"I'm longing for a City...
Not made by human hands.
And I'm longing for a Garden...
Where God once walked with man.
For eternity is written on my heart;
And I'm longing for a day,
When we'll never be apart."
Yesterday was hard. It seemed like one thing upon another was going wrong... I was just getting better after being sick for 3 days with fever, chills, and an awful sore throat, and now Ryan was coming down with the same thing. This wasn't our plan for our first week in China. We'd planned to see the city, try new food, and enjoy the experience! Have I mentioned that a hotel room gets boring after a while to a 7-month-old?
Food was hard to find - especially when we weren't sure what we could trust (hearing that contaminated food is more prevalent these days) and wanting something fresh since we were sick. Fresh and safe is expensive in Shanghai. Going to CarreFour for fruit & veggies we could peel had almost resulted in me fainting, as I was in the midst of fever. Then we'd finally found some lettuce at a store that looked safe but when we brought it home, it was covered in bugs. Red bugs. Black bugs. Minuscule bugs. And the worst - gooey white worm bugs. Not just one bug here or there, but multiple bugs on every leaf. They didn't wash off with bottled water either, since there's no strong pressure...
There was more. We really really wanted to get into an apartment, where we could have more room to spread out and get organized and have Hadassah sleep in a separate room so we didn't keep accidentally keep waking her up with our movement. Plus, after 2 months of traveling, we are SO ready to be settled again. But getting an apartment in China requires that you know an agent who can take you to see some. Most agents speak Chinese. And how to get in touch with them? Ryan's work was helping some, but it was going slow... all they'd offered so far was out of our budget.
We laid on the bed as Hadassah napped, and whispered our frustration. We just want to be home. We miss Iowa. We miss being able to make our own food. We miss when getting groceries for a week took just over an hour - now just getting ONE meal takes that much time or more! We miss having our own home, with a car that Ryan would drive 5 minutes to work. Trying to find an apartment close enough that he can walk or bike home for lunch seems like an impossibility here... We miss blue sky. We miss having a dryer. We want to be home...
But then we decided to count our blessings:
- We hadn't gotten sick at the same time, so there was always one of us with enough energy to play with Hadassah
- Hadassah hasn't gotten sick!
- We're in a very comfortable hotel
- We're together
- This time will make us stronger
- We're learning to rely on God more
I admit, it didn't make things all better. The list of blessings seemed shorter than the list of frustrations. But it also reminded me once more that this world isn't our home.
Yes, soon, Lord willing, "home" for us will refer to an apartment hopefully close to Ryan's work. But how long will it last? Three years? And even if we then move somewhere else, it will still be temporary. So we started to think about our true Home:
- We won't need the sun, because the Lamb, Jesus, will give us light
- There will be green grass for Hadassah to run and play on
- The air will be completely pure
- There will be no sickness
- There will be no contaminated food - instead, we'll feast with the Lord!
- There will be no more tears
- Best of all, we'll be with our Lord, worshiping Him with family and friends and Christians through the ages forever.
- There will be no more longing... we'll be home.
"Behold, the tabernacle of God will be with man;
He will be our God, and we will be His people.
And the Bride she will marry the Lamb...
But until that day, I'm longing for the new Jerusalem."
*lyrics by Matt & Alexia Gilman