Where to begin…
I served in the high school ministry at my church for almost three years. This past Sunday was my last. I’m not sure why but I’m going to share this my way, which means bare everything, leave nothing out. Please know I don’t expect to be understood. This is my place of freedom, where I don’t worry about people’s reactions and perspectives. I don’t know if it’s the “wise” thing to do, to blurt everything out but I know I’m not one to chase the “wise” things so here we go.
Last last Sunday I came to church with a super duper hangover, a remnant from the night before. I couldn’t function properly but I went to church because it was too last minute to arrange for someone to cover for my small group, there really is no one to cover for me and I just didn’t think a hangover was reason enough to look for someone to cover for me. So I went. I was obviously in pain and suffering and my fellow staffers asked what was up. In that moment as they waited for my reply, there was a vague but very distant thought of keeping them in the dark, brushing my condition off as food poisoning or something. And also in that moment, I didn’t understand why I would hide it from them, why I would hide anything from anyone. To tell anything but the truth was to say that I was ashamed, guilty, afraid, all of which I was and am not.
So I did what was natural and good to me. “I’m hungover” came out a lot easier than I expected. And to be honest, I was surprised by the way they accepted it and sat by me offering comfort and concern. Cool.
Small group time came around and of course this hangover was nowhere on its way out. I looked and felt horrible. The inevitable question arose, what’s wrong? Once again, the vague and now even more distant idea of saying something other than the truth nudged me, reminding me of the culture and tradition I grew up with and was immersed in at church. But I couldn’t. I really couldn’t. Not after months of treating and loving my girls with truth, honesty and openness. I couldn’t do that to them. There was no need to. So I said what was true. They laughed and again, I was surprised by the way they took it, wishing me to get better and all that good stuff. Cool.
I went home right after because I couldn’t endure being away from my bed and the comfort of home any longer. I missed out on a picnic with my EM ministry but that’s okay. Sunday passed and everything was cool.
This Sunday was like any other Sunday (minus the one before hahah). Staff meeting, service and small group. After dismissing small group I prepared to rush off to EM service because I like getting there early and chilling a bit. Anyway. Before I made it to the end of the hall, my pastor (the high school one I serve under) asked to have a minute. We found a place to talk and this is what I learned.
One or some of the girls in my small group shared with her parents what I’d shared in class about my hangover. I don’t know the reason why but I don’t think it was out of malice or anything. In the end, the appropriate leaders were contacted regarding the issue, the high school pastor included. They (not including my hs pastor) decided that it would be best to let me go.
As my pastor and I shared our last words, I was overcome by the emotions that came with being unaccepted, or rather, unacceptable. This was something I experienced with my mom (who is also my best friend, btw) and it was something familiar, just in a different context. I felt like this was the story of my life in regard to the traditional Korean faith and culture. At first I thought my emotions stemmed from my being misunderstood but I realized it wasn’t. In my faith, I believe I don’t have to understand someone to accept them. That’s just me. It’s how I do things, how I’ve treated everyone (or almost everyone, I just remembered my brother haha) around me. And I guess to a certain extent, that was what I expected for myself. My emotions came from a place of rejection and condemnation. It’s not that I feel rejected or condemned but that’s what was happening to me. Does that make sense?
There is of course the aspect of ministry. I knew from a while back that I didn’t agree with certain things within the ministry. But really, they were and are small potato stuff. They’re mostly the mentality with which we treat the kids and other minor details. I knew I didn’t have to agree and indeed, the love of God spilled over these differences using everything and everyone for his goodness in the way he saw fit. Amazing, as usual. But I also understand that it’s not easy working side by side with someone that might see, do and say things differently. It could hurt more than help. So I acknowledge our differences and I’m okay with it. I’m just super thankful I got to work with and serve under the hs pastor. He has been nothing but good to me and I thank him for that. If you are reading this, PJ, please know I have nothing but love you!! (:
Going back to Sunday. So after our meeting, I hurried to the other side of the church seeking a place to just be. Praise had already started and I took my usual seat with my friends. I was a little stunned and I didn’t know how to feel so I just sat with my eyes closed. It felt like the best thing to do. I don’t remember thinking anything in particular. Then- Mine, mine, you’re mine floods my mind, deeply sinking into my heart. And I bawl. I bawl because of his acceptance of me. I bawl because he establishes me as a being separate from the things I say, do or even believe. I bawl because he knows. I bawl in abandon and peace. I have nothing more to ask for. He ministers to me and it’s more than simple comfort. He roots me in and into his love. He speaks into me his simple presence. Basically he just freaking rocks me.
The rest of the day passes. I let my sisters know, as well as my EM pastor and they support me like no other. I am loved and loved and loved.
The next question is always, how are you doing? How am I taking this? Where to begin… I think you have to know me to a certain extent to understand me (obviously haha) so let me explain a little
Aside from the love of God there is nothing for me in this world. I’ve said this before and it is that I have no desire for anything, not friends, not family, church, ministry, school, serving, money, career and so on. On more than one occasion I’ve begged God to take everything. Foolish? Yes. Rash? Yes. I don’t care. His love for me was sooooo good, SO good that I didn’t want to live my life with anything else. Really. My heart is solely his. Story of every freaking blog entry, right? Haha but yes. This is where it begins.
Because my heart rests in him, nothing really matters to me. But the overflow of his love, goodness, EVERYTHING cannot be contained. It just can’t. It must flood the world. Not that I must do something but that’s what it naturally does. Hurricane Sandy didn’t try to destroy anything. It just did what it does. Get what I’m saying? And so it spilled into my relationship with family and friends and school and job and… church. I served in high school not out of need or obligation or duty. To be honest, those words are almost foreign to me. Every moment of every day that I served in EPIC has been nothing but joy and goodness. Seriously. All those Friday nights, Sunday mornings, staff meetings, events. I mean, given that these are all enjoyable things in the first place hahah. But these things are not parts of me, they’re not me. They are an extension of God. I literally did nothing. Literally. All I do is have fun and laugh like crazy and act a fool. And on top of that I get extra praise time and extra sermons haha. Is that a deal or what? Haha but anyway.
So when I was let go, there was no attachment, no clinging. There was and is only excitement. I thoroughly enjoyed my (almost) three years. I have no regrets. I have no complaints. I have no bitterness. No anger. No nothing. I am thankful, content, full of hope. Basically if you want the full extent, read my other blog entries. It’s the same thing. Moving on.
I let my mom know and her immediate reaction was disappointment that I was no longer doing God’s work (which I don’t agree with ahah) and that I didn’t get an opportunity to leave the ministry on good terms. I think otherwise. I know it sort of hurts her too because she always gushes to her jipsaneem friends about me serving and blahblahblah. Boring.
I let my girl staffers and small group girls know the situation and I was overwhelmed by the unexpected support I received from them. Seriously, the text messages and comments almost brought me to tears. Almost. I think the tears will eventually come, just not now. But man. Man man man. I am loved. And I love them so much. I… who am nothing. I, who have nothing to give. I receive it all. And I feel SO lucky to know them, to have them in my life, to be a part of theirs. I feel overprivileged, indulged by the fullness of our lives meshing together in love and laughter. I can’t believe I get to be here. Jesus. This is too much. I am having a farewell dinner this Friday and I’m excited for it. It’s like… the last supper hahaha. Didn’t even think of that haha. Anyway.
Here’s to the goodness of God. Here’s to his presence in my life and yours. Here’s to love. EPIC, you’ve been so good to me. Thank you.