Called to Go, Willing to Stay: A Blessing Counting Journal (8)

7.  Practical blessing

If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.” James 1:5

My four-year old son was not the only one with many questions throughout various house-fixing jobs. He actually learned house-building related vocabulary faster than I did. I was struck when he corrected me by saying, “mama, it is ‘caulking’ not ‘painting’”.  I was surprised how much a little boy can learn from real life. It was a wake up call for me in viewing homeschooling as a lifestyle for the whole family. The best part was that we were all learning together through real life. It was a shared experience which we will refer to for years to come.

To give you a little background: I grew up in an apartment as a city girl in China. House projects, due to cheaper labor, were almost always hired out where I grew up. Before we came to the States, we spent four years of our married life in an one-bedroom student dorm. We didn’t have a yard, a car, American sized washer/dryer/refrigerator/oven or pretty much anything an average American home has. Now God has blessed us with all those possessions, He is also equipping us with skills and responsibilities to manage them.  We (namely, my husband. I get the blessing of being one with him!) not only had fun learning many house repair/building/maintenance skills, but also other building skills in general as we found creative ways to save money.

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Upstairs bathroom (before)

I am so proud of my husband, when he made our DIY home-decor idea into reality, when he figured out ways to fix our second-hand refrigerator, when he installed wires or switches, or many items I don’t even know the names. I am so grateful God blessed my husband with useful skills, a curious mind, adventurous spirit, and lots of friends and family to help as we needed. It was a slow but rewarding process. We don’t know how long we are to stay at this house, but now that we are blessed to own it, we are making full use of it, including all the learning and serving opportunities.


Five years ago when we first came to the States, we never thought we would own a house here. God had a different plan for us for this season of life in calling us to being willing to stay, to raise a family rooted in His Truth, to serve within the Body of Christ from our local church and community. What a blessing to gain wisdom in the Lord in a time like this when so many different voices have saturated the media! On top of all the skills and knowledge we have gained in the house-building process, we are eternally more grateful for a deeper understanding of Who God is and what our eternal Home is like through His Word.  

In the process of building our new home, how I wished that all in a sudden all the chaos would turn into perfect order! If we couldn’t build a house like that, how could the whole world, including human beings with mind, soul, spirit come into existence just like that? For years, before I became a follower of Christ, Evolution was what I was taught but was never fully convinced. I had questions about human life and meaning. I didn’t know better. But deep inside, God always set eternity in my heart as He does with everyone (Ecclesiastes 3:10) and His creation constantly reminded me to seek more of life. Seeking clear conscientious through self-effort never filled the void of my heart. I desired more. I was thirsty. My passion in learning another language was born out of a desire to know a bigger world. I was so excited when I was able to understand foreign radio broadcast and literature without being filtered or banned. My mind was fed by more understanding of the world and humanity, but stuffing my mind only led to more hunger for the Truth and the living water.  

Fast forward a few years, this seeking of Truth had a destination when I was at college. By God’s grace and His perfect timing, I finally came to know “who I am and where I am going” in the end! God used our experience in building our earthly home to sharpen our vision for the Home above, to reignite my passion for the Hope Giver. We are ever more looking forward to our final Home with the Lord, “a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens” (2 Cor. 5:1).

 

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Staining the stairs.

 

As we have been praying for ways our house could be used by the Lord, we are reminded that material things are good. Stuff can still be good, very good as the Redeemer enters our hearts. Out of the influence of Buddhist culture in China, I used to make an effort to avoid the pursuit of material gain for fear of being trapped by what I possess. The Lord has graciously replaced my fear with faith in Him in giving generously for His Kingdom. Christianity is not to empty our thoughts or desires, but to fill our mind with His Truth and Promises. Jesus is fully human and fully God. We, as humans, are materials by nature. But through Jesus, we can have a supernatural spiritual awaking, a new life! God’s children can use material things to bless many spiritually for the glory of God.

C.S. Lewis in “Mere Christianity” has warned his readers that Theology is practical. I am looking forward to more practical discoveries as I continue to surrender myself to the Lord and His Word. If you are reading this, I am so excited to have you join this journey in following the only One worthy of all Worship. My friend, if you “happened to” find this post, which few people know or read, I believe it is not a coincidence. If you don’t know the loving God, I don’t want you leave this page without inviting Him to your heart, which is going to be the most practical decision you have ever made in your life until eternity! (Learn more about the “The Good News”.)