Daily Grind

When God’s plan doesn’t make sense..

Too good to not share this morning. (Encourage you to sit down..its THAT long๐Ÿ˜ธ)

I still find it hard to take in the fact that I am finally working. Waited almost a month for CA to return my background check. The transition between jobs was not the simple sign and start that I expected/hoped. I was scheduled to start at a NPO in January. I took it because it “made sense” at the time being (better fit for my passions, serve inner city mpls, it was the first job offer & they’re a Christian org) but I struggled with certain aspects that I hoped for-esp benefits of the new job that would align and support our goal to move the adoption process along.I had no idea that God had other plans. He intervened and redirected me to a plan that didn’t make sense in my mind when it came to the timeline.

“I’m boarding the NPO plane, Lord. It’s leaving on time and it will get me to my destination. Checked in and my boarding pass is ready. Thanks for the ticket!”

Can you imagine if you felt God was saying,

“No, Judy…. there’s a plane that lands in a few hours. It will leave the next day..get on that one.”

Doesn’t make sense right?ย  I have never been pursued by a company that knew my situation yet encouraged me to go through with the interview I kindly declined. I didn’t want to continue this path with regrets of “What if..” and I had some concerns running in the back of my head re: working at a NPO & Adoption so I agreed on a time to meet. The timing to meet with my potential bosses worked far smoother than I could have imagined.ย  I sat down with them and it felt like I knew them from before. PTL that one is a believer!!! You hear it in the way they speak. You see it in the way they look at you. I remember her offering to walk me out and she asked about Pathway on my resume. (My thoughts: ๋‚˜๋ฅผ ์•„๋Š”๊ตฌ๋‚˜.์ด์—ฌ์ž ๋˜‘๋˜‘ํ•˜๋‹ค..ํ™•์ธํ•˜๋Š” ๋ฐฉ๋ฒ•์ด)

I didn’t want away thinking, “I got this…๐Ÿ˜” I walked away so encouraged & grateful to experience the opportunity of sitting down with two amazing people in a company this size.

When I actually got the news that they wanted me, I was floored. Let me tell you one of many reasons why I even applied: closer commute, adoption specific benefits(up to 10k reimbursement), benefits that were flexible to accommodate adoption travel…and they told me, we want you to work here. Flattered. Amazed. Conflicted. I realized that circumstances help reveal the true desires of your heart. My heart wanted to work at Comcast. Absolutely. No doubt. The only struggle was how to tell the NPO that I didn’t want to work for them anymore. My heart felt weak.

So, i had to go back to God asking,

“God, are you asking me to work at Comcast? I want to work there but It’s hard for me to tell the NPO that I am not longer interested in working for them.. Please help me God. Help me do what is your will. My heart is conflicted.”

Weigh. Re-weigh. Process, re-process. Ask for prayer, ask for more prayer. My mind was a mess and my heart was desperate and afraid.

What if working at the NPO (with less pay, less benefits) is God’s way of revealing more of Himself to me?

What if I experience the same issues I did at my old job?

What if corporate culture hurts me again?

Am I being too greedy?

Am I not yielding to God’s plan and making my own course?ย 

I felt paralyzed and unable to make a decision-too afraid of consequences. Afraid of what the NPO would think of me. Would I be able to “forgive myself” for doing this to a NPO–on top of that a Christian NPO? I finally decided to make the call the NPO and let her know my decision. I was praying, please God, have mercy and help me formulate the right words and not get nervous.

Her voicemail came on. I think I erased and rerecorded at least 5 times. Made sure I left more than one invitation for her to call me back to further discuss or ask any questions. Whew. Now I needed to wait.

It’s hard as a human to want to know the outcome without making a move. I want to know their reaction before I call. I want to know will this work before I take that step…It’s a mystery how God doesn’t always allow us to know and understand, until we step out in faith. Making that call to let the NPO know, revealed more and more confirmations that I was not suppose to work there. I had my concerns on the back burner but they weren’t clear – was it just me overthinking or something that is a normal part of the process that I just wasn’t aware of? Or were these red flags that seemed hazy and unclear to me? Once the call was made, the hazy view of those red flags became more and more clear. If I had not made that call. If I could not take that step of faith- I would have succumbed to my fears and walked down a path that wasn’t God’s plan for me. Thinking about that as I write makes me cringe and shudder.

I am so thankful that JP and close friends, held their tongue and thoughts about the NPO. They encouraged as best as they could and prayed for God to reveal and for me to obey. It wasn’t until after I made the decision, did they share their experience/thoughts with me and I was relieved to hear it but so grateful that they waited -to prevent any unnecessary influence in my process. Their desire for me to hear from God alone was the help that I so needed.

The month-ish delay was nuts and opportunities of uncertainty came knocking at my heart daily. Our home mortgage was needing employment docs that I did not have and didn’t know when I would have. But through this delay, God led me to sweet times of prayer in the morning. I didn’t have any excuse to not wake up early to meet with Him and if there was ever a time that I should take advantage of my baeksu life..it was now. If it wasn’t for those times of prayer, I know my heart would be flying all over the place with emotions. Prayer and time in the Bible really anchored my heart down. I had to surrender and yield these emotions and concerns, every morning, asking God to fill my mind and heart with His truths and peace. I am so grateful for that delay for it taught me how to wait upon the Lord. Not just wait but actively wait.

I had a chance to join hands with Compassion International as their Community Recruitment Chair. I was able to send so many emails and reach a lot of people during that free time. I also had the fun of creating #learnKoreanwithJudy and realize that even my short and sometimes silly lessons, is actually an encouragement to people who are trying to learn the language. Social Media—it’s an odd but powerful creature.

My first day at Comcast was a blur. I was brain mush by 2pm. I will say this: After having lunch with my boss, the believer, I was filled with gratitude. It wasn’t a boss+new hire lunch. It was church ya’ll. We had fellowship and testified to God’s faithfulness and goodness in both our lives and how He led us to Comcast. We shared in small ways -our developing desires for God at Comcast. Shared how we are a good witness at the corporate workplace. How we love and care for others who are struggling. How to pray for our coworkers and the team. It was fellowship-sweet fellowship-filled with confirmation that God placed us both there for a purpose. We needed to encourage, pray and obey. She did share with me good/better news for out adoption process: They increased their 6 weeks maternity leave to 12 weeks!! Thank you Lord!!

For me to survive Day 1 is a blessing but even this morning as I type this, I am amazed that I am actually working. Reflecting on the journey and praying that I don’t forget the deeds and faithfulness of God, even today-no matter how bad today might possibly be…Lord, help my heart to not wander from Thee.

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And so it begins…

Last night was an evening of partial weeping and partial curiosity. Curiosity and weeping are two very different emotions/actions to have going on in your heart and head.

South Bay Church’s “Breathe” event was not what I expected. Their 2nd event’s theme: “The Warrior Within”. Perhaps I had different expectations from what their purpose was or maybe I had high expectations but I sat there in the first hour thinking, “Oh God….was this a mistake? A mistake to bring the CG to an event like this?” I couldn’t tell if I was in a club or not. Walked into the front lobby and music I would never imagine being played in a church gathering (not building) was blasting with the DJ in the corner, temporary tattoo stations, a snack bar and photo booth with backdrops made it feel like I walked into a Sephora makeup expo.

I felt tremendously uncomfortable and unsure of what to expect if I went further into the building.

Further into the building–into the area of worship they had these huge drums to fit their tribal/warrior theme. Their opening felt like some kind of opening to an entertainment show you’d find maybe in Vegas or New York. Lots of distractions. No prayer. They kept referring to this “inner strength”, “The warrior within us” which I later realized—they were referring to the Holy Spirit. So my question was, “Why not call it as He is?” I’ve never heard of the HOly Spirit named a “warrior”. I started to thinking, “Oh man…should I go into full regret mode of having these ladies come out to an event like this?”

The first speaker came and did a tabletalk with the “MC”. She shared her story on their family’s 3 year journey to bring home a young girl from India. Of course, my ears perked but my heart remained still. JP and I have talked many times about adoption and the topic has been popping up randomly and more often than before. Deep in my heart I feel a sense of willingness to try. Maybe it’s the optimistic -glass half full perspective I have. But JP has been more on the opposite end of the spectrum. His concerns for the cost of adoption is always hovering his head as the provider of our family. Of course having school loans and future school costs with moving plans doesn’t really make adoption an “attractive” path to walk into.

Her story was interesting. 3 years filled with ups and life rocking downs. Rejection after rejection after rejection. The MC chimed in. “For those who cannot relate, being rejected is similar to the feeling of a miscarriage. You anticipate and hope for this child to become yours and all of the sudden, when it doesn’t happen, it’s absolutely heartbreaking.”

My heart winced at the thought.

“Would it be that painful? Would I respond like that? I mean…if it’ snot meant to be then it’s not meant to be right?” (Moving on..)

When Lisa Chan came to the stage, I felt like I was breathing a huge gulp of fresh pure oxygen. It wasn’t one of those real “woah” moments where you felt like the message was custom tailored by God just for your heart and your life’s current circumstances. Her prayer for us that night was Ephesians 3:14-19

“For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of this glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith-that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

She brought it back to the basic of who God is and His promises for us. I loved how she shared her love for the good ole days when weddings had the fruit punch fountain at the reception. It would continue to overflow and overflow. Take your cup, place it under the flowing stream, fill your cup and take it back with you. If the cup goes dry then you just need to go back and refill. That fear is not of God. Fear is what misleads us away from experiencing the promises of God, the power of God, the love of God…

True.

I was reminded of the time when JP and I began to talk about the possibilities of adoption. The first statements that came out were:

“Where are we gonna find the money to afford adoption?”

Lisa was encouraging all ladies that when we’re faced with above and beyond circumstances and above and beyond callings—to not ask questions that are based on us and the circumstances/calling but to ask questions that are based on God.

“God, are you asking me..are you asking us to ____________________?”

Little did I know that God planted a seed in my heart. For the rest of the evening, my mind was still distracted by the “show” but my heart felt different. I didn’t share anything with Julie or the ladies in the CG just because 1. I didn’t want to say something prematurely and 2. Cause a ruckus when it was probably nothing ( to me)

But the next morning, I felt this desire to ask JP if we could actively pray and ask God the same question:

“God, are you asking us to adopt?”

(About 1-2 weeks prior to the event, I began praying on my own in the morning. Back in July I met an old friend who had adopted a child from China and our entire time together was just about his journey and process as a family. I stored that conversation away in my heart and didn’t mention it to JP. I couldn’t deny these hints and unexpected “reminders” about adoption. Since I wasn’t sure, I had to pray and ask God to make it clear to me. Nothing fancy or grand. Just praying as I got ready in the morning. “Lord, this desire to adopt is growing in me and I see things in my life that remind me or adoption or point me to adoption. Please, if this is of you God, please bring that confirmation and desire in JP’s heart as well.” )

Of course, I hesitated. Hesitated because I was not sure how JP would respond. Did I want to hear what I assumed JP would say? I know he initiated an email regarding adoption before (to my shock) but if I keep nudging would he feel pressured and push back? Would he get frustrated that I don’t seem to understand the reality of finances? Will it drive him even further away from the idea of adoption?

I sat at my desk contemplating. I opened a browser and typed in “Holt International”. The week of the event, JP and I watched Infinity Challenge and there was a short scene where they visited an adoption agency in Korea. It was an emotional episode so I didn’t see that scene as something worth hiding in my heart to ponder. As I browsed the site, I was encouraged to see that it was a “Christian” organization and historically well established. I clicked on the countries to see how Holt is working in the lives of the children and sadly, I couldn’t find many referrals or profiles available for viewing. Lastly, I clicked on the Cost tab. The costs were being listed and described. 3 digits–“hmm not bad” 4 digits—“hmm okaaaay.” and then at last the big whopper came up. 5 digits. Minimum $15k to $22500K. For some reason, though I knew in my head of these numbers, my heart took a step back.

“Wow…we don’t have this money right now. How is this gonna even work?”

It was fear. Fear creeping up on my heart. I could feel it and before it consumed my emotions and thoughts I quickly closed the browser and grabbed my phone to text JP. I don’t know what got into me but I had to just ask JP about praying. I just wanted to get it over with and get this burden to ask, off my shoulders. I didn’t want fear to be the one that closes the door on me. I wanted God to the one. In some ways, I want to believe God knew that fear would chase me. Chase me back into His arms and look to Him alone for the answers.

The actual conversation..

The actual conversation..

There is no one word to describe the emotion I was feeling. Shock + fear + gratitude + awe + “OMG” goosebumps + that feeling of “I don’t deserve this.”. I teared up trying to figure out what the heck just happened. I never told him I was looking at Holt International. Didn’t mention a thing to JP even after watching Infinity Challenge. Clearly, God was working and doing something in his heart all throughout this time. What a miracle. I had to share with the ladies in BUILD. OH the support and encouragement that flowed. So grateful I have a community to share and pray together with!

I don’t think God was done with just that for that day. During lunch I had scheduled our usual Taka ramen date with Yinyee. She isn’t a believer but her belief in God has grown to curiosity and dependency as she has been asking me to pray with her about certain situations in her life. I had no idea that a simple lunch conversation to share what God did that morning would turn into a tearfest at lunch. I guess I needed to process and “talk out loud”, all these different emotions and thoughts came to mind. I was hopeful, excited, anxious, nervous. The other wave of emotions would be doubt, afraid to get hurt or disappointed, disbelief, insecurity. Tears formed again as I felt so overwhelmed with every good/bad emotion I could feel. I opened up to Yinyee and she was amazed at how God works. She got goosebumps at the very fact that JP and I both were thinking of the same agency though we did not communicate anything about adoption for the past few weeks. I praise God in my heart as she responded to my testimony.

“Lord, even if the answer to our prayer was “No” and there was no confirmation going forward for adoption, if all this happened so I could have this heart to heart talk with Yinyee and she too would be amazed at you God, I would be grateful and content God.”

Our lunch continued with further sharing and though Yinyee may not realize it, she shared her testimony of how God answered our 1st prayer together regarding her family situation. How life would have been so different if it wasn’t for God answering that prayer. Our walk back to the office ended with a time prayer for her family again.

“Thank you Lord for this wonderful and amazing opportunity.”

I really don’t know where God will lead or say to answer our prayers. I don’t know how I will handle whatever answer. I don’t want to get ahead of myself and be disappointed or hurt so one day at a time is what I keep telling myself in the morning. He keeps dropping breadcrumbs for us and that’s about all we can handle until we see the next one.

He reminds me tonight

I felt this rebellious heart of mine wanting to harden itself towards God. Not in the fact that God exists but harden towards His Word and commands.ย  I started reading and came across this verse

HEB 3:12-13 ESV

Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God. But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called โ€œtoday,โ€ that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.

I really enjoy reading those words “take care”. Its not the “hey..good seeing you! Take care!” It’s a deeper and heavier way of saying keep watch. Look over your heart and the condition of it. Whenever I see those two words in Scriptures it leads me to ask myself

How is your heart doing Judy?

Tonight..it was responding to me with potential signs of bitterness, weariness, laziness, rebellion and hardening. All these signs were in the department of discipline/shepherding.

Everybody loves seeing rewards and results in what they invest or pour their effort in. Setback and detours aren’t fun to witness. That goes the same for me in small group.

I began thinking and measuring the past few conversations I’ve had with my ladies. Many of them unresponsive to any exhortations or encouragement I’ve given them. It’s not necessarily a verbal response I care for..its the heart response that concerns me the most.

Like any human being when you try to speak truth with love for the benefit of their joy to increase and their faith to grow…you hope and pray for a heart response. When that hoped reaction doesn’t come..it does become disheartening and weary at times.

Why do I bother to keep them accountable? Why should I keep encouraging them? I can’t force them to fellowship with You God so then should I continue being that annoying CG leader who checks in and nudges them to keep going?

Then the verse came..

HEB 3:12-13 ESV

…. But exhort one another EVERY DAY, as long as it is called โ€œtoday,โ€ that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.

Every day. Every day. Every day. Every day. Every day. Every day. Every day.

You have got to be kidding me Jesus.
EVERY DAY?!?!?!?!

Sounds so difficult at first and then I realized that the writer is charging us to exhort. Exhort one another every day.

He didn’t say:
Make sure they read the Word
Make sure they say their prayers
Make sure they obey the Word and what God commands.

He said exhort. Strongly encourage.

What I initially thought was difficult was actually quite doable once I read and paid closer attention.

I’m not called to be a successful CG leader. (whatever that looks like) I’m called to be faithful. I don’t want to use the word “simply” and call it “simply be faithful.” because it’s not a simple task. Its hard. Requires endurance..a resolved heart. Perseverance and determination. You pour all that in and if you seek the results..you’ll be disappointed. Bitter and disheartened.ย  I am called to be faithful. Not successful. Kinds like the famous idiom

You can lead a horse to water but you can’t force it to drink

I love these ladies. I love their souls even more. I love them to the point where I don’t care if they dislike me or find me annoying.

I do care tremendously if God finds me unfaithful disobedient and lukewarm. My goal in life….no day to day is that when I stand before God in regards to my account I want to hear more than anything:

โ€˜Well done, good and faithful (not successful) servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.โ€™

His Word tonight has watered the soul of my heart. Every word is God breathed. Tonight’s session was a much much much needed holy CPR. Replenished the dry cracks that were forming. Hallelujah. Praise be to God.

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Life got crazy with Jesus

These past few 48 hours or so has been crazy. I’ve been rewinding the events, conversations and emotions and I can’t seem to come to any strong conclusion as to how and why it happened the way it happened.

I’ve been a believer for quite some time of my life. I’d say since Jr. high or so but I haven’t been a follower of Jesus for the equal amount. It’s less than 10 years for sure and maybe a little over 5..even that I don’t feel confident about.

It’s the 48 hours or so where things happened at unexpected times-places and people. I’m physically in the office working but in between chats or conversations the urges and desires lead me away from the physical environment and train of thought to an eternal one. I’ve probably had more eternal focused conversations with people in the past 48 hours or so than I have in a week. It’s like concentrated. Pure extract and overwhelming to the human mind and soul.

I started wondering,

I wonder if this was how the day to day life was like for the disciples as they followed Jesus.

The New Testament isn’t the full story. Were catching 4 key accounts of what they saw, heard, and experienced. Its not like they had a 24 hour surveillance camera or a GoPro to capture everything. They barely had moments alone with Jesus and even Jesus Himself couldn’t find enough alone time with Himself.

How crazy and chaotic.

But exhilarating at the same time.

It’s been amazing. Where I found myself speaking so boldly to people.

What in the world just happened right now? Did I really say what I just said?!?!?

Today at First Friday Devo I had 5 ladies join and maybe it was the topic of our devo but the ladies were engaged and participating. We shared how we can take small steps of choosing joy when our not-so-good-omg-I-am-stressed moments happen.

James 1:2-4 ESV

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

They asked me, “What do YOU do Judy when life interrupts?”

I shared my current interruption and I saw their eyes open wide like a doe caught in headlights. I didn’t pretend in how my heart has been responding. I told them this is how I feel and this is what I believe of God and who He says He is.

Some responded with surprise and amazement. One lady spoke out and said, “That’s so cool. Like..I want to be that kind of wife and respond to life’s ups and downs like that.”

BAM! Here He came again. Bold and confident.

I’m glad you want to respond to those moments like I just shared. I gotta tell you guys, if you choose to try this change on your own willpower and strength, you won’t get too far. You will fail. Like any alcoholic who thinks they can fully recover 180ยฐ change on their own…is deceiving him or herself. They’re lying to themselves. They can’t change on their own. They need a higher power just like AA books mention. Same thing with us, there is nobody else who can change us better than God does. His power can change us. He will change us. But we have to let Him..it’s not gonna happen if we hold back our heart and it won’t be easy and pain free either. If we place our trust in Jesus, He will change us..”

They stared at me with round eyes. All eyes looking and listening. It was a crazy moment where I realized a few seconds later..

Wh..wha..what just happened.???

Whatever it was..it wasn’t me for sure. I haven’t spoken that boldly in FFD for a long time. Conversations would get distracted and people wouldn’t focus at these gatherings but today it was so good. I asked how I could pray for them and they were sharing prayer requests..4 out of 5.

Ok..so I am actually going to pray for them..not just 1 but 4 of them. Nuts. Doesn’t happen ..ever.

Ever.

So I’m here on my bed just rewinding the day’s(s’) conversations, small yet noticeable interactions, the connections and responses…is this how it was when the disciples followed Jesus around? Like constant boom bam bam bam.

I’m not even tired as I would be if it was social gatherings or dinners. I’m hungry. I’m curious what will happen next, to know and experience how Jesus will move next, how the Holy Spirit will work next. Its crazy.

As my good musician brother Steven would sing

Saddle up your horses we’ve got a trail to blaze
Through the wild blue yonder of God’s amazing grace
Let’s follow our leader into the glorious unknown
This is a life like no other – this is The Great Adventure

Foreals. Its been one great adventure…

A Love that cannot be contained

It’s been about 2 days of listening to the same song on repeat.

My husband first introduced this song to me last year as he was preparing for missions. I heard him practice in our tiny apartment and listened to the track quite often in our car rides to dinner together. He would share his heart as to why he wanted to sing this over the people of China.  It’s beautiful and simple.

MULTIPLIED by NeedtoBreathe

Your love is like radiant diamonds
Bursting inside us we cannot contain
Your love will surely come find us
Like blazing wild fires singing Your name

God of mercy sweet love of mine
I have surrendered to Your design
May this offering stretch across the skies And these Hallelujahs
be multiplied

I rediscovered it recently on Spotify Tuesday morning and haven’t stopped. With 40 Days of Community and the project to love others, the lyrics of this song has been beating hard in me.

Last night I was heading over to Starbucks to get some studying done. The area is pretty new in development as it’s by the airport. I passed by the newly built stadium for the Earthquakes and just had this feeling of temporary..vain and worthless. This city I live in..has so much invested in New development. Sometimes it suffocate me. All these buildings and “look at me . look what I have” theme.

I pulled into the small plaza and saw a homeless standing at the end of the driveway. This time it was a woman. Usually I give it a second or two before I say , “Naaaah.” but this night was different. Maybe it’s because I’ve been studying about addictions and biopsych that my heart has softened towards the homeless. As humans, we were made to depend on God but history has shown that humans have chosen other things…one of them being alcohol or drugs. To cope to numb to alleviate to medicate to forget for moments…everything and anything that may be extremely difficult to handle in life. Unfortunately once our bodies get hooked..it’s no longer about avoiding the outside pain..there’s a new internal physical pain that has latched on as an addiction. Helpless and out of control are not great feelings. So my heart has become more compassionate which I am thankful for God revealing these truths to my mind and heart to contemplate on.

I parked and walked back out to where she was at. I sang in my heart…

“God of mercy sweet love of mine
I have surrendered to Your design
May this offering stretch across the skies And these Hallelujahs
be multiplied”

We made eye contact and though I felt a little nervous I was determined to do what I could in that time and place. I smiled and she smiled back. Front teeth were completely out. She looked tired and worn. Didn’t shower for a few days but looked still cleaner than others. I asked if she wanted anything to eat and immediately I could see in the corner of my eyes that the cars leaving the lot were slowing down to watch and see..

Odd…is it new? Do people think a fight is about to break out? Why does it feel like I’m at a zoo. Folks were rolling down their windows to try to hear what was being discussed…

“Oh.. Sure yeah. A hamburger and a pink lemonade would be great.”

Found out her and a friend were staying on the other side of the freeway.

I walked back to In n Out and the place was packed for dinner. I hope the lady didn’t think I flaked out on her by taking so long. Finally got the food and headed back. She seemed as if she was packed and ready to go. I handed her food and though I bought my cheeseburger to try to sit down and eat with her….maybe keep her company(?) she seemed ready to move on.

” Thank you so much. I’m going to really enjoy this..”

“No problem. I hope you enjoy it. Take care of yourself.”

And at that moment…something came over me. I rarely hug strangers let alone homeless strangers. I’ve hugged new people I’ve met or heard news about through a close friend but a completely homeless stranger is very out of character and judgment for me.

I reached over to give her a hug and surprisingly she met me halfway.

“Thank you. You really made my night. Really”

“Really?? Wow I’m so glad. Take care okay?”

So strange. Not in a bad way. But I felt strange. What I gave her was not much. It wasn’t even all that I had. It was a small meal that would only relieve of any hunger for through the night at most.

I felt free..er? Why? What is this God? What do I make of this odd feeling in my heart?

Is this the freedom that comes through the perfect love that casts out fear? Fear of rejection.. Fear of safety being taken away.. Fear of hurts and disappointments.

If so.. I want to experience more.

Workplace woes

A few weeks ago I came across an encouragement on FB. Moved my heart so much that I decided to screenshot it for future reminders

image

I can’t remember the last time I felt I was really being a servant leader. For a long time I thought providing free Starbucks or something along those lines…was the “servant enough” approach. When I read this I felt the Spirit tugging at my heart.

Judy..serve them not with things you can purchase but place deposits in their lives with your words.”

This week has been one of those weeks where I guess God wanted me to encourage through speaking. Unfortunately, encourage is often defined and misunderstood as just “positive words”. Words that make the person feel good. I don’t think encouragement is limited by feel good phrases. Honestly, encouragement can say,

“It may not make sense right now but we must find ourselves trusting God’s promises than focusing on our circumstances.”

“Take that step of faith. Its time to grow and move on from “comfort”.

“What you did was not acceptable and is not acceptable at any other workplace. I strongly feel it is something you should not do again or be ready to face the consequences.”

Sat down with some coworkers today in a meeting that was meant to be short and simple. It ended up going much longer than anticipated. I had to approach them no longer as an office manager but as a friend and speak truth into their lives about how their attitude as an employee is actually more harmful to them and the office than they realize. To point out that “pointing fingers and pouting. Throwing folks under the bus” isn’t what a grateful employee does, and then package it in a way in love that is respectable was…hard.

Its not the type of “encouragement” that is popular but it was the best way I could promote and provide support to them regarding their circumstance. I hate being a disservice to those I care about and those I’m called to serve. As much as I want to feel comfortable and stay in my bubble aka cubicle, I’ve had to realize each day that..that..is not God’s call for me.

Its not my call as a Christian to turn a blind eye.
Its not my call as a Christian to “check out” when a coworker drops by and starts sharing their personal worries and circumstances.

I want to though. My selfish nature and my sinful nature wants to every time I feel inconvenienced and interrupted. It’s not Christ-like. So then why would I who professes to believe that I am a New creation. I am redeemed and made new by the power of the Gospel…want to do it?

Sigh.

I hope..I do hope that my act of service to my coworkers was pleasing to Him. I hope it was the encouragement they needed not wanted to hear. I hope He is magnified through my position to them as a Christian and as an office manager.

This H&M shirt

I just got back from a reconciliation dinner and movie with the husband. I wore this new H&M shirt that I got over the weekend.

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As I was changing out of this shirt, I flipped it inside out and saw the red threading on the back. It looked very familiar.

I had a flashback to my mom. Odd I know. But got 30 seconds I stared at the inside of this shirt. Felt nauseous.
I have a phobia: Trypophobia.

I would feel sick in the stomach and sometimes break a little sweat if a pattern repeated itself over and over. I hate ivy leaves/vines that completely cover the highway sound walls. Mosaic art can get to me and beehives too.

I never understood why or where it came from but this H&M shirt connected my phobia to my mom’s last days.
Long story short, my mom had a stroke at her alterations shop and she somehow brought me home that same day. My memory might not be accurate in the sequence but..she was bed ridden for a few days but functioned for a few as well. I remember I came to check up on her and I saw that her palms were covered with veins. Skin tones veins. Like worms were crawling under her skin. I’ve never seen anything like that for all the 8 years I had been alive.

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Its like these bodybuilders’ arms but every vein was squiggly. She wore white gloves to hide the grotesque pattern. She passed away not too long after that. I have these underlying scars in me like if I had known to dial 911 maybe she would be still alive today. To recall how she collapsed at the store the day she had her stroke, drove us home from Castro Valley to Oakland and stayed in bed but also got up to function for a few days…blows my mind but leaves some remnants of guilt.

When I saw the inside of this shirt it looked exactly like the pattern of my mom’s palm. Except it wasn’t red thread.

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This pattern makes me sick. Makes me freeze up a bit and I feel queasy. I haven’t seen a pattern as similar to my mom’s palm until tonight. It struck me.. I associate my trypophobia fromย  the patterns I saw on my mom’s palms. Makes sense now. Tonight. Every time I see those repeating patterns, I’ve wanted to take a stick or a thin piece of wood to scrape the pattern to a smooth surface. If I could for that to my mom’s palms..I would.

Sure.. I find myself tearing up thinking about the last days I had with my mom. Every moment I had with her as a single mom or with my family growing up has slowly showed up in tears about 34 years later.

I blog this because this is a big deal for me to understand why I have Trypophobia. It also helps me understand how I felt at the time when I first saw it..scared… disgusted..freaked out..

This is JP.

Who would have guessed that a piece of clothing could have connected this together..