The Journey to China
Many people who have followed Journey from the beginning may know the story, but today I am burdened to share about the actual “Journey” that led me to China. The last few days I have been in Oregon taking some time to process and be with the Lord and see family I haven’t seen in many years. Some of these precious people just so happen to be The Carpenter Family who are one of the main reasons I was able to go to China as a teacher. They now live in Oregon and I was able to spend an entire day with them! We reminisced about our days together in Wuhan and then all the times they came to visit us in Guiyang. Adam, Becca and the girls will forever have such a dear place in my heart. You have not met such a kind and caring family.
My “Journey of a Joyful Life” began after a series of incredible hardships. I had finally landed my favorite teaching job and was engaged to be married and had 2 amazing foreign exchange students living with me when it all seemed to crumble under my feet. My school and district had to let all the newest music teachers go because of a state wide cut in funding. I broke off the engagement with my fiancé because I became very aware we were not on the same page about many of our goals in life and I knew my girls were going to have to return to their home countries. I remember feeling so confused and broken-hearted. Isabella (my Chinese daughter) came to me one night and offered to get me a job in her hometown! She explained that her foreign teacher, Kirk, could get me a job teaching English. She had mentioned Kirk many times during her year with me. We prayed for him often. He had been the one to teach her all of the Bible stories she knew and all the Christmas Carols she could sing. I knew he must be an incredible guy who loved Jesus so I had prayed for him and his work in China many times. So when she came to me with this offer I just laughed and thought “there is no way!”. Well the next day she had a phone number and said “call this number and you will get a job in China!”. She knew my dream was to go to China. So I did it. Crazy as it may sound, I called the number and spoke with a guy who worked for an organization that sent teachers to China. I had an interview and just like that, I had a job in China. The story is long and incredible but Adam and Becca led this organization and after a few short months and selling everything I had, I moved to Wuhan. I used to have to explain where Wuhan was…After COVID I just mention the name and people get wide eyed and say “WOW, you lived in Wuhan?” I never imagined it would have such a name for itself:-) I loved that city!!! I still love Wuhan. I made such deep friendships there. I healed from so many hurts. God used Wuhan and the people there to bring me into a deeper relationship with Him. It was like my Chinese promised land! It was hotter than Hades but those were my people!
After I tell this part of my story people always look at me and say, “ now how long did you live in Wuhan? You didn’t have the kids there did you?” No, I didn’t even have children with special needs on my radar at that time. My goals were much different and I thought I would live and die in Wuhan. I started a blog when I first went to China and called it “Journey of a Joyful Life”. The name “Melodie” means “Joyful Life”. So, I decided this was going to be a way to document my Journey. “Journey of a Joyful Life” sounded lots better than “Melodie’s Journey” or any other name I could come up with. I loved keeping that blog. It gave me a way to keep track of things that had happened and also a way for others to join me and pray for me along my Journey.
“Foreign teacher Kirk” and myself became good friends. He is the one that went with me to visit Marianne and the kids in Guiyang for the first time. I will always be so grateful to him for his faithfulness to so many students in Wuhan but especially Isabella. After I moved to Guiyang he was such a faithful volunteer in our home as well. So many of my Wuhan friends became faithful volunteers and supporters. After moving to Guiyang and knowing that was God’s plan for my life I felt so alone. Those first few months were such a struggle. God so sweetly used that time to bring me ever closer to Him in a way I had not experienced. Loneliness was very new for me. During these days, the Lord taught me how to be still. I was a mover and a shaker!! I loved to be busy and fill my time with everything. All good things, but never a still moment. This is where I was challenged to be still and wait on the Lord. He provided for me so deeply during this time. This is when he gave me Sammy and Yamei. This is when he revealed to me how I was going to learn Chinese…because the book learning wasn’t going well. This is when He showed me how incredible, children with different abilities are. In the stillness of everyday work He revealed so much. Living with Marianne and Hans and the children shaped me and gave me a new lifestyle. Creating a schedule for the kids, seeing their trauma and longing to meet the deep needs of their heart. This is when He was preparing me for the “real” hard work. The pain and heartache that I was only going to be able to survive because of knowing how to lean into Him. More of my China story in my future blogs:-)
My amazing counselor has been encouraging me, for a few month now, to take some time away with a journal and just be alone. She reminded me that Jesus went to be alone for 40 days before He began His ministry. He knew He would only have 3 years on earth for that ministry and must have felt some sort of urgency to “get out there and start ministering” but He rested and listened and was still before the Lord. I am so very grateful to her for encouraging me to take this time. It has been so incredible for my soul. Just sitting and resting in Him. I love nature and adventure and feel the ability to lay everything aside in these kinds of spaces. Driving along the coast and in the mountains has been so peaceful for me. Currently I’m writing from the back room of my grandmother’s home, on the side of a mountain in a city close to the bay. I can hear the birds chirping and eating and in the space of the last few hours it has rained, sleeted and hailed. But the peacefulness of God’s creation around me just brings such comfort to my heart. Yesterday was 2 weeks since I held my little Emmalyn for the last time. I still feel myself forgetting that she is not moving around inside of me. I still think about her all the time but the sweetness of knowing she is with Jesus makes me long for Heaven even more. I am currently going through an amazing devotional for moms that have lost a child and it has been ministering to me in such a deep way. Someone I didn’t even know but who knows the pain of losing a child left it for me on my door step. It came in a “Hope Box” full of special things that bring hope. As I read the words from this mom, I feel her pain so deeply. She gets it. The scripture that I have clung to from this is Psalms 143. Today Psalms 34 has been penetrating my soul. HE is protecting me. He is saving me from the enemy and keeping me safe. I will leave you with these scriptures. If you are hurting today, please know HE is with you, fighting for you in the deepest way possible. He is preparing you for greatness and WILL NOT allow the enemy to overtake you. I am not really sure why the Lord wants me to share these blogs…maybe for myself more than anything else. But if you ever want to share your heart with me or need someone to listen, Please email me. I love and care for each of you. Melodie…
My Soul Thirsts for You
A Psalm of David.
1 Hear my prayer, O Lord;
give ear to my pleas for mercy!
In your faithfulness answer me, in your righteousness!
2 Enter not into judgment with your servant,
for no one living is righteous before you.
3 For the enemy has pursued my soul;
he has crushed my life to the ground;
he has made me sit in darkness like those long dead.
4 Therefore my spirit faints within me;
my heart within me is appalled.
5 I remember the days of old;
I meditate on all that you have done;
I ponder the work of your hands.
6 I stretch out my hands to you;
my soul thirsts for you like a parched land.
7 Answer me quickly, O Lord!
My spirit fails!
Hide not your face from me,
lest I be like those who go down to the pit.
8 Let me hear in the morning of your steadfast love,
for in you I trust.
Make me know the way I should go,
for to you I lift up my soul.
9 Deliver me from my enemies, O Lord!
I have fled to you for refuge.
10 Teach me to do your will,
for you are my God!
Let your good Spirit lead me
on level ground!
11 For your name’s sake, O Lord, preserve my life!
In your righteousness bring my soul out of trouble!
12 And in your steadfast love you will cut off my enemies,
and you will destroy all the adversaries of my soul,
for I am your servant.
Taste and See That the Lord Is Good
1 I will bless the Lord at all times;
his praise shall continually be in my mouth.
2 My soul makes its boast in the Lord;
let the humble hear and be glad.
3 Oh, magnify the Lord with me,
and let us exalt his name together!
4 I sought the Lord, and he answered me
and delivered me from all my fears.
5 Those who look to him are radiant,
and their faces shall never be ashamed.
6 This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him
and saved him out of all his troubles.
7 The angel of the Lord encamps
around those who fear him, and delivers them.
8 Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good!
Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!
9 Oh, fear the Lord, you his saints,
for those who fear him have no lack!
10 The young lions suffer want and hunger;
but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing.
11 Come, O children, listen to me;
I will teach you the fear of the Lord.
12 What man is there who desires life
and loves many days, that he may see good?
13 Keep your tongue from evil
and your lips from speaking deceit.
14 Turn away from evil and do good;
seek peace and pursue it.
15 The eyes of the Lord are toward the righteous
and his ears toward their cry.
16 The face of the Lord is against those who do evil,
to cut off the memory of them from the earth.
17 When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears
and delivers them out of all their troubles.
18 The Lord is near to the brokenhearted
and saves the crushed in spirit.
19 Many are the afflictions of the righteous,
but the Lord delivers him out of them all.
20 He keeps all his bones;
not one of them is broken.
21 Affliction will slay the wicked,
and those who hate the righteous will be condemned.
22 The Lord redeems the life of his servants;
none of those who take refuge in him will be condemned.