Following Jesus

Green Light Green Light Green Light

SHUTTERSTOCK

SHUTTERSTOCK

I can’t believe it’s only been 2 days since our dinner with the Lee family. Last night was a pretty high energy “get stuff done” type of night. We’ve been working on getting the application finalized like finding our tax returns, getting documents ready to get notarized etc etc. Our 1st phone conference call with our social worker Ann, was scheduled for 10AM today.

As I walked to my car this morning I just kept asking God, “What should I ask God? Please fill our minds with wisdom and understanding of all the information that will be presented to us.” Even though my mind was focused this morning, as soon as I walked into the office it was chaotic. I came in and before I knew it, it was 9:53am.

Oh man! Get this document finalized.

9:58am. Double check the conference call line and access code.Quickly jotted it down on a post it note and notified the office that I’ll be away for an hour. I thought my heart was going to burst from nervousness. We were finally connected and I kept thinking,

“I can’t believe we’re having this phone call. I cannot believe this is actually happening”

Ann gave a brief outline of what to expect for our homestudy and what to expect after the homestudy. Sounded great. $2,900.00 …no big deal. 6 months to prepare the paperwork? Let’s do it. I was on cloud 9- Sold to the future of adoption. Never took notes this enthusiastically since….FIRST time I took notes this enthusiastically. Ann: “Any questions so far?”

JP: ” So we’re planning on moving to Minnesota in May. Will that cause any issues in our process to adopt?”

Ann: “Oh,  no you, you can’t adopt if you’re moving to Minnesota. Holt Korea doesn’t work with adoptions in non-branch states.”

I couldn’t believe what I just heard. “You can’t adopt.” ” You can’t adopt.” “YOU CAN’T ADOPT” It took me a few seconds to figure out what just happened. I could hear JP give a soft ” really…hmm” I mean what else could we say that to that? But on the website it was clear on Korea’s requirements that they would allow adoption in Holt Branch states which included CA as well as non-Holt branch states which listed MN. In their FAQ they even mentioned that Holt Korea would be open to allowing Korean-American couples to adopt in non-Holt branch states.

“Surely, this can’t be it. It can’t just end here.”

Ann encouraged us to stop the process here because if we paid the homestudy fees and moved to MN, our final report would not be valid because every state has different regulations. She didn’t want to have us just “absorb” the cost. And if Holt Korea won’t work with Minnesota then we might as well cancel our application and start fresh with an agency in Minnesota that works with Korea.

We asked Ann if she could contact Holt Korea and ask them if they would have any affiliated agencies in MN or if they would consider working with us because we are Korean-American. Bless her heart though, she offered to refund our application fee since we wouldn’t be able to proceed. I could care of the money. If anything I kinda wanted them to take it. I wanted to force it and say NO LET US ADOPT. PLEAAASE.

The plan was she would contact Korea and see if there were any options. In the meantime she asked that we talk about it over the weekend and let her know. And right there, the phone call that was suppose to take an hour, ended at 20 minutes.

JP quickly called me after the phone call and we spoke for the remaining hour just sharing our initial thoughts and emotions. JP’s initial thought was to change our plans and move earlier to MN–like THIS YEAR– to restart or continue the adoption process. I heard what he was sharing but my mind kept rejecting all ideas. I really couldn’t believe the door was closed on us that quickly. We barely got our feet wet. We haven’t even gotten matched. It’s not even finances that’s causing the issue.

“Lord, how could this be?!?!”

At this point, questions started forming.

  1. If JP doesn’t get into Bethlehem, then do we still want to move to MN?
  2. What if God is asking us to stay in California and receive the child first and then move?
  3. What if God is asking us to stay in California and go to China?

My mind was going 100mph. This straight path we were on suddenly got wiped clean of all dates and locations. It seemed like the one path we trusted was splitting into 10 different directions and asking us to choose one. Choose one. That seemed so impossible. By the time my 1 hour break ended, I asked JP if we could pray before I went back into the office. There was nothing more that I wanted at the time but to ask God to make things clear. To help our confusion and bring understanding to all of this. To help us to trust Him even when things don’t make sense. To let our emotions or lack of understanding lead us to a place of fear and doubt. Oh my heart was desperate for God.

I think I walked back into the office in a daze. Slowly and carefully. I sat at my desk and opened my email and to my surprise, Ann had replied back. It was 14 minutes ago.

What in the world just happened?

What in the world just happened?

Dumbfounded. I didn’t know what to say or do. Another door opened. Another confirmation. Another prayer answered.

There was so much to process and share between the two of us. JP’s thoughts. My thoughts. What are God’s thoughts. We went out for dinner and our conversation was leading us to daydream about this boy coming home. How could we move this process along? The desire to adopt was growing bigger and bigger as each day passed. There were these comfortable silent moments where I knew we were just trying to process all that had happened today. What a roller coaster ride of emotions and what an awesome experience of seeing God open doors that we thought were closed.

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Telling his BFF Theo “I”ll TTYL”

IMG_20150918_183738One of the most memorable things JP said that night,

“When I imagine my son running around in an open grass area, it makes me really happy.”

We have some options of moving earlier to MN or moving as scheduled. Praying and seeking God’s direction in all of this. Do we move now before the harsh winter hits and continue the adoption process? Do we wait until the winter passes and then move. It’s 6 months. Seems like such a painfully long period to wait and pass. I think one thing we both agreed upon is the fact that MN would be a better state to raise a child in than CA.

So now, we pray. We look into MN. Pray & watch is our theme for our marriage.

Could this be an answered prayer?

Monday morning. Another battle through the week. I began praying and asking God to reveal to us His heart for us about adoption. I really don’t know how to pray about this other than the simple question. I guess if He says “YES” then the prayers can become more and more specific. Today’s LJ reading struck my heart from the 1st reading out of the 4.

Jeremiah 33: 3
“Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known.”

I highlighted that verse with the quickness and latched on for the rest of the day. Today the ladies in BUILD to prayed for us and asked God alongside with us. So here’s today’s log of this journey.

This morning after BUILD prayed in our Kakao chat, I received an email from JP. He cc’d me onto an email he sent to a former Pathway member, Kevin. I was surprised again at how JP initiated to contact Kevin.

Hey, 
I heard from Jennard that your family will be adopting a Korean child! Congrats! 
Judy and I are looking into adopting and when I heard that you are already in the process I wanted to get some information/tip/advice from you. There are so much info out there on internet but I am just so at lost I don’t even know how to go about taking that first step. 
If you could let me know process logistics and how you went about it, that would be awesome. 
Thanks Kevin! 

Sent 12:34am Monday.

Kevin was so excited and eager to speak with us about adoption. The family actually planned to visit San Jose early in September so we’re hoping to meet with them over dinner to talk more in person.

Thank you Lord.

Later in the morning  another sister from church offered to introduce us to another couple who adopted as well. It wasn’t until then that I  appreciated (even more) the email and connection that God provided. My husband and I are very opposite which isn’t a bad thing IMO. We’re just wired differently and approach people/life/circumstances differently. As his girlfriend to wife for the past 6-7 years, I have grown to understand that JP likes to do his homework/research on anything he needs to make an important decision on. Laptops, used cars, our new home, credit cards etc. He’s very meticulous and makes an informed decision every single time which I really appreciate and admire about him. But, I think it’s one thing when you research online and get information from a machine and it’s an entirely different experience to get that information from humans.

I can see God knew that all along and provided that lead to Kevin for JP.

  • To provide a connection already established with us-It would make it easier for JP (and I) to share and talk about our struggles and so-far thought process.
  • They are still in the process – They just finished submitting their preliminary papers and are waiting for their match. Still currently involved but a few steps ahead of the journey.
  • They’re scheduled to visit San Jose in a few weeks– Instead of emails and phone calls we can meet in person and pray in person as well.

He knows and He is mindful. What a loving and good God.

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.  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 “today,” 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 “today,” 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.  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:

‘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.’

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 180° 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.