How He Does It

I’ve been asked, “How do you do it?”

I’ve been told, “I know I could never do that.”

I’ve even been called “Strong.”

So what exactly is all this heroic stuff that we do?

It’s hugging your sister on the driveway and not wanting to let go because you know she’s the last one to be hugged. The others have already left and she’s the last one you’ll see for a long time. The hug itself is more of a desperate cling. You bury your face into her shoulder and say nothing. You simply both stand there clinging… and shaking from the sobs… and sniffling. Then you let go and silently watch them pack up the car and drive off… and you cry some more, only this time you’re standing alone with your arms wrapped around your stomach. You cry because every childhood memory plagues you at that very moment. You cry because every argument wasn’t worth it. You cry because you love your family and each member takes a little piece of your heart with them.

It’s watching your child poke and kiss an ipad as opposed to a real face. It’s watching your little girl learn “peek-a-boo” via facetime. She literally runs into the living room when she hears the familiar ringing on the ipad. She know what it means. She knows “gamma” or “papa” will be on the other end… if not one of her aunties and cousins. It’s heart wrenching at times. People tell me that “technology is so wonderful”. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard the phrase, “just imagine if you were a missionary a hundred years ago…”. I know I know, they had it much worse than I do. I know I know, technology is wonderful. But whether a hundred years ago or yesterday, the ache is still there and I am still on the other side of the world. And so is my little girl.


It’s calling your dear sweet friend and telling her that you wish you could be there for her birthday to make a cake for her. It’s knowing she’s spending the day aching for her husband and not being able to give a hug or take her out for dinner. It’s knowing you’re too far. Much too far.

It’s waking up on Christmas morning to the sound of car horns honking while 20 million Beijingers head to work, school or anywhere else they wish to go. It’s being the only one to stay home and dive into a stocking or pull the strings off your gifts while the special day goes over-looked and unnoticed by those around you. It’s studying for your class the next day because, let’s face it, you still have school in spite of the fact that the culture you grew up in would’ve taken two weeks off school! It’s being a weirdo with a massive tree and lights inside your house.

It’s spending far too much time and money to dig your teeth into a fat, juicy, beef burger. A manly burger. It’s even letting the juice run down your chin while you embrace the moment.

It’s watching olympic curling for four hours straight because that’s all that’s on. But, no worries, it’s all in Chinese, making it that much more thrilling. It’s turning that event into a house party and inviting your friends over for tacos and cookies. It’s waking up the next morning to find out that once again, the Chinese’ favorite olympic sport is still in session and yes, CCTV 5 has curling on… again, to satisfy all your curling needs.

It’s having a home that none of your family has seen or had dinner in.

It’s jumping in the air over a single card received because someone remembered, they remembered that you were so far away.

And how exactly is it done?

My answer: it’s only by God’s perfectly awesome amazing grace. He does it. Not me. It’s not about my capabilities, for they are few, but it is about His omnipotence and His willingness to use me. As for being strong, I’m not. I cry like the rest and probably more. I struggle and strive to learn, but still forget sometimes. I make mistakes and then spend a day moping about it. No, I’m not strong. He is. And that is how He does it.


*Check out my poetry page for a challenging poem by my one and only brother.


10 thoughts on “How He Does It

  1. I miss you Beth. Looking forward to the day I walk in your house and get the tour and real hugs and kisses!! I am so thankful for everything that I do “see” from over here. I get as excited as Lois when I hear that famous ringtone!!

  2. I love your blogs and I love you! I am so proud of you and everything you’re doing over there! I pray for you, and when I do, I pray He will make missing your family and friends just a little easier!

  3. Beautifully written, Beth… As always. I got chocked up reading this. You do a wonderful job of putting your feelings and experiences into words. Love and miss you

  4. God’s amazing, overwhelming, incredible GRACE never ceases to amaze me! This past year has been one that overflowed with His Grace and it was the ONLY reason I got through. Understand what you are feeling! Thanks for sharing your heart and giving glory to our God!!

  5. Oh my Beth, I don’t know what to say…. you make me smile, you make me cry and you make me feel so thankful that we both know that our great God is in control! I do pray for you and your family daily and I am sorry that I don’t let you know that more often! You are a very special lady and its wonderful to see how God is using you and your family…. and all the good and bad that goes with it! By any chance did you receive a parcel from me? I sent it back before Christmas to your inlaws address. Either way, maybe its time to send another one! Thank you Beth, Love& Prayers Mrs. Wilson

    >________________________________ > > >From: Beyond Imagining >To: >Sent: Thursday, February 13, 2014 12:39:22 AM >Subject: [New post] How He Does It > > > >elisabeth posted: “I’ve been asked, “How do you do it?” I’ve been told, “I know I could neverdo that.” I’ve even been called “Strong.” So what exactly is all this heroic stuff that we do? It’s hugging your sister on the driveway and not wanting to let go becaus” >

  6. Dear Beth,
    Your words come from your heart.
    I love your blogs.
    I love your answer: “It’s only by God’s perfectly
    awesome amazing grace.

  7. There is no doubt that you have been blessed with a wonderful writing gift, but what moves me most is the expression of your faith and your clear understanding and submission to God’s hand on your life.

    Thank you for the encouraging note Beth.

    Unc J & Aunt K.

  8. I know you don’t hear from me much, but I really enjoy your prayer letters and blog. As I am often up in the middle of the night these days I think of you and the whole Ray family in China and pray for you. I love you and miss you. ☺

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s