Home for a two year break
Although I came home summers, I usually stayed in China four years at a time. When I came home in 1998 I brought with me a tape series by a man who had come to Beijing teaching on the Father’s Love. I knew there was still much unforgiveness in my heart toward my parents and that root of bitterness bothered me a lot. All things work together for good to them who love the Lord, right? Well, I found a lovely apartment I could afford and Mom let me drive her second worn out old car which often didn’t run. I was effectively isolated from jumping into the car to go to town when I was lonely and it wasn’t safe to go for walks along the highway. It was a perfect time to listen to those tapes. But I couldn’t concentrate. So I began to fast, and sat down to laboriously transcribe the tapes. For nine months I fasted alternate periods – a week of Daniel fasting, three days of absolute fasting, a day or two of rest, and back to the Daniel fast. And the Lord came to help me forgive my parents and brothers and sisters. Then – THEN – He began to speak to me about how I had hurt others. That was bitter medicine and I wept in private for weeks. There was no one to help me work through all that was being stirred up, so I asked the Lord to help me bring myself to accountability. To do that I wrote possibly two dozen brief letters to various people, especially my family, to apologize for hurting them as specifically as I could remember. I kept a journal so that I could go back when the enemy might come to discourage me.
At Easter I was invited along with Mom to the home of one of my sisters . Her daughters were also there and we were planning some fun for the little ones. One by one my nieces came to me to whisper that their mom had told them stories from her memories of when she and her siblings were young. Each niece was impressed by a different memory of something I had said or done that disappointed them. I was totally shocked at the lies and twisted “memories” and decided to return home for I was crushed. As I drove back home I sobbed heavily, for my family relationships meant much to me. When I drove through my home town I noticed a car in the parking lot and a light on in the church I attended, so I pulled in to see if someone would pray for me. There was a couple praying in the sanctuary, so between broken sobs, I asked if they would pray for me. “No,” they responded. “You need to get saved before we pray for any other needs.” I wondered why they thought I wasn’t saved, and turned wordlessly, even more devastated, to get back in my car and drive home continuing heavy sobs of grief and loss.
I finally wept myself to sleep. In the night I had a dream that I was dead and Father God had come to carry my lifeless body in His arms. My head and feet hung down, my legs and arms bouncing with each step Father took.
The next day was Sunday – Easter Sunday – and I had never felt so lifeless. I knew I needed people, though, so I went to join a small in-home fellowship group. They were horrified when they saw me and prayed a couple of times during the morning for me. The leader was reluctant to allow me to go home alone, but made me promise to call him that evening to let him know how I was doing. That evening there were tiny glimmers of life within and slowly there came a fragile stirring within.
I felt like I returned to China in August a bloody mess, spiritually. The last two years were the most difficult of all my years in China because I had made myself so vulnerable that every difficulty threatened to take me under. A year later I felt prompted to pack up and come home at the end of the school year, that I wouldn’t be returning to China again. Mom needed me.
Healing in China
A part of the bitterness I grew up with was major fear of men. When I moved to Beijing my prayer partner was a Black lady whose husband was over six feet tall and well built, with a big ebullient voice. She asked me several times to stay overnight so we could spend quiet time together, but I always refused. One afternoon while I was at their apartment her husband came home and wanted to talk to me. While he was talking (I wasn’t very talkative) he stretched out on the long sofa and lowered his voice. Soooo…he knew my fear. I was charmed by his perceptiveness and we became fast friends.
While in Beijing I associated with a group calling themselves prayer warriors. Three of us were called out as intercessors: an American single man, an African single man, and yours truly. The close relationship I was privileged to have with these two godly men was deeply healing.
My last two years in China I met the French teacher at the school where we were both teaching. Americans can be loud and tasteless, but this man was violent in his anger – and he was angry a lot! One day he was shouting so loud he could be heard from the first floor of the hotel to where we lived on the fourth floor, so I invited him into my apartment to talk it out. Suddenly it occurred to me that I was far from afraid of him!
When he discovered that he couldn’t intimidate me, he knocked on my door later and asked in a stage whisper, ”Who are you?” A bit guarded, I told him I was an intercessor and to my amazement, he accepted that explanation. He brought me prayer requests nearly every day after that for the next two years. I was thrilled to realize that the rough time of fasting was bearing fruit. A deep joy sprang up inside me and I marveled at the Lord’s grace and goodness to me.
I believe the Lord’s call on my life was two-pronged. Yes, I was to take the Gospel to people who had never heard, but in China I experienced a depth of healing that I would not have received in my own culture. The Lord softened my stony heart and taught me to love and respect very humble people who knew what pain and betrayal was. I learned to love my male students as they let me into their lives with a trust that, to me, was awesome to receive. And I was respected by Christian brothers and sisters for who I was in Jesus.