s love. We all need to sense and learn His joy. We all need an embrace and an outlet. We all need songs to sing. And as I enjoy my final days with these kids and try and process all that God has done these last two months, before I get on a plane and go back to my “real” life, these words ring in my heart and bring me comfort. And I hear the voices of the Bethel children singing them, and I know that they are true, and though my eyes are full of tears, my heart is peaceful and full of joy, for God is faithful, and His grace is sufficient for me. These kids will be okay. Even as I face the struggles of trying to leave these kids (like Michael who told me he wanted me to stay for a thousand million years and never go back to the States) and readjusting to life back home and trying to figure out what I’m going to do with my life, I know I’ll be okay.
Through many dangers toils and snares
I have already come
‘Twas grace which brought me safe thus far
And grace will lead me home.