February 22, 2014
The last time we had Testimony Night at Hope Church, I cried through the entire service. I was so taken with the testimonies of how God was moving…..but I felt left out and wrought with condemnation. I couldn’t think of one testimony from my life and I felt ashamed. As life went forward, God used your testimonies to set me free. Since then, because of this Body, I am looking for testimony everywhere.
About a year ago, Peter set a phrase within one of his sermons that shook me: “We are praying for God to eradicate us from the American Dream.” I felt the knife of conviction turn in my soul and at the exact same time…immediate, beautiful, freeing relief. That Sunday, Tom and I went forward to have our African missionaries, Jared and Keisha Pierce, pray over us for the eradication of the American Dream. Later, at a sending off service for our missionaries, Jared spoke on total dependence on the Lord. He said he had been begging God to make him more and more dependent on Him and to take everything else away.
That scared me. And it also reverberated as the answer my soul was looking for.
I looked around my life and realized I had bought into a lie. And the lie was taking up all my time and attention and energy and effort. I was living a life contrary to the Word of God.
I had made money an idol. I was participating in a game of life. To Satan’s delight, his counterfeit plan was working. I believed lies: Money could get me out of every problem in life. Money entertained me and kept me comfortable. My kids attended private school with an excellent reputation and money initiated them into a social bubble. I was running on a constant treadmill to keep up my outward appearance—-and yet I kept feeling like a flower fading in a vase. This life took all my energy, but everything I produced kept disappearing. And so I worked harder.
We own a house in an area of town that says “I’m important and valuable”…but inside, I felt like I was nobody.
It was so subtle and alluring. …..summers in Colorado provided escape from reality. Country club memberships outwardly said we belonged when I felt like a fraud. Not only money, but fear and worry besieged me. Almost every thought I had was one of worry or doubt or fear. Materialism and success had all become idols and produced the fruit of coveting. I never arrived at the destination of contentment.
I had hacked away at my identity for years, but unknowingly, I was asking the American Dream to fulfill my identity. I had one foot trusting God and one foot following the world. I wanted to fit in. I wanted to belong. I wanted to be loved. I had erroneously bought into the world’s systems to answer my questions.
Like a miner, God convicted my sin, holding a flashlight into the dark caverns of my soul….He revealed deep pockets of sin and then began excavating it. One verse He used was: Deuteronomy 6—-“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and all your soul and with all your might. These words I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children and talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand and they shall be frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.”
God’s first plan of attack was our take on traditional school. We left our old school and now our kids are enrolled in a hybrid school. I home-school three days a week. It has gutted a whole new layer of sin issues for me…Yet, God led us and has provided inordinate amounts of grace. I invest in deep discipleship time with my children, which means I must let go of a lot of other things….but I know I am focusing on what God has called me to do in excellence.
God’s next plan to eradicate us was His call to sell our house. In the past years, our house was an embarrassing, locked fortress of shame. The walls of our house have heard threats of divorce and seen adulterous relationships pursued. Addiction raged through our halls and we were all captives to it. Though our house looked like the American Dream on the outside…on the inside—-our family was disintegrating.
But in His great mercy, today our house is a sanctuary of worship. Our home is host to home group every week that literally ushers in the Holy Spirit within all those glorious Hope Church members. We pray out loud, Korean-style every week. We gather in small group prayer and believe for big things. The walls of our home have watched our marriage and family be rebuilt on the cornerstone of Jesus Christ. Our home has hosted a bridal party minutes before a wedding—-a Hope Church bride dressing for her wedding, surrounded by her attendants. God overwhelmingly turned a brothel into a bridal chamber.
So, we followed God and put our house on the market to sell this week. Like Abraham, we feel we have been called to go, but we have no idea where we are headed. God, in His faithfulness, overwhelmingly confirmed His call. On the first day 53 realtors walked through our house and we had 10 showings. While we prayed in home group the following night, we received an over-full price offer for our home. A day later, we received a second over full-price offer, including a picture of the family and a letter persuading us to chose them as buyers. The letter was a testimony to everyone who has passionately pursued Christ within our walls—-and it reads, “
“You have created a beautiful, elegant home brimming with warmth and love.
We very much believe that God has a plan for all us, including our home search. We’ve been looking for over a year for that perfect home….Finally, we’ve found “the one.”
Your house radiates a sense of comfort and happiness unlike any other place we’ve seen.”
That credit completely belongs to God alone. His presence rests on us, unwarranted. He rooted out my sin of agreeing with the world’s systems and He changes the direction of my life one step at a time. He HAS set me free and He IS setting me free….from having my identity in anything else but Him. I choose to forsake the false promises of the world and choose instead to follow the One who made the world.
I realize now… He is writing a love story. He is cutting out all my other little loves, so He could be my only One. As I let go, He proves to be My Rock and My Foundation. More than eight years ago, He cut out all media from my life, eliminating tv, movies, and any music but worship. For the last three weeks, I have worn this same tshirt as an outward sign to me to trust God,….a constant reminder that I am set apart from the world and my identity comes from Him alone. He is my Beloved and I am His. What results is the greatest of intimacy—an intimacy so close it is like a woman pregnant with child and like the purest intimacy between a husband and a wife.
I want to pursue onward the prize of knowing Jesus Christ.
so lately i’ve been rediscovering what it looks like for me to be romantically involved and how when i’m dating someone they get to see a part of me that a lot of people don’t.
a part that people probably wouldn’t think existed.
and i don’t necessarily feel hypocritical or anything but i also feel like it leads people to not know all of me. and then as i get caught up in those those thoughts i’m reminded that, the person whom you confide in emotionally to the extent that you do with someone you’re pursing a future with, is going to inevitably start to learn the depths of your heart and parts of your personality that don’t need to exist to the whole world.
i blog this picture and this post, in general, to record and publicly acknowledge the fact that i am aware of who i am with a significant other and that i can be a needy baby at times… a lot of times.
i’m thankful that God has placed someone in my life who desires to endure all aspects of who I am and can even account them as beautiful because of who created me.
How God is working on my heart, February edition
This month I’ve really been enlightened on what it looks like to use my resources wisely. This includes my time, finances and talents.
I’m continuing to learn that efficiency isn’t necessarily what needs to guide all of my decisions and that spending time resting and with people I love is just as important as getting a paper done for school.
1Peter 4:10 "As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, of good Stewards of God’s given grace."
I’ve been reminded that all that is given to me is a true, undeserved blessing from God and that using everything to bring Him honor is most important.
1 Corinthians 6:19-20 "Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body."
I pray that I continue to seek opportunities to serve the people around me well with what God has given me and that it used as a light for what He desires for us all.
Jessica Simpson - 1999 Access Hollywood’s First Interview
"Read the Bible praying, ‘Father, hold my mind’s attention. Wake my heart’s affection. Speak for your glory and my holy joy.’"
John Piper (via restoredtolife)
words are hard to form when I think about the favor that God had shown Matt.
the trip to North Carolina solidified all of my emotions for him and our relationship. and i am overwhelmed with the goodness that has come from meeting him. i love that both of us were not seeking a relationship and yet couldn’t see it being any other way now. and that because we weren’t desiring, it’s one more testament to who God is and how He can work.
here are some things i’ve learned:
- Matt’s heart is so big. he cares and gives so generously with joy and without hesitation.
- he puts up with my antics with grace and love.
- he is just as silly as me and we can laugh for hours.
- he is a servant, a joyful servant to everyone around him.
- the way he desires for us to stay in the word and prayer together is a great indication of the leader he will be.
- he is diligent and 100% thoughtful.
- he has so much patience, so much.
- he is a true gentleman in all that that stands for.
- his presence makes my heart warm.
- i’ve never felt like i was at home with anyone else.
when you grow up in the bible you hear about ways that men are supposed to treat women and what women deserve. Peter and Paul, write about it in ways that make it seem so easy to oblige by but growing up in today’s culture, it’s not necessarily what we see. however, Matt strives to be a man of the word and i could have never imagined that someone like him would exist, yet alone, exist and be with me.
i have enjoyed the past four months of getting to know him and his heart and i don’t see an end to my learning.
"If you live gladly to make others glad in God, life will be hard, risks will be high, and your joy will be full."
John Piper (via tallerthanlions)
holiday fun days
here’s what my next 9 days look like, this is for documentation and processing purposes (eek!):
shopping with sister and Kaden
dinner with Ojeda’s and Brown’s
off work early
home alone with sisters family
work dinner party
family dinner and light viewing
ornament making part with sojourn girls
extended family party