On how God answers my prayers

I lost my keys. The only set of van keys that we have. They are in this house somewhere and for a week I have been tearing things apart knowing that they SHOULD turn up somewhere. But, they haven’t. So do you know what that means? I have to pay to have our van towed from my own garage to the dealer. Then, I will have the pleasure of paying another (painful to me amount) to have a new key made. ARGH!

I have really been hoping to not add to my blonde story folder – “The time I lost my own keys in my own house.” I try hard not to play the role of absent minded mother of many children. But let’s face it, I have times when I am busy with six children, a puppy and getting in the door to make lunch. So, the fact is one minute my keys are in my hand — and the next minute I have laid them down somewhere.

One child, to remain nameless (our youngest), told me he found the keys in a hidden treasure spot and reburried them for me at the top of a ladder. I haven’t found that treasure yet, but I have been praying I would find it.

Lord, help me find my keys.

You can’t imagine how many times I have prayed that prayer this week. So many times it can feel like God isn’t listening. Why can’t he help a frazzled mother out? I just need him to point me in the direction of the keys.

All joking aside, I have at times wondered if my prayers go unanswered, not just about keys, but about larger things too – results of medical tests, guidance for how to parent, a glimpse into the future so that we know what decision to make, and last but not least a mended relationship.

Yesterday, we got an envelope that included a very encouraging letter and three checks. We were blown away by the care and generosity of a tiny church that gives big and calls us theirs. As I marveled at the gift I had in my hand, I realized that it covered a couple of expenses we were facing — including a new van key.

So many times it can feel like God isn’t listening, but really He is just answering my prayers in a way that I never expected — and even in a way that I don’t want.

I don’t want to have the humbling experience of towing my van and getting a new key made. I want the easy way out. But I can tell you one thing, God has provided again. He has made sure that we have what we need.

Today, I am thanking God for answering my prayers — for hearing me and providing. I also am digging deep in my soul with the reminder that God doesn’t always do what I want him to do. He is sovereign; I am not. He knows what I need. He gives good gifts, even if at first I feel disappointed because my desires (and dare I say my expectations) are not in line with HIS heart. I so want my heart to line up with his. Sigh.

Lord, help my unbelief. Remind me that you are always faithful and you answer prayer…..even prayers about lost keys. Thank you that you are good, and help me to see your good answers even when it is hard.

New country same foot in mouth disease

For any of you who know me even just a teeny tiny bit, you know that embarrassing moments and stories seem to follow me.  Okay, maybe I have a bit to do with it.  I really don’t mean to be such a crazy white woman, but….well, sigh!  If you consider that I live in a country that is not my own, speaking a language that isn’t easy for this blonde to grasp – you can imagine the outcome is even more hilarious stories where I am turning red and wondering what went wrong.

This is one reason I love teaching art to special needs kids.  They get me.  They show me grace when I make mistakes, say the wrong things and I can be my crazy messy white self and have no fear.  Until…..

Oh friends….

I am in the middle of a very messy paint project that included straws and my declaration that we could paint fireworks  (we did by the way.  it was so fun!)   When our classroom was taken over by some very official looking people, the orphanage director and a camera crew.  My heart stopped.  I wiped the paint from my elbow and smiled a wobbly grin as the children jumped to their feet to greet the visitors.

Did you hear my inner groan?

I knew it was even more official and the people even more important than I at first feared when the children started greeting them with practiced phrases that I really don’t understand the full meaning of.


Now, I find that I can get by with a lot if I smile and nod.  It works for me.

Not today.

I was being introduced in front of the video camera as a volunteer teacher who also teaches at the university.  They turned to ask me what I teach at the university.  Wanting to set the record straight I jumped in with my best Chinese.

“Oh, umm, my LOVER is a teacher at the university not me.”


I am not even sure why the word LOVER came out of my mouth, but it did.  (The word that flew out of my mouth is a slang word which can mean husband, but usually means, well you know.) Hubby is my lover, too much info maybe, but the truth and I am not ashamed to say it….except in front of a TV camera, in front of my class of students, and in front of the director of the orphanage.  AHHHH.  I turned four shades of pink as giggles could be heard in the class.

All of a sudden the proper word for HUSBAND came to my mind.  I stood there wanting to bang my head against the wall repeating the word over and over.  Zhongfu.  Zhongfu.  Zhongfu.  During which time I missed the second question of my interview.

Lord have mercy.

I smiled and nodded.


“How long do you plan to teach art here?”

By the time this third question came flying at my befuddled brain I was a mess.  I shrugged my shoulders and said.  I don’t know.

It was over that fast.

My lover and I are teachers and we have no idea how long we want to be here.  Who knows what I agreed to in the middle.

There you have it.

May the interview not be on the five o’clock news…that is all I have to say.


I laughed till I had tears over the whole stupid thing with a friend later.  It felt so good.  I needed to laugh at myself like that.  Some days at the orphanage, loving those kids, but not knowing how to best advocate and help them….it is intense.  I often cry.  Today I laughed.

Maybe that is why Gd allows embarrassing moments to follow me.  He knows I need to lighten up a bit.

That is my story for tonight.  Off to make dinner for my lover, oh achem, I mean husband!