Not Teaching–Now What?
I’m not teaching this year (except for some tutoring and substituting), and though I’ve always enjoyed teaching, I’m actually not missing it that much. *Gasp* Is it even okay to admit that?! Honestly, I’m thankful for rest and a very flexible schedule, and I’m blessed because God has provided enough financially for my husband and me from just Charles’ salary and my little bits of supplemental income. I am also grateful that I can actually recognize the healing happening in my life after over a-year-and-a-half of relatively severe anxiety and depression. For those of you who have been following my journey, I am doing much better. There are still down moments or even days, but I can see God using my struggle for His good purpose.
Speaking of purpose, it’s great that I’m doing better and that I have all this free time on my hands, but I also needed some goals and a purpose for my life this year. So, what have I found? First, God has clearly shown me that goal #1 is for me to continue healing. One particular way I can do that is by building and maintaining relationships. That has been really hard to do since the mental illness started, but I’m happy to say that it’s becoming easier this year. The second purpose is mentoring young ladies. The Lord has been stirring my heart for some of my former students, so I’ve started mentoring or just spending time with some of them. I’m excited about what God is doing through those relationships for the girls AND for me. It’s also a non-coincidence that our church theme this year is all about discipleship; I’m convinced that discipleship is essential to Christian living, and I’m excited to be a part of it. We all need to be and make disciples.
Three Social Successes
This past week was a busy one socially, and God gave me three distinct relational victories. (Note: I might have learned the hard way that I shouldn’t do quite so much socializing back-to-back because it took me about two days of reading in solitude to recover from my busy week. Hahaha, we’ll work on balance later).
- Charles and I had a meal with a couple from Morrison who we’ve been wanting to get to know this year. We really enjoyed the fellowship and the deep conversation. This couple is truly rich in love for the Lord (and for each other), and we are excited about spending time with them again.
- Mid-week, Charles and I met a stranger (yep, you read that right) and her friend for dinner and hanging out at our apartment. This young lady emailed me about a month ago because she read my blog. She has recently become a Christian and was coming to Taiwan to share the Gospel with friends of hers from a previous trip. God pulled us together and let us have fellowship with one another–strangers in this world, but sisters in Christ.
- On Friday, I spent the whole day with Esther, a lovely young lady who was in my senior English class two years ago. She is going into her sophomore year of university in the States, but our time in Taiwan after my summer break overlapped a bit. We have enjoyed several meals and great talks together over the last couple of years, and this visit was no different. We had so much fun baking chocolate chip cookies (and eating waaaay too much cookie dough!), sharing a meal, watching a movie, and talking together. I was Esther’s teacher when I was going through the most debilitating period of my mental illness, so she’s seen me at my worst. I believe that God has used that to bring us together as friends, and I am thankful for the relationship I have with Esther. I am really going to miss her this year!
God With Us
I am reminded of the words of Jesus in Matthew 18:20–“For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.” Even though I am far from my earthly family this year (Charles and I are the only ones left in Taiwan), I am surrounded by the body of Christ. I am excited about how God is going to use relationships with His children to heal me and to encourage us all. God is with us, and He is good.