So here we are...still in America...
Way back in the day, when we were planning this Grand Ol' America trip, it was going to be three months long. Love on the parents, hug some siblings, enjoy the big blue thing called the sky, chow down on Western food, then zip back to China before you can say "Zai Jian, America! Howdy, Big Chicken!"
Then I got pregnant with Hudson and three months turned into six so we could deliver here, get our acts together with three kids, and then traverse thousands of miles on a plane with a still sleepy newborn.
Then the medical fallout happened. Strabismus, torticollis, I-could-write-a-medical-dictionary-itis...The list seemed to keep getting longer and longer with my busted children.
Three months that turned into six that turned into eight that turned into ten. The suitcases have been packed and unpacked and now sit mocking me in their incompleteness, their contents messy & strewn about the living room kind of like how my life feels.
I think my China friends think that this isn't such a bad situation to be in. Holidays with family, college football on Saturdays (though I will admit that we've loved watching Johnny Football make a new presence for the Ags!w), date nights that are more than just China's finest of Papa Johns and Starbucks (though I hear Cold Stone has made it to town since we left), being able to run more than one errand a day with the fabulous luxury of my own car, still wearing flip flops in this fabulous Texas winter, not feeling humiliated on a daily basis with language faux pas...what's not to love about this delay?
On the other hand, I think my American friends also think this isn't such a bad situation to be in. A husband who's not working full time so he's around to help chase little people or wipe a bum, my dad cooking dinner for us almost daily, my mom doing my laundry just as frequently...what's not to love about this delay?
But that's just the thing. There are so many things to appreciate & be thankful for in this delay that it might surprise you that I'm fighting & struggling for contentment. No routine, no roots, not a lot of purpose beyond my three littles. Constant transition, constant clutter, constantly just trying to keep my kids from breaking my parent's stuff. Wouldn't God be more glorified if we could just be back in China? Wouldn't God be more glorified if we were here--I mean really here--in the States instead of just on this long-term visit? Wouldn't God be more glorified if I didn't feel so stuck in between two worlds?
During our Saturday long runs, my friend Leah & I were discussing this very thing. Feeling stuck in life situations, feeling stuck at home with kids, just feeling stuck not to be somewhere else that you want to be. Leah encouraged me with Philippians 1:
I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel, so this is has become known throughout the whole imperial guard and to all the rest of that my imprisonment is for Christ. And most of the brothers, having become confident in the Lord by my imprisonment, are much more bold to speak the word without fear. ~Philippians 1:12-14
If anyone had cause to feel stuck, it was Paul. He was in prison, quite literally stuck behind brick, mortar, and bars. From his perspective, it possibly looked like the worst arrangement of all time. All his zeal & ardor, articulate apologetics, and relational connections wasting away in a cell. But did he grovel in his situation? No, he looked for the glory & purpose of God where he was. And by the way Philippians reads, I'd say there's outstanding evidence that Paul was still being used by God, despite his physical setting. While it's true that our situation certainly isn't identical to Paul's, I want my heart & attitud to be like his.
I will say that there might be light at the end of the tunnel. Hudson is going to be released from physical therapy next week. I'm happy to say that his head is more or less shaped normally (no one's head really is perfectly round after all), and he does not need a helmet (which makes me quite happy, considering I found out those things run around $2000!). Sam has an appointment with the eye doctor next Monday where we're also hoping to be released from his care. We did find out that there is a pediatric ophthalmologist in Beijing that we can see if we need to in the future. So it looks like the medical saga maybe...just maybe coming to an end. Then it would just be a matter of getting medical approval from our company doctors and booking tickets.
Regardless of whether we go back to China today or in two months, or if the ophthalmologist isn't satisfied with Sami's progress, or if the pediatrician finds something concerning with Micah at his three-year well child appointment tomorrow, I want to be able to say with Paul that what has happened to us has really served to advance the gospel. May my heart always say that His plans are wise & good!