A year ago, I was headed to Asia. I had just finished my first year working. I was exhausted and a little sick from the race to finish the school year and simultaneously packing and preparing a presentation I would give in Asia.
The trip started out rough and continued the same way as I spent much of my time either sick or afraid. Although it's easy to remember the bad, there was SO MUCH good.
I sat arm in arm with my best Asian friend as she realized that "Jesus is perfect" and chose to give Him her life. I got to encourage and be encouraged by new friends who have a hard road following Jesus, persecuted by their government, their education system, and their own families. I watched a mother cry with joy in a hospital when I told her that her son was going to be okay. I looked people in the eye in a dark, dark place, and prayed for them.
Y'all, why me?! Why me, a first year in my career, going to Asia, where there is no one in my career field, to teach people about normal speech and language development in children? Why me, advising doctors at the top of their field on how to treat children's speech and swallowing disorders? I was neither qualified, prepared, nor experienced enough to earn those positions, but God somehow used me to help just a little bit.
He prepared these works before I was even born (Ephesians 2:10).
How fortunate I am to have those experiences and to live in a place where (for now) I have religious freedom.
Yesterday morning, I was reading in Psalm 130, and it took me back.
If you, O Lord, should mark iniquities,
O Lord, who could stand?
But with you there is forgiveness,
that you may be feared.
I wait for the Lord, my soul waits,
and in his word I hope;
my soul waits for the Lord
more than watchmen for the morning,
more than watchmen for the morning.
The photo above, I took early in the morning on the day we left Asia. It was a difficult trip, and I couldn't wait to go home. The very last night, the power went out at my friends' apartment (they prepaid for electricity), so we couldn't charge our phones or play on the iPad and we slept in the heat, way up on the 22nd floor. But that sunrise meant that the night was over, we could see (!!!) to pack, and we were finally going home.
I don't deserve to live in the USA or to have a Bible or to have a family who raised me in a Christian home. I certainly don't deserve God's forgiveness. If He marked my iniquities, I would earn eternity in hell. But with Him, there is forgiveness. Praise God!