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Before my LIFE group and I went around town to ask women what scars made them beautiful, I didn’t know what to expect.  Would it be too forward to ask people to revisit their past pains?  Theoretically, I knew it would be an interesting question – our struggles shape us and strengthen us.  But I had no idea how moved I would be to meet so many people willing to share about the adversity they faced that made them stronger.

Our scars are beautiful.  When I think about my own scars, I’m reminded of God’s faithfulness.  In the times when I wasn’t sure if i could keep going, His promises to be a shelter and refuge rang true. He traded my ashes for a crown of beauty, and as I look back at the scars, I see that God somehow made them beautiful.

Enjoy this week’s installment!

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Isaiah 61:1-3

The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is upon me,
for the Lord has anointed me
to bring good news to the poor.
He has sent me to comfort the brokenhearted
and to proclaim that captives will be released
and prisoners will be freed.
He has sent me to tell those who mourn
that the time of the Lord’s favor has come,
and with it, the day of God’s anger against their enemies.
To all who mourn in Israel,
he will give a crown of beauty for ashes,
a joyous blessing instead of mourning,
festive praise instead of despair.
In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks
that the Lord has planted for his own glory.

It’s here again!  A new installment of our “Beautiful Friday” series.  My LIFE group went onto campus on a nice day and asked various women the question: why do you love being a woman?  The wide array of answers was a testament to women’s diversity/values/interests. 

Admittedly, I’m not the “girliest” of girls.  Until this post, I hadn’t seriously thought about what it would look like to value my identity as a woman as opposed to a general “human being”.  Day by day I’m learning to appreciate myself as God made me: my strengths, weaknesses, my quirks, and even the things about myself that even I don’t understand.  While we are all so different, there’s much that we can share in celebrating our roles as women and empowering one another to be MORE than what we are now.  And I think that’s why I love being a woman.  Although we can be SO complex/complicated/layered/etc it allows us to relate to so many others in profound ways.

In the spirit of interaction, why do YOU love being a woman?  Are there any answers given below that you agree with?

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I’m not going to feel sorry for myself anymore.

Just this morning I was sharing with two of my friends how I wish I was “better” – I wish I had more skills, had more going for me, had an “x factor”.  And I was honestly really upset about it.  I felt like the Queen of average: not considerably smart or stupid, not considerably funny, not exceptional, not pretty etc.  Honestly, even writing out these insecurities makes me cringe because it’s such wayward thinking.  Long pitiful story short, I truly believed that God didn’t have much in store for me because I wasn’t much – destined to be average. Hence the pity party.

This evening I watched “Nefarious” a documentary about sex slavery.  It followed a team of people who were discovering how sordid the sex trafficking industry was and how far it extended. Towards the end of the film, there was a gripping portion where two women who were prostituted for 10-30 years shared about their encounters with God.  The two shared how they were convinced that they were hopeless: utterly defeated and ashamed by the laundry list of their acts as prostitutes.  At points close to death, they each encountered God.  They both described this feeling of being completely seen by God (all of their past deeds) and being completely loved and accepted.  God did not condemn them and He set for them a life of freedom and purpose.  After decades of being convinced that they were nothing and “too far gone” – God found them, saved them and showed them the worth they had always had.

God makes no mistake.  He makes His sons and daughters with love, hope and purpose.  One of Satan’s greatest feats is to convince us that we are unloved, hopeless and without a purpose.  We’re captive to the lies that we are not enough.  And in the sea of our self-pity, we spend an inordinate amount of time on ourselves and miss out on the call to love our neighbors, to  “look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” (James 1:27)

There is far too much going on in the world that is against God’s heart for His sons and daughters.  We need to stand in the gap, pray for God’s justice and rule to come and heal our land, and do whatever it is He calls us to do.

I’m not going to feel sorry for myself anymore.

One of my favorite SaturdayNightLive sketches was the Debbie Downer sketch.  There’d be normal, jovial scenes of people hanging out and at every turn “Debbie Downer” would insert a random tragic fact that would completely kill the atmosphere. Her friends would try to bounce back from her buzzkilling comments but to no avail – Debbie Downer always wins.

You think I’m going to ask you to prayerfully consider if you’re a Debbie Downer or not. But i’m not. I’m going to tell you that you probably are one…at least to yourself.  How many times have you found yourself in a good/ok situation only to start wondering “how long will this last?” or “something bad is probably going to happen” or “God is going to break me soon…” or “this can’t be real”? Suddenly our good moment turns sour. Is that surprising?  Debbie’s a ninja.

Instead of fully thanking God for our present moment, we start anguishing over the future. The thought of “let tomorrow worry about itself” is thrown to the curb right alongside “charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting” and “this semester, i will NOT procrastinate”.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 says, “Rejoice always, pray continually,  give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”  We’re not given the option to give thanks always, we’re commanded to do it.  What better way to fight the temptation to complain than to actively give thanks?

In my difficult times, this hymn has helped me to fight my downer tendencies and to remember God’s goodness:

It Is Well With My Soul

When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,

When sorrows like sea billows roll;

Whatever my lot, Thou has taught me to say,

It is well, it is well, with my soul.

It is well, with my soul,

It is well, it is well, with my soul.

Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,

Let this blest assurance control,

That Christ has regarded my helpless estate,

And hath shed His own blood for my soul.

Hello all!

A friend and I set out on campus one day to tell women they were beautiful and ask them, “what makes you beautiful?”.  It was a great chance to see how people are made so differently and wonderfully.  Check it out!

What is beautiful about you?

 

Tonight in LIFE group, we were sharing our reasons for why we had trouble believing in & experiencing God’s power to heal our wounds:

  • Does God really care enough for me?
  • Do I want to go back to that place of hurt that I’ve spent all these years running away from?
  • Is it really necessary? I’ve already figured out how to “manage” with this pain.
  • Is it even possible to heal my problems?

I thought about my life and all the areas I’ve experienced freedom and healing, and then all the areas in my life that still need to be addressed. I suddenly felt so overwhelmed by the sheer weight of it all and remembered Christ’s command in Matthew 11:  28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

God heals. What is your testimony of healing?  What is your prayer FOR healing?

Do you believe that there’s power in the name of Jesus?