Thursday, May 29, 2014

Longing for Home...

"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


  1. And oh! What a joyous day that will be! Praying for you all. ((hugs))

  2. One of my all time favorite sermons Pastor Eric preached was when he remind us that this place, wasn't our home. I can not begin to tell you how often, especially when things are so hard, when I get some peace with that simple reminder. This is not my home. My true home awaits!!

    So, my dear Anna, thank you for that reminder. =) And I will pray that you all will feel better and a new temporary home will be found for you three soon. =)

    One more thing...Thank you for keeping it real. =)

    1. Thanks so much! And yes... trying to keep it real. It's hard at times, but necessary!

  3. We will be praying for y'all!

  4. Anna, I know exactly these feelings during our 40 days in Ukraine for our adoption. In the region we were in, no grocery store to get food, I was sick with sinus infection, had our son, Grant (6yo) in hotel rooms...felt to tired and sick to stay and too tired to fly home. It is such a desperate feeling. I quoted scripture constantly to make it through (& listened to Sara Groves music...specifically "When the Saints" was comforting to me)
    Lord it's all that I can't carry and cannot leave behind
    It all can overwhelm me
    But when I think of all who've gone before and lived a faithful life
    Their courage compels me

    And when I'm weary and overwrought
    with so many battles left unfought
    I think of Paul and Silas in the prison yard
    I hear their song of freedom rising to the stars

    I see the shepherd Moses in the Pharaoh's court
    I hear his call for freedom for the people of the Lord

    And when the Saints go marching in
    I want to be one of them

    I see the long quiet walk along the Underground Railroad
    I see the slave awakening to the value of her soul

    I see the young missionary and the angry spear
    I see his family returning with no trace of fear

    I see the long hard shadows of Calcutta nights
    I see the sisters standing by the dying man's side

    I see the young girl huddled on the brothel floor
    I see the man with a passion come kicking down that door

    I see the man of sorrow and his long troubled road
    I see the world on his shoulders and my easy load

    And when the Saints go marching in
    I want to be one of them

    Hope those lyrics bring comfort to you as they did me. The tremendous struggle allowed me to know God in a way that I couldn't have and He was Faithful to us and will be for your family also!

    The Sovereign Lord is my strength;
    he makes my feet like the feet of a deer,
    he enables me to tread on the heights. Hab 3:19

    Melanie Hall

  5. Thank you for sharing your experiences and the lyrics! I've enjoyed listening to that song before (one of Jubilee's favorites) and it's good to be reminded of it!