“Christians are promised fullness and should never prefer what is empty.”
BSF Notes from John 7
“Christians are promised fullness and should never prefer what is empty.”
BSF Notes from John 7
To drink ordinary water is to drink continually but never be satisfied. This was the woman’s unhappy experience in her emotionally thirsty yet unsatisfied life. All of God’s good earthly gifts are ultimately empty without Him. Earthly satisfaction may quench your thirst, but only for a moment. Afterwards, emptiness and boredom quickly reappear. The more you depend upon external objects for conscious happiness, the more quickly your thirst returns, with increasing intensity.
We want things to make us content, but soon after we obtain them they turn to ashes and slip out of our hands. We thirst for more things we think will make us safe, happy or satisfied. John described this thirst as a three-pronged craving or lust that takes hold of people:
- “Lust of the flesh” – more things to feel
- “Lust of the eyes” – more things to own
- “Pride of life” – more things to be proud about – what you have and do to keep up with others
Such thirst is as a bottomless pit. Until death there is no end to this terrible thirst for more and no conscious satisfaction.
What a week it’s been! Definitely started out maternity leave at a very fast pace. It’s been fun, but glad that things have been slowing down the last few days!
Stayed with my parents Friday night through Monday while Kenny was at the Seeds leadership retreat. It was a lot of fun being a “kid” again haha and my amazing parents were so helpful in getting TONS of baby laundry done, overfeeding me, and taking me shopping! Did a lot of shopping walking (the best kind!), so I’ll be proud to report again tomorrow that I exercised more than usual this week!
Monday night I met up with Erika since I ended up canceling Friday. We decided this will be our last dship until June ish after baby Yee is out. Kind of sad, but I’m pretty sure the break is necessary haha and it’ll be nice to pick up again during the summer when everything else dies down schedule-wise.
And on that note, dship has been SUCH a blessing. As I mentioned before (I think), the last time I discipled anyone was almost 6 years ago!! Can’t believe it’s been that long. I think because it didn’t end on the best note and I was discouraged about not seeing as much fruit as I wanted, I had been very resistant to the idea of close-up life-on-life ministry. But God is so faithful and after MONTHS of putting Erika on my heart, He gave me the push I needed and I unexpectedly asked her if she wanted to be discipled. Funny thing is a couple weeks later, Pastor Kyle did a series on dship and it was affirmation for me that this is where God wanted me.
And it’s been such a joy! Sure, a lot of times I am tired especially with the baby, but the time almost always goes by so quickly and I leave so encouraged by God’s help and by Erika’s hunger for Him.
The biggest difference this go ’round? I think in the past 6 years God has taught me soooo much about dependence on Him and not doing things out of my own strength. In the past, I relied so much on myself to do ministry. I relied on my own strength, I relied on what had worked in the past. I relied on my own knowledge and I was prideful because I felt I had done a good job in ministry before. So when things got hard and I didn’t see fruit, I became discouraged and felt bad about myself thinking “where did I go wrong?” and I also got frustrated with the girls. Why weren’t they thankful? Why weren’t they growing? Why didn’t they try harder?
I think all of that has taught me that anything I do in ministry MUST be motivated and powered by Jesus. For one, God has humbled me and I don’t think I’m nearly as great anymore haha. In fact, I’ve come to realize I’m actually pretty terrible at shepherding. In my flesh, I’m selfish, I’m lazy, I’m flaky, I people-please and don’t correct… the list goes on. And secondly, there is NOTHING I can do to change people. Yes, I can point them in the right direction and be faithful to what God gives me to say to them, but true change can only come from Jesus. My only job is to be faithful to love and point them in His direction, then true lasting fruit, true change, can only come from the Holy Spirit working within.
So anyway that’s huge tangent.
Monday after dship I watched Kenny’s bball game. Figured this might be one of the last ones I go to for a while. Must say, I am so proud of my husband. There was a “situation” after the game and I was so proud of the way he handled it. As much as my husband may be a goofball and say ridiculous things, I think God has gifted him with incredible wisdom and discernment and the ability to be very direct with others in a way that’s loving/tactful. God has given him the ability to lead and I think that’s why people are drawn to him and often want to put him in leadership positions. I hope this isn’t bragging because we KNOW this only comes from Jesus and Kenny’s definitely come a long way haha, but just wanted to throw out some affirmation to my husband.
It was also so much fun to be in Mr. Yee’s classroom on Friday. His kids love him SO MUCH and he has such a great rapport with them. His classes are very interactive (on that note, I would’ve DIED being in his class as someone who pretty much never talked in class haha) and lively. Definitely made me realize I could never be a teacher (or at least not teach in the same style as him…) and now I know why he’s so tired at the end of each day and has such a hard time listening to me– we estimated that his name was called AT LEAST 100 times during the day!
Okay, jumping all around. Blame the preggo brain.
Tuesday was also tons of fun! Drove back out to Walnut for a Grandma Shower that my mom’s BSF leaders put on for her. It was so fun to meet them and see them honor my mom who pours out so much of herself into leading BSF every week. And it was a total surprise, which I think is quite a feat! I’m also blown away by how generous people have been with us in getting ready for the baby!! These women who at least I don’t even know showered our baby soooo generously.
Kenny and I talked about it last night. I realized recently that out of all the couples in our married couple group, we probably make the least BY FAR. And I like to think it’s not because we’re incompetent haha, but because of life decisions we have made with the Lord. And as much as we might be the lowest earning couple, there truly has been no lack in our lives by the grace of God. He provided us with an apartment that’s charging far below market value for rent. He’s given us TONS of baby hand-me-downs through church and Kenny’s sister. And He has showered us through our incredibly generous community with tons of new baby things (diapers, wipes for days, clothing, toys, and many other baby items). There truly is no lack. And yes, maybe it’s partially because we have walked in obedience to God following His leading for things like career, but even moreso it’s simply because He is so good and gracious
We talked last night too about sin and how both of us have fallen so short of God’s standard in so many different ways. We, or mostly I, confessed some things to Kenny about my own heart’s darkness that I hadn’t even shared before. And as we shared, I was just blown away by God’s grace. We are so undeserving. We do not deserve a second chance, let alone chances upon chances above that. Yet God, being rich in mercy, has chosen to forgive us and not only forgive us, but bless us beyond measure.
All right, like I said, jumping all over haha. Tuesday I also got to hang with Deb for a tiny bit (hopefully more to come pre-baby!), then closed out the night with BSF.
As for today, the plan is haircut soon, then clean clean clean clean and organize. Our place is a DISASTER. This morning I kid you not my prayer was for God to help me clean up haha. Also, got the labor bag and other things partially ready, but I also want to buy labor-approved snacks (apple sauce, jello, clear broth, plain pasta) as we get ready for the big day. On that note, okay def TMI but whatever I have no shame anymore, I think I saw part of the “mucus plug” this morning haha. Which means labor could be hours… or days… or a week away. But still! I’m excited to meet our baby. Only two more weeks til her due date!!!
How am I feeling?
For being almost full term, I’d say pretty darn good and actually a lot better than some weeks in the past! I just can’t believe we are ~2 weeks away!! And again, as much as I’m thankful to be pregnant, I am also SOOO excited to NOT be anymore. No more waddling! No more being out of breath all the time! No more hip pain (hopefully)! Much less acid reflux! I am so excited that this time in a few weeks there will no longer be a person inside of me hahaha.
And overall I’m just filled with excitement and anticipation. I cannot wait to meet our new little person. I think I’m trying to be fairly realistic too in that I know it’s going to be really hard and will not be all peachy and rosy and there may be times of even despairing, so I’m trying to prepare well spiritually so I can be as close to Jesus as I can heading into the next season.
What is God saying?
So I think I covered a lot above.
Biggest development is what I talked about last update how I think I’m finally able to understand and accept a tiny bit more God’s justice and mercy and how they work in tandem and both are demonstrations of His perfect and holy character.
Going to Evergreen on Sunday was also really good. Pastor Cory talked about repentance and confession and how death is an essential part of Christian living. He talked about how confession and repentance are now lost arts in the church and how as a community we are meant to celebrate both together. The church should be a place of corporate repentance and rejoicing over it, but instead we fail to confess our sins to one another because of pride and shame.
We fail to repent because shame has replaced joy.
We are so ashamed of our sins and of our past that we are paralyzed and unable to confess to one another and sometimes even to confess to God. Instead we want to stay in places of guilt and even feel like that’s what we deserve.
And at other times, we don’t repent simply because it doesn’t cross our mind to. We’re myopic when it comes to our own sin.
Repentance is essential to growth. Something must die before something new rises in its place.
I’ve been thinking about repentance and confession lately and how both are essential because they keep us dependent. They keep us in a state of being aware of how much we sin thus how much we need Him. And in turn, as we become increasingly aware of how much we sin, we grow even more in awe of His love and grace.
I’m reminded of this beautiful Tim Keller quote Duhee uses often at BSF:
The gospel is this: We are more sinful and flawed in ourselves than we ever dared believe, yet at the very same time we are more loved and accepted in Jesus Christ than we ever dared hope.
How amazing, how beautiful it is to live in God’s grace and to be forgiven!
Lord, help me to grow in my confession and repentance and to never take for granted Your extravagant grace. Amen!!
First week of maternity leave and into week 37 meaning Baby Yee could come anytime now!
It’s been a full and fun week so far though I’ve gotten far less done than I would prefer haha.
Friday: last day of work!, prayer with Ms. A, sympathy coffee for coworkers :), youth group
Saturday: breakfast with Duhee and Gina, Steph and Kathy arrived, Flame Broiler lunch, Beijing pie, staying up late talking
Sunday: Seeds, Baby Shower!! (Thanks so much friends & fam!), hanging out with AACF at… Where else? Flame Broiler
Monday: cleaned, walked 2.5 miles with Steph, dinner and dessert with Kristie
Tuesday: dropped Steph off, Acai bowl and time with the Lord in Burbank, went for a walk, cleaned, BSF
Wednesday: Mom’s BSF class, birthday lunch/walk/mystery activity with Erwin, laundry haha and dinner with family
Thursday: doctor’s appointment (baby is on target!), then cleaned cleaned and cleaned some more yet why is our apartment still a mess!?
Friday: spending the day with Kenny at Gab sharing about nonprofits and DOH!, d-ship tonight, then sleepover at my parents’ the whole weekend in case Baby Yee decides to some while Daddy is at Seeds leadership retreat
How am I feeling?
SOOO relieved to not have work anymore though I’ve dreamt about it several times so far haha. I told Kenny physically at the end of the day I still feel very tired, but mentally I feel a lot sharper. Also it’s been so much fun going through all the stuff for the baby and anticipating her arrival! Definitely don’t feel ready, but it is so fun and precious to look at all of her little gifts from the past few weeks. There’s this one outfit in particular from a co-worker with a navy dress and pink whale and Kenny MELTED when he saw it and proclaimed “I don’t stand a chance!!”
Acid reflux is unfortunately coming back with a vengeance as I think the baby is growing bigger and getting up in my intestines again. My left hip has been killing me too for some reason. I have been walking more so maybe that’s why?
Overall I’m just excited and can’t believe our baby is actually going to be here soon! It’s pretty unbelieveable that we will get to meet her soon!! Lately she’s been stretching a lot and our new favorite thing is feeling her feet as they protrude often from the right side of my stomach.
What is God saying?
I was telling Deb and Kenny after BSF that for some reason things kind of “clicked” this week for me in terms of the God of justice and the God of mercy being one in the same. I think the biggest thing I’ve seen through this past week’s lesson is how the Gospel demonstrates not just the love and mercy of God in Jesus dying for us, but also how it shows the Justice of God in that He punished Jesus fully with His full wrath for our sin. So as much as the Gospel is about grace it is also about Justice and God’s holiness and how sin must be punished.
Anyway more thoughts on the topic for sure, but that’s it for today. Time to talk to Mr. Yee’s kiddos again. And on that note, I must say I could NEVER be a teacher. And yes I do understand now why my husband is so tired at the end of each day and has a hard time listening to me lol.
Every image of judgment should remind us of grace through Jesus Christ.
As terrible as the bowls of God’s wrath are… they do not match the judgment Jesus willingly bore for His people’s salvation.
God’s judgments are always rooted in His righteousness and never stem from empty fury.
God is eternally fair, just, and completely holy. He does not violate any one of His attributes in exercising another. He is eternal and does not change. He rules the world. He exercised judgment with perfect morality and authority.
How do I feel?
Last week of work!!!!! Oh my gosh I can’t wait. I am so excited to sleep, clean, cook, get the baby room ready, spend time with the Lord (sad, I didn’t immediately write that one and had to add it in later… will talk about this in latter portion of post, but thankful that there’s grace!), and hang out with family/friends! I have been so tired this week (I know, I know, I sound like a broken record) and struggling to function in life and at work. Of course this weekend was packed so that’s probably part of it too.
Weird thing is like I mentioned in the last post, I don’t feel “disabled” at all and definitely think I could keep working. But after learning SDI covers 4 weeks before your due date, even though it’s not going to cover my entire salary, it’s kind of like why not? This is my last hurrah before a lifetime of child-rearing haha.
Other than tired and irritable, I feel relatively good though. I did have a bad stomach ache last night, but I realized since we’ve been so busy (seriously we’ve had something almost every single night this entire month… but of course now’s the time to do it!) I haven’t cooked anything in the last week, thus I’ve been eating very few vegetables. PTL though for good digestive movements today! No joke, I am sooo relieved/happy/thankful to the Lord haha.
Regarding the baby, I’m definitely still excited to meet her, but I guess this past week there’s been this realization that things will never be the same again once she’s born, and honestly that is a little frightening. Of course there’s no turning back now and of course I wouldn’t want to(!!!), but I do feel a bit anxious thinking about how much everything is going to change for our little family!
Baby’s looking good! Movements are still frequent and strong! Yesterday she was relentless when I had my stomachache and wouldn’t stop kicking me right where it hurt! Doctors appointment went well this morning and she said Baby’s growth is on target and she should be around 6 lbs., 1 oz. right now give or take 15%.
As for this weekend, it was quite full. Highlight would be our 30th Anniversary Gala on Saturday night at Noor. It was a bit of a roller coaster and quite chaotic with very few staff there, but I thank God for His grace and help– I think my attitude could have been far far worse than it was and by the end of the night I realized I did have an enjoyable time, and the chaos, well, it was actually quite comical.
The biggest praise is that we raised over $150K, which was absolutely a miracle! And ultimately, the hope is that God received glory and praise for all that He has done to sustain our ministry over the past 30 years, despite our many mishaps and shortcomings (even the ones that very night!).
Not really a part of the weekend, but another highlight would be Staff Development on Monday. In my 1.5 years at DOH, it was seriously the best Staff Development I’ve attended. The workers from our DV site shared and it was eye-opening to learn more about victims of domestic violence, how to minister to them, and how the Gospel can bring tremendous hope in the face of devastating circumstances.
Startling facts about DV:
Such mind-boggling and heartbreaking statistics. So proud to be a part of DOH and to support the ministry of these amazing ladies who work so hard to bring the hope and love of Christ to the broken-hearted.
What has God been saying?
Honestly it’s been another hard week and I’ve struggled to spend time with the Lord and press into Him. I think this is the first week I haven’t finished all of my BSF lesson before the day of class. It’s crazy because just one year ago I would do the back half of my lesson the day of class (meaning by Tuesday I’d have 50% done) and a year before that and all the prior years of BSF I would do almost all of my lesson the day of class. (As a side note, I can’t believe this is my SIXTH year of BSF. Say whaat!?)
To me, this is so indicative of God’s grace. For whatever reason, He has been giving me tremendous grace and help to spend time with Him this year and I can absolutely see how it’s been helping me in my walk and in life.
It’s not easy to spend time with the Lord. And I know I mentioned it before, but even our middle school youth girls say things like “I don’t have time for devo’s” or “It’s just so hard” or “I don’t get anything out of reading the Bible/praying” and my heart aches for them because I know it’s not going to get any easier, but oh how I hope and pray God gives them grace to start spending time with Him NOW. I’m not sure it will ever be easy. And though it makes me laugh when they say “I don’t have time to spend with God,” it reveals the human heart, for isn’t this the excuse we use in almost every season of life? I don’t have time. I’m too busy. Too tired. Even MIDDLE SCHOOLERS feel too busy to make time for God in their lives.
So I try to encourage them. It’s worth it. We’ll always feel too busy and guess what, in the next season you’ll be even busier no matter what age you are! We will always find excuses to not spend time with God and say “in the next season of life, then I’ll really pursue You.”
But the time is NOW. The time is now and it is worth it. Like I wrote earlier, I think by God’s grace this past year or so I’ve been able to see how spending time with Him daily, though it might not seem like it makes a significant impact immediately, really does help and fills me with more peace, more wisdom, more significance, and lends itself to growth.
So I guess this is an encouragement to myself to not give up. To keep pressing in. To know that it’s worth it. Especially as I head into what many consider the craziest season of life. (As so many people have said, the first year of having a baby is just a blur.)
Reminds me of these two verses:
“I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”
& this one, which of course also reminds me of my dear friend Sung haha:
“Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize.”
1 Corinthians 9:24
Lastly, I’ll end with this:
“Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For His sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ.”
Lord, help me!!!!
We’re in the homestretch! Ish. Or so I like to think haha.
Tonight will also be our 3rd Lamaze class, so after its completion, we should be 3/4 ready for childbirth. Woohoo!
How am I feeling?
I honestly think last week may have been one of the toughest weeks of pregnancy with my acid reflux problems. I don’t know if I have been more miserable than I was last Wednesday and Thursday. But praise God, the reflux issues started dying down Thursday night and I honestly felt pretty great the whole weekend! I keep telling Kenny I will NEVER complain ever again about GERD/acid reflux once the baby’s out haha. What I had before was NOTHING compared to pregnancy reflux.
Other than that I’ve been feeling pretty darn good! I haven’t been waking up nearly as much and I realized too that I haven’t had leg cramps at night in ages. Thankful for sleep and trying to cash in as much as possible pre-baby.
I am also super excited to be ending work soon! Next Friday will be my last day and I can’t wait. So honestly, most of the time I feel like I could definitely work several more weeks and financially it might make more sense, but then I’ll make a bunch of dumb mistakes or forget what I’m doing or become overwhelmed by things that aren’t that overwhelming at all… and then I’m grateful that I can take a bit of time off and I think it really will be better for work this way. (Plus our nursery is still a mess so that will be my pre-baby project!) I talked about it with my boss during my review, but I just don’t feel like I handle stress very well anymore. I used to love fires and crave the variety, but since being pregnant, I get flustered much more easily and can’t deal with the crazy anymore. I’ve even noticed that lately I can’t handle the stress of being late (which is actually probably a good thing haha). In Steph’s words from when she visited last weekend, “Who are you!?!?”
Lastly, of course, I am very excited for the baby. I can’t wait to meet our little miss! I keep wondering who she’s going to look like, what her personality will be, where her interests will lie. This weekend when we visited All People’s Church in SD (it was BOMB btw), I noticed that the drummer was female and I added “worship team drummer” to the list of aspirations I have for our little one haha. Other aspirations include evangelist, prayer warrior, and of course, due to Daddy, baller. (We said hopefully she’ll get his offense and my defense. Oh and same goes for academics: my English, his math!)
Spent the weekend in SD for Annie & Emerson’s wedding, VDay, and our Babymoon!
The wedding was fun and it was so neat to see the Kairos building and how far the church has come. Spent a lot of time catching up with old friends and reliving the college days. As much as I loved college, it’s funny to realize now that I really would never go back. Definitely one of my favorite times in life, but maybe, just maybe, as Steph keeps asserting that really wasn’t the peak of my life and things really are going to continue getting better ;)
On Sunday, we visited All People’s Church. It was an awesome time of refreshing through the amazing worship and Word. The pastor talked about what it looks like when the Spirit moves in the church and it definitely made us think about what it means to be a part of a Spirit-filled community.
After service, we hit up Lolita’s in Gaslamp and I got my pollo fries fix and you bet I was thankful that my AR had died down! Found some acai bowls for dessert and the kind worker gave us two bowls probably after seeing my preggo belly!
Took a nice long nap, then K got to watch the first part of Kobe’s last All-Star game. So yes, a big part of our Babymoon was watching TV and sleeping, but I figured hey, it’s Kenny’s Babymoon too and it would not be a true Kenny weekend if it didn’t include those two things!
For VDay dinner, we walked to Ocean Pacific Grille and had private patio seating (yay for late reservations!) which was actually quite lovely and then we roamed around the Gaslamp a bit more looking for dessert (ended up being gelato and crepes!).
We were both proud of ourselves for doing so much walking and said one way to make the Yee’s walk is by the prospect of having to pay for parking and appealing to our Chinese-ness!
Monday morning we both were in and out of sleep through 11:30 (I love it!!) and we ended the weekend with a hefty Broken Yolk brunch. I had an omelet and pancake… both the size of my face.
So thankful to spend a relaxing weekend with the husband. I am so grateful to have him as a companion and truly can’t imagine doing life with anyone else. He is kind, thoughtful, passionate, and a joy to be around. I appreciate that we can have deep conversations about the things we care about (Jesus, etc.), but that we also spend so much time having fun/joking around/laughing. Marriage is an incredible blessing. And though I know it will at times be tough and we don’t know the future will bring, I feel secure knowing that my husband is a man who pursues the Lord in all he does, and that ultimately God holds whatever is ahead for our family.
What is God saying?
I feel like God is saying, “trust me.” That’s it. “Trust me.”
Reading Revelation this past year really has been no joke and it’s truly been tough to comprehend and read. Reading has stirred up the age old question of how could a loving God punish people? How do we reconcile the God of judgment with the God of grace and love?
It truly is difficult and I’ve been realizing more and more how essential it is to have faith. Though we can find answers to some of our questions, there will never be answers to all of them, and therefore, it is essential if we are to remain believers to have faith. Not sure if it’s true or not, but at least at this point in my life, I feel like there will always be some room for doubt, so faith is choosing to take the leap and believe.
In faith, I choose to trust God even when I don’t understand completely. In faith, I choose to take Him at His Word when He says He does not wish for any to perish. In faith, I choose that even when it seems unfair to me, sin truly does need to be punished and that God allows people to eventually have what they truly desire if they choose to reject Him: an eternity without Him.
It still seems unfair. It still is hard to believe. But what Duhee said last night in lecture did help. He said the only person who has the right to call God unfair is Jesus. And what did He say when faced with the greatest injustice of all time? “Not my will, but Yours be done.” And He unjustly took the full cup of wrath on the cross so that we who believe could be spared the very same thing.
God does love people. He does show extravagant grace. He does wish that all would be saved. But as with many things in our faith, salvation must be done on His terms. His way is most holy and His way is most loving. Sin must be punished. Evil must be dealt with.
Another thing that helped me is when Duhee said hell was created for Satan and his demons. Hell was not created for people. People were created to be with God and in His presence. Yet, in our sin, we chose a different way. And God still lets people choose a different way. He allows us to choose a life without Him and eventually an eternity of the same. And if we do not choose eternity with Him, then the alternative is an eternity separate from Him, which is hell.
So again, it’s not easy to comprehend, and it’s not easy to imagine, but the God of judgment and the God of love are one in the same. God’s characteristics do not contradict each other, instead they somehow go together in a way that is too difficult and perhaps even too wonderful for me to comprehend.
At this point, though I’ll continue to study and seek understanding, I think there still is something to just having faith in the end. It seems so textbook, simple, elementary, a cop-out even. But I’m led again to the place of realizing that faith is so necessary, so essential. So here I am, choosing to have faith in Him.
And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who seek Him.