Learning To Love
My name is Jane. Kim. I’m Korean American. I have two kids. How old are they? 16 and 19. I’ve been married to John for 21 years. My family emigrated in ‘74, 1974 and my dad tells me that he said, we needed a religion. It’d be good for us. So he chose Christianity.
So I was doing the whole Bible study thing. I grew up in church doing Bible study, VBS, youth, youth retreats, serving in youth leadership. But that’s all I did. It was a lot of fun. I went for the social aspect of it, meeting my friends and stuff. And the relationship with God part wasn’t really there. But I knew what I was supposed to do: read the Bible, do your quiet time, come to church on Sunday, pray.
So I came from a very traditional and strict family where their default answer, if I asked anything of them, was no. So when I went to college, I decided – I’m on my own; nobody’s restricting me so I’m going to go party, like I didn’t get to. So I went, partied, and then I decided very early, you know, I don’t want to go to church drunk. And probably they’ll ask me to lead Sunday School for the kids and stuff like that. So I don’t want to teach drunk or, you know, hung over with a headache, I’d rather just sleep it off. So I’m just gonna take a break from church. And so with my understanding that salvation, once you have it, is yours forever –my ticket into heaven – was that I have it, so put that in my pocket. I literally envisioned that, I put it in my pocket. I said, “I’ll see you later God.” I had fun and fun turned into not so fun. I made some wrong choices. I had a very difficult divorce at 24 and that’s when I decided to come back to God.
I remember sitting at my kitchen table, saying, “God, if this is gonna happen, if we’re going to do relationship, if I’m going to be Christian, then You need to help me fall in love with You.” I read over and over in the Gospel about Jesus and love. “Love Him with all your heart, mind and soul and strength.” What does that look like? And how am I supposed to love someone and do all that? All those things without…? That just didn’t make sense. So that’s all I knew to ask, “God, help me fall in love with You.” And that began the journey. I had fallen so far, I felt ever since that it’s just a glory to glory journey. He answered that prayer. That prayer that I didn’t know what I was asking for. And it’s been a crazy ride.
I think what I’ve learned so far, the most important thing is love. I began with love and I’m still pursuing love. He pursued me with love. But now I pursue Him and others with love. That drives me. What can I do for people, out of love? How far will I go? And my how far isn’t so much of a mercy kind of ministry. It’s more of just the everyday dying to self, learning to die to self, so that I can make room for love to happen. Learning that I don’t have all the answers, I get a lot of it wrong. Learning that I make a lot of wrong assumptions and that hinders love. I thought I was wise, but when you’re spiraling, and you’re thinking out of that wisdom, it’s worldly wisdom. My wisdom was backtracking and protecting myself so that I could distance myself from pain and rejection. But, in order to go after people and love people, well, you can’t focus on those things. So what does that look like? Me honoring your journey to get to know Jesus? Pursuing someone who has already told me in a roundabout way, ‘You know, you make me uncomfortable. I don’t like this. You ask hard questions that rub me the wrong way. So I think distance will be better. Good luck to you. I’m going this way. You can go on down that way.’ But, and then feeling that and then choosing, still, to turn around and still run after that person. I think that’s love.
For me, it’s not big mission trips anymore. It’s about what it means to love people well. Love the people that I don’t get along with naturally, and to see, to create opportunities for Holy Spirit to show up. I’m learning that that’s what love is – making space for that intentionally in my heart, creating a place for people who are different and inviting them in. I’m learning that, yeah, love is an invitation.
When we were part of YWAM, we took a discipleship Bible school for three months. You read the entire Bible, from Genesis to Revelation in three months. That requires two hours of reading minimum a day. And one of the things we were required to do is highlight the Bible looking for three things: character and nature of God, God’s redemptive plan, and our response. And when you do that, from Genesis to Revelation, you can see, oh, it’s God. Look, God is the main character. Because I’m looking for God, right? His character and nature, who is He? And that changes the way you read all of the Old Testament. And then you see God through Jesus in the New Testament, of course. So He pursues us, and He tries to reach us in so many different ways. I saw that in the Old Testament, how He did relationship with everyone. And then now as I’m reading it, every, it’s just, His patience, His long suffering, His…There is love, so much love. It’s the character and nature of God, “This is who I am.” He’s spending the whole time, all the stories are about, ‘This is who I am. This is what I want to do for you. This is the relationship I want with you.’
The laws, I think, are only there to give you an understanding of the need for Holy Spirit, the need for Jesus. But despite your lack of meeting these criteria, the law, ‘I love you. I want to take care of you. I want to take you out of the desert, and place you in the palace. Let Me do that for you.’ Do I really believe He wants to take care of me? There’s a difference, for me, when you say, “He will take care of you.” Because He’s God. And then the phrase, “He wants to take care of you.” And He wants to take care of all your wounds. So gently. Give you time to heal. Then He wants to give you work that you were created for; work that doesn’t feel like toiling but work that is life giving. Because He’s taken care of everything else. Do I really believe that? That’s…No, do I really believe that I can pursue people with love? It’s on me to figure out here and here. What needs to realign, adjust, so I can love you?
Everyone is lovable. It’s not a personality conflict thing, Oh, it’s just your personality. Our personalities just don’t get along. That’s, that’s a lie that we use to just be okay to create distance with people. And I don’t want to live like that. I don’t think, that’s just not the way I want to do life. Like, not liking people and avoiding people, that’s a lot of work. I told you, I’m lazy! I don’t, it’s a lot of work! So as much as I can I’m like, “okay.” Because it’s, I’m realizing so much is in my heart. That’s how powerful love is, that you could die to yourself and choose love…Christian life is all about choices.
It’s to let go of something, because you have something in front of you to grab hold of. I will let go of this (shows used kleenex), because I want this (points to glass of water.) I don’t focus on this (kleenex). This is trash. So I don’t pay much attention to what I need to not do anymore. I’m focused on what I need to do. This living water that fills my soul, that you know, answers the deepest part of me. This is…grabbing onto this (water) and making this my goal, automatically this (kleenex) goes. You know, it’s that, you have to…what do you say? God’s got to come through. God’s got to cover you.
I said yes, I’m here because I firmly believe I have confirmation. I’m here because God called me, then He will take care of the rest. Bottom line. That’s it.