We celebrated our 15 year anniversary as a family in Tianjin this week! The date is an easy one for me to remember because we flew out of the LA airport on my Dad's birthday (October 19) and in all the rush to get to the airport on time, I realized as we were in the air over the ocean that I had forgotten to wish him a happy birthday! Reflecting back on October 20, 1995, when Charly and I arrived to live in two adjoining dorm rooms on the campus of Tianjin Normal University for Charly to teach English, I remember being 25 years old, married just 1 ½ years, with a 4 month old baby. And one of my strongest feelings in those early days of adjustment was, “Nobody knows me here.”
Since then, God has blessed me with friends who know me, the first of whom was Karla (who showed me SO much about being a friend as she befriended me). And, last night I shared with Charly on our date, how special it was for me this past week to meet with two dear Chinese friends, to really feel “at home” with both of them, as we shared our lives and our hearts, ups and downs and what God is teaching us, building on our friendships of the past 10 years of knowing and understanding each other. And yet, even with special friends, a great family, and a wonderful husband, no one else can completely understand my desires, my longings, my dreams, my disappointments, my pain, my burdens…(just as I cannot completely understand anyone else's).
But God knows.
That thought has brought great comfort to me.
“I knew you before I formed you in your mother’s womb.” Jeremiah 1:5
He knew me before He created me. My existence is part of His plan. He formed me to be the way I am.
“O LORD, you have examined my heart
and you know everything about me.
You know when I sit down or stand up.
You know my every thought when far away.
You chart the path ahead of me and tell me when to stop and rest.
Every moment you know where I am.
You know what I am going to say even before I say it, LORD.
You both precede and follow me.
You place your hand of blessing on my head.
Such knowledge is to wonderful for me, too great for me to know!
I can never escape from your spirit!
I can never get away from your presence!
If I go up to heaven, you are there;
if I go down to the place of the dead, you are there.
If I ride on the wings of the morning,
if I dwell by the farthest oceans,
even there your hand will guide me,
and your strength will support me.
I could ask the darkness to hide me
and the light around me to become night—
but even in darkness I cannot hide from you.
To you the night shines as bright as day.
Darkness and light are both alike to you.
You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body
and knit me together in my mother’s womb.
Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex!
Your workmanship is marvelous—and how well I know it.
You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion,
as I was woven together in the dark of the womb.
You saw me before I was born.
Every day of my life was recorded in your book.
Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed.
How precious are your thoughts about me, O God!
They are innumerable!
I can’t even count them; they outnumber the grains of sand!
And when I wake up in the morning you are still with me!
Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life.
(Psalms 139: 1-18, 23-24, NLT)
Even before my own mother was aware that I was in her womb, God knew me. My life came with a plan and a purpose (as did yours). And God’s thoughts about us are precious, even more than we can count! Isn’t that amazing?
As David in this psalm, found comfort and strength in understanding that God knew him, he was motivated to invite God to search his heart so that He could show him whatever was there that might be offensive to Him. I want this to be my prayer as well. You know me God; I welcome you into my heart to search me and to show me your ways.
God knows me intimately and He loves me for who I am—I am who He made me to be.
God knows my true heart like no one else, and He cares deeply.
That is enough.