An update in two parts.

Hi all! I started writing this post sometime last week and then got distracted. Then Kang passed away and I wrote about that— read it here. Now, I’m finishing up my already-begun post and… enjoy!

I was just sitting here studying and realized, all of a sudden, that I have a blog.  When was the last time I posted on here? I don’t even know.

(by the way — if you want to keep up with random little snippets of my life, you can follow me on instagram https://instagram.com/hannahjiejie)

So, let’s see… how long have I been doing this accelerated nursing program thing? It’s been six weeks, seven if you include orientation. We have four weeks left, actually four and-a-half if you include final exams. I think that I’ve been in the USA for two months already! How has the time gone by so fast? How has it only been two months since I was last speeding across brown fields in a train…? Since I was meandering through the old part of the city, watching the old get torn down in preparation for more tall, empty buildings? Since I was last living life on the other side of the world? It kind of blows my mind.

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School has been going well, but it’s busy and exhausting and apparently I have had little spare time for things like blogging. I use my spare time for long Skype conversations with my family. They are doing well, in fact, Naomi just sent me some pictures of the girls and their co-op buddies in Hohhot.

Remember the co-op that my mom started? It’s still going strong and I get to hear about all of the fun activities that they do together. Last week the handicraft was origami, and there is now a little family of paper frogs living in our home.

When Naomi sent these pictures to me I laughed out loud watching Lily and April…

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Ben is in Taiwan staying busy making music and friends and other things. I need to skype him…

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Oh – wait! I just remembered why I never finished this post. Because literally minutes after I typed “I need to skype him” Ben skyped me and we chatted for a while until the internet decided that communication wasn’t happening anymore. I’m not sure if it was my internet or his.

So now, let’s see, where was I…

It’s Tuesday and I just finished my first job interview. (yeah, a little late to some of these growing up things, I know I know). I think it went really well and after this semester is done I may have a job. I’ll let ya’ll know.

The folks in my clinical group are coming up with nicknames for each other. Supposedly mine is going to be “China” because that’s my excuse for “literally everything.” Is it really true? I haven’t done ____ yet because I’ve been in China. I’m confused about taxes, because they don’t have those in China… I don’t own a swimsuit because I lived in China… etc. etc. etc. You get the picture. I don’t think that I talk about China all of the time… I don’t do it intentionally for sure, but maybe it slips out now and then. It was my home for five years. That’s more than twenty percent of my life.

Alrighty, I’m going to get back to the studying now. Until next time…

 

A Marvel to Many

A little girl with pigtails and purple fingernails gave me a hug. It was kind of crazy. It was Monday, and after class all morning and a study group and then open-lab, I came home with just enough time to change out of my scrubs and do a little bit of cleaning up and studying before it was time to walk over to Panera to meet one of the most wonderful families.

You see, I think that they’re wonderful because I’m really partial. I’m really, really, really partial to their youngest. I met her when she was just a few months old… She was born with a condition that required a liver transplant as soon as possible. She was a very sick little baby…

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But a new liver did a lot to help. Alea received the gift of life while she was still an orphan in China (read her amazing story HERE). She recovered pretty well, grew bigger, healthier… sillier.

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I got to spend a lot of time with this little goofball. I cherished moments that her birth parents and soon-to-be adoptive parents had to miss out on, because this world is a broken place. But there is Hope, and Restoration, and so I saved those memories, hoping that one day I would get the chance to tell Alea’s forever family how prayed-for she was, share some memories with them, and then laugh and cry about how crazy-wonderful adoption and babies with special needs are.

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This happened last week.

They were ‘en route to grandparents, and Alea and her family just so happened to be driving through the city I’m living in right now. How’s that for wonderful?! I was giddy with joy all day, and told a few of my classmates that I was going to get to see one of the “babies that I helped love in China.” I don’t even remember what we ate, all that I remember is Alea. She has changed so much and yet… she hasn’t change at all.

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But everything has changed. Because Alea has a forever mommy and daddy and big brothers and sisters who think that she’s wonderful. She knows it – she knows how precious she is to her family. Isn’t that the greatest thing in the world? It gives me happy-shivers just thinking about it.

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Organ transplants are scary things. Kiddos with complicated medical needs are often the last ones to find forever families. What if the surgery they had wasn’t done well, and my child can’t _____? What if there are needs that aren’t on the file? What if the child doesn’t survive? What if this changes everything?

But what if? What if adopting a little one with special needs means that you get to see Hope firsthand? What if it means that you get to give a miracle goodnight kisses every night? Does it matter that there are unknowns and challenges and impossibilities? Yeah. It totally does. But no adoption can possibly be perfect and smooth for every moment, that’s just the nature of brokenness.

but but but —

 For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, “Abba! Father!” 16 The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him. (Romans 8:15-17)

Because adoption is all about crying out “Abba! Father!” God – the all-powerful Creator of the Universe, chose us, not to be His slaves, to be His children. Wow, that’s crazy-wonderful, and this is what adoption is about. The broken, undeserving, unable-to-repay, being given the most precious gift. We get free mercy. We get to suffer with Him. We get to experience His glory. Awesome.

When I asked Alea’s mama about writing a blog post about our little reunion, she said, “Yes! I want to encourage families to consider transplant kiddos…”

Wouldn’t that be amazing? The verse I prayed for Alea during her many-hour surgery three years ago was Psalm 71, it goes:

Rescue me, O my God, out of the hand of the wicked,
Out of the grasp of the wrongdoer and ruthless man,
For You are my hope;
O Lord God, You are my confidence from my youth.
6 By You I have been sustained from my birth;
You are He who took me from my mother’s womb;
My praise is continually of You.

7 I have become a marvel to many,
For You are my strong refuge.
My mouth is filled with Your praise
And with Your glory all day long.

I prayed that night, three years ago, that Alea’s life would one day become a marvel to many. The Lord has answered this prayer, but I think that there are still many beautiful miracles in her future. Can’t wait to watch them unfold!

For resources about adopting children with special needs, head on over here.

Sunday {6.14.2015}

We begin with this…

“The works of His hands are truth and justice; all His precepts are sure. They are upheld forever and ever; they are performs in truth and uprightness. He has sent redemption to His people; He has ordained His covenant forever; Holy and awesome is His name.” (Psalm 111:7-9)

“It is well with the man who is gracious and lends; He will maintain his cause in  judgment. For he will never be shaken; the righteous will be remembered forever. He will not fear evil tidings; his heart is steadfast, trusting in the Lord. His heart is upheld, he will not fear..” (Psalm 112:5-8)

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Isaiah 35:3-6 is the best bookend for today’s passage. The word “mute” in this passage is only used one other time…

Encourage the exhausted, and strengthen the feeble.
Say to those with anxious heart,
“Take courage, fear not.
Behold, your God will come with vengeance;
The recompense of God will come,
But He will save you.”

Then the eyes of the blind will be opened
And the ears of the deaf will be unstopped.
Then the lame will leap like a deer,
And the tongue of the mute will shout for joy.
For waters will break forth in the wilderness
And streams in the Arabah.

Mark 7:32 – the only other time this same word, “mute” is used.

Mark 7:31-37 is the fulfillment of Isaiah 35:3-6 and it’s breathtakingly beautiful. Because our God came with vengeance, and the recompense of God came and saved us. And the recompense of God was the Son of God… He was Jesus. And so when Jesus healed that man, fulfilling the prophecy that “the ears of the deaf will be unstopped… the tongue of the mute will shout for joy” He knew that He would soon also fulfill what was spoken of in verse 4. And so He sighed…

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“He has done all things well.” Mark 7:37

Yes, from first to last—from our cradle to our grave— from the earliest pang of sin’s conviction to the last thrill of sin’s forgiveness—from earth to heaven—this will be our testimony in all the way the Lord our God has led us in the wilderness—He has done all things well. In providence and in grace—in every truth of His Word—in every lesson of His love—in every stroke of His rod—in every sunbeam that has shone—in every cloud that has shaded—in every element that has sweetened—in every ingredient that has embittered—in all that has been mysterious, inscrutable, painful, and humiliating—in all that He gave—in all that He took away—this testimony is His just due, and this our grateful acknowledgment through time and through eternity—He has done all things well. -Octavius Winslow

finally

return to your rest, O my soul, for the Lord has dealt bountifully with you… Psalm 116:7

Sunday {6.7.2015}

This morning, truth from Job–

“But how can a man be in the right before God? …for though I were right, I could not answer; I would have to implore the mercy of my judge…” (9:2, 15) “Who can make the clean out of the unclean? No one!” (14:4)

and the answer? Jesus. Jesus is how a man can be right before God. The mercy of the judge we must implore… it’s Jesus’. He is the judge. His mercy is our pardon. He can make the clean out of the unclean. He can. Jesus.

Then, Mark 7:24-30. And His mercy. He listened to her her, and she asked him – from her lowly state, for mercy. She knew that it was enough – that He had enough mercy for even her. Cling to the magnitude of His mercy…

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Meditating on the Heidelberg Catechism — Question 21: What is True Faith

True faith is not only a certain knowledge, whereby I hold for truth all that God has revealed to us in his word, but also an assured confidence, which the Holy Ghost works by the gospel in my heart; that not only to others, but to me also, remission of sin, everlasting righteousness and salvation, are freely given by God, merely of grace, only for the sake of Christ’s merits.

and from John Newton – something to ponder…

You say you feel overwhelmed with guilt and a sense of unworthiness.

Well, you cannot be too aware of the inward and inbred evils you complain of, but you may be (indeed you are) improperly controlled and affected by them.

You say it is hard to understand how a holy God could accept such an awful person as yourself.

You, then, not only express a low opinion of yourself (which is right!) but also too low an opinion of the person, work, and promises of the Redeemer, which is wrong. . .

You complain about sin, but when we examine your complaints, they are so full of self-righteousness, unbelief, pride, and impatience that they are little better than the worst evils you complain of!

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Lord, Thy mercy will not leave me—
Truth doth evermore abide—
Then in Thee will I confide.
Since Thy Word cannot deceive me,
My salvation is to me
Well assured eternally.

I will praise Thy great compassion,
Faithful Father, God of grace,
That with all our fallen race
And in our deep degradation
Thou wast merciful that we
Might bring endless praise to Thee.

Count the Costs

“To any whom the Hand Divine is beckoning: count the cost, for He tells us to, but take your slate to the foot of the Cross and add up the figures there.” || Amy Carmichael ||

Do you want to follow Him?

Go somewhere? Stay where you are?

–but be useful? Be used?

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Man says that this is crazy, that pursuing holiness and glory for the Lord is a waste of time; trivial compared to the pursuit of wealth and success and equality. “Liberty, equality, fraternity, or death,” right? (Tale of Two Cities |Dickens)

But friend…. “All life’s training is just exactly what is needed for the true Life-work, still out of view but far away from none of us.” (Amy Carmichael)

Do they tell you to study hard, to stop dreaming about Other Places and Doing More? Does the world preach happiness and pleasure, while the Word convicts you of dependance and abiding? Take them – take those opportunities to be broken and humbled, “Don’t drudge me the learning of a new lesson.” (AC)

“Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.” (Col. 2:6-7)

I think that thanksgiving is essential. How can we point others to Him if we are not joyful? And how can we be filled with Joy if we are not thankful? And then, where does thankfulness come from, but a rooted and an established faith. Let us dig deep, I want to be planted firmly and safely in the soil of the Truth.

Then comes the walking – a passage of faith that He leads. And after walking, joy; and then finally comes thanksgiving.

Who can cheer the heart like Jesus
By His presence all divine
True and tender, pure and precious
O, how blest to call Him mine

All that thrills my soul is Jesus
He is more than life to me
And the fairest of ten thousand
In my blessed Lord I see

Love of Christ so freely given
Grace of God beyond degree
Mercy higher than the heavens
Deeper than the deepest sea

And again, because I want this quote imprinted on my heart permanently…

“To any whom the Hand Divine is beckoning: count the cost, for He tells us to, but take your slate to the foot of the Cross and add up the figures there.”

Some Firsts

You may giggle when you read this post. Here I am, 23 years-old, finally checking some “big people” things off of my list. You see… I’ve spent so little of my adult life in the USA, I really cannot function here without lots of help. Thank you to all of the many wonderful, gracious people who have made all of these transitions less painful!

Recently, I have done a couple of pretty monumental things. I have signed a lease, for the first time. And then I paid rent, for the first time. I also got money out of an ATM, for the first time (I’ve done this in multiple Asian countries before. Why did I need a tutorial via Skype from my Daddy before doing it in the USA? I have no idea.)

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So, those were the biggies. There were other things that I did for the first time in a long time since coming back. The one that I was most proud of, I think, was starting a dishwasher. Guys, I was nervous. Usually I ask for someone’s help, “Excuse me, but how does your dishwasher work?” Then they look at me weird, “um, normally?” and do it themselves. This time I was happily washing a counter-full of dishes when I realized that the dishwasher was full of dirty dishes. I was about to unload it and wash everything inside… Um. Yeah. I said that. I was about to take all of the dirty dishes OUT of the dishwasher and wash them. By hand. Because I didn’t want to turn on the dishwasher. I was home alone. I don’t know what I was afraid of… maybe I thought that it might bite me? Because I’m not completely without reason, I stopped myself and thought through it all. I pondered making an Excel spreadsheet to calculate which would take longer, the dishwasher or hand-washing, but I decided against that. Thank goodness. I ended up sucking it up and putting one of those little dissolve-able plastic covered thingies in the slot, clicking it closed and then I pressed the “start” button. It worked, friends. It really did and I was so proud of myself that I was a little bit embarrassed. Hannah’s home alone, watch out, she may run a load of dishes…

So that’s my really boring story and now you’ve heard it and can all get back to what you were supposed to be doing.

Oh, but before you go… a question! What is your favorite (ever, for this season, etc) hymn? Let me know in the comments.