A TCK’s Battle with the Question “Why?”

When I (Danielle Wheeler) asked my daughter if she’d like to write a post for children at Velvet Ashes, her eyes lit up. I knew it would be an easy “yes” for my young aspiring author with a passion for cultures. What I didn’t know was the emotions that it would bring out in both of us as she worked on this. I’m proud to welcome her here today, her eleventh birthday…

Have you ever asked God the question “why?”  I know I asked him that question many times when I was in China. China was a place my family and I loved. God blessed us in China, and He gave us many gifts. We lived in a tall building with friends on the same floor, and we rode scooters in the park. We had Chinese friends and went to Chinese restaurants. Those were some gifts that God gave us.

Sometimes though I would feel embarrassed when Chinese people would stare at me and when I was the only non-Chinese person in my class. I remember sometimes when I would feel so upset I would cry in my bed and ask God the question, “why?”

But God brought out good things from the bad things. Out of my Chinese school He gave me a Chinese friend. Even though she didn’t speak English and most of the time I didn’t understand her, we still became good friends. We would give each other little gifts every week at school. Chinese school was still hard, but God gave me the gift of a good friend.

One of the biggest times when I asked God the question “why?” was when we left China. I was mad at Him and asked why would He take me away from a place I loved and where I was happy. I remember when my friends and I cried all our tears out when we had to leave. 

When we came to Missouri things were different. The schools were easier, but it was still hard being the new kid. When people would ask me, “Where are you from?” I would say, “China,” and they would make a weird face at me. 

I love Missouri because it’s a place God wanted me to be, and He knew I was going to be happy here.  I love my school, my friends, my neighborhood, my big back yard, and my home. I wouldn’t have had all those things without coming to Missouri. God gave me another home and another place to spread God’s word.

I am happy to be back in America, but sometimes I still miss China.  Sometimes no matter where you live, you still miss the places you’ve been. And God knows that maybe, just maybe… I’ll be able to tell China, “I’m coming back.” 

God knew I was going to ask the question “why?” And I still don’t know the answer. But I do trust Him and I know He is always with me. My life is not about me, it’s about going the way Jesus wants me to go. My life is about sharing God’s word. Good things or hard things, challenges or gifts, Jesus still has a plan for me, all I have to do is trust Him.

 When is a time that you’ve asked God the question “why”? What has helped you during those times? When have you seen God’s plan in your life? What are some gifts you have seen in hard times?

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash


  1. Makhluk February 12, 2019

    Thank you, Isabelle, for sharing your questions and your faith. You seem to handle whys better than most adults, certainly better than I do. You seem like an awesome young lady. Stay strong in your faith.

    1. Isabelle Wheeler February 13, 2019

      Thank you so much! I’m glad you liked the post and your comments make me feel loved by other people. I will stay strong in my faith.

  2. Caitlyn Edwards February 13, 2019

    Thank you so much for sharing Isabelle. I too moved to Joplin just a few years ago after growing up in Taiwan and I share so many of these feelings. I think no matter where I have lived, the biggest blessings have always been the people God has placed in my life at each season. Though our hearts may never feel completely at home in any place, I think God places special people in our lives to give us little glimpses of our heavenly home. I hope we get the change to officially meet sometime! Let me know if you ever want to meet up and just talk about life in China. I know I always appreciate people who are willing to just listen to me talk about my home and the things I miss.

    1. Isabelle Wheeler February 13, 2019

      Thank you! I’m so glad we have a lot of things in common. The Lord does put special people in our lives. I feel like I have so many homes, and I do! I hope we can meet soon and get to see each other.

  3. Elizabeth February 13, 2019

    Beautifully written.

    1. Isabelle Wheeler February 13, 2019

      Thank you a million times! Even one sentence can have big emotion.

  4. Iris February 13, 2019

    Thank you for sharing! You articulate this elegantly and gracefully, much better than I would’ve been able to during my seasons and moments of repatriation and transition. You also give new words and gratefulness to my heart in this present moment, as I briefly look back and reflect. I, too, spent some time in China, then returned to the US. I’ve been a long time follower of Velvet Ashes, but your entry was the first that prompted me to leave a comment. 🙂 I hope you keep writing!

    1. Isabelle Wheeler February 13, 2019

      Thank you so much! It makes me feel so happy you like it. I feel happy, surprised and loved. I hope I can write so much more in the future. I’m glad my post gives you emotions even when I’m only 11. 🙂

  5. Ruth February 13, 2019

    First of all, I am so impressed by your writing! Budding author for sure. I also loved what you said, especially this line: Sometimes no matter where you live, you still miss the places you’ve been. I have been feeling that a lot lately as we are about to go back to China after a year in America. And I know that has started getting harder for my oldest (8) as well. Maybe I will share your words with her. ?

    1. Isabelle Wheeler February 13, 2019

      Thank you! I’m glad we have some same emotions. Please feel free to share my words with your oldest. And tell her I would like to meet her sometime. If your daughter ever wants to write tell her I’ll write back.

  6. Kristin February 13, 2019

    This is beautiful and very heart-warming! Thank you!

    1. Isabelle Wheeler February 13, 2019

      Thank you very much! I’m glad you thought it was heart-warming.:)

  7. Sarah Hilkemann February 13, 2019

    Thank you for sharing, Isabelle! It is okay to ask God “Why?”, and I’ve had to come to that place in my life too. I do have to work on trusting Him even when I don’t understand.

    I wanted to be a writer when I was a young girl too! Keep running after that dream. 🙂

  8. Isabelle Wheeler February 13, 2019

    Thank you a million times! I’ll write a post any time you want me to. just call me. I’ll keep writing!

  9. Ruth Felt February 13, 2019

    I like how you stick feeling into the words ’cause a lot of people are like that. I think that’s a very nice story. I know that the same thing will probably be happening to me sometime in my life because I still live in China, but sometime they will probably make us move away. And I will be sad too, because my best friend in the whole entire universe lives there.
    Juliana (8 years old)

What do you think?

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.