Before attending OCW Summer Conference, I felt just as excited as I did when I returned to China. (And I packed more!) I knew I’d need to rely on God just as much for the endurance and logistical challenges. I asked Him to guide me. Doing things that are only possible in His strength challenges me, and I like that. While at OCW, I felt kind of immersed in a different culture. Unlike going through the phases of culture shock, I’d say I didn’t move past the honeymoon phase. But the intensity was similar. I felt like a new world opened up to me. As soon as I arrived a woman I’d met in our FB group gave me a hug, a pen and a beautiful journal with the words “a future and a hope” on the cover.
I spoke with a few editors and a talented agent face to face about things I dearly love. I received encouragement and direction. I learned from ‘native speakers’ and observed how the things I’ve been dreaming of doing can actually happen. Hope and a sense of calling deepened. I met others who share this love of writing, who have a message burning inside to share with others through their words. I formed friendships to nurture in the years ahead. I ate lunch with one of my favorite writers, a woman whose sense of humor brings joy to so many. I felt encouraged by published authors, people whose humility and love glorifies Him. One woman gave me her book of devotions for people who live with chronic illness. Her book will be a great encouragement as I write mine. People gladly showed me the ropes and shared in my joy. They shared their hearts and lives with me. I had the joy of encouraging others and sharing in their triumphs and challenges, too.
The devotional messages and keynote talks really stirred my heart. God is a Redeemer. We are not alone. They spoke to our common emotions, insecurities and hopes and dreams. Everything centered on His honor and glory, our Savior’s calling and empowerment to live this life. Times of worship felt like a taste of eternity with Him.
So now we’re back home. Re-entry. Some say they feel unsettled. Reverse culture shock perhaps? But we will walk through these adjustments after such an incredible time of immersion and beautiful worship. His grace will be sufficient, His power made perfect in our weakness. I pray that we can continue to create time and space to listen to His voice, and to live out this calling to write for His glory. More than obedience, it’s pure joy, as we fix our eyes on Jesus the author and finisher of our faith.