Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Let Worship Be for His Glory

It's that time of the month, party people,

Ministry. Wow. There are so many aspects of leading in a ministry that I have never considered or thought about before this year. I've never really realized it before this year, but I realized I'm pretty prideful. Or rather, I take pride as a defense mechanism. I think there are many times I want to serve to prove to God and man that I am capable of doing everything well. In this, I take pride and this pride leads to feeling threatened when someone else does the job better or more efficiently. Rather than learning from other people and seeking to being teachable, my mind goes into survival mode or something. Beat everyone out so that I can feel like I'm worth something. Above all else, I try to please and impress man over God.

An area that this is most prominent is worship. Worship is a response. A response to the unending love, grace, compassion, strength, justice God has. An act of thanksgiving for all that He has done, is doing, and will do in the future. However, for the longest time I was simply thinking about myself. How do I sound today? Which songs make me sound nice? Do people like the way I sound? Which songs will the group like? Oh no, I messed up. How will I make it up? This can go on and on, and these are all thoughts I had every time I picked up a mic to sing in front of large group. That was something I was afraid of confessing for a long time. I would tell the worship team "Let's do this for God and not for ourselves or our own glorification" and I knew that was right, I wanted that. That wasn't my reality, though. This year has been extremely eye opening and humbling. I can't imagine how patient God is with me when I am called to worship Him. I would be so frustrated if everyone I loved faced a different direction, yet He still calls for me. What a gracious, gracious God.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Winning and Losing

Hi friends,

I didn't even notice that almost a month has gone by since writing on my blog. Life has been... tiring? I told myself that I wouldn't focus so heavily on my tiredness because I realized dwelling on how much sleep I need always consumes the good things that happen throughout my day. I'm finally 21 which has been exciting, I guess, but mostly because I get to go to Tot Night and get TATOR TOTS YAY! Quick story. So I was leading worship a week ago, and I get a text from one of the leaders, Michael Golahi, saying "worship leader's meeting tonight at 5 pm," to which I replied "Okay, sounds good!" All chipper and such. Then I do my thing and, eventually, I get another long text that basically read, "I have a group meeting and have to push the meeting back to 11 pm." I literally got on my knees and wailed for a second because I had early morning class the next day. Need to get my beauty rest the day before my birthday, ya know? I did everything I could to get out of it. "Can I meet you tomorrow?" "Can I meet with the other worship leader?" "Can I talk on the phone?" but to no avail. He was persistent. Now, other people told me that this was so obvious, but I honestly didn't think anything of it. I wouldn't put an 11 o'clock meeting past some of these guys LOL. I did have a little inkling of an idea that it could have POSSIBLY been a surprise party, but ever so slight. When I arrived at the door I see the lights on, and I automatically tuck away any thoughts of it being a surprise. I heard Harrison's voice saying, "Sarah, you're late man." It was 10:58. I came storming through the door yelling "It's only 10:58! What do you mean I'm late?" and suddenly I am bombarded by people yelling "SURPRISE!" I literally crouched down and yelled. It was such a shock that so many people were together in one room to celebrate me. Big shoutout to my girl Shaina, my co BVo, and poor Michael Golahi (sorry!!). It was something I will never ever forget :)

I think that something I've been learning is to not let my tiredness keep me from investing in valuable relationships. It's been pretty hard coming home late at night and not want to hop into bed and knock out, but I also realized that my friendships are worth it, no? They have invested in me more than I am deserving of, and I tend to do what my laziness tells me to. I use my busyness as an excuse. It's a sense of pride, as well. "Look how much I am capable of doing." "Look how much I am growing." But am I really? Am I really growing from my responsibilities or am I spiritually regressing? Being spiritually honest and aware has been a really beneficial change, knowing where I am weak, knowing I need unending grace. Lord, I need you. Week 6 here we go... :)


Saturday, September 26, 2015

Simply Compassionate

Hello party people (and potato people),

I survived the first week of fall quarter! YEAHHH. For the first five weeks of early start school, we only had class at night Mon/Wed after a full day at our respective high/middle schools. Beginning this week, we have class on Mon/Wed/Fri and we only go to our school sites Tues/Thurs :( Although, I admit, getting myself to a high school thirty minutes away hasn't been the most ideal (I like my sleep), being at the school site excites me. Everyday I find out something new about individual students, and working with them gives me a glimpse of what I'll be doing in, hopefully, a year. It's so cute when they ask me where I've been and why I've been coming less after this quarter started. This week was especially uplifting. On Tuesday my co-teacher asked me to teach a mini lesson to the freshmen on The Odyssey, referencing the movie La Bestia to make the book applicable to current events. I asked them a fairly simple question, expecting a relatively simple answer. "What is an example of an odyssey you or your family members went through?" I honestly wasn't ready for the answers they shared. I was shocked, horrified, and incredibly, incredibly proud. The freshmen are a pretty quiet bunch, and many of them don't even like sharing SAT practice answers. It took a while for me to find a student open enough to share a small journey they've been through. Honestly, I felt like they were going to say something along the lines of "The transition from middle to high school was a journey I've been through" or "The journey to this class was a hard one. I had to wake up early." While many of them passed, we finally got one willing student. His answer left me speechless. Without getting into too much detail, he basically shared about his home life, the many men that have come and gone from his life, the brokenness of his mother. One by one I heard stories of students immigrating from Mexico, living without family from a different country to learn English, learning that the man they thought was their father wasn't. My heart dropped. I didn't know how to respond to these heartfelt and personal stories. I can't relate to these students in the least bit. I grew up in a stable home, I had both of my parents present, I grew up in this country (this state), and I've been comfortable. How am I worthy of educating these students? I'm not, but I am committing myself to listening, comforting, and pouring care into these students. A degree in English doesn't cut it. It doesn't make you an educator. Hopefully moments like this will remind me to be a constant and compassionate teacher. I pray that God will give me the endurance and a sensitive heart for these students. I love them so so much (although I'm pretty sure they would think that's creepy). Wow... I don't even know how to express what I'm feeling. I wonder what next week will bring :)



Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Take Heart

Wow, this has been a whirlwind of a week and it's only Wednesday! Something I need to confess right off the bat is that I believed that leadership would put me on a pedestal. A kind of "I did everything I needed to do in this ministry to get where I am now" attitude. What a selfish thing to do, right? What a pride-filled state of mind. I thought that reaching leadership was a three step process. 1) Join and become involved in the ministry. 2) Become a Bible Study leader. 3) Get asked to be on Core. I think what's keeping me most accountable at this point is just looking through the actual state of my heart, and recognizing how unbiblical it is. Though one could say our ministry is going to major changes, which also has the potential to increase conflicts, reach decisions slower, and be all around chaotic, Jesus never asks us to be comfortable in our faith. Comfort brings spiritual stagnation. How can we be called a MOVEMENT if we're stagnant? I'm so excited to be a part of this change because it reminds me that I am not in this movement to be glorified. I am not in this movement to have a high position. I am not in this movement to continue tradition. I am not in this movement to save people myself. I am in this movement to WIN, BUILD, and SEND Christ-centered disciples into the world apart from our college campus THROUGH Christ. If this system will better serve those who are seeking the Lord, then who am I to resist that? I pray we don't lose our purpose and vision in the logistics. I need TONS of accountability. I was utterly convicted when I realized how many leadership roles I lack. I need to resist the temptation to let out anger towards others, love those who I don't necessarily "click" with, consistently seek alone time with God, and many more. However, I am also blessed with many brothers and sisters who can keep me accountable. Though it was mentally draining taking in all the new information, I am so excited to be a part of this collaborative bunch who wholly love the Lord and seek to know and be more like Him.

John 16:33
I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”


Sunday, September 13, 2015

Week 4

Heyo amigos!
So I am currently in my second week at the High School. I survived the first day of class (9th, 10th, and 12th graders whew), and I really enjoyed getting to know the students as they opened up about what they think makes a good or bad teacher. Many of them said what I expected them to say: "I like teachers who care about us. I hate teachers who just give us worksheets." It's super incredible seeing how open the students are (mostly 9th graders) on their family lives back home. To be honest, I can't relate to them because I had a stable background while I was growing up. All I can do is motivate them to look past the obstacles, but that's so much easier said than done. One student shared about how her mom left her the week before, and her father is unsupportive of her. Another talked about how his mom's boyfriend was abusive, and they had to escape for the sake of safety. I love hearing their stories as they creatively write their experiences in the "Hero's Journey" project we're working on. Every student is so creative when you push them to think a little harder. Expecting more from these students increases their own motivation to push themselves away from what society has always expected them capable of. Of course, there are the rowdy "I don't care what you say" students, but even they try when you speak to them one-on-one, seeking to fill their needs. I love it and love it!

This summer my family and I traveled to Vancouver, Whistler, Banff, Jasper, and Calgary in the sweet country, Canada. I love and miss it terribly. Traveling with my family is always so awesome, and I am blessed to have experienced the things I have in my lifetime with them. Every city we went to was completely different. Whistler was filled with mountain bikers and a cute village where we ate appetizers outside, Vancouver is a bustling city with the BEST view up from our hotel room, Banff and Jasper were AMAZING the beauty of the Rocky Mountains is incomparable to anything I've ever seen before, and Calgary has a huge tower with glass walls. Every city was a vacation in it of itself, and words cannot do justice to what I experienced there. UNTIL NEXT TIME, CANADA!

Whistler, Canada


Capilano Cliff Walk 

Best Chinese Bakery in Vancouver!

Lake Maligne

The prettiest waterfall

Yeah, we kayaked in front of the Rockies

Ice walk

Calgary, Canada

Thursday, August 13, 2015

New Beginnings

Hello fellow peeps!
It's been a while... A long, long while since I posted on my blog. It's not that I don't care about posting on this page, but I think that the momentum of finishing school last year carried over to the amount of time I focused on things like blogging. I don't think I'm someone who likes to externally think through the happenings of my ever so exciting (not exciting) life. I GRADUATED! So that's a thing. I also started a new teaching credential program this past Monday, and, so far, I've been loving it. The people are all interested in the same path as I am, invested in classes/students/schools, and the professors are genuinely passionate about teaching. I believe that getting into this program, passing all my tests, making all my deadlines were guided by God. There were so many times I felt helpless, convinced that I wouldn't get the spot, but in every step God revealed His intentions for me, opened all the right doors at the right time, and it humbled me to see that I don't have control over my life. I start student teaching next Thursday, and I am SO EXCITED to meet the students. The school that I'm working for actually has a lot of struggling students who didn't grow up in well-to-do families, and are expected to work jobs straight out of high school to support their families. After a mission trip to the inner city, my heart has grown for students who don't have stable backgrounds, and I hope that the support course I'm student teaching for goes well :). I'll keep this updated during my journey through the program!

Summer Part I (Every post I write in the upcoming weeks, I'll include a snippet of summer activities):

Utah Mission Trip:
Wow... My arrogant, prideful mindset was completely shattered after this mission trip. We went to Manti, Utah to minister to Latter Day Saints at one of the biggest LDS events, the Manti Pageant. No, not a beauty pageant, but more of a play based on the beginnings of the Mormon religion. I didn't really know much about the LDS religion, but it was really awesome to learn more about their mindset behind believing what they do. At the same time, I was heartbroken that they are so focused on good works, believing that the cross is not enough to redeem them of their sin. I pray that we were able to leave a "stone in their shoe," or leave them with a question that makes them question the truth of their faith. I was encouraged by their willingness to talk about spiritual topics, but at the same time, seeing them get so defensive and angry at our questions saddened me. This is all they know. This is all they were raised to believe, but there is a truth so much greater. I hope they are able to see that we aren't able to do anything to reach Heaven, but only through the truth of Jesus Christ alone, GRACE ALONE, can we live with our Heavenly Father for eternity.

Manti, Utah

Salt Lake City

The Kaleo House

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Struggles of Identity

Sometimes I am surprised at how much of a sinner I am.

Today I got a midterm back in an English class. A class that isn't only filled with English majors, but with majors of all sorts. I felt like I needed to prove myself in this class because why should I be an English major if I can't get the grades to validate it? What made me qualified to be an English major? Well, I got smacked in the tush today. I think I've always waited for the day or the moment I would be slapped when it came to my grades. Freshmen and Sophomore year made me overly confident in my work. I thought I could be bold and confident in those classes because I was doing so well, but internally, I feared the day I would bomb a test or fail a class or say something stupid in class. Them English majors judge you hard core, naw'm sayin? It was bound to happen, right? I'm not saying that it has come to that, but I really felt inferior today as I sat there with my midterm and the fiery letter grade staring at me. It hit me really hard. Every time I do poorly on an essay, I sit there with tears welling up in my eyes because I feel like I'm worth nothing more than the grade that categorizes me. Dramatic, I know. It's the sad truth, though. My identity has become my grades, my looks, my personality, the clever things I can come up with on social media. Whenever I feel like I have failed in any of those categories, I internally curse myself. Well maybe not the social media part, but everything else. It's one bad grade, and I am literally contemplating my place as an English major. I am OBSESSED with the idea of proving myself. I don't even know why I am so obsessed with my grades. Even in high school, after everyone had given up their grades after being accepted into colleges, I felt a need to continue turning in all my homework and get A's in all my classes. At the root of it, I am self critical because I am trying to use grades as a way to justify my worth in society. How do I turn that self critical attitude into one that finds joy in studying? God gave us the opportunity to come to school and study and become refined young men and women. Why am I feeling so miserable? To be honest, I don't really know. How do I turn my heart completely towards God during this time?

Ephesians 1:3-4

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, ...

We have been blessed with every spiritual blessing ever from God. I think just the realization of this doesn't necessarily mean drop out of school, but it doesn't tie you down by the weight of grades and performance because God will equip you with what you need. He has given us His inheritance! What else do you need? I think that fact is something to consider and dwell on.

Happy Studying,

S. Park