Today, Grace speaks to us about navigating a tough season, what God’s tangible grace has done and healing in relationships.
Tell us a bit about how you grew up and your childhood: Adoption played a huge part in my life; it is where my story begins and remains a constant reminder of God’s grace in my life. When I was six months old, I was adopted from China by my two godly parents and grew up as an only child in a quiet California town. I owe a great deal to my parents for reminding me the significance of stories and for their ardent support in allowing me to chase after my dreams. Through my adoption story, I have realized how the Lord purposely seeks people’s lives marked with brokenness and how He adopts them, chooses them, and crafts a new identity in them, making them inheritors of His eternal kingdom.
Inspiring biblical passage of the moment: A verse that the Lord seems to be ironing onto my heart lately is from Matthew 11:28-30: “Come to Me, all you who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” I am a perfectionist to a ‘t’ and often find myself striving hard and fast, unhealthily motivated by the fear of failing or being perceived as anything less than perfect. So when I eventually fail, I can fall into the trap of thinking God is disappointed with my shortcomings, and I may even feel like I am unworthy of love and wholeness. But when I stumble, when I feel like God is retreating away or I myself want to run away from my messy imperfections, this verse speaks volumes to me, tenderly reminding me that our Heavenly Father simply says “come.” Like a gentle parent, He scoops me up and patiently teaches me how to start over when I stumble and how to deny my vain attempts at being enough and to rely on His desire to carry the weight of my life.
Spiritual growth focus at the moment: Currently, I am walking through a season of healing and learning the grace in the process of restoration. This past year, I experienced intense brokenness in relationships I held dear to my heart while also diving into a relationship that I know wasn’t what Christ had in store for me. While on the outside I maintained a “good Christian girl” exterior, my heart wandered, craving fleeting affirmation and love. A few months ago, I experienced a breakup that launched me into a season of grief and led me to reevaluate my faith. Through the heartbreak, God has given me a deeper understanding of why He so ardently pleas with us Christians not to be yoked with those who are not fully dedicated to running the Christian race. Yet, He has also instilled so much compassion in my heart for those who go through heartbreaks without the steady presence of Christ to see them through. The past year’s events has brought to the surface a lot of areas of my life that I know God wants to work on and heal—my perfectionism, my fears of being a disappointment, my fear of never being enough. While this season is hard, I praise God for His grace in wanting to reconcile, restore, refine, and redeem my areas of my life that needed a bit of shattering.
“While this season is hard, I praise God for His grace in wanting to reconcile, restore, refine, and redeem my areas of my life that needed a bit of shattering.”
Profession: Currently, I split my time pursuing my masters in communication and working at Trader Joe’s. I am thankful for the opportunities to work with different personalities and be able to witness to my core group of coworkers. My prayer and dream is to launch into a career that allows me to combine all my passions for writing, communication, and storytelling with my desire to help others see the significance of their life stories.
If you wrote a memoir, what would the title be? Types of Grace. Throughout my life I have seen the different types of grace impressed upon my life, showing me that real grace isn’t as lithe and ethereal as I had once imagined. God’s true tangible grace put everything on the line to love deeply.
“God’s true tangible grace put everything on the line to love deeply.”
When did you first encounter God and how did you encounter Him? I was blessed to grow up in a home led by parents who were wholeheartedly dedicated to serving Christ. But the first time I most vividly remember encountering God’s presence is in my bedroom as a teenager around midnight when loneliness seemed to seep through the very cracks in the wall. During my teen years, I felt misunderstood and a bit isolated—the somewhat normal growing up feelings of a teenager learning to grow into their identity. I remember crying so hard, and then suddenly feeling the most loving, accepting, glorious presence wrapping around me, whispering to me that I was worthy, that I was not alone. In the gospels, you read account after account of when people had a true encounter with Christ, they never walked away the same, so it was with me.
How has your relationship with Him changed you? The first chapter of Ephesians constantly reminds me that Christ has done everything to allow me to experience intimacy with Him. My relationship with Him shapes my worldview; it defines my identity; it shapes how I live, breathe, and experience life, constantly confirming to me that I was created, chosen, accepted, adopted on purpose for a unique purpose to glorify Him.
What has been the darkest time in your life, and how did you see God in it? Looking back at this past year, I don’t think I have really walked through a season where heartbreaks emerged like they were commonplace. I almost lost my relationship with one of my best friends; I broke up with my boyfriend; the sin in my life wedged a distance in my relationship with my family. It felt like I experienced almost every human emotion with the exception of grieving someone who has passed away. You don’t really realize the greatest distance is between your head and your heart until life challenges everything you believe. This season has really challenged my belief that nothing is wasted—God is in the business of turning pain into purpose and that there is unlimited grace in surrender.
“You don’t really realize the greatest distance is between your head and your heart until life challenges everything you believe.”
What has helped you grow spiritually in this season? Listening to podcasts (specifically the Porch’s podcasts on relationships + how to survive your launch into adulthood) has really been heart comforting and eye opening. Also being surrounded with godly friends who wrap you up in their love until you feel whole again.
Just read/currently reading (and what has it taught you?): I just finished A Grief Observed by C. S. Lewis—such a heartfelt, raw, and human account depicting that everyone, even a man who was a great apologist of the Christian faith, experienced the full spectrum of human emotion. It’s a short read, a mere pamphlet really, but Lewis’s quote, “God has not been trying an experiment on my faith or love in order to find out their quality. He knew it already. It was I who didn’t,” really hit me how my expectations of myself and my idea of God need to be shattered in order to reveal God’s true identity.
Top three essentials: Coffee, a solid pen, and a pretty blank journal.
How did God speak to you recently? When I really quiet my heart to God’s voice, I think He’s just trying to remind me that I am worthy of love, that I don’t have to have my life together, picture-perfect to be worthy of His acceptance or even the opposite, I don’t have to rebel or run away to be seen. I think we get so caught up in trying to impress God or run away from God when all He really wants to do is quiet our hearts to His love.
Hobby: Lately, I’ve really taken up tending to my indoor plants. One day last year, I toted home a spindly fern, and ten plants later I’m tending an indoor bedroom jungle. I love how with a little bit of sunshine, water, and love these plants just take off.
Top three practical tips for staying spiritually strong:
1. Surround yourself with strong Christian community. When heartbreak and the temptations of the world come striding through your life, when you feel lost in sin or loneliness, you will need a solid structure of godly people to firmly remind you who you are and Whose you are.
2. Read extensively. First and foremost, study the Bible—it’s alive and active and applicable to all areas of life. But also dive into Christian resources that can help shine some light on harder concepts (C. S. Lewis is a great start).
3. Listen to worship music. I find that when I am at a loss for words or emotionally feel numb, music comes back to me the most easily and realigns my heart to His heart.
Favorite person in scripture? I love Moses’ life because I see so much of myself in him—God’s provision of adoption to protect him from Pharaoh’s wrath, his struggle with feeling not good enough, his fear of public speaking. And yet, through all his shortcomings, God used him to bring an entire nation out of bondage!
What do you want people to learn about God when they look at you? I’ve always liked the idea that whether or not people know my name or my story, when they interact with me they will know my God.
Favorite holiday? I love the Christmas season, but over the years, Thanksgiving has claimed my heart with its focus on food, family, and gratitude.
A goal you have? To live honestly, to live wholly, to live freely and to write it well; to truly fearlessly and vivaciously live out the story God has penned for my life wherever it might lead.
Thing you want to raise awareness about: Since adoption is part of my story, I really want to raise awareness of how adoption is really a viable option. I have a dream of one day working for adoption nonprofits by being able to listen and share people’s adoption stories for their media channels.
What does your morning routine consist of? I usually work late shifts, so my mornings are laid back and include sitting with a cup of coffee, reading my Bible and other devotionals (currently reading Streams in the Desert), and tending to my plants.
What is on your nightstand? My vintage typewriter, books new and old, ones that are being currently read, and pictures from my travels hang above.
Define Christianity in a sentence: Christianity is not a series of religious motions but establishing a relationship with the One who by grace saved us from our sins and bridged the gap so that we might experience personal intimacy with our Creator.
For more Grace:
Until next time, keep witnessing!