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 what’s down here (disclaimer: this is not giving you permission to BS your way through life disregarding any consequences). 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. And social media 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

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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. Maybe that’s just me. (just as an aside, I don’t usually watch sad movies and cry for fun – that was a joke heh) And 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 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 hehe) 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 (okay, maybe not everyone agrees with me on this one) 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 alwaysalways people who truly care and love you with all their heart. And if worst comes to worst, Jesus loves you! YESYES!

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 trulytruly. Cheers to 20.

xoxo,

Janet

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

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.

Restless

I’m restless. Summer so far has been good. I’ve been spending more much-needed time with church friends and I love it. At the same time with the amount of time I have in a day when I’m not working or on the road, there’s a still small voice that constantly pesters at me. Pester might be the wrong word, but I know whenever a random voice nudges me it’s probably the Holy Spirit…because I don’t hear voices in my head and I know it’s not my own.

I’m still trying to find my peace from Him. I haven’t fully reached that yet because often times my eyes get distracted by things that are not of God. And so having those brothers and sisters around me to keep me accountable at least once/twice a week is really a true blessing. As much as it is great to be with different types of people, it is them in the last few months who have kept me grounded when my faith was wavering or when I wanted to go my own way. And even when I went my own way, I knew they wouldn’t judge me for being so restless.

I want to find rest in you Lord. Teach me, guide me, mold me and use me. I am all yours.

Accountability

Now that it’s summer, it’s harder than ever to stay on top of things like Bible reading (not that I was really on top of it to begin with), checking up on aacfers, and meeting up intentionally. I’ve always found it somewhat harder to click with Christians right away especially in high school since I had like no Christian friends. (to all my non-Christian friends, I love you equally).

But since freshman year ending an exact five days ago (almost typed years since I’m clearly absentminded at the moment) I’ve been doing a little bit of reflecting mostly just in my mind about the past year. I’m still blown away, in awe, and extremely thankful to God. HE IS SO GOOD. I tasted it and I definitely want more. He brought me the rawest friendships who constantly poured love into my life and showed me that things would be okay when they weren’t. He shined light into the darkness that surrounded me and made sure I wouldn’t cave into temptations. He also provided me with a group of brothers and sisters that I didn’t even ask for. I didn’t do anything to deserve what He gave but He still provided.

This summer, I want to be kept accountable so I don’t stay stagnant. If you want to be my accountability partner(s), I’d be more than happy to keep you in my prayers. There are a million and one things I’ve invested myself into (what’s new…) this summer looool. And with that said I don’t wanna lose sight of the importance of following God with all this free time. Redeem the time with me and let’s stay on this path together.

Amazing Grace

I grew up singing the song Amazing Grace. I think it’s safe to say it’s that stereotypical Christian song that even non-believers know well. But never once did I truly interpret what it means to be saved by amazing grace. Too often in the past Satan would guilt trip me and point out all my flaws to me so that I was so fixated by that guilt that I did not direct my eyes toward Jesus.

Jesus is King. He is our Savior so we don’t need to be afraid to come to Him with our shortcomings and realize that He already paid the price on the cross. Instead of running away from Him toward the world covered in shame, we can confess our sins to Him. This great love of His will wash away all the shame, hurt, and bitterness that we hide in our hearts. I was blind but now I (sort of) see.

I want to be able to see people through His eyes. To love on them so that His love will be reflected from me. We focus so much on our spiritual condition that we forget about Him. JESUS. I was numb for the longest time (I still fall into that feeling of numbness sometimes) and it was because I didn’t want to go to Him, didn’t think that He could be the answer to all my questions. I wanted to push away the hurt, push HIM away and bask in the numbness. It sounds dumb right? Because it is and also it felt like the safe route. In reality, apathy is the most dangerous state of mind and didn’t get me anywhere until I was called to open up a bit to those around me.

Lastly on the topic of love (segueing from the paragraph previously) I’m still working on loving myself. (it’s not what it sounds like, I can elaborate in person… love has been an important, daunting lesson that can’t be explained in a blog post)

Now is the time to open my heart to letting Him back into my life. I have trust issues, I’ll admit it. When I was asked to share my testimony awhile back I really didn’t want to. Honestly. It takes so much faith to allow someone, even someone as amazing as God to fully take control but it takes so much vulnerability in a state of weakness to open up to people you still don’t know well.

If you’re reading this, I encourage you to approach me when I put on the facade I have been living in for too long. Ask how I’m doing. I dare you. I may not be at the level to share completely openly but my blinders are coming off much more than before. In this last week of freshman year, let us walk with Him, see through His eyes, and live out His life together.