in the valley

The times we were close, the times I sought You above all—You were close to me because I had nothing. You pushed all aside so that all I had was You. I was in a foreign place, surrounded by those who were different from me, far away from those who knew me. I clung to my uniqueness and asked You why You chose to make me this way.

Chinese. American. Christian. Woman. All four clash against each other like waves in a raging storm. Yet somehow, You decided they make sense in one body, one mind, one soul.

Mine.

You taught me what it meant to have all of these identities working together for Your glory, for Your kingdom.

I was closest to You when I was farthest from everything I’d ever known and loved. You gave me community, sisters who walk with me even now when we are separated by mountains and oceans and all that live in those thousands of miles.

Now I’ve returned home, and You feel far away. But You weren’t always. When I’d first returned, I had only You for company, only You for sanity. You taught me that to learn about you did not necessarily mean to know You, and You sent me to sabbath with fiction and new worlds, to break bread with dwarves and elves and halflings.

I lost track of You somewhere in a job. I lost sight of my purpose. I felt I didn’t deserve the dreams You dreamt for me, the dreams of the written word, of far away worlds with lush forests and barren deserts.

I did not deserve to discover those worlds, so I punished myself by letting me feel as far from You as possible. I swam down a cyclone until I began to drown. And in my shame, I called to You again.

The darkness in those waters still call to me. They demand my time, my thoughts, my worship. I long to give those to You, thought I sometimes fail and give in to them. Sometimes often. I misplace those precious things that connect us and leave them as offerings to the shadows of my heart. And I begin to believe that I don’t deserve Your dreams again.

Yet You call me again anyway. You lead me to green fields, decorated with flora of all colors. You take me through blue skies, catching puffy clouds against my hands.

Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

And You do this by sending me to a business degree.

How creative You are.

I hope to know Your nearness, though You feel far. I hope to give You praise, though it feels like You will not hear or receive it. I hope to be a good steward of this life You’ve given me, this opportunity You’ve gifted me. Thought I hear the calls of the shadows, let Your light shine in their hiding places. Let me know and believe that You will always fight for me.

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