2019 recapped

Throughout 2019, many dear friends from back home asked me, “Janet, how are you?” In my first year adulting on my own in a foreign country, at times I found myself at a loss when asked how I was really doing. From the outside, I was fine and shouldn’t even be complaining. I was blessed with a job, a spacious apartment by Taipei standards, the best roommate and sweetest landlady, and an amazing small group. But deep down, I was still wrestling with my pride & love for comfort and familiarity and battling waves of homesickness, an identity crisis, uncertainty about my long-term plan, my sinful idolatry of success and career, and more. I put off posting regularly on my blog last year because I was feeling all the feelings and didn’t even know where to begin. My heart was constantly so heavy in the rough transitions. I weathered many storms and felt the most alone in my struggles – wrongly so because looking back, God was so good to me.

Not long after arriving to Taiwan, my parents who were initially somewhat supportive of my big move abroad started asking me to move back almost every week for a list of reasons I won’t share online. For some background on my wonderful, kindhearted, loving, and sometimes overbearing parents, they were born and raised in Shanghai, and moved to America, where they still reside, five years before I was born with little money and tons of grit and courage to start over in a foreign place. While their crazy work ethic and fearlessness have always inspired me, 2019 was the year I finally tasted even a fraction of what they endured to give my brother and me a better life. For more deets on that, refer to my “Taiwan Story” post down below.

What made 2019 especially hard stemmed from my desire to please my parents and love of being comfortable & understood, as well as the cultural and lifestyle habits I had developed in my formative years. Nothing could prepare me for the reality of doing life on the opposite side of the world. Moving to Taipei straight out of college forced me to grow up really quickly. I was accustomed to doing life a certain way in Seattle and having my dear family and friends within walking or driving distance. Not only was I enduring waves of homesickness/culture shock, but suddenly simple, daily tasks became much more difficult, especially when everything is in a language I could barely read and all my loved ones are an ocean away.

Tasks like buying and ordering food, interviewing for jobs, negotiating with my cell phone provider who unintentionally overcharged me, getting a haircut, getting a physical at the hospital, going to the bank, etc. – very mundane things I had done without second thought in Seattle became much more taxing and confusing. I could sense God testing my patience, breaking off my pride, and reminding me to breathe and slow down. He knows us better than we know ourselves, and most certainly knows I’m not the most patient person. I’ve gotten slow walker rage too many times while living here, and am guilty of almost knocking someone over when rushing from point A to B.

Throughout the year, I was constantly conflicted. On the outside, I looked Asian and blended in with the locals – that is, until I opened my mouth. Back in the US, I had the privilege of being born, raised, and educated there, so I fit in seamlessly and felt like I belonged. I had many social circles and groups of friends who I got along with. At home, I was never asked where I was “really” from. But suddenly in Taiwan, almost every time I went out alone and spoke more than a few sentences to a service provider, I got questioned where I was from, why my Mandarin sounded funny/broken,  what type of accent I had, whether I was some “other” type of Asian (people have guessed Japanese, Korean, Thai, Tibetan, and occasionally American), why I left Seattle for Taiwan, and my personal favorite: “You can’t be American. You have black hair.”

Needless to say, there were days when I was just exhausted and wished I wasn’t so different. I wished my Mandarin was more fluent. I wished I understood Asian/Taiwanese culture better. I wished people didn’t expect so much from me because of how I looked. I wished every day life wasn’t such a challenge. Some days were definitely moodier than others. Whenever I felt down, I was reminded of how Jesus was the most misunderstood human to grace this planet. In my moments of adjusting to a new lifestyle/job/norms/language, being frustrated/misunderstood, and having immigrant parents with high expectations for my life, it often felt like God made a mistake of leading me here. But the heaviness actually forced me to draw closer to Him and in every storm, there’s always a break of sunshine.

After all, “Who is a God like [Him], pardoning iniquity and passing over transgression for the remnant of his inheritance? He does not retain His anger forever because He delights in steadfast love” (Micah 7v18). A perfect Savior, who walked with such intention and unconditional love, Jesus was so quick to extend grace and mercy to the least deserving. What a comfort it is that our eternal hope is in the Messiah – fully man and fully God – who has borne all our sins, pain, and death in our place on the cross for sins He didn’t commit. For all the times I was misunderstood, I could only trust in God’s perfect plans for my season in Taipei. Even if I couldn’t and still can’t see all the fruits of my labor yet and to this day, don’t fully comprehend why He has brought me here, He’s truly testing and refining my faith.

Looking back, God has been beyond kind, gracious, loving, and faithful to me and everyone else on our team. Last January, I went to my first ever Taiwan job interview in the 101 area. For those of you unfamiliar with Xinyi district, you’ll likely find better dressed people there than anywhere else in Taipei. On that day, I wore a polished outfit and prepared well for my interview, but was still judged by one of the recruiting team’s managers. When meeting me, she scanned my outfit from head to toe, noticed my purple galaxy laptop case which was decorated with an assortment of stickers I’d collected over the years – stickers like Canal Street New York to Boba Guys to Amazon, where I worked at for a year – and gave me a look of contempt. She said, “Wow, you give off such an American vibe. At this office, we have a very strict suit and tie culture, so you can’t wear that outfit or your slip-ons. Also, do you even speak any Mandarin?”

I tried my best to not be triggered by her harsh statements. First of all, of course I give off “an American vibe” because I’m an American. But the way I dress, as long as it’s professional and not distracting shouldn’t be a big concern. Wearing a suit and tie to work everyday wasn’t a deal breaker for me, so I was fine with that. Secondly, companies should place more value on people’s willingness to learn and how their unique skills and experiences can add value, instead of being so quick to judge someone’s story from their physical appearance. Obviously, I never heard back from that first company, but it wouldn’t have been a good fit for either of us.

The following month, I interviewed for a local cram school for an English teaching position, quickly got an offer, and began training shortly after. During my first few days of training, I was getting to know the other foreign teachers, and noticed they all looked burnt out. The school required teachers to work on Saturdays, which is pretty normal for cram schools here. During training, our manager would bark at us to not yawn and to try to look happy and fully present, or we’d make a bad impression on the kids’ parents. My coworker pulled me aside one day and told me to try and find another job when I still could before I signed my contract.

Looking back, that was a clear sign to switch jobs. I had already been having second thoughts about the school’s treatment of its teachers, when I noticed yet another red flag that ended up being my deal breaker. My manager said every employees’ 10 days off per year were set by her, no questions asked. I said since that was never stated anywhere in our contract, I didn’t think her policy was fair. Even after pointing that out to her, she wouldn’t budge and said she’d find another teacher if I didn’t want to stay. I had never experienced such a dishonest manager and stifling work culture before, and by God’s grace, I left the cram school after realizing it wasn’t worth staying at the cost of my own sanity. After all, I had moved to Taiwan to spend time with locals, make disciples, and build up the church. I wasn’t looking to burn out right away from a demanding job that I wouldn’t have any time to accomplish what I had set out to do.

March and April were a blur. I was prepping for interviews like mad, still struggling to adjust to daily life, feeling lost and confused, and questioning why God would give me a job I thought He had intended for me and then take it away so quickly. I was upset because I had to start from square one again and nervous to tell my parents about what had happened with my teaching position because I knew they’d use it against me to return back to Seattle. April came and one day, I received an email from Ovalware, the current company I work at. They showed interest in interviewing me, and thought I could be a good fit for their company.

I was pretty jaded after having gone to countless interviews already, and didn’t think I’d find a job that was a good fit for a long time. I prepared for the interview, but went into it with no expectations. Boy was I wrong to not put my hope and expectations in my Heavenly Father who knows me better than I know myself. God, despite my little faith, was still faithful in providing for me in His timing. I went in to the office in mid-April, and got a job offer not long after, and started working full-time in May… sweet victories where God comes through for me time after time force me to see Him and His almighty power rightly and to stop being deceived by my wicked, doubtful heart.

To sum up my first year in a nutshell, I want to reiterate God is always good, even when life doesn’t feel sweet. After I started working in May, the rest of 2019 just flew by. Having a job that takes up most of your time tends to do that to you. The second half of my year was still filled with ups and downs, but I made it by His grace, and now here we are in 2020: a fresh decade, a fresh start. 24. My Kobe year!!

Speaking of Kobe, his sudden loss as well as his daughter Gianna’s and the 7 other souls on the helicopter whose lives ended in a flash shook me to the core and made me realize tomorrow isn’t guaranteed. I was incredibly devastated and speechless the day tragedy struck. I couldn’t go back to sleep after I found out about Kobe’s death after my friend texted me at 4:30 AM (China time). Granted I didn’t think it was real at first because TMZ first released the article, and TMZ isn’t a trustworthy source. But after I knew it was very real, I couldn’t even begin to fathom Vanessa Bryant and his 3 surviving daughters’ deep heartbreak and loss, and how they were supposed to just go on without their husband/dad and daughter/sister.  One of Kobe’s daughters was still a newborn, too.

I would always watch interviews of Kobe post-retirement of how much he loved being a dad and how his daughter Gigi would one day carry his legacy. He didn’t need a son because she got it. He was so proud of being a #girldad. Beyond being a basketball legend, Kobe was simply a loving father, dad, and son. Growing up, I watched the NBA and the Lakers were my second favorite team after the Sonics. I remember looking forward to coming home from school to watch his games at dinner with my brother. I remember watching the game where Kobe score 81 points (his all-time career high) in 2006 against the Toronto Raptors. I remember meeting him in the flesh right before his last away game in Phoenix. Yeah, that actually happened.

Ok tangent – story time! My family and I had traveled to Arizona for my spring break in 2016, and my brother bought tickets to a Lakers vs. Suns NBA game. On the day of the game, I was so excited, but never in my wildest dreams did I think I’d actually meet Kobe in the flesh. A few hours before the game started, we noticed a horde of photographers and reporters wearing Lakers gear outside a hotel, and gut instinct told me Kobe was in there.

I knew that would possibly be our only chance to ever meet him. I told my brother we should check out the commotion, but after putting myself in Kobe’s shoes for a moment, I was positive a big-time star like him wouldn’t take the main exit. I started looking for a side door to the hotel, and found a parking lot with an exit door. My brother quickly followed, and as we entered the parking garage, we noticed a towering figure coming out of the side door. IT WAS KOBE. IN THE FLESH. My heart stopped. I couldn’t breathe and I pinched myself. I was dreaming, right? He smiled warmly, waved at us, and off he went in his black limo.

I knew that moment was special, but didn’t think it’d be the last possible time I’d meet him. His loss felt like a piece of my childhood had died, too. Last week when I was in self-quarantine on my birthday week (I went to Chengdu, China for what was supposed to be a Lunar New Year vacation with my mom, cousin, and aunt, but that was cut very short from the coronavirus scare; unfortunately, our tour got cancelled and all tourist attractions shut down to mitigate risks of getting sick.)

Anyway, since I was in quarantine and trapped at home all week, I spent a lot of time reflecting and feeling so human and fragile. I struggled to grapple the losses of a legend, his precious daughter, and everyone else on that fateful, horrendous day. I was asking God why Kobe, and He reminded me everyone’s days are limited, no matter how many fans they have, how much money they make, what their status in life is, so I need to stop sweating the small things in life and chasing things that will never satisfy me. In light of Kobe’s passing, it’s a timely reminder to trust God more, despite not having all the answers. It’s God’s kindness and favor that He doesn’t always reveal the answers when we want Him to. We may never know why Kobe’s time here was abruptly cut short, when my loved ones will inevitably pass away, or when the next epidemic will hit.

Luckily, we can learn to put our assurance in our Heavenly Father who fully empathizes with all our weaknesses, giving us the courage to continue walking with Him and trusting in His faithful promises. Our days in the world are numbered – we’re here one day and gone the next, and yet we spend so many waking moments worrying about too many things outside our control. In my Kobe year, I want to change my destructive, self-loathing, and doubtful thought patterns. Instead of worrying about the future and things outside of my control, I choose to trust God’s sovereignty and goodness in the midst of my confusion, homesickness, identity struggles, and heaviness, and look ahead with much peace, hope, and joy because everything will be ok.

 

 

 

Reflections: January Highs & Lows

It’s been three weeks since I’ve stepped foot onto unfamiliar soil and breathed in many new aromas, like Taiwanese stinky tofu (still getting used to it but don’t enjoy it) at local night markets, the smell of sewage at every street corner, the most delicious beef noodles, egg tarts, bread shops, and every imaginable Asian delicacy whose name I probably don’t know… and of course polluted air. There have been so many highs and lows in these last three weeks, which have been kind of a blur. Since day one, I have hit the ground running – literally. The minute I got off the plane with Mama Chen, we were scrambling to figure out so many logistics because her time in Taipei was so limited. She stayed with me for a week to make my transition easier, and during that week, she helped me: translate numerous documents, open a new bank account and cell phone plan, find my new apartment, move in, and get settled before she left. On week one, I ran around Taipei to countless embassies, banks (which apparently are closed on weekends, and on our first day here, we tried going to one but it was a Saturday), various cell phone carriers to compare phone deals, several apartment tours, and two on-site interviews. I’m surprised at how I even managed to stay awake through all the madness because I was very jet lagged for most of it. Looking back, I was running on adrenaline and of course, ladies and gentlemen: caffeine. Thank the Lord for moms who are so sacrificial, kind and willing to go the extra mile.

Here are some highs and lows from the past 3 weeks:

I’ll start with the lows, so I can end on a high note. If you’ve been keeping up with my social media, I’ve chosen to feature mainly highlights, and less bad days, like when I didn’t get the job I wanted (and found out on my birthday) and many moments when I felt so so alien and out of place, especially during my first two weeks. I didn’t realize how much I took Seattle’s clean air for granted. I developed a mini cough right away, and noticed my roomie did too. She would complain about her lungs hurting after a long day at work, and we both felt under the weather during the initial few weeks. Even though we weren’t actually sick, our lungs and throat hurt from Taipei’s poor air quality. Since then, I’ve invested in a Vogmask, which has been awarded the European CE mark and blocks out allergens, pollutants, and really helps with sensitive lungs. I seriously can’t stop singing praises about Vogmasks, which are 1000x better, more comfortable, v fashionable, easier to breathe in, federal approved to work, and fit my face better than 7/11’s cheap masks. Even though they were pricier, Vogmasks can last up to a year, making them so worth it!!

Another initial adjustment was the crazy amount of walking we do in Taipei. Here we walk everywhere. While I like walking because I can see more hidden gems and cool street alleys that way, I started missing my car when I carried all my IKEA goods, kitchen/miscellaneous home appliances, and groceries for the week to the subway and then all the way back home. Without a car, I’ve learned to plan ahead on how much to buy, what to buy, and where/when to buy things. I will say though, the MRT (subway system) here is so so convenient and better than America. It allows us to get to pretty much anywhere in the city, which makes life much easier. I also live a short 10 minute walk away from the nearest station, so I feel very connected to the rest of Taipei and can get to places reasonably quickly.

Lastly, the biggest struggle has been the inevitable language and cultural barriers. I brushed up on my Mandarin Chinese by taking a month long summer seminar at City University, but let’s be real. A class like that can only teach you so much and most of the vocabulary in the classroom setting makes sense when spoken slower, but being in Asia where people talk much faster in their native tongue and add in slang and foreign words is quite daunting. Being American born and Seattle grown has made me very confused at times and strangers very confused by me. I catch myself feeling out of place and still unsure how exactly Jesus will use me. But oh how gracious He has been to me, in teaching me to be more patient, humble, and more deeply rooted in Him. There was a specific instance when I was ordering coffee at a local café, Louisa Coffee, and as I stumbled across my order, I felt embarrassed and hyper aware of how poor my Mandarin Chinese truly was, even though I’ve improved so much.

In that moment though, the barista actually ended up using English with me, so by God’s grace, she didn’t mock me, but tried to be more understanding. However, being a prideful person (still working on it), I was a little salty that she still used English with me, even though I was trying my best to speak to her in Chinese. If you’re not too familiar with Taiwan, it uses traditional Chinese. Before coming here, I had only learned basic simplified Chinese, and the two are completely different.  Google translate, Pleco, and other translation apps have become my daily survival essentials. When I was opening a bank account, I had a human translator (my mom) with me that day, but on the day I got my debit card, she had left and I had to use the translator app multiple times to help me figure out how to say certain Chinese bank terminology – characters I have never seen or used in my life. I always knew that at some point in my life, I wanted to challenge myself and really improve my Chinese, but never did I ever think I’d fully immerse myself before even getting my toes wet.

Now with the language and cultural barrier usually come lots of questions from strangers. Many Taiwanese will actually think I’m Japanese, Korean, or some other Asian ethnicity visiting Taiwan. Some of them have guessed I’m American though from my “American mannerisms” and in the beginning, their assumptions and microaggressions made aggravated me, until one day, a sister in Christ encouraged me with Psalm 1v3:

“…like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season and its leaf does not wither, in all that he does, he prospers.”

I could feel Jesus peeling back at the layers of pride still left in my heart. I always knew Jesus would use my Taiwan journey to humble me immensely, to trust Him more deeply, and to depend on His grace and provision for all my days ahead, but could have never fathomed the depths of humility, trust, and grace I’d need each day. I am no longer the girl who once refused other people’s help and wanted to do all things by herself. One of my goals this year is to be deeply rooted in the Lord and have my identity fully be in Him. While I’ll never be fully Taiwanese, I want to be more understanding of them and their culture, speak their language well, and be more empathetic and loving, despite any barriers. I pray each day that Jesus would break down any imaginary walls between us and continue to humble me, so that I would be easy to lead and strive to obey Him.

With that said, I’ve appreciated how kind many of the Taiwanese locals are. They tend to be so willing to help me, a foreigner with an Asian face, but an American through and through. On my first day here, my church friend’s aunt, who had heard my Taiwan testimony through my dad, but didn’t even know me, offered to pick me up at the airport at 6AM even though she had work that day, and drop my mom and me off at our hotel. I was blown away by her generosity, and decided to invite her to Roots Church. On the car ride, I heard a little bit of her testimony and learned she’s also been saved by grace. During my first few weeks, there were so many people who stepped in to help me, like an older brother in Christ at Roots, who told me how to open a phone plan. It really takes a village to move across an ocean banking on faith alone. Although I feel pretty well adjusted to Taipei now, there are still moments when it’s surreal this is now my new home for the next however many years of my life, until Jesus tells me otherwise. Not knowing how long I’ll be here sometimes scares me if I overthink, but in my heart I’m certain it’s better to let the Big Man Upstairs run my life, while I simply trust and let go. Fighting Him never does me any good, and last year, after wrestling hard with Jesus, I finally surrendered my life. Now that I’m mostly at peace with things, even when at times it’s much less comfortable and familiar, I wouldn’t trade it for the treasures of the world.

On the bright side, a major bonus of moving to Taipei has been how affordable and delicious (99.99% of the time) the food is, except for stinky tofu. #sorrynotsorry I think it smells and tastes equally repulsive, but I respect people who like it. To each his/her own I guess! I have tried my best to like it, and can’t seem to get over the smell. Maybe it’ll grow on me one day. And it’s so nice how there are so many restaurants to choose from in my neighborhood and my roomie and I have managed to try quite a few of them already. The best food I’ve had so far is definitely a hole in the wall restaurant called Lao Dong’s Beef Noodles. It’s a few blocks from our apartment, and the beef is so tender, the broth is delicious, and the portion size is perfect. It’s only a few USD, too AND way better than any noodles I’ve had in Seattle. I’m forever ruined when I go back home to visit!!

Another pro has been how absolutely breathtaking Taipei really is. I’ve chased so many golden hours. There are so many palm trees, lakes, hikes, and mountains around the city that remind me of home to a degree. Taiwan is more tropical though and has similar vibes to Hawaii, so I’m not complaining! The views here are definitely underrated. One of my favorite places here so far is Tamsui, a sea-side district right by the beautiful water. Tamsui boasts a beautiful bridge, a mini market, street musicians, and the prettiest sunsets. Its smells remind me of Seattle’s Puget Sound, too. Taiwan’s winter weather has been sunny and warm so far, except for the occasional gust of wind at night and the other day when it was a cool 60 degrees, but still warmer than what I’m used to in Seattle’s winters. Taipei also has an influential coffee scene reminiscent of home. I find myself always on the hunt for cute coffee shops (surprise surprise) and high quality coffee. Even though Taiwan is home of boba (which obviously is A+), its cafes have so much personality and sometimes they even mix their coffee and boba to make milk tea coffee. Unfortunately the one time I had Louisa Coffee’s milk tea coffee, my stomach ended up hurting, but my stomach tends to be more sensitive in Asia, and I’m not actually lactose intolerant.

Lastly, a high that I’ll end on is how being here in Taipei has reminded me of how short and sweet life is, and to not take any moment for granted as I enter my 23rd year of life. Although I miss my family and loved ones back home dearly, I’ve also been able to FaceTime quite a few of y’all, so thanks for taking time out of your day to check in on me, even to wish me a happy birthday, and ask for an apartment tour from 6,000+ miles away with laggy connection and all. Just in the past few weeks, I’ve gotten so much closer to my wonderful Roots Church community and sweet roomie, that I already feel like they’re my little family in my new corner of the world. In the hustle and bustle as all of us are trying to figure out life in a new country, I’m trying to take things in stride and one day at a time. I’ve been adjusting to Taipei’s slower pace of life, too. Being the impatient person I am, who naturally walks, talks, and eats fast, I’ve pushed myself to be slower to speak and quicker to listen, slower to judge and quicker to love & understand a new culture and people, and slower to move and quicker to observe my surroundings. I am learning to breathe in the unfamiliar and live in the moment, while trusting Jesus has ALL things unknown under control.

Thanks for tuning in to my January highs & lows, if you’ve made it this far, and please x100 continue to pray for my Roots family as we adjust to life, seek jobs, and try to make disciples in Taipei, Taiwan.

With love,

Janet

 

My Taiwan Story

Many of you have been asking me, “Janet, what made you decide to move to Taiwan?” TL;DR: Jesus did a 180 on my heart, healed me from some big idols last year, and is continuing to challenge me right now as I embark on an adventure of a lifetime.

2018 was a whirlwind to say the least. Because I don’t know when the next time I’ll be back in the US for good is or when I’ll see most of you face-to-face again, I felt convicted to write this post to hopefully encourage you if you struggle in your spiritual walks too like I did last year.

I really didn’t want to move to Taiwan at the start of 2018, and thank the Lord I won’t be going on my own in 2019 because He pursued me even when I was running away from Him.

For those of you tuning in and don’t know me, my name is Janet. I recently graduated from the University of Washington’s Foster School of Business in August. I majored in marketing and HR management. I love exploring coffee shops, being outside – hiking, going on long walks, catching golden hours – journaling, traveling, listening to music, and hanging out with my friends and family.

A lil disclaimer: I’m not Taiwanese. My parents grew up in Shanghai, but moved to the US for school. I was born and raised in a little suburb of Seattle, and have only been to Taiwan once. In life, I’ve come to learn there’s no such thing as coincidences. All things are orchestrated under God’s perfect timing. In December 2017, my family and I flew to Taiwan for the first time for no particular reason – we had always heard lovely things about it, so we wanted to experience Taiwan for ourselves.

During that trip, I didn’t fall in love with Taiwan. But, I liked the food, went to crowded night markets, hiked some mountains, and thought that would be the last time I’d ever step foot on the tiny island. After all, I had no friends or family living there, so there’d be no reason to go back again, right? Wrong.

While I was exploring the city, I heard my pastors were also scoping out the area for a future church plant (I thought way down the road). Never in a million years did I think the church plant would be announced so soon. In my mind, since Austin’s church planting team had just left Blue Sky, it was much too soon to even think about planting another church.

At Blue Sky’s vision night in January 2018, the Taiwan church plant was announced – literally weeks after I had just gotten back. Although I was not expecting the announcement, I also didn’t feel called yet and decided to not pray about it either because I naively thought Jesus couldn’t use me in Taiwan if I had no desire to go.

At the time, I was working part-time at Amazon 20 hours a week while finishing a full business course load. Thought I didn’t feel called for the first few months, I was trying to support my best friend Cathy, who had felt called on night one, through prayer and words of encouragement. Selfishly, I was scared the Taiwan church plant would be stealing her away from me because she was and still is the most consistent sister in my life.

I had started working at Amazon in January 2018, knowing it was by God’s grace I had gotten the opportunity to work there while still in school. I wanted so desperately to get hired on full-time after graduating. I truly put work and success on a pedestal, and defined success as getting a full-time job at a top-tier company straight out of college.

The next few months were a blur. I was constantly working, commuting between work and school, drowning in school work, and living a double life – while juggling work and school, I was spearheading several time-consuming consulting projects, taking senior capstone, serving at church, and attending small group each week. From the outside, my friends and peers thought I was killing it. Everyone was congratulating me for my new job at Amazon and always asked me, “Janet, how do you do it all?” It was only my close friends, brothers and sisters at small group, and family who I could be transparent with my struggles.

For awhile I was unwilling to admit I had a problem of idolizing work until one day my teacher pulled me aside in class, and asked me if I was doing ok. She had noticed I’d sometimes put my head down after taking our quizzes in class, and was wondering if I wanted to talk about it. I told her the plain truth: I was exhausted, yet too prideful to admit to most people there were plenty of days when my head throbbed so much, I would take painkillers in between the commute from work to school (or vice-versa) to mask my pain. I thought by pretending I could do it all and keep it together, I was “fine.”

By the end of March, I was burnt out and knew Amazon was not my end all be all. I had gotten a taste of corporate life, and although Amazon was a great company, it wasn’t the right path for everyone. I kept praying what’s next, God? Is it Amazon or is it something else?

At the same time, I refused to consider the church plant because I didn’t think God could use a Seattleite like me, who could hardly read traditional Chinese and spoke Mandarin at a kindergartener’s level in Taiwan. My whole life was going so well in Seattle – why would I risk everything I had ever known for a tiny island country where people were actually leaving to seek better, higher-paying job opportunities elsewhere?

But, how the tables turned. Let’s fast forward to April 8, 2018. I remember that entire Sunday so vividly. I was sitting in the Blue Sky auditorium minding my own business when my friend Rachel said, “Steve Morgan’s here today!” Steve was Blue Sky’s former lead pastor who went on to plant Joshua Church down in Austin, Texas in summer 2017.

Even though I’m usually excited to hear Steve speak, on that particular Sunday, I knew something major was about to happen. I couldn’t pinpoint what it was, but I felt anxious before service even started. His topic that day was why risk starting new churches from 1 Corinthians 1v26-2v5.

As Steve reminded us that our lives are not our own because we’ve been bought at a price, I kept thinking, how selfish I had been for the past 4 months. My life reminded me of Jonah, who was called to Nineveh but kept running away from God’s call. Likewise, I had refused to pray about the Taiwan church plant because I thought my life plan was better than the Lord’s. Steve also shared the story of how a little team of church planters, including him, had come all the way from Illinois to Bellevue, back in the day.

Without their sacrifice, there would be no Blue Sky Church as we know it today. As service went on, I was completely wrecked and couldn’t stop crying. I cried on and off throughout the whole day as I reflected on my life and how tightly I was gripping onto my future, not wanting to give God control. I kept hearing God telling me to let go and count everything else in the world as loss. To surrender my life to Him and trust Him fully with my future. To consider the church plant and pray earnestly about it because He would use me in Taiwan.

For the first time, I fell on my knees praying about Taiwan. Days before, I had no desire to move my life to Asia, and yet suddenly I was feeling so much compassion for the Taiwanese people, particularly the girls there. This could only be Jesus calling me because I would never in my right mind consider moving. That night at TBS (Team Blue Sky, a meeting that takes place at night once a month for all those who serve at church), my friend Ashton prayed for me and we both started crying because we both knew Jesus would use my compassion to serve people in Taiwan.

I told my family, close friends, and small group what had happened that Sunday shortly after. Though my family was a bit nervous at first, for the most part they were overwhelmingly supportive. My mom had her doubts about my Chinese abilities (or lack thereof), but my dad was supportive from day one and said being in God’s hands was the safest place to be. They, along with my brother, friends, leaders, and small group, kept praying I’d have more clarity about Taiwan. As time passed, it became more clear that I was supposed to go, but I was still wrestling extremely hard with Jesus. There was still so much He needed to detangle in my messy heart, including my pride and unwillingness to surrender my future to Him at the time.

After talking to my friend Franklin that same week, he told me something that’s always stuck – God doesn’t call the equipped; He equips the called. I don’t need to be the best, brightest, strongest Christian for Jesus to use me. 2 Corinthians 12v9 came to mind during our conversation because “God’s grace is truly sufficient for us, and His power is made perfect in our weaknesses.” Later that week, I talked to my pastor Nelson about possibly considering Taiwan, but I was still 50/50. He kindly responded, “I’m not going to pressure you to go. It’s up to you and between you and Jesus, but can I pray for you?” As Nelson prayed for me, I experienced a vision of me running in circles constantly (a metaphor of my life in chaos at the time) and Jesus saying, “Janet, you need to be all in or all out.”

I went home that day asking Jesus to give me complete peace I hadn’t felt all month if I was supposed to go to Taipei. For the next few weeks of April after Steve’s sharing, I could not stop thinking about Taiwan and thought I was going crazy. I wanted so desperately to stay in Seattle because that was my original plan, or even to move to California or New York after graduation, but I knew in my heart that wasn’t God’s plan for me. As I was asking for peace, I was convicted to surrender even more to Him, including my career: my biggest idol. The day I prayed for peace if I was supposed to go to Taipei, I felt set free and an overwhelming flood of peace in my heart. I heard Jesus telling me to stop wrestling with Him. A month of restless nights later, I was weeping and in that moment in May, I decided to completely surrender my life and go to Taipei, even if I had no idea what that fully looked like. I called my dad immediately to tell him my decision, and he said he had known all along I would surrender and he was proud of me.

Since summer of 2018, our team of 46 adults and 10 kiddos has been training very regularly and meeting in weekly prayer groups to get to know each other better and carry one another’s burdens. We “graduated” from training towards the end of 2018 when most of the team started the big move. I quit my job at Amazon in December 2018, and have no regrets.

Jesus has answered so many of our prayers by providing us a meeting space in Taipei, where my team just had their first service at Roots Church this past week. Most of my team is already in Taiwan, and I will fly out tomorrow night and join them at church this weekend. I have several job interviews, apartment tours, amazing brothers and sisters to do life with, and an adventure of a lifetime with Jesus ahead and couldn’t be more excited. God has calmed many of my fears already and will continue to give me peace during this time of transition.

So what’s next?

I don’t know what the future holds, but I know that “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4v13). He paves the way for all His children, who fully trust in Him.

Though I will miss Seattle with all my heart and the many dear friends, family, and communities I have left behind, “there are far better things ahead than any we leave behind” (C.S. Lewis).

Til next time, Seattle! I really couldn’t have made this life-changing decision without the great support, prayers, love, and words of encouragement from all of you.

Thank you for taking the time to read my thoughts if you’ve gotten this far, and please DM me with any questions about Roots Church you may have!

https://www.rootschurch.tw/

With love,

Janet

For Anyone Who’s Ever Lost Somebody

It’s been two days without my dear 外婆 (that’s Chinese for Grandma on mom’s side). I’m still experiencing a state that’s somewhere between aching waves of sadness that hit me when I least expect it and reminiscent, fond memories that play in my mind capturing the last 15 or so summers we spent together. Or maybe more? I’ve lost count. When someone you love and cherish so dearly suddenly leaves the Earth without warning and without a chance for you to say goodbye, at first you think it’s some sick nightmare…and that all you need to do is wake up for the nightmare to end…and you can go back to life as you knew it. But the truth is, God hand-picked the day no one else could foresee.

Even though 外婆 seemed so healthy, apart from the occasional heart problem, everyone thought she would live to at least 90.  I still have so many unanswered questions and thoughts racing through my mind. I’ll admit I was so angry with God – probably even angrier than the rest of my family – I couldn’t think properly or focus on my work for the first 24 hours. I knew deep down this anger stemmed from my sinful nature. And it wasn’t what God intended.  I had no right to be angry for His taking my grandma home. My anger later turned into grief moments after I received prayer from a kind sister at church. And moments after during worship, God gently reminded me Child, it’s okay to grieve. In fact, I encourage you to grieve as long as you don’t dwell too much in the past without being able to move on.

I remember bawling for about an hour without ceasing the moment I received the news. I couldn’t contain the pain of never being able to hear her sweet, gentle voice again. I was most angry because I had planned to see her three weeks from now. He doesn’t deserve to take her away from me this close to our time together I thought selfishly. It isn’t fair. Actually, God IS fair – He is the most righteous King who makes beautiful things in His own PERFECT time. His plans are perfect which I continually remind myself. Even though I may never fully understand why my 外婆 was taken to heaven weeks before we’d spend our summer together, I know one day I’ll come to understand.

To be honest, I’m not completely sure if she was saved. My other grandma (the one who’s slowly losing her battle to Alzheimer’s) spread the gospel to her and my grandpa days before he passed away 10 years ago. My dear 外婆 didn’t know much about Jesus, but I have faith in God’s miracles. The fact she was baptized after accepting Him as His savior even though she never went to church at home means there’s hope for people in China not as fortunate as those of us in America who freely worship.

My 外婆 was one of the most gentle, generous, compassionate and gracious people I ever met. That’s an understatement. She was THE most gentle, generous, compassionate and gracious lady and everyone knew it. She never raised her voice, ever. Nor did she lose her joyful, peaceful spirit even after my grandpa passed away after battling two cancers. She maintained her dignified, kind & humble nature. She was strong so I know she wouldn’t want me to grieve too much over her passing.

Psalms 139:16 states, “You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed.” As His chosen people, Jesus knew us before He formed us in our mother’s wombs. I’ve learned in the last two days He doesn’t want for us to grieve too much about the things on this Earth that fade away, but instead to turn our eyes towards Him during those difficult moments.

I sincerely hope that you take a moment in each day to thank our Savior for the days He has given us and to not dwell too much on your past. Look in awe at His eternal glory so you can eagerly wait for the day He returns again.

We all need more compassion in our lives. Think about it – do you know what people around you have been through? I’m betting not really. An occasional like on social media, DM, or the occasional “hi” in passing doesn’t count. We all have scars inside that need healing. Most importantly, if we learn to NOT chase after temporary things or even place our value in seemingly good things such as our loved ones whose time will all come to their inevitable end, our momentary grief can turn into everlasting joy. Our Maker’s eternal promise to us is this: He’s got you. Meaning yesterday, today, and forever.

For Anyone Who’s Ever Lost Somebody,

He’s got you.

Lots of love,

Janet

food for thought {humble pie}

In this season, I’ve been humbled so many times… dare I say too many times? Well of course there’s no such thing to God as too many times if He simply wants me to learn and grow from my experiences.That way I can continually cling on to Him during those moments of uncertainty when I feel like no one else can relate. Guess what though? He sent His son to die for us undeserving sinners and that is more than enough.

Pride is a sin I have fought over and over. It’s a daily battle. There have been times when I’m like YES, I’m finally moving forward in humility but there have been moments recently when I feel like everyone else has their life together but me (yay finally being humbled even if the part of everyone else having their life together isn’t true). And moments later, I’m prideful again. And I ask God how does that even work? Something I learned is that comparison is the thief of all joy. So don’t compare yourself to others because everyone is fighting a battle you don’t know about. Anyway, I hope the contradiction makes sense! Chew on it. (‘scuse my food puns, I promise I won’t sprinkle too many heh)

I won’t go into major details about the specifics because there’s not enough space to write about it (feel free to ask though!) but I tend to seek identity/affirmation from people around me, especially fam/friends/peers. I don’t even know why I do it. All I know is that it’s not right, especially when God has already created me in His image — His wonderful, beautiful, perfect image. When God says from heaven, “This is my beloved Son (well daughter in my case), in whom I am well pleased”, He doesn’t say it half-heartedly. God truly means that He is well pleased that we acknowledge Him as Father. That we even care about our identity in Him, instead of everything else around us that’s bogging us down.

I was having a conversation with a sister last night over pie (PSA: go try pie bar in cap hill if you haven’t already) and she reminded me how God formed our heart and He knew us before we knew Him. He chose us. We are like princesses and princes in His kingdom, and we don’t need this world to tell us who we can or can’t be. Because if we are secure and confident in Him, what if all we had was Jesus? Is that enough? It’s Jesus who plans our steps, even when man tries to plan his course.

Some personal food for thought in the past month has been why is it that I still try to run away (be it physically — I’ve been running more; psychologically — shutting people out and pretending everything’s fine; or mentally — TV, food, etc.) at certain points when I know He’s right there? Thankfully, I have been listening to the small, still voice inside of me to be more careful lately instead of recklessly making the same mistakes over and over again. In the past, I would be more likely to say no. But these days I know with God there’s always so much more He can do with us. Even if we are men of little faith. So instead it’s been “Okay God, humble me. Now take me where you want me to go.”

Today was one of those days where for no reason before class started I was so frustrated and mentally exhausted. Tbh I wanted to scream and run away in frustration. Of course with 2 minutes before class was about to start, there was nowhere to go but Jesus. And for me that was a blessing.  He gently reminded me to enter into His rest. After all, everyone who calls upon His name will have an answer in His time. And if learning to go to Him for every little thing, through the highs and lows is what it takes to humble me, Jesus I am all yours.

20 Things I Learned Before 20

Man. It’s weird I haven’t posted on this blog since the summer! And now it’s February already. Time is running faster than I can catch up to.

I’ve learned mucho in these past few months – this past year has been a lot of growing pains, some highs and some lows. If y’all have grown up with me (hi core 6!!) you know how much I dislike birthdays. In general, I love having fun, playing and being a goofball. Yeah I can be serious at times but I’m someone who’s still a kid at heart. Thankfully, God is fair to everyone and gives everyone equal time to be tested in their faith and maturity. Although this past year has been full of its ups and downs, here’s a little taste of what I’ve experienced and some lessons I’ve learned along the way. (a lot of these are tangents – I have warned you)

1. Attitude is everything. Sometimes you can have something thrust upon you that you don’t think you deserve and you can either a) whine about it or b) try your best to calmly accept it with grace. I promise the latter will always help put things into perspective.

2. Your friends aren’t always going to be there for you. And hey that’s okay, because growing up means growing separately at times and that’s a good thing. You can’t expect 110% out of every single friendship either if you don’t physically have the time to give to every single person. It sucks to think you have to prioritize even with friendships these days, but it’s true. You do! And you have to say no with grace sometimes. Choose your company wisely – iron sharpens iron.

3. Speaking of friends, I went into college thinking I could make friends with every single person. Freshman year Janet was a wee little naive because while I definitely have met a lot of people, it’s impossible and draining to be BFFs with every single person you meet. Nope, not possible. I think I tried that fall/winter quarters freshman year and it was really intensely draining. I do LOVE meeting new people and forming meaning relationships, so please please – get to know me :).

4. There will be days when your patience is tested and you’ll want to watch sad movies and cry. Lol jk. There will be days when you question why God put you on this Earth to go through certain things when you can’t see the purpose in that moment. Take heart though and don’t be discouraged. There’s a purpose and reason for everything.

5. Going along with that, tell people what you’re going through. Or at least a couple of trusted friends/fam/whoever. If you ever hit rock bottom (I mean who hasn’t?), don’t hold it in for too long. I used to not talk about my feelings as much because I thought it wasn’t okay to not be okay.

6. Listen, it’s okay to be not okay. I’m still coming to terms with that. You don’t have to put on a show and smile all the time at every moment. Do you probably look better with a smile? (dumb question – everyone looks better when they smile). But be honest with yourself and realize it’s okay to not be okay. I’m not saying that I want you to be sad, but I’m saying you should express your feelings or else it’s not healthy.

7. This is starting to sound like a therapy session. HAHA maybe it is for just my personal therapy. Not blogging for this long (besides on my other blog that I posted twice on this year which I might delete pretty soon) has definitely been something I’m not used to.

8. Do something that scares you every day. Live boldly and take risks. If you don’t take that cycling class that challenges you, try out for a sport that you don’t think you’d be that great at, or go travel abroad to a country you previously knew nothing about and live there for awhile, you’re probably missing out. No, I’m not telling you to go risk your life but I’m telling you to take some healthy risks once in a while. Because it’s good for you!

9. And who knows, maybe you’ll find people who are equally crazy as you and fall in mad craziness. 😉 HAHA

10. Also here’s one of my favorite quotes right now: “Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels…The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules…And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they push things. They push the human race forward…Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do.”

11. One of my dreams one day is to start an educational start-up or be part of creating a system that can provide for those who can’t access education. I’m very passionate about equal access to education and kids because they’re so innocent with a whole of potential and as the next generation, they have the ability to change the world we live in. While I may not necessarily have the most organized study habits or want to be cooped up in a desk with my textbook all day, I do think we’re so blessed to be able to have the opportunities we do here at university. It’s something we should not take for granted.

12. While it may be harder to find time to meet up with people these days, from scheduling/school/life seriously if you want to talk, I’ll still find time. This quarter hasn’t been the easiest academically due to certain circumstances…I’m doing better than before though and do talk to me if you want to know what’s been up! I’ve been trying to sit down more recently instead of moving from place to place. And it’s been working better so PTL!

13. Life is just going to get harder from here on out. That’s reality. While I’m an idealist, I’ve also become more practical since coming to college/adulting/being independent. And with that, you’ll need to manage your time more wisely and not just go out and be all spontaneous like you did when you were a freshman. I do still like to go out though. I promise I’m not as much of a walking contradiction as these jumbled thoughts make me seem like. I can seriously see many sides to situations though.

14. Being 20 feels strange. I don’t think it’s hitting me yet. Like just saying “twenty” instead of “…-teen” like I’ve been saying for the last seven years is taking some getting used to. And phew there are only 6 more things to write. I feel like this whole thing is just a giant tangent! I’m just madly typing my stream of consciousness on a Friday afternoon in the middle of a beautiful space on campus I found. It’s so light outside and I love it, whee!

15. Seek out opportunities that you’ll actually love. If you don’t love what you do and do what you love then what’s the point? There’s no passion. And any single pursuit without passion is dead. I’m not gonna name any subjects but *cough* accounting (woops I said it) is not exactly my forte’. Certain things that involve precision, numbers, analysis and all that drive me nuts. Am I bad at it? No. Do I find passion in it? No. But something God’s been teaching me is this: even if you don’t LOVE something, that doesn’t mean you can’t glorify Him in the process.

16. Sometimes the process of being patient and slowly working your way at mastering something is all that He asks of you.

17. And if you lean on Jesus for support in times of need, in times when a loved one passes away, in times when you feel like the whole world has turned on you and you’re the only one facing what you’re facing, just trust me – you’re not alone. It may feel like you are in that hour/moment, but there are always people who truly care and love you with all their heart. And if worse comes to worst, Jesus loves you just as you are.

18. I can’t wait for the future and what’s to come. The waiting game though, is something I’m learning to appreciate more.

19. So to conclude, I want to say, thank you for being such a supportive reader/friend/fam/whoever you are out there…keep being your lovely self and find ways to bring little joys into your life if you aren’t already doing so.

20. And I hope I will find ways to love on you harder. To keep appreciating whoever you are to me. Because really, I love & appreciate you.

Cheers to 20.

Know Your Worth

We’ve all sensed someone who’s extremely cocky and we all know someone who’s confident and still carries him/herself with grace. While the former can annoy us at times, the latter has admirable qualities we all desire.

What’s the difference between being cocky and confident? Can you still be humble while being confident? Now I can confidently (no pun intended) say yes because I have experienced the whole spectrum of confidence, pride, and being humbled. In order to know your worth, I do believe you have to go through that. God wants for us to be confident in Him, and by being confident in HIM and not OURSELVES we are confidently humble/humbly confident. (same thing..?)

The minute we start to depend on ourselves, that’s when we start to let our old sense of pride/cockiness take over. And that’s my struggle of the moment. I absolutely hate admitting that I can be sort of prideful. Pride is one of the deadliest sins if we don’t give it up to Him. While I’m not always the most confident person in the room (as in placing my confidence in Jesus), I can be somewhat cocky (as in placing my confidence in my own abilities). Yes I’ve been humbled by Jesus many times. He’s spoken to me on a number of occasions telling me to go to Him before anyone else.

Do I always listen? Heck no. To stop taking the reins and pulling Him as He sits shot-gun and I make a million decisions on my own is a gradual process. Have I gotten a bit better at hearing His voice? Most definitely. And baby steps is basically my (Christian walk) motto lolllll.

While we should know our worth, our worth shouldn’t be put in the things we do. It should be placed in Him and Him only. I’ve never come to terms with that completely because of my pride. I’ve never completely let go of my pride…there were moments when I came close when He humbled me and stripped me of everything. And those were some of the most challenging times of my life. But I will say I have the faith that one day He will challenge me again to let go more of it.

Pride can cause us to turn a blind eye to those in need because we think we’re above them. Pride can make us depend on ourselves and go in the path of fools. Pride can also connect us to others who struggle with being prideful too. While it seems like it’s all negative (well mostly it is), it’s a sin that’s somehow allowed me to open up more to people because only light can shine out darkness, right?

Let us place our worth in the things above and not on the earthly things so that we can continue to be lights of this world.

Growing Pains

J.S. Park: Hospital Chaplain, Skeptical Christian

I have preached in front of three people. I’ve led awkward Bible studies for two or three disinterested young students. I have been close to canceling major events where I expected hundreds, but only a couple dozen showed up. I’ve served in ministries that shrank and fought and panicked and split.

If you’re there right now: don’t get discouraged.

Sometimes God calls you to be faithful even when it’s not fruitful.

He is still doing something amazing. But those breakthroughs only happen when we persist, persevere, and press forward. We love to see instant miracles, but miracles can grow slowly too.

We are tempted by a future where we have finally arrived to the big time — but maybe this is it, this moment, where you are called to be completely engaged and totally present, eye to eye, face to face, heart to heart, with your one or two young…

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Fearless

1 John 4:18 // “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.”

A childhood friend of mine asked me the other day at the airport what makes you scared. I couldn’t really think of anything at that moment, partly because it was early in the morning and partly because I didn’t want to say it right then and there. Not where other people were listening to our conversation so I chose to joke that I was fearless.

I truly believe people can be fearless. And we should be fearless because there is no fear in love. When you trust in God, there is nothing in this world apart from Him that you should fear. And when I talk about fearing God, that is not saying you should be scared to come to God. (another topic for another day because I know what it means to be afraid of coming to Him at times)

What I mean by fearing God = having a deep reverence for His mighty power.

Something that’s been near/dear to me lately is the fear of judgment. Not of God’s judgment Himself which I should be more worried about because He is just and therefore the only judge of our lives…but the judgment of brothers and sisters in Christ who are older than me. (and therefore probably more spiritually mature) I’ve always looked up to those who are farther in their spiritual walks. It definitely makes it a little hard to open up to them when I don’t feel like my spiritual level measures up quite yet.

By nature I’m super easygoing and chill and relaxed and pretty much everything that goes against how I used to try to act in spiritual settings. I’ve noticed people like to pretend to be really intensely spiritual. (idk if that even made sense, unless they really are that spiritual then woooo you go) So when I’m placed in those intensely spiritual situations and meeting after meeting setting, I actually tense up and get kind of uncomfortable.

We all fear not measuring up to how spiritual those who surround us are at some point. This must stop. Human beings are all a bit self-conscious to an extent…I’m not really that self-conscious anymore thankfully but I wouldn’t say I’m not self-conscious at all. I think if we lay our fears down at Jesus’ feet (this conversation goes back to wccc with my lovely roommate G) and stop focusing on ourselves, we won’t fear sharing with our brothers and sisters. We won’t even care how they perceive us if our eyes are on Him. Satan can really break that unity in the body by placing stupid fears and misconceptions that he creates…and most of the times they’re not even true. And I really need to realize that and let Him guide me.

I’ve been committing more in letting the Spirit lead lately instead of taking control of my own life as I did in previous months. And as one of the most stubborn people you’ll ever meet (yes I just admitted it and won’t admit it ever again muahaha) it’s hard for me to lay down my self and let Jesus guide. In this new month I am and it feels so darn refreshing.

Cheers to being (one step closer) to my goal<–> follow me in my journey by reaching out to me this summer. I’d love to see where y’all are at.

p.s. today I’m officially 19.5 whatttttt July went by in a jiffff

Walk in Love

“If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing. Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.” (1 Corinthians 13:1-8)

This is hands down one of my favorite passages. I realize that loving people isn’t natural for us if they don’t love us back — I like to think I try to love everyone but without emptying myself of things that aren’t of Jesus, there’s no way I can love with His endless capacity.

Since the Supreme Court’s ruling there’s been much talk/scrutiny about gay marriage. I grew up in a church setting so I always knew in the back of my mind that somewhere in the Bible it says that marriage is between a man and woman. I have a few friends who are gay who I love with all of my heart so I thought they deserved to be happy. People have asked me what my view on it is and at first I didn’t want to answer because I didn’t know. I thought ‘to each his own’ until reading Ephesians 5 the other day where there’s a passage about imitating Christ. What does imitating Christ even mean?

Jesus desires for us to follow Him even when we don’t understand — for our hearts to break for what breaks His heart. My heart hurt a little (not gonna lie) when the law was passed because I knew Jesus calls for marriage to be between a man and a woman. But at the same time my heart was a little happy too because I felt like it wasn’t up to me to decide who gets to marry. Love is love right? What would Jesus say to the gay people? He would tell them that He loves them and accepts them. Because God is love, He would. The Bible also states that homosexuality is a sin. It’s tough for me to explain that to people esp gay friends because that kind of stuff is a really tricky/touchy subject that I haven’t fully comprehended yet. I don’t really even know why being gay is a sin. Honestly I love gay people so much and they are truly some of the coolest people I met.

With the new gay rights passed, all I can do is pray and have Him explain to me what He wants me to believe instead of following along with what the world says or what I feel is right. And for me to trust and be okay with that and simply love those around me. Love is a verb, so much more than it is a feeling. In fact it’s not a feeling. With the sin in this world, as sinners it’s up to us to not judge those who are different and embrace them completely. After all, God is love and He will always provide when we are confused and don’t know what to do.