It is God who knows us and our destiny. We don’t even know ourselves.
My story here in America starts the year I failed Kindergarten. My dad had just gotten stationed in Washington State, and our family made the big move from South Korea to Fort Lewis, an Army base just outside of Tacoma and Seattle.
I remember the moving trucks helping us put our boxes and furniture in our new home. I can still remember the rain falling as I would walk to school with my little brother. Sometimes on our way home, we would actually climb trees to try to reach the heights and end up with sap all over our arms, legs, and clothes.
My kindergarten teacher was kind. I think she was my first one. I remember getting an award from her in art. I remember making a beautiful shadowbox from lollipop sticks out of everything we collected from the Redwood Forest we called the backyard of our school. I learned the term “jack-in-the-pulpit” that day, a type of flower. Not bad for a girl who couldn’t speak English.
I failed kindergarten that year because I couldn’t say the Pledge of Allegiance to the flag. The truth is, I couldn’t speak English, so they probably knew I wasn’t ready for first grade. The pledge was probably the litmus test that I wasn’t ready.
It’s ironic looking back. Because today…I know the value of that pledge. I have always loved it.
Fort Lewis was beautiful. Sky-high, thick-bodied Redwood trees greeted me in the mornings behind the school on our playground. My friends and I used to play hopscotch there. The first guy I ever fell in love with used to get beat in tether-ball there almost every day. I skipped or side-galloped to school some days instead of walking just so I could beat Shane in tether-ball, too. He was so cute!
Well, eventually, the chapter of the beautiful Pacific Northwest came to a close, and we all moved to the farmlands in Illinois.
Surrounded by the corn fields at Union Center, my siblings and I would board the bus to go to a small town public school in Casey, IL. There, I would take speech pathology to learn better English. I was in 4th grade then. I would learn words like “colander” instead of spaghetti strainer. And, that year my parents would divorce, and I would hide behind my long hair by pulling it all over my face. I didn’t want to see the world, and I definitely didn’t want the world to see me. But, in speech pathology somehow I would remember that learning my “p’s” and “f’s” were important.
Skipping over chapters, I will now fast forward to my high school years because I am trying to make my point that God knows us better than we know ourselves.
In high school, history was my most boring subject. But, I loved English. In history I never paid attention, not even when everyone wanted to spend all semester talking about JFK’s assassination. So, I didn’t understand why my junior year I would be chosen to attend Illinois Girl State to learn how to run for office. It was my high school boyfriend who helped me do well in my senior government class. I honestly didn’t understand or care about the concepts. I never thought it would ever apply to me.
But, God has a way of knowing us better than ourselves.
In college, I got mostly A’s. But, I got a “C” in my U.S. history class at the U of I. It seemed that no matter how hard I tried, I could never get interested in history.
Then, something happened.
My 6th year in teaching, I was reassigned from teaching freshmen to teaching juniors. I was to teach them American Literature. In order to do that, I had to read Founding documents and study about the Founding Fathers.
When I did, my eyes were opened. I found Jesus there in all the secular school book pages that covered America’s development from the times of the Pilgrims all the way through contemporary America.
Little did I know that one day God would use those four years of teaching American Lit as a catalyst for moving me towards getting a Master’s degree in Government.
Sometimes when we look back, we see God’s hand on our lives in ways that show us He is always with us, and truly He knows the plans He has for us.
Last January when I made the leap of faith to move here to Virginia, I had a sub job. Interestingly enough, it was for a junior American Lit. class. God reminded me that He was with me. Today, I teach English at the school where I subbed then.
Tonight as I was studying, I came across in my readings “The Third Charter of Virginia.” and “The Mayflower Compact.” It is so incredible to me to actually be living here in Virginia where so much of our Founding history began. Again, I am reminded that God knows the plans He has for us. He also knows our hearts, He created them. At any given moment, He knows what is inside them.
I am blown away tonight by the ironies and consistencies of my God. To Him, it doesn’t matter that He transported a half-Asian girl across the globe and gave her a heart for America. To Him, He had it all planned. I’m the one who is always amazed at how FAITHFUL He is to me.
I have heard some friends share that they don’t have the knowledge I have about history, etc., and I just feel really humbled because I know my beginnings. It is GOD ONLY who has made any of this possible in my life. And, one thing I am very aware of is that He is NOT a respecter of persons. The story He is writing in my life, He is doing the same with yours, you only need to be open to seeing Him writing the very unique and special story He has for you; He has one for each of us. It says so in His Word. ❤
I hope this encourages someone tonight. It encouraged me to look back. God is GOOD.
God bless you and your family!
Psalm 139:13-18 (TPT)
13 You formed my innermost being, shaping my delicate inside
and my intricate outside,
and wove them all together in my mother’s womb.
14 I thank you, God, for making me so mysteriously complex!
Everything you do is marvelously breathtaking.
It simply amazes me to think about it!
How thoroughly you know me, Lord!
15 You even formed every bone in my body
when you created me in the secret place,
carefully, skillfully shaping me from nothing to something.
16 You saw who you created me to be before I became me!
Before I’d ever seen the light of day,
the number of days you planned for me
were already recorded in your book.
Life is short. But, we don’t realize just how much until one morning we get on Facebook during break at work, and we learn that one of our best friends from 5th grade has passed away.
I can’t write about the details of her death as I am still processing it all. But, one thing I can write about is how people can make an incredible impact on our lives, even its for a brief year in grade school. So…let me take a moment to try and express why I love this lady who has now gone Home.
In 5th Grade my family moved from Casey, IL to the new town of Mattoon, IL. I was the oldest of 6 children at that time because my father was marrying a lady who had two kids, and I already had 4 siblings. We lived in government housing, barely had clean clothes and food, and we attended a new school.
There were times I wanted to crawl under a rock. I was so ashamed of the negligence in my family, and on top of all that, I could hardly speak English very well. These were all very embarrassing reasons why sometimes at school I wanted to hide, and I often did behind my writings in my journal.
But, one day that year I found a very strong and rare friend in Penny. She was tall for our grade, and she walked with a swag of confidence that seemed to challenge the world. Over the course of the year, she would be someone I would respect and admire: Penny Day.
We found things to laugh about, and she actually took the time to get to know me beyond my appearance and awkward shyness. She made me feel “normal” at a time when everything was so NOT normal. My parents had just gone through a divorce. My once stay-at-home mom was no longer living with us, and I was still going through grief over that.
But, I had my mom’s Korean dress. And, it was Penny who made me feel special the day I wore it.
For Halloween, it was someone’s great idea that I should wear my mom’s Korean Dress to school. It was a hit. Penny especially thought so. I think that was the day she officially became my true friend. I saw the look of pride and genuine interest in her eyes. She never asked, but I saw the question in them: How in the world could I have the guts to do something so crazy as to highlight my Asian culture when all around 95% of the kids were white as the corn in the fields behind our school? I guess she grew in respect for me that day, too. We both knew we were brave girls. To find our brave in 5th grade was a rare gift, after all.
Maybe that is why I am struggling some with her passing.
5th grade was a transitional year for me, and Penny helped me to feel strong that year by her genuine smile and down-to-earth kindness. I was not saved then. I’m not sure that she was either. We were just two girls, though, whom the Lord was obviously working on to bring us into His fold. We wanted the good things in life. We valued goodness in others and wanted to change the world with compassion. Of course, God would have more for us in the chapters of our lives to come, but that year, we leaned on the innocence of our 5th Grade to use our brains and our hearts to change our little world around us, beginning with sharing kindness and respect for one another.
Penny was my first friend at Bennett Elementary School. And, because she took the time to accept me as I was, I grew in confidence there and soon made other friends.
We never know how a single life can impact ours. I wish I had the chance to tell her all this when she was still alive.
43 years old is too young to die. I just wish I would have known that she needed a friend this hour. I would have thanked her for being my true friend when I needed one the most, and I would have shared with her who I found to be the most FAITHFUL FRIEND in my life over some of my most hard and challenging years since grade school, Jesus Christ.
No matter how hard life can be, we do have a friend who sticks closer than a brother. Jesus Christ, the King of Life, is FOR US and with us. There is nothing we can go through that He hasn’t already endured. If I had a chance to have coffee with Penny, these are the things we would have talked about as adults, I am sure. I am glad she knew Jesus. I would have just reminded her how much He loves her, how much He loves all of us. We all need these reminders from time to time when life gets so hard and complicated.
So, I pray that this touches someone. Thank your friends for being there. Hold onto Jesus during hard times. Embrace LIFE, and keep the Faith.
God bless Penny’s family and friends!
PS I am attaching a link to a song. I have not seen the musical, and I don’t endorse it, but my church a few years ago did a remake of the song, and I loved the musicality of it. Tonight I realized the song reminded me of my feelings for my friend, and I changed some of the words. I couldn’t make her visitation or funeral, so this is my goodbye.
A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother. Proverbs 18:24
I may be old-school but I find something extremely attractive about a man who respects my voice, space, and giftings/calling, and who isn’t intimidated to lead me in Christ.
Obviously, I am a capable leader on my own. I probably could be single my whole life. It feels easier and safer, for sure. But, does God’s will revolve around our security or His purpose? Well, if I choose to partner with such a man, he will will be a rare gift from God. I know it.
Marriage is a gift. Let’s not be like the world and throw it away, but remember it’s a picture of Jesus’ relationship with the church. Yes, I am able to lead myself. The greater stretch for me will be entrusting my heart and life to a man, a God-given man, for the purpose of God’s glory in and through our union. We shall see if God has this Boaz somewhere out there!!!
Be open to marriage. The world is turning away from it. Marriage may be hard, but it’s God’s first institution. God called it very good!!!
So God created mankind in his own image,
in the image of God he created them;
male and female he created them.
God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”
You can reach so high
Make the boundless sky
Your total claim, your destiny
But when all you grasp is gone
And you’re no longer holding on
To the castles in the air
You will wake up to see
It was never about the win
Because the beginning and the end
Is really all the same
At the Cross
But after the fight of your life
To demand all your rights
What was it worth if your
Life is totally lost?
Jesus died to cover every weakness, every sin.
Jesus died to let mercy triumph…
It’s only in surrender
That true JUSTICE wins.
I wrote this after hearing about Kavanaugh not being accepted to teach at Harvard. What incredible lessons we are learning about success this hour. Honestly, our calling in life is greater than a position. I find that people who are vying for the top like all the Harvard students who are persecuting Kavanaugh are going to eventually see an error to their ways. The fight to win rights is always a loss. We are just human and our greatest rights were given by Jesus. Without Him, what kinds of rights would be really have? Our civil society and fight for justice looks very odd these days. It doesn’t look like justice at all. Not when sinners are tearing apart sinners and having no mercy. I’m not sure what people are thinking they can prove. Who among is with a pure slate? If we go around accusing, devouring, and setting people up for failure, then we will reap the devastation of what happens when everyone is considered a loser by society. Maybe that is the lesson we should all learn, though. Without Jesus, we are all losers of truth, grace, mercy, and real life. I’d rather lose my life at the Cross for Christ than have the world affirm me. Praying for Kavanaugh. #nobodyhastherighttotearapartsomeonslife
My heart is really sad for what has happened to Judge Kavanaugh. I believe he will be our next Supreme court justice. He will attain this with scars. So many times when we choose to serve others, we go through sacrifice and pain. The world has this dark way of needing the taste of blood. It’s a sickness at the core. Satan hates people. He hates truth. He makes things look true that are not true. Sometimes it takes years to unravel a knot he creates.
I know this because I went through my own false charges when I was a teacher at a high school—false charges about telling students about Jesus. It’s a sad, sad truth, really, but I never told students about how to get saved, or about their need for a savior, or that somehow Jesus would save them from their sins, I simply just lived my life. It’s a sad truth for all who know my heart for evangelism and Jesus, but I never shared the Gospel of Jesus Christ to a single class or held an alter call asking if any of those kids wanted to be saved. Anyone who has known me since junior high would know that that is my calling, to do just that, as my friends got saved in public school because I told them about Jesus. But, I didn’t do that in my classes. I knew it would be wrong. So, I just lived it. God wouldn’t even let me wear a cross. He told me not to. The one time I did because I wanted to, it offended a student. I took the cross off. And, in a letter, asking him for forgiveness for offending him, I gave him my necklace. God told me to.
So, when it came down to it, those who wanted to see me hurt, chose to twist things until it looked like somehow I was breaking a rule—that we are not to tell kids about Jesus in public school. Funny, because it felt more like I wasn’t allowed to be a Christian in a public school. It was the students who attacked my faith. Not me telling them how to get saved. I just lived my life, my saved life, and in the end, somehow it convicted them.
That’s the thing about truth…It will last forever. Truth will last forever. But, evil and lies, they last only until truth is discovered. The downside is that sometimes that takes years and so much damage gets done. But, I love how God’s mercy still always wins.
I can’t imagine what Judge Kavanaugh and his family are going through. But, I know that humanity is dark, and without Jesus Christ, there is no hope. Judge Kavanaugh will become our next supreme court justice, and he will continue to be fair and gracious. Why? Because he said he loves God. God has this way of strengthening those He calls to carry on—as if nothing has ever even happened, with a heart of forgiveness, walking in humility with understanding that although human kind is dark, the God of our hearts is bigger than that, and for those of us who choose to abide in Him and walk in His truth, we overcome all that darkness to get the job done, to fulfill our calling, to reach this dark generation—to be the one, who will answer to the call, to stand, to take His light into a darkened world.
I get it. God always wins. I believe God allowed this in Judge Kavanaugh’s life just because He always wins. Alway, all the way Home.
Proverbs 12:17 When you tell the truth, justice is done, but lies lead to injustice.
Forgiveness has this way of opening our hearts wide to the fullness of God.
I loved my devotional today. In the devo, the speaker talked about the verse where God says if we call someone “raca” or “fool” we are in danger of hell fire. That always seemed extreme in the Bible, and I never got it, not until today.
What God means by that is if we have contempt for anyone where we want to write them off from our lives then we are not loving like Christ loves and we have to evaluate our inner hearts to match our outer lives. We can’t have a heart that writes people off and deceive ourselves to think that we are carriers of His ultimate grace, love, and forgiveness. To truly love and forgive is a miracle, then, really, something beyond ourselves, born from God. We love and we forgive because He first loves us and forgives us.
I am thankful for devotionals that challenge me throughout the whole day. I have seen what reconciliation can do in families and relationships. Forgiveness is an amazing God-gift that will bring multitudes to the Ultimate Forgiver if we will practice love in action and learn to stay His course.
Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. Ephesians 4:32
“And blessed is he who is not offended because of Me.” Luke 7:23
John was the man. He gave his whole life to be a front runner for Jesus Christ. He knew what it meant to sacrifice a life of comfort and social luxury, to be a trailblazer and pioneer through a wilderness for the Lord. His heart was fixed and right. He knew and lived out the position that Christ must increase, but he had to decrease.
And there he is in chapter 7. He is in prison for speaking righteousness and calling out truth. Soon, he would be beheaded. And, in that prison cell, he audaciously sends a messenger to ask Jesus who He really is. Even though he already knew the truth.
As you know, I began my Luke study in early-August. And, I have been stuck here for the past 3 weeks, pondering that verse over and over again, as I sensed God had more to.show me.
I never quite understood Jesus’ response so well until last night at Equip. A ministering sister asked those who were still willing for breakthroughs to stand, and she shared about this story. She shared how in our long waits we could begin to take offense at God for not receiving our promises. In my heart, I didn’t feel offended at God, but I could feel for the first time John’s heartbreak and weariness, as I have felt my own questions and weariness on hard days, as well. I don’t believe he was offended at Jesus, but the overthinking was trying to unsettle the truth in His soul to get him offended. But Jesus saw that and didn’t let it happen. Christ checked him. Oh, how He faithfully guards our hearts! ❤ Just like times Jesus has checked me when I consider for too long my why, why, why’s.
This verse finally made sense to me. It’s like Jesus was saying for John not to be offended at His way because even that is all Jesus!!! Could John finally see and identify and KNOW Christ in his Way, at his hardest hour? I believe he did. Jesus was telling John there is NO OTHER WAY than His way. And, HE IS THE WAY. No doubting Jesus’ identity in that!!!
Don’t be offended at the Way God leads you. It is Jesus’ Way. Don’t be offended because Jesus is doing something a specific way in your life. You will be blessed to just trust God. You already know rhe Truth.
If Jesus thinks it’s best to go a certain way in your life, don’t get offended because of His leading. Just trust and follow. You will be blessed for your trust in Him. Keep your peace. Keep your faith. JESUS IS FAITHFUL!!! (Even when it looks hard and feels like you have lost it all). <3. He led you that Way, so rejoice!!! Don’t be offended at Jesus. Thank Him! Just think, HE IS GOD, AND HE CHOSE THAT SPECIFIC WAY FOR YOU!!! Yeh, God! =) In a very securing way, we can rest in that. Selah.
God’s dreams for us are bigger than just ourselves. Meaning the focus will not just be about us but His plan of Salvation for the whole world. In our churches today we have been focused on our own issues of fame & glory from worship leaders on the stage to people writing books and becoming conference speakers. It was easy to wonder if somehow God would give us such an extravagant calling. It was easy to become self-focused and constantly pursuing God for His promises for His plans for us.
But God has shown me that this kind of thinking is really not His gospel or His dreams for us as Christians. His dream for us is to empower us to carry hope and salvation to a dying and lost world. It will always require that we lay down our lives and carry our crosses. The abundant life that Jesus talks about is not in our safety or fame or even productivity. It is in being full of the Holy Spirit, to live a life abiding in Jesus Christ.
As a child I was always a dreamer, wanting to become someone, unique, important, and of significance. Now I realize that my dreams were very small. They were focused on me.
God’s dreams for me are for me to focus on Jesus and the world. That magnificent scope is a vision that can only come from God and the glory that results can only go back to God.
When we think today about our dreams and the difference that we want to make, what will the dream accomplish? If it takes carrying a cross, we are probably living the God-dream, rather than our self-dream.
I refuse to limit God to man’s cultural religion. Leave it to man, and God will no longer be a Healer, just only a Comforter. But, the thing is…He is both. He can still heal today. I refuse to believe that cancer is greater than God. Cancer is a disease. Jesus took the stripes for all diseases, and He knew someday there would be something called cancer. We can’t forget God’s Word. He said to confess our sins and to be healed. He said He would send forth His Word and heal us. He is still our Healer.
Sometimes God calls His children Home. He knows when we need Healing at Home more than we need Healing on earth. But, He should be the One to decide that, not man.
I believe our first recourse must always be surrender and faith when we get sick. Surrender to ask forgiveness and mercy for our sins if we sinned and/or faith to believe God wants to be glorified as Healer through our lives. He IS Healer. We must always make that our default belief. By Jesus’ stripes we are healed.
Friday I was in tears on my way home. My head was throbbing. I put my hand on the base of my neck, and I simply prayed and asked God to heal me. I heard His Spirit tell me that He loved me. I let that wash over me. Although the top right of my head still hurt, the base of my neck had no pain. It was all gone. All gone. I found myself marveling at that, but I should know it’s part of my inheritance as His child. Healing is what the Father does.
I know when people die whom we care for it challenges us to the core. Why does disease seem to have the upper hand? Where is healing? I am here to say that I still believe God heals. He is Healer. He always will be. Never cease praying for the health of those we love. Let God choose where He wants to heal them, in heaven or on earth. But, let’s partner WITH the Holy Spirit and AGREE for others’ complete healing in Jesus Christ. God loves us. ❤