Maria Niechwiadowicz


Sometimes it is hard to feel satisfied. But what does that really mean? What brings satisfaction? Is it simply fulfillment of one’s desire and needs or is satisfaction supposed to bring happiness and contentment? Can satisfaction be both of these things? Yet despite these confusing definitions we use the word “satisfactory”…meaning all needs are fulfilled but life isn’t perfect. That’s right, life is not perfect here in Guyuan.

In many ways I feel unfulfilled…I am still struggling with my call as an English teacher and pray everyday when I walk into the classroom, “Lord, how are you using me? And why are you using me in this way? How does this fit into the big picture you have for me?” I yearn for a church community and the spiritual gratification this brings; a congregation to worship with, serve with, and be active in. I miss the social aspects of college life; having sorority sisters next door to talk all night long, being able to go out for a glass of wine or see a local musician at a coffeeshop, having the flexibility to drive 40 minutes to spend a night with my brothers.

But life wouldn’t be perfect if I was in India, or France, or if I was still in the United States. Though I may be fulfilled in the aspects listed above, I’m sure I would be unfulfilled in other ways. Not only am I transitioning to life in China, I am transitioning out of college-life, and still trying to discover what the Lord’s purpose for my life is. But these feelings are also a downfall of human nature. Aren’t we always yearning for something that we don’t have? Aren’t we always searching for purpose?

Last week I was overwhelmed by selfishness and shame in feeling I was unsatisfied with life here despite the abundant blessings that the Lord has provided…

I am grateful for students who are eager to learn and who have dreams to see the world someday.

I am grateful for a gas stove to cook on when the power goes out and oven to cook in when my gas stove is spitting flames.

I am grateful for hot water in my shower, despite no hot water in my kitchen sink.

I am grateful for a warm and safe apartment to call home.

I am grateful for a culture that thrives on produce and freshly butchered meat, that is just steps away from my apartment.

I am grateful for weekly fellowship with the foreign teachers to worship and pray together.

I am ever so grateful for the internet, keeping me connected to loved ones and congregations around the globe. FaceTime makes the world seem smaller :)

I am grateful for Shanelle- a fellow foreign teacher, singing partner, baking buddy, and faithful friend.

I am grateful for a single cup of coffee on Saturday mornings.

I am grateful that the Lord has put a light inside of me, and that there is so little darkness in my soul.

I could list dozens of people back at home who I am blessed by on a daily basis through prayers, emails, letters, Skype-dates, and support (consider yourselves thanked)!

So, I am content. Life is satisfactory. I hold onto faith that the Lord is working, the Lord will provide, and the Lord will fulfill.

“True happiness is to enjoy the present, without anxious dependence upon the future, not to amuse ourselves with either hopes or fears but to rest satisfied with what we have, which is sufficient, for he that is so wants nothing. The greatest blessings of mankind are within us and within our reach. A wise man is content with his lot, whatever it may be, without wishing for what he has not.”  -Seneca

Happy Thanksgiving!