Wednesday, June 9, 2010


What a year! I just realized I haven't even written anything in the past I guess that makes me a pretty terrible blogger! I've now been in Korea for over two years. That's a bit scary and difficult to believe, but it's true. I started thinking tonight about the past year and everything that has been going on in my life and it brings me to my knees in humbleness. How have I, an underserving sinner, been so blessed with a great job, amazing friends, opportunities....the list could go on and on. It's really amazing to see what God can do in your life and the changes he can make when you simply allow Him to take control. I think control is really all it's about....and maybe a lack of faith. When we don't trust God and allow Him to work out His perfect will, we create nothing but chaos for ourselves. Of course I fall short in this area on many days thinking that I need to do something because God isn't working fast enough....but in the end I realize that His timing is perfect. He is never late and never early.....just always on time. Words can't even begin to express how grateful I am for this past year and everything that has been given and taken away. Of course there were times where I didn't think I was in ideal situations, but I know God was using those situations to mold me and make me into the woman He wants me to be. After all, He is the potter and I am the clay. I was thought of by Him before I was even born. I am His child, His daughter. Yes, I am blessed beyond measure by earthly things which I don't deserve, but most importantly, I am undeserving of God's perfect Son, a sacrifice for all of my hatefulness, pride, and a multitude of other sins. I praise Him for His goodness and mercy!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Oh Korea

The times that I really miss home are few and far between. However, tonight was one of those times. I just got back from sitting in a park near my apartment for a while just staring up at the sky. It's dark out, and what few stars I could see through all the city lights were partially blocked by all the tall buildings around me. As much as I love this city, it feels like it has been forever since I have sat out on my front porch and looked at the stars without a building in sight or the sound of a car horn or traffic flying by. I'll be home on vacation in a few weeks, and as much as I don't want to wish my life away, I can't wait to be there. I can't wait to walk around in the grass without any shoes, play in the water hose with my niece, and grill out hamburgers in our back yard. It's amazing at the things you take for granted when you no longer have them. I'm sure one day when I leave Korea I will then too look back on my time here and miss so much. But for today, I just miss home.

It started out as an "I hate Korea" kind of day. First I went to the bank to try to get some type of ATM or debit card so I could get money out while I'm traveling in the next few weeks. I was told that they quit giving international debit cards out last month. I know this can't be true because a friend of mine just recently got one. This is where the communication lines get crossed and it would be quite helpful if I knew how to speak Korean. I got frustrated and left. I will attempt this process again in a few days. My next errand for the day was to buy a new iron as mine had died the day before. I go into Homeplus which is the equivalent of Walmart. Anyhow some of the aisles are roped off because they are restocking the shelves and moving some stuff around. Of course, the aisle with the irons was roped off. I found someone who worked there and told her I needed an iron and asked if she could just grab me one. She proceeded to tell me no and that if I wanted an iron I could come back on April 30th to buy one as they would then be finished doing whatever they were doing to their shelves. Could you imagine walking into a Walmart back home and them telling you that you couldn't buy something because they were rearranging their shelves? I could have walked over and grabbed the iron. I could see all of them directly in front of me. The only thing separating me from my iron was a rope and a sign written in Korean. I will never understand their business logic here. All I wanted to do was give them money and take home a product I could see directly in front of me.

By this time I was really frustrated so I decided I needed to head down to the beach and relax and clear my head. I took my new precious little animal, Marley, with me. It was his first trip to the beach and he was SO funny! He wasn't quite sure what to do with the sand other than eat it. I was distracted with trying to play with him and a huge ocean breeze picked up his carrying case and my beach mat and sent it straight into the water. By the time I turned around and realized what had happened, two very nice Korean men in business suits were in the water fishing both things out for me. I started thinking Korea wasn't so bad at this point and was reminded of how kind hearted most of the people are here toward foreigners.

Not too much else happened today. I worked. I only had to teach one class tonight so that was a blessing in disguise. I then hung out with Jason and watched old episodes of my favorite television show. All in all the day started out rough, but proved to be great by the end of it. Tonight as I sat outside attempting to look at what few stars I could find, I was reminded of how I'm here to do God's will. Mornings like today are nothing more than distractions. Regardless of how bad I think it gets at times and how frustrated I feel, I have to walk right through it and keep on walking in order to not miss out on any opportunities. If I spend my time complaining about all of the bad moments I have here in Korea, I won't see all of the wonderful blessings that are right in front of me. Yes, at times I might miss home and crave normalcy, but what I have right now is such a gift and I don't want to wake up one day only to realize that I wasted my time here by only wishing for the future.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Little Moments = Huge Blessings

I have had several moments this past week where I have had to stop and thank God for His goodness to me. Living in a foreign country can seriously kick your tail some days. There are so many things that can happen from old women(better known as agimas here) pushing you, to people screaming at you in Korean for who knows what, to serious miscommunication with another person due to the language barriers. There are also other days when nothing seems to go right and you miss home so much that you just want to pack up and leave. Thank goodness the days of missing home are very few and far between for me. Nonetheless, Korea has a way of taking it's toll on you.

Then, I'm reminded of how good God is and how He has given Korea to me as a blessing and not a burden. Not too long ago I was having a really bad day. There had been a lot of communication breakdowns and I couldn't seem to find anything I needed in any of the supermarkets. These were two problems among many others that day. I was completely frustrated. I was on the subway headed home and I was on the verge of breaking down and crying. I was thinking "God, why of all places did you bring me here?" After being on the subway for only a few minutes, a Korean girl about my age walked over to me and sat down beside me. In her broken English she asked me if I was ok because I looked like something was really bothering me. I told her I was more than ok now. We talked for a few minutes and then I got to my stop and had to get off. As I was walking home I just started thanking God. He knew exactly what I needed at that moment. I was also overwhelmed by the kindness of a stranger attempting to speak in my language while I was in her country. It really made me appreciate God's goodness that can often be found in people.

I have recently started helping a BSU on a college campus here in Korea. They are doing an English Bible study and using an English book. I've been helping to lead the study to explain some of the English words or clarify things they may not understand. Every time I walk into that room I'm completely amazed and grateful. I'm sitting in a room full of Koreans who are all speaking in English the entire time so I will understand the conversation. It may be broken English, but they are trying so hard so I can be included in everything. It's something that doesn't seem like a big deal to them, but I am so overwhelmed that God has sent such amazing people into my life. It is also a really cool experience studying the Bible with people who speak a different language and come from a different culture.

As I continue to develop friendships and really set up my life here, instead of merely living while I'm here, I'm learning so much. There have been so many little things this week that have happened to make me realize how blessed I am to even be here. It could sound crazy to most, but there is no where else in this world I would rather be right now. God has placed me here to serve and to love. Earlier this week I kept hearing this still small voice in soul. It kept saying "Be faithful to me, and I will remain faithful to you." Complete faithfulness is something I long for. We are told to imitate Christ and I pray daily that I'm disciplining myself and taking steps in that direction. I want to position myself to hear very clearly from God so I am able to walk in the direction He wants me to walk in. I think those little moments along my walk are huge blessings from God that provide a peace that assures me that I'm where I'm supposed to be and doing what I'm supposed to do.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Nowhere else I would rather be

What a week it has been, and it's only Tuesday! I've been so busy running around and working that I haven't even had time to think lately. It's easy sometimes to let life get in the way. Tonight I found myself wishing my week away and wanting it to be Friday. Even though I shouldn't wish my life away, I'm looking forward to having a free Saturday and getting to rest. I need to recharge. Somewhere in the midst of all the chaos, I can't help but be thankful. Yes, the past two weeks have completely worn me out with program changes, new classes, training, taking on more responsibility, etc., but I can't think of anywhere else in the world I would rather be right now. I have decided to stay in Korea a second year and I'm very excited about my decision. A lot of people come to Korea and hate it. It is such a cultural shock that it can be hard to adjust to. It's especially hard not speaking the language or being able to even read it. The language is a very small part of the culture shock though. Every thing about this place is very different from the western world. The apartments are different, the western luxuries(like having a bathtub and dishwasher) are no longer an option, and the attitudes of the people are so different here. They see the world very differently. They don't think outside of the box too often and most of the children are taught not to as well. They are taught that having one unified way of doing everything is the best way. So of course, being a foreigner, automatically gets you lots of attention and stares. At first it was really strange, but now I'm used to it. As crazy as it may seem, I'm fascinated by this place. I have learned more about myself and what I'm capable of. I'm sure it has something to do with being an ocean away from my family and everything I know, but either way, I do think I see the world a little differently than I used to. I've learned to live without so many things, and realize that I don't need as much as I thought I did. I have lived nine months without a cell phone. At first I hated it, but now I feel like it has been liberating. My life doesn't seem as complicated as before. I never in a million years thought I would ever be living on the opposite side of the world, but now that I am, I can't imagine it any other way right now. I feel like I have purpose in my life. I know didn't get here by accident. I'm so excited about what the future holds here for me. I have so much to learn and I want to soak it all in. Even during weeks such as this one where I feel exhausted and overworked, I still can't help but find happiness and peace because I know this is where I belong.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

How in the world did I get here?

I've been in Korea for almost a year now. It's incredibly difficult to believe an entire year has almost passed by. Korea has been one of the most humbling experiences of my life. I have grown in so many ways. I've lay down a lot of my past habits, mistakes, and comforts, and I'm now in a place that is very different and exciting compared to anything I've ever experienced. Let me start from the beginning.

I've always been given much more than I deserve. Even though I grew up without a father present, my mother and grandparents gave me more than enough love to last in this lifetime. I grew up in a small church and early on decided that I wanted to accept Christ into my life. I will never forget grabbing my grandmother's hand that day and telling her I wanted to be saved. However, at the time I was so young that I didn't I fully grasp the concept. All I knew is that I didn't want to die and go to hell. As I got older, I was completely blessed with the most amazing Christian friends. This core group of friends has actually carried over and still, to this day, are some of the most important people in my life. I started dating at 16 and quickly found myself in a relationship. I look back now and think "wow I was young." Throughout high school I believed in God and called myself a Christian, but I still didn't fully understand the concept. Yeah, I went to youth group and avoided all of the "bad" things a Christian should avoid, but I was more concerned with developing my relationship with another person instead of God. My relationship lasted into my college years. Once again I found myself surrounded by some amazing Christian friends throughout college, but I myself did nothing to grow spiritually. I still believed in God and still tried to stay out of trouble, but I found myself beginning to justify my various actions. I ended my five year relationship my senior year because I didn't feel it was fulfilling for me. Of course it wouldn't be. Anytime you are trying to fill God's void in your life with another person, you will always come up short. So immediately I started looking for another relationship which I found quickly. This relationship ended up being more destructive spiritually and mentally than I could have ever imagined. I found myself trying to once again fill the void of God in my life with another human being. By this time, not only was I trying to fill the void with a person, but started trying to fill it with alcohol and other various things. It was a bad combination. After three years of going against everything I believed in and walking so far away from God that I didn't even feel his presence, I became broken. By this time I was engaged and months away from being married. For various reasons, even though I didn't want to, I walked away. I moved back to Alabama and was ready to start over. Unfortunately, I pushed God even further away. I quickly made friends and my life became one party after another. I was trying so hard to ease my broken heart and just get away from the pain I was feeling. I was doing everything I could think of to fill that void in my life. My life was quickly spiraling down. I was incredibly discontent and felt miserable 99.9% of the time. I knew in my heart I needed God's help more than anything, but it was the very last place I wanted to go. I would occasionally go to church, but only because I felt like it was my Christian duty. I knew in my heart that my life was a complete wreck. In February 2007, God used a very precious and very special friend of mine to realize my life needed to be fixed and healing needed to take place. She invited me to her home in TX where I will forever believe my life was changed. It was the turning point of my life. It was the first time in a very long time where I felt content with who God created me to be. Both she and her husband reminded me of how good our God is. They will both forever and always be very special people in my life. Of course, I had to eventually go back to Huntsville to face all of my demons. I would be lying to say it was easy and I didn't make mistake after mistake,but at least this time my heart was focused in the right direction. I found an amazing church and started attending regularly. I very slowly began to separate myself more and more from the people and things that hindered me from growing in Christ. However, there were still some things that I didn't want to let go of. In March/April 2008 an opportunity to move to South Korea presented itself to me. My initial thought was "there is NO way I'm moving to South Korea." However, I started praying about it because I knew God had a purpose for even placing the opportunity in my path. Everything fell in to place and the process was so easy that I knew it was God given. I was just really scared to let go of everything I knew and move to the other side of the world. My family all thought I was crazy, and there were many times I stopped and questioned my motives. In the end, God gave me such a peace about it that I knew in my heart that it was the right thing. So, I basically sold everything I owned except for my clothes, a few pieces of furniture, and my car, and moved across the world. That in itself was very very humbling. I had a friend who used to tell me all the time that I had too much pride. I never agreed with him until this experience. When I had to let go of everything, my possessions,my family, EVERYTHING, I realized just how prideful I had become. Like I said, it was VERY humbling. The first few months in Korea were also a very humbling experience. I no longer had the luxury of being able to speak to people and ask questions and ask for help. My world had been completely turned upside down. Everything was so different, from the food to the culture. I very quickly had to let go of my pride and start fully relying on other people for help. I had finally come exactly to the point where God wanted me to be....completely broken and humbled.

That brings me back to where I am now. I am in pursuit to know and to love Him more. God has such a beautiful plan and purpose for all of our lives. I am running after Him more than ever. I want to know Him and serve Him. I have been given so much and I know that requires a lot of responsibility on my behalf. I have been blessed here in Busan with a wonderful church and I'm given the opportunity every single day to share love with Korean kids that I teach. I feel privileged that God has trusted me with this opportunity. I think that God allowed me to walk through everything I did so He could prove to me just how powerful and mighty He is.

Romans 5: 1-2 says, "Therefore, since we have been made right in God's sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us. Because of our faith, Christ has brought us into this place of undeserved privilege where we now stand, and we confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God's glory." My favorite part of this verse is "Christ has brought us into this place of undeserved privilege." I am completely undeserving. I made enough mistakes in my life to make anyone feel shameful. But God loves me so much that He has brought me into this place of privilege, a state of peace beyond anything I could have ever imagined. There is nothing I could ever do to earn this. He brought me here simply because He loves me.

I have to end with lyrics from one of my favorite songs. This song is truly the cry of my heart.

"I hear the voice, the voice of the one I love, He's calling my name.
I hear the voice, the voice of the one I love, He's calling my name.
He's saying "come up higher, you'll here the angels sing,
Come up higher my beloved. Come up higher and leave this world behind.
You'll find me to be beautiful."

I am running, running after You,
You've become my soul's delight.
I am running, running after You,
here with You I find my life.

One thing have I desired, this I will seek after
to dwell in Your house forevermore.
Now I'm running after, the thing that really matters,
You've become my joy and song.