Doing Life Together : Bedriye Ugar
1 Corinthians 12:12-27 (ESV)
12 For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. 13 For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit. 14 For the body does not consist of one member but of many. 15 If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. 16 And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. 17 If the whole body were an eye, where would be the sense of hearing? If the whole body were an ear, where would be the sense of smell? 18 But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose. 19 If all were a single member, where would the body be? 20 As it is, there are many parts, yet one body. 21 The eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you,” nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” 22 On the contrary, the parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, 23 and on those parts of the body that we think less honorable we bestow the greater honor, and our unpresentable parts are treated with greater modesty, 24 which our more presentable parts do not require. But God has so composed the body, giving greater honor to the part that lacked it, 25 that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. 26 If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together. 27 Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it.
Allow me to say this prayer before I begin sharing my testimony:
Dear Heavenly Father:
I offer great thanksgiving for this season of Lent. You’ve sent Your one and only Son to lay Him down on the cross for our sins, out of Your immense and indescribable love for us. May this testimony be the words that you want me to speak. And may it bless Your people and bring glory to Your name. Praise and glory to You forever and always. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.
Growing up in a Korean church, I’ve always felt that church was a place for perfect people. It may have to do with the fact that I grew up in a rather very conservative, Seventh-Day Adventist Church where sharing our inner struggles was unusual. So testimonies such as these were never shared. We all knew just the right amount to share before it got too personal. We had to dress in our “Saturday best” (since Seventh-Day Adventists have services on Saturdays). And we were expected to look and act a certain way. However, my upbringing felt far from perfect, especially compared to the other families at church. In my eyes, it seemed as if my family was the most broken and the most different.
Given my personality type and influence from this specific congregation, I have grown to be a completely closed book to others. I’ve never shared my hardships to anyone, not even one person. The only person I dearly held onto was God, because I felt understood by Him. He knew all the trials and tribulations I was facing. So I thought, “Why tell anyone else when no one can understand me better than God?” I was content with my relationship with God and felt that the best decision was to lean on Him alone.
I was comfortable keeping my thoughts and emotions to myself rather than letting them out for other people to know. I was afraid of people’s gossip and judgment. I also thought that sharing my struggles and weaknesses could bring shame to my family. This mindset was what controlled every word that came out of my mouth. I cared how people viewed me and felt that the more people knew about me, they would use that knowledge against me. Yet the biggest thing that was eating me alive was the feeling that it would be too much for others to hear and take in. Last thing I wanted was to be a burden to others.
Nevertheless, here I am sharing my testimony, because God has given me the courage and the heart to lay down my pride and my fear before Him.
My childhood was “different” ever since I can remember. My parents separated when I was three years old. I was raised under my mother who showed me so much love. She had to work multiple jobs to provide for me. She would slave away working daytime and nighttime shifts, holding the roles of both parents. I was her only daughter, so since my young age, she made sure I lived a comfortable life.
Yet, as much as she loved me, I was still hurt by my parents’ divorce. I knew that it wasn’t my mom’s fault, but I still took it personally. I was deeply hurt that I was fatherless and I never really understood why my parents had to split. I always wondered, “Why couldn’t they have stayed together for my sake?” After all, I was their only daughter.
My dad came from a Muslim family and now he declares that he is an atheist. And my mom who once knew God went astray. Living in this condition left me feeling uncertain and scared, but I knew to not lose hope and have faith. I knew that God was my Heavenly Father who loved me so much. This allowed me to lean on Him even more.
However, not opening up to others and distancing myself from others (because I did not want to burden them) hurt me in the long run. It was when I began to truly share my struggles with others, I realized that others had broken families too and from that I was able to experience healing. I was not alone. This realization was what brought a full restoration to my soul. God even changed my personality and now I am able to openly share with others.
Recently, my mother, who had not gone to church for the past decade, started attending church. When she was recently hospitalized, the members of her church showed her so much love and support. They visited her, supported her, and even held Sunday worship services at the hospital for her. She was so blessed. Now she tells me that I need to trust in the Lord! How joyous!
Also, in recent years, I was able to reconnect with my dad and I have been working to rebuild my relationship with him. He is open to talk about God and now he even admits that there must be a God above us.
Therefore, I will not lose hope and I will continue to be faithful to God. I learned that church is not a place we go as a perfect person, but it is a place where broken people come together before God. I am so blessed to have such lovely brothers and sisters in Christ with whom I can share my story. I hope that you would not think you are a burden because you are never alone. You are made beautifully and wonderfully by the Creator! God is calling you and loves you so much. So trust in the Lord with all your heart!
For Your Reflection
As Christians, we are now members of God’s family. As family, we are called to have fellowship with each other. First, we are told to have fellowship with Jesus who is the head of the household. Then, with other brothers and sisters who are members of the same body.
We wonder, how can we have a meaningful fellowship like the one described in the Bible? Fellowship in Christ is more than just to hang out, eat, and spend time together. But, we are called to do life together by rejoicing and suffering together as one body. This is how God wants to bring healing and restoration to His body.