Today, Faith speaks to us about what God values the most, praying without ceasing and the meaning of freedom.
Tell us a bit about how you grew up and your childhood: I grew up as a second-generation Korean American immigrant. My father was a businessman, and we moved around the U.S. often. In a way, this shaped me deeply. Because my parents were not Christian during my early childhood years, I always had a longing for an anchor of sorts. I did not have a hometown, nor did I have consistent relationships. Yet, for some reason, as a child, I wondered about God, and I searched for Him. I wanted to know who He was, what He was like. Strangely, without anyone even preaching the gospel to me, I had a longing for the permanent, the eternal.
Inspiring biblical passage of the moment: The Bible passage that my heart has been lingering on is Luke 15:1, which says, “Now the tax collectors and sinners were all gathering around to hear Jesus.” In its simplicity, I’ve been in awe of something so profound. The fallen and the broken were not deterred by Jesus. There was something about Him that drew the sinner closer, rather than repelling them away. I know countless people, whether they are nonbelievers or former members of the church, who will not even go within a mile of a church service. There is something about religion that seems to scare the sinner. Yet, there’s something about Jesus that seems to draw the sinner closer. I’ve been asking God to help me to be more like Christ.
Spiritual growth focus at the moment: Freedom. I’m in a season where God is challenging everything lock and chain within me. He died to set me free, and, yet, it’s so easy to accept slavery, isn’t it? I’ve come to accept the decision that I will not tolerate any weight other than the weight of His glory and the weight of the cross. And by this, I mean that I will live to love, not live to be accepted. I refuse the chains of arbitrary expectations from people, and I refuse to be driven by anything other than the loving direction of the Father.
“I’ve come to accept the decision that I will not tolerate any weight other than the weight of His glory and the weight of the cross.”
Profession: I am a pastor, pastor’s wife, founder of The Honor Summit, church planter, conference speaker, and a writer.
If you wrote a memoir, what would the title be? She is Free Indeed.
When did you first encounter God and how did you encounter Him? My parents were not Christians until later on in my life. However, as a child, I was always on a search for God. I just had this sense that He was out there. I wanted to know what He was like. I wanted to hear His voice. For years, I had little moments that felt like coincidences at the time. But, that very first, undeniable encounter was when I was 16 years old. My mother became a Christian first and wanted me to get involved with kingdom work, so she sent me on a youth mission trip to Mexico! I was so discombobulated for the first two days and utterly upset that my life was interrupted while I was there. However, I recall listening to a gospel sermon by a pastor one night, and my heart just burned with belief. I heard the gospel, and I just had to have it. I had to have Jesus. That night, I had the deepest, richest love encounter with the Holy Spirit. It was so authentic and powerful that it changed me forever.
How would you describe Jesus? I’d say He is kind. He’s a lot kinder than people may expect. Whenever I hear His voice, it’s never condemning. Even in His correction, He is gentle and full of hope. It’s that kindness that stirs me up to want to be just like Him.
How has your relationship with Him changed you? It’s made me braver. There’s something about knowing that you are loved and protected by the King that can really fill you up with courage.
What has been the darkest time in your life, and how did you see God in it? Oh boy, I’ve had many dark times in my life. I would say 2020 would count as one of them. What a year it’s been! Every plan—undone. Every relationship—challenged. Every dream—shattered. I’m a leader, so when times get rough, it’s up to me to make sure that the boat doesn’t sink. However, there were moments this [past] year when I wondered if I would even make it. But, God made sure I get through it. I call it the “secret place,” the place in your heart where you allow Jesus to meet you right where you are at. I went to that place a lot this year. There, I am not just a pastor or a spiritual leader. I am not a kingdom builder or a pastor’s wife. I am just me. And in that place, I came just as I am, no fancy words or religious promises. I just came with all of my mess—my anger, my sorrow, my hatred, my fears. Every night He met me in that place, and, over time, He loved me back to life.
“Every night He met me in that place, and, over time, He loved me back to life.”
What has helped you grow spiritually in this season? Honesty has helped me grow in this season. I realize that it’s better to be real about your mess with God rather than just being well-behaved for God.
Just read/currently reading (and what has it taught you?): I’ve been reading Strengthening the Soul of Your Leadership by Ruth Haley Barton. It’s been deeply challenging me to take the health of my soul seriously.
Top three essentials: My phone (everything is on my phone). My Kopari lipgloss. My coffee.
How did God speak to you recently? Recently, my grandmother-in-law passed away. She was the first Christian in her family, and her faith was passed down to her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. She had no podcast, no fame, nor money. Yet, she was truly a friend of God. As I’ve been reflecting upon her legacy of faith, God’s been speaking to me about the things that He values most—the things that matter. In our time of grief, the Holy Spirit breathed inspiration into my heart, a conviction to keep me eyes fixed on eternity.
“She had no podcast, no fame, nor money. Yet, she was truly a friend of God.”
Hobby: Perhaps a bit basic, but I do enjoy shopping and fashion. I love putting together fits and keeping up with what’s out there.
Top three practical tips for staying spiritually strong: 1) Amongst the variety of people in your life, try to make sure to have at least one or two fired up believers around you. Their faith will be contagious. 2) Include God in everything you do. People often ask me how long I pray each day. I tell them that I never stop praying. Include Him in your drives, your errands, your work, etc. I involve Him in everything. 3) Monitor your thought-life. I find that meditation on Scripture is always a powerful way to keep your thought-life healthy.
“People often ask me how long I pray each day. I tell them that I never stop praying.”
Favorite person in scripture? Moses.
What do you want people to learn about God when they look at you? I want people to see that God defends the weak, the marginalized, and the sinner. Jesus places worth in the unworthy.
“Jesus places worth in the unworthy.”
How do you engage with your community? I’m a pastor, so I’m constantly connecting with people. These days, it’s all done digitally, whether it is preaching via livestream or holding Zoom discipleships.
Favorite holiday? Christmas!
A goal you have? My ultimate goal in life is to champion the marginalized.
A special tradition you and your family engage in or keep: Every night, our whole family shares our individual highlights of the day. We have six people in our family, so to go through each person’s highlight can take a bit of time. However, we find it meaningful to just dwell on the things that God had done for us, with no rush or time limit. There are days when it’s absolutely tempting to breeze through these. However, we find that an attitude of gratitude invites God’s peace into the home, sets our eyes on Him, and instills a deep joy within us as a family.
Gratitude is a choice to see the fingerprints of God all over our lives.
“Gratitude is a choice to see the fingerprints of God all over our lives.”
Question you will ask when you get to heaven? Why did you weep? This is in reference to John 11:35, when Jesus wept in the face of Lazarus’ death. So many sermons are out there in attempt to explain why Jesus wept. I’d love to hear the answer from Jesus Himself.
Thing you want to raise awareness about: The Asian American narrative in the Christian body is something I believe is oftentimes overlooked.
What does your morning routine consist of? I don’t really have a blog-worthy, influencer-type morning routine. I get woken up by my children, drink water or coffee when I can as I rush them into their remote online school. I find a time to read Scripture when I can. I find a time to shower when I can. The only thing consistent through it all is that I include God in everything, from the moment I wake up to the moment I sleep.
What is on your nightstand? My glasses. I don’t like cluttered spaces.
Define Christianity in a sentence: Christianity is God inviting strangers to become friends, making it possible by laying down His own life.
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Until next time, keep witnessing!