I have always loved podcasts, but since moving to Japan, my podcast consumption has gone into hyperdrive. These hour long commutes and long morning runs have created a lot of space for listening to enlightening, entertaining, or just plain exciting stories. Recently I have been trying out a few new shows hosted by Christian women with the hope of receiving some mentorship-from-afar as I live what can feel like a very lonely life here in Tokyo. In this effort, I was reluctantly listening to a podcast with a very cheesy title on my commute from school today. But a question the woman asked stopped me in my tracks and brought tears to my eyes (and a bit of humility to my heart for the fierce title-judgement I had given to the show). She asked, “what is it you hope God will do in your life that is so big you are sometimes too scared to speak it out loud?” Without a second thought, I said “for God to use me to build his church in Japan”. And then I started crying, right there on the street, in one of the busiest areas of Tokyo.
It sounds so trite and small seeing it written down on paper (screen). But it feels gigantic to me. That God would use me. Me, a sinner, not only unqualified but ill-qualified to do his work. To build his church. His bride, the apple of his eye, the focus of his greatest love and most astounding act of redemption. In Japan. A place that is vast, hungry, hurting, dark, exciting, intimidating, and beautiful. This is something far beyond anything I can think or imagine. And humblingly outside of my control.
I can honestly say that these last few weeks I have felt tired, uninspired, and lonely as we march through the long days of studying Japanese, coming home to care for a toddler, cleaning the same rooms over and over, and starting back up again at 5am. I have felt worn-down with the constant strain of living life in another language and always, always being different. But today I can also honestly say I feel lifted up. Enlivened by the ministry of someone I do not know and strengthened by the prayers that I know are being lifted up on my behalf by many of you who may read this post and a whole lot more people who never will. But most of all, I feel propped up, comforted, and entirely dependent on my Saviour who despite my lack of faith and continual cycling into discontent, has chosen to love me, and has chiseled ways into my hard heart to pour in life-giving water to my soul.