Thursday, May 24, 2012


do you remember exactly this time last year? you were fully set on getting into HSS or NYU for your fellowship for 2012, unwilling to budge or divert from your meticulously thought out plan. you insisted on staying on the east coast and expected the results of your acceptance to comply. then match day came and your biggest fear, that didn't even seem like a possibility according to you, was realized. i saw how much it hurt and i felt your pain as if i was your siamese twin. while that wound of rejection was still fresh, our hearts dared to aspire again for UCSF. we knew it was risky to hope for it but all the signs and confirmations made us feel safe and confident. less than a week after convincing yourself this was it, you were crushed all over again. it seemed like rejection was following you around like an ugly disease. what kind of messed up deal is that? you were devastated to the point where you struggled to get out of bed. i witnessed it all unravel and the worst part was i couldn't do anything to fix it and make it all better. i would've cashed in my 401k and spent all my savings if that could have kept you from having to go through that disappointment. as i prepared to leave for hawaii and as broken as i was with my own mess, what was left of my heart ached for you. i didn't have the right words to say and i wasn't able to offer any reassuring promises. all i had was an unwavering trust in the Lord that He isn't stingy as i prayed for His redemption and providence.i believed that as much as mom, dad and i want you to succeed and be happy, God's commitment to your life and making you great spans infinitely wider. as you laid down your ambitions and died to your own flawed plans, He revealed a glimmer of hope in a distant dream called Stanford. it was exceedingly more than your imagination ever dared to reach and presumably out of your league. it was too high that we never even saw it on the horizon. but this was His plan all along. His divine intention was to give you more than you deserved and more than you ever wished for. when i see your life it's so evident that our God is too good not to be true. so banish the rejection from the past like it's going out of style and perish the thought that you are anything short of a royal priesthood and coheir w/ Christ. you lack nothing because you are perfectly loved by the One who has everything.
you were made to shine His glory and you are radiating the brightest when you are most satisfied in Him. so thank Him again and again, find ridiculous joy and crazy love, and give all the glory back to Him.
now we are only 3 1/2 weeks away from living across the country from each other. and although there's no doubt i'm going to miss you more than i can comprehend right now, i'll have so much peace knowing God hand selected you to be there. as stubborn and emphatic as you were to stay in NY, He opened up a spot for you all the way in palo alto instead. the best part is the story hasn't ended. i know that you'll keep adding chapters of His furious and radical redemption as you share testimonies that will continue to leave us in awe w/ our jaws on the ground. love you, Hong.

 Love...always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 1 Corinthians 13:7

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

songs of joy.

the world is a cruel and lonely place upon the discovery that your so-called claim to fame is all a sham. it deeply disappoints me to realize and admit that i'm actually not as hardcore and strong as i formerly believed and deceptively let on. i'm sorry but i regret to inform you that it was all a front. i can't run as long as i used to. i can no longer take all the hits and blows and still come back for more. i'm prone to injuries and it takes longer for my body to recover these days. my tolerance has drastically decreased and i'm softer than i was last year. it's almost as if what tough endurance i did have was really just a mix of anesthesia and adrenaline that is now slowly and painfully wearing off. not just physically but even the dead and sleeping areas in my heart and memory have been awakened and it's not pretty. all of a sudden, i'm inexplicably hurting everywhere and i'm at a loss for a sensible reason why. seemingly out of nowhere, i'll just be overcome with tears and raw emotions and cry uncontrollably. seriously, where the heck is this coming from? i thought i took care of this while i was in hawaii. ok no problem. let's just quickly clean up the mess and get it together already. God, redemption now. please? for the past few weeks or so i've been glaring at my issues to the point where that's all i could see. i kept convincing myself i was so weak until i believed it and was consumed by it...until yesterday. i was listening to a new song called "come back down" by greg laswell & sara bareilles and i swear she was singing to me when i heard the line, "all of your wallowing is unbecoming." ouch. i snapped out of feeling sorry for myself and relying on my own limited wisdom to fix whatever is going on inside of me. ok i give up my right to fully understand what He's doing. yeah, i may not be as strong as i thought or hoped, but i am not a helpless and distressed little girl either. Christ lives in me and He renews my strength and transforms me more and more into His image every day. i believe this. i am a child of God and the maker of heaven and earth also created me and has amazing purposes for my life. for the first time in months i started dreaming God sized dreams again and reclaimed His promises for me. the harsh truth is, we will constantly be faced with hundreds of justifications to cry and temptations to give in. but for each trial or dark season there are exponentially more reasons to be joyful and give thanks. no matter what the circumstances, there is always an abundance of things to rejoice about. we can smile at the storm and sing in the rain because of the hope and confidence we have as we walk with Jesus. talk about a great awakening. this is gonna be glorious.

When the Lord restored the fortunes of Zion, we were like those who dreamed. Our mouths were filled with laughter, our tongues with songs of joy. Then it was said among the nations, “The Lord has done great things for them.” The Lord has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy.  

Those who sow with tears will reap with songs of joy. Those who go out weeping, carrying seed to sow, will return with songs of joy, carrying sheaves with them. 

Psalm 126: 1-3, 5-6

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

love's the cure.

throughout the deplorable predicaments and exceptional hardships that i have faced, regardless of whether the conflict was a result of my faulty actions or not, i always feared the worst case scenarios. despite the heaps of optimism that ran through my veins and my attempts to remain positive and not give into any paranoia and skepticism, my heart couldn't help but entertain the possibility of what i believed to be utter destruction and the end of my life as i knew it. as the saying goes, i hoped for the best but prepared for the worst. i convinced myself that if these fears are ultimately realized, the world will be flipped upside down and i simply will not survive- like a korean drama unfolding right before my eyes. so what happens when those nightmares actually become a reality? from past experience after i'm all cried out from mourning the loss or tragedy, i wake up the next morning to discover that life does in fact go on even with a broken heart and crushed spirit. we don't fully comprehend our ability to endure unimaginable adversity until we're smack in the middle of it. then when the worst is over, because there's always an end, we rise above it all and after sufficient time has past, we become fighters and more resilient. so is it true that what doesn't kill you makes you stronger? i typically deal with issues head on- i don't mind confrontation, a little mess here, discomfort there- so long as the problems are solved or at least addressed with a solution in sight. but with matters that are completely out of my control, where i'm helpless and gravely wounded, i tend to run and hide. subconsciously or very purposefully, i block out specific memories as a defense mechanism. choosing to not remember certain details sure seems like a suitable method of coping at least for a while but are we better off? did those unfortunate circumstances really make us stronger or was it all in vain? after enough instances of running, hiding, brushing aside, & making excuses, our "resilience" actually becomes numb tolerance. we repress our love and hold back affection and just don't care anymore. the scary thing is the opposite of love isn't hate, it's indifference. we stop saying hello, purposely withhold smiles when they're in our vicinity, and simply ignore their existence. sometimes we're deceived into believing that just because we don't feel rage or bitterness anymore we don't hate deep down inside. it's both comforting and frightening to know that no matter how easily our hearts build up calloused walls in order to forget, God never does. the incident could have happened 6 years ago with blurry details but it still matters to Him and He doesn't ask us to just get over it because we're convinced we need to be invincible. we are not that impressive. oftentimes the hardest thing to do is just admit that it still stings and we still cry even if we pretend to be hardcore and play it off like we're over it. it's only by His divine grace that He doesn't leave us where we are to silently carry these offenses that inevitably rot our hearts. when we least expect it, He will dig up the wounds and give us a cure for our indifference- an abundance of His extravagant love. this might hurt a little but it'll be worth it. promise.

Hatred stirs up conflict, but love covers over all wrongs. Proverbs 10:12 

Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. 1 Peter 4:8

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

laugh out loud.

it's nearly impossible to hang around me for an extended period of time and not have something to say about my laugh- not only because i laugh so often, but also because it's extremely loud, hearty and distinct. after 29 years of repeatedly feeling self conscious about it, i've finally come to terms with this once and for all. i admit it comes off pretty manly and when i hear myself laughing in a video or recording, i still can't help but cringe in dismay thinking, "omg, that's what i sound like??" what in the world will my mother in law say? without fail every single sunday after service, at least 1 or 2 people come up to me to tell me that they heard me laughing during pdanny's sermons. yup, that has to be jini. i cannot control myself and at times like these, i sort of used to wish i could. i thought if only i could lower the volume or intensity or make myself sound more ladylike somehow, that would be wonderful. it's ironic that oftentimes the traits that we feel most insecure about are the very characteristics that we end up actually appreciating and even cherishing once we fully embrace them. this gradual acceptance comes with age, i suppose, and believing that each of us are the best when we're simply ourselves. as cliche as that sounds, it's absolutely true. i can't imagine politely giggling through life in an attempt to make others believe i'm a certain way. nobody likes a poser. i hope that i'll never have a shortage of reasons to lol and that i have bellyaching laugh attacks every single day for as long as i live ^___^