Life Lessons

A 2 year pulse check

Yesterday marked the day. Saturday, August 19th, 2017 was Wednesday, August 19th, two years ago.

South Bay’s 2nd Annual “Breathe” Event for Women. I went because I wanted to worship and hear what Lisa Chan had to say. What she shared to the ladies in the room was one of those talks that made you go “Hmm.” They gentle but piercing reminders for the heart. Usually those reminders linger for a few days but God had other plans and He propelled those reminders into faith stepping actions that has led JP and I to where we are now.

You can watch Lisa Chan’s talk. Start at 54:00

https://livestream.com/southbay/breathe/videos/96748668

I sit here recalling the moment I asked JP to pray about Adoption. Can we just start by asking God, “God, are you asking us to adopt?” That conversation did not go so well. You can read briefly about that lovely situation here. As I type this I can visualize our old living room in Santa Clara. I hear the tone in my voice and JP’s voice. I cried a lot..no, I wept. Sobbed. Sitting on the bed with the lights off, I remember crying, tears falling on my calves -almost questioning my own convictions and feeling betrayed by God when I had so much confidence that this was a God seeking, God magnifying action to take–but it led to me a place of tears and brokenness.

I sit here, two years later feeling like I have circled back to that same place. I’m grateful to God that it is not because of JP this time. (whew) 

God has graciously and amazingly provided a home for us to have, to live, to share and to raise this child in. (You can catch up on that God amazing journey here) JP and I both have wonderful jobs with wonderful benefits-benefits we didn’t have while we were in California.We have fun coworkers and a great culture. We’re not lavishing living the life up here in MN but we’re undeniably  blessed. Richer than most in the entire world.  We have 4 distinct seasons and lots of nature to be in awe of our God. Yet, we’re missing a huge chunk in our lives. People and not just people but friends. Friends provide that support, encouragement and feedback.  Without it, you don’t get much.

I’ve probably never felt this alone in my entire 38 years of living life. Not even a bad breakup felt like this because I knew I had a group of folks that were a hop skip away or I was choosing to isolate to reflect but the moment I stepped out, they–whoever they are–were there. Soliciting help is hard out here. Maybe that Minnesotan Nice expires after the first handshake. You invite hoping to build something but you find yourself the only building. Where did meet me halfway go? FB isn’t the greatest communicator but at times that is all I have to work with. It just feels like you’re reaching and grasping for something with all your might but you turn up empty handed or with significantly less that what you hoped for. You go through a few of those at one or back to back, the heart becomes weary, losing hope and motivation.

It’s hard out here. I’m serving in areas that I can. Where I know I have experience and even a little contribution would help out.  Don’t get me wrong, I don’t expect that same act or amount of help to boomerang back. Sadly, I think my experience out here has squashed that desire-which can be a good thing. I can’t pinpoint what I’m exactly longing for but these seem to create a spark in my heart even if I’m just imagining it in my head:

Is there anything I can do to help? vs “Let me know how I/we can help.”

“What’s been your biggest challenge in adopting?” vs “How’s adoption coming along?”

Intentional. Genuine. There’s just enough hint of substance that the former question really wants to know versus the latter that comes across as “I’m asking the simple question b/c I want the simple answer.” I can’t give that simple answer. I would lie if I said it was “fine” or “good”. But the question doesn’t allow me to say much beyond that.

Last week, I had one of those awful rabbit trail moments with all my discouragement and disappointments. I entertained the thought of giving up with MN fundraisers. If trying to build relationships is this hard in my personal life, how am I going to connect with people I have never met to participate in this fundraiser? All sorts of negative and useless thoughts. Phooey. Then to top it off, the guilt I had towards Benaiah for even thinking about giving up in any part of this journey–sucked.

This is one part of MN and Adoption I didn’t expect. I thought the paperwork would drain me out but I guess being the extrovert/social/relational person in this family- it’s the relationships, lack of relationships, unfruitful relationship building process that has worn me down. I know this will pass. It’s a part of the journey God is doing work whether I enjoy it or not. It’s taking the “knows” to “believe”. From head to heart.

Sitting on the bed with the lights off, I remember crying, tears falling on my calves -almost questioning my own convictions and feeling betrayed by God when I had so much confidence that this was a God seeking, God magnifying action to take–but it led to me a place of tears and brokenness.

I sit here, two years later feeling like I have circled back to that same place.

My 2 year pulse check:

PicMonkey Image

Making friends in Minnesota is hard. I’m looking for friends not friendliness. Having the same “introduction” conversation is like digging a new hole, in a new place-every..single..time. You invite, meet up and then that’s it. Other transplants in MN tell me they don’t get an invitation ever and it’s just them inviting and inviting. Then I’m searching for a new place to dig.  I would like to go deeper and build upon it but I guess in due time…maybe next year I’ll find somebody to do that.  I’m praying for God’s help to persevere these discouraging and disappointing moments. To find rest and comfort in Him alone.

 

 

We’re Officially Homeowners

If you were to ask us 1 or 2 years ago if we thought there could be a chance we would be homeowners, the answer would be no. If you asked us 3-4 years ago, the answer would be “How? We can’t afford it.”

After 5 years of marriage, we packed what little we had and drove to Minnesota to start a new life. Nothing was fully developed or written in details. We had jobs, a shelter and a few plans- that’s it.

Almost one year since moving to MN, we’re moving again. This time to a home that we own by the grace and benevolent hand of God.

This is our story, this is our song.

November 26, 2016- Surrendering over coffee
Exactly 8 months after arriving in MN, JP invited me to meet a realtor that specializes in Bloomington. My heart wasn’t fully on board to purchase a house because it meant our finances that were saved for adoption, were being redirected. It felt as if we were aborting the plans of Minnesota for another, and that, was where my feet were unwilling to move.

I wasn’t sure what to expect and being the first time for us, we didn’t fully know what questions to ask. It seemed quite daunting to be here alone in MN. I thought to myself, “If we were still in CA, we would know who to email or call.. but here, we don’t know anybody.” It was at this meeting that I realized where JP was coming from with purchasing the house. The interest rate was favorable for us to purchase with a forecast that it would increase in the near future. I thought,

“Ok, Lord. I’m not on board with this but if You’re leading us to buy a home, then make it clear and lead the way.” 

We sat over coffee talking about what we’re looking for and what kind of timeline we should prepare since it was the holiday season which means the market is “hibernating”. Our rental lease would end right before April so we had to be on time.We decided on house hunting the first week of December.

December 4, 2016- Round 1
We saw a few houses and the more we viewed we began to formulate an idea of what this ideal home should look like. Having an experienced realtor in the area we were interested in, was a provision from God. Questions were answered and stuff we never considered important- she helped us understand why they were important. Some houses looked great but there was always something missing, an important factor, important enough to not set aside. We didn’t want to feel rushed or pressured but I knew my heart felt rushed which led me to approach this like a chore. A hassle, hard and laborious so I found myself mentally negotiating on negotiables and wanting to settle on a house-just to get the process over with.

December 23,2016-Round 2

After having some much needed CA friends over for the coldest winter day of 2016, we were back at it again. Of the house we viewed that day, one caught our eyes.

  • The Master bedroom and 2nd room were both located on the same floor and right next to each other. (This was for Benaiah)
  • The 3rd bedroom was located on the lower level. (For guests or future housemates)
  • The living room and kitchen had an open feel.
  • Two car garage
  • Driveway parking was a “U” or half circle so guests/housemates could park.
  • The backyard & view: So serene and relaxing.

This home was being sold by a Chiropractic school located across the street and was used to house speakers or hold meetings. It was fully furnished and was being sold as is. This was appealing to us Californians who lived spaces that were 700 sqft or less- we wouldn’t be able to purchase all the furniture (bed frames, couches, dining table, etc) to fill the house. Another provisional blessing from God.

We both had a good feeling about the house and the question was:

“Do we want to put in an offer?”

PROS:

  • Not much competition since the market was still in “hibernation”
  • We like the house a lot more than the ones we’ve seen prior.
  • If it works out, we can rest assure that we’re done.

CONS:

  • What if we put in an offer and a better home shows up?
  • It’s a bit early in the timeline given that we are avoiding double payments and our lease is up in end of March.

We decided it was semi early enough to put an offer in and depending on the seller’s response, we can continue searching without losing too much time. We met back at 3pm to sign some documents and we were done. We put an offer on a house. We went slightly lower than what was listed and specifically asked for a closing date in the middle of March.  Now we entered the waiting room. The tricky part was that Christmas was right around the corner so who knew when we would hear back from the school.

I remember JP and I both being in this “numb” phase. We didn’t wake up determined to put an offer in today. We expected a few more rounds but everything happened so quickly. I even had thoughts that this offer wouldn’t work and we would be back on the market looking for the next potential home.

Christmas passed peacefully in the Park family

December 26, 2016- The Counter

We received an email we were not expecting. The Board was interested and countered our offer. Closing in March wasn’t an issue. (Karissa, our realtor shared that the seller’s agent even asked if we wanted to put a date that far out–it was not common nor beneficial for the seller) We decided to move forward and sign on the counter. At this point, it had not occurred that we were buying a house. It just felt like another lease being signed. While others were excited for us to sign, something wasn’t clicking in me.

” Are you not excited? We’re buying a home…”

I felt bad towards JP because as his wife, I wasn’t on the same page to celebrate and I couldn’t figure out why. I just felt numb towards the entire process. I would ask God,

“What’s wrong with me, God? Is there something not right in my heart? Why am I not excited for this house?”

***********************************************************************

(This is my rough draft of understanding the why: my heart was hardened with a straight/narrow plan that had no room to take any turns whatsoever in Minnesota. Our goal and purpose of leaving everything behind in California was school and adoption. To buy a house was not on the plan and I took it as:

“We’re not on track. We’re losing focus. I didn’t leave family and friends to sidetrack. If I’m going to be lonely out here, then at least we should do what we were supposed to do.”

Loneliness had a vice grip on my heart. Here’s how He showed me: Back in January, when I was still at VStar, I finally started opening up about our house plans. What triggered excitement was when I struck a conversation with a few other homeowners, moms, and wives. Seeing their excitement and hearing their feedback helped me realize that buying a house WAS a big deal. Mental knowledge wasn’t enough for me. I was a creature of emotions and interactions and the very lack of that caused this desensitizing inability to gauge big things like this. Not having people to run ideas and just do life with in Minnesota aka not having friends/fellowship/community, was “killing” my senses. 

I drove back home that day having a fresh awareness of this huge milestone in life. It wasn’t as near as JP’s excitement but something was planted and growing. I still believe that I’m the type that won’t celebrate during the process and will go all out to celebrate when it’s all said and done. 

***********************************************************************

I’m not saying this process was perfect. It wasn’t. Throw in the timing of me starting a new job- it caused a delay in our closing to the end of March. It is the grace of God that helped us not be anxious and trust God’s sovereignty and faithfulness. If He has brought us this far, then how can we doubt?

This morning’s closing went smoothly and as we both returned to our new home, this time with an extra key on our keyring…it slowly sank in. This is ours to use, to live in, to raise a family, to fellowship, to worship, to share with others, to exercise hospitality with, to honor God with. What a huge call. And you know what? He has led us to a schedule of doing just that. Praise God we have a BCS student who will move in with us in May. We have a returning Californian visiting us in May and we’re housing a longtime ministry guest as they’re visiting MN in June.

I told JP today that I think God had plans for us to buy this house and share this house. To purchase it in the state that it was- furnished (like a hotel) and stocked with everything we would need (cleaning supplies, dish sets, brand new blenders, place mats and diningware, plenty of chairs and furnished bedrooms) if we had to house somebody today. There was no excuse for us not to house somebody, today.

With that weighing on our hearts, here’s to Day 1 of being an official homeowner. Our prayer remains the same:

“Thank you Lord for this blessing. Lord, establish and bring order to our steps. Help us in being a good steward of this blessing You’ve given us.”

 

 

 

 

When God’s plan doesn’t make sense..

Too good to not share this morning. (Encourage you to sit down..its THAT long😸)

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?  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.  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: 나를 아는구나.이여자 똑똑하다..확인하는 방법이)

I didn’t want away thinking, “I got this…😏” 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? 

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.

Share tears-they’re good for you.

Monday night I played the third-wheeling wife again with JP & MJ’s bromance. We’ve been keeping up with 무한도전 (Infinity Challenge) recently with their Infinity Challenge Deliver Project. They took thousands of applications for the MHDJ team to deliver food to families around the world. Out of all the requests that came through, this story was by far the most emotional and tear-jerking story.

Her biological family was gathered and they mentioned how they wished to meet her adoptive parents. The door knocks..

They’re in for a beautiful and heart-warming surprised. MHDJ writers, I gotta give it to you guys.

thomaskelv

Her dad. (Mom passed away a year ago) Man the tears were flowing hard.

“Dad, these are my biological parents.”

“Thank you. Thank you so much.” Her biological father couldn’t stop thanking him for raising their daughter.

"The day we brought Sunyoung home was the happiest day of my life."

“The day we brought Sunyoung home was the happiest day of my life.”

"Watching her grow up to a beautiful young woman has brought me such joy."

“Watching her grow up to a beautiful young woman has brought me such joy.”

Maybe one day.. One day this may all come true for us.

Can’t imagine a far more difficult task/responsibility than raising a child to maturity. My friends would say that being pregnant and giving birth is scary but then what…raising the child is far more scarier.

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.

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…