Today, the Aldrich family came over, along with their 15-year old Chinese exchange student, Bill. I loved seeing his Chinese face, hearing his Chinese accent, and detecting his oh-so-Chinese grammar mistakes. We talked about his hobbies, we talked about my time in China, we talked about Dandelion School, we talked about my Chinese name, we talked about my Chinese Bible.
A year and a half ago, if I had met Bill, it would have been so different. But God knows what He's doing. A year and a half ago, I wasn't with Bill, I was with Jimmy. I didn't know it was a day that would change my life, but looking back now staggers me.
Has it really been that long? One and a half? In so many ways, my heart is still in day one; God is still teaching me the basics. But then again, I have seen so much beautiful redemption. Enough to fill decades. And it has only been a year and a half.
Looking back, I see already how God tore me down so that He could rebuild me upon His solid rock. I see how Jimmy's example in life has transformed so much of my mentality toward people, toward life, toward love. And I see how even though losing him has been the most painful experience in my life, His hands have held me every second of it.
Looking forward, I am speechless at how God has used that day one and a half years ago to shape so much. Going into this TeenPact season, I am constantly refocused by One Word: Love. I know more and more that yes, "It takes a lot of love to live." And every time I get tired, ready to quit, I remember, "You only live life once." Indeed, "I full-heartedly want to be increasingly free."
In all, I am amazed. I'm amazed because a year and a half ago, it wasn't Jimmy's story ending. It wasn't Jimmy's story beginning. It wasn't my story beginning. It's Christ's story through and through. It's yet another demonstration of His gospel lived through a dedicated disciple who has led the way for many more. I'm blessed to be one.