Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Wanting More

I'm suddenly hit with a wave of nostalgia. I miss those summer days 3 years ago, laying in bed with the man boy I liked at the time (I wouldn't call it love). The summer before college when not a care was had. I was in a different country with my closest friends, drinking past midnight and exploding fireworks for the hell of it. Getting caught with alcohol by my mom and being way too tired for orchestral performances the next day...

But why? I have the best partner I could ask for today. I have the best job, comfort, future in front of me and I'm suddenly wanting those days back. Maybe it's the lack of responsibility back in the day. I miss being carefree. I miss not having to worry about the next class or the next paper. I miss not filling out forms for TAXES. I feel guilty for missing a time with somebody else who's not Shawn. He is 10000 times better than HE was. Why am I not content with what I have?

Monday, January 7, 2013


Here's the testimony I gave at InterVarsity to pitch our vision for the campus: why we exist and why people keep coming.

At InterVarsity, we have a vision to advance the kingdom of God at Northeastern through whole-life conversion to Jesus. By surrendering our hearts to Jesus, we begin to change our perspective on our view of the campus and on our own lives. We do this in community at IV to share our experience and to grow together as we continually seek conversion and surrender to God.

I, myself, have been wrestling with this concept of whole-life conversion. I have this tendency to separate my relationships. I have a group of church friends, a group of intervarsity friends, a group of chemistry major friends, a group of home friends, and my boyfriend. It’s incredibly awkward to mix them altogether. Amongst the groups of friends I have, there’s God. It’s uncomfortable for me to add God to the picture, but you see, the funny thing about whole-life conversion is that God wants to be changing in your WHOLE LIFE.

One major part of my life that I had trouble giving up to God was my relationship with my boyfriend, Shawn. I met Shawn when I was on co-op where we were both working there as co-ops.  I didn’t know his faith background, and it’s not a natural conversation to have in the middle of work. Even after co-op ended and we started dating, it wasn’t comfortable for either of us to venture there. But time and time again, God kept trying to work into our relationship. I distinctly remember one time when he asked, “Does your whole family go to church?” I could have answered, and then asked him if his family did and what his faith background was and how his church worked and what he believes in and what his relationship with God is like, but all I said was “Nope”. Why? I was afraid of rejection and close-mindedness if I asked. I was afraid of him seeing me differently and completely leaving me. I didn’t want to be alone after the longest, real-est, and best relationship with a significant other I have ever had. Why would I want to bring God into such a valuable relationship that I treasure and don’t want to lose?

But here’s the reality: shouldn’t my relationship with God be the one that I treasure the most and don’t want to lose? During my winter break, Kaitlin challenged me to surrender this relationship with Shawn to God. The only thing that went on in my head as she said this was “GOD IS GOING TO TAKE HIM AWAY. I DON’T WANT HIM TO TAKE HIM AWAY. WHAT IS GOD GOING TO DO? I DON’T TRUST GOD. I DON’T WANT TO SURRENDER. WHAT DOES THAT EVEN MEAN?! ”. I wrestled with God over this for the next two weeks, trying to understand what it meant to surrender. Was I supposed to hear angels singing when I finally proclaim surrender? How am I supposed to feel after I surrender? I carried this with me to Urbana and Kaitlin reminded me that even though this is supposed to be a missions conference, God can still speak in our areas of life that he wants to go into--like my relationship. I kind of shoved it aside as I filled up the rest of the conference with noise about the gospel and going to Japan for short term missions and challenging myself to go into the unknown and uncomfortable places that don’t know God. And then during the last day, I was singing a song during worship that said: “I surrender my life to you”. But the thing is, I haven’t surrendered this relationship up to God yet. How was I supposed to proclaim that I surrender my life to God if I haven’t surrendered a part of my life? I couldn’t bring myself to say YES to this, but kept thinking about it throughout the day. Why was I so afraid of surrendering? If I’m called to preach the gospel of this loving, graceful, merciful, and just God, what is there to be afraid of? Why was I afraid of letting this go to the one who protects, the one who guides, and the one who loves? Finally, as I was closing off the year worshipping with 16,000 other students at Urbana, I said “Okay God, you can take it. You can take this relationship from me and do whatever you wish to do. Just show me and Shawn loads and loads of mercy as your will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.”

As I was externally processing with a friend back at home post-Urbana talking to her about surrender, I realized that our entire relationship with God is surrender. When you choose to accept Jesus as your savior and Lord over your life, you’re surrendering your old way of life and choosing to live in the new. Even in the small instances where somebody shoves you on their way to class, you surrender your desire to shove them back and choose to live like Christ and turn the other cheek. In each instance, everything is a process and it’s a constant conversion back to Christ. It’s a constant growing of allowing Christ to penetrate in each and every area of my life. And that’s why InterVarsity exists: so we can share these instances where we are challenged day-by-day to surrender our lives to God in community. We may be coming from all different walks of faith, but we are still turning to God for the first time or over and over again . It’s a hard and difficult process to choose not to shove the person back or to choose to give the relationship you treasure the most on earth to God. It took me over 6 months to finally give this relationship up to God and I’m still working on it; but trust me, the life-giving transformation of it all makes it worth it. I can put all of my trust in God and know that he is constantly working in my relationship and that He knows what He’s doing, and I can be at peace. It’s such a great feeling to know that somebody else who knows everything and is in everything, has everything under control. So as each and every one of us learns or begins to surrender our whole life and constantly convert back to Jesus, would you join us in this life-giving transformation to a loving and faithful God, in community at InterVarsity?

Thursday, December 13, 2012

More baggage, but this time with God

Baggage with God is uncomfortable. Why do I have the right to hold a grudge against such a loving and graceful God? He’s perfect, and everything that He does is for my own good. But alas, there is baggage with God and I had brought it over in my relationship with Shawn. I brushed against this idea really briefly during the summer when I first started my relationship with Shawn. I then swept it aside and thought nothing of it—until Tuesday.

My IV campus staff worker confronted me, asking what I needed to let go of. Where in my life am I not letting God be Lord over? Where am I simply seeing God as an advisor, not Lord? We started talking about my relationship with Shawn and why I’m afraid of giving this part of my life over to God. I still wasn’t comfortable sharing my entire past with her, but she knew that there was something I was hiding. She left me with the idea of thinking about fears and what I’m afraid of. She wanted to plant in me the idea of giving the future of my relationship with Shawn over to God. She wanted me to let go of my fears of not being with Shawn so that I could be comfortable with the idea of letting God be Lord over this relationship.

It was absolutely terrifying. I cried for hours after that, and I still am crying as I type this. I’m still processing everything, and I guess the fact that I’m crying still leads to the fact that I’m not ready to let this go. Why I’m crying? Because last time I let God into my relationship, He took it away. He knew that my relationship with Frankie wasn’t good. He said, “enough’s enough” and He pulled him away through one of the most heartbreaking experiences I’ve ever had. I’m not ready for that to happen again. I don’t want that to happen again. Is it selfish of me to want to control my future? Yes. I’m trying to justify this entire relationship saying, “I can still change him. I can make him a stronger Christian. I can turn this relationship into one that is Godly.” But let’s be real—I’m not the one who changes; God is.

I also have to keep reminding myself that letting this relationship go and letting God take control doesn't necessarily mean that it needs to end. It means that I need to accept whatever happens and be comfortable with it. I need to make God the center of my life (and this relationship is a huge part of my life!).

Pray for me as I battle through this. Pray that God will show grace to me and Shawn with whatever happens. Pray that I would be willing to let God in and lead me into a posture of openness and healing.

Monday, November 12, 2012


There are always going to be traces of your previous relationships in your current relationships. There’s always going to be baggage, no matter how much you try to leave that behind.

I wish that baggage didn’t exist. I wish I could say this relationship is my first and my only. I wish I could say that I never had past loves. But if I said that, I wouldn’t be who I am today. I wouldn’t be able to treat this relationship much differently and much better than my previous relationships. I wouldn’t be able to grow out of the experience for a better one.

However, despite all the great things that come from learning from one’s mistakes, there are still things to be worked on. The past few relationships I have been in have honestly been the worst experiences of my life. Actually, I probably shouldn’t even label them as relationships, because we weren’t exclusive. We simply just liked each other and usually one or the other will be too afraid to make a move or make some sort of commitment. This usually ends up with the other finding someone else more attractive, more fun, more endearing than me, and I’m simply left alone to cry. This has literally happened to me EVERY SINGLE TIME I find someone, with the most previous relationship, one where I had put ALL of my trust in and never doubted his decisions. If he were with another girl, I convinced myself she was just a friend and he had his head on straight. He did not. He dated the girl for a year and I cried for a year.

Obviously this time around, I’m not going to give my heart away so easily. I’ve been hurt before and I’m being cautious. I don’t want to be put in that situation ever again. Every time Shawn decides to hang out with his best friend who happens to be a girl, I can’t help but assume the worst. Why wouldn’t I, especially with all of my previous experiences that I am absolutely terrified of repeating? At the same time though, this relationship is different than all of my previous relationships. I have a nice guy who I KNOW has his head on straight. I have a label on my relationship so that we know we’re exclusive. I have a boyfriend who is absolutely head over heels for me and would never do anything to hurt me. I should be grateful, but I’m still walking around him like eggshells. I feel awful for not putting in my all when he clearly is. I feel like I’m putting up a wall to protect myself, but I know that there is nothing to be afraid of on the other side.

I absolutely hate baggage, but I have grown a lot from it. I just wish it wouldn’t affect how I treated this boy whom I love.

Friday, August 31, 2012

I absolutely, seriously, love my mother to no end.

After I returned back to Boston from my retreat in NH, I quickly hopped aboard a bus back home to NYC. I haven’t been back in over a month and I finally have a couple of days right before classes to relax and be home.
The first thing I did when I got home was eat. Normally, I would eat and open up my laptop to some TV show I was watching on Netflix and disregard the questions my mother would ask about the TV show. But this time, I thought about sharing everything I’ve learned in the past 5 days to my mother. Part of it was because I wanted to externally process all this information. Part of it was because I knew it would be the best way to show how much I love her after all the hard work she put into raising me and my sister up as Christians.
It truly was difficult sharing and condensing all the manuscript studies into a quick 10 minute spiel in Chinese, with all this English languaged Christianese imbedded into me for the past two years in college. But she was receptive, she was open, and she shared her own spiritual journey in joining a Bible study and deciding on churches to go to. After the conversation, I couldn’t help but pray and praise God for all He has done with me and my mother for the past two years. We have both learned so much.
I thought about how desperately she tried to raise my sister and I in a Christian household. She tried doing Bible studies and devotions with me as a child, and it still carries with me to this day. As this conversation went on, I felt this overwhelming joy inside of her, knowing that I’m still walking with the Lord even after I leave home and leave my home church. Seriously, if it wasn’t for her, who knows where I would be today? I definitely would not have been raised a Christian. My life would be lacking and incomplete. I don’t think I’ve ever thought of it that way—that if my mother weren’t Christian, I wouldn’t have been exposed to Christianity. It makes me appreciate my mother in such a different sense. I’m overwhelmed with joy that God has provided me such a strong woman of faith. Thank you God.

Let go, Let God

I just got back home from an InterVarsity Summit Leadership Conference retreat in New Hampshire that ran from Sunday to Thursday where we reapproached the book of Genesis in a way that sees creation not through science lens but through a relational lens of love and trust. We revisited the fall of mankind and where all the hurt and brokenness started. It was a beautiful week where I spent 3 hours every day soaking, marinating, questioning, and developing curiosity for the Word of God. It was a beautiful wonderful week and I absolutely enjoyed every second of it.

It was exhausting. It was frustrating. It was revealing. It was peaceful. It was awesome. I loved and hated being in the middle of nowhere with no connection to the outside world and away from all the noise and clutter in life. It was great for a little bit but after a while, I couldn't stand not being able to receive notifications on Facebook, or know what's going on in my friends' lives, or even know what's going on in the political world (seriously though, what happened??). By Tuesday, all I really wanted was to be back home, relaxing and not doing anything but resting. All I really wanted to do was hang out with my boyfriend and laugh with him. It sucked not being in constant contact with him, but at the same time it was joyful and beautiful remembering that there was constant contact with God. 

There was this image that was introduced to us in the beginning of the retreat, where we constantly have these clenched fists holding onto something tightly. It might be something we don't want to show God. It might be something you don't want God healing. Over and over again I had to remind myself to open up these fists. In allowing my hands to open, I was allowing God to enter my heart and hold my hand. I was allowing God to take charge of my life and trusting Him with all things. I was challenged over and over again in my trust in God. I'm ready to open these fists, but now I'm stuck in the action of doing so.

Now, I'm entering the real world and everything is rushing back again. I'm no longer in the safe haven of Toah Nipi. Instead, it's time to put everything I learned into action. Let Go, Let God.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Hello June!

June is a month full of EVERYTHING.  I'm seeing two of my favorite bands live this month, I'm reaching the last month of co-op before the dreaded lab reports return, I get to finally see incoming freshmen and judge all the new OLs' abilities to lead, I finally get a new phone, and I also officially start a book that Vision Team at InterVarsity is required to read for leadership training.

I'm really excited for what's in store.  I have a good feeling about this month!  Except for the weather...