Sunday, January 13, 2008

This and That: An Update

That's exactly what I've been doing ... this and that! As I mentioned in my previous post, part of the reason why I haven't been blogging is because I fell out of the habit. I guess you could say I needed the break. A lot of changes have been happening around here, and in order for me to adjust, something had to go! Usually when I take a little break from blogging, I at least check my google reader and keep up with other people's blogs, but I wasn't even doing that! I didn't even have the energy to write a post explaining that I was taking a little break, partially because this particular blog break was unplanned. One day passed without a post, then another, and before I knew it almost a whole month had passed! During my "absence" though, I realized how much I missed blogging. It's therapeutic, really. It's nice to be connected to so many people around the world -- to be able to write my innermost (okay, maybe not innermost) secrets and receive prayer and encouragement. So I'm back, and I hope to be back to posting about once or twice a week. I know, famous last words.

So, where to start? A couple weeks ago, Ian and I took a weekend trip to 花蓮 (Hualien). Here are a few interesting pictures from our little excursion:


We ordered a salad, and this was what they brought us!


The English name of this store (not a sex shop) was "Sexuality".


This is a lingerie store called "Wal-mart". I guess these people aren't too concerned with copy writes.


A view of the beautiful Hualien coast.


A cute little alley in Hualien.


A view of the Veteran's Shrine.

That was a fun weekend! We also took a little weekend trip to 烏來 (Wulai) recently, but I spent all of my time soaking in hot springs (Taiwan is a great place for hot springs), thus the lack of pictures.

Besides taking little trips here and there, I have also been quite busy at work. I realized the other day how lucky I am to be doing a career that I love so much. Recently, I have had the opportunity to teach IELTS and TOEFL preparation classes in addition to my regular conversation classes. I don't mind the extra work because I love getting to know as many students as I can, and I appreciate the opportunities to improve my teaching skills.

My Chinese speaking ability is slowly but surely improving. I still have serious problems with motivation, though. You know what my problem is? I love too many things! I love reading, teaching, hanging out with friends, and so many other things. There just isn't enough time in the day to do them all! I know I'm a grown-up now, and that I have to do things I don't like such as study Chinese and exercise. What happened to the days when I could eat whatever I wanted and still be thin? I also just recently acquired all of the seasons of Frasier, and have been spending disproportionate amounts of time watching it.

God is good about reminding me about what my priorities should be though. I have been volunteering at The Spring with OMF every Friday, and working with the homeless people that go there has really opened my eyes. I HAVE to speak Chinese with them, because most of them can't speak any English. They're the real reason why I'm here, so I have to be diligent in my studies. God is great though, and I know He can find ways to use me in spite of my poor language skills. One interesting thing that happened at the Spring is that I met three Taiwanese social work students (I also studied to be a social worker). They aren't Christians, but they volunteer at the Spring to do research. They're sweet people, and they are constantly watching these homeless men and women give their testimonies. The other day one of them told me that he had prayed for God to give him a sign if He was real. According to this young student, God had not done that. How it broke my heart to hear that, because I too know what it feels like to have doubts over God's "silence". In fact, I told him this, and I also shared with him the various ways that God usually reveals himself. They did allow me to pray with them and ask God to make Himself known to them if He was indeed real. I had no problem praying this prayer, because I have faith that God WILL do just that (I believe that He already has, but maybe not in the spectacular way that this student wanted). We're meeting for coffee next week, and I'm excited to answer more of their questions and get to know them more as friends and fellow social workers.

I've struggled with a few things quite a bit lately, and God has taught me a few things. Many of you know that I tried to stop taking my antidepressant, Lexapro (which I take for an anxiety/panic/insomnia problem, not depression). I gave up coffee, I exercised, I prayed -- I did everything right! But the panic, anxiety, and insomnia returned, and I don't know why. At one point I got on my knees and asked God why He, in His infinite power and wisdom, doesn't take this problem away from me. I believe that He could simply heal me if He wanted to, so why doesn't He? I don't know. God gave me peace about going back on my medication though, so this shall have to be enough for me now. He did tell me one thing though ... that there's something for me to learn from this "silence". Maybe trust, maybe patience. I don't know. Please don't tell me that I must be experiencing this because I'm not praying enough or there's some sin in my life. I've heard it all before, and I'm not interested in hearing it again unless you have a medical degree. Besides, this is different than worry. I'm not worrying about anything, there's just this awful, panicky feeling that won't go away unless I take a little white pill -- along with my mother and quite a few other women in my family. Even when I was a child, I ALWAYS had trouble sleeping. I remember my whole family being asleep and me just staring at my ceiling for hours. Since I've been back on my medication though, my life is normal again and less worrisome. Hurray!

This post is getting long, and I have quite a few things yet to be done. I just wanted to let you all know where I'm at, and that I appreciate all of your encouragement and prayers. It's great to be back!

6 comments:

  1. May I be the first to welcome you back to your blog? :)!!

    We had a similar salad in a restaurant once. We also took a picture of it.

    Hualien is the one area we haven't been to yet. We are jealous. You'll have to tell us all the cool places to visit there.

    I'm glad you're enjoying teaching and getting your act together. ;) Take care.

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  2. Hey!

    I was actually starting to wonder if the reason you hadn't been blogging was because going off of your meds was difficult.

    There is nothing to be ashamed of.

    When I finally realized I was suffering from some really deep depression awhile back, I worried about telling my mom. You wanna know what her response was? "Sweetheart, welcome to the family! You are now an official S(mom's maiden name) girl."

    Several of the women I love and respect as spiritual giants (in my book) take medications to help with with either depression or anxiety. I think more do than we realize because we think we have to live perfect plastic lives so we hide things that take away from that illusion.

    God is all-powerful and all-good all the time. Sometimes he miraculously heals us and sometimes he uses modern medicine to heal us and of course sometimes there is no healing at all. Praise Him for providing little white pills!! :)

    Glad to see you are ok and enjoying life (and sleep again).

    in joy,
    amanda

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  3. Well that was a fairly meaty post. Thank you.
    I have kept you on my subscribe list even though I did do a little slimming down when it came to the amount of blogs I kept up with. Gotta keep a little perspective. :)

    Loved the picture of the trip-how cool to be able to venture out that way.

    As far as these people who are looking for a sign that God is real. How about a God who knows what they are going to pray before they pray it? A God who would take an American Christian Woman and bring her all the way to their neck of the woods because He knew they were going to be asking for evidence of Him? As Christians we DO NOT believe in coincidences. Your meet up with them was by the hand of God. How cool was that.
    You keep letting Him use you.

    As far as the meds. Our pastor spoke on this a while back. He said that there is nothing wrong with meds unless they become your God.
    When we go to them instead of Him--we are in trouble. You went to Him.
    I think also that some people are dealing with things like depression because they have unresolved anger that they have not been willing to deal with. I think at this point as a child of God to run from what God expects and bury your head in the sand and get rid of the results of those actions by popping a pill--wrong.
    I hope that made sense.
    In love I will tell you just to keep walking with Him. You can not go wrong there. :)
    And it seems as if you are doing that.
    Love ya girl

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  4. Sandy,

    I remember that picture on your blog, actually! Thanks for the warm welcome back.

    Amanda,

    Yours words are so encouraging, and I plan to send you a longer email.

    Sharon,

    Thanks for keeping me on your list! Your words are so wise, Sharon. Thank you!

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  5. Thank you so much for this post. I know I am quite a long time from its' original post - but God works in wonderful ways to remind us of His goodness and mercy.

    I, too, have been struggling with the same sort of anxiety (as well as depression). I, too, have fought this internal battle regarding meds and my God. I appreciate your perspective on this. Thanks for being vulnerable and sharing your heart regarding this matter.

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  6. Hi Jamie!

    Thanks for stopping by. It's always encouraging to hear of other people that are struggling with the same thing. It makes me feel more "normal"!

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