This week I re-read my blog journal from my trip and remembered lots of things that I had begun to forget. I am really glad that I blogged my way through that trip. It's a wonderful thing to look back and read accounts of the time spent there. It's great to reflect on how God has used that time to change me these last three years. In reference to my post awhile back on monuments I would say that the blog for that trip is in a way a monument. A way of reminding me of that time.
This weekend I got to talk to a new friend about my time in China and it started to bring back all the emotions and memories of being there. The good, bad, ugly, and beautiful. One thing the trip taught me is that beauty sometimes wears a cloak of sadness, pain, and hardship. Beauty in life is more than fun, happiness, and pretty surfaces. Jingdezhen could be described as dirty with uneven sidewalks, trash in the street, dilapidated buildings, and not very pretty in general. My time there, though exciting and sometimes really fun, was hard and left me confused, lonely, and depressed. But somehow it was a beautiful place and experience. That place that was so real. And the site of a time in my life where I learned that all the weaknesses and ugly parts of my life were only made beautiful because of God's strength and perfection entering in and rescuing me.
When I think of China, I think of God's fulfillment of his promise to never leave or forsake me. And also of the verse that speaks of how we will endure many different kinds of trials in this life, but to be of good cheer because Christ has overcome the world. I think in order to appreciate the beauty of these truths and promises you might first have to experience some of that darkness. And perhaps that is part of why my time in China meant a lot to me. Because in such a dark time God's light shone more brightly and clearly to me than in any other time of my life. And I'll always be a little bit broken and a little bit softer because of it. But I am grateful for it.