let my words be few

I’ll stand in awe of you Lord.

Yes, I’ll stand in awe of you God.

And I’ll let my words be few.

Jesus, I am so in love with you.

For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal. – 2nd Corinthians 4:17-18

Our affliction at this moment is light and momentary. May we have patience as we wait for an eternal weight of GLORY that is beyond everything we have seen. So even though it is easier for us to look at our current situation with our narrow view, we must look to the things that we cannot SEE with our own eyes. Anything we are going through in our life right now will only last for a short time in comparison to an eternal life we will have with Jesus. May we be patient as we wait on the things we cannot see.

Lord. I confess that my motivation in my life was to make myself the best version of myself that is possible. I wanted to be able to one day receive praise from man and feel complete in front of man. I wanted to be able to boast that I am capable and that I am talented. I wanted to be able to create something or say something that I could take credit for. But Lord more and more as I live this life, I realize nothing I have in my life is mine. I realize there is nothing I can boast in that I can say I did this on my own. Everything God is from you. So Lord starting today, I want my greatest motivation in life is to wait on you. I’m sorry God that even though I say this now, that my heart will change again and will be fickle and try to take the glory for myself. Even then, Lord bring me back to you. 

I stand in awe of you God.

 

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sweet surrender

This past Sunday, I was humbled when I entered Anna’s home. Right when we entered, she was so hospitable and loving. When we told her, wow this food looks amazing, she said, “Awh, thanks to God. I was praying the whole time I was cooking that it would be good. I think, He wanted us to have a good meal together.”

I try to think of times when I am literally speaking prayers to God as I am doing something like cooking a meal for friends when I need His help. Usually when there is something that I am scared about, I will pray the week leading up to it. But during the event where I really need God, I usually forget and I do not pray. Many times I worry and get confused and rely on my own understanding. Anna’s example was really humbling to me, it made me realize that this posture of total dependence on God was something I could translate to all aspects of my life. Especially as I am in school right now, there are many assignments I am confused about and I do not understand how to do. But I can pray to God for discernment and wisdom as I do the assignment, I can pray before, during and after. Or when I feel like I am slowly losing control of a class while I am teaching, and I don’t know what to do, I can pray. Any time I feel tired or feel like I am about to grab a piece of chocolate for solace, I can pray instead of relying on sugar. Or when my mind is itching to go on social media to look at pretty pictures, I can pray and ask God to fill my heart’s desire instead.

Thankful that this sweet sister provides an example to me of how I can live my life every day, and I can literally rely on God with my every breath and every strength. For He takes care of every small and big detail in our life. This posture of total trust in the Lord gives me peace even as I think about it. Isn’t what our life on earth is about anyways? Giving all our days to Jesus and partnering in His work as an obedient and faithful servant.

Seek the Lord and His strength;
Seek His face continually [longing to be in His presence].

-1 Chronicles 16:11 (AMP)  

small interactions

It’s the small interactions I have with students that remind me this is what I want to do. It reminds me that even though almost every morning, I want to sleep another hour under my warm blankets, I will get out of bed to meet students. Yesterday, I was just in a classroom before school started, eating my oatmeal and making an answer key, when one of my students came in. Her sweet demeanor in class and her hard work is one that I always notice in class. We talked a little about how she is doing, and how she told me she struggles in ELA because English is her second language (she came from El Salvador two years ago). I told her, she’s doing great and in a couple of years she is going to improve even more in English that she’s going to be more comfortable in English than Spanish.

The second interaction, was a student I have in my class, who stood up a lot during class and got off task. His paper was literally blank when he supposed to do work, but after having a conversation with him one-on-one, he started putting more effort in.  Today he told me good news, “Ms, I am passing math!” I gave him a high-five, and asked him what changed, why are you passing math? And he told me, he started putting 100% effort in his class, and that a little birdie taught him how to do math. I asked him, who is this little birdie, and he told me: YOU!

The third interaction, was a student who used to miss many days of school, looked sad and disengaged in class in the beginning of the school year. Now, I see her bright smile and every time she sees me in the hallway or in passing she gives me an upbeat, “Hi Ms.Han!” I think she said hi to me 10 times yesterday.

My heart is slowly melting for these sweet kids. They are so easy to love, so easy to be with. I see them working hard in class, and I want to be their advocate and cheerleader. I hope they will succeed and have opportunities. I know the road is not easy for them, and they have many things they will have to overcome and face that I never had to.

Looking through my journal from two years ago, I see how faithful God is in answering and hearing my prayer requests and my desires even though he totally did not have to, he did.

I wrote in my journal, 9/27/15: “I want to have a job that I love and love doing in a place that is chill and inviting with people I like, collaborating with who are also my friends.” This is exactly what I am doing right now. Thank you Lord.

Lord, please watch over your children. God, give me opportunities to teach them well and love them with your unconditional love. Father God, I pray that these children will know you. 

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obedience

“We are not able to go up against the people, for they are stronger than we are.”   –Numbers 13:31 

It is easy to judge the people of Israel because of their lack of faith. The men who spied out the land of Canaan, say this because they relied on their own ability instead of God’s supernatural ability. When they spied out the land, they immediately felt like it was not possible to conquer because of the strong inhabitants there. They relied on what they saw and not on God’s promises.

But I see myself in their doubt and lack of faith.

How many times do I say things like this? How many times do I rely on my own ability instead of God’s? When do I try to shy away from the great opportunities God has for me because I am scared?

But God will equip you and me. He makes us adequate. He makes us more than adequate. When we are obedient and trusting of God, He will make us adequate. As I prepare for the the great opportunity I have to stand in front of new people and literally be judged by higher authority, I felt very scared. I knew with my own abilities and skills, I am definitely inadequate and I will fail.

This week though God changed my heart, I am not scared anymore because I am relying on God. I think He will be present, I think He will give me authority. I think He will change something in the atmosphere, and I think He will really grow me with this opportunity. Actually, I don’t think this, I know. Whatever happens, I know it is God’s divine hand working, so I can have peace and not fear the approval or disapproval of man.

Joshua and Caleb later say to the people of Israel who are mumbling and crying out to go back to Egypt:

“If the Lord delights in us, he will bring us into this land and give it into us, a land that flows with milk and honey. Only do not rebel against the Lord. And do not fear the people of the land, for they are bread for us. Their protection is removed from them, and the Lord is with us; do not fear them.”  –Numbers 13:31 

The Lord is with us. We have nothing to fear. His power is limitless. Let’s wait upon Him and trust Him by living a life of obedience.

 

hi God

I realized yesterday that almost a small seed of bitterness was almost planted in my heart. It can happen to me when I start to think that I need to receive some sort of approval from other people I serve. That’s when I need to check my heart. Is my heart in a good place if I am constantly looking for affirmation? Am I right before God if all I seek is to be applauded before people when I didn’t even do anything? I was humbled when I saw other brothers and sisters serve with dedication and thoughtfulness. I was touched. I am sure God’s heart was touched to see how they planned the night with detail and care. I was even more blessed when we worshipped together before the Lord. Wow! To see the work that God was doing. What a blessing. All my bitterness was wiped away with humility. What did I do to prepare for that night? Nothing. I secretly did not want to go and stay at home in my comfort.

Reading Numbers this morning, I am reminded that I am no different than the Israelites. They too wanted to live in comfort of Egypt and not live in the life of adventure that God called them (not my words but from Dr. Constable). Some mornings, I wake up and wish I could go back to sleep in the comforts of my own bed. But then I am reminded when I had the time and freedom to sleep as long as I wanted to, and I did not feel very content. So, this time in my life when I am usually tired on most days, some days I have trouble remembering what I did the day before, and the days are becoming a blur; I will give thanks. Even though, there are some days that are hard, some days that are smooth, some days where I feel like crying, some days that I laugh, other days that I want to sleep; I will give thanks. Because every day I get to partner with God, partake in His work, live for Him, give Him praise, see what He is doing, and make Him more famous. Many days, I don’t think I do a good job of this, other days I forget that I am a servant of the most high King, and usually I make it about myself. But when I make it about Him, there is peace, comfort in Him, and everything makes sense even though I don’t understand everything.

 

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awe

I learned yesterday night what truly serving God looks like.  I came so unprepared for lifegroup that a part of me didn’t want to go. I can truly boast that I did nothing, but that was the night that God did something. He appeared and showed up in a way that I did not imagine. I experienced the sweetness of fellowship and praying together. “This is what living life looks like. It is when we are honest and vulnerable with each other. It is when the walls come tumbling down, and our outer shells come undone.” 

I realized that in serving God, I always made it about myself. It was about what I did and didn’t do. I felt guilty because I did not do as much as I should had. My guilt made me feel ashamed and not worthy to be leading a group.

But it was never about me to begin or end with. Serving God is an honor and a privilege. And it is about seeing Him work. All we have to do is be obedient and faithful to what He has called us to do. It is a beautiful partnership where God chooses to show us more of His beauty through community and fellowship.

God truly answers our prayers. He hears our cries. I was able to see that happen yesterday night. What an honor. What a privilege. Our God is so good that He chooses me and you to partner with. He reveals His glory as we partner with Him. And I am in awe. Just mouth-dropping awe.

(no picture because no picture would be enough to suffice for God’s amazingness) 

meet Sojung

Men's Underwear Shoot for d|hozn

Sojung Lee is a illustrator, designer who owns creative business, SOHOSTORY,  with her husband. She also writes a beautiful blog, mundane type. She discipled me and another sister during my junior year of college, helping me grow closer in intimacy with with God. She’s an amazing lady with lots of strength. I’m excited to share her story with you.

Hi Sojung. So I’m sure your life has changed a lot after having Abe. What have you been up to recently?

I haven’t been doing much work since the baby was born back in December. He’s 4 months now so the last 4 months have been about taking care of him as a newborn, and also taking care of myself because I am grieving my mom who passed away in October. I’ve been learning about self-care while taking care of somebody else who can’t do anything for themselves.

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I haven’t figured out what self-care means yet. Part of it is that I’m seeing a counselor every once in a while which helps to talk about my feelings. I also let myself cry when I want to instead of holding it in; I wasn’t really good at that before. I would just bottle it up and then blow up later. Letting myself feel my emotions as they come has been really important to stay sane. I know in the long run me dealing with my grief now, even though it’s hard with a newborn, is going to be so much better for me and for my family.

Men's Underwear Shoot for d|hozn

How did having Abe shift your purpose?

 I did not want to ever be a mom. Even when I was little even when we played house, I was never the “mom”. When we got married, we both were on the same page that we didn’t have to have kids to be a complete family. That we were going to be just fine, just the two of us. So we thought our purpose was going to be being the couple that didn’t have kids. We really enjoyed that time that was just the two of us, and it really gave us the room to serve a college ministry at SMU and to serve our friends who had kids. If they needed a meal or whatever, we can help them do that. We really thought our purpose was to be the childless couple; we wanted to take full advantage of that. However God wanted us to be parents.

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Before we had the baby, I was really afraid our life was going to come to a stop, and we would have to change everything about who we were and our lifestyles because we weren’t going to be able to pick up and go anymore. Both Hyoyoung and I have been praying a lot about just moving to another city one day. So we downsized and moved to a smaller apartment. And when we found out we were pregnant, I felt like everything was going sideways and it didn’t look anything like we wanted. Now that he’s born and he’s here, I see that, yes we had to make a lot of adjustments, but it hasn’t stopped my life.

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If anything, we’re seeing that we can still hope and dream and pray about those big things we were wanting, either about moving away or growing our business in a way so it’s more national and not just local. It’s still possible with Abe; it just looks different. I definitely don’t know what’s God’s purpose is for us being parents or me (being a mom) yet.

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I know some time has passed since you graduated college, but can you share your journey in finding your purpose in college?

 I was not a believer until my senior year of college, and it happened my second semester of senior year. I started to go to church as a freshman in college. I went because I really liked the people there, and I liked the community, but I had no idea what the gospel meant for me, and I didn’t believe in it.

My mom was first diagnosed with cancer seven years ago. She was the only believer at home so I was really mad at God.  I couldn’t understand how the only believer in our house was sick with cancer.

A little after she had her first surgery, I stopped going to church. It was a really tough surgery, she was in a lot of pain. I was going regularly every Saturday and Sunday because of my friends there, and I just stopped going. One day my dad pulled me aside and said: “why aren’t you going to church?”

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Estranged – Watercolor by Sojung Lee 

And I told him, I can’t believe in a God that is hurting my mom so badly when she’s a Christian. My dad, who is an agnostic (he doesn’t believe in our Christian God), said: “But it’s because of God that we caught it early enough so your mom can be treated.”

That’s the exact moment I start believing in God; I saw that He can use anybody for His purpose. It doesn’t matter whether they are Christian or not. My life changed from there because I had a newfound purpose. Before it was just trying to get a job out of college so I could move out of my parent’s house, so I could get married. I just wanted to live my own life, whatever that meant to me at the time.

Once I became a believer and believed in the gospel, my purpose really changed.

Wow what a testimony. What was your post-grad journey like after meeting Jesus? 

As soon as I graduated, I couldn’t find a job so I definitely had a gap year, but I made money by substituting in the local district at the high schools. That’s what I wanted to do then, teach high school art. I started grad school in that same year to teach high school art because I didn’t think I was able to get a job again the next year either.

I went to visit my old high school art teacher for a paper I was writing for one of my grad school classes. That same day, she said, “We actually have an opening, you should go meet with our principal right now.” She gave the principal a call, and she wanted to do an informal interview right then and there. When I met with her, I didn’t even have an resume on me so I had to email it to her later. A couple weeks went by, and she called me to tell me that I got the job. I did that for 3 years.

Everything was such a God thing, because I didn’t even know there was a job opening. I didn’t apply for it, the interview was completely informal, and I happened to be dressed nicely that day because I had to be for my grad school assignment. The timing of it all was so crazy.

In the last eight years, I have really learned that everything is in God’s timing, and there’s nothing I can do in my power alone. There is nothing that is in my control. I could do everything perfectly, but if that’s not God’s purpose for me, it doesn’t matter what I do. I think it’s the same thing for even when if I mess up really big, God can still work. He’s so much bigger than what I can do that sometimes, in the end, it doesn’t matter what I do.

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That doesn’t mean I am supposed to sit and do nothing and wait for Him to do everything for me. That’s not the gospel at all.

It’s more that, I am just finding that God is good and He wants what is good for me. That means He wants free will for me and that’s why I can make the choices that I make and have freedom in that.

There’s so much more freedom in knowing that there is grace for me in messing up than me not believing in God at all, doing whatever I want, and not knowing what grace is. Living that way would be so much more sad and not as life giving as the gospel is.

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Without the gospel, my life would be completely different and my choices would be different. I would much rather believe and live my life with purpose rather than not believe and wander around aimlessly, trying to guess what my purpose is. With the gospel, I know what it is: it’s to glorify Him and love others as He loved us first.

Abraham's 8 week Portrait

(Photos courtesy of Sojung Lee.)