This past week–Thanksgiving dinner with the family, cranberry sauce and turkey, pecan pastries, and Friday night hot pot with friends… all remind me of home and family and warmth. But one memory trumps them all, and it was the one I expected least of all. After a wedding on Saturday afternoon, my mom made me take her to the San Jose 分堂 for their Thanksgiving service. I didn’t want to go at first because I had a previous engagement with friends. Alas, one cannot simply refuse a mother’s wishes.
So I took my mom to the service… and I ended up crying from beginning to end. I was so moved, the tears just would not stop flowing. I was embarrassed to wipe them on my sleeve. What is going on? Where are all these tears coming from? After the praise and worship, some kids did a little dance performance, followed by announcements and offering. After offering, Yu-teng 傳道 shared about how important it is to honor our spiritual fathers and mothers– and this was when the incessant tear drops began.
First, he shared his own testimony about honoring his mother and mother-in-law by giving them monetary gifts. Even though it was a large sum of money (and he and his family, with two young girls, had just moved to a new city and started pastoring this new church, equivalent to their own financial needs), he insisted they take the money anyways as a sign of his honor for them as a son.
After that, he began to honor my mom, 張瑋 牧師 (Pastor Wei), for being his spiritual mother. He shared about the many times my mom had encouraged him and given him words of wisdom, and when he felt depressed and hopeless she was there to comfort him. One day, God had even spoken to Yu-teng 傳道 in a vision saying, “Honor 張偉 牧師 as your spiritual mother,” and from that day forward he always considered my mom as his spiritual mother.
The service went on like this for the rest of the time we were there. Yu-teng 傳道 honored my mom, my mom honored him, and then they honored all of the home group leaders. I didn’t see anyone else in the sanctuary crying like I was. So weird! I was confusing myself… I didn’t know why I was crying! But all I could tell my mom on our way home was, “It felt like coming home.”
Honor and thanksgiving is not a foreign concept to me–and it’s not something I lacked growing up in my family or home church. And definitely in my current environment at Bethel, honor is a deeply rooted core value here! So why is it that I felt so incredibly moved all of a sudden by something so profoundly simple and seemingly unimpressive… The only reason I have is that God’s presence was there.
All I know is that God touched me in a way I did not understand, and I still do not understand. Was it Yu-teng 傳道’s act of honoring my mom that touched me? Or was it something already inside of me–was God healing me? Was it simply God’s presence and love awakening my heart, or was it a deeper response to an ache that I’ve been carrying for some time? Or could it just be homesickness? Forerunner is my home, and I’ve missed being under the anointing of this house…?
Even today, as I was sharing this experience with a friend, the tears found their way back out and wet my face. God, what are you doing in my heart?
One clue I do have relates to the timing of this event. Prior to going to the San Jose 分堂, for a while I’ve been struggling with a sense of hopelessness, shame and frustration. This encounter has caused me to once again have hope for a spiritual awakening. God, I want to know what You are doing. I want to be moved by Your presence–like this, more. Tenderize my heart.
Perhaps it is all intertwined. The presence of God is our home, and the way home is the path of honor–honoring God, honoring our spiritual parents, and even honoring ourselves, loving ourselves. And the ability to truly love ourselves requires a spiritual awakening, because in order to appreciate our own worth, we must appreciate the incomparably great worth of Jesus Christ who gave himself up for us. And it’s in that place of utter humility and thankfulness for His ultimate sacrifice… we are home.
One last thought: I love Forerunner so much. It will always be my home, my family. Though Bethel is great and I’m learning so much here, I cannot deny that there is something special here at Forerunner. It’s the sweet, intimate, love-infused presence of God. Something about being here makes my heart weep for the love of God so easily. God is here. Yes, God is everywhere, but I will always appreciate the anointing of this house… for carrying and protecting a simple devotion and love for our Bridegroom Jesus. It’s easy to take it for granted when you’re planted here, but once you’ve tasted other streams, you realize how sweet the stream you’ve been drinking from really was!
(Note: Bethel is an amazing stream, and I enjoy every day that I get to drink from this stream and let it soak into me and transform me. God reveals Himself in different ways and anoints each house for different purposes. In this season, God has called me to learn and drink from this stream of supernatural, signs and wonders, healing and evangelism–walking with the Holy Spirit and bringing heaven to earth! And I love it!)