Called to Go, Willing to Stay: A Blessing Counting Journal (7)

  1. Social blessing
    “…You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Matt 22:39


With no flooring but lots of sawdust around, it was hard to have guests over for a comfortable gathering, not to mention entertainment. We were blessed to have wonderful in-laws,. and friends, who were more like angels in our eyes, simply show up to offer helping hands. At some points, I felt like we were more like guests rather than the owners, as we received so much needed help. It was a special season for our 9-year married life to not be able to outreach through our home. We knew that season to build would not last very long. This realization helped me cherish the time to seek God’s definition of a Home as we were building our earthly home.


Growing up in China, I had no concept about what a Christian home would be like. However, entertaining guests was part of my life during childhood. It was warm and fun family time but without much deeper purposes. God graciously tailored this time for me to develop a mindset of practicing hospitality for His name, His people and lost souls. Even nowadays, the Lord uses those days as a reminder for me to entertain with joy and intentionality, especially when I feel stressed or self-conscious before we receive guests at our home

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Waterproofing the basement

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Called to Go, Willing to Stay: A Blessing Counting Journal (6)

5. Financial blessing
“You shall remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you power to get wealth,…” Deuteronomy 8:18

As much hard work as it has been, it is such a joy to know that God blessed us with a house debt free. He has enabled us to honor the no-debt rule for our family. I know this is not true for every family but we are grateful God has provided and protected us from debt as we have desired and obeyed His direction for our family only by the power of the Spirit and His Perfect provision. All credit goes to the Lord!

When we looked at our finances and how we would like our future home to be used for His Kingdom, it seemed impossible to make it a reality as we were doing house hunting. Everything was either out of our range of affordability or not the type of house we would like to own. We were so amazed (still are amazed) by the timing of God’s provision of this “cash buyer only” house. God used the house seeking period to prepare us to make a quick decision when needed. We greatly appreciate our home, though it needed a “complete rehab” (learn more about the house here).

In case you are in doubt: Yes, it is possible to buy a house with cash! I share this to give hope. We are by no standard rich in this world. I am a full-time mom and my husband works at a community college part time. We desire to work together as a family team for God’s Kingdom full time. We see every work God led us to, not just as means of financial support for the family needs, but also tools to expand His Kingdom. We are grateful God led us to homeschool, to various ministries, to teach ESL, to a home-based business,etc.. Our life is simple yet rich with much chaos in between. God has different plans and assignments for His children. The point is to use what we have to spread Good News  (Read more about Biblical Tentmaking).

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DIY Home decor (Inspired by Kevin Leman’s “Home Court Advantage“)

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Called to Go, Willing to Stay: A Blessing Counting Journal (5)

4. Spiritual blessing


“The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.” Psalm 23:1

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Hold on to His Promise!

We couldn’t see any of the blessings counted here without a strong conviction in Who is in charge of our lives. Even this faith is a free gift from God (Ephesians 2:8). Life challenges are like well prepared gifts from the One Who loves us like no one else. Some customized gifts are made with love and it may take a while to prepare. If we know for sure a joyful surprise will come in the end, we might get antsy but in a good and excited way. If we know for sure a wonderful gift is promised, we are usually much more patient and playful in the waiting process instead of feeling frustrated or upset. The waiting only makes the gift even more special. When we receive the gift, we appreciate the time and thoughts our family or friends have invested just to give us a delight and feel loved.


I started this blessing-counting journal around the one year anniversary of our recent move (read how this journal started here ). Everything seems to take longer now with little ones around, but it is all good. It gives me time to savor God’s unchanging Grace as I face each new day along with its new challenges and blessings. I am grateful for the spiritual refreshment every time when I get to write. As I am writing, Christmas is around the corner. I can’t help thinking about the most Wonderful Gift in this life!


What matters is Who is the Giver! We lack nothing in the Lord! He has promised us eternal life with Him above and abundant life here as well. Keeping this promise in mind, I see life as a continuum of various processes to receive many gifts and blessings from “my Shepherd”, who withholds no good thing from who walk uprightly (Psalm 84:11). I pray “Lord, give me faith to receive every day as a gift from you to know Who You are, to embrace interruptions as your gentle reminder of Who is in control. You are so faithful and so good even when I am faithless.” Is your soul yearning for something more in this life? Are you at a low point right now? Do you desire to receive this free gift despite your difficult circumstances? Or maybe you grow up from a religious background but your heart is heavy with your self-efforts and endless rules. Do you desire a fresh start spiritually? The Good News, the eternal Gospel, is worthy of all test of time, peoples and cultures. I pray that the Lord would bring You to Himself for the true Peace. 

 

Called to Go, Willing to Stay: A Blessing Counting Journal (3)

2. Emotional blessing
God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.” 1 Corinthians 10:13


Cleaning up and repairing a house is one major project! How about living in a fix-up house with two little ones and trying to manage a home? And adding homeschool to the fun? It’s emotional work. It’s easy to allow negative emotions to flood my head at times like this. God has graciously timed the weekly Bible study of “Life of Moses”(with BSF) for guarding and examining my heart. I had every temptation to grumble when DIY projects didn’t go as expected, when a quiet place simply didn’t exist or when I just felt “I deserve better” attitude. I had my fair share of emotional meltdown and tears. It was His Word and His mercy that brought me back to the Truth, to the freedom to stay calm in the midst of chaos.


The weekly commitment to leading a small group Bible study was made before I knew about the house situation. The ladies in the group know their Bible well, unlike the new believers we worked with in China. This new ministry added another dimension of emotional challenge and blessing. The opportunity to serve others in my small group has pushed me take my eyes off my own inadequacies and troubles, but to lead others to the true source of strength and wisdom in the Lord.


I am so grateful the Lord has grown my compassion toward others and a genuine interest in what really is going on in others’ life. My heart was squeezed. Thankfully, the yucky bad stuff got out and He refilled it with His goodness! I know it is an unfair trade. God’s equation never works out the worldly way. God’s mercy was ever more evident after I failed so many times. That being said, I don’t mind sharing a few heart-felt praises here, knowing those thoughts are not from my flesh but the Wonderful Counselor:
I didn’t need to clean my house for months!
We had a fully heated camp ground in the middle of winter!
The boys, including the bigger ones, had a blast in trying different tools!
Forget about kid-friendly hands-on craft. We started our homeschool year with real house projects with real tools! What a valuable lesson!
We got to keep all the tools for the projects afterwards and save money!
We know everything about the house, I mean everything!
I learned to be creative in finding quiet time and place! Bible study is never meant to be boring anyway!
Lots of father-son time!


I am grateful for the change of mindset and truly enjoyed most of the camping lifestyle for a season. This is not brainwashing but allowing the Spirit to do the transformational work through perspective paradigm shift in real life situations, especially those challenging ones. I am writing this down as a spiritual bookmark for future references. Before the Lord returns, storms will come again. Lord, help me and my family not waste any teachable moments You have uniquely planned! Amen!!

My friend, are you in a difficult season right now? Is it too hard to live through it? You are not alone. God is real and He knows EVERYTHING! Ask God to help you restore your heart. Ask the Holy Spirit to take charge. Give it over to Jesus, the Great High Priest, “who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin (Hebrews 4:15)“.

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This is way we clean our kitchen. 🙂 

Called to Go, Willing to Stay: A Blessing Counting Journal (2)

In celebrating the one year anniversary of 10/10 moving day, I will count just 10 blessings in different categories. We believe many more are still to be unfolded as God always has a bigger plan for His children.

Before I start counting the blessings, here is the house-before according to the real estate description:

Home is being sold ‘as is’! Spacious Bungalow in need of complete rehab! Cash buyers/Investors only! Not bank owned or short sale!Home has lots of potential on a nice lot!

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We bought a house, debt free! God is so good!! Praise God, the city didn’t fine us for the too-tall grass though there was a fine sign on the door knob. 🙂

I will just leave it as it is and allow it to sink in a bit for your imagination. We were so busy cleaning out the house, training the big boy to live at a “construction zone” as we called it, taking care of the baby, that we didn’t have time or mood to take many pictures. Perhaps, it’s a good thing we don’t remember much detail of the messy situation then. The human brain is blessed to blur the bad memories and allow the sweet ones to stay. But, definitely, our home had and still has “lots of potential” and my heart is transformed along with the house.

With gratitude and joy, I can’t wait to give my Lord all the glory for the 10 blessings in various areas as following (in no particular order):
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Called to Go, Willing to Stay: A Blessing Counting Journal (1)

For we know that if the tent that is our earthly home is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. —2 Cor. 5:1

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Camping in the backyard! The tents came with the house. 🙂 We are grateful!

One year ago, Oct. 10th, 2014, we moved out of our rental house after four months of waiting. The reason why I could recall the date so easily is that our landlord graciously extended ten more days for our rent, which turned out to be a tremendous help for us to get everything sorted out, packed, and ready to go! As much as we tried to have advanced planning when looking for a house, we didn’t expect two-weeks of waiting would turn into four-months of waiting with “two more weeks” reply each time due to some complicated juvenile court case issues. Eventually, we started to refer to our house as a “maybe” house to our 4-year-old son as our faith dwindled bi-weekly. If you have been through some trying waiting period, you probably can relate to the anxiety involved and understand how the uncertain circumstances can push you to prayer. Continue reading

“God’s Double Agent”

Remember those who are in prison, as though in prison with them, and those who are mistreated, since you also are in the body. Hebrews 13:3 
 
Just finished reading “God’s Double Agent” by Bob Fu. I have to admit I didn’t expect myself getting so hooked as soon as I started reading. From a former beggar’s son, to top student leader, to Communist party school lecturer, to house church planter, to prison, to the founder of China Aid in the U.S., Bob’s story gives a bigger picture of God’s great plans through bringing one soul to repentance. 
Growing up in the more developed east coast of China, I am very oblivious of what really happened in my parents’ generation. I heard bits and pieces when I was young about the famine and “Culture Revolution”. History class only briefly touched upon this sensitive period of time. Persecution was more like stories and it didn’t make much impact on me (or at least I think I was ready to skip that shameful era of history). As a little girl, I learned to be grateful for my time and even the Party (I received Atheist education and was taught to give the Party all the credit) and the future was bright. It wasn’t until I became a Christian, I started to become familiar with the term persecution. Continue reading

6 Ways to pray for our new home.

After months of working to get the house ready, and even safe, to have guests, we were excited to have a time of prayer and dedication in June 2015. This house is God’s, and we are grateful that friends who helped and prayed for us during these months of preparation were able to come and pray with and for us for Christ’s cleansing and filling of our new home.

As well as praying specifically for each room, here are 6 general areas where we are asking God to work in us, our home and all who visit.

  1. Seek God’s Kingdom and His righteousness first. (Matt 6:33; Hebrews 13:14)

    • Truly walking in fellowship with Christ in daily life and all decisions

  2. Love, Joy & Peace at this home. (Gal 5:22; Eph 5)

    • Demonstration of His deep sacrificial love

    • Joy in drawing near to him as a family

    • Peace of spirit through faith in His presence and intimate work in our lives

  3. Growing wisdom in building a home (Psalms 127:1; Matt 6:21; Matt 19:5)

    • Spiritual growth in Christ and His word leading to life and discernment

    • Growing marriage as we seek to live in unity of purpose and action

    • That our children would not just perform and obey, but to have hearts after Christ

    • Financial Wisdom and Generosity to see everything as Christ’s

  4. Dwelling of His Spirit so the evil spirits will not have any strongholds. (Psalms 84; Phil 2:1-11, Matthew 12:43-45)

    • Freedom from any strongholds previously in this house

    • Moving forward in growth in Christ’s Spirit to make us more like Him

  5. Christ’s Spirit to be moving as we have guests at our home (Matt 18:20; Col 4:5-6; Hebrews 13:15-16)

    • Christ’s Spirit to touch lives and draw people to Himself

    • Connection among all who come to visit

    • Protection, that no one would have injury

    • Joy and Perseverance reaching out to others

    • Especially for currently planned group events

  6. Continued and growing Missionary perspective (2 Corinthians 5:20; Matt 28:19-20; Acts 1:8)

    • To live intentionally in all areas of life to walk with Christ and thus to have Him glorified

    • To be driven to see people discipled in Christ

Grass is cut finally:-)! See what it was like here.

Grass is cut finally:-)! See what it was like here.