Truth 4 Today

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.

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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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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.

A New Journey..

I don’t believe things happen by accident. Everything is known by my sovereign God who has the ability to pull a red light or a green light based on His purposes,…which almost all of them, I do not know. But one thing I do know this morning, is He’s alive. Alive not only in my life but in other’s as well. 

I’m completely behind on blogging this weekend. So much to write about..the trio’s remaining time together, Pathway’s baptism and the things God was just pressing on my heart, and then my interesting afternoon/evening. The day ended with information and confirmations that I was not expecting at all -both good and bad but in the end, God is in control and He’s up to something. 

When you hear about two opportunities to embark on, you would hope both are good. In my scenario, one of fabulous and the other is heartbreaking. Phone calls both one after another….

Fabulous shouts to me:

” I am doing a new work and I’ve confirmed it and worked it both in your hearts. Seek me and trust me with all your hearts Step out of the boat and walk to me. I am with you.” 

Heartbreaking shouts to me: 

“I am doing a new work and I’ve confirmed it and worked it both in your hearts. Seek me and trust me with all your hearts. Step out of the boat and walk to me. I am with you.” 

“I’m glad you’re surprisingly calm about it.” says my friend who broke the heartbreaking news. 

I kept thinking, “Am I in denial of this bad news?” ..no I accept it as a fact. “Am I apathetic towards the situation?” No, I’m sad that this is happening and want to seek God out. All my self-reflection questions led me to one solid truth: 

God is God and I am not. 

We both came to a conclusion that there was absolutely NOTHING we could do other than seek God and ask for His work to be done. Our hands are up and the white flag is waving. If that is the case..do I need to fret and worry? No..He is in control. He is God and I am not. Done deal on the heart issue. Sometimes I forget how relieving it is to trust in our God. How wonderfully light the burden is when we surrender and realize the reality that God is the one who can…not me. Because if it depended on me..oh man would I stress and struggle. 

God’s doing a new work. As I reflect on yesterday’s baptism and the background story to it, I can’t help but trust God even more. As I reflect on yesterday’s fabulous conversation, and how two hearts were in agreement to where God was leading, I can’t help but trust God even more. As I reflect on yesterday’s heartbreaking conversation and see that God is clearly in charge from the moment I wake up until the lay my head to rest, I can’t help but trust God even more. 

 

“It may not be the way I would have chosen. When You lead me through a world that’s not my home. But You never said it would be easy. You only said I’d never go alone.”

 

 

 

TRUTH FOR TODAY: You can’t preach Jesus and…..

And yet your words rarely matched up to how you live:You can’t preach Jesus and curse people.You can’t preach Jesus and threaten people.You can’t preach Jesus and be sexually vulgar.You can’t preach Jesus and denigrate women.You can’t preach Jesus and then shun people.You can’t preach Jesus and give rich people special privileges.You can’t preach Jesus and steal people’s materialYou can’t preach Jesus and approve the use of funds for your desires instead of the donor’s desire.You can’t preach Jesus and cheat your way onto bestseller lists.You can’t preach Jesus and then force your people to not compete with you in spreading the gospel.You can’t preach Jesus and then force people to either stay silent or not be paid.You can’t preach Jesus and seek to become the “greatest of these”.You just can’t. You see that right?It can’t be “do as I say, and not as I do” for a pastor.We need to see you be like Jesus, more than we need to hear you say “it’s all about Jesus”.It really is this simple: to preach Jesus, you have to be like Jesus.

via I. Am. Not. Anonymous..