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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?”
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.
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.
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.
(Photos courtesy of Sojung Lee.)