Hope in the Eternal

According to the world, power and control, material possessions, relationships/friendships, a career, physical beauty are supposed to bring us happiness. If I had this thing or that person, my life would be better. There may be fleeting moments of bliss with these things we collect or pursue, but nothing will bring hope or joy like what is eternal.

Right now, things are rough. Days seem like weeks; weeks seem like years. Sad events are piling up on top of one another, and many feel like they are being buried alive. So many of us cannot seem to catch a break. Our hope turns to cynicism, and our outlook becomes bleak.

I don’t consider it wrong to question one’s life, government policies, or religion. However, I feel the enemy uses confusion to send us into a mental breakdown. The enemy takes our focus that no matter how devastating things get, God will have the last say.

My friend asked me if she would see me at church. I told her I feel like I’m having an existential crisis right now and may not return. She reminded me, “God is our King, not the politicians, especially in these crazy times.” I am not downplaying systemic racism and fascism engulfing our country, but my focus needs to be on what is eternal, my Lord, Jesus Christ.

May you find your hope and love from our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Neutrality Does Not Bring Forth Change

The last few days, feelings of sadness, despair, hopelessness, and anger have been ruminating in my soul. I have not found the right words to describe my feelings. But, I cannot wait for the right or politically correct words anymore. Racism needs to end now. Police brutality needs to end now. The violence needs to end now. Justice for George Floyd and all those who died at the hands of an oppressor.

I used to dream of living in Switzerland. Ever since I saw the movie musical, “The Sound of Music” and saw the Von Trapp Family escape the Nazi controlled Austria into Switzerland, I thought, being neutral seems like the way to go. No war meant, no innocent lives lost, no soldiers lost, death and destruction would be eluded. However, if the voice that spoke out against injustice would remain ignored, there would have been no advancement in society. If you remain quiet, you will not be heard and change cannot occur.

I’m half Korean and half Ashkenazi Jewish (according to the genetic tests), born in Los Angeles. I’ve been called a mail-order bride from a white person, who I thought was my friend. They said they were joking, but I wasn’t laughing. People asking me if my parents got together because my father was in the Army and he rescued her from her country (no, they met in Marina del Rey at a dance club in the 1970s). A couple of male co-workers, who sexually harassed me, saying I’m their Asian fantasy (and no, I wasn’t dressed inappropriately or showed any interest in them).

And because I am bi-racial, I get confused for other races, like Hispanic. About twelve years ago, I was pulled over for a burned-out brake light and then harassed by the local Sheriff for 20 minutes, accusing me of having drugs because I had a similar vehicle of the apparent drug dealer. And there were no drugs in my car because I don’t do the drugs. I was compliant and answered all of his questions, but he continued to scream at me. I shook because I felt scared. After all, I didn’t know where this would lead. He was so angry and accusatory without just cause. When he realized I wasn’t the Hispanic person he was looking for, he said I was free to go. I sat in my car thinking, “Is this what a black person or other minorities goes through daily?”

The debates on why things are happening right now are endless. There are blanket judgments formed against the protestors, where they are being lumped into the actions of the looters. Now is not the time to distract from the systemic issue, racism from powerful entities. You can go back hundreds of years, on how America was stolen from the Native Americans, how slaves-African and Asian built this country, and where Hispanics continue to do the work Americans don’t want to do for way less money. The violence against them is ingrained into generations. You cannot expect the oppression against them to produce peace. Once their voices have been heard and change has become final, then peace will be produced. It starts with you voicing your outrage, creating change in government by your vote, and most importantly-what you teach the next generation.

No matter your religious belief, it starts with you and me. In my opinion, I do believe Jesus is the answer to all of this. If we imitate Jesus, love one another, and allow God to change our hearts, we can help complete the necessary change. I hope everyone who encounters a true follower of Christ will see Jesus in us.

If you are a Christian and people don’t know this about you, examine your life. Look within yourself and ask if you contribute to the problem. Do you listen to the wrong voice that keeps racism alive? What do you support and promote? Do you think and react like that woman who wanted to call the police and falsely accuse, Christian Cooper, a black man of harassing her, just because he asked her to put her dog on a leash in an area where dogs were supposed to be on a leash? It is time to stop pointing fingers, judging one another, and start creating the right kind of change. Seek forgiveness from our Heavenly Father.

The world feels like a chapter in Revelations right now. If you can see all the things that have come to light in the past several years in the world-human trafficking, climate change, sexual harassment, gender inequality, police brutality, racism, and this pandemic of Covid-19 (to name a few). We can learn from every single one of these problems, things need to change or we will fall deeper into evil.

May we find hope our hope in Jesus Christ and help to create the healing necessary for one another. Pray for the world.


Lesson Learned: Neutrality never solved problems.

Prayer:
“Dear Heavenly Father, may the peace that surpasses all understanding flood Earth right now. Let the violence end right now. Heal the hearts of the broken. Change the hearts of those that cause the issues. Protect the innocent and let your justice be served. For all of those who lost their business due to looting, redeem their losses. Open the ears and hearts of the complacent government leaders to bring forth change. In Jesus’ Name, AMEN!

Self-Discovery in Quarantine

My faith was shaken today. I cursed at God. I told Him, I don’t want to believe in Him anymore. More unpleasant words flew out of my mouth, and tears streamed down my cheeks.  

Yesterday, my husband and I got into an argument on our walk with the dog. I saw huge amounts of dog poop on the grass for anyone to step in. I said, “these irresponsible, f-ing people piss me off!” He got upset with me and said I have been complaining about everything. I call my husband, “the great compartmentalizer.” He can leave work at work and home life at home. All areas of my life bleed into one another.

I asked him what he wanted from me. He said, I want to come home without hearing you and our daughter argue (our daughter is 12, almost 13 years old-easier said than done) and for all of us to go on a family walk willingly. Maybe that isn’t too much to ask, but when I am angry, and in pain, I don’t feel capable.  

I came inside after our walk and Googled, “why do I complain too much?” And this article came up. One of the steps said to be less judgmental. I thought, “well, I don’t judge.” Well, I admit it now, I do(a lot!), and we all do it! When I stay in that mindset of negativity and only seeing the bad in everything, how can I ever see anything good?

The world has seen a lot of change in the past few months. We all have had to re-arrange our lives. In some way, we all have had to grieve something. A lost job, canceled events, no school, even losing a loved one. Traumas we have dealt with in our lives somehow found a way back. My trauma is an eating disorder.

Every morning during this quarantine, I have stepped on the scale. Ounces gained became pounds, which turned into binding shame. Those voices of negativity and hatred are in my head again. I want the ground to swallow me up. I don’t look down at anyone the way I look down at myself. The pain is deep and vast.

So today, after I cast my anger at God, I asked for forgiveness. I prayed for God to reveal Himself to me in my daily bible reading. I went to my Bible app, and the reading consisted of Job Chapters 1 and 2, Luke 6, and Revelations 4. Job 1 and 2 dealt with his life in utter turmoil and pain, yet he never cursed God. Luke 6 explained judging others, amongst other important things. And Revelations 4 ended with verse 11, “worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and your will they existed and were created.” God delivered me answers to my pleas. Also, today is our trash pick up day, and the scale found its way into the trash bin.

I have years of experience in thinking in a negative way, which developed neural pathways of negativity. It hasn’t been beneficial to me. The good news is, neural pathways can change. My therapist said two things to me that helped me today—the first piece of advice, the brain changes in increments, not all at once. So, do not expect negative behaviors to go away after you decide to change. And second, when you do catch yourself reacting negatively, you can say, here is the new way I can handle it.

Everyone is affected by this COVID-19. May the virus be eradicated, and we find real meaning in our lives. Until then, be gentle with yourselves!

Lesson Learned: I see God cares for me, and neural pathways aren’t permanent.

Prayer:

“Dear Heavenly Father, I believe for the complete eradication of COVID-19 in the name of Jesus. I pray for healing and restoration for everyone who has become a victim of it. I pray for the loved one who lost a family member to COVID-19. I pray for comfort and peace during their mourning. Protect the first responders and hospital staff who are treating patients every day. Father God, I lift every person with mental illness and who are in abusive situations during this quarantine. Make a way Lord, for clarity or a way out. Thank you, Jehovah Shalom. Give provision to those who have lost work and revive this economy. Forgive us, Lord, for not trusting in you. Thank you, Lord. In Jesus’ Name, AMEN!”

It is Never a Good Time to Worry

I read a devotional this morning on the Bible app, You Version. The study is entitled, “How to Stop Worrying.” The devotion defined worry as to torment oneself with cares and anxieties. As I read that definition, it felt like a 2×4 to the face.


Everyone has thoughts on the things that most concern them. We can plan the best ways to meet our goals or take care of dire situations. But when these thoughts turn to worry, they torment us.


I allowed worry to be a daily exercise in my life. However, most times, the things I worried about never came to pass.


Be conscious of your thoughts and the words you speak. When there is a deep history of living your life in worry, it will take a while to undo it. Have grace with yourself. Be gentle with yourself. Don’t beat yourself up when you catch yourself worrying.


If you catch yourself in that mode of worry, say, “Oh! I have a worrisome thought.” Then ask yourself, “If I continue to dwell on this, will I be able to remain positive or be anxious?” If it is the latter, choose to change your focus.


In these perilous times, worry will not solve anything. I have spent the last few weeks, taking a lot of deep breaths, finding solace in prayer, trusting in the Lord and meditation, communicating with others (online), and watching light shows. May you find peace from worry today.

In These Times of Great Anxiety

Credit: Artist-David Bowman

At the beginning of March, I read an article about people hoarding toilet paper and paper towels due to the Covid-19 outbreak. The virus had not reached The States quite yet. I decided to prepare for it during my scheduled monthly trip to Costco.


I arrived at Costco at their opening time and the line wrapped around the building. The entrance of the store wasn’t chaotic, just crowded. However, inside the store, the atmosphere was different. You could feel a level of desperation in the store. People were grabbing things, but not in the Black Friday sense, just 3-4 times what they would usually get. I asked a person why they needed so much toilet paper and paper towels. The person replied, “if we get quarantined for months, I would need this much, and these were the items China ran out of first when they needed to stay inside their homes.”


I began to catch the “fever” of shopping hoarding. I grabbed as many cases of toilet paper and paper towels that I could fit in my cart. As much as I justified the need to buy, this convicting feeling came over me that this didn’t seem right to do.


I took a pause and began to rationalize the situation. We will still have water and electricity. One case of toilet paper and paper towels lasts my small family for many months. Safety and food are much more important than hoarding shopping. I took a few deep breaths and decided to buy one case of toilet paper and paper towels, bleach and other cleaning products for my family and some non-perishable foods.


In the next two weeks, our national government leaders claimed everything was under control but quickly changed their claim to this will be horrendous. The panic in our country began to grow, and more cases of the virus became evident. In the middle of this, my daughter got lice and then lovingly (through all the hugs and cuddles) gave them to me. I focused more on destroying the lice and doing 35 loads of laundry in one week than focusing all my worries on the pandemic.


Thank God, the lice are gone, and the washer and dryer took a day off. My family has been home this last week. Then the underlying anxiety in me rose to the surface at midnight. I truly began to panic. Every tickle in my throat or sniffle I felt began to worry me. My husband coughed, and I would think, “Oh, sh*t!” I thought about the “Downton Abbey” episode, where many characters caught the Spanish Flu and suffered or died. My mind did somersaults imagining the worst-case scenarios.


Stress, lack of sleep and exercise, dehydration, and poor eating habits contribute to low immunity and sickness. An event like this has not affected the world in a long time. There have been pandemics, but not in this day and age. We are all navigating this for the first time together. As much as I want to get mad and criticize our country for not being prepared for this, it won’t do any good. I could not imagine the responsibility that the medical field, the government (state, local, federal), the public school system, and first responders (and countless other entities) have in this situation. The best thing I can do is cooperate, stay home, wash my hands, and pray.


This image included in this post of Jesus holding a child always brings me great comfort. When I get anxious, I have to surrender to God, trust, and allow Him to be in control. While I know the health and financial crisis this pandemic has brought will affect us all, it will be temporary. I am not in any way diminishing the long term effects of it, but we will get through this in some way.

Stay safe, friends. Take this opportunity to do things that bring joy to your life every day. Reconnect safely with family and friends. And if you are having difficulty managing all of these feelings of despair, please reach out because someone would be glad to help.

Lesson Learned: Anxiety does not help me in situations like these. Gaining perspective is better. And, I don’t like creamed corn from a can unless it is very sweet.


Prayer:
“Dear Heavenly Father, I command this virus to cease spreading and be eradicated in the name of Jesus. Heal and restore everyone who has been affected by this virus, especially the victims’ families and the hardest-hit industries. I pray countries that have been devastated by this virus to be re-built. Protect those with low immunity. May family units become strong again. Give our government leadership and direction, which will be in the best interest of the citizens. I rebuke the idea for people to take advantage of the helpless in this time and bring to light anyone who does this. Let love, grace, and mercy rule as we re-build and restore our lives. In Jesus’ Name, AMEN!

Grateful for the Life You Have

#171 Blog Post- Grateful for the Life You Have

“Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 

1 Thessalonians 5:18

This week has been a whammy.  Daylight saving time, full moon, Friday the 13th, extra workload, Corona Virus fears, and pandemonium, and my child and I had our heads invaded by lice.  (Cue Scratching.)

The physical and emotional toll lice took on me felt like the end of the world to me.  I counted that I did 12 loads of laundry for over 2 days. I spent a lot of money to have someone come to the house and treat us and purchase new hair brushes, hair supplies, and bedding.  My child had the lice eradicated in 1 treatment, while it took 3 treatments to get rid of them on my hair. My hair is very thick, so I have a hospitable environment for them. Lice are equal opportunity jerks, I felt dirty and poor, even though that is far from the truth.

I went to the dry cleaner to take our comforter to be professionally cleaned.  I already washed it at the laundromat, but it smelled like everyone else’s laundry.  I noticed a post-it note on the wall at my dry cleaner. The dry cleaner scribbled out, “Gratitude is riches. Complaining is poverty.” She had it there to remind her to be grateful.  Little did she know that the quote was the encouragement I needed to help me through my exhausting week.

Even in the middle of this inconvenient and tiring time, I could be grateful for several things.  I only have one child to deal with this. My husband didn’t get it. Bed, Bath and Beyond had a clearance sale on bedding. My washer and dryer handled the enormous loads of laundry.  My house has been Spring Cleaned. And I knew deep in the back of my mind, this to would pass.

In my years of having anxiety and fear, gratitude was never a priority.  If complaining was an Olympic sport, I would have more medals than Olympian Michael Phelps.  I had a complainer’s mindset. When I had a difficult situation to deal with, it seemed like it would never end.  I remember being in a grocery store and started to have an anxiety attack (grocery stores seemed to set me off for some reason).  Then this thought came into my mind: there are plenty of people in this world that would trade their life for mine. So, I began to count my blessings.  The anxious feelings fled, and I carried on with my errands.  

When it comes to the definition of being wealthy, our income may not qualify in the area where my family lives.  However, being grateful truly brings out all the riches in my life. May the person reading this post find something to be thankful for and see their riches!

Lesson Learned: Focus more on all the good things in your life.

Prayer:

“Dear Heavenly Father, forgive me for looking for the things I do not have.  Thank you for the blessings that you have bestowed upon my life. I am grateful for everything.  When times are difficult, Father God, I am thankful the time is temporary. Thank you for your provision, protection, and love.  In Jesus’ Name, AMEN!”

Exhausted Temporarily

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I have a terrible habit of comparing my beginning to other’s years-long journeys.  The social media posts out there drip with humble brags and accomplishments.  In my early twenties, many of my peers had finished college and entered the workforce, I was right in the middle of enduring trauma.  My confidence and motivation were squashed by my circumstances.

As life progressed, I got married, and we had a child.  Also, I have been a stay at home mom for the last 12 years.  Even though I was productive in raising a child and running a household, I felt low because I did not make any money or feel I was in the right place in my life.  My past tormented me, and my self-worth was still low.

Yesterday, my friend sent me the above-referenced meme.  Even though she sent it to me to show how it encapsulated her life, I felt it represented my life as well.

Honestly, I am exhausted.  Years of anxiety and fear have drained my mind and body. But I have worked on restoring my nervous system and quelling the anxiety and fear through therapy and self-reflection.   I have learned I cannot expect to change overnight when I have endured years of turmoil.  Every so often, I see a reminder that success can happen later on in one’s life.

Do not let a bad day, week, or even year persuade you that your breakthrough will never come!

Lesson Learned: Your timeline does not need to reflect the successful person next to you.

Prayer:

“Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for saving me from the trauma I have endured in life.  Remind me of your plan and purpose for my life.  Expose the lies from the enemy and show me the resources that will help me become committed and prosperous.  Forgive me for not trusting in you, Lord.  In Jesus’ Name, AMEN!”

 

 

 

 

Uncover Your Faith

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Today, I saw a feature on a television program about Reverend Dr. Lakeesha Walrond.  She became the first woman president of the New York Theological Seminary.  The feature story contained her recollection of when she heard her calling in the church, her plans for her presidency and how she endured sexual molestation at the age of nine.

The interviewer asked her how do you talk to people who have lost their faith.  Rev. Dr. Walrond answered, “Faith isn’t lost, it’s just covered.”  I felt this surge in my spirit.  Faith is covered by many things, such as our circumstances, fear, anxiety, health issues, and doubt.

Our God is bigger than our greatest obstacles.  Be encouraged today to uncover your faith!  Remove that negativity and put your thoughts towards God.

Prayer:

“Dear Heavenly Father, may I put my trust in you each and every day.  May I remember all the blessings in my life and for my faith to increase.  Give me strength and endurance during difficult times.  In Jesus’ Name, AMEN!”

 

Managing Difficult People

I do not like experiencing tension between myself and others. In the past, I exhausted myself to make everyone else happy around me instead of protecting myself from the drama.

As much as I desire peace and harmony between myself and others, there are times where it won’t happen. I can promise peace for myself by establishing boundaries and not engaging with the drama.

Sadly, years can go by before I discover the true nature of a person.  I am in the process of learning that I must let go of trying to get along with someone who does not want to be civil.  It is not my job to appease them.  These difficult people are energy vampires.  Would I want to have someone suck out all of my energy?  No, I’m over forty years old, and my energy is scarce but sacred!

Proverbs 15:1 says, “A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.”  Continual engagement with difficult people will not bring out the best in me.  As much as I want to know why they are the way they are, it will not solve anything.  Only God can change a person, not me.

May you be released of any burden you carry to help those who do not want to change.

Lesson Learned:  Let God handle those who bring you down.

Prayer:

“Dear Heavenly Father, I know peace is precious in a fallen world.  Help me to manage conflict effectively and without becoming too invested.  Give me the wisdom to protect myself when dealing with difficult people.  In Jesus’ Name, AMEN!”

 

 

 

 

Allow God to Surprise You

 

“Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.” Proverbs 19:21

Christmas time is here. Tomorrow, many will open gifts and admire all they received. Children have been eagerly waiting for this day to open their gifts. Their wait will soon be over.

When I was a 6th grader, a popular brand of clothing was “Maui and Sons.” They were a surf brand. If you wore an item of clothing from this brand, everyone noticed you at school. I asked, actually begged and pleaded with my parents for a sweatshirt. This brand was not cheap, so I knew my only chance was to receive it as a present for Christmas.

My mom would place empty boxes under the tree as decoration. Then she would put items for us in those boxes the night before, so the presents were ready on Christmas Day. A couple of weeks before Christmas, I sat by the tree, admiring the decorations. I saw the empty boxes under the tree, and curiosity struck me, so I picked one up and shook it. I did not feel anything. I picked up another and shook that one and heard something inside. The temptation was too strong, so I carefully slid my finger under the lid and lifted the corner of the box. I peaked inside and saw a pink “Maui and Sons” sweatshirt. My heart was beating out of my chest from the excitement. Then I thought I ruined the surprise and now I have to keep this from my parents.

As the day continued, I felt more guilty. I didn’t realize it, but the guilt showed in my actions. My dad asked me what the matter was. I couldn’t take the guilt, and I began crying. I told him I peeked and saw my Christmas present. My father was not happy. He said, “well, that was your big gift, and now you won’t have anything to look forward too.” That mistake was a defining moment in my life to learn to be patient.

That moment in my life reminds me of how impatient I am with God working in my life. I keep wanting to know what He wants me to do with my life. I try to force things and make things happen when it isn’t time. I feel like an impatient child in those days leading up to Christmas. I am peeking in the box before it is time.

God knows what needs to happen. It may feel like we are going around in circles or moving farther away from the goal, but God aligns everything for us in the perfect time.  Allow God to surprise you!

Lesson Learned: Allow God to surprise you. No peeking!

“Dear Heavenly Father, forgive me when I try to figure out everything on my own. I put my trust in you. You know the way. Thank you for every surprise you give me. Help me anticipate with wonder and excitement for all you plan for me. In Jesus’ Name, AMEN!”