“_____________________”

When all the vocabulary in the world fails to represent what my heart is feeling today.

“Pain” is an understatement. “Sadness” is only a sliver of it. “Heartbroken” is only the first layer of the onion.

What word is there, English? Do you have anything for me, Korean?

O God.. You know exactly what this heart is experiencing. I seek Your counsel, wisdom, comfort, and power today. Overwhelm me with a peace that this world cannot offer. That perfect peace that transcends all understanding. Come guard my heart and mind in Christ Jesus. I pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.

March 24 2015

My 1st opportunity to do a group session. Four hours.

I don’t know what happened but whatever it was…it was God. Unexpected topics came about But even through that I feel that God is working in the midst of it. I cannot wait to hear how this will all turn out at the end of the trip. NEA2015

image

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.

image

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.

Safety is not guaranteed

Today was the first time in a long time I was reminded of this sobering truth.

I first learned about this in a sermon called Prayer Remix by Louie Giglio (Before questionable teaching/association days)

He challenged us in our prayers and heart attitudes during praying. There are 5 common phrases we Christians always say. It’s like we say it because that what we’ve heard all our lives so we throw it in there like a disclaimer or silence filler without truly knowing.

“God, protect us.”

Initially it sounds perfectly fine doesn’t it? What’s wrong with asking God to protect us? I don’t think there’s anything wrong until we feel when safety becomes a priority over obedience or trusting God even in questionable circumstances. Safety is not guaranteed ever. There is nobody in the Bible that claimed to follow Jesus who had life easy safe and sound. Every disciple died because of their faith. They faced persecution and were in danger constantly. People came after them attacking and accusing. “There’s never a dull moment” is really an understatement for the disciples.

Especially for someone like me living in America. Land of the free. Freedom rings and freedom of religion is still one of the most prized yet taken forgranted in this country.

This morning a situation arose where I felt that freedom was slightly tainted or scratched on the surface. We serve on the ushering team and we had a group of 3 including myself. I noticed our pastor speaking to another member and they quietly asked pulled me aside. The news and instructions they gave me were not what I expected at all.

” A gentleman (somebody’s father) will be looking for ______. They are not mentally stable at this point. If he comes, please notify that person and ask them to come out of the chapel so he can escort him outside. If he tries to cause violence or start a fight, do not get involved or try to stop them but call the police immediately.”

It sounds bad. But at the time nobody could guesstimate how this gentleman would react. Standing there with my teammates was similar to the feeling of that classic game where you pull the swords out of the monkey barrel? Anxious and nervousness. I was waiting for a good moment to inform my other two co-servants but with people around it was hard to go into details and hard to pull them away without making things obvious or weird.

And then…I saw him. I recognized the face instantly and waited for him to approach out greeting station. He asked for that person and I said I would bring them out. I turned around to see that the was following me and asked him to please wait outside because worship was in progress. He agreed and shortly after blurred, “F***!!!!! ㅅㅂ(a Korean cuss word basically meaning poo or F”

I quickly told that person that they’re here. As soon as they came out the hello and cussing began. Two words were repeated over and over and somehow he was quickly escorted outside the building. Or or were shocked and frightened. Nobody expects to walk into a church building to hear this or are it. Everybody had this “What…the….” It was an awkward and frightening moment for everybody.

I couldn’t make a decision whether I wanted to dial 911 or search for the local police department number. I called in and told them there’s a gentleman who will not leave our premise and is causing disturbances. Thankfully two brothers got involved and somehow was able to escort the man further down the parking lot. 911 needed to transfer me over to local police but I hung up not sure what to do at that point. They called me back and my phone was silent so two officers came eventually.

I felt horrible. Fear is not the right word though it’s mixed in there. Felt sick in the heart. Unsettling. I came quietly back to my station and I could see my hands were shaking. My handwriting became shaky as I wrote nametags for people who continued to walk in. When this all happened the 3 of us were standing there along with 2 other ladies. We all just felt super numb. Lack of words. And to know he said he would come back every Sunday..was something I wish I didn’t hear. I hope it’s just a bluff. In case it’s not.. God, you are our light and our salvation..whom shall we fear? Give us courage O God.

This is different than when you see a homeless man yelling or shouting profanity on the streets. Even if that homeless man came into our building and did the same it would not feel the same way. This was somebody’s father. Somebody we love and is a member of our church body. This was a man who was mentally unstable. This could have been my dad or my father in law. Upset and emotional for some reason. This was where we called our gathering place for the body of believers to come and worship. This was our safe haven. Our space to come and seek God. Where people who are broken come to seek peace, not to have it shattered. They seek comfort not fear.

My heart split open into so many pieces. For the family members of this gentleman. For the people who witnessed and must have felt so many different emotions. For the two other servants and the two ladies who saw everything upfront…and for the gentleman.

I made my way into the chapel to join JP for worship. My heart…all it longed for was to be with Jesus. I didn’t care to know the reason and motives behind all this. I didn’t care to know. I just wanted Jesus. It was a bubble that was popped.

After a few hours of processing..
I remembered what Louie Giglio had said…..our safety is not guaranteed. Whether were overseas serving as missionaries preaching the Gospel which some would find far more worthy of protection and safety or whether were gathering to worship as a solemn assembly. It is not guaranteed. I began to think of my brothers and sisters around the world who face persecution weekly or daily. At their church or in their homes. On the street in the public. At school. Whether they’re known as a Christian or not. Harm is there. Sin is there. Evil is there.

I kept thinking, “Judy..man up..this is nothing compared to what others go through. ” Yet my heart felt as weak as if all the blood had drained. It ached and hurt for this family. That man. The way others were shaken by all this. It hurt and ached so much.

It could have been a man with a gun. A bomb. Anything..Anything…

Came home exhausted. Just drained. Overwhelmed. Slept for 3 hours only to have dreams where I and other church members were being pursued or chased out. Anxiety and nervousness in sleep or awake.

Read some Word to fill my heart and mind with more of Him….

Psalm 27

13
I remain confident of this:
    I will see the goodness of theLord
    in the land of the living.
14 Wait for the Lord;
    be strong and take heart
    and wait for the Lord.

My blog is a poor documentation of today. But it’s all that I can say. I desire to be in His courts for 1 day..than a 1000 days elsewhere.

Praise You God for You are a sovereign God. People may make mistakes but You do not. In You alone I put my trust.