“For it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in Him but also suffer for His sake…”
“For it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in Him but also suffer for His sake…”
Suffering usually makes you more anxious, more hardened and cynical, but through prayer it can make you wiser, deeper, kinder, and even more joyful.
How am I feeling?
The last few days I’ve been really struggling with acid reflux/heartburn. After a particularly bad bout, I swore off the following last night: chocolate, Cheetos, popcorn, and salsa. (And yes, this means I ate all of those things last night… in what I thought were very tiny quantities though!) How long did my resolve last for? Until this morning when I popped some M&M’s haha. But definitely going to keep my late night snacking to a minimum after last night’s misery. Also, online research suggests eating very small acid-free meals and not drinking liquids with meals will help the discomfort.
Kenny pointed out to me too that I’ve been carrying small, and our Lamaze teacher said that’s often worse because that means the baby is squished back into you and your organs are impacted even more. Given that Baby Yee is averaged sized according to the OBGYN, this definitely seems like a possibility.
In terms of other woes, I know it’s TMI, but I also have a mild yeast infection. Yay. Haha. Supposedly they’re very common during pregnancy due to hormone changes?
Sleep-wise I’ve actually been doing better! I’ve been sleeping through the night more regularly and not waking up as much.
Baby Yee continues to be active. Last night when I was sitting up quite late due to my acid reflux troubles, I was getting sleepy and slouched over to the side. Baby promptly kicked me with such aggression that it forced me into an upright position. It was as if she was saying, “hey man, you’re squishing me in here!”
Cravings-wise, I’ve noticed my cravings have morphed again. My new chocolate obsession is anything caramel-y, mostly Twix. Also after months and months of eating 5-6 Cuties a day (and I would’ve eaten more if 6+ didn’t give me gastro problems!), I’ve dropped the tangerine fixation and have been really into unsweetened apple sauce. Still really into fries too, but trying very hard to resist.
Thanks so much to Deb Han for throwing my family/Lifesong friends shower this weekend!! Had such a wonderful time with family and especially catching up with old Lifesong friends. I was reminded too of how good God was in using the Lifesong community to heal me back when I was really struggling (more on suffering/trials in the next section). As I’ve said many times, on the outside, attending Lifesong after college seemed to make very little sense, but God absolutely did use that redemptive community to simply love and heal me. So very, very grateful to Him.
Also, had the pleasure of hosting Miss Steph this weekend! Like fools, we stayed up until 2am? 3am? Friday night trying to relive our college days, and I think I’m STILL paying for it haha.
At Flame Broiler. This is the happiest I saw her all weekend.
What is God saying?
So as I mentioned in my last post, I had an especially hard time spending time with God last week. This week, it wasn’t as difficult, though Kenny and I did notice what seemed to be an increase in warfare around last night’s BSF, which was centered on the topic of suffering.
Suffering. Thankfully in this season, the worst I’ve had to “suffer” would be my symptoms of pregnancy, but as we reflected this past week on suffering, it was, well, informative? Interesting? Not sure how to describe it.
Last Wednesday, I really did not want to do my devo, but I kind of just resolved to do it and started the week’s BSF lesson on suffering. Amazingly, as God would have it, the things I reflected on that night came up the very next day as I met up with one of our youth kids. At the end of the night, both she and I marveled at how similar our lives were and how so many of the things I had gone through were paralleled in her life. I’m convinced that this is why God had me reflect on times of suffering the night before. In His sovereignty, He was helping me prepare to share with her. And I’m sure I could have shared with her even without the preparation, but I think because I had spent time considering the past the night before, I was better equipped to empathize and give her wise counsel.
Even now, years later and in a “good” season of life, it still is hard to look back at times of struggle and trial. Let’s face it. No one likes suffering, but it is a byproduct of a fallen world.
Every person who lives on this earth will eventually experience some type of suffering. Yes, some seem to have it worse than others, but there is not a single person who will not be touched at some point in their life by trials.
As Gina shared in lecture last night, how we react in times of trial reveals our hearts and what our relationship with God is like. If we are fully honest, there is not a person who would not cry out against God and question when suffering is thrust in our face. But it’s where we go from there that matters. Will we reject God? Will we press into Him? Will we still choose to trust Him even amidst pain?
As I shared with my young friend last Thursday, I’ve responded to pain in my life in different ways. Sometimes I did turn to God. Sometimes I turned to sin. Sometimes I chose to cry out to God and pray. Other times, I chose to masochistically dwell and stay in pain. I’ve tried stuffing pain, as Gina also covered yesterday. Stuffing it all down and pretending it’s not there.
Essentially, there are times when I handled trials well, allowing them the draw me closer into Jesus, and times when I did not handle them well, allowing them to pull me further away.
Looking back, I see two things:
1) I never regret the times that I turned to Jesus. Reflecting to just after senior year (and of course I didn’t handle that season perfectly), I am so grateful that I did turn to Jesus. I remember telling Him, “now what!? You’ve taken almost everything I care about away! What more could You take?” And yet, by His grace, though again I did waver at times, I tried my best to remain in Him.
2) There is grace. TREMENDOUS grace. Even in the times when I did not turn to Jesus and instead turned away from Him or even very blatantly turned to sin, I can see that there was/is so much grace for me.
A bruised reed He will not break, and a smoldering wick He will not snuff out. In faithfulness He will bring forth justice.
We can always turn back to Him. God is so full of love and grace and mercy for us. He is that father of the prodigal son, just pacing and looking and waiting for us to turn back to Him.
Even when we do let the worries and cares of this world or the heartaches and sufferings carry us away, God is still filled with love and grace. He understands. He knows. He empathizes with us. He realizes it is difficult when we endure hardship and don’t know why He would allow such pain.
Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.
Suffering ultimately produces hope.
What is the hope in suffering? The hope is that one day we will no longer suffer. God is so concerned with our suffering and with our pain, that He sent His Son to walk among us, to be the “man of sorrows,” to suffer so that our suffering would have an end, and we can one day live in a reality that is free of pain.
The hope of suffering is that it also allows us to press into God through our pain in ways I don’t think we can any other way. Looking back on the little I have suffered, I realize that I wouldn’t trade those times of heartache and pain for anything.
Suffering allowed me to know God better, to see His all-sufficiency. Suffering refined me and rid me of relationship idolatry which was poisoning my relationships/me. Suffering filled me with a hatred for and vigilance over sexual sin. And though I’m still a work in progress in that area, I’ve experienced more and more freedom because of it. Suffering has helped me know Jesus better, understand Him more, and know the peace He promises even when it makes no sense. And suffering has helped me grow in how I love, understand, and empathize with others.
There is tremendous hope in suffering. And though at least in this season, I have not had to suffer much, my hope is that when suffering does touch me again, by God’s grace I will be able to suffer well and use it to press further into Him.
Give me faith
To trust what You say
That You’re good
And Your love is great
I may be weak
Your Spirit’s strong in me
My flesh may fail
My God You never will
This song has been speaking to me so much over the past week. I am so limited in my obedience and faith. Yet, I take heart in the work of the Holy Spirit and in God’s grace.
How blessed am I that He allows someone like me to partner with Him in all the wonderful and amazing things that He is doing? And in all the difficult and trying things that are still waiting to be redeemed?
Trusting Him in all things: the good and the bad, the praises and the difficulties. Believing in Him for myself, for friends, and for family.
So I’ve successfully switched all my Tumblr posts over to WordPress and I must say I’m pretty pleased with the move thus far. I feel like WordPress is more conducive to the type of blogging I do and change is always a bit of a motivator, isn’t it?, so I’m hoping this also could mean I blog a lot more in the near future.
I also added in all of my private “BabYEE” pregnancy posts! You can catch up on the journey so far by following the tags here: BabYEE!
The one downside to moving all my Tumblr entries over is I feel like it makes my “Tags” section on the right-hand column look kind of… messed up? Hahaha. So as we make the switch to WordPress, I want to explain why “breakup” and “trials” are two of the three biggest words there. (Seriously… I’m not crazy! The last blog I posted with the tag breakup was from November 2011… almost 4 years ago, okay?!)
So the majority of my Tumblr blogging was done in college/immediately post-college, thus the majority of the tags will be from that time period. For instance, in September 2010 I posted a whopping 41 times (that’s more than one time per day!!!), whereas in September 2014 I posted ONCE. Of course in September 2015, I will have now posted 12 times, but that’s only because of the excitement of our coming little one! (Which is actually why I hope I’ll blog more in this next season of life!)
You’ll also see other areas of my life that were prominent back then in my high-blogging days: Kairos, missions (which I actually don’t blog about much anymore *sad face*), and photography are just a few that jump out at me.
So anyway, just wanted to clear things up– I’m not crazy!!!
It is kind of funny looking back though at what I went through at that time. I mean, not funny as in comical, because that time of my life suck!, but funny because now with perspective I can see so clearly what God was working in me.
I endured a fair amount my junior/senior years and in the months right after college, but just as I had hoped in faith at the time, that suffering was not without purpose! God was rooting out idols and giving me those experiences you can look back on when you start to doubt, those ones you speak to your soul about, the ones where you can say “hey, don’t you remember…”
And it wasn’t just about the breakup at the time. There were so many other factors that made that one trial seem so much worse. Bitter heartbreak and betrayal of the familial kind, being forced to leave Kairos (the first church where I felt like I belonged), going back home to a lack of community, joblessness and restlessness over what I should do with my life… so many other moving pieces. Deb actually highlighted to me too that the transition out of college is often pretty terrible for most college grads even without all the added drama.
So what can I say?
It sucked. But it was worth it. A million times worth it because of what I gained in my relationship with God.
I don’t share this a ton, but I used to go to this very dark pseudo depressed state often in late high school and early college. It may sound melodramatic, but based on what I’ve now seen through inner healing prayer training at PIHOP, I really believe there were demonic influences that played into that (no joke…I believe the demonic has a MUCH greater affect on believers than the modern conservative church seems to believe). So I would go to these really dark places of hopelessness every so often out of the blue.
It wasn’t until I experienced “real” trials my junior/senior year that I truly saw victory in that area of my life and stopped going into those random semi-depressed funks. It seems counter-intuitive that things got better in that area, but I truly think those trials drove me to the Lord and grew in me a strength in Him that put a huge damper on those influences in my life (again this probably sounds SO out there to some people– feel free to ask me about it!!).
I’ve also touched on it many times before and try to share it often with our youth group girls haha, but that heart-wrenching breakup was for one so heart-wrenching because it was really the Lord tearing the idol of relationships out of my life, but it was also the gracious end of that idolatry. By force, the Lord made see that romantic relationships will NEVER satisfy my need for Him and that my idolatry had placed sooooo much pressure on my relationship because I expected my ex to be everything to me. Only Jesus can be everything! Anything else will disappoint eventually.
And when God graciously brought Mr. Kenneth Yee into my life, there was so much more freedom because I was no longer living in that sin of idolatry! I had grown up a ton and was ready to be a mature participant in that relationship… all praise be to Jesus!
In the end, what I gained from heartbreak and trial was/is invaluable. I learned to walk day-to-day with Jesus, surrendering all to Him. I saw firsthand that when I tried to quell the suffering with other sins, there was no peace in my life. I learned that when you allow yourself to really feel the hurt, don’t run from it, and instead face it with Jesus, your character and trust in Him is fortified in a way that cannot be easily taken away.
I know there is no promise of an easy life on this earth, and there will be trials ahead. My hope is that whenever that next fiery season does come, I will be able to face the suffering and patiently endure, knowing without a doubt that God works all things together for good for those who love Him.
So that’s my disclaimer and a mini testimony! And hopefully for the last time I will use the tag “breakup” (though maybe I shouldn’t because this is just digging an even deeper tag “hole” to get out of haha).
So I haven’t written in AGES and a lot of people (okay… well like TWO tops) have been bugging me about it. This is gonna be a HUGE brain dump… just a warning!!
Though it’s now been over 4 months of marriage and we do have a bit of a routine down, I guess it’s been hard to get in a groove… or at least in a place where I want to jot my thoughts down. In fact one of the struggles has been trying to find where “me” time fits into all of this. I feel there’s less time for me to process and the truth is though we might need to strike a better balance, I need to be okay with this.
Add a new job (!!!!) on top of that plus a one hour both way commute and there you have it! Little time to think and almost no time to actually blog.
So why the sudden inspiration?
I guess I’ve been in a bit of a funk lately. Not a terrible place, but a place of having to confront a lot of past hurt and therefore confront the fears I hold today.
Definitely want a disclaimer though that actually NONE of this has to do with Kenny! And maybe it’s just that marriage has now provided a safer space to re-confront and bring to life (and hopefully banish) some of the dusty old fragmented skeletons in my locked and guarded mind-closet.
A bit of a tangent, but one of the poets at my work (there’s actually MULTIPLE poets… isn’t that awesome!??) mentioned that though it sucks, sometimes in order to get writing inspiration you do have to be in a bit of a dark place or at least a place with lots of emotion. The temptation is to bask in it and dwell on it though, but hopefully WRITING it helps alleviate and loosen some of the knots festering in my head.
So basically that was a lot of hoopla about actually sitting down to write and I’m tempted to end it here to aggravate my two faithful fans :) But Kenny is at trampoline dodgeball with friends so I actually have some time to think so let us continue with the plan…
I will divide into blog posts with titles haha.
Three things have happened which have forced me to go back and revisit the past. And really I’m the type of person that LIKES to dwell on the past, but these events forced me to dig deeper and bring to the surface a fair amount of hurt.
1) Sharing testimonies with the other young married couples at Seeds during our camping “non-retreat”
2) Studying Moses at BSF and having a lesson all about remembering God’s past faithfulness
3) Attending PIHOP’s deep inner-healing training today (which painfulness aside, I am actually SO excited about, though also somewhat scared, but that’s totally another post)
So in all this going back, I’ve realized that truly believing in God’s faithfulness during those times means figuring out why He allowed those trials and how even despite the suffering they were a mercy on me.
I was aptly reading a friend of a friend’s blog last week where she also wrote about tremendous pain and how she realized God allowed all of it so that she could TRULY see Him and the beauty of His community. He allowed tremendous pain because it was quite possibly the only way or maybe the best way that she would be able to love Him and accept love from Him and live out the calling on her life.
And I mean truthfully we may not always know why, and especially not instantly, but thinking through the trials in my early 20’s and trying to see what happened in me because of those things has helped me grow and heal just a little bit more.
Okay still talking a lot of theory and not much MEAT. Not the stuff people actually want to read.
My early 20’s were about failed relationships. Yes friendships that hit bumps that looked irrecoverable (is that really a word?), but God redeemed, but moreso key relationships that I totally relied upon and thought were incredibly stable.
So why did God allow that pain?
So the “romantic” relationship is easy for me to figure out.
As a church-raised Christian girl it was so easy to idolize that one perfect relationship that would be forever. And why would it be perfect and so fulfilling? Because I had done EVERYTHING right. I waited. When push came to shove I chose to not go out with non-Christian boys. So I expected and in my mind deserved that perfect all-fulfilling love story.
But! Praise be to God He totally broke me of that and had to do it in the harshest of ways. But! I can honestly say (and it’s not his fault AT ALL because he is absolutely amazing!!!) I do not idolize my relationship with Kenny. My expectations of him are reasonable (though you can ask him… at least they are in my mind haha). I don’t expect him to always be there for me, do everything for me, make my relationship with God work for me. Does he almost always do these things? Yes. But there is grace if he isn’t able to do these things. Also I don’t need to be with him constantly. He can have his own life. He is free because I am free.
So that one hurt. Check. Easy.
But what I’ve struggled with is why God would allow pain in my family?
And the thing is I KNOW WHY. I know it was to fully win people over to Christ, to get me to confront sin in my own life with an aggression and an anger, to give me my faith story… my proof of how I know God is real and the Holy Spirit can empower me to do things that I know are not from me (i.e. forgive pretty much instantly!).
I know these things, yet I still struggle to see them. I struggle with forgetfulness and want to wallow in self-pity and doubting and wondering.
So maybe this is why I write. Because writing it out gives it meat, substance, life.
Then with all this said, am I willing to accept that God is sovereign and that He really knows the best path for my life? And that the path He has for me WILL include suffering. Not just because life is suffering, and yes because this world is fallen, but also because it is trial and suffering that gets my attention and brings me to Him.
So this is what has been milling in my head lately (and don’t you hate how I start so many thoughts with “so!?”). And this is what has been troubling me and probably making me more difficult for Kenny. But these are things that need to be confronted, spoken into, released back to the Lord.
I feel like I use this illustration often, and though I do believe you can theoretically be delivered instantly, I once read about pain and how the same pains in your life will often need to be addressed over and over again. It’s cyclical. Yet, if done with the Lord, each time you visit the pain, it will be less and less and less. Again, I do believe complete deliverance is possible, but for some reason there are still things that I need to keep loosening and releasing. Maybe one of these times I’ll be able to release completely?
Another question is why do we need to address pain? It’s because pain is often the point when we took on false beliefs, let sin in, or lost part of who we are supposed to be. We are incomplete people trying to worship God and bring His deliverance to other people. But how much more power do we have when we are able to minister fully and completely? When we have seen the deliverance we describe and hope and pray for other people?
Be Mary, THEN Martha
Well this is kind of a completely different thought and longer this blog gets the more I know people aren’t going to read it. But whatever. When did I ever care about what people thing? (Bahahahaha… but really oh well ha!)
Seeds has been going through Ephesians and I kind of don’t know where the heck it came from because we’re only on chapter 1:2, but Kyle has been emphasizing how we need to learn how to SIT before we DO. Yes, there is grace for us, but if our ministry isn’t being done out of love we have for Christ (which will only come from SITTING with Him and understanding His love for US), our ministry and all our doing is worthless. Worthless!! Worth nothing!! Yes, it can be redeemed for good… but in terms of just God and me… it’s nothing!!
Learn to be Mary first, then be Martha.
Simple. Something I should know/do know already. But liberating.
Well trampoline dodgeball is over and the laundry still isn’t folded so I guess that concludes my mega-post.
Other things I’ve been thinking about and would make for good blogs? Well the new job of course + lessons learned from 4 years in the job desert haha, also cheating has been on my mind a lot too for obvs reasons and I think the Lord has been giving me some revelations and helping me release fears/control (again let me make it clear before any pitchforks come out that this has NOTHING to do with Kenny!!), and how I’ve grown so much in confidence/boldness all thanks to my super confident and sometimes overly confident husband haha. It’s a good thing. For me at least ;)
That is allllll. Send me your thoughts if you actually read this. I’m intrigued!!!!!
Beauty for ashes.
Joy instead of mourning.
A garment in praise for a spirit of despair.