God Holds My Hand

In the summer of 2018, I was diagnosed with End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD), more commonly known as chronic kidney failure. I won’t delve into any details about the bodily suffering I went through because in the grand scheme of things, it is inconsequential. Pain was, and still is, nothing but an ever-present, dull reminder of my illness. True pain, no, the agony and anguish, comes from my heart, the memories and constant uncertainty of my future.

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Thankful for It All

When I was in elementary school, my mom started her own business. It operated for a couple of years until one of my mom’s coworkers decided to take advantage of her by stealing the store’s finances. My mom’s store went out of business because of that and it left a detrimental financial burden on our family. For years, my parents had to pay off the enormous debt while trying to financially support me and my two brothers.

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God Knows and Understands

I’ve always had trust issues. Growing up, I witnessed countless two-faced adults who lied and masked their true intentions in order to get what they wanted. These included our relatives who betrayed our family out of greed, and our family-friends whom we trusted and loved but turned cold faced in a matter of seconds. I was also confused by my own parents who pretended like we were a happy family in front of others when in reality we were not. So from a young age, my view of the world and people became very cynical. When people approached me, I would second guess their intentions and question their motives. My heart was hardened to the people around me. What made things worse was that a few friends whom I thought had loved me not only turned their backs on me but started using my insecurities to bully me. This solidified my belief that I only had myself to trust.

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I Am a Child of God

My biggest struggle in my spiritual walk with God was my identity. I grew up with so many false labels that people had placed on me: loser, useless, nobody, and a waste of time. These were some of the labels that stuck with me all my life, which blinded me from seeking my identity in Christ. Whenever I heard these words, I would get hurt and bring out such a spiteful side of me.

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Waiting for Redemption

When life gets hard, we tend to feel bad about ourselves and the situations that we are in. We start to give up, falling into anxiety or depression. We lose confidence and take breaks from people and social media. But worst of all, we begin to lose hope. We can keep a mask on with those around us or avoid people to escape reality. We may sulk in our beds, not getting out of the house because we want to “sleep it off”. We might wander in our dark thoughts over and over again. We can even go to church and seek God, but nothing may change. No one would understand our hearts fully, and it doesn't matter if anyone does, because our problems won’t be solved with comforting words. Yes, we have all been there and felt incredibly alone. And it is when these negative thoughts come that we get deceived into believing these lies and struggle to get out of the darkness.

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Fellowship with God in Suffering

It seems like it was so long ago, but there was a time when I used to suffer from anxiety. I never got diagnosed, but I had a strong feeling that I had Generalized Anxiety Disorder. It peaked during my first few years in college. I remember the times when I felt like I could not do anything: When I would constantly think of the worst outcomes, and when I felt helpless and utterly hopeless as I thought about school, my future, and my family’s financial state. Even if my circumstances were not substantial, they would hit me like a wave. It felt miserable to wake up in the morning and despise life. I did not want to get out of bed, and instead, I wanted to stay under my sheets and wished to escape from my troubles. That is how I remember myself as, always wanting to escape reality.

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Turning to God in Your Suffering

Everyone experiences suffering, whether they like it or not. I became a Christian not too long ago and have been attending Grace Church since a year ago. Before committing my life to Christ, one question that I kept asking myself as an atheist was, “If God is real, why do people suffer? Why is there evil in the world? Why doesn’t he just end all suffering?”

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You Are Not Alone

I am not the type of person to open up to people. I don’t want others to feel burdened by me, and I always think that they wouldn’t want to listen to my problems. I have a friend whom I’ve known for a very long time. I was always with her at church. Even to her I was unable to open up completely.

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God Poured Out His Love for Me

I woke up to clapping. That was how my mom used to communicate since the tracheotomy tube prevented her from speaking. A tracheotomy is a surgical procedure which incises a hole in a person’s neck to allow for breathing. The cancer on my mom’s neck had grown to the extent that her airway had been obstructed. I thought she was calling for me to help feed meal replacement shakes into her Per cutaneous Endoscopic Gastronomy (PEG) tube. The tracheotomy also prohibited her from eating so a feeding PEG tube was surgically placed through the abdominal wall into her stomach. Groggy from being awakened in the middle of the night, I slowly got out of my bed to help with her routine feeding regimen. But, the clapping grew more frantic. Sensing urgency I ran to my mom’s room with my sister, who had similarly woken from my mom’s agitated claps. The panic in my sister’s voice as she desperately cried to the ambulance dispatcher, and later the ER attendants, was soon drowned out by my own thoughts as I tried to make sense of the chaos happening around me. The paramedics, ER doctor and nurses did all they could with futile efforts. I feebly looked as the hands, which had produced wakening claps just moments ago, lay lifeless before my eyes.

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My Father Is a Promise Keeper

Growing up, my family always seemed like a fairly normal one. I lived with both parents, they ran a successful business, we were financially stable, I was a good student; we had most things a typical Korean-American family hoped for and dreamed of. However, the reality was that we were a pretty broken family. My father dealt with severe anger and drinking issues which led to frequent physical and verbal abuse, and my mother suffered from epilepsy since childhood so I grew up being her caretaker whenever my father was away on a business trip. I regularly watched her collapse and have seizures. This comprised most of my life until I entered college, which was when everything began to change.

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God Wants Me to Be Happy

I think I always struggled with my self-image. It was hard for me, growing up, not to compare myself with others. I always obsessed over the things I lacked in, focusing and emphasizing on my failures rather than my accomplishments. In my mind, I thought I had to stay humble, and to keep myself humble I told myself that I wasn't good enough for good things. Whenever I felt a little proud or encouraged, my immediate reaction was to tell myself that it's not a big deal. How could I see myself as anything worthwhile? It was God who made me who I am. For years I reminded myself over and over again that my life was insignificant.

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A Friendship on God's Agenda

Relationships with people can often feel very fleeting and empty. This may be why I struggle with loneliness so immensely. There isn’t a real way for me to portray how it feels. But if I had to it’s almost as if no matter how many friendships or relationships I have, it won’t fill this immense hole that I have in me.

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Looking to God in Weakness

It's so easy for us to feel like we are not good enough or inadequate when we compare ourselves to others. 
The writer of Psalm 73, Asaph felt the same way as he looked at the lives of the ungodly around him. 
They seemed to be prospering and increasing in everyway compared to him. 
But when he began to look to God for comfort and strength, he was reminded of the promised ending, a glory in eternity with God. 

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Finding God in Your Most Anxious Moments

I always knew that I was an anxious person. I get easily nervous and I am the type of guy who gets worried about pretty much everything. There have been nights I couldn’t fall asleep because I tend to overthink things that already happened or things that didn’t happen yet (i.e. things that I have no control over).

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