There’s a King-size Bed in my Living Room

I’ve said it a million times since arriving home 3 years ago.  China changed me.  EVERYTHING about me.  My faith, my family, my view on almost every subject under the sun, most especially my view on our purpose in this world and how we are ALL seeing it wrong when our purpose is focused on ourselves, our selfish desires, our comforts.  It wasn’t China specifically, but through my time in China God really touched my soul and molded me heavily during my time there.  He gave me experiences, shared a new culture, gave me some wonderful Christian mentors, and really really worked in my heart.  I felt closer to Him there through my experiences, my friends, the Chinese people, the orphans – more than any other time in my life before or since.  I attribute much of that to the fact that my life was largely emptied of the “busy-ness” that we pursue here.  I had more time to worship, listen, be “open” to hear and see God in my life and my surrounding and experiences.  I have such a burning desire to share and allow others to “see more clearly” through my experiences but it is SO hard to truly explain and to help other who haven’t been there to “get it.”

We Americans are SO, SO busy.  So consumed in ourselves, giving our children the “perfect” life, having the biggest and the best and the newest, planning for “the future,” etc.  It is so engrained in our culture that it’s hard NOT to be like that.  The longer I’m back in America, the more I find myself slowly sliding back into my “old ways” – buying the nicer phones, shopping as a source of entertainment, wasting my valuable and miniscule amounts of “free time” staring at the TV or surfing Facebook for a few too many hours.  At least now I am aware of what those ways are and I often take steps back as I’ve begun to lose footing on what (and in whom) I want to truly place value.

As you all know, we are pursuing our 4th adoption.  We hope our 12-year old Willow will be home around April or May of next…wait, THIS year (holy cow, it’s 2017!!!!)  As we began sharing the news we family and friends, there was a mix of response from “congratulations!” to “again?!” to “why?! or “haven’t you done enough?” to “So we need to pray for a bigger house, right?!”  And so we finally reach the actual topic of this blog.  No, we are not praying for a bigger house despite the fact that our current one is 1500 SF, 3.5 bedroom and 1 bath and currently houses 6 people, 2 of whom require large amounts of equipment to support them to function in our home.

One of the greatest revelations I had was spending time with a dear Chinese friend’s family.  My friend was raised by a single mom and his aunt after his father passed away at a young age.  His mother sewed clothes at night and sold them on the streets each day until she was able to afford a small shop front.  She and her sister started making more clothes and selling them in this small shop/stall until they were able to hire 2 workers.  Those workers sewed the clothes while they sold them at the shop front each day.  Now, 20 years later, they have a very lucrative children’s clothing business with many workers who produce 100’s of thousands of garments.  They own a 5-story home/factory.  They are very comfortable if not “wealthy” by Chinese OR American standards.  In the midst of their success, they still sleep on the concrete “garage” floor on woven mats, have no central heat or air conditioning, and as an extended family (the mom, the aunt and her husband, elderly grandmother and a young cousin who has a child) – have purchased ONE modest car.  They have the means to buy so much more yet they are content and happy, and the most welcoming and generous people I’ve ever met.

Through this experience and many like it, one of the greatest places of peace I possess from God working on me in China is contentment (specifically in the material sense).  This was a specific area in which I struggled most of my adult life.  As a single mom with my son, I spent much of my time trying to present an image of class, material security, and means.  I was WAY too concerned about what others thought of my life and my accomplishments…

 

I love our little house.  I am thankful for the warmth and protection it provides us.  It is affordable, simple, and it is enough.  Even adding child #5, we have the “space.”  We have made a choice to utilize our space in a non-traditional way in order to provide the children appropriate/separate sleep spaces based on their ages, pasts, and individual needs.  Our son maintains his own room, our 3 “littles” share a room, and Willow will have her own room (with a queen bed where I can sleep with her as she needs it in the first months/years home).  Sooo, here we are, arriving at the king-size bed in the living room.  My husband and I are the first to wake and the last to sleep. We spend our evenings in the living room after the kids go to bed where we watch TV, listen to music, visit.  SO, why NOT put our bed there?!  We’ve actually all LOVED the change.  We’ve never all been able to fit on our couch anyway.  Now we can ALL (including the critters!) pile up together in the big bed and watch a movie, hang out together, or read books… <3 LOVE! <3

The more I let go and let God, the more amazing and true to my spirit my life becomes.  Less stuff, less fuss, less work, more LOVE, more FAMILY.  The king-size bed in the living room represents the closeness, the casual-ness, the real-ness we want to pervade our every day.