The Little Emperor--a sweet boy, raised by 4 grandparents and one set of parents.
Do you ever feel invisible and wonder if anyone knows your faithful deeds and choices of the heart that you make every single day? As I look back over my 25+ years of mothering, I can remember so many, many times in which I was by myself in my bedroom, pouring my heart out to the Lord--searching for strength from being so tired from sleepless nights; asking for wisdom as my children and marriage presented me with so many mysteries and dilemmas I did not know how to handle; asking for light in the darkness; hoping for friendship and community in the midst of so many moves; and asking Him, my heavenly Father, to meet with me and to hear my cries and to answer. His word so often met my cries and by faith, I would leave my room, not always changed in my emotions, but resolved in my heart to move always in the direction of faith and in the direction of loving Him and serving Him as I served my family day after day, year after year.
But, sometimes, I felt invisible--did He see me? Did my prayers matter? Did my obedience make a difference? Did my day in day out choices of faithfully serving and teaching and cooking and cultivating life in my home matter? Did anyone care? And yet, all that I read in scripture told me to go on, to hold fast, to choose to believe.
And so my books were an outpouring of those quiet times, thinking that perhaps other moms felt like I did--and maybe struggled with the same questions that I struggled with on a regular basis. So I put these heart learned messages into books and cast my bread on the waters.
Meanwhile, my sweet friend, Rossana, was doing the same kind of thing--seeking God, seeking answers of how to walk with Him and how to be faithful in her family. She was living in California and went to a book store looking for answers to her heart's questions. There on the shelf of her local book store, she purchased Mission of Motherhood. In her own time of reading, God met her needs and encouraged her through the words of my own search and quiet time.
Soon after, she and her husband moved to Beijing, China. Over a few years, she became acquainted with a wonderful organization that was dedicated to working with parents in China to educate parents how to build foundations of character into their children. In the midst of her beginning to work some with the organization he led, she was asked,"Do you know of any books about mothering that have helped you that might help our mothers in China?"
"Well, there is a book that helped to shape my vision for parenting called Mission of Motherhood."
And so, she passed on my book to him. "We need this book in China." And so began the process of my book being published in China--all unbeknownst to me. I was still in my home in America having quiet times, pondering life and seeking to be faithful.
All this came from my Father showing me how to be faithful in my home when I thought no one was noticing. I never asked or dreamed that my faithfulness in my home could eventually have an impact on families in China--yet God was watching! He was listening, He was already at work.
You never know how eternity may be changing this very minute because of your decision to be faithful to God today in your home. He has plans to bring light and beauty to the whole world. He is a redeemer and He delights in using very normal people like you and like me. Perhaps a word from you will spark a chain reaction that will have implications throughout the whole world as one person shares what you have shared with them, or as you share a book or send a note or give words of life and love. Perhaps one of your children will change history and effect thousands or millions because of your faithfulness today. Your labor is not in vain!
This was the personal story God taught me in China. I was not sharing rocket science--but mainly stories of my life with 4 very different children who lived in my home that I loved and served as faithfully as I knew how--stories of family life and character building and love. What a privilege to be able to share simple truth and see it transform thousands--because his words will not return void on the earth. His power is manifested in our weakness. May He give life and hope to you as you faithfully serve today. Your work is noticed, your heart is precious, your sacrifices will result in praise throughout all of eternity. More pictures and a couple of more stories to come--but now I have to go take care of Joy!
PS Several of you have asked for details. We were contacted about a year ago asking if we could take a trip through China as a speaking book tour for my book Mission of Motherhood which was due to come out in Chinese.
Beijing was our first stop. We spoke to hundreds of people and initiated our first set of talks in a University auditorium-- a place where feminism is highly valued. This was the first place for my translator and I to practice giving talks together.
Next we flew to Shanghai, where we rested for a day to catch up on jet lag and were spoiled and given such wonderful hospitality from a couple who worked in business in the city. We spoke to about 300+ parents there in a hotel.
Wenzhou--next was this wonderful city where we met many wonderful people. We first spoke in a small auditorium where a number of brothers and sisters gathered. Then, we spoke in a wonderful bank auditorium to a packed out house of about 500 were present. The official event was sponsored by the Party and the local newspaper and two banks. Before we spoke, we had a wonderful dinner with high officials in the bank and then afterwards were interviewed by a journalist from the newspaper. She printed almost the whole outline of my talk because she wanted her readers to be able to know the content for themselves. April 18, the article came out in full in the newspaper with my picture at the head--it has a readership of 320,000.
Hong Kong--Here we spoke in the Polytechnic University to over 500 people. We were warmly hosted and encouraged by many there.
Guanzhou--This was our largest event with over 1000 in attendance. We had such an incredible response there. People stood in line for an hour wanting pictures with us and wanting Sarah, Joy and I to sign their books. A businessman and his wife sponsored this and we made many friends there. The editor of one of the 10 largest magazines in China was in attendance and she went home and read the book in three days. She then called and interviewed me and said she wanted to get the information into the hands of as many parents in China as possible. The readership of this magazine is 1.1 million and she gave us a wonderful interview--very straightforward and wonderfully supportive of our message.
Zhongshan was our last stop for the tour. A network of businessman sponsored this event with over 500 in attendance. We were hosted by one of them in a lovely hotel and met many whose lives had been changed after having gone through some previous education classes. What a blessing it was to us!
The final days, we met with many friends and small groups to continue our speaking and encouragement. Even reconnected with a friend from New Zealand who had seen us there. I have always loved our trips outside of the US and consider many friends I have met in these journeys as life-time cherished friends. So wonderful to know so many kindred spirits exist in the world.
I did not announce this trip ahead of time, as much of our travel and speaking was of a very sensitive nature and I hope that you will be able to read between the lines. Please keep these wonderful friends and country in your thoughts as you talk to our Father.
In the end, I did leave a part of my heart there--hoping and trusting that the one who has been working behind the scenes in amazing ways, will keep working in amazing ways so that in eternity, countless stories will be told about families learning how to serve and reach the hearts of their children with love and grace--and a legacy of righteousness. I was the one most blessed and so thankful--so I will keep on having quiet times in my room and have even more hope of what might become of my private meetings with my Father.