Tag Archives: love

Unedited

I am strong
I am beautiful
I am determined
I have dreams

But tonight
I will let myself feel some things

It’s one of those nights
Every song on the radio seems right
Endlessly drifting on like a kite
Into the melodic worlds in my mind
I won’t put up a fight
No, not this time

If I say all that I feel
Would it even be real
Or only exist like the Man of Steel
The run of imaginations on a picture reel
You could call it a gift or an Achilles heel

Life really throws curveballs sometimes
And all I can do is come up with rhymes
This and that and nonsensical lines
These are my only unedited times
I guess it’s all meant to grow you by design
Struggle and pain is still divine
Everything can change at the drop of a dime
Everything known could end at anytime
But tonight all I do is let out a sigh…

At the thought of accepting and letting go

I had dreams
and it was my everything
But I’ve forgotten what it all means
No, the meaning has lost me
And I think that’s a very good thing
But it has changed everything
And most of the time I’ve been ready

So back to the drawing board
And I might be onto something
I am someone new
and there’s more to this truth

The dark side of the same coin

Happiness sits in the fantasies
Although it’s more than real to me
Pulling me down like gravity
Depending on how I see
Sometimes I am floating
You were that and now I see
It can never ever really be
This kind of life for you and me
So snap back to reality

I hate waking up in the morning
Go get in touch and do some soul searching
Got me to the edge and to the reaching
As I’m falling
Longing
Beating
Breathing
Still falling
Breathe me
Feel it
Don’t
I want to
You want to
Deny it
Soak
I want you to
Be
Sing it
I won’t
You won’t
I can’t
I can’t
That’s that

Tomorrow I will be back
Like it was none of that
Tonight I forget the fact
That I know white from black
Wish I could turn back
But I don’t

I won’t have regrets
I’ve counted 100 to nothing
They will appear and disappear
Depending on how it looks in the mirror
From where I’m standing

Either way
We are still in the present day
And I’m told God loves me the same
At least that’s why I figure my heart keeps beating on
So it’ll keep dreaming on

Though I’ll fly and sink low every time you catch my eye
And I’ll say goodbye
I know more that nothing can stop me

I am strong
I am beautiful
I am determined
I have dreams

Goodbye.
Good Mourning.
And.
Good Morning.

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Old Red Chair

Old red chair
Music filling the air
Guy playing with her hair
Anger flowing from despair
Sadness doesn’t seem fair
Love is a threat he said
Alone in an empty bed
Rings true in my head
Loneliness chokes melodies
Or creates them steadily
Searching for something readily
But still left so empty
Perhaps not so different from me
I know it isn’t so far from me
At least who I used to be
Or who I think I am sometimes
We all get a little blind
To the supposed realities in our minds
But I want to know the truth
I know a greater love is the proof
John Mayer has said it well
Love is a verb
And it surely disturbs
Anything that isn’t really real
Do we really want to be free?
Do we really want to see?
I’m not so sure.
In my view is a young pair
He’s playing with her hair
And I’m breathing in the same air
As the melodies of despair
Trying to hide that I care
In this old red chair
In this old red chair

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The Sound

Again…

… awake in the middle of the night.
Turning and waiting for a sound that’s right.
Maybe a lullaby, a hum, a melody that’s sweet.
Something soft and gentle to put me to sleep.

It’s so very quiet,
But it’s still so loud.
If I lean in…
Will You blow away the doubt?

Then I hear it… I hear the sound…
It descends upon me like a gentle cloud,
Enveloping my fears and piercing through the shroud…

A voice so soothing, calm, and powerful, too…
I hear the sound,
“I love you.”

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Duty, Porn, and a Heart Transplant

By the time I was a senior in high school about to go off to college, I found out I was a very angry person. I wasn’t angry at any person(s) in particular, but more at an invisible “system”. It was the pressures and obligations I had adhered to and lived under for so most of my life.

I was a Christian, a worship leader, the oldest child of four, second oldest amongst my extended family in America, a second generation Korean-American who had the world on my shoulders.

That’s just what it felt like to me. I’m sure some of you other “second generationers” would understand.

There were family expectations, church leadership expectations, and on top of it all, as a Christian, I felt very responsible to do what was right… a.k.a Christian duties/morality. And I wrestled with the frustration of seeing so many friends and fellow Christian peers going off and doing what was blatantly wrong.

I didn’t understand.

I didn’t understand how a Christian could choose to do one thing during the week and come to church on Sunday morning to worship. It bothered me. And it angered me on the inside that that was okay. Not because I was angry at those people. I was angry that Christianity and going to church had become a joke. That it couldn’t keep my friends from living like they were and doing what they were doing. If Christianity was powerless, then I was even more so.

But, I have to admit that I was also angry that I had lived so long following the rules and trying to fulfill expectations and doing what’s right, being a “good girl”, that at times I envied their freedom. It looked like such freedom to me. Oh, to be able to do whatever you wanted without and regard for anyone or anything else! From my point of view, I felt like I was the one in bondage, doing things I didn’t want to and feeling no sense of fulfillment.

There’s a song by Avril Lavigne that goes like this:

“All my life I’ve been good, but now, oh oh oh I figure, ‘What the hell?”

It sums it up well. I wanted to rebel. Throw up my hands and say, “What the hell?”

All of the right and wrong, all the of the “God tells you to do this, this, this, this” and more importantly “…NOT do this, this, this, this, this…” was driving me crazy. My own convictions, and many voices of the adults drove me crazy. All of this pressure made me want to just give up. Why try so hard when you fail anyway?

I knew the importance of doing what was right, and to live a good life, but the more I tried to do what I knew I should do, I would get frustrated because even my best attempts sucked. More importantly, I didn’t really know for what reason I was living like this. Was it to please God? To maintain my reputation? To please my parents? I didn’t know anymore if it was worth it.

People would praise me, would praise my parents, would compliment them and even express some jealousy in that they did a good job raising such a wonderful first-born daughter who was a good Christian and a great example, but I wasn’t feeling any sense of fulfillment whatsoever. And still, the more I continued, the more I seemed to fail the standard. So what difference would it make? Everyone else was living just fine doing whatever they wanted. So why did I have to carry such burdens?

Christianity and my life as a whole was lived out of a sense of duty. I did things because I knew I ought to. It’s what a good Christian girl would do. Moral, law abiding, manner minding, polite, patient, obedient.

But like the song lyrics implies, it wasn’t really what I wanted to do. I thought I was doing it because I wanted to, but the resentment and frustration told me otherwise. The good I was doing was out of a sense of duty and fear of punishment, but never out of true desire.

On top of all this, even if my life looked pretty clean on the outside because I was doing the right things, my heart was far from perfect. I knew that so well.

No matter how hard I tried to stay away and be “good”, I struggled with pornography. I wouldn’t consider myself to have been extremely addicted at all (like stories of people losing sleep, missing school, stealing money, lying to do it), but something that was introduced to me by someone out of curiosity became a thing that I secretly gained relief from life with.

I knew it was wrong. But, it didn’t stop me. I didn’t understand that either.

Honestly, I was repulsed by a lot of it. But my desire for something more, something deeper, something more intimate, pleasurable, real desire, turned into looking at people and watching meaningless sex.

Though it wasn’t every night, or every day even, maybe a few times a month or a streak of a few days and not going back for another several weeks or months, it still ate at my heart, my conscience, and the guilt just grew heavier and heavier. And it didn’t help my struggles with identity and sexuality either. Yes, I even went through a time where I questioned my sexuality.

I was so confused. So so so confused.

Looking back, this is so sad to me.

Why? Not because sin is horrible and pornography or homosexuality is gross and so wrong, but because while this was my past, it is the present for many, many, many Believers. Yes, Christians.

Christians are the LAST people who should be living like this. And I’m not even really emphasizing the part about living in sin, but I’m more talking about living out of obligation, duty, and fear.

We think that we can live out of knowing what we should do and what God has told us to do, somehow sacrificing our lives because Jesus sacrificed His for us, feeling the pressure of living pure and sinless lives, living in obligation, and doing good things like feeding the poor and loving your neighbor, following the law, etc., and that our sustaining motivation for living a good Christian life would be that “Jesus paid your debt and now you owe Him one.”

But…

– Morality is not righteousness.

– Doing what is right, is not righteousness. Nor is it “pursuing” righteousness.

– Not sinning, is not holiness.

– Not looking at porn/not having sex before marriage, is not purity.

– Doing good things, is not Christianity.

– Being a good person, does not please God.

– Doing what you’re told, is not true obedience.

How? Why? Am I being outrageous?

All of those things – righteousness, holiness, purity, goodness, pleasure, fulfillment – can be summed up into only one thing, or one person, rather… JESUS. It’s ONLY faith in Him that you can be any of these. And now you’re like, “yeah, yeah of course! But we still need to do our part after you get saved!”

While I can go into explaining this more in depth, I’ll just do it briefly for now.

You can be moral but not know righteousness. Being moral, nor doing what you know is right, doesn’t make you right with God. And the Holy Spirit is not your conscience (that’s a whole other topic).

Holiness is not gritting your teeth and abstaining from all the bad things in the world. Holiness is to be completely set apart. It’s not about being segregated from “sinners”, but about belonging. It is completely and fully belonging to God. That means it takes a lot more than not doing a,b,c,d… even perfectly to the tee.

Purity is innocence. It’s freedom. It’s freedom from guilt and evil. You’ve probably never heard it that way before. It’s not abstinence, not not-drinking, not not-smoking, not not-watching rater R movies, etc.

Goodness is God. Only God is good. Your good deeds don’t give you brownie points. Nor is the mark of what it means to be a Christian. No matter how good of a person you are, you will never be able to please Him. Anyone can be a “good” person according to our human definition.

Obedience is SO over emphasized in the wrong way. It is shouted over love. Obedience was never meant to emphasize duty and doing things because you were told to. Obedience is joyful submission to the one who lives inside of you. It is love. It is passion. Which in reality is the ONLY way to live or to have life, whatsoever. And most importantly, it’s not void of desire or pleasure.

All of this is only found in the person and work of Jesus Christ. Jesus didn’t come to earth to teach us how to do it like He did it, to make us nicer, to make people be better versions of themselves, etc. He came to DIE, and to display God’s power. The ultimate power to remove sin completely from our lives. It’s by Him dying on the cross that has made everything I said true and a reality for us, instead of just a mere possibility.

How? Because Christianity is not behavior modification. It’s a HEART TRANSPLANT.

“I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.” Ezekiel 36:26

The Prophet Ezekiel foretold how God had decided to handle Israel’s sin problem – and ultimately the sin of the world. It wouldn’t be more laws, better disciplinary measure, more wrath, more rewards. He knew the human heart would resist all because it was taken over by an invisible master – Sin. Sin had driven our hearts to be decayed, cold, impenetrable, and unresponsive. In other words, you could say our hearts were full of cancer. It was dead toward God. The only option, a plan that was put into motion since the beginning of all creation, would be the removal of the source of the problem and replace it with something better. He gave His people a new heart.

Gee golly WHIZ!

Don’t miss this glorious truth! It is a truth that makes Christianity distinct! Jesus didn’t just save us from Hell. He was the only one with the power to make us completely NEW. He gave us His Son to display love and power through Him dying on the cross, and then gave us His Spirit who lives inside of us!

With a brand new heart that the Holy Spirit lives inside, we have brand new desires, a brand new identity, a brand new home, a new language, hope, life, and the ability to know and have LOVE, joy, and peace! And if the Holy Spirit lives inside of me in this new heart, then that means He has made Himself one with me! The old and new cannot take up one space!

This is how I was truly set free.

I believe this the answer to all addictions, and even homosexuality.

My struggle with pornography didn’t disappear no matter how hard I tried. I fasted, I prayed, I confessed it to my closest friends, I did all that I knew to do. But it still overtook me. If pornography itself didn’t, the guilt did. And so it continued on through college. Trying to fall more in love with Him doesn’t take it away either. I’ve worshipped for hours. I’ve prayed that I would only desire Him. I encountered Him in powerful ways and it did fade and lessen, but it was still there, and I knew it. And it would taunt me and tempt me over and over. It would cause me to further struggle within myself with so many other issues that made me wonder if I could truly ever get free. And then just pile on all my insecurities, fears, mistakes, etc., that wasn’t necessarily “sin”. That’s a lot to try to fix. It seemed hopeless.

And then I discovered this truth.

Only this gloriously good news is what set me free. Because what I was really believing underneath all of that struggle was that I would be a sinner forever, that my heart would remain full of sin and weak to temptations, and my struggle would be a lifelong one. No one told me that my sinfulness and my old identity was actually ripped out of me on the cross, making me a brand new creation altogether.

When I accepted this truth, I found my desires to be completely revamped and replaced. And I, myself, did NOTHING to produce this except believe in Jesus. I started to believe who the Bible says I am. Holy. Righteous. Blameless. Good. Pure. Innocent. Clean. New. Because of Him. All given to me by His grace. By grace through faith.

When most people hear teachings on grace they freak out because what translates in their minds is that I’m saying it’s a free for all, doing whatever you want, however you want. They are happy to accept that everything that we were given through Jesus was by grace, but now on earth as Christians, we must continue to live in pursuit of living righteously, obediently, dutifully, morally, holy, pure, etc., everything we talked about earlier. It’s repulsive to think that we could be exempt from doing “our part”. So if grace is preached at all, it is a pick-me-up when you fall, or an empowerment to go through certain things in life. Christianity then, is somehow understood as a lifelong process of getting “closer” to Him by seeking oneness and communion by the things you do and the ways you serve, working really hard to become like Him, in which you never really expect to arrive.

On the other side of the fence are those who think that Grace really is a free-for-all. That because “God will love you just as you are” you are truly free from religion and can go around spatting in people’s faces who have lived by or still live by the Do’s and Don’t’s. That’s pride.

And neither of those is God’s grace.

Real grace is the very essence of God. It’s not just an attribute that you see every once in a while. Nor is it just a doctrine. It’s not God looking away and letting things slide because He is remembering Jesus’ death on the cross. Grace is the only reason why we are alive and continue breathing.

This example will cover both sides.

By grace you were made Holy. Not by you living life and following the Do’s and Don’t’s of Christianity. And not for a moment or just partially. Just like how by grace you were saved. Period. Completely. Not partially. By His grace He took out the old heart, gave you a new one. When He did that, He didn’t save you from Hell, He took sin away, and gave you holiness.

To live in God’s grace is to live in Him BY living as who you were made to be, which is holy. The new heart is holy. So grace and holiness cannot be separated. To accept His grace is to live according to the truth. Only according to the truth.

To preach grace is to proclaim God’s favor to all people. It is to preach the Good News that God has made a way for us to be with Him. For free. That it’s a gift. And that we can live a full, happy, joyful life with Him on earth.

Real grace is not an excuse or a license to do whatever you want. By grace you were set free, but true freedom is not doing whatever you want, nor is it an escape from what we think of as obligation, duty, or morality.

It’s a joyful embracing of it because it’s overflowing out of who you are. 

No longer is it obligation, duty, or mere morality, but now our lives are overflowing joy, love, peace, patience, kindness, etc., because God gave us NEW hearts that are righteous, holy, and pure! It is overflowing out of who we are! It’s easy! It’s effortless! It’s amazing! That is true freedom!

Romans 15-18 (The Message):

So, since we’re out from under the old tyranny, does that mean we can live any old way we want? Since we’re free in the freedom of God, can we do anything that comes to mind? Hardly. You know well enough from your own experience that there are some acts of so-called freedom that destroy freedom. Offer yourselves to sin, for instance, and it’s your last free act. But offer yourselves to the ways of God and the freedom never quits. All your lives you’ve let sin tell you what to do. But thank God you’ve started listening to a new master, one whose commands set you free to live openly in his freedom!”

Freedom is knowing that we were made new and effortlessly allowing Jesus to live through us. Freedom is having a new master, Mr. Goodness Himself, living right inside of us. And all this is only possible through that Heart Transplant.

So now here’s me wrapping this all up.

There is nothing we can do to please God. And there is nothing we can do to disappoint Him. Our relationship with Him isn’t dependent on us. It never was. Otherwise, we would never have one. There is no amount of sacrifice, no amount of obedience, no amount of doing good that would prove our worthiness to Him. Because simply put, we are not worthy.

He doesn’t even expect us to “sacrifice”, “kill ourselves”, “purge ourselves”, “obey” like it’s our job in order for Him to be pleased, or “move”, or for us to made holy. He just expects us to believe and to trust with a child-like dependence in Jesus. Joy becomes the response to all of this. It’s easier than we imagined!

Allowing our lives to burn with His love and allowing Him to live through us is the joy and beauty of the true Christian life. Because it’s not about what we can do to prove that we were worth it to Him. It’s allowing ourselves to be completely taken over by the truth that, “It is not I who live, but Christ who lives in me.” (Gal. 2:20)

I think that even to say we need to have a “relationship” with God is a still a shallow way of expressing the truth. A relationship implies two people, two separate beings trying to communicate, live, and work things out. But in reality it is not Jesus plus me, it is Jesus inside of me, who is living, and therefore I live! Every part of me is interwoven into Him. There is no separation. All of me is all of Him. We are one. It’s a mystical, supernatural thing that happened on the cross. There is no more trying to live focused on your performance and trying to please a far off entity outside separate from who is inside you.

Galatians 19-21 (The Message):

What actually took place is this: I tried keeping rules and working my head off to please God, and it didn’t work. So I quit being a “law man” so that I could be God’s man. Christ’s life showed me how, and enabled me to do it. I identified myself completely with him. Indeed, I have been crucified with Christ. My ego is no longer central. It is no longer important that I appear righteous before you or have your good opinion, and I am no longer driven to impress God. Christ lives in me. The life you see me living is not “mine,” but it is lived by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I am not going to go back on that.

Is it not clear to you that to go back to that old rule-keeping, peer-pleasing religion would be an abandonment of everything personal and free in my relationship with God? I refuse to do that, to repudiate God’s grace. If a living relationship with God could come by rule-keeping, then Christ died unnecessarily.”

From beginning to end, it is HIM. It is His work, His life, His sacrifice for us that has made all the difference necessary. Our complete victory, identity, righteousness, sanctification, freedom, is all HIM. Not just in Him. It is Him, who has come to live inside.

Because of this truth, I am filled with real and genuine desire, love, and joy for Him and am now living out a life from my heart, as the person who God truly created me to be. I am confident and full of peace because I know that it is He who gave me a new heart and now works in me completely and causes me to continue fully and completely dependent on His grace, with complete faith and satisfaction in Him. A life with God is immensely enjoyable.

My dream is that more Christians would be able to live in the simplicity of the Gospel, simplicity of Jesus, and the pleasure of being His. Let’s see real Christians living in this power, and message of His grace, living lives that shout to the rest of the world that what Jesus did was really more wonderful than we could even imagine. Let’s see a people totally enraptured by His love and living so joyfully in Him, overflowing life, love, and truth from out of the core of who they are, transforming the face of the earth with such ecstatic news of His love!

Wooohooo, His Kingdom is really here!! Let’s spread this Good News! 😀

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Looky Looky! Read Your Booky!

‘Ello!

I haven’t written anything in a while, so I feel like there’s a lot buzzin’ inside ready to be spilled out onto this awesome medium of self expression. Haha.

For the past few months I’ve been diving deep into the Bible and I’ve been discovering some awesome things. It’s been rocking my world. After deciding to step down from leading worship for a while, I’ve been able to really buckle down and wrestle with/ask deep questions about my Christian life and all that I’ve known, seen, and experienced. I went out to Bethel Redding in Cali, felt even more of something stirring inside of me, came back, and during Christmas time I gained a revelation from the Christmas story in Luke 2 that led me to study even further into the truths in the Bible. It wasn’t anything that I forced or tried to seek out. Honestly, I didn’t even know how to help myself. It was very spontaneous and exciting. God showed me… and the more I read and looked the more revelation I gained and I couldn’t stop. It’s been quite a journey since then. I’ll go more into detail soon.

What amazes me is that I’ve come all this way… I’m 25 years old, turning 26 in 3 months, been a Christian for most of my life, and I am NOW just finally seeing things that I should have been taught at the beginning. I wonder how many Christians actually know what they believe, why they believe it, why they do what they do, etc. I am seeing more than ever how important it is to have good theology. Did you know everyone is a theologian? Everyone.

No, we might not be all like scholarly and super smart, having multiple P.H.D.s and using big words, sitting with bifocals,and digging into essays and commentaries and all the like, but everyone believes something about God. And we don’t have to be like what I described to have good theology and know the truth. Now, more than ever, I am seeing how important it really is to study! So many Christians go on believing whatever is given to them. Church tradition, experience, and the big shots who write books and devotions are what feeds the masses. We have the GREATEST privilege to have the Bible to look and read and discover what it says for ourselves!

I’m not discrediting history or experience or the big shots… we all can learn SO much from everything and everyone, but it seems we spend more time reading and listening to everything and everyone else, instead of getting into it and studying for ourselves. We have an ocean of free resources and tools! It’s amazing! I’ve been guilty of it, too. It’s not really the most horrible thing that we trust our church leaders, we trust people who have studied and written books, we trust church tradition, especially if it’s been around forever and respected by many, but what if there’s more? What if there’s more even beyond what you might have experienced? Couldn’t it be possible that what you’ve experienced or parts of it has been outside of the truth?

Haven’t you questioned some things? Haven’t you wondered what that passage in the Bible REALLY means? Haven’t you wondered if what has been taught is right? Haven’t you wondered why you do x and y and z and still feel like something is missing? Haven’t you wondered why you do what you do in Church and as a Christian? Haven’t you wondered why you don’t seem to do and be all that you see in the Bible? Haven’t you wondered where the joy and love is? What is the Gospel? And if it’s such good news then why have I hardly felt compelled to share it?

It’s amazing how we just take and swallow and agree because it makes sense to us, and everyone else seems to agree. And just because you can spout off a passage of Scripture to back up whatever was said, it doesn’t even mean anything. Some might feel it is disrespectful to question things that have been solid… or rather, seems solid. But I don’t. Life is short. I would like to live it fully, and know why I am doing what I’m doing and why I believe what I believe. Gone are the days where I just take what someone says, or take how a Bible passage has been interpreted without really looking at it myself for I am learning that good theology is important. It affects the whole of your life. It’s not just perspective or opinion or preference. There IS truth.

I don’t know everything and I’m not a pro at Bible study, but I think I’m smart enough to look and see and try and learn it. I think everyone should open themselves up to really dig deep into the Bible and look at it with fresh eyes, ready to learn something… possibly even outside of your current theological stance or church background. We study to learn the truth, not to gain points for being a good Christian. A good place to start is instead of reading out a devotional, do one yourself. Let’s be Christians who know what we believe and why we believe it, and not just because someone told us or because it’s church tradition. I’m not saying throw all of that out. I’m just sayin’ let’s learn to think for ourselves, too. And then let’s really praise God for who He REALLY is and live our lives as we were meant to live it – totally wacked out by His love.

Wackawackawacka.

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Blurb on Cali, Community, and Real Joy

Wooo… Bomb diggity. Wuuuddduup?!

So it’s a New Year! Yaaayy. Another year over and a brand new one to start. It’s crazy to think that I’ve been in Jackson for like 3 years. Haha.

Anyway, I’d have to say that the year was full of awesomeness and great experiences full of worship leading, meeting new people, traveling, growing… man. The Father’s House, West Virginia, ministry trips, Georgian Banov in Jackson, being on stage with Justin Rizzo, Jesus Culture Awakening in Chicago, hanging with the Paughs, God speaking in deep places, learning how to rest, to pace myself, what faith really means… love and peace. ToNS of good stuff. There’s so much I can’t even begin to tell all of it!

I have to say that the year wrapped up for me with an awesome trip to California that set up such a great momentum for me going into the New Year. For a week and a half, Leann and I were in California being transformed and poured into in ways I can’t even begin to explain. We visited Gloria and hung out with her near LA, met some friends, traveled up north to San Jose, sat in on a living room session with David Hogan, met some more friends, pranced around on the streets singing Christmas and worship songs, prayed/sang over strangers, traveled even further North to Redding where we hung out in a house full of the awesomest guys in the world! We visited Bethel Church, went treasure hunting, hung out in the prayer house, got ministered to, ministered, listened to great music, worshipped, laughed, relaxed, and just hung out. It was such a good time for my heart. Oh, and I can’t forget to mention that we finally ate In-N-Out and Pink’s Hot Dogs! So good. I have yet to fully edit and finish my video documentation of the trip. Stay tuned for that!

All that to say, it’s been a good year, and a great way to finish off 2011 for me. December 2011 will be one that I will never forget. I just KNEW it was a God opportunity  when it came and it proved to be true.

Here, I’d like to just share some thoughts of my experience and where I am now.

I feel like a totally different person. Maybe not different as in someone else, but maybe more like the real me.

It’s kind of weird to say, but it’s true. There was no big conference, no big shot speakers at center stage, no big prayer line, no big ministry time, a church packed with hyped up people and rockin’ music. I did get ministered to, I did get to worship to great music, I did get prayed for, was provoked and wanted to learn, but it was all majorly in the context of community. It was the people I was surrounded by and was living life with for a short period of time. They were my community for a week and half. It was such a natural and uplifting kind of environment where God was not a side thought, but on the forefront of everyone’s minds and hearts. We were passionate, loving, kind, encouraging, but genuine, hungry for truth, hungry to live it out in the everyday, exploring God and the reality of the Kingdom, and ready to see God’s goodness explode in every and any given moment. It was experiencing this community that rocked me. People who weren’t afraid to be who they were, weren’t afraid to be themselves, weren’t afraid to look like fools for the sake of the Kingdom, truly believed in God and the truth of who He is and wanted to live it out to the fullest. People who were willing to throw themselves out there, who weren’t ashamed of what they believed, weren’t ashamed to love complete strangers, welcome them, hug and kiss on them. People who were free to laugh. To me, it felt like I just walked in on a family and was immediately welcomed as part of it. I realized how much power there was in just that. And it wasn’t forced, wasn’t SO intentional that it felt uncomfortable or unnatural, but it just flowed from who these people were. I’m sure they have their faults, I have mine, and I know that getting to know people for a week and half isn’t much, but there was such a love, and a connection on the spirit level because we are after the same thing. It was just plain amazing. And I’m not saying that they had it all down perfect, and I don’t want to make it sound like it we all became completely tight and got to know every deep and dark secret, but I saw a glimpse of what could truly transform people, a home, a neighborhood, a town, a city… And it was just something that I’ve never seen or experienced personally on that level.

In that kind of environment, I began to experience the joy and freedom in being myself, and in being part of them, in knowing that wherever I am, even if I never see them again, that we are on the same team, going after the same things. It brought joy. It brings joy. And I think I can understand when it says in the Bible about joy being made complete in that way.

Since being back, I’ve noticed a more lasting and permanent change inside of me. I know it hasn’t been that long, and I know it could be too soon to say, but I feel this thing in me, like something got unlocked and it can never be closed up again. Honestly, I don’t know exactly what it is, but I feel more joy, more confidence, more love, more free, more alive, more me… and not a whole lot has changed as far as circumstances around me go. Actually, nothing has changed outside of me. I think that’s a good sign of growth.

I know I’ve attributed a lot of goodness to being in California, but the truth is, it wasn’t just this trip that did all this. I knew before going that everything that I was going through and praying about would somehow lead me to experience what I did in Cali. It was, in essence, kind of like the cherry on the top that sealed it all together and completed the package. Cali just showed me things, answered questions, reaffirmed my heart, encouraged me, and sent me back feeling great. God was with me before, was with me while I was there, and used everything before and after to bring me to where I am now. And I am thankful for it.

The cool thing is the goodness hasn’t stopped. Currently, I am being rocked. So much to the fact that I don’t even know what to do with it. I feel like I’m going to explode. I hope to write about it in the future, but today I have no words. I’m not even sure how I will express them at this point, but I have a feeling it will be very bold, and very different than how I’ve written before. What’s going on? I am rediscovering The Gospel. It all started on Christmas Eve Eve. (It’s not a typo… lol). I read the Christmas story (which I either read or hear every year), but this year it was like I’ve never read it before. It filled me with JOY. Real JOY. Who want’s REAL JOY?? *HIGH FIVE!* I’ve never felt such joy like this before. I can’t explain it.

I hope to try, though. Soon. All I can say is that I think the Gospel is the key to real, deep, consistent, unspeakable, unchanging joy.

Side note:

  • I tweet and gram like crazy (yeah, twitter and instagram!!) Follow me! @vickihong it’s so addicting, but it’s kind of genius in my opinion….

I will leave you with this. Check out John Mark McMillan. This song makes me happy.

John Mark McMillan – Murdered Son

You set us up above all the stars
You set us on a high place by where you are
While we were dead you made us your friends
And scattered our debt upon the wind

Glory to One
God’s murdered son
Who paid for my resurrection
Once from the dust, once from the grave
Daughters and sons from the ashes you’ve raised
And hidden our faults even from your own face
And scattered our debt upon the waves

Glory to one
God’s murdered son
Who paid for my resurrection
Glory to One
God’s murdered son
Who paid for my resurrection

Glory to the one who
Who overcame in death
Glory to the one
Who paid for my offenses
Glory to the one

Once from the dust
Once from the grave
Daughters and sons
From the ashes you’ve raised
And hidden our faults
Even from your own face

And scattered our debt upon the waves
And scattered our debt upon the waves

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Christmas Time Ramblings by a Lovesick Dreamer

Currently sitting at home, sweats and slippers on, Christmas music playing, type typity.

I think I’m done with my summer blog series… for now. Haha. I don’t think I officially ended it or anything, but I think it ended on a good enough note. I did have a few more things I wanted to talk about, but I think it would have turned into more of a sermon blog. I’m in the mood to blog and I’m not in the mood to get all serious and preachy.

SO … I’m just gonna ramble. Because I want to. I have no plan. What comes out, is going to come out. Here it goes.

I ABSOLUTELY LOVE CHRISTMAS TIME!!

And I think it is sooo appropriate to blog this on the first day of December. I’m so cool.

There’s something about winter that makes me grow warmer on the inside. I’m sure you all know what I’m talking about. Especially when the snow comes, everything is just so white, blanketed, and beautiful. You just wanna snuggle and sit by the fire, drink hot chocolate, and listen to good music, or read a good book. It’s the perfect time. Lights everywhere. Happy music everywhere… even if some are just plain ridiculous they bring smiles. There’s joy and love in the air. I look at my family and friends a little differently… I feel warm and fuzzy, I appreciate them, I wanna just love on ‘em and I want to show them how thankful I am. I remember how blessed I am… because it’s not necessarily a lovely, warm season for everybody.

Unfortunately, there is only one downside to winter and the Christmas season. It’s that it makes me 20 times more of a goner in my hopeless romanticitis. Haha. (I just made that up… I made it sound like a disease! Didja get it?!) So yup. I admit it. I am a hopeless romantic sometimes. And since winter to me is such a romantic time of year, I just ooze… and I don’t think it’s just me. Recently, every conversation has been about finding someone and being in a relationship, both with friends and family. I don’t know if this is something that has happened every year, but I am definitely noticing it this year. Not that there is much I can do about it.

Haha… but I’m just kidding. Not about being a hopeless romantic this time of year, but about it being unfortunate. While I do become all googly-eyed, I don’t feel like a loser. I’m happy. And I am SO thankful. Deep, deep, thankfulness has just welled up in my heart this week. I am so thankful for my life. Thank for my friends. Thankful that my roommate is my friend. Thankful for my family. Thankful that I get to work a job that is about helping the less fortunate. Thankful that I get to bring smiles to people who have every reason to be angry and upset and have no hope. Thankful that my health is well and my heart that is full. Thankful that I can do what I love without limit, even if it’s just in my room for now. It’s pure and raw. Thankful that I have the luxury to dream… Dream about my future, my life. That it’s not just about how I’ll survive tomorrow or if I’ll eat. Thankful that I can feel really good about dreaming of sharing my heart and life with someone whom I will love and share my life with because I’ve been fighting to keep what the world so easily sees as worthless and throws away. I have good dreams, and much goodness to look forward to. So I am not worried.

This is a good time for a transition.

I’m not gonna lie, I have been worrisome…. About my future, my destiny, my dreams. My dreams have felt so HUGE to me the past couple months. SO HUGE. Like. IMPOSSIBLE. I’ve felt that way before, but lately, I’m like… absolutely at a loss. Haha. In reality they’ve always been impossible. But they just seem even bigger to me now because I am realizing I have have NO control and strength, talent, knowledge, resources, to make ANYTHING happen whatsoever. And sometimes I don’t even know exactly what it is I want. I think I know and I think I’m ready for whatever I picture, but then I feel in my heart, I don’t even know what it is I’m asking for. I just think I know. We are so limited. We don’t even know fully what we’re capable of. We think our biggest dreams are going to be our greatest achievement. And THAT in our eyes is HUGE and like the greatest thing ever. We don’t know fully who we are, what we’re capable of, what we’re REALLY destined for. I think God gives us dreams that kind of urge us on and point us in the right direction, but we have NO idea really what He has in store for us. I think that’s why it says in the Bible that He exceeds and goes above and beyond all we ask or imagine. There is so much more for us than what we are even able to dream up. And it’s ALL impossible.

It’s been nice to be reminded that it’s a journey. If you don’t embrace and enjoy the journey, you’re missing out on the beauty of your life in the moment! God has a lot for the future, but He has lot for us now, too. He exceeds everything we could ever dream for ourselves and it’ll be awesome, but that also means the way and the road that gets us there will be just as unexpected and full of adventure that we won’t always be able to make sense of.

Trust. Yup. Love. Yup.

We gotto remember that He loves us. That He is good. And trust that He has a plan for us. A good plan. That even today is a part of that plan. Even if it doesn’t seem good to you.

We just give ourselves waaaaayyyyy too much credit for our lives. We are just not that awesome.

So yeah. Even though I dream and it seems impossible, it isn’t mine so I don’t worry. I trust God is doing His thing. And all I have to do is remain faithful. I do still try to figure things out though, and I need direction, but I know He will guide me and speak when it’s time.

We are always asking for more faith, love, peace, patience, etc… but I am convinced that if we really knew the process of working that into us, we wouldn’t pray for it. Thank God for His grace.

Well, I don’t know if there’s anything more I want to say… Just for the future, I think I want to post more frequently with just random thoughts and expressions, more casual and raw, in the moment type of blogs.

To wrap it up:

  • Chocolate chip cookies sound really good right now.
  • I love it when Oliver wakes up from a nap and wants to sit in my lap while I’m on my laptop. He is so clumsy. He usually ends up either crashing into my desk, or slipping off of it and onto the floor. Yup. That happened like a second ago.
  • A dream was re-awakened tonight: Learning how to be a musher and be a dog-sledder. And living in a warm, cozy cabin for a little while. Alaska it is.
  • I had a sudden urge to jump off a plane today over the ocean with islands in view. No, I’m not insane. I just wanna skydive!! I’ve always wanted to. Just today, I would have done it like 5 times.
  • I REALLY need some shoes. Some new shoes and boots. Please. Somebody. A gift card to a Vans store would suffice!! And maybe one to Target? 😛
  • I feel like I could write a song to anything right now. I hear melodies and words in my head very frequently. They aren’t necessarily all good, but there’s definitely something happening to me. That’s encouraging. I’m not even sure if I even did anything to make it happen. It just started one day. It just showed me that even creating an art isn’t really  something we do on our own… or because we’re awesome.

So speaking of songs. I put up some originals on YouTube. CLICKITY CLICK.

Happy Christmas Tiiime!

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