A reminder.

June 3, 2015

God help me keep these reminders ever at the forefront of my mind as I navigate this season with a toddler and a newborn:

  • They are little boys, not robots.
  • If I become lazy in motherhood and am content to parent for convenience sake, then I will find myself content to raise Pharisees rather than godly men.
  • If I want the right behavior more than I want the right heart, I will be content to be harsh and not gentle in my tone and method.
  • My highest aim is to glorify God (regardless of outcome!), to raise men who love Jesus, and to adorn the gospel as I live with them … my highest aim is not to maximize my own sleep or comfort … or to raise quiet, good sleepers.  (So silly but trust me, I forget this!)
  • Discipline is for the Lord’s purposes, not my own.  I discipline their hearts away from wickedness … not to get my way in my time.
  • They’re little boys.  May I lead them, teach them, raise them with love.
  • May my heart be wide open, my service sacrificial, my tongue kind.
  • Let me steadfastly love JE, cheerfully submit to and help his leadership, and remember to take care of him in the little ways, too.
  • Little boys will make messes.  Making a mess is not a sin. :]
  • And as JE used to always say when Ian was first born, “They’re only this little once.”
  • Let me remember to give thanks in everything, in every season.  A grumbling and complaining spirit will go on grumbling and complaining even as God gives tremendous blessings, like these two little lives.

God help me, that my mothering would be a blessing to my husband and children, not a curse.

Whooooo.

November 4, 2014

(Written on Saturday)

Brushing the dust off this blog.  It’s been a while.

I can hear JE and Ian romping around upstairs.  Ian is laughing and declaring, “Noooo,” in turn.  Saturday mornings at home are sweet.  Ian is most content when we’re both home.  Maybe his 1.5 year old heart grasps the fact that we are most complete when appa is home, too.  Or maybe he senses my quieted heart when appa‘s home.

Since marriage and Ian’s birth, I’ve become more … private?  Less heart-spilling on this blog to a wide, unknown audience and a deepening devotion to my little family, our church, and wherever our home’s branches reach.  I’m not great at wearing many hats and juggling many things at the same time, so with changed, sometimes-overwhelming new priorities, my tree has been stripped bare of all but a few branches.  Even those few things are hard to do well, but I’m learning and each day is a clean slate.

Life is less dramatic, less heartbreaking, less agonizing in this season, and it’s … different.  College and the single life felt like going through one fire after another, but my new “home” is actually a place of peace.  And rest.  Sin is here, too, in rampant measure, but I’m trying to learn to love and cherish God in the quiet, unremarkable duties of everyday life.  It’s easier for me to trust Him in moments of crisis than these moments that require a more steady faith — moment after moment determining I’d rather have Jesus than selfish melancholy, a hasty remark, a quick temper, or rebellious ingratitude.

And I’ve only recently begun to have any kind of regular rhythm in reading Scripture and prayer since Ian was born.  Whenever my routine is interrupted, it takes me sooo loooong to establish a new normal.  Where is God in this change?  How does my new role not undermine my eternal one?  How do I devote my heart’s affections to God when I’m so singly focused on adapting to the new thing in my life?  But His patience is unwearied.  Such a tender love.

In another 6 months or so, my hands will be full with an added stewardship, another precious gift, another little one to love and raise in the “fear and admonition of the Lord.”  I hope it’ll take me less time in the afterbirth to locate my life’s anchor and to operate out of that single spot … because a wife and mama whose heart and emotions are tossed here and there causes big waves in a little family.  But a wife and mama well-anchored in Christ holds much of her home steady with her … and speaks to the stability and beauty of her Rock.

Moments for reflection are more scarce than they used to be.  But my greatest prayer is that I would adorn the gospel in everything, particularly my marriage and motherhood — that my husband’s service to Christ wouldn’t be hindered, that my children would treasure Jesus, and that the world may taste the gospel in our home and friendship.

To make much of Jesus, this is all.

… Now to remember that once I stop typing. ;]

Part of the 30 day challenge series

In terms of meaning, my favorite holidays are Christmas and Easter (Resurrection Sunday!).  The day we celebrate God the Son who humbly came as a baby, God with us, to live among us and save us from sin.  Or the day we celebrate Christ risen from the grave.

But in terms of family traditions, my favorite holiday is New Year’s Day.  For some reason, Christmas and Easter were usually difficult for us growing up.  Maybe because we expected too much from a day, as if the significance of a day could change hearts or gloss over any brokenness.  Or the frustrations that came when others couldn’t pretend for a day that nothing was wrong and all was happy.  I wrote more about that last Thanksgiving and Christmas.

But New Year’s Day was a day for new beginnings.  It was a fresh page, a new start.  I really believe there is so much of God’s grace behind the start of new days, months, seasons, and years.  It’s a tacit reminder that we’re given another chance.  His mercies are new.

This was a sterling promise.  We spent time together in the morning, talking, praying, and then getting ready to make the family rounds.  We usually visited with my dad’s side of the family in the morning and then my mom’s side of the family later in the day closer to dinner.  We saw all of our extended family and caught up on the past year.  In Korean tradition, you also pay respects to your elders on this day, wishing them a happy new year and blessings.  In turn, they give you money and blessings, too.  Getting money was always a perk ;], but one of my favorite times was visiting my grandma’s cemetery (my dad’s mom).  We took fresh cut flowers, cleaned her tombstone, and spent time in prayer for our family.  When we were young, the cemetery also had peacocks walking around everywhere.  They’ve since removed them because the peacocks pecked at all the flowers, but my brother and I had fun looking for them.  My grandma was the first believer in our family (Ian, your great-grandma!).

New Year’s is a little different now with a family of my own.  The past two years, we spent New Year’s in Cypress with appa‘s side of the family.  Appa and I talked this past year, and we realized that Christmas is more meaningful than New Year’s for his family, and New Year’s is comparatively more meaningful for my family.  So maybe next year we’ll be dividing our holidays a little differently among our family!  But New Year’s will always carry that promise of one day all things new for me.  Each new year is a fresh slate, but one Day, all things will be made new.  For good.  We can hold onto that promise.  ♥

Part of the 30 day challenge series

Hooray!  I love this topic.  Ian, I have one big brother — your uncle Jonathan.  And I’ve written about him in the past on this blog.  And added photos.

I’ve written briefly about how I feel when others wrong him.
I’ve written a memory of us for each of the first 25 years of my life.
And I’ve written about some of the big brother things he’s done for me.

He’s the kind of brother who takes big brotherhood seriously.  When I was in 5th grade and gave a speech in front of the school, I was really nervous and my voice shook behind the microphone.  So my brother sat up taller so I could see him in the audience.  He’s always done that kind of thing for me.  And he still does — even though I’m married and have little roly poly you!  And I still adore him.  Really, not a hard response for little sisters whose big brothers have loved them well.  Taken care of them well.  Stood up for them well.

I love my brother.  I look up to him.  He is one of the smartest, most soft-hearted people I know.  Isn’t he a little rough around the edges sometimes?  Sure.  We’ve been through what’s felt like hell on earth together.  And he’s been through even more than that.  But I know plenty of weather-beaten boats that have passed through all kinds of waters and endured any number of storms — yet they still stand when they pull into harbor.  That’s my brother.  And God knows all about pulling the barnacles off those boats, sanding them, repainting them, and setting their sails for a straighter course.

How to describe our relationship in one word?  To use the slang of my generation, we’re tight. ♥

Part of the 30 day challenge series

1. Family friends were over one evening, and sometime after dinner, the kids (maybe just the boys?) started taunting me.  Maybe as a result of a disagreement.  But after trying to hold my own and fight back, I was so distraught that I ran downstairs.  I found my dad and cried to him because they called me stupid and ugly.  I remember how much their words cut me.  Then he held me and consoled me saying it wasn’t true.  And I never felt so deeply thankful to have a daddy.

2. This isn’t one distinct memory, but the many memories of my mom’s faithful presence during my childhood, shuttling us kids back and forth, taking us to lessons, keeping our home, laboring in the kitchen, making sure we didn’t go hungry, doing loads and loads of laundry, washing us, making sure we take our medication … just caring for us in the little, unmemorable ways every day.  When I had a fever, she was there.  When I had the stomach flu, she was there.  When I needed anything, she — was — there.

3. The trauma of losing two loved ones in one night.  In an unspeakable way.  They were closer to us than family.  This was a pivotal point in my childhood.  Everything changed that night.  It marked the end of childhood.  It paved the way for Christ in me.

And God-willing, for other loved ones, it will still pave the way.

Part of the 30 day challenge series

Ian, before I begin, I hope it’s clear that no “accomplishment” for me comes without a kind God.  And I’m kind of daunted by all the superlatives in these prompts.  “5 great accomplishments” is easier to answer than “5 greatest accomplishments.” :]

1. Becoming your appa‘s wife.  Not that I had hoops to jump through and exams to pass to do this, though my fears and flesh could be the hoops and dating itself the exam. ;]  But second to following Jesus, this was the best decision of my life.  No exaggeration.

2. Giving birth to you.  I carried you for 10 months in my womb, 5 of which I spent very sick, and labored for 22 hours (sleepless for about 34) and pushed you out!  I still can’t believe that happened.  Then I proceeded to learn how to nurse you, losing even more sleep.  I couldn’t sit down for over a week after you were born, so I had to nurse you standing up the whole time.  Even when you woke in the middle of the night.  When I visited a lactation consultant at the hospital a few days after we were discharged, the lactation consultant said to me, “Oh! You’re the one who nurses her baby standing up!  You poor thing!”  But I’m not sure how much credit I can take for all of this.  Half the time I couldn’t believe it was my body doing this or that.  I didn’t know what it could do!  God’s design.  Uh-mazing.

3. Getting a graduate degree — but not for the reason you’d think.  Yes, getting a degree takes work, but getting a degree I didn’t want, saying okay after 4 years’ battle with your grandpa, and then fighting through ugly, monster-heart bitterness when graduate school became really difficult … Ian, I had to battle my flesh every day.  Multiple times a day.  I had to work through my bitterness.  It ran so deep, not just because of this issue but because every other issue leached onto this one.  But God was faithful.  I still don’t know all the reasons why these three years of my life were in His plan, but if nothing else, it was a place where I had to learn to entrust myself to God through someone else’s will.  What happened in the end?  I thanked your grandpa.  I still don’t think I would have chosen that discipline for my degree, but no bitter heyday here anymo’!

4. Keeping my little cousins close.  It never gets easier keeping loved ones close, especially as life gets busier and people start movin’ away.  But I’m grateful God gave me my “little” cousins.  I’m grateful for the depth of love and friendship He’s given between us.  At least, it’s deep on my end.  They ain’t gettin’ rid of me anytime soon! ;]

5. Learning to be a good friend.  Your grandpa once made an observation about me in high school: You’re a two-year best friend.  My closest friendships never lasted more than two years.  I was fickle and backed away from friendships when they became rocky.  Or it was out of sight, out of mind.  Which is very unloving.  But the two-year best friend streak was true for half of college, too.  In total, that’s most of my life!  But I don’t think this fickleness really changed until my relationship with Christ deepened.  If I can’t be faithful to a perfect Friend, how can I be faithful to imperfect ones?  But by God’s grace, this has changed.  And is changing.

Part of the 30 day challenge series

After reading today’s prompt, I wanted to put it off ’til tomorrow.  Or skip this one.  Because it’s so long!  It requires so much thinking!  But a challenge is a challenge.  So here goes!

Since the prompt is worded in the past tense, I’ll mostly write about these people in the past tense, too.  And I’ll focus more on the positive influences. ;]

1. My dad. He was always very vulnerable with us about his sins and weaknesses.  He openly repented before us in prayer when his sin was either against us or in front of us.  His faith wasn’t perfect but it was real.  He simultaneously encouraged me to be a tomboy and a lady.  Go after things, get involved, try everything at least once … but please, do it like a lady.  I learned how a person could roll and tumble and play with the kids, but also talk to them about serious matters.  He was both the goofiest and most serious person in our home.

2. My mom. I don’t know anyone more hospitable than my mom.  Anyone was welcome to her home.  And once you stepped into her home, you became family.  Our childhood home was never empty.  My brother and I always wondered who would be over for dinner.  All the kids wanted to sleep over at our house on weekends.  She embraced motherhood and excellence in homemaking.  She was extremely sacrificial.  I hope you see the fruit of her influence in your life, Ian.

3. My brother. My brother didn’t always fit the mold.  He was bright, curious, and street smart.  He took risks.  He wanted a challenge.  But he was also affectionate and fiercely loyal.  So how did he influence me?  Two ways.  First, he was definitely the big brother, so I was definitely the little sister.  In a good, good way.  He took care of me, gave me the best of his share, and protected me.  He taught me to appreciate chivalry.  Didn’t we fight though?  Of course!  Haha.  Second, he gave me an appreciation for people who are unconventional, because he’s unconventional.  And I love it.

4. My aunts and uncles.  I’ve really been blessed with loving and involved aunts and uncles.  Uncle Jim, Aunt Connie, Uncle Young, Uncle Chris, Wehsoomoh, Uncle Peter, Imo some of my friends and even your appa initially found it interesting? strange? unusual? that I would chat on the phone with my aunts and uncles, catch up with them, hang out with them.  But they loved uncle Jonathan and me first.  They spent a lot of time with us when we were growing up.  They were our second dads and moms.  And we’ve always had second homes to run to when our first home became difficult — as first homes usually do at some point.  Ian, I hope you have second homes where you are loved, too.  And I hope our home becomes the second home for many others.

5. Pastor Pat Boyd. Pastor Pat was my youth pastor.  From him I learned how to boogieboard, surf, skateboard, and pour out time and energy into life on life ministry.  His ministry was a persistent one.  Moving, leaving for college, not seeing him for years … it didn’t matter.  He wrote.  He called.  He was there when you needed him.  He didn’t just tell us about God.  He spent incredible amounts of time with us, played with us, found ways to tease us out of our shell, and exhorted us to own our faith.  I still see his influence in the way I relate with people in ministry.  And in the way I tease people.  I’m sure all the other youth kids could say the same!

6. Charisse. I didn’t spend as much time with Charisse, but she was a camp counselor one year when we went to Hume Lake.  I think it was my second year of high school, and there was a missionary speaker at camp that year.  One day the missionary announced there would be a special meeting during the recreation time for those interested in overseas missions.  She came up to me later and said, in her searching, earnest way, “I can see you doing missions.  You should go to that meeting.”  Give up my recreation time at camp to go to a meeting about missions?  But I went.  Her words had an impact on me.  And to this day, one of my greatest passions and desires is to fulfill that calling.  However God may lead.

7. Elisabeth Elliot. I think I read everything she’s ever written, including all of her old radio transcripts.  Before I had an older, believing woman to learn from in person, I was learning from Bet.

8. Jinny. I wrote about her in my previous posts.  She really poured into my life during the latter half of college.  And we still keep in touch, I still seek her counsel.  I look up to the way she loves God, her husband, her children, and her church family.  She’s faithful behind the scenes.  She frees her husband up for ministry.  She opens her home for ministry.  I’m not those things yet, Ian.  But I want to be.

9. Your appa. Can I even begin to count the ways your appa has influenced me?  In every way!  And I’m sure his influence will only have deepened by the time you can read this.  He’s influenced me in small ways (like our silly sense of humor that smacks more of appa than me!) but in more significant ways, too.  Your appa is the more thoughtful, careful, patient half of umma.  After a couple years of marriage, I think I’m a teeny bit less hasty?  A teeny bit less reckless?  :]  And in a mysterious way, appa‘s manliness has made me more feminine.

10. You! Since you were born, my ambitions have slowly changed.  My understanding of God and His gospel love has deepened a little.  My mama bear instinct has emerged.  You’ve changed my world from top to bottom, little dude.  And you’ve changed me.  By God’s grace, for the better.

More on this in a post to come.

*Edit*

I quickly scanned this post before going to bed, and I realized I had two #4s!  So I deleted one.  This confirms my inability to count anymore.